Friday, July 25, 2008

Letter to the Galatians, chapter 1

The intro to Letter to the Galatians is really a fascinating read.

- Paul is boasting:

Gal 1:1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—

- There were already different versions of the Gospel even in the early years:

Gal 1:7 Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

So these people are not teaching them something totally different but simply a 'perverted' form of the Gospel. Too bad that he didn't say more about what they taught.

- Paul, an alleged man of God, curses people

Gal 1:9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

- Paul is somewhat on the defensive:

Gal 1:11 I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up.

So there must have been quite a lot of people thinking it was.

- His argumentation is both curious and pompous:

Gal 1:12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

So everything Paul knows, he got told it by Jesus himself! Not by the Apostles or any other early follower of Jesus. This indeed then must really, really show that Paul is important and his version is the correct one. Just look at all the evidence for it! Uh, it's only Paul claiming so ... ok ...

- and somewhat contradictory:

Gal 1:13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

So Paul, allegedly one of the most learned Jews (allegedly trained by Gamaliel), was capturing people like your standard thug without knowing why or what evil they were supposed to have committed? That doesn't really seem credible, does it? If he was indeed so dumb and didn't know anything about the belief of the people he was supposedly kidnapping and persecuting then how could he have been one of the most erudite Jews of his time? Jewish scholars and priests didn't agree with heretics of course but they sure weren't fools and knew what the heretical teachings were about. Either way, this doesn't make Paul look good.

- Yet Paul considered himself elect from birth and to be someone really worthy:

Gal 1:15 But when God, who set me apart from birth (or my mother's womb) and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles

I wonder what took him so long to notice this ... and why it would matter if God 'set him apart from birth' (whatever that actually means) if it would take several decades for Paul to get this ...

- Paul emphasizes again that he didn't consult the Disciples nor cared to meet them soon:

Gal 1:16 I did not consult any man, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.

Yeah, because why see the Apostles when Jesus is talking directly to you ... ? And what was so important in Arabia at the time that he needed to rush there?

- It took Paul THREE years to think that it would maybe be a good idea to speak with some of the original Disciples:

Gal 1:18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days.

No surprise then that his and Peter's (and especially James') ideas were not the same.

- The only other Apostle that he SAW (doesn't necessarily imply 'MET') was James, the brother of Jesus, the head of the Jerusalem 'Church':

Gal 1:19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord's brother.

The other disciples were probably on holiday or trying to convert fellow Jews?

- And then he sounds defensive again:

Gal 1:20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.

And that's only Chapter 1! ;)

6 comments:

MrSimpson said...

"- There were already different versions of the Gospel even in the early years:"

Not 'versions' but interpretations. Some were interpreting it incorrectly. They were using their own experiences to colour the meanings, in order to understand it, rather than take the actual meaning that was written down. People do this all the time, which is the message for us today. We can't apply our own conditions onto the truth as that wouldn't actually be the truth, just our distortion.



"So these people are not teaching them something totally different but simply a 'perverted' form of the Gospel. Too bad that he didn't say more about what they taught."

- he goes into detail on the contents of the perversion later on in the book.



"- Paul, an alleged man of God, curses people"

'let him be cursed' is very different from 'I curse you'.
Paul isn't cursing anyone, he leaves that to God.



"So there must have been quite a lot of people thinking it was.(made up)"

I would imagine there were. Irrelevant though.



"- His argumentation is both curious and pompous:"

All Christians recieve direct revelation from God. He isn't being pompous, just a plain old, vanilla Christian.



"So everything Paul knows, he got told it by Jesus himself! Not by the Apostles or any other early follower of Jesus. This indeed then must really, really show that Paul is important and his version is the correct one. Just look at all the evidence for it! Uh, it's only Paul claiming so ... ok ..."

Paul got the message just like us modern day Christians do. Nothing wrong with that, or that makes us potentially any less Christian than the original apostles.
This is straight forward, conventional Christianity. It isn't restricted to Paul. All Christians claim the same authority.



"- and somewhat contradictory:"

Contradictory to his previous 'profession' as a strong persecutor of Christians... hell yes! (?)


"So Paul, allegedly one of the most learned Jews (allegedly trained by Gamaliel), was capturing people like your standard thug without knowing why or what evil they were supposed to have committed? That doesn't really seem credible, does it? If he was indeed so dumb and didn't know anything about the belief of the people he was supposedly kidnapping and persecuting then how could he have been one of the most erudite Jews of his time? Jewish scholars and priests didn't agree with heretics of course but they sure weren't fools and knew what the heretical teachings were about. Either way, this doesn't make Paul look good."

The Jews of the time knew exactly the threat that Jesus and the emerging faith posed. Why would they be so actively trying to destroy it otherwise?

Paul was telling what he was like before to show the Galatians, also once Jews, his conversion experience.



"- Yet Paul considered himself elect from birth and to be someone really worthy:"

If you become a Christian at some point during your life, you could say truthfully that "I was elect from birth". Obviously, as this had come to pass, it was always meant to be, in God's greater plan for me/ my life.



"I wonder what took him so long to notice this ... and why it would matter if God 'set him apart from birth' (whatever that actually means) if it would take several decades for Paul to get this ..."

Could I ask the same of you? How come you don't get it yet? Wouldn't that be like exactly the same question?

WoundedEgo said...

In the gospels, Jesus grooms 12 men to lead his cult. Paul gets instructions from the risen Jesus and operates 14 years independently! During that time, a large Jewish Jesus cult had formed. Paul and this Jewish Christianity (James included) were irreconcialably different. They became bitter rivals, as played out in Galatians.

>>>>'let him be cursed' is very different from 'I curse you'.
Paul isn't cursing anyone, he leaves that to God.

Actually, the Greek is a second person imperative: "Be you cursed."

Paul believed Jews to be cursed (including Jewish Christians, which he did not consider to be Christians). Hence Romans 9:3:

Ro 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

"Accursed from Christ" meant cursed so that one would not come into the righteousness of faith, per Psalm 69.

I am blogging on this matter at:

http://bibleshockers.blogspot.com

MrSimpson said...

"In the gospels, Jesus grooms 12 men to lead his cult. Paul gets instructions from the risen Jesus and operates 14 years independently!"

What's the problem with that? So the Christian experience works in more than one way. Both as valid obviously!

"During that time, a large Jewish Jesus cult had formed. Paul and this Jewish Christianity (James included) were irreconcialably different. They became bitter rivals, as played out in Galatians."

Rubbish! The Galatians were a group of Jewish origin Christians, who for reasons that Paul went into in some depth, had interpreted some of Jesus' teachings incorrectly. Using as they did (as I eluded to above) their own Jewish traditions ignoring their new life in Christianity. The Galatians wen't off to study their Bibles to check and came back in agreement with Paul. He saved them from their error.


"Actually, the Greek is a second person imperative: "Be you cursed."

Paul believed Jews to be cursed (including Jewish Christians, which he did not consider to be Christians). Hence Romans 9:3:

Ro 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

"Accursed from Christ" meant cursed so that one would not come into the righteousness of faith, per Psalm 69."

But the Bible clearly states many times that no one can escape Gods love, and so 'cursed' and 'accursed' hold little force.

Of course the meaning is really 'spiritual death', what all non believers are adopting for themselves in the act of denying Gods love.

It's plain old deceit to try to say that Paul considered Jewish Christians not Christian. A perversion of the truth.

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Chile said...

All Paul's letter's were not intended for us. The letter's were meant for the churches he planted and raised along with the other workers. We can learn a great deal of how Paul raised churches and how Gentiles (pagans, heathens and illiterates accepted the holy spirit and the gospel of Christ without having scripture to read, like the new testament). This is lost because the new Testament is a jumbled chaotic mess! We can't see the 'Story' emerge from this arrangement. Anyone who has read the New Testament can't possibly see the 'Story' emerge because of the order of chaos. Even if you went to seminary school you can't see it because of tradition, doctrine and mind-set. We haven't seen it for 1800 years. Verse numbers were introduced in 1560-1600 during the Reformation. We pick out verses to apply to our Christian way of life. So it's versicle study not biblical study. Why is this?

All treaties of the time were arranged from longest chapter (works)to the shortest. Look at your table of contents, Romans is first and Philemon is last. This is the incorrect order and needs to be placed in chronological order as they were written. The thirteen letters need to be placed in order they were written for the 'Story' to emerge. Remember, the apostles of the time didn't have the New Testament, the new testament was not put together until around the year 330 AD during... Constantin's time. Paul wrote thirteen letters in 17 years and 9 of those years he wrote no letters, so a total of 8 years for the thirteen letters.

Romans was Paul's sixth letter written in (57 AD) and Galatians was his first written in (50) at Acts 15:40. Don't believe me? Here is one way to find out. For those who know Paul here is a question. How many times was Paul shipwrecked? If you said 3 you are wrong, he was shipwrecked 4 times. Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians 11:25 that he was shipwrecked 3 times but if you read Acts 27:27 Luke mentions a shipwreck, this part of Acts 27:27 takes place in 62 AD. 2 Corthinth was written in (57) when Paul goes to Macedonia, so a 4th shipwreck took place after the 3 he mentioned. How is this true? Luke wrote Acts after he read Paul's letters and is helping us fill in the historical blanks. See how 2/3 through Acts Luke changes to 'WE'. So what's the order to read the new testament and what 'story' will emerge?

Be prepared for something unseen for 1800 years, a story and model emerge of the first century Christian church. The shocking part, it looks nothing like the churches we have today. Here is the correct order: Acts, Gal (Acts 15:40), 1 thess (Acts 18:1), 2 thess (Acts 18:5), 1 corinth (Acts 19:23), 2 corinth (Acts 20:1-4), Romans (Acts 20:4). Acts ends here so we have no other background from Luke for history and must follow Roman/Jewish and Christian history to fill in the context to the following letters, after Romans, Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon, Philippians, Titus, 1 Peter, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy. 2 Peter through Rev was written between 70-90 AD. There is no reference in the letters for year written except for Rev that mentions Nero or after Nero so 70 +.

So what about Mathew, Mark, Luke and John? Those belong in the New Testament before Acts but most Christians know about the years 26- 47ad and Pentecost in 30. What they don't know about because the chaotic mess the order of the letters were placed are the years 50-70. This shows us the church model and how to raise or plant churches, Paul style.

When you read Acts an then get to the verse like 15:40 read the Galatians letter and son on. This will bring the 'Story' to light and unleash the new testament as it is suppose to be read. You will be amazed at how it all comes together in perfect clarity.

I can not take any credit for this. A well versed, studied and Christ filled man wrote about this, his name is Gene Edwards in his book Revolutionary Bible Study.

magisteria said...

Good to see the blog back. I think you're right to examine more overarching things rather than line by line, that can get a little tedious :)

The conflict between the various versions of christianity as played out in the NT is fascinating. While the main participants are the early jewish cult and the jesus-removed-the-law cult, the later orthodox tradition comes in to try and tidy things up and were left with a great mish mash of mush to read through! At least it keeps scholars busy!