Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 4
July 25, 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).
- 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).
- 3. Self-identifies as "an apostle".
- a. The issue of "apostle".
- b. The "issue" of Paul's identity-origins.
- 1) In our context, it is clear that Paul wanted very much to make absolutely sure that his readers knew that his "apostleship" was not a "human" reality.
- a) The issue of origins is a part of the problem of overcoming "unbelief".
- b) There is a parallel here in the evangelical belief that the "original" documents of the Bible were inspired by God so as to be absolutely without error.
- 2) Alternatively, Paul wanted very much to make absolutely sure that his readers knew that his "apostleship" was tied to Jesus Christ and God as Father.
- a) He used the same grammatical formulation as he had used to distance his apostleship from "man": his "apostleship" was "through" Jesus Christ and God the Father.
- b) His focus was upon Jesus Christ.
- c. The "issue" of the divine use of mediators.
- 1) Apostleship is "a mediatorial function".
- a) By definition, an "apostle" must be appointed to the position of surrogate by the one who has determined to do his/her business through mediators.
- b) Thus, the position is that of a "mediator" in the sense that the apostle is not self-appointed.
- c) That it is mediated also projects the possibility of multiple mediators in the process (Note Revelation 1:1 and 1:11 and be aware that the "book" became even one more intervening agent as well as everyone involved in transmitting the book to each generation and place).
- d) That Paul distanced his apostleship from "men" and "man" argues that this was a possibility that he wished to minimize as an actuality.
- 2) Apostleship, as a mediated reality, raises a huge "T"heological issue: What is it about "God" that moves His choice to use mediators rather than act directly?
- a) That it is a "God" issue is revealed by Hebrews 3:1-2 in its declaration that the Father made the Son (Hebrews 1) an "apostle".
- i. If being the "Son" of the "Father" makes the two "equal" (so that anyone claiming to be such deserves to be put to death -- John 5:18), the fact of One using Another as an apostle means that it is a "character-of-God" issue.
- ii. What is it about God that moves Him to accomplish His objectives by the use of agents?
- b) The first consideration is "God".
- i. The term conjures up, as a primary focus, the exercise of power.
- ii. The exercise of power is a most fundamental factor of the universe.
- iii. As an "exercise", the bottom line is the determinative Love/Truth factors that "settle" what will, and will not be, "done".
- iv. Just above that bottom line is another: omniscience wedded to wisdom.
- v. Then comes all of the questions of "How?", which, itself, is significantly attached to the direct/indirect methodologies of the use of, or non-use of, intermediaries.
- c) The second consideration is "the Love of God".
- i. This is the point of conflict in creation.
- ii. Within this "Love" is the reality of the use of agents: for God, the use of agents is "loving" because it involves the sharing of significance through accomplishment.
- iii. The use of agents, however, explodes in complication as soon as there is a competition at the "Love" level and that creates a serious need for the knowledge and wisdom to deal with the complications.
- iv. Then, because of the omni-demands of both knowledge and wisdom, the "Faith" factor enters the picture: created beings must "believe" some "truth" in order to act and created beings have significant problems determining what/which "truth" addresses the particulars.
- d) The third consideration is, therefore, the question of how basic "Truth" bubbles to the surface so that particular truths can come into play.
- i. Paul's text surfaces some basics: motivation; surrogacy; separation from humanity; Jesus Christ; God as Father; and resurrection from the dead.
- ii. With the basics in place, the details can follow.
- iii. The focus upon Jesus Christ is two-fold: His name provides a primary focus; and His resurrection from the dead also provides a primary focus. The focus upon the name is "identity" related, and the focus upon the resurrection is "action" related. The former is of such magnitude that the latter is necessitated by the demands of "faith" (if there is such a being as "Jesus Christ", how can we be sure of the particular "Who" that fills that identity?). Then there is another question: Why is existence in this world presented as temporary, separated from the "final reality" by death and resurrection? What is it about the present state of affairs that necessitates either death-and-resurrection or instantaneous, blink-of-an-eye, transformation?
- iv. It was important that his readers understand that God the Father was "behind the scenes", but it was equally important that they understand that Jesus Christ was the "apostle-maker" as the One Whom the Father had raised from the dead. This posits an immediate "twist" in the "T"heology: the Father is characterized as a step back from the impact of "apostleship". Thus, the "Father" is presented as an "apostle-maker" in regard to Jesus Christ (Hebrews 3:1-2) before Jesus Christ is presented as an "apostle-maker". Why, and what does it mean that Paul determined to call God "Father"? In Matthew 23:9 Jesus instructed His followers to "call no man your father upon the earth" and in John 5:18 His opponents understood that to call God His "Father" was to make Himself equal with God. Further, in John's record Jesus says that certain things are "automatic" to the children, namely, the character of the "father" and the subsequent actions.