The Berean Expositor
Volume 37 - Page 86 of 208
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The Gospel received (1: 11 - 14).
pp. 143 - 147
Having taken up the challenge regarding his apostleship, it of necessity involved the
gospel he preached, for an apostle without a message would remain a mere cypher and
would not be worthy of debate. Again, he uses the negations "not . . . neither . . . but"
declaring that the gospel which he preached was not "according to man" kata anthropon
(see Gal. 3: 15), neither was it received from man, nor taught by man, but received by
revelation of Jesus Christ. The apostle having made this new and sweeping claim to
independence, proceeded at once to justify it. But here he was met with a difficulty.
How can anyone prove to anyone else that which is exclusively personal? Paul might
claim with all the earnestness and solemnity of his being that the gospel he preached, was
revealed to him by Christ, but it must for ever remain a purely personal, unsupported
assertion. The only thing he can do is to appeal to circumstances that are knowable, show
the moral impossibility of things being otherwise, and demonstrate that the whole manner
of his life and upbringing was completely opposed to the thought that he, Saul the
Pharisee, should have evolved from his own heart and mind the gospel of free grace to
the Gentiles.
The structure of this short passage is as follows:
A | 13. | a | My conversation,
b | In time past,
c | The Jews' religion.
B | 13. |
d | Beyond measure.
e | Persecution of Church of God.
A | 14. |
c | The Jews' religion.
a | My equals,
b | In my nation.
B |  14.  |
d | More exceedingly.
e | Zealot for traditions of fathers.
Two items are thrown into relief by this correspondence. "The Jews' religion" and the
excessiveness of Paul's zeal expressed negatively in persecuting the church and
positively in maintaining the traditions of his fathers. Let us consider the bearing of this
argument upon the question of Paul's independence of human intervention in respect to
the gospel which he preached.
"Conversation." The Latin origin of this word means "to live with" or "keep company
with" others, and only in a secondary sense did it bear the meaning of "talking together".
The Greek word is a compound of strepho "to turn", which has already met us in
Gal. 1: 7 in the word metastrepho "to pervert". Diastrepho is translated "perverse" and
"pervert" , and the English reader will not fail to perceive in each rendering of these