Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1
June 27, 2010
1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
1901 ASV Translation:
1 Paul, an apostle (not from men, neither through man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead),
- I. From the Authorial Side.
- A. Author: Paul.
- 1. Received his new "name" just as he was getting involved with the Galatian churches (Acts 13:9).
- a. The "event" marked the beginning of Luke's exclusive reference to Saul as Paul except in the words of Paul's personal testimonies (Acts 22:7 and 26:14).
- b. The question is why Luke/Paul decided to alter "Saul's" identity at this stage of the game.
- 1) The command of the Spirit in 13:2 was "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work...".
- 2) There is no "obvious" reason in the text for the sudden, and irreversible, switch to "Paul" in 13:9.
- 3) The issue of "names" in the Scriptures is significant (Note Revelation 2:17).
- 4) The focus upon the meaning of "names" in the Scripture is significant.
- a) From the beginning, "names" signaled some form of description of either reality or expectation.
- b) Hebrews 7:2 shows that considering the name's "meaning" is a legitimate action.
- c) In Luke 1:64 Zacharias was given back his ability to speak only after he obeyed the angelic injunction to name his son "John" (Yahweh is gracious).
- d) Matthew 1:21 tells us that Joseph was required to name "Jesus" by that name because the name means something akin to "He shall save His people from their sins".
- 5) The name "Saul" is tied to the idea of being "sought after" (Strong's dictionary of Hebrew words says "Saul" is the passive participle of a verb that means "to seek after in order to obtain") and our introduction to the Old Testament namesake is deliberately set in the context of the man being "sought after" as a king while he is "seeking after" his father's lost donkeys (the Hebrew verb in view is used in 1 Samuel 8:10 to describe the "peoples'" attitude of apostasy).
- a) In this record (1 Samuel 8-9) the issue is the nation's frustrations with the realities of God's rule and its desire to "improve" upon it.
- b) In this record, God reaches all the way back to the Exodus to explain to Samuel that there is an endemic character in Israel that causes him to always seek to exalt his own will over God (1 Samuel 8:7-8).
- c) The point is twofold: being "sought after" to be something that is an expression of human dissatisfaction with God leads to terrible consequences and "seeking after" the status of being the object of human longing also leads to "chief of sinner" stuff. The "Sauls" of this world are determined to be the executors of power as an expression of their view of how things work and woe to those who get in their way.
- 6) The name "Paul" is tied to the idea of being "small". There is a deliberate link to "Paul's" theological statement in Philippians 2:7 about the essential character of the Christ.
- a) Paul had been a Saul, heart and soul.
- b) He realized at some point that the pursuit of that identity was the pursuit of a Covenant with Death and was absolutely inimical to the character of God.
- 2. Became "Paul" at the precise point of his first recorded exercise of apostolic power against the Kingdom of Darkness (Acts 13:9-12) in which he had been a major player until he came to grip with the "identity" of his Opponent on the road to Damascus (Who art thou, Lord? -- Acts 9:5).
- a. This action against the Kingdom of Darkness as an "apostle" was an example of precisely the issue of the book of Galatians.
- 1) The issue of creation is the issue of the exercise of "power" -- to what ends and by what means?
- 2) The problem of the Galatian letter is the problem of the attempted use of "power" to achieve personal notoriety as a most basic fountainhead of "Life" [Note Acts 8:18 in its context].
- 3) "Apostolic" power is exercised according to the "Sender" (apostles being "sent ones") and is, thus, inescapably tied to the goals and methods of Him Who does the sending.
- 4) The problem is so massive that the Original Apostle of the Father openly declared that the motives of the actors have a root-impact.
- a) The One Who does the will of the Father is trustworthy (John 5:30) and the one who seeks to use power to build his own reputation is absolutely not trustworthy (John 7:18).
- b) The "Galatian" error was precisely this: the attempt to build one's own reputation by the works of Law so that even God would be sufficiently impressed so as to give "salvation" to the one(s) who were sufficiently diligent.
- b) In a very real sense, the letter to the Galatians was the same type of exercise of power that Saul/Paul introduced in Acts 13:9-12: the confronting of the Kingdom of Darkness to demolish its ability to block the Truth.