Bruce W. Longenecker has proposed a new but influential interpretation of Paul’s command to “do good to all” in his recent book, Remember the Poor. Contrary to standard readings of this passage, Longenecker suggests that Paul intends the Galatians to understand it as a command to serve the poor through financial assistance. To support that thesis, he resources past scholarship that claims “to do the good” in the Greco-Roman context, especially the honorifics and proxeny decrees, referenced material and even financial services. By suggesting such phrasing was “technical terminology for such services,” Longenecker is able significantly to bolster the plausibility of his reading. To test that thesis, this article gives a brief survey of recent discussions on Greco-Roman benefaction and looks closely at several important honorific decrees. The findings suggest that Longenecker’s conclusions are less than certain. Although “to do the good” may be used in reference to material benefits, the phrase was used in a variety of circumstances, often honoring benefactors who rendered immaterial beneficence to the city, such as military service and favorable auguries. Additionally, inscriptions commemorating material benefits often lack the phrase. This article finds that the phrase “to do the good” is a flexible phrase in the inscriptions that suggests service in general rather than a particular kind of service. Therefore, Longenecker’s proposed interpretation is found to lack important external evidence and thus to be dissatisfactory.

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