Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 7
August 15, 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.
- 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.
- 3) In regard to identifying God as "Father", the chief question is: What does it mean for God to be "Father"?
- a) The first indication of meaning is in His work of raising Jesus Christ from the dead.
- i. This is a declaration of "power".
- ii. This is a declaration of the restoration of Jesus Christ from the dead as an indication of His commitment to the character and identity of Jesus Christ. This goes a long way in defining "Father" in that it is a work that springs out of the Father's character (as all works do). To be committed to the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a reversal of the imposition of death is a statement: the "Father" loves the Son and the Son's character and works. This has to mean that the definition of the "Father" involves approval of the works of "Jesus" and the intention of establishing Him as the "Christ" over all of the Father's Kingdom. Thus, the first indication of the meaning of "Father" is that He is totally committed to "Jesus" as Redeemer and the "Christ" as Sovereign ruler. Thus, to understand what the "Father" is like, all we have to do is look at Jesus Christ.
- b) The second indication of meaning is in the second reference to Him as "Father": 1:3.
- i. This is a declaration of "benefits".
- ii. This is a declaration of the origin of both "grace" and "peace". Both of these benefits are enormously desired by men in terms of what they bring them and neither are eschewed by men as "negatives".
- c) The third indication of meaning is in the third reference to Him as "Father": 1:4.
- i. This is, actually, the second description of just whose "father" the "Father" is: ours. (there is a textual difference between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26 here with the Textus Receptus omitting the "our" and the Nestle/Aland 26 including it).
- ii. It is true that God is the "Father" of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3), but that is not Paul's direction of thought in regard to the Galatians: He, says Paul, is "our" Father. This means that He has a commitment to us that is as strong as His commitment to His Ultimate Son.
- iii. In this reference we discover an enormously important truth: it was the will of the "Father" that determined both the actions of Jesus and our deliverance from evil. This eliminates every reason for "prayer" to anyone but the Father.
- d) The fourth indication of meaning is in the fourth reference to a "father": 4:2.
- i. This reference is the first time in Galatians that Paul goes to an unspecified "father" (human) to characterize one of the functions (and, therefore, one of the characteristics) of a "father".
- ii. In this reference Paul says that a "father" is one who sets up his household in such a way as to make sure the "children" are trained properly. This makes the "father" one who retains all dominion over the "children" so that they are no more than "slaves" for the duration of the period of their development into adult sons.
- iii. But this reference also identifies a "time of release" from that status according to the determination of the "father". This maintains the idea that all is going according to "the will of the Father" (1:4). But it also injects into the mix the idea that the "children" are going to suffer some unpleasant things until they "get a grip" on the love of the Father and embrace it for themselves.
- e) The final reference in Galatians to "father" is 4:6.
- i. At this point, Paul says that the most fundamental "attitude" of the regenerated is their embrace of the identity of God as "Father".
- ii. This is the first result of God's action of sending His Spirit into the hearts of the "sons".