Galatians 1:13-24 Questions (Saturday, June 9, 2012)

Second Week

Questions

(Gal 1:13-17 ESV) 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

1. Why does Paul make a point of his independence from the original 12 apostles? (Remember that Paul is speaking of a time before the Jerusalem council met, as described in Acts 15, to decide whether Gentile converts must be circumcised and otherwise convert to Judaism to be saved.)

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(Gal 1:18-21 ESV) 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.

2. What do you suppose Paul did during his three years in Arabia? Nobody knows, of course, but what would make sense? (Consider 2 Cor 11:32-33. Commentators believe that Damascus was part of the province of Arabia at the time.)

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3. Why does it matter than Paul spent so much time with Cephas (Peter)?

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4. Why does Paul mention that he only saw Peter and James? Why would it matter if he’d seen the rest of the 12?

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 (Gal 1:22-24 ESV) 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.

5. Why does it matter that Paul was celebrated in the Judean churches even though he’d never been there?

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6. Paul seems anxious to be perceived as one of the apostles and not in any way inferior to the other apostles. Does he present a persuasive case?

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About Jay Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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