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Volume 23 - Page 81 of 207 Index | Zoom | |
carefully the record of these gifts reveals the close connection between the witness of
Paul during the Acts and those epistles written contemporary with that witness, and
incidentally throws light upon the special circumstance that gave rise to those gifts.
Paul's epistles to the churches of Galatia was written to warn the Gentiles concerning
those who had gone among them seeking to bring under the bondage of Jewish rites and
ceremonies (Gal. 1: 6, 7; 3: 1-3; 4: 9-11; 5: 1-12; 6: 12). In exposing the error of
this misapplied teaching, Paul was led to recount the manner in which he had received
that gospel which he preached among the Gentiles, and to declare its independence of any
Jewish authority. Paul himself was an apostle appointed by God (1: 1); his conversion
was the result of the direct dealing of God (1: 16). After his conversion, he said:--
"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" (Gal. 1: 16, 17).
When at last Paul went to Jerusalem three years later it was only a visit of an
unofficial character. To emphasize the importance of the fact Paul makes a bold
"Now the things that I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not" (Gal. 1: 20).
The gospel which was preached of Paul was not after man:--
"For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of
Jesus Christ" (Gal. 1: 12).
This gospel Paul proclaimed in entire independence. But evidently the church at
Jerusalem had shown some hesitance in recognizing his testimony, and because of this he
paid a special visit to Jerusalem:--
"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 preached among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation"
(Gal. 2: 1, 2).
What was the result of this conference? Titus, because he was a Greek, was not
compelled to be circumcised; the Judaizers were allowed no place; Paul was given right
hand of fellowship by the true pillars of the church; not only in one matter could they
make a suggestion:--
"Only they would that we should remember the poor" (Gal. 2: 10).
The sole burden that the church of Jerusalem could lay on the backs of the believing
Gentiles--"Remember the poor!" This Paul "was forward to do", and thus the ministry
to the saints became a special aspect of Paul's testimony among the Gentiles. The poor
as we shall see were the needy saints at Jerusalem.