16 Feb 2015 
#109 Considering Galatians 1-2, did Paul & Peter preached the same message?

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In Galatians 1:11-12:
"But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."

Paul said he got his gospel ("good news") from any man; instead from the heavenly Jesus by revelation, which indicates Paul's gospel did not come from the like of Peter or James (but does not mean he did not get some knowledge about the human/earthly Jesus from them and/or others). There is no evidence, that at any times in his apostolic life, Paul was preaching the same message than the others. Actually, there are other clues it was not the case. The main evidence cited to substantiate the "same message theory" is Gal 2:7-8. But, except for "on the contrary", these two verses are most likely an interpolation: see here (one key point: this is only here in 1 Corinthians and Galatians that "Cephas" is replaced by "Peter")

Galatians 2:6-10:
6 "But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.
7 But on the contrary,
when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter
8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles),
9 when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do."


Actually, before the so-called council of Jerusalem, Paul's gospel was still very limited and not too disagreeable to the pillars: it did not have yet pre-existence, sacrifice for atonement of sins, Son of God, and uselessness of the Law (for Jewish & Gentile converts). That will come later, after the dispute in Antioch, and when Paul was on his own, relative to Barnabas, the churches of Antioch and Jerusalem.
If you want to check for justifications, look here, here and here.
Also, about Paul's early minimal gospel:
- "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Cor 2:2)
- "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." (1 Cor 3:6)
- "According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it." (1 Cor 3:10)

The fact that Paul said he had to explain his gospel to the pillars tells that those were not fully aware of the content of it. As a result of the meeting, it looks that Paul's gospel was tolerated in exchange to Paul collecting funds among his converts for the church of Jerusalem. Let's also notice Paul & Barnabas managed to have the meeting with a few pillars only, not with the whole Church (a deal is much easier to negotiate with a few than a whole collectivity!)

And Paul did not seem worry about the pillars wanting to change his gospels, but instead asking to add to it (according to the context of the whole epistle: adoption of Jewish beliefs & customs by Gentile Christians).

And let's not forget that Barnabas, a former member of that church, was with Paul, making the pillars more amenable on any point of possible disagreement.

What about:
Galatians 1:21-24 "Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ
But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.”
And they glorified God in me."


These referred Christian churches, which most likely did not include the Church of Jerusalem (never said to be "in Christ", as also for Peter & James), were the ones during Paul's very early ministry (likely with Barnabas) and before the "council" of Jerusalem. In these times, Paul's preaching was likely similar to these churches.

Galatians 1-2 does not say the preaching of Paul (to Gentiles) and of the Church of Jerusalem (to Jews) were the same. Only that, at the time of the council of Jerusalem, Paul's early gospel could still be tolerated, which does not mean this situation will last: it didn't!

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {Church of Jerusalem} {Galatians} {James} {leaders of the Church} {"Nazarenes"} {"Nazarenes" NOT having been Christians} {Paul} {Peter}
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