ABOUT  PAUL



4  Paul and Peter




Paul repeatedly makes it clear that he had the prickliest of relationships with the Brothers in Jerusalem. He went to that city only three times, each time with reluctance or trepidation. Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, tries to obfuscate this matter. He has Paul making six trips there, counting an early one to study with Gamaliel. He takes him to the scene of Stephen's stoning, and gives him commissions from high priest and Sanhedrin to drag people from their homes and execute them. [WELL  SOME  WERE  EXECUTED  IT  WOULD  SEEM  -  Keith Hunt] . Then, after sending him with instructions from Jerusalem to Damascus, he presents his call from Jesus as occurring on the trip there. After this, he brings him back five times to what he takes to be the center of Christian life. The maps of Paul's travels—those polychrome spaghetti tangles in old Bibles—are based on Luke's exaggerated backings-and-forthings. No wonder the impression formed in some minds was of a man who never had time to stay with any gathering, so constantly was he on the move. Luke wants to present Paul as constantly "checking back with headquarters," as it were— though Paul emphatically denies that he ever did such a thing. Luke  is  writing  after  the  leader  of the  Brothers  in Jerusalem, James the brother of the Lord, has been killed—an event cited in Josephus's Jewish Antiquities (20.200). This took place after the break between James and the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem and before the destruction of the Temple by the Romans (in 70 C.E). In Luke's time, therefore, the Jesus movement had been almost totally deracinated from its Jerusalem origins, and was being tugged in many directions. Luke tried to re-create a Jerusalem hub in his memory of the past, at a time when developments were shaking believers apart. He especially wanted to contain the Pauline mission within a central Jerusalem focus. He presents Paul's dealings with the founding generation in that city as an anachronistic Apostolic Council, in which Paul was given his mandate to the uncircumcised. He must reconcile that claim with Paul's own assertion that he was given his assignment directly from Jesus. One way Luke circumvents the difficulty is to let Peter pre-empt Paul's mission to the nations.


[THIS  AUTHOR  SURE  DOES  NOT  LIKE  THE  WRITING  OF  LUKE.  I  DO  NOT  SEE  WHERE  LUKE  TRIES  TO  HAVE  PAUL  KINDA  “HAVING  TO  CHECK  WITH  ‘HEAD-QUARTERS’  AT  JERUSALEM.”  I  DO  NOT  SEE  WHERE  LUKE  IS  TRYING  TO  PORTRAY  PAUL  ALWAYS  ON  THE  GO.  LUKE  IS  PUTTING  30  OR  SO  YEARS  INTO  HIS  HISTORICAL  ACCOUNT  OF  THE  MAIN  CHARACTERS  IN  THE  CHAPTERS  HE  GIVES  US  -  Keith Hunt] 


Peter's Vocation


Diaspora gatherings were the more successful ones, he gives Peter the leading role in almost every respect. The founding of the Christian church takes place, for Luke, in Jerusalem on the occasion of Pentecost, when Peter preaches the long first statement of the revelation to the nations.


Though the event takes place in Jerusalem, Peter is given a world audience, and his words go out in every possible language.


We each hear it in our native tongue—Parthians and  Medes and Elamites, and those who dwell in Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya near Cyrene, Romans stationed here, Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs, all of us hear them speaking in our own dialects of God's greatness. (Ac 2.8-11)


Paul says that at his confrontation with Peter and James in Jerusalem, he was given a mission to the nations and Peter to the circumcised; but Luke says that Peter was the first to be sent by God to the Gentiles. Peter leaves Jerusalem (where James the brother of the Lord is left as leader) to be an emissary to Lydda, Joppa, and Caesarea. As he came near Caesarea (the way Luke made Paul come near Damascus), Peter is given a vision that solved ahead of time Paul's problem of Gentiles forced to observe kosher laws.


[IT  HAS  NOTHING  TO  DO  WITH  KOSHER  FOODS  OR  ANIMALS,  THOSE  BEASTS  STOOD  FOR  SOMETHING  ELSE  AS  THE  CONTEXT  EXPLAINS  -  Keith Hunt]


He was hungry and would eat. As others prepared a meal, he was rapt in a vision—he sees heaven open and some preparation like a great sheet lowered toward the earth by its four corners, and in it were all earth's quadrupeds and  serpents,  and  air's  flitting things. And  a voice sounded: "On your feet, Peter, to slaughter these and eat them." But Peter answered: "That is impossible, Lord, since I have never eaten profane and unclean things." And the voice came back: "Whatever God makes is clean, do not profane it." Three times this was repeated, then the preparation was snatched up to the sky. (Ac 10.10-16)


As it turns out, God has prepared a Reverent Person (Theosebes) for Peter's arrival in Caesarea, and when Peter reaches his house he tells him: "You realize that the Law forbids a Jew's mixing with or entering the house of a Gentile. But God has shown me to call no one profane or unclean" (10.28). Luke has solved beforehand all the problems Paul later describes in his mission to the nations. Only then can Luke allow Paul to be called to that mission. Thus, after Peter has prepared the way, Paul can receive his (secondary) vocation to the nations.


Paul's Vocation


I have already printed the first of Luke's three accounts of Paul's call. The third one makes clear that this is a vocation story, based on the calls to ancient prophets, not a conversion story. Luke presents Paul as giving his own account—to King Agrippa during a hearing in Caesarea (exactly where Peter opened the mission to the Gentiles):



"At one time I considered it incumbent on me to do everything I could against the name of Jesus from Nazareth. I undertook this in Jerusalem, where I clapped many of the Holy into prison by mandate of the chief priests; and when their executions were decided, I voted for that. In every synagogue I tried to force them under torture to recant. My frenzy against them was so extreme that I hunted them down in foreign cities. One such was Damascus, where I was traveling with authority and warrants from the chief priests when at noon, Your Majesty, I saw a flash brighter than the sun lightning all about me and those journeying with me. As we all fell to the ground I heard a voice speaking to me in Aramaic: 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It only hurts you to kick back when goaded.' But I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord answered, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise up and stand firm on your feet. This is why I have appeared to you, to single you out as my worker, as a witness to what you have seen of me and what further things I shall reveal to you, as I rescue you from your people and from the nations to which I am sending you, that you may open their eyes and turn from darkness to light, from Satan's thrall to God, so they may by faith in me gain forgiveness of sins and a share with the Holy' " (Ac 26.9-18)


After the preliminary nonsense about Paul torturing people in every synagogue of Judaea and putting Brothers to death, Luke fashions Paul's vocation on that of Ezekiel—-just as, in his Gospel, he took Jewish canticles and created the songs of Mary, Zachariah, and Simeon for his nativity stories. Ezekiel too is stunned by a bright light:


[THE  AUTHOR  SHOWS  HIS  “MODERN”  SKEPTIC  THEOLOGY;  HE  SIMPLY  DOES  NOT  BELIEVE  EVERYTHING  WRITTEN  IN  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT   IS  INSPIRED  -  Keith Hunt] 


When I saw that, I threw myself on my face and heard a voice speaking to me. "Man," he said, "stand up and let me talk with you." As he spoke a spirit came into me and stood me on my feet, and I listened to him speaking. He said to me, "Man, I am sending you to the Israelites, a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me. Past generations of them have been in revolt against me to this very day, and this generation to which I am sending you is stubborn and obstinate. When you say to them, 'These are the words of the Lord God,' they will know that they have a prophet among them, whether they listen or whether they refuse to listen because they are rebels. But you, man, must not be afraid of them or of what they say, though they are rebels against you and renegades, and you find yourself sitting on scorpions. There is nothing to fear in what they say, and nothing in their looks to horrify you, rebels though they are. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or whether they refuse to listen, rebels that they are. But you, man, must listen to what I say and not be rebellious like them." (Ezek 1.28-2.8)


Luke's model, with assurances against the threats of the people among whom Ezekiel is being sent, explains the words he gives Paul about being "rescued from your people and from the nations." This fits Luke's scheme, in which Paul is threatened mainly by "his people"—namely the Jews. It does not fit so well with the threat Paul himself feels, as coming from his fellow Brothers. That problem comes to a head in Paul's description of his encounter with the Brothers in Jerusalem, seventeen years after his call to take the revelation to the nations. Luke's account of this meeting has been called, anachronistically, the Apostolic Council, even the First General Council of the church.


[WELL  YOU  CAN  LOOK  AND  LOOK  AND  YOU  WILL  NOT  FIND  ANY  OTHER  “COUNCIL  OF  THE  CHURCH”  ANYWHERE  IN  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  -  Keith Hunt]


The Jerusalem Encounter


In Luke's version of this meeting, delegates from the Jerusalem gathering went to Antioch to demand that all Gentile Brothers be circumcised. After much debate over this, the Antiochenes commissioned Paul, Barnabas, "and some others" to defend their practice of noncircumcision before "the emissaries and elders" in Jerusalem (Ac 15.1-3). When this party presented its case to the gathering there, some Pharisaic Brothers repeated the demand for circumcision. Then the "emissaries and elders" went into formal session to decide the matter. "After an intense examination," Peter rose to speak. He referred people hack to the vision in which he was ordered by heaven to eat "unclean" food, and said that this proved the old Law was no longer mandatory. One wonders why, given that few   preceding event, there was any doubt to be cleared up by the "council." As if to clinch the matter, James, the real authority in Jerusalem, then says: "Hear me, Brothers, Simeon gave an account of how God took steps to form from the nations a people in his name." Many commentators think James uses "Simeon" as a variant of Simon (Peter)—that is, he is telling them again what Peter just told them. It seems more likely that Luke is referring to his own poetic creation, the canticle of Simeon in his Gospel's nativity narrative. When Mary and Joseph take the child Jesus to the Temple, Simeon predicts that their baby is "a light to be unveiled to the nations" (Lk 2.32). The objection to this is that James's audience would not, presumably, have known what happened in Jesus' infancy. But neither, for that matter, would Luke have known. And if he can proclaim the event in his Gospel, why can he not refer to it in his Acts? It is not the least plausible of his inventions.


[THE  AUTHOR  AGAIN  CHIDES  LUKE  AS  AN  “INVENTOR”  AND  NOT  AS  INSPIRED;  FOR  HIM  LUKE  MAKES  UP  THINGS  TO  BLEND  WITH  HIS  INVENTIONS  -  Keith Hunt]


James then goes on to quote the prophet Amos as saying that God will gather in "all the nations among whom my name is invoked" (Ac 15.17). This says that Gentiles will be called, but it does not settle whether circumcision will be demanded of them. Nonetheless, James says that, given God's call to the Gentiles, the Brothers should not "heap up hindrances" to their responding. They should confine the rules for them to a few essentials—namely, that they refrain from pollution by idols, from sexual license, from animals that have been strangled, and from blood (Ac 15.19-20). Luke does not notice that these restrictions conflict with the vision of Peter, which said that no foods are unclean—including, presumably, blood and food from strangled animals. Nonetheless, the "emissaries and elders, along with the entire gathering," decided that these four demands should be promulgated.


[THE  AUTHOR  HAS  IT  ALL  WRONG  ABOUT  THE  VISION  TO  PETER  AND  ITS  CONTEXT—— THE  VISION  WAS  TO  TEACH  THAT  THE  SO-CALLED  BY  JEWS,  UN-CLEAN  GENTILES  WERE  NOT  TO  BE  VIEWED  AS  UNCLEAN  AT  ALL;  IT  HAS  NOTHING  TO  DO  WITH  GOD’S  FOOD  LAWS;  THE  CONTEXT  EXPLAINS  THE  MEANING  OF  WHAT  GOD  WAS  TEACHING  TO  PETER  AND  TO  THE  CHURCH  -  Keith Hunt]


This has been called "the Apostolic Decree," and Luke makes its enactment as formal as he can. After being written out, it is sent by way of two delegates from the Jerusalem gathering for delivery to Antioch. The delegates read it out before the assembled Antiochenes, who formally accept it and acclaim the delegates as prophets, and Luke seals the entire proceeding with an outpouring of the Spirit (Ac 15.22-33). This account is formal, hierarchical, legalistic, based on precedent. At every step of the process, forms are required and fulfilled. Luke is not only invoking the structures of his day but helping to advocate and create them.


[IT  HAS  NO  PER  SE  “FORMAL”  WHATEVERS,  IT  IS  MINISTERS  MEETING  TO  SOLVE  A  THEOLOGICAL  ISSUE  -  IS  PHYSICAL  CIRCUMCISION  REQUIRED  TO  BE  SAVED,  AS  ONE  JEWISH  SECTION  OF  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  CHURCH  TAUGHT.  NATURALLY  THINGS  WOULD  BE  WRITTEN  DOWN  AS  TO  THE  RESULT  OF  THE  DEBATE  AND  AS  INSPIRED  BY  THE  HOLY  SPIRIT,  AND  SO  SENT  OUT  TO  THE  CHURCHES  AT  LARGE.  THERE  IS  NO  CONTRADICTION  HERE  CONCERNING  MEAT  OR  BLOOD  OR  “KOSHER”  ANYTHING,  FOR  THE  VISION  TO  PETER  HAD  NOTHING  TO  DO  WITH  CLEAN  OR  UNCLEAN  ANYTHING  IN   HUMAN  DIET.  THE  WHOLE  EPISODE  HAD  TO  DO  WITH  GENTILES  AND  PHYSICAL  CIRCUMCISION  -  Keith Hunt]


Paul's account of the event—written, remember, three or more decades before Luke put down his version—could not be more different. There, Paul is neither summoned by Jerusalem nor sent by Antioch. He goes as a result of a vision urging him to go. He takes the uncircumcised Titus with him, to make him a test case. He does not submit his case to a formal meeting but to a private session with the so-called leaders. Peter's vision is not brought up—so the issue of kosher food (as opposed to circumcision) is not discussed. There is no formal decree sent by Jerusalem and accepted at Antioch, making four demands—there is a simple handshake extended by Peter and James. Paul is describing the charismatic conditions of the early gatherings, not the nascent church Luke would like to will into being.


[INDEED  PAUL  HAD  ALREADY  BEEN  SHOWN  THE  ANSWER  TO  “GENTILES”  AND  “PHYSICAL  CIRCUMCISION”—— HE  DID  NOT  HAVE  TO  GO  TO  THIS  DEBATE  IN  JERUSALEM.  THERE  WAS  NO  “HEADQUARTERS”  CHURCH,  AND  LUKE  DID  NOT  STATE  THERE  WAS.  PAUL  DID  NOT  HAVE  TO  ATTEND  THE  DEBATE  EITHER,  HE  KNEW  THE  TRUTH  OF  THE  OUTCOME  ANYWAY.  SO  HE  VISITED  SOME  OF  THE  LEADING  THEOLOGY  GUYS  AT  JERUSALEM  IN  PRIVATE.  GOD  TOLD  PAUL  TO  GO,  JUST  AS  WE  MIGHT  SAY,  “TO  CLEAR  THE  AIR”  BUT  ALSO  AS  PAUL  HIMSELF  SAYS  “BUT  PRIVATELY TO  THEM  WHICH  WERE  OF  REPUTATION,  LEST  BY  ANY  MEANS  I  SHOULD  RUN,  OR  HAD  RUN,  IN  VAIN” (GAL.2:2).  LUKE  DID  NOT  “WILL  INTO  BEING”  ANYTHING,  HE  JUST  REPORTED  FOR  US  WHAT  TOOK  PLACE  IN  THE  MEETING  OF  MINISTERS  IN  A  DEBATE,  THE  OUTCOME,  AND  HOW  OTHER  CHURCHES  WOULD  BE  INFORMED.  AS  STATED,  PAUL  ALREADY  KNEW  THE  TRUTH  OF  THE  MATTER,  BUT  WAS  INSPIRED  TO  BE  MINISTERIALLY  POLITE  AND  TO  GO  AND  PUT  IN  HIS  TWO-CENTS-WORTH  DURING  THE  DEBATE  -  ALL  OF  THIS  IS  EXPLAINED  FULLY  IN  MY  STUDIES  ON  “CHURCH  GOVERNMENT”  ON  THIS  WEBSITE  -  Keith Hunt]


Fourteen years passed before I went again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas, and taking along Titus as well. I went in response to a vision. I explained to them the revelation I reveal to the nations, but in private, with the apparent leaders, lest the course I was pursuing, or had pursued, should be discounted. But far from that: Titus, the Greek I brought with me, was not circumcised under compulsion, despite some interloping pseudo-Brothers, who slyly entered [Antioch] to spy on the freedom we were exercising in Messiah-Jesus, to return us to slavery—but to their dictates we gave not an instant's submission; rather, the real meaning of the revelation was maintained for you [Galatian Gentiles]. As for the apparent leaders, how important they were I care not (God does not play favorites), but they were the apparent ones, and they had no suggestions for me, but rather recognized that the revelation for the uncircumcised was entrusted to me, and that for the circumcised to Peter, since the same one who inspired Peter as an emissary to the circumcised had inspired me to go to the nations. Recognizing the divine favor granted me, James and Peter and John, the apparent pillars there, sealed things with a handshake, so we should serve the nations and they the circumcised, the only other point being that we keep in mind their needy ones, which I was eager to do. (Gal 2.1-10)


The Blowup at Antioch


Paul and Luke agree that the question at Jerusalem was circumcision. Luke also says that modified kosher rules were upheld. But Paul's account of another event, his clash with Peter in Antioch, treats this as a matter far from settled. Luke has to omit this event entirely, since it contradicts two of his stories—that of Peter's vision and that of the Jerusalem conference where that vision was cited as a guide for others to follow. When Peter and Paul were both in Antioch, a warning came to Peter from James in Jerusalem, telling him he should not be eating nonkosher meals with the Gentile Brothers. 


[WHAT!  THERE  IS  NOTHING  TO  STATE  THIS  DIRECTIVE  WAS  OVER  “NON-KOSHER  FOODS” — READING  INTO  THINGS  JUST  NOT  THERE,  NOTHING  IS  SAID  ABOUT  FOOD  BEING  THE  PROBLEM.  IT  WAS  EATING  WITH  GENTILES,  AND  FEARING   THEM  OF  THE  “CIRCUMCISION” - THAT  GROUP  WAS  STILL  AROUND  AND  TEACHING  PHYSICAL  CIRCUMCISION,  WHICH  THE  GENTILES  WERE  NOT.  FOR  MANY  JEWS  IN  THE  CHURCH  EATING  WITH  UNCIRCUMCISED  GENTILES  WAS  IMPROPER  AND  UNCLEAN;  CLEAN  FOODS  ACCORDING  TO  GOD’S  LAW,  WAS  NEVER  AN  ISSUE  IN  THE  CHURCH,  BUT  UN-CIRCUMCISED  GENTILES  WAS  A  PROBLEM  FOR  SOME  CHRISTIAN  JEWS  -  Keith Hunt]


Peter complied with this directive from James—which infuriated Paul, for whom the Lord's Meal was the symbol of unity for all the Brothers, Jew or Gentile. His anger is not disguised as he reports the disagreement with Peter. He is so mad that he makes up a bran-new contemptuous word—ioudaizein, which seems to mean not being a Jew but playing at being a Jew.


When Kephas came to Antioch, I rebuked him face-to-face, since he had no leg to stand on. Before the arrival of some men dispatched by James, he ate with those from the nations. But after they came, he withdrew from them into an isolation, intimidated as he was by the circumcisionists. The other Jews [Jewish Brothers] were just as hypocritical, and Barnabas was caught up in their hypocrisy. When I saw that they were not hewing to the clearly marked meaning of the revelation, I told Kephas before everyone, "If you, a Jew by birth, do not follow Jewish ways, how dare you make pretend-Jews of those from the nations?" (Gal 2.11-14)


[THE  JEWISH  WAYS  WAS  THE  PHYSICAL  RITES  OF  THE  LAWS  OF  MOSES,  AND  NOT  FEELING  RIGHT  BY  SITTING  WITH  UN-CIRCUMCISED  GENTILES  AT  A  MEAL.  IT  WAS  GOING  BACK  ON  THE  TWO  AGREED  TRUTHS  THE  CHURCH  HAD  COME  INTO  SEEING—— GENTILES  ARE  NOT  TO  BE  THOUGHT  OF  AS  UNCLEAN;  AND  PHYSICAL  CIRCUMCISION  WAS  NOT  REQUIRED  TO  BE  SAVED.  DOING  A  TURN  AROUND  ON  THESE  TRUTHS  WOULD  INDEED  MAKE  PAUL  FURIOUS.  IT  WAS  THESE  KINDS  OF  “WORKS  OF  THE  LAW”  THAT  COULD  NEVER  JUSTIFY  ANYONE  AS  PAUL  WENT  ON  TO  STATE  IN  VERSE  16  -  Keith Hunt]


It is easy to see why Luke could not tell this story. Some in later times would wish that Paul had not told it. Saint Jerome was so shocked by the idea that Peter and Paul could squabble that he claimed they did not really disagree but were putting on a kind of didactic charade. They had cooked up a way of dramatizing the truth that external rites are unimportant. Some people are still unable to face the fact that the great men could differ—Walther Schmithals, for instance, says that Paul just excoriates Peter as a cover for his own more important disagreement with Barnabas. Even those who admit that Paul had reason to resent Peter's backpedaling on Jewish observance think he overreacted to mere eating arrangements. But for Paul it was not simply the unity of the Lord's Meal that was at stake. The risen Jesus was alive and present in Antioch in all those baptized into his mystical body. For Peter to withdraw from the presence of the risen Jesus was to repeat the rejection of Jesus. It was to throw up a barrier—pretend Jewishness—related to the barrier that had refused to extend the divine rescue to all nations. We learn from his reaction to faction in Corinth what he thought of dismembering the body of Christ.


[IT  WAS  A  GENUINE  WRONG  BACKTRACKING  ON  PETER’S  PART  AND  OTHERS  WHO  FOLLOWED  HIM.  SHOWING  TRUE  SERVANTS  OF  THE  LORD  CAN  MAKE  MISTAKES,  AND  WHICH  SO  NEED  TO  BE  CORRECTED,  IN  SOME  CASES  OPENLY  AS  PAUL  IN  THIS  INSTANT  FELT  HE  HAD  TO  DO;  ANY  OTHER  UNDERSTANDING  OF  THIS  SITUATION  IS  JUST  FUDGING  THE  TRUE  ISSUE  THAT  HAD  TO  BE  DEALT  WITH  IN  NO  UNCERTAIN  A  MANNER  -  Keith Hunt]


Paul's Chronology


Paul puts the blowup in Antioch after his account of the conference in Jerusalem, and most people treat the two events in that order, as I just have. But there is something suspect about this order. Why, if the handshake of peace had settled in principle the matter of enforcing the Law with Gentile Brothers, was it so quickly reopened? And why, if Barnabas was on Paul's side in Jerusalem, did he desert him on a similar issue in Antioch? And why does Paul later refer to Barnabas as if there had been no split between them (1 Cor 9.6)? Those who follow the account in Galatians seem to think that a parting of the ways took place between them after the Antioch dispute; but Luke says they argued over continuing to work with John Mark, who had left them in Pamphylia (Ac 15.36-39). That still does not explain Paul's later reference to Barnabas.


[IF  IT  WAS  AFTER  THE  JERUSALEM  DEBATE  OF  ACTS  15,  THEN  IT  MAKES  THE  SITUATION  WITH  PETER  AND  BARNABAS  A  DEEPER  ERROR.  IF  THE  GALATIANS  EVENT  TOOK  PLACE  BEFORE  THE  JERUSALEM  DEBATE,  THEN  IT  SHOWS  THEY  ALL  KNEW  THE  TRUTH  OF  THE  GENTILES  NOT  BEING  UNCLEAN  AND  CIRCUMCISION  NOT  REQUIRED  TO  BE  SAVED.  PETER  DOES  NOT  ANSWER  BACK  AT  PAUL  TO  TELL  HIM  HE  WAS  THE  ONE  IN  THE  WRONG.  SILENCE  FROM  PETER  AND  BARNABAS  PROVES  THEY  KNEW  PAUL  TO  BE  IN  THE  RIGHT  AND  THEY  IN  THE  WRONG.  AND  IT  HAD  NOTHING  TO  DO  WITH  KOSHER  FOOD  OR  CLEAN  OR  UNCLEAN  FOODS.  GENTILES  BEING  LOOKED  UPON  AS  UNCLEAN  AND  CIRCUMCISION  SO  IMPORTANT  AS  A  WAY  OF  LIFE,  IT  IS  HARD  TO  GET  INGRAINED  IDEAS  AND  PRACTICES  OUT  OF  YOUR  SYSTEM,  WHEN  YOU  HAVE  BEEN  BROUGHT  UP  IN  A  JEWISH  SOCIETY  WHERE  THOSE  TWO  TEACHING  WERE  STAMPED  INTO  YOUR  MIND  FROM  BIRTH,  IT  COULD  BE  EASY  TO  FALL  BACK  INTO  THEM  UNDER  A  CERTAIN  SITUATION  OF  OTHERS  COMING  ALONG  WHO  STILL  HELD  THEM  WITH  FERVENCY  -  Keith Hunt]


But there is reason to think Paul was not narrating chronologically in Galatians but arguing climactically—that he saved the conflict with Peter to show that he took a very firm stand on application of the Law, since that was the issue he was addressing among the Galatians. Since his argument there is over the kosher laws, it flows naturally out of the stand he took in Antioch. In fact, the argument comes so seamlessly out of the Antioch narrative that an editor of the letter says it is hard to say where the one ends and the other begins.


[NOPE  IT  WAS  NOT  OVER  KOSHER  LAWS  AT  ANY  TIME  IN  THE  FIRST  CENTURY  CHURCH  OF  GOD;  THE  INGRAINED  ISSUES  BROUGHT  FORTH  IN  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  WAS,  THE  ATTITUDE  OF  JEWS  TOWARDS  GENTILES  AS  BEING  UNCLEAN;  AND  THE  ISSUE  OF  PHYSICAL  CIRCUMCISION  AS  BEING  REQUIRED  TO  BE  SAVED  -  Keith Hunt]



Attempts to locate the end of the episode present a famous puzzle, sensed even by the earliest interpreters of the letter. In v. 14 Paul reports an incisive comment he made to Peter in front of the Antioch church, doing so with a clarity that enables one confidently to place the first of the quotation marks—"You, a Jew by birth, are living. . ." But he gives no clear indication as to where his remark to Peter ends, although by the time the reader comes to the final verses of chapter 2, he knows that he is no longer hearing the speech that Paul made to Peter in Antioch. Indeed, as regards literary form, the concluding verses of the chapter are unlike anything the reader of Galatians has encountered earlier. In fact, Paul's failure formally to close the quotation begun in v. 14 is no accident. It reflects his determination to connect his account of the Antioch incident to the situation in Galatia.2


[YES  OF  COURSE  THERE  IS  A  CONNECTION,  FOR  MUCH  OF  THE  EPISTLE  OF  PAUL  TO  THE  GALATIANS  CONCERNS  THE  EVER  PRESENT  ISSUE  AND  DEBATE  ON  PHYSICAL  CIRCUMCISION  BEING  REQUIRED  TO  BE  SAVED;  THE  ISSUE  AND  DEBATE  CONTINUED  FOR  A  LONG  TIME,  THE  “CIRCUMCISION  PARTY”  DID  NOT  GO  AWAY  BECAUSE  THE  APOSTLES  KNEW  THE  TRUTH  OF  THE  MATTER.  PAUL  BRINGS  UP  THE  ERROR  OF  THE  CIRCUMCISION  PARTY  A  NUMBER  OF  TIMES  IN  HIS  GALATIAN  EPISTLE,  TOGETHER  WITH  THE  IDEA  THAT  PHYSICAL  WORKS,  RITES,  LAWS,  COULD  JUSTIFY  YOU.  PAUL  SHOWS  OVER  AND  OVER  THAT  JUSTIFICATION  CANNOT  BE  BY  DOING  WORKS  OF  THE  LAW,  ANY  WORKS  OF  THE  OLD  COVENANT;  JUSTIFICATION  COULD  ONLY  COME  THROUGH  FAITH  IN  CHRIST  JESUS.  SEE  MY  EXPOUNDING  OF  THE  BOOK  OF  GALATIANS  ON  THIS  WEBSITE  -  Keith Hunt]


In other words, the Antioch story had to come after the Jerusalem one to make possible this meld with the following argument.


Gerd Ludemann argued for this order, noting that Paul does not introduce the Antioch event with his normal word for chronological sequence, epeita, "then . . ." (with the sense of "next"). Instead he says "but when . . ." (hote ale)? If we follow this sequence, then the clash over the food laws in Antioch caused a division that Paul, acting on a "revelation," took before the Brothers in Jerusalem. 


[THE  WHOLE  ISSUE  HAD  NOTHING  TO  DO  WITH  FOODS  LAWS  AT  ALL.  IT  HAD  TO  DO  WITH  GENTILES  BEING  UNCLEAN  AND  THE  ISSUE  OF  PHYSICAL  CIRCUMCISION  NEEDED  TO  BE  SAVED.  SO  THIS  EVEN  AT  ANTIOCH  COULD  HAVE  HAPPENED  BEFORE  OR  AFTER  THE  DEBATE  IN  JERUSALEM  OF  ACTS  15  -  EITHER  WAY  THE  ISSUES  ARE  “GENTILES  UNCLEAN”  AND  “PHYSICAL  CIRCUMCISION  REQUIRED  TO  BE  SAVED”  -  Keith Hunt]


He and Barnabas go there, not as delegates from the Antioch gathering, as Luke would have it, but as people with a disagreement they meant to thrash out. 


[NOPE,  LUKE  WAS  INSPIRED  TO  SAY  AND  WRITE  WHAT  HE  WROTE.  PAUL  AND  BARNABAS  WERE  ON  THE  SAME  SIDE  IN  JERUSALEM  AS  ACTS  15  SHOWS.  BUT  IF  YOU  DO  NOT  BELIEVE  GOD  INSPIRED  ALL  WRITERS  OF  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  TO  WRITE  WHAT  THEY  WROTE,  THEN  YOU  CAN  MAKE  THE  BIBLE  SAY  ANYTHING  YOU  WANT  IT  TO  SAY;  CHOP  THIS  OUT,  CHOP  THAT  OUT,  CLAIM   LUKE  WAS  NOT  INSPIRED  HERE  OR  THERE  OR  ANYYWHERE  -  Keith Hunt]


It should be noted that Paul says he went there with Barnabas, but "I explained to them the revelation I reveal to the nations." Paul and Barnabas are not speaking together, as in Luke's picture of them as members of a delegation.


[FALSE  IDEA  WITH  THE  “I”  STUFF,  PAUL  AND  BARNABAS  WERE  AS  A  TEAM,  TOGETHER  FOR  SOME  TIME.  THEY  HAD  TO  HAVE  THE  SAME  THEOLOGICAL  MIND  OR  THEY  WOULD  NOT  HAVE  STATED  TOGETHER  VERY  LONG  AT  ALL.  THE  PRINCIPLE  “CAN  TWO  WALK  TOGETHER  UNLESS  THEY  AGREE”  SO  LUKE  WAS  CORRECT  AND  THE  AUTHOR  IS  WRONG  -  Keith Hunt]


When the dispute is settled and the handshake of peace seals the agreement, then Paul's relations with Barnabas can continue amicably—and, for that matter, with Peter. 


[NOPE -  PAUL  AND  BARNABAS  WERE  IN  AGREEMENT  AND  SO  WAS  PETER,  AT  THE  JERUSALEM  ACTS  15  DEBATE  -  LUKE  WROTE  CORRECTLY  UNDER  INSPIRATION  OF  THE  HOLY  SPIRIT  -  Keith Hunt]


Paul brings up the prior conflict only because the Galatians are acting as if the matter of food laws were not settled. 


[ALL  THIS  HAD  NOTHING  TO  DO  WITH  FOOD  LAWS;  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  CHURCH  NEVER  HAD  ANY  ISSUE  OR  NEEDED  NO  DEBATE  ON  GOD’S  FOOD  LAWS  -  Keith Hunt]


This order makes better sense, as well as uncovering the sequence which Luke has re-created in his eirenic fashion. He talks of a problem in Antioch that is followed by a submission of the matter to Jerusalem for adjudication. The Antioch clash is thus referred to in the proper sequence, but in a disguised and ameliorative way.


[NOPE,  THIS  IS  ALL  IN  THE  MIND  OF  THE  AUTHOR  WHO  DOES  NOT  BELIEVE  LUKE  WAS  AN  INSPIRED  WRITER,  AND  THAT  HE  WAS  CORRECT  IN  EVERYTHING  HE  WROTE  -  Keith  Hunt]


If this is the sequence, then Paul's last reported dealings with Peter were not at the blowup in Antioch but after the handshake of peace in Jerusalem. This would accord with the tradition, well founded as I shall argue, that Peter continued to be an emissary in the Diaspora and ended with Paul in Rome, where they died together as victims of Nero's mad reaction to the fire that destroyed the city. The treatment of them as ultimately partners, seen in the early letters of Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, would thus be justified. The two great leaders ended up on the same side.

…………………………


OF  COURSE  PAUL  AND  PETER  RECONCILED  AND  WERE  FELLOW  LABORERS  IN  THE  GOSPEL,  NO  MATTER  IF  YOU  WANT  TO  PUT  THE  ANTIOCH  FALLING-OUT [GALATIANS 2] BEFORE  OR  AFTER  THE  JERUSALEM  DEBATE  OF  ACTS  15.  THE  CHRONOLOGY  IS  THE  LEAST  IMPORTANT  FACT  OF  THE  TWO  ACCOUNTS——  OF  ACTS  15  AND  GALATIANS  2.  ALL  WITTEN  IN  THOSE  ACCOUNTS  HAPPENED  AS  WRITTEN,  FOR  THE  ACCOUNTS  ARE  INSPIRED  TO  BE  RECORDED  AS  THEY  ARE  FOUND  IN  THE  KJV  TRANSLATION  FROM  THE  GREEK  MSS.   WHICH  TECHNICALLY  CAME  FIRST  IN  ORDER  DOES  NOT  MATTER.  WE  DO  KNOW  THAT  PETER  AND  BARNABAS  AS  APOSTLES  OF  THE  LORD,  WOULD  HAVE REPENTED  OF  THEIR  ERROR  RECORDED  IN  GALATIANS  2.  PETER  AND  PAUL  AND  BARNABAS  WENT  ON  TO  BE  USED  MIGHTILY  IN  THE  WORK  OF  THE  LORD  AS  HEAD  OF  HIS  CHURCH.


Keith Hunt