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Browse All Figures Return to Figure. He proceeds in the rest of chapter I to recite what had been his attitude before his conversion; that he persecuted the church; that he had advanced beyond others in the Jewish religion, and was exceedingly zealous in the traditions of the fathers. In other words, these Galatians were going back where Paul was before he was converted. He adds that his being an apostle and in the ministry was not an afterthought with God, as some people teach.

He scouts any such idea. He said, "God set me apart from my mother's womb. The mission of Paul was as clear to omniscience as the mission of Christ.

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To him all great things root back in eternity — in the divine purpose, in election, in predestination, in foreordination. He could not conceive of God as being surprised by some new set of events that had accidentally come to the front, necessitating a new adjustment to fit these unexpected events.

When I got to be a man he revealed his Son to me, that is, in my conversion, and called me to preach to certain people. He combats one of their objections that his information was secondhand: "Straightway I conferred not with flesh and blood; neither went I up to Jerusalem to them that were apostles before me; but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned into Damascus.

He did commence to preach in Damascus, but he did not confer with anyone, nor go up to Jerusalem to know if the men there would approve of what had been done, but he says, "I went away into Arabia," that is, he went to Mount Sinai, and there, on the scene of the giving of the law, which these Jews are trying to persuade the Galatians is the way of salvation, he received his gospel and studied out the great problems of the meaning of the Sinaitic covenant and its contrast with the new covenant which he discusses in this letter in a way that we find nowhere else in the Bible.

The Galatian churches were going back to Mount Sinai to be circumcised, to keep the whole law as a way of life, to put themselves in bondage to a yoke that their fathers were not able to bear — going back to a covenant that gendered bondage and ended in death. He is compelled to say, "I went away into Arabia. What books constitute the first group of Paul's letters, and what books the second? What three books on Galatians commended?

What the date of his letter? Where written? What relation does this letter bear to the letter to the Romana? Give examples of such relation.

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What wag the occasion of this letter? Where was Galatia, what do we know from Acts about its people, and what churches were in Galatia? What is Dr. Ramsay's contention, and what your reply? Who were the Galatians, and what their characteristics? Give an account of their migration into Asia Minor. What was the occasion of Paul's preaching to them, and what the results? Locate in Acts the account of two visits that Paul made to Galatia.

What of the genuineness of the book? Give a brief outline of the book. What charge against him may be inferred from his introduction, and how does he reply to it? How did Paul regard his gospel? What is the doctrinal importance of this letter, and what the author's illustration? What is the fifth gospel, and how does it compare with the other four as to their beginning and end? What was Paul's attitude before his conversion, and what great doctrine does he make the basis of his conversion and call into the ministry? How does Paul answer their charge that his gospel was second band?

Where in Acts may we insert the history in Galatians ? Why did Paul go into Arabia before he commenced to preach, how long there, and what the bearing of these facts on Christianity? See author's sermon on, "But I Went into Arabia. Galatians to This discussion commences at Galatians and extends through chapter 2, completing the historical part of the letter.

It is evident that there is a relation between Paul's visit to Jerusalem, the headquarters of the apostles, and his independent authority as an apostle and his special gospel. There is a special value of this letter to the Galatians in that it gives definite information concerning matters more briefly and more generally given in Acts, which certainly saves us from erroneous inferences that would necessarily be deduced from the account in Acts alone.


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This is most evident in the history of Paul's visits to Jerusalem after his conversion, and the intervals between the visits. Five of these visits are recorded in Acts, as follows: First visit — Acts ; ; second visit — Acts ; ; third visit — Acts ; fourth visit — Acts this one we would not know if we did not look closely at the Greek ; fifth visit — Acts to These are the five visits, so far as Acts records them, of Paul to Jerusalem after his conversion. I raise two additional questions: 1 What visits had he made to Jerusalem before his conversion? And 2 did he ever visit Jerusalem after the history in Acts closes?


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The answer to which is that while he lived at Tarsus he received his theological education at Jerusalem; that was doubtless his first visit, at least it is the first of which we have any account. But as he did not know Christ personally, he evidently was not in Jerusalem during the lifetime of Christ; therefore he must have gone back to Tarsus. But we do find him again in Jerusalem a rabbi of the Cilician synagogue, an opponent of Stephen, and a member of the Sanhedrin, and the object of his second visit was to become a member of the Sanhedrin, but that is all before his conversion.

After the history in the book of Acts closes we have no means of knowing that Paul ever visited Jerusalem. Indeed, we have only scraps of information concerning what he did after the first imprisonment at Rome. We gather some information from the letters to Timothy and Titus. Whether that included another visit to Jerusalem we do not know. What is the relation of his visit to Jerusalem to his special and independent gospel and his independent apostolic authority?

The Roman Catholics teach that Peter was the first pope, and that all authority was derived from Peter; therefore if their position be correct, Paul must have derived his authority from Peter. This letter to the Galatians grinds to fine powder the whole Roman Catholic theory of the pope, and hence it was one of the books of the New Testament that was so tremendously read in the Reformation.

Of the first and third of these visits to Jerusalem, recorded by Luke in Acts, we find parallel accounts in this letter to the Galatians. There was no occasion in this letter to refer to the second visit to Jerusalem, for at that time he simply went up to carry some alms to Jerusalem, and had no opportunity to have any conversation with the apostles. The persecution was raging; James was killed and Peter was in prison, and as soon as Peter got out he left; so, that visit to Jerusalem is not germane to our discussion, but the third visit is.

The fourth and fifth visits to Jerusalem cannot touch this letter because they took place after this letter was written; so that the thing that we are to study 'in this chapter is the bearing of these two visits upon Paul's independent, apostolic authority and his independent gospel, viz. We may best get at the additional and more definite information in this letter by comparing the two accounts thus: First, by reading Acts , then Galatians , then Acts , then Galatians except last clause , then Acts , then Galatians last clause to 20, then Acts except last clause , then Acts , then Acts last clause to 31, and then Galatians For an arrangement of these passages in parallel columns see "An Interpretation of the English Bible," Acts, chap.

The following are the new and more definite particulars that we gather from inserting the Galatian passage that way: First, we learn from Galatians the time interval, three years, between his conversion and his first visit to Jerusalem. That three years after he was converted had passed before he ever saw Jerusalem or any of the twelve apostles. Second, we learn what he did in this interval of three years and what he did not: 1 That his call to the apostleship was not only directly from the Lord himself, but his acceptance of it and obedience to it was instant, without conferring with flesh and blood.

His call was not at Jerusalem but at Damascus, not through Peter, but through Christ directly; Christ did not tell him to go to Peter, but the Holy Spirit selected the special man, Ananias, and sent him to him. So we must infer that at the time of his visit the other eleven apostles were out on the field.