| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 38 - Page 84 of 249 Index | Zoom | |
not call for a change of method. At Troas where the disciples assembled together to
break bread, and where the company presumably was mostly made up of believers, Paul
occupied a "long time reasoning", and finally, when dealing with an individual sinner
needing salvation, Paul, the one who said of himself "woe is me if I preach not the
gospel", "reasoned" with Felix concerning righteousness, temperance, and judgment to
Instead, therefore, of banning the exercise of reason in the ministry of the Word, we
have every "reason" to see that its exercise and use is commended and blessed. The
apostle therefore, when he commenced to "reason" the matter of justification by works of
law, as over against justification by faith, adopted the best procedure that he knew, and
we who follow at a distance would do well to keep his method before us.
"This only would I learn of you" (Gal. 3: 2). He teaches them for the moment
nothing. He adopts what has been called the Socratic method of argument, namely, the
enforcement of the truth by the asking of questions. Paul is the one who would "learn"--
the Galatians are the ones who are to teach him!
Every argument, however it be pursued, consists of two parts (1) that which is
proved and (2) the means by which it is proved. The "means" varies from the strictly
syllogistic and formal, to the inductive and the appeal to common sense, experience and
authority. We shall no expect to find in the epistle to the Galatians, the argument
proceeding step by step from one proved syllogism to another, the apostle uses a variety
of means to the one end. Let us follow therefore the inspired penman as he endeavours
by the grace of God, to overthrow the false teaching that had descended like a blight and
a bewitchment upon the churches of Galatia, and let us observe the varying means he
adopt to bring them back to the only ground of their acceptance before God.
"Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of the faith?"
(Gal. 3: 2).
This is the first reference to "The Spirit" in Galatians, but it is evidently of such
importance that the apostle was willing to base his whole argument upon its reception and
continuance. "This ONLY would I learn of you." Omitting the two passages where "the
spirit of meekness" (Gal. 6: 1) and "your spirit" (Gal. 6: 18) refer to the spirit in a
different sense than that intended in Gal. 3: 2, we observe that in this epistle there are
fourteen occurrences of pneuma, in chapters 3:-5: of which seven passages use the
word with the article to pneuma, "The Spirit", and seven use the word without the article,
even though in every case the A.V. inserts the article for the sake of the English reader.
Let us set out these two sets of references, observing particularly any allusions in the
context to the controversy that prompted the writing of the epistle.
To Pneuma. "THE SPIRIT."
(The Seven Occurrences).
"Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Gal. 3: 2).
"He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by
the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Gal. 3: 5).