Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 5
August 1, 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 the divine use of mediators.
- c. 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.
- i. 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.
- ii. 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?).
- iii. 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, and if transformation can bypass death, why does it not always do so?
- c) 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.