GALATIANS 1:13 – 2:20




1)      St. Paul’s Background – Galatians 1:13-16

a)      Saul of Tarsus

i)        Ref: Acts 7:58; Acts 9:1f

ii)       Galatians 1:13f

b)      Breathing Fire Against the Christians

c)      Righteous Religious Indignation

d)      Intensely/Violently/Beyond Measure persecuted the Church

e)      Excellent Education & Personal zealousness led to rapid “advancement” in the hierarchical structure

f)        God Saved Saul (32-35AD – exact precision not possible)

i)        Set apart from Birth/before Birth/from his mother’s womb

(1)   Isaiah

(2)   Jeremiah

(3)   John the Baptist

ii)       To Bring the Gospel to those outside of Judaism

iii)     God would use the reformed Saul’s zealousness for Gospel purpose

2)      St. Paul’s Gospel Message – Galatians 1:16f

a)      Judaizers would not recognize Paul as an Apostle

b)      Paul had personally met the Glorified Christ (1 Corinthians 9:1;15:8)

c)      Paul did not receive the Gospel from any human being

d)      The Gospel Paul preached came straight from the Glorified Christ

e)      Longenecker – The Jerusalem Apostles had the message of Salvation and the Key to Prophetic Ministry but St. Paul had the unique commissioning to the Gentiles

f)        St. Paul did not speak with any of the Brethren

i)        Left Damascus – as a basket case (Acts 9:25)

(1)   Apparently the Gospel clear enough for him to preach in Damascus

(2)   Had to escape the Jews there

ii)       Three years in Arabia and back in Damascus – courage and conviction

iii)     Possibly could be equated to the three years the other Apostles had with Jesus

iv)     In conjunction with the teachings of the glorified Christ his message had become totally refined

3)      After Three Years – Galatians 1:18-24

a)      Visited St. Peter and the Lord’s Brother St. James

b)      15 Days – a short visit - not enough time for them to teach him more than the Glorified Christ had taught him

c)      Acts 9:26-30

d)      Grecian Jews tried to kill him as he debated and proved Christ so well so the brethren took him to Caesarea

e)      Paul went to his home town of Tarsus

f)        On the way he visited Syria (Damascus?) and Cilicia (Psidian Antioch?)

g)      Generally unknown to Judean Churches save by reputation that the man who had persecuted them was now one of them.

4)      Galatians 2:1-10

a)      Paul spent fourteen years or so in Tarsus and environs

b)      Barnabas went and brought him to Antioch (on the Mediterranean) to work with the church there (Acts 11:25f

c)      A famine was found in the Roman world during the reign of Claudius - (circa 46AD according to Tacitus, Seutonius, and some Egyptian Papyri during the reign of Helena of Egypt - and Antioch dispatched Paul and Barnabas to take aid to Jerusalem (Acts 11:27-30)

d)      Barnabas and Paul took the Gentile Titus with them (Galatians 2:1) as they responded to the revelation of the famine (46/47AD – before 1st Missionary Journey)

e)      While in Jerusalem Paul revealed the mission to the Gentiles and the Gospel preached there to the leaders of the Jerusalem Church

f)        Paul wished to validate, in their minds, the message he was preaching

i)        Not that he doubted what Jesus had given him

ii)       It needed to be confirmed as congruent for acceptance by those to whom Paul would preach

iii)     Paul makes it clear (Galatians 1:16 & 2:6) that the Apostles in Jerusalem added nothing to the Revelation he received directly from Jesus

g)      The matter of circumcision was brought up because of some of the false brethren infiltrating the ranks

h)      Paul and Barnabas did not waver or give in to them

i)        Martin Luther, in his commentary on Galatians (1535AD), points out that Paul did not condemn circumcision itself for the Jewish people – rather he denied that it was a requirement for Salvation

j)        The leadership did not even require Titus to be circumcised  (Galatians 2:3)

k)      The Key is that there is freedom in Christ and salvation does not depend upon physical things or works

l)        Again, Martin Luther, in his commentary on Galatians, points out that human reason, when left to itself, can only think in terms of The Law and of Works (think of Isaiah through whom God says “My words are not your words and My thoughts are not your thoughts.”

m)    In today’s world the revisionist liberals would have us place Reason, Tradition, and now Experience above Holy Scripture which teaches Salvation by Faith alone

n)      Paul seemingly disparages people “in high places” but in reality what he is saying is that we are not to deify either them or their thoughts

o)      As Peter had been sent to the Jews so Paul was seen as having been sent to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:6-8)

p)      As St. Peter was An Apostle sent to the Jews so St. Paul was An Apostle sent to the Gentiles.

q)      Saints Peter, James, and John, the obvious leadership of the Church

i)        Gave Saints Paul, Barnabas, and Titus the right hand of fellowship

ii)       Recognized the work of the Holy Spirit (Grace) in St. Paul

iii)     Agreed that they should take the Gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles

iv)     Only required that they should continue to remember the poor – which was the reason they had come to Jerusalem



Next Consideration: Galatians 2:11-21




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