Man to Man

“The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain” (2 Tim. 1:16).

In a verse preceding this one, Paul challenged Timothy to “be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner…” (v. 8). Following this challenge, Paul pointed out those in Asia Minor who were ashamed of Paul, the Lord’s prisoner: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (v. 15). After reminding Timothy of this dark picture of unfaithfulness, Paul brought forward a shining example of loyalty and an exception to those in Asia: Onesiphorus, a man who “was not ashamed” of Paul or his chain.

Onesiphorus is an important role model for the Church. Many are ashamed of Paul today. They do not want to associate with him or the message that Christ committed to him. Some choose to follow the prevailing doctrine of their denomination and follow Peter instead of Paul. However, Onesiphorus is an encouragement for us to follow his example of courage and resolve to stand with the Apostle Paul. This is God’s will.

“But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and
found me” (2 Tim. 1:17).

Onesiphorus made it his business to find Paul in Rome. Believers were being falsely accused, tried, and tortured to death in Rome at that time but, without thinking of himself, and not being ashamed of Paul, Onesiphorus risked his life, diligently looking high and low in one prison-barracks after another until he found Paul.

Those in Asia who turned from Paul exemplified the qualities that Paul warned Timothy against: fear and shame. In contrast, Onesiphorus demonstrated the characteristics that Paul commended to Timothy and the Body of Christ: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (v. 7).

“The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that
day…” (2 Tim. 1:18).

Paul, as a prisoner on death row, was not able to repay his friend for all his gracious help. But the Lord could. And because of the mercy Onesiphorus had shown him, Paul requested that the Lord show Onesiphorus mercy and reward him “in that day,” the day of the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). Onesiphorus is a reminder that, in that day, one will be duly rewarded for faithfulness and an unashamed stand for the message of grace that Christ committed to the Apostle Paul.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Justified and Go Seek – Galatians 2:17-21

Summary:

We are “now” justified (Rom.5:1,9). The word “seek” (Gal.2:17) sometimes means to look to something (Amos 5:5,6). All Jews knew where Gilgal was, but it was filled with idols. So God told the Jews not to look to Gilgal to save them from being taken captive by the Assyrians, for Gilgal herself would be taken captive. And Paul was telling Peter they both looked to Christ to be justified, not the law (2:16).

Paul says “God forbid” to the idea that looking to Christ for justification made Him a sinner. He rather says, “I make my-self a transgressor” when I sin (2:17)—specifically if he sinned the sin Peter sinned, rebuilding “the middle wall of partition” between Jews and Gentiles (Eph.2:11-14) that Peter re-built when he stopped eating with Gentiles. Paul’s ministry of grace destroyed the law, the Lord didn’t (Mt.5:17).

So why does Paul say the Lord did (Eph.2:13-15)? Well, that was how the wall was destroyed, not when. Christ’s work on the cross didn’t go into effect until Paul’s ministry, just as November elections don’t go into effect until January. Paul’s telling the Galatians about all this because they too had gone back to the law. They thought the law would make them more holy, but Paul says it makes a man a transgressor!

Romans 7:4 says we are “dead to the law,” and here we learn we are dead to the law “through the law.” Paul calls the law a “ministration of death” (IICor.3:7) because it says sinners must die because they can’t keep the law perfectly (James 2:10,11). But Paul says we died with Christ (Rom.6:3,4).

Of course, once a criminal is executed, the law that condemned him to death can’t condemn him any more. And the law of Moses can’t condemn us any more now that we died with Christ. So now we can “live unto God” (Gal.2:19). The Galatians thought the law would help them live to God, but God gave the law to make sin worse (Rom.7:13), to strengthen sin (ICor.15:56), so unsaved men would know they need a Savior. It wasn’t made for righteous believers (ITim.1:9).

So how are we supposed to “live unto God” (Gal.2:19)? The answer is: under grace, knowing that Christ died for us makes us want to stop living sinfully for ourselves and live unto Him (IICor.5:15). But the Galatians seemed to have forgotten that, so Paul reminds them in Galatians 2:20.

Of course, the only way a crucified man can say “I live” (2:20) is if he rises from the dead—and we were raised with Christ (Eph.2: 4,5). When Paul adds, “yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,” he’s not saying it’s no longer him living, he’s saying it’s both.

This is similar to what happens when a woman becomes “one flesh” with her husband (Gen.2:24). They become one life. In speaking of Adam and Eve, God called “their” name Adam (5:2) because she lost her identity in her husband. She still had her own identity, but now she also had Adam’s. And we still have our old life, but we also have Christ’s.

That’s why Paul says we are “dead to the law…that we should be married to…Him…that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom.7:4). We couldn’t bring God “fruit unto holiness” (6:22) when we were married to the law, but we can now!

But we need the Lord’s help. That’s why Paul says he lived his new life by the faith “of” Christ (Gal.2:20), i.e., His faith-fulness to intercede for us (Rom.8:33,34). Without that, the law could lay plenty of sins to our charge and condemn us!

Clamoring for the law like the Galatians did frustrated God’s grace (Gal.2:21). The word “frustrate” means to defeat (cf. Ezra 4:1,5). Grace can help you live unto God, but the law will defeat God’s grace in that endeavor, because no law can make men righteous (2:21cf.3:21).

A video of the sermon is available on YouTube: Justified and Go Seek – Galatians 2:17-21

Suggestions for Helping You to Forgive

1. Make sure that you understand and believe the gospel of grace (Rom. 3:19-28). Without the indwelling Holy Spirit and the love He sheds abroad in our hearts, you will not be able to forgive in a way which is acceptable to God (Rom. 5:5).

2. Recognize that an unforgiving attitude is emanating from the flesh and is sinful (1 Thes. 5:15; Rom. 12:17-21).

3. Do not indulge the flesh but judge it (Rom. 13:8-14).

4. Consider the depths of sin from which you have been forgiven and what it must have meant to our Lord Jesus to die for you in order to obtain that forgiveness for you. Your sin against a holy God is infinitely greater than any sin others may commit against you.

5. Consider what your unforgiving attitude is doing to your inward soul life in the form of anger and bitterness (Heb. 12:15). You are doing yourself much more damage in the form of a darkened soul than you could ever do to the person who has wronged you.

6. Forgive the person as an act of the will in obedience to Christ. This is love in action. Do not wait until you “feel” like forgiving. Do not waste time trying to work up kind or affectionate feelings toward the offender. Forgiveness is first extended and then feeling will eventually follow.

7. Pray every day for the spiritual welfare of the offender. It is extremely difficult to remain bitter against someone for whom you consistently pray. God promises a “peace which passes all understanding” as we present all our requests to Him (Phil. 4:6,7).

8. Be prepared for the reappearance of a root of bitterness. These destructive feelings may return for awhile, especially if the offender remains unrepentant or the offense is repeated. Don’t dwell on them. Repeat the above steps and fill your mind with the precious things of Christ (Phil. 4:8). You can control what you think.

9. Use the situation as a spiritual opportunity to allow the Lord to conform you to the image of His Son Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:28,29). What a marvelous opportunity for you to take your Christianity out of the closet and let it shine before men!

10. Understand the difference between personal forgiveness and personal reconciliation. The former can be a unilateral decision based upon knowledge of God’s grace. The latter has to involve both parties and can take much time and effort. Forgive first and then work toward reconciliation if possible (Rom. 12:14-21).

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Paul’s Confrontation with Peter – Galatians 2:11-16

Summary:

Paul says he had to confront Peter “when Peter was come to Antioch” (v.11), where Paul went right after the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:22-35). Peter arrived some time after that, and sat to eat a meal with some Gentile brethren.

Now there was nothing wrong with that. There used to be under the law (Acts 10;28), but God had “shewed” Peter this was no longer the case with that sheet vision in Acts 10.

We know that Peter understood from that vision that he could now eat with Gentiles, for when some Jews challenged him about it, he told them about the vision and how the Spirit had fallen on the Gentiles (Acts 11:2-15).

So the problem wasn’t that Peter was eating with Gentiles. The problem was that he stopped, because in so doing he was going back to the law instead of recognizing the dispensational change to Paul’s ministry of grace that God was using Peter to introduce. And the reason Paul is telling the Gala-tians that what Peter did was wrong wasn’t to embarrass Peter. It was because they had gone back to the law as well.

So why did Peter return to the law? Paul says it was because he feared “certain from James,” the leader of the Jewish kingdom church. He knew James didn’t know it was okay to eat with Gentiles, for that’s not what they talked about at the council. That council was convened to decide if Gentiles still needed the law to be saved (Acts 15:1,2). The subject of Jews eating with Gentiles never even came up.

But Peter told James about the sheet vision (Acts 15:7,8). So why didn’t that convince James it was all right to eat with Gentiles as it did Peter? It was because four years before Peter got that vision, he spent 15 days with Paul (Gal.1:18), and Paul explained some things to Peter that helped him construe more from the vision than James was able to deduce.

But Peter’s failure to walk according to the truth caused Barnabas to falter as well (Gal.2:13). “Dissembled” is the verb form of the noun “dissimulation,” and both mean hypocrisy (cf.Josh.7:11). God must hate religious hypocrisy, for the Lord was kind to carnal sinners like the woman in John 8, but He laid into religious hypocrites (Lu.11:44).

And that’s another reason Paul is telling the Galatians about this. You see, once you go back to the law, you have to whitewash your sins (Mt.23:27,28). The Galatians tried to cover up their sins by observing religious days (Gal.4:10).

When Peter quit eating with Gentiles, Paul told him he was compelling the Gentiles to feel they should not eat with Jews. In other words, he was putting them under the law. This angered Paul, but when he settled down, he reasoned with Peter by reminding him that Jews like them weren’t guilty of the carnal sins the Gentiles were known for (Gal. 2:15 cf. I Cor.5:1) but they still needed to be saved (v.16).

They were saved by “the faith of Christ.” Don’t change “of” to “in” like new Bible versions do. That word “faith” here means faithfulness (cf.Rom.3:3). In eternity past, God announced His plan to send His Son to earth to be Israel’s Messiah, and the Lord was faithful to do it. Peter’s faith came in when Paul said he “believed in Jesus Christ.” When he believed Jesus was his Messiah, God saved him (John 20: 31). But Paul was saved by believing “Christ died for our sins” (ICor.15:1-4), something the Lord was also faithful to do. Both men were saved by Christ’s faithfulness. They just had faith in two different things the Lord was faithful to do.

And the reason Paul was telling the Galatians about this was that they had begun to think that they had to be faithful to all the things the law said to do to be saved.

Paul’s rebuke meant he loved Peter (cf. Lev.19:17). So when it happens to you, be like David and be thankful (Ps.141:5).

A video of the sermon is available on YouTube: Paul’s Confrontation with Peter – Galatians 2:11-16

The Forgiveness of Sins – Dispensationally Considered

“In Whom [Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of
sins according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).

Forgiveness under Grace—(Eph. 4:32; Col. 1:14; 2:13; 3:13; Rom. 4:7; 2 Cor. 2:7,10; Acts 13:38; 26:18).

The knowledge of complete grace forgiveness gives the believer great peace and joy unspeakable. Fear and guilt are banished! We are secure in Christ (Rom. 8:31-39; Eph. 1:13,14; 4:30).

Forgiveness under the Law—“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).

The Law is based on the if-then principle and is a system of conditional blessing. “Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine” (Ex. 19:5).

Forgiveness under the Law/Kingdom teaching—“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:12,14,15). (See also Matt. 18:34,35; Mark 11:25,26; Luke 6:37; 17:3,4).

Note carefully in the kingdom examples above that forgiveness was extended by the heavenly Father only when forgiveness was first extended to others. Likewise the other is forgiven only if he repents. The order was: 1) Offense committed. 2) Confrontation and rebuke. 3) Repentance of offender. 4) Forgiveness extended by the victim. 5) God’s forgiveness extended to the victim.

Forgiveness in our Personal Relationships. We are instructed to deal with others in the same way that God has dealt with us. He has already forgiven us completely and forever. Therefore, we are to forgive others in the same way.

Questions to ask for those who struggle to forgive others.
1. Since God has forgiven you all trespasses (past, present, and future), is it reasonable or right to withhold forgiveness from those who trespass against you?
2. Are you not grieving the heart of your heavenly Father by your unforgiving spirit?
3. Can you ever forgive others more than God has forgiven you?

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


Two Minutes with the Bible lets you start your day with short but powerful Bible study articles from the Berean Bible Society. Sign up now to receive Two Minutes With the Bible every day in your email inbox. We will never share your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem – Galatians 2:6-10

 

Summary:

“Somewhat” (v.6) in this context means an important person. Paul is done speaking about the unbelievers at the Jerusalem Council (3-5), so “these” who seemed to be somewhat must mean those “of reputation” (2:2), i.e., the 12 apostles.

But how could Paul say the 12 only “seemed” to be important? The answer is: he was objecting to an importance men were giving them that went beyond what God gave them, a religious tradition that had risen in those days that made them into mystical men a tradition still found in the Catholic Church. Rome always portrays them wearing haloes.

If you think this tradition didn’t go back that far, we know Rome’s tradition of making the bread and cup into the actual body and blood of the Lord did. If it didn’t, Paul wouldn’t have to have said they were “the communion” of His body and blood (I Cor.10:16). So it shouldn’t be surprising that Rome’s tradition of venerating the 12 goes back that far too.

The accepting of persons here (Gal.2:6) means the same as it does in Job 32:21, i.e., to give them flattering titles. Rome calls the 12 “the pillars of the church,” and later in Chapter 2, we’ll see they were being called that even in Paul’s day.

“In conference” (Gal.2:6) means Paul had the Bible conference with the 12 that the Lord told him not to have earlier (Gal.1:15-17), lest anyone say he got his message from them. But now it was time for him to confer with the 12 in a conference to  communicate” his message to them (Gal.2:1).

Paul’s conference with the 12 was one-sided though, for they could “add” (2:6) nothing to his understanding of the law or the kingdom program the Lord taught them to preach. He knew the law from Gamaliel, and he knew the kingdom pro-gram from Barnabas. But “contrariwise” (2:7), i.e., oppositely (cf. IPet.3:8,9), he could add the grace message to them.

Paul preached the gospel “of” the uncircumcision (Gal.2:7), not the gospel “to” or “for” them, as new Bible versions translate that verse. That makes it sound like he preached the same gospel Peter preached “to” or “for” the circumcision, and he didn’t. No one before Paul had any gospel or good news for the uncircumcision (Eph.2:11,12).

“Wrought” (Gal.2:8) is the past tense of work (cf.Neh.6:16). Paul is saying the working of miracles (cf.ICor.12:10) authenticated Peter’s ministry (Mark 16:20) and his (Acts 14:3). God worked special miracles by Peter to indicate he was head apostle of the 12 (Gal.5:15,16), and by Paul (Acts19: 11) to indicate he was a head apostle on the same level as Peter. That convinced the 12 of this (Gal.2:9). They only “seemed” to be the “pillars” that religion was making them into. Cephas and John constituted the quorum of “two” of the 12 needed to “loose” their ministry to the Gentiles to Paul, and “bind” themselves to minister to “the circumcision” (Mt.18: 18,19 cf. Mt.28:19) when they perceived” God sent Paul to “all nations” with “grace” (Rom.1:5).

We know the 12 kept their word. You never see them going to Gentiles in the Book of Acts, but Paul seemed to break his when he went to synagogues (Acts17:1,2,10,etc.). But he vowed to go to “the heathen” (Gal.2:9), and heathen now included unsaved Gentiles and Jews. God just told him to go to “the Jew first” (Rom.1:16) during Acts while God reached out to individual Jews. The 12 meanwhile ministered to the true circumcision, i.e., saved Jews (Rom.2:29).

The Jerusalem Council’s only stipulation in recognizing Paul’s new message was that he “remember the poor” (Gal. 2:10), i.e., the Jews who became poor when the temporary communal living at Pentecost went beyond the short time God intended for it and they became “poor” (Rom.15:26). Jews helped each other to get saved (James 2:14-17), but Paul was “forward” to do it by taking up a “collection” (ICor.16:1), and taught us to as well (IICor.8:8,10; 9:1,2).

 

A video of this sermon is available on YouTube: Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

The Timeline of Paul’s Ministry

Here at BBS, our friends often give us ideas and suggestions for new literature via  phone calls, letters, and emails. Last year, I spoke on the phone with Brother John Lynch in Idaho, and we had a great conversation around the Word of God, rightly divided. During the course of the call, John recommended that BBS produce a timeline chart of Paul’s ministry and the Book of Acts. He felt it would be helpful for people to have a visual depiction of when the important events took place in Acts, the dates and locations of Paul’s travels, and when and where Paul’s letters were written. I thought John had a tremendous idea.

When I began the study and research into this project, I soon realized that this wasn’t as easy as it sounded! There are many differing opinions as to the order in which Paul’s letters were written and the timing of the various events in Acts. When
you put something in print, however, it’s like putting a stake in the ground and announcing, “This is where I stand!” I realized that I needed to come to conclusions with the Spirit’s help based on my personal study of the Word. After repeatedly reading Acts, “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:13), and consulting learned men who are skillful in the Word, I came to the finished product that you see on pages 6 through 8.

You will notice on the bottom left hand corner the notation that “*All dates are approximate.” I am not dogmatic about the dates, but I do believe these dates to be accurate within a range of 1 to 3 years. The main purpose of the dates is to show the chronological order and flow of the events in Paul’s life. And it can be helpful to see approximately when the various events of Paul’s ministry took place and how far apart one event is from another.

Early Ministry

As you look at the chart, you will notice that there are 11 years between Paul’s conversion (Acts 9:1-9) and when he and Barnabas were separated out by the Holy Spirit for the first apostolic journey (Acts 13:2-3). That 11-year period is one-third of Paul’s ministry!

Prior to the first apostolic journey, Paul carried out an extensive ministry among the Gentiles during those years as he preached Christ in Damascus in Syria, Tarsus in Cilicia, and other places in the regions of Syria and Cilicia (Gal. 1:21).

On the second apostolic journey, Luke records how “he [Paul] went through Syria and Cilicia confirming the churches” (Acts 15:41). During Paul’s first apostolic journey, he never traveled to these regions.

Instead, he went straight to the island of Cyprus (Acts 13:4). The only time Paul could have founded these Gentile assemblies was during his 5-6 year ministry in and around Tarsus (Acts 9:30; 11:25; Gal. 1:21).

Personally, I don’t believe Paul spent three years in Arabia receiving the revelation of the mystery from the risen, exalted Lord (Eph. 3:1-3). We are not told by Paul in Scripture how long he spent in Arabia. Paul simply wrote, “I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem…” (Gal. 1:17-18). The majority of those three years were spent by Paul ministering in Damascus.

Like Moses received the law from the Lord over a period of 40 days and 40 nights (Ex. 34:27-28), and like the twelve apostles were taught by the Lord following His resurrection for 40 days “of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3), it’s possible that, likewise, Paul received the revelation of grace from the Lord over this same time period in Arabia.

Galatians

The order of Paul’s letters is often debated, but I believe Galatians is the first epistle Paul penned. Paul addressed this letter “unto the churches of Galatia” (Gal. 1:2). He does not identify these churches, but we know they were churches where Paul had personally ministered. Galatians 4:13-14 describes how Paul preached the gospel of grace unto them “through infirmity of the flesh” and how they received him “as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.”

The Book of Acts only mentions four Galatian cities that Paul visited: Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe (Acts 13:14-14:23). Churches in each of these cities were established by Paul during his first apostolic journey (Acts 14:21-23). All these cities were in southern Galatia.

Paul visited Galatia in all three of his apostolic journeys. However, none of the locations or churches in the rest of the province are identified when Paul traveled in the north and “throughout…the region of Galatia” (Acts 16:6) during his second apostolic journey, nor when he “went over all the country of Galatia…strengthening all the disciples” (Acts 18:23) during his third apostolic journey. For these reasons, I believe Paul wrote to the churches named in Acts in southern Galatia after his first apostolic journey: Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. After returning from this journey, Paul marveled that they were “SO SOON” removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel” (Gal. 1:6). All this makes Galatians the first letter written by Paul.

Galatians 2:1

“Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also”
(Gal. 2:1).

One item I heavily debated in the making of this chart is the 14 years mentioned by Paul in Galatians 2:1. In a lot of ways, this provides the timing for Paul’s ministry. I believe Paul was basing these 14 years from a single point: his conversion. The overall point of Paul’s timeline of events in Galatians 1:15-2:1 is to show that he did not receive his gospel “of man, neither was I taught it” (Gal. 1:12), and that after he was saved, “immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me” (Gal. 1:16-17).

Paul’s point wasn’t to describe how long it was between trips to Jerusalem, but to show the separation he had from the Twelve as he received revelations from the Lord since his conversion. For 14 years, Paul had little to no contact with the Twelve in Jerusalem, which Paul wrote to prove that they did not teach him his gospel, but that instead he received it “by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:12).

If one adds up the years covered in this passage, the total shouldn’t include only Galatians 1:18, “after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter,” and then skip ahead to the 14 years of Galatians 2:1. To be consistent, the time frame should also include the “Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia” (Gal. 1:21), where he spent approximately 6 years. Then comes Galatians 2:1: “Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem.” Stacking and adding all the years together, it equals around 23 years.

If we place these years in the timeline of Paul’s ministry and have his third visit to Jerusalem in approximately AD 58, it becomes impossible to fit everything in. Therefore, my conclusion regarding Galatians 2:1 is that the 3 years and 6 years are included within the 14 years and the 14 years was the amount of time since his conversion on the Damascus Road, “when it pleased God…and [He] called me by His grace, To reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen…” (Gal. 1:15-16).

Release and Further Work

As you can see in the “AD 63-67 Release and Further Work” section of the chart, I believe Paul was released from his first Roman imprisonment. We can believe this for a few reasons.

First, Paul wrote Titus, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee” (Titus 1:5). Other than briefly stopping by Crete in a ship on his way to Rome as a prisoner (Acts 27:7-9), there is no other time Paul visited Crete. But Paul told Titus that he left him there to ordain elders in the churches in every city where they had been established. These churches could have only been established after Paul was released from his first Roman imprisonment.

Second, during his second Roman imprisonment, Paul asked of Timothy, “The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee…” (2 Tim. 4:13). Paul had been to Troas many years earlier (Acts 16:8,11; 20:5-12), but this message to Timothy suggests that the apostle had lately visited Troas on the coast of Asia Minor and had left his cloak there. This only could have happened if Paul had been set at liberty to do so.

Third, Paul further informed Timothy, “Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick” (2 Tim. 4:20). Trophimus, unfortunately, had become too sick to travel on with Paul for the continuing apostolic work Paul did after his release from his first Roman imprisonment.

As with everything we publish at Berean Bible Society, we ask that you don’t take our word for anything, but that you consider this information in the manner of the Bereans of old, “in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).


You can receive More Minutes With the Bible every week in your email inbox. This list features longer articles, including both original content and articles that have appeared in the Berean Searchlight.

Should Women Wear Makeup?

“In a recent Bible study meeting, a man (of course!) stated that women shouldn’t wear makeup. I feel he is clearly insane and deserves a sound beating. What Scripture can I use to make him see the error of his ways?”

LOL, it would probably be best to spare the rod and share 1 Peter 3:3 with him instead. Speaking of Christian wives (v. 1,2), Peter wrote:

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of
plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of
apparel.”

This is the verse that is generally used to teach that Christian women shouldn’t wear jewelry, etc. But if Peter meant to say that godly women shouldn’t wear any jewelry or do any adorning of their hair, then to be consistent we would have to conclude that he was also prohibiting any “putting on of apparel.” Most pastors and church boards would agree that this would be taking things further than Peter had in mind!

So it seems clear that Peter was discouraging going to expensive excess when it comes to outward adorning, something of which men need to beware of as well.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


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Paul’s Trip to Jerusalem – Galatians 2:1-5

 

Summary:

“Fourteen years after” (2:1) Paul’s last trip to Jerusalem, the one he took three years after he got saved (Gal.1:18), he took another. Why’d he wait so long? We know it was his “heart’s desire” for the Jews there to get saved like he did (Rom.10:1). But the Lord had told him to get out of Jerusalem (Acts 22:17), and hadn’t yet told him to go back till now.

He brought Barnabas (Gal.2:1) because he was a well known and respected Jew (Acts 4:34-37), who would perhaps get him a more receptive hearing among the Jews at the Jerusalem Council. And attending that council is the reason Paul was returning to Jerusalem (Acts 15:1,2). The brethren there in Jerusalem suggested he go. But when he says he went “by revelation” (Gal.2:2), that means the Lord revealed Himself to Paul and told him it was finally time to return to Jerusalem to “communicate” his gospel to “them,” i.e., the apostles and elders of Acts 15:1,2.

But if Paul had to communicate his gospel to them, that means he didn’t receive it from them, as the legalizers were saying. And it means his gospel was different from theirs, despite what many Christians say today.

Now the “elders” (Acts 15:1,2) at Jerusalem didn’t have much of a “reputation” (Gal.2:2), but the 12 did. So they’re the ones Paul shared his new gospel of “no circumcision or the law” with “priviliy,” so as not to embarrass those sincere apostles who were still preaching circumcision and the law as the Lord told them to do. That would only make them less likely to accept his new apostleship and message, and he would have “run in vain.” That is, his converts would wonder if they did need circumcision and the law to be saved. And he “should” run in vain in the future if his new converts questioned their salvation.

Paul brought “Titus” to the council meeting (Gal.2:1) so that when he left the meeting uncircumcised, he’d be living proof that the leaders of the kingdom church recognized his message (Gal.2:3). I know that the council wrote letters to those new Gentiles converts (Acts 15:23-29), informing them of the their decision. But letters can be forged (IIThes. 2:10). You can’t forge an uncircumcision!

Some “false brethren” tried to circumcise Titus (2:4). The council let them speak because they were “unaware” they were false brethren. But Paul knew they were unsaved because they disagreed with him. Believers in the Bible always accepted dispensational changes, as when those who believed on the Father under the law believed on the Son (John 6:37) and received His words about the new kingdom program (John 17:8).

Those false brethren came to the meeting to “spy out” our liberty (Gal.2:5). We have liberty from our sins (Rom.6:6,7, 18,22). In the eyes of God, we are free from sin. But these false brethren wanted to learn more about our freedom from the law (Rom.7:1-6). You see, we are not just free from our sins, we are also free from the law that condemns our sins.

And that’s the liberty these false brethren wanted to learn more about, so they could bring those disciples back under the “bondage” (Gal.2:5) of the law (cf. Acts 15:10). Paul refused to “give place” to them. That is, when he had the floor, and was presenting his case (Acts 15:12), he refused to yield the floor when they kept trying to interrupt him.

“Subjection” means to subject yourself to an authority that you recognize as God-given (Eph.5:24; Titus 3:1; IPet.2:18). Paul recognized the authority of the council leaders, but not the authority of those false brethren. Not even for an hour, for that might be the hour someone passing through Jerusalem sat in on the council, and would have left the city thinking that Paul acknowledged that men still needed to be circumcised and keep the law to be saved.

A video of this sermon is available on YouTube: Paul’s Trip to Jerusalem – Galatians 2:1-5

The Bible Conference Paul Passed On – Galatians 1:16-24

 

Summary:

Paul is giving his testimony in this passage (v.15) so why would he mention not conferring with flesh and blood (v.16)? He was answering the legalizers who were saying his message was of men and not of God (1:11,12). You can’t get a message from men if you don’t confer with any men! Paul goes on to mention he didn’t see the 12 apostles (Gal.1: 17) because they would be the men most likely to have given him his message.

But who would think he got the grace message from the 12, who were still preaching the law? Well, after Paul began preaching grace, the 12 themselves wondered if his message were of men, so they gathered at the Jerusalem Council to decide. When they decided it was from God, some unsaved Jews probably accused the 12 of turning their backs on the law and conspiring with Paul to concoct this blasphemous new message of grace. That’s why Paul says he didn’t go see the 12; he went into Arabia. The legalizers might have pointed out that he went to Damascus first (Acts 9:5-9), but we know Paul didn’t confer with the men in Damascus, for he was busy praying there (Acts 9:10,11), not conferring. And Paul didn’t get his message from Ananias, for he gave Paul his sight, not his message (Acts 9:17).

Then Paul hung with the saints in Damascus (9:19), but couldn’t have gotten his message from them because he didn’t confer with them. The word “confer” means to ex-change ideas and opinions, and Paul says he didn’t confer with flesh and blood. Besides, had he asked those Jewish kingdom saints what message to preach, they would have had to say, “Don’t ask us. As far as we know, you shouldn’t even be saved cuz you blasphemed the Spirit when you consented to the death of Stephen, a man filled with the Spirit” (Mt.12:31). We know they didn’t give Paul that message, for he himself was the pattern for more blasphemers who got saved under his new message of grace (ITim.1:15,16).

While in Damascus later, Paul was preaching, not conferring (Acts 9:20). Then “after many days” he went to Jerusalem (9:23-27). Galatians 1:18 says “many days” consisted of 3 years (cf. I Kings18:1). But the apostles were afraid to confer with him, so he didn’t see them, other than James (Gal.1:19).

Paul only conferred with Peter, for only he could give him the only information he wanted—about the sheet vision that made Gentiles clean (Acts 10:28). That’s something the apostle of the Gentiles would want to confer about (Rom.11:13)!

But if he was with Peter “fifteen days” (Gal.1:18), why not see the other 11? I think it was because the Lord knew men would say he got his message from them, and so told Paul to steer clear of them. He couldn’t have gotten his message from Peter alone, for the 12 were told they needed two or three to do something official like commission a new apostle and give him a new message (Mt.18:18-20). The legalizers couldn’t say Paul got the grace message from James because he was still preaching the law 23 years later (Acts 21:18-20).

Some say it’s not important to insist Paul preached a different message than the 12, but he thought it was important enough to swear to it (Gal.1:20)! Then, after proving he didn’t get his message from the leaders of the kingdom church, he proved he didn’t get it from its members by testifying he was “unknown by face” to them (1:21,22).

Instead, he went to Syria and Cilicia (v.21).We know the legalizers followed him there because later the apostles had to write the new Gentile converts there to say that the trouble-making legalizers weren’t sent by them (Acts 15:23-27).

Even today, men say that Paul preached what the 12 preached because he preached the faith he once destroyed (Gal.1:23). But the faith he destroyed was the faith men had in the message of “Jesus is the Christ” (John 20:31). Paul preached that, but he also preached that He died for our sins!