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PAUL'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY!

A Personal History, Galatians 1:1 through Galatians 2:14, in Paul's own words.

Come study with us, verse by verse.

 

 

 

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

LESSON 1:

We are beginning a new Text today, a series of Bible lessons from Paul's great Book of Galatians.

Actually we're going to analyze Galatians 1:11 through Galatians 2:15. These paragraphs encompass Paul's life story, in his own words. Of course that's only through the time of his writing Galatians.

An autobiography, a very enlightening one, of one of the greatest Christians who ever lived. That's Paul the Apostle.

The first sentence tells us the very source of the Gospel Paul preached. Fundamental truth, if you're a lover of the Bible.

"But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." Galatians 1:11-12

The opening verb "certify" translates "gnorizo," meaning "to make known" a matter. To make a fact or set of facts more recognized and accepted. "Gnorizo" here is the first  word in the Greek sentence, giving it great emphasis and importance.

Literally the noun "Gospel" in Greek means "good news." Theologically it involves Jesus' Deity and Death and Burial and Resurrection.

The verb "preached" is "euaggelizo," to "announce" that good news!

The adverb "not" is a Greek word that means "absolutely" not! No exceptions! Paul is being dogmatic here.

"After" as in the phrase "after man" translates the little preposition "kata," not "according to" any man.

And "received" is "paralambano," not gladly "taken in" from any human being, not "alongside" any other person's opinion.

Then "taught" is spelled "didasko," meaning "instructed" by any eminent rabbi or professor of the law.

Then how did Paul get the Gospel story? How did he receive it? From whence did it come to him?

If not from a godly person in the faith?

"But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." 

It came by "revelation!"

By revelation straight from Jesus Christ!

"Revelation" is the word "apokalupsis," really an "uncovering" of the truth! Really "kalupto" means "to hide" something, to veil it. The prefix "apo" means that the "veil" has been taken "away!"

Hence, "revealed!"

The "case" in which the Proper Name "Jesus Christ" appears is genitive. That shows, among other things, "possession."

The very "Revelation" Paul received, about what to preach for the rest of his life, belonged to Jesus! It was the property of our Lord, and He gave it to Paul to share with others!

Paul is not a man-made Preacher!

He is a God-made one!

Jesus Personally taught this man of God what to believe and teach and preach and share with the world!

Those are pretty good credentials!

Paul is then an authentic Preacher of the Word. And that's exactly what he set out to prove in these first two verses.

Mission accomplished.

Hey Preachers, where did we get our Message?

From commentaries or scholars or books, or Jesus?

                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

We are studying Paul's life story, as it had occurred through the time of his writing the Book of Galatians anyway. Paul's early biography, it might be called. He is trying to establish the fact that he is a real, a genuine, man of God. A true Apostle.

Today brings us to Galatians 1:14-14, a single sentence in English. "For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers."

The noun "conversation" basically means "behavior" or "manner of life," one's "conduct." It translates "anastrophe," a noun meaning the "way  a person turns himself or herself," how he or she acts in normal life situations.

The phrase "Jews' religion" is just one word in Greek, "ioudaismos," really just the noun "Judaism." 

The adverbial marker "beyond measure" is interesting. It incorporates the word "hyperbole" and uses it as the object of a preposition, "kata." It means "further than I can throw" anything! In other words, a long distance!

Then, in Paul's own words mind you, he tells how he attacked and maligned the Church, the New Testament Church, the Body of Christ. Two verbs are used, "persecuted" and "wasted." The first is "dioko," which means "to chase or pursue" someone in order to do them harm. Even "to put to flight."

The second verb, "wasted" utilizes "portheo," meaning "to overthrow" or even "to destroy" something! Its root word, "portho," means "to sack" as in ravaging an enemy city as when at war!

Then Paul says he "profited" in the Jews' religion! "Prokopto" means "to cut one's way forward," as when blazing a trail or chopping through the jungle somewhere. Paul was setting the pace for others to follow, hating Jesus Christ and His Church!

The noun "equals" is worth a few seconds too. "Sunelikiotes" blends "sun" and "elix," really "helix." It means "my same age or height," but here in association with others "alongside" me.

"Exceedingly" means "to an ever greater degree," spelled "perissoteros." It is an adverb. "Perissos" alone means "over and above."

"For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers."

The word "zealous" is "zelotes" in Greek, a "borrowed" term for present day use, Greek to English! It literally means "burning" with emotion! It's from "zeo," that is, "to be hot, to boil!" Our word "fervent" is an adequate synonym.

Then "traditions," a rendering of Paul's word "paradosis," just means things that have been "given" us or "handed down" to us through the years by our forefathers and mothers.

Very enlightening information today, about the life of Paul, before he was saved! Only Acts 26:10 goes any further in describing Saul now Paul as a persecutor of the Church. There Luke says of the great Apostle, in fact he is quoting Paul: "Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them."

That last clause, I gave my voice against them, is astounding! Paul here actually says he "voted" to execute some of those early saints of God! The word for "voice" is really "psephos," a "stone, a pebble," usually black or white and a method of voting to declare a person guilty or innocent of some capital charge! If this is the correct interpretation, Paul may have sat on the Sanhedrin at one time. He was indeed way up there in the hierarchy of the Jewish faith! In that ultra powerful Christ-hating machine!

Saul, the sinner.

Now is Paul the saint!

Oh, the Power of God's Grace!

Glory to God.

                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

Paul is telling his own story. He continues with what must be termed an autobiography. "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus." Galatians 1:15-17

The Apostle believes that God had a part in his birth! The verb "pleased" is "eudokeo" in Greek, meaning "seemed good." The word "separated" translates "aphorizo," to set someone apart, especially in the sense of "marking" them or "ordaining" them in a special way. Jeremiah also believed this about his ministry. God in fact spoke to the weeping prophet, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Jeremiah 1:5

The verb "called" is "kaleo," and is akin to the word that means "to order or command" a person! The "compulsion" to preach God's Word! Every true Preacher knows the feeling.

Then next, Jesus was "revealed" in Paul, using "apokalupto," literally an "unveiling" of the Lord in Paul's life.

And "preach" means "to proclaim or announce the Gospel," the good news of Jesus' Death and Burial and Resurrection!

The noun "heathen" is "ethnos," a "multitude" who are "accustomed" to the same basic lifestyle! Usually these are lost people, almost always Gentiles.

And "conferred" uses "prosanatithemi," meaning "to place oneself beside another person," here for the purpose of instruction. Paul was not taught the Gospel by fellow human beings. It was miraculously shown to him by the Lord God Almighty!

Instead of consulting the Disciples or Apostles of Jesus, who had by now aged greatly, Paul went to, of all places, Arabia!

"But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus."

The Greek word is spelled just as it is in English. We simply borrowed it really. "Arabia" means "desert" or "barren." From Hebrew, its root indicates a "dark," unpromising land.

How long was Paul in Arabia, in the desert? Being, I think, tutored by the Holy Spirit of God?

We do not know.

The University of "Time Alone" With God!

Special instruction!

One-on-one training!

Then Paul returned to the city near which he was saved, Damascus. There again he preached, no doubt.

Just the beginning years of the most outstanding Ministry ever, apart from that of Jesus of course.

Why have I taken the time to elucidate these events today? Because every Preacher has a "history." Including young "preacher boys."

And those histories deserve to be told.

Find a young man of God soon, and ask him his story. You will encourage him by doing so. God will be glorified too. And you will meet a new friend, one for whom you can pray for many years to come.

Thank you Paul for sharing this with us today. Your history makes us all feel more human.

From before birth to the latest minute of serving God ... Paul is eager to preach the Word!

That's a Story worth telling!

                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

Paul, once he left Galatia, went elsewhere to preach the Gospel. I think Acts 14 tells the story quite well, cities like Lystra and Iconium and Derbe. But after Paul left those young Gentile Churches, enemies entered their midst. Enemies of the Gospel of Grace, advocates of Moses and the Law, as a way of salvation! Or as a way of staying saved!

These detractors seemed to hate Paul too. They apparently questioned his vey authenticity as a preacher! And certainly as an Apostle! They seemed to also charge Paul with being a mere "puppet" to the real Apostles up in Jerusalem! Paul was "indebted" to Peter and the others for all his information, they said.

So Paul counters. "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days." Galatians 1:18

Paul was not dependent on Peter, or any other human being, for his Message. Paul's Preaching Material came straight from the Lord Jesus!

Paul did not even see Peter, or talk with him either, until a full three years after that now famous Damascus Road experience, when Paul was saved.

Jerusalem, meaning the "place of peace," was headquarters for the remaining Apostles. Paul did not go near the place for quite a while, though he was extremely familiar with the City.

Finally, Paul did make an appearance. He then "saw" Peter, "historeo" in Greek. It means "to question, to examine, to investigate" a person or thing. It's derived from "eido," meaning "to see, to perceive, to understand, to know" something, positively.

To "abide" fifteen days together, these two great Preachers, translates "epimeno," meaning "to tarry or remain or dwell" with each other.

Just over two weeks of fellowship and communion and learning, but not at the beginning of either man's ministry!

Paul owes Peter nothing!

Paul's Gospel is straight from Heaven!

What's the point of all this?

What I believe, what you believe, what's its source?

Grandma?

Uncle John?

The Church where I love everyone so much?

These are wrong places!

Relatives and friends can certify what we believe, give us greater foundation in our faith.

Oh yes.

But the heart of that faith must come from above!

From God the Holy Spirit.

From Jesus Who died for us.

From a direct encounter, better said, from a personal relationship with Christ our Lord.

How about you?

Tell us again Paul. "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days."

Amen.

I do not follow tradition.

I follow the Truth Jesus gave me years ago, when He saved my soul.

Praise the Lord.

                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

The liberals still say this about Paul. That he is "disconnected" from the mainstream of early Christian thought. That he was a "loose cannon," theologically out of tune with other early Christians.

Some these days even charge the Apostle with "inventing" his own brand of religion, of following Jesus. That Paul makes claims for Christ that even Jesus Himself would not make. They are trying to dispel Our Lord's Deity primarily!

"How Paul re-defined the Faith," so write the so-called progressives in today's seminaries and universities.

They are wrong.

Paul merely explained and amplified what he had previously learned from God in personal One-on-one time.

A review of our Text is in order. You will immediately see what I mean. "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus." Verses selected from Galatians 1, Paul's autobiography.

No help, no instruction from the Disciples Jesus chose when he was on earth. God apparently intended it that way.

Then, after three years, Paul did go to Jerusalem and saw Peter a few days. "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother." Galatians 1:18-19

Today's Verse, here it is. "But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother."

Paul really did not learn the Truth about Jesus from our Lord's earthly friends! He knew the Truth as he received it from the Holy Spirit Himself!

Think of this.

Paul did not spend any "learning" time or "rehearsing" time with any of the "Twelve." With "Simon, who is called Peter, or Andrew his brother; with James the son of Zebedee, or John his brother; with Philip, or Bartholomew, Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; with Simon the Canaanite, or Judas Iscariot." This list taken is from Matthew 10:2-4.

The James Paul mentions is James the Just, or James the man with camel's knees! Called thus because of immense times spend in prayer, on his knees. So much so that calluses resulted.

What I'm saying is that Paul was an independent student of Christ. He did not build his message or his writing or his testimony on tradition or hearsay or the latest news!

He only knew what God had personally revealed!

What a fact!

In my preaching I need to be that way. Preaching God's Word as He gives it to me, with a Bible dictionary and concordance and other grammatical tools in my hands.

Not simply repeating a sermon I heard last week!

Or rehashing what another Preacher said last week in some camp meeting!

So much as is possible, straight from the Lord!

Is this feasible?

Can this be done in an age of so much available information?

Sure it can.

Before consulting the commentaries, though we thank God for them all, let's spend some time alone with Jesus and the Bible!

Maybe as a result some preaching like Paul did might return to our Land!

"But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother."

Reminds me of what they said about Jesus, about His preaching. For example, Matthew 7:29. "For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."

God, grant us that power!

                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

It's as if Paul knew the turmoil that would compass his life story. They're still saying that Luke's record of Paul's biography, from the Book of Acts, does not match Paul's Epistles, or even his own autobiography here in Galatians chapters one and two.

So, right in the middle of his own account, Paul inserts these words. "Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not." Galatians 1:20

A claim to truth!

Paul is  not "lying," a translation of "pseudomai," meaning "to speak deliberate falsehood." The verb's tense is present, not aorist. In other words, Paul habitually told the truth. He did not "stretch" the truth!

This claim to veracity in Paul's corpus is interesting.

It places accuracy if not inerrancy at the very heart of Biblical revelation.

Let me explain what I mean.

First of all, the Lord God himself cannot lie! He is incapable of telling an untruth. Both Titus 1:2 and Hebrews 6:18 declare such. "It is impossible for God to lie." That's the very sentence.

Second, the Bible itself claims total truthfulness. Jesus, praying to His Father in John 17:17 says enough on this point. "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." That last clause is powerful, God's Word is Truth.

Third, on a more local and personal level, just for Paul the man. Or Paul the Preacher or Paul the communicator to the Galatians; the truth must be told.  "Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not." Galatians 1:20, still our Text today.

Paul should not have even had to say this. The Galatians, his spiritual children in the Lord since he had won them to Christ, needed to have trusted their preacher!

But they did not.

And Paul authenticated his biography in a convincing way. With an assurance that his story is right.

Paul told the truth.

In a Book that is the truth.

Sanctioned and inspired and preserved by a God Who can speak nothing but the Truth!

And of all things, saved by a Jesus Whose very Name is Truth! A Saviour Who is called "Faithful and True" in Revelation 19:11. "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war."

Amen!

                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7:

I'm not sure how much time our verses today occupy. And they describe an unusual, not to mention little known, aspect of Paul's Ministry.

Tell us, Paul, in your own words. "Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ. But they had heard only, that he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed." Galatians 1:21-23

Paul, not in Thessalonica?

Or Corinth?

Or Philippi?

But where?

In Cilicia!

Interestingly, the noun "regions" is the Greek word "klima." This is the origin of our word "climate." And "klima" means? The "inclination" of an area, its general characteristics, whether of weather or language or geography.

"Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ."

Unknown in Jerusalem and its surrounding cities, Paul traveled to Syria, home of the great Church in Antioch. Then the Apostle journeys down to Cilicia, the area in which his home-town of Tarsus is located. He's now back "home," but preaching Jesus.

"Unknown" is "agnoeo," to be without information, ignorant.

Paul might have been better off for the rest of his years to have stayed away from Judea. He was a hated man there.

They didn't know Paul by face, in person, but they sure had heard about him! But they had heard only, that he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed."

The verb "persecuted" is "dioko," meaning "to chase" someone with the clear intention of doing him or her harm.

Persecutor turned Preacher!

And that "preach" verb translates "euaggelizo," which really suggests "telling or announcing good news" to those who have not heard!

"Destroyed" is "portheo," meaning "to overthrow, to sack," as in wartime.

What a testimony!

"Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ. But they had heard only, that he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed." Galatians 1:21-23

I wish we knew more about Paul's time back "at home," in Cilicia and Tarsus. How was he received? Did he experience the treatment Jesus did? "A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house." Matthew 13:57

How long was he there?

Maybe up to several years some of the scholars suggest!

What a man of God he was, Paul.

The same, consistent and whole-hearted, whether on the road or back in the community of his childhood!

Lord, let us be that way too.

                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8:

Paul has been giving us his "life story." An autobiography, straight from the pen of the Apostle himself. After a recitation of over half his Christian life, Paul makes a summary statement. "And they glorified God in me."

This is a quote from Galatians 1:24, the last verse in chapter one. "And they glorified God in me."

This sentence is an encapsulation of Paul's life goal. That the Lord would be glorified in his, Paul's, life.

This once hater of Christ, Saul of Tarsus, now preaching the Gospel he formerly had tried to silence!

"And they glorified God in him!"

The verb "glorified" is "doxazo," grammatically framed as an imperfect indicative active. Once they started praising God, because of Paul, they did not stop!

"Doxazo" means "to value" someone very highly. Actually "to estimate, to suppose, to place worth" upon that person.

Because of Paul, many thought more of Jesus!

Paul's conversion pointed men to Jesus.

Paul's life pointed people, Gentiles as well as Jews, to Jesus.

Paul's preaching pointed many, including lots of ladies, to Jesus.

And here's the point of today's lesson. Our lives are to do the same! It's ideal that this be said of you and me: "Folks glorified God because of __________."

"Let it be so, Lord, we pray."

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." Colossians 3:17

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." First Corinthians 10:31

We will just let the Holy Spirit apply this one, this lesson today.

Amen.

                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9:

We're trying to follow the Apostle Paul. At least for the first half of his great ministry. Our Text is the Book of Galatians, especially the last half of chapter one and the first half of chapter two. These verses record Paul's autobiography, it seems.

Today we read these words, the Preacher himself talking. "Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain." Galatians 2:1-2

The time marker "fourteen years" places this event, this trip, at Acts 15, at the council meeting in Jerusalem when the issue of Law versus Grace was decided. How is the Gospel to be preached unto the Gentiles?

Must they keep the Law of Moses, or part of it, to be born again?

No, "Men and women are saved by Grace alone, not of works." So thundered Paul again and again.

Barnabas accompanied Paul because these two were traveling companions on what's now called "The First Missionary Journey." Luke describes the situation and the meeting in this fashion. "And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question." Then comes more information. "There rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise the Gentiles, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing."

Was there a solution reached, a consensus?

"Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God. But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood."

That was it!

No Mosaic law to obey!

Just trust Jesus. Believe on Him. Be washed in His Precious Blood. Paul elsewhere summaries beautifully: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

Mercy, let's get back to our Text, our Galatians verses! "Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain." Galatians 2:1-2

Why take Titus?

Because he is a Gentile! So that Paul can "test" the resolve of the folks at Jerusalem. Titus, saved as he can be, will not have to be circumcised. He will not have to follow the diet of the Old Testament Jews either. Saved by believing in Jesus, by being born again! No "works" involved at all!

Paul "communicated" the Gospel of Grace to the men at Jerusalem! This verb is "anatithemi," meaning "to place beside" someone a matter of importance.

Paul expounded his Gospel openly, in the council meeting, then again "privately" in the presence of the Apostles. Those who were of "reputation," spelled "dokeo" in Greek, people "well thought of" by the Church!

That noun "vain" means "empty" or "devoid of truth," in Greek "kenos." Paul knows he's preaching the Truth, but here verifies and defends the Gospel of Grace.

More about this tomorrow. It's too important to neglect or suppress. Salvation by Grace is the very heart of Christianity.

This is one trip we're all glad Paul made. "Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain." Galatians 2:1-2

A Defender of the Gospel, called today an Apologist for the Faith. Thank God for men like Paul!

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:9-10

Amen!

                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10:

Determined, thatís what Paul was!

Especially on certain issues, doctrinal matters, on what we as Christians believe.

The Paul who could be "all things to all men," that versatile, was also the Paul who would not budge an inch on issues like the salvation of lost souls.

Today's lesson clearly illustrates this fact.

While in Jerusalem, around many who believed that Gentiles would have to become "Jews" in lifestyle in order to be saved ... Paul takes a stand!

"But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage. To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you." Galatians 2:3-5

Titus was not Jewish, but a Greek. The verb "compelled" translates "anagkazo," which means "to necessitate." To absolutely force a person to do something.

"False brethren" is a single noun in Paul's language, "pseudadelphos." Supposed Believers in Jesus who were not genuine!

"Brought in" means "slipped in, to come in with stealth." People who have joined the Christian Churches but did not believe the Truth taught by Jesus and Paul and others.

These "spies" have come to rob the Christians, mostly Gentiles, of their "liberty" in Christ. To put them back under the yoke of the Law of Moses. To insist that the men be circumcised and that the women cook only Kosher foods, such things as these. All this ... in order to be saved?

Paul says adamantly, "No!"

Paul calls such retreat back into the Law "bondage." Salvation, the way Paul taught it, is a Gift from God! Not of human effort or religious works ... but a result of Jesus' Work for us on Calvary!

"But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage. To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you." Galatians 2:3-5

What did Paul do?

He "gave no place" to this crowd! He uses the verb "eiko," just meaning "to yield." Titus will not be circumcised, yet he is a saved man nonetheless!

Why risk this fight?

Why tear a rent in the brotherhood?

Paul says, "That the truth of the gospel might continue with you."

That's it.

Paul would have done anything to maintain the fact that salvation is not a thing that can be earned by men or women. That it is all made possible by the Blood of Jesus shed on the Cross of Calvary.

And that Truth, my friends, is still important today!

Fundamentally so!

Are you saved?

Have you accepted the Gift of eternal Life from the One Who died for you?

Jesus taught us how to be born again. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24

Amen.

                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 11:

The Meeting in Jerusalem ended peacefully, or mostly so anyway. Paul was resolved to leave town with the Grace of God as the means of salvation still intact. And he did!

This might have been a little bit of the old "we agree to disagree" syndrome, but it worked for a while.

"But of these who seemed to be somewhat, whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person: for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me. But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; for he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles. And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision." Galatians 2:6-9

Here's the outcome. Paul did not think any "bosses" in Jerusalem had power enough to dictate doctrine to the whole Body of Christ. Here are his diplomatic words: "But of these who seemed to be somewhat, whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person: for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me."

Wow!

Three men, leaders of the Jerusalem branch of the Church, agreed that Paul was to go preach to the Gentiles, adding nothing to the plan of salvation, nothing in terms of human performance. And that Peter would continue preaching to the Jews, who well might continue the ways of Moses, but not for the saving of their souls. "They saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; for he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles." The words "effectually" and "mightily" are identical in the Greek Text. Both are spelled "energo," and mean with the very "energy" or "power" of God behind the preaching!

Souls were being saved!

Then the Jerusalem Council ended. Without blows being delivered! And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision."

The noun "pillars" is "stulos" in Greek, anything "tall and strong and stable." The "right hands" of fellowship picture harmony and agreement.

And off they go!

To continue preaching God's Word!

This issue, Salvation by Grace, had become a mainstay of Paul's Gospel. He would fight for it anytime.

Each of us should be glad he did.

Paul later wrote in Galatians 2:16 these words: "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."

Thank you Paul.

And thank You, Jesus!

                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 12:

The Verse for today is again from the lips of Paul. The Apostle and Barnabas and apparently Titus also had been to a Meeting in Jerusalem. A convocation to decide an important matter, that being the salvation of sinners!

Resolved said the Men of God: Gentiles are saved by Grace, with no human works involved. So are Jews too for that matter, except many of them continue living traditionally and culturally after various facts of the Law of Moses.

But the Law does not save sinners, only the Blood of Jesus can do that.

Still, it was asked by this great Assembly that Paul and his traveling companions "remember the poor," especially around the City of Jerusalem, the point of origin of the New Testament Church.

Tell us Paul. "Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do." Galatians 2:10

The impoverished saints, the hungry and homeless among the Believers, would be the objects of special care!

Already the Home Church, the Mother Church, the Jerusalem Church was doing this, in a way. "And they all sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need." Acts 2:45

These early Christians shared all they owned. "And distribution was made unto every man according as he had need." Acts 4:35

Paul was asked to participate.

The man had powerful friends and amazing influence over countless Christians everywhere!

What's Paul going to do now?

"Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do." Galatians 2:10

He's going to help these poor Believers!

The verb "remember" means "to be mindful," not to forget someone.

The adjective "poor" is "ptochos" in Greek, meaning "abjectly poor," owning virtually nothing at all. Beggars nearly! It's root, "ptosso," means "to crouch, to beg" in that sense.

And Paul's words of assent, "was forward," translates "spoudazo," a verb meaning "to be eager, to be diligent, to hurry or make haste" to do something! To do one's very best in a task!

And Paul kept his word!

He raised money for these poor saints nearly everywhere he went for years!

In fact, Second Corinthians chapters 8 and 9, all about raising money for needy Christians, focuses on Paul's forwardness in helping these impoverished fellow Lovers of Jesus.

This time of the year, as well as the other eleven months, what do we do to help suffering Christians?

Are we "forward" or "hesitant" in this area?

"Lord, enlighten our eyes and hearts to those in desperation. And give us generous spirits to share our blessings with them. In Jesus' Name, Amen."

                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 13:

Paul has told us his life story, up through the second chapter of Galatians anyway. It reviews years of ministry, serving Jesus. But he ends this great review by telling a recent story. Something that's just happened apparently, and a confrontational situation at that.

"But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation." Galatians 2:11-13

Paul has pursued such arguments before.

And will again.

But always an issue of faith is involved, here a critical point of doctrine.

It seems that Simon Peter, Disciple of our Lord, had visited Antioch where Paul and Barnabas had been preaching. Antioch was the Home Church to these men, in all likelihood.

While Peter was in town he ate with the Gentiles, no questions asked. Bacon and shrimp and any other food the stomach might desire, with no regard for Moses' Laws that prohibited certain of these delicacies.

But when some of the more "important" men came from Jerusalem, Jews to the core, representatives of James the legalistic or nearly legalistic Pastor there, Peter backtracked!

He then would not eat with those "dirty" old Gentile Christians. He rather ate "kosher" foods ... with the visiting dignitaries!

This upset Paul!

It could have offended the weaker Brethren, the newly saved Gentiles.

Plus, Peter was being what we now call two-faced.

And why did Peter do this?

For "fear" of the Jews, these prominent "pillars" of the Church!

And Peter's bad behavior caused many others to do the same, thus setting up a clique oriented Church, instead of a Fellowship where every member was equal!

"But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation."

Yes, Paul "withstood" Peter! Using "anthistemi," meaning "to stand up against" a person, disagreeing with his position on some matter of importance.

"To the face," things must have gotten tense!

Why all this?

Because God saves men by Grace, not the law of the Old Testament!

Because God keeps women saved by Grace too, not by observing a list of twenty-five things to do ... or not to do!

The last word in our Text, "dissimulation," in Greek "hupokrisis," means just what it looks to mean, "hypocrisy!"

To act one way around the heathen who have just recently been saved and act another way around the seasoned saved-for-years so-called "mature" Church folks is ... being a hypocrite!

You're right Paul!

Thank you for taking a stand on this issue.

"But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation."

Most arguing at church can be avoided.

Some cannot.

God give us the wisdom to know the difference.

                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

P. S. - Peter later learned his lesson. He later overcame his fear and became a staunch advocate of salvation by the completed Work of Jesus on the Cross! Plus nothing, minus nothing, Jesus and His shed Blood!

 

 

LESSON 14, CONCLUSION:

Today's lesson is a word study, at last mostly so. Paul the Apostle is upset with Peter. Peter had come to the place in his life where he saw soul salvation as a Gift from God. Nothing that could be earned, a result of the shed Blood of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary.

Peter now believed this so strongly that he could fellowship with other Christians, those who were Gentiles. He ate with them, asking no question about the menu! He could eat pork or fish or anything else, no longer believing that the Laws of Moses, those dietary rules, had any hold on God's children!

But then certain "important" Jews came to Antioch, traveling from Headquarters up in Jerusalem! At that point Peter was frightened into breaking fellowship with those lowly Gentiles! And reverting to table fellowship with the Jews, eating only proper foods!

This disturbed Paul, greatly!

Now today's verse, about living for Jesus. Living according to the Word of God, in practice of course, but also doctrinally in harmony wityh Scripture.

"But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?" Galatians 2:14

That verb "compel" is interesting. "Anagkazo" means "to force" or "to make necessary" a thing! To require it, by force if circumstances warrant!

This is sheer legalism!

Spiritual bullying!

Though he never was, Peter is here acting like he's the Pope!

Dictator over God's heritage!

By the way, First Peter 5:3 proves Peter eventually learned his lesson and corrected himself.

Oh, back to my Text. Though in reality I've never left it.

Paul just wanted these men, and us today as Christians too, to "walk uprightly." To live consistently for Jesus.

That's the Greek word that is so captivating, "walk uprightly." This verb is spelled "orthopodeo." The prefix, "orthos" means "straight!" And its root, "podeo," comes from the noun "pous," meaning one's foot. In other words, have "straight paths" in which to travel.

"Walk the line," as clearly outlined in God's Word!

Don't be crooked Christians in doctrine or behaviour!

Live according to the Truth of the Gospel.

Do not add anything to God's Plan of Salvation!

He will bless that kind of attitude.

A nearby Verse will conclude this series of Bible studies I think. It summarizes beautifully God's Way to Heaven. "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Galatians 2:16

Saved by Grace!

                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

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