James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)Galatians 1:1-2:21
PAUL’S DEFENSE OF HIS AUTHORITY
Paul defends his authority in five ways. On the grounds of:
1. His Divine call (Galatians 1:1) 2. His Divine revelation of the Gospel (Galatians 1:11-12) 3. His independence of the other apostles (Galatians 1:15-24) 4. His endorsement by the church, (Galatians 2:1-10) 5. His rebuke of Peter (Galatians 2:11-14) Speaking of his Divine call, some would say that his reference to man-made apostles has an application to the choice of Matthias in Acts 1, though there may be a question about this. In like manner, his reference to the way in which he received the revelation of the Gospel recalls the circumstances of his conversion in Acts 9, as well as the experience referred to in Galatians 1:17-18 of this chapter. In the section treating of his endorsement by the church there is an allusion (Galatians 2:1-2), to the journey and its results spoken of in Acts 15 at the time of the first general council of the church to settle the question of justification. Particular attention should be called to his bold and consistent attitude with reference to the circumcision of Titus (Galatians 2:3-5), an allusion to which was made in our study of the Acts. It is noticeable, too, that Paul makes as much of his final endorsement by the church as of his independence of the leaders of the church prior thereto. He would give his adversaries no advantage over him, as if they should say he were too independent and could not be acknowledged by them until he had received the acknowledgment of the accepted authorities. His rebuke of Peter shows him to have been naturally the stronger character of the two, and in consideration of the fact that Peter was doubtless being quoted by his opponents, proves a convincing argument for his own authority. In Galatians 2:17, the Scofield Bible has this illuminating footnote:
If we Jews, in seeking to be justified by faith in Christ, take our places as mere sinners like the Gentiles, is it therefore Christ who makes us sinners? By no means. It is by putting ourselves again under law after seeking justification through Christ, that we act as if we were still unjustified sinners, seeking to become righteous through law-works.
1. Give the five arguments of Paul in defense of his apostolic authority.
2. Recall the circumstances of His call to the Apostleship.
3. Recall the circumstance of his endorsement by the church.
4. What shows his tact in offsetting any advantage against him?
5. Explain Galatians 2:17.