| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 37 - Page 71 of 208 Index | Zoom | |
What the apostle thought about the office can be gathered from his epistles. He styles
himself "a called apostle, separated unto the gospel of God" (Rom. 1: 1), and his
apostleship was to "obedience to the faith among all nations" (Rom. 1: 5). While he was
called and commissioned during the period when the Jew was still "first" he realized his
apostleship was distinctly toward the Gentile (Rom. 11: 13) and on two occasions he
makes a very solemn declaration concerning this apostleship.
"I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not); a
teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity" (I Tim. 2: 7).
"Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles"
(II Tim. 1: 11).
In the estimate of Paul, the office of an apostle took first rank.
"First apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers" (I Cor. 12: 28).
and in connection with his own commission, as distinct from the call of the "twelve" his
apostleship was directly given by the "Ascended" Christ (Eph. 4: 8-11). Such was the
man, and such his office, and such "his gage of battle to the incompetence of traditional
authority--his trumpet note of defiance to all Pharisees of Christianity" (Farrar).
We must return to the opening sentence of this epistle in our next article, but we can
now do so with at least a more accurate conception of what the claim to be an apostle,
"The Lord's Messenger" and "The Lord's Message" (Hag. 1: 13).
pp. 65 - 68
Having seen the scope of chapter one, and the meaning and importance of the word
"apostle", we can now turn our attention to the way in which the apostle opens his epistle.
Sir William Ramsay in his "Historical Commentary of the Epistle to the Galatians" says:
"In any judicious system of interpretation, great stress must be laid on the introductory
address of this epistle. It should be compared with the address prefixed to the Epistle to
the Romans, a letter which presents marked analogies in sentiment and topics. In each
case Paul puts in his introduction the marrow of the whole letter. He says at first in a few
words what he is going to say at length in the body of the letter, to repeat over and over,
to emphasize from various points of view, and to drive home into the minds of his
Lightfoot commences his commentary with the words:
"1-5. The two threads which run though this epistle--the defence of the apostle's
own authority, and the maintenance of the doctrine of grace--are knotted together in the
opening salutation. By expanding his official title into a statement of his direct