Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 4 Study # 1
November 21, 2010
11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1901 ASV Translation:
11 For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man.
12 For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.
- I. These Two Verses Appear To Be a "Thesis Statement" For Galatians 1:11-2:21.
- A. All of the material in this extended text is about why the Galatians should believe that Paul is a messenger of God.
- B. The "certification" (to use the Authorized Version translators' word).
- 1. The meaning of "I certify you".
- a. Out of 24 uses in the New Testament, the Authorized Version translators used "certify" only once.
- 1) Any time the translators go outside the box, we should question their legitimacy.
- a) Words are not "flexible" and translators have no right to "bend" their meaning for any reason.
- b) When a "translation" can be legitimately accomplished without innovation, it should be.
- c) The point of a translation is to give the reader the ability to understand the author and translators do not facilitate that when they move outside the box.
- 2) The issue of "certify" is not the same as "make known".
- b. The issue of Paul's word in this statement is consistent throughout the use in the New Testament: it means "to expose someone to something so that he/she has the ability to interact with that something".
- 1) The translators often used terms that indicate "how" that exposure came to pass, but in so doing they clouded the issue of understanding.
- a) In John 17:26 Jesus used this particular term and the translators opted to make it sound like He accomplished His task of exposing His disciples to what the Father's name and love really signify by "declaring" (a word that focuses upon speaking) when, in fact, He laid a far better foundation for their grasp of those critical matters in what He did. The love of God is not grasped by words, but by actions (1 John 3:16 and 18) .
- b) The issue of the word is not the particular methodology, but the result of whatever process was applied: the objects of the method were exposed to a certain reality so that they could profit from it.
- 2) In the uses found in the New Testament, Paul's term communicates the idea of bringing some reality to the minds of his audience.
- 2. The reality is that Paul had already made this claim in his introduction (Galatians 1:1) in a not so indirect way. In that introduction, it was his "apostleship" that was in focus, but it is pretty much an impossibility to separate a divine "apostleship" from a divine "message".
- C. The focus of this thesis statement is upon the message.
- 1. Both the noun ("the Gospel") and the verb (was preached) have the same root. This is easily seen in the Greek, but is not visible in English.
- 2. Both the noun and the verb zero in upon the "message". The noun emphasizes its inherent character ("good" news) and the verb emphasizes its general methodology (some form of vocalizing).
- D. The primary issue of the message: it is not "after" man.
- 1. The word translated "after" is a word that, when used with an accusative object (this is Greek grammar), means "according to the standard of" whatever the accusative object is.
- 2. The point is this: the message of Paul does not conform to the standards of humanity.
- a. That raises this question: what are the "standards of humanity"?
- b. The answer is at least partially given by the apostle.
- 1) The standards have to do with man being either the root source or the instrument of the message because Paul says he did not receive it "from man", nor was any man his "teacher".
- a) Men are inveterate glory hounds and are never satisfied unless they can be seen as the roots of what others consider good.
- b) Most men, though not greatly satisfied by it, will also accept being seen as the means of what others see as praiseworthy.
- 2) Those standards also involve the "agenda" of man as opposed to God's.
- a) Paul's declaration of God's agenda is in 1:15-16 and has to do with the manifestation of His Son by means of human instrumentality.
- b) Paul's "agenda", if it should be a reflection of man's, was the building of his own reputation in the eyes of men.
- 3) Those standards also involve a critical focus upon oneself.
- a) Men are totally self-absorbed in their natural state.
- b) God is "man-absorbed" as the outworking of His own glory.
- c) God's "other-focus" is diametrically opposed to man's "self-focus".
- 3. The contrary reality is this: the message of Paul was given by "revelation".
- a. The message, he claims, became his message "through a revelation of Jesus Christ".
- 1) The word "revelation" was coined to refer to the idea of a removal of a cover that kept a matter from being known.
- 2) It is used in the New Testament to refer to "a clear presentation". It is used multiple times to refer to what is going to happen when Jesus comes: a correcting of all of the false concepts tied to men's minds about Jesus. It signals a comprehensive explanation and correction.
- b. The exact method of the revelation is not established. Paul's only explanation is that he went to Arabia and then returned to Damascus.
- c. The only other time Paul used this word in Galatians refers to his explanation of why he went up to Jerusalem to present his message to the Church. In this use, he makes it imperative that we understand that "by revelation" means that he was given specific information regarding the will of God. The method of that revelation is not given, but the point is made: a "revelation" is a clear communication from God by some means that results in specific clarity for those receiving it.