Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Romans 1:1 - Paul an Apostle
Study in Romans
This post is part of a study in Romans, whereby we identify keywords and phrases for each chapter with the goal of having a handle on the subject matter and flow of thought within Romans whereby we can preach the gospel to ourselves and others every day. See here for a introduction and description of our study in Romans.
A consciousness of divine authority runs all through the Epistles of Paul….
Suggested Memory Verses for Romans Chapter One:
Rom 1:20 (if you are really ambitions you may want to memorize instead Rom 1:16-21)
Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures,) 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resrrection from the dead: 5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name;
Paul here states plainly that he is an apostle. I dwelt on this in some detail while reading Louis Gaussen's book, Theopnuestia, The Plenary Inspiration of The Holy Scriptures. click here to see online. That Paul is an apostle is an important truth for us to grasp and one that adds to our understanding of the doctrine of the Divine Inspiration of Scriptures. Below are some notes I previously compiled to accompany a study on this same truth in Gal 1.1.
The office is part of the FOUNDATION of which Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone.
Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Eph 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
An office listed First in Rank:
1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Some of the qualifications Being:
Called directly of Jesus Christ as Paul also asserts in Gal 1.1:
Gal 1.1…(not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
1Co 1:1 ¶ Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
Ga 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
Ga 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
Rom 1.1 ¶ Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
Ro 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
Having Seen Christ:
1Co 9:1 ¶ Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?
1Co 15.7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Taught of Christ:
Peter when choosing one to fill the place of Judas spoke thus:
Act 1.22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
What other assurances do the Scriptures give us concerning the proper authority and position of the office an apostle?
Peter below equates the apostles alongside the prophets of the Old Testament.
2Pe 3.2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
Peter Here equates Pauls writings along side the scriptures in equality.
2Pe 3.15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
And so Louis Gaussen writes in The Plenary Inspiration of Scripture:
“The writings of the apostles, then ,were that which those of the Old Testament were; and these being a WRITTEN PROPHECY--- that is to say, something spoken altogether by God – the latter are no less so. ” 1
They deliver to us the mystery revealed to them by Inspiration:
Eph 3.4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
What Paul writes are indeed the commandments of the Lord:
1Co 14.36 ¶ What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
What Paul brought to them was indeed the word of God:
1Th 2. 13 ¶ For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
We might also remember with what Authority Paul writes to the Corinthian Church. Where our Lord Jesus gave no direct command, Paul as an apostle not of men neither by man but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead can give command in his name:
1Co 7.12 ff But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
And in verse 17:
1Co 7.17 ¶ But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.
For Paul as an Apostle in whom the Lord works has the spirit of God and the Mind of Christ:
1Co 7.40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.
1Co 2.16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
This passage from 1Cor 7 isn’t as some who are weak teach: This must not be holy writ – see how the apostle has plainly said it is I and not the Lord. What they should have understood is not that there was lack of inspiration here – but rather it is a demonstration that the Apostle does speak by inspiration as an apostle – where Jesus gave no clear command in the Gospels the Holy Apostle delivers to us as one empowered and enabled to do so by divine inspiration for he has the Spirit of God equipping and enabling to do just that service.
And so we are reminded that all scripture is given by inspiration :
2Tim 3.15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
LET US RETURN TO OUR VERSE:
KJV Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
See how in most of Paul’s Epistles he asserts his apostolic authority in his Greetings:
Rom 1.1 ¶ Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
1Cor 1.1 ¶ Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
2Co 1.1 ¶ Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:
Eph 1.1 ¶ Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Phil 1.1 ¶ Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Col 1.1 ¶ Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,
1Th 1.1 ¶ Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2Th 1.1 ¶ Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
1Ti 1.1 ¶ Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
2Ti 1.1 ¶ Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
Tit 1.1 ¶ Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
Phm 1.1 ¶ Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,
Gal 1.1 MORE STRONGLY ASSERTS PAUL’S APOSTLESHIP THAN OTHER SALUTATIONS:
Calvin Remarks that “he here asserts it (his apostleship) more strongly than in other epistles. ”2 Because in this epistle Paul by the Spirit of God adds:
“Not of men neither through man but by…..”
Paul shows here both what he is not as well as what he is. 3
S. T. Bloomfield Notes:
“The scope of this parenthetical portion is to show the grounds of Paul’s claim to Apostleship, which, it seems, had been called in question. 4” The apw "of" signifies “on the part of;” and the dia "through" “by the agency of mediation of.” Thus the sense is “not commissioned from men, meaning the Apostles and Elders at Jerusalem, but from GOD, not by the agency of man, but by Jesus Christ.” It is plain that anqrwpou (which signifies any mere man) points to the Divine origin of Christ. Hence the passage was justly regarded, by…Fathers, as one among those which prove the divinity of our Lord. ”5
Paul wasn’t a “messenger with a commission” commissioned by men, not by the apostles or elders of Jerusalem, not by any body of men. He was not a messenger with a commission through the agency of a man – sent under the authority of a mere man, but BY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND BY GOD THE FATHER WHO RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD. A holy Apostle, a messenger with a divine commission, commissioned directly by Jesus Christ and God the Father.
ALWAYS CONSCIENCE THAT WHAT HE WRITES HE WRITES AS AN APOSTLE COMMISSIONED BY THE MOST HIGH GOD:
J. Gresham Machen writes so wonderfully on this truth. He tells us to remember as we read the Epistles of Paul that, “A consciousness of divine authority runs all through the Epistles of Paul….Paul never forgets that he is an apostle of Jesus Christ. There is a loftiness of tone in these letters, a dignity, a profound consciousness of authority, that differentiates them sharply from merely private or casual or temporary communications. ….. If we forget that fact, as so many readers do today, we may understand some details…..we may obtain a superficial and piecemeal knowledge of what is said: but THE REAL HEART OF THE WRITER WILL REMAIN FOREVER HIDDEN FROM US. UNLESS WE RECOGNIZE THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF AUTHORITY WHICH RUNS THROUGH THESE EPISTLES FROM BEGINNING TO END, ALL THE DETAILED LEARNING IN THE WORLD WILL GIVE US NOTHING BUT A SUPERFICIAL KNOWLEDGE OF PAUL. ” 6
PAUL WAS ENDUED WITH SUPERNATUAL AUTHORITY AND POWER AS ONE CALLED TO BE AN APOSTLE BY JESUS CHRIST AND GOD THE FATHER WHO RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD.
1 Louis Gaussen, Theopneustia, The Plenary Inspiration of Scripture, Moody Press, pg 74.
2 John Calvin, Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, vol 11,Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publishing Co, pg 8.
3 Rev. S. T. Bloomfield, The Greek Testament with English Notes, Vol II, Longman Rees & Co, pg 242.
4 Rev. S. T. Bloomfield, The Greek Testament with English Notes, Vol II, Longman Rees & Co, pg 241-242.
5 Rev. S. T. Bloomfield, The Greek Testament with English Notes, Vol II, Longman Rees & Co, pg 242.
J. Gresham Machen, Notes on Galatians, Solid Ground Christian Books, pg 5-6.