Monday, April 11, 2011

Galatians Part 2: Introduction (1:1-2)

I. Introduction—1:1-2

1:1PAUL, an apostle—Paul starts the Galatian epistle with a simply declaration of his apostleship. The word apostle comes from the Greek apostolos (αποστολος). “In class. Gr. … and later …  [apostolos] is a naval expedition, prob. also its commander. … In the NT, [apostolos] can also mean delegate, envoy, messenger… out lit. uses [apostolos] predom. for the apostles, a group of highly honored believers, who had a special function.”1

Since the Judaizers attacked Paul’s apostleship, he immediately makes known to his readers that he is an apostle. Read more about the relevance of apostles in today’s church in “Apostles.”

Paul does not waste time with niceties in the introduction of this epistle. Paul usually spends a bit more time in the prologues of his epistles. Yet, not with this one. He gets down to the issue at hand at the outset of this epistle. If the Judaizers want to attack him, then his authority is greater, since he was not sent by man. 

not sent from men nor through the agency of man—Concerning this phrase Wuest writes that the word “from” (Gr. apo - απο) here “speaks of ultimate source.”2 He continues concerning the word “through” (Gr. dia - δια) that it is “the preposition denoting intermediate agency… Thus Paul not only denies that he was made an apostle by men, but also that God used the intermediate agency of man to constitute him an apostle.”3 Simply, Paul is saying that he was not sent from men (as if they had authority to send him) and neither did God use men to send him as an apostle. His commission was purely divine! 

but through Jesus Christ and God the Father—Paul ensures the Galatians that his apostleship was as a result of the call from the risen Christ. None other but God had called him to be an apostle (see also 2 Cor 1:1;  2 Tim 1:1). He contrasts the idea of being sent by or through men with the word “through” (Gr. dia) in connection with Christ. Christ is the One who sent him. 

who raised Him from the dead—Paul emphasises here that his own calling was given him by the resurrected Christ. His own apostleship was set in motion by the resurrected Christ, whereas the Twelve were commissioned by Christ before His death. 

1:2—and all the brethren who are with me—Since Paul is literally diving into the issue here of his apostleship, he shows the Galatians that his apostleship and the message he bears actually do have the backing of his traveling companions. Paul uses this method of showing the approval of his apostleship in several of his epistles (1 Cor 1:1; 2 Cor 1:1; Gal 1:2; Phil 1:1; Col 1:1; 1 Thes 1:1; 2 Thes 1:1; Philemon 1:1). 

End Notes

[1] A GREEK-ENGLISH LEXICON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT and Other Early Christian Literature, A translation of the fourth revised and augmented edition of WALTER BAUER’s Griechisch-Deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur by WILLIAM F. ARNDT and F. WILBUR GINGRICH, SECOND EDITION, REVISED AND AUGMENTED BY F. WILBUR GINGRICH AND FREDERICK W. DANKER FROM WALTER BAUER’S FIFTH EDITION, 1958, THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS, CHICAGO AND LONDON, 1979. BAGD comes from Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, Danker, p99.
[2] Wuest, Kenneth S., Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament for the English Reader, Volume One, Galatians in the Greek New Testament, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, 1973, p29.
[3] Ibid., p29.

For more on this series, simply visit the Galatians label.
The next part in the Galatians series will be available next Monday!

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