Paul's strong denial of the human origin of his apostleship (
) is a hint of the controversy that drives this letter.
Gave himself: Christ's death is understood as a sin offering for others (Eph 5.2; Lev 4–5
Paul defends his gospel. Paul omits his normal opening prayer of thanksgiving for his readers, showing how angry he is with them (contrast 1 Cor 1.4–9
Different gospel refers to the views Paul opposes in the letter; mainly, that God requires gentile
Christians to observe the Mosaic law (
The use of a double curse is especially emphatic (1 Cor 16.22
The perspective of Paul's critics.
Human origin renders “kata anthropon,” literally “according to man,” thus human. Revelation of Jesus Christ: Paul's understanding of the gospel occurred through a revelation whose content was Jesus Christ (v. 16
Paul recalls his past.
His role as persecutor was a key memory informing Paul's understanding of his apostleship (1 Cor 15.9; Acts 8.3
His formal training as a Pharisee
is in view (Phil 3.5–6; Acts 22.3
The language recalls Old Testament prophetic calls (Isa 49.1; Jer 1.5
The experience changed Paul into the apostle
to the gentiles
(Rom 15.15–16; Acts 9.15
Paul's autobiographical account differs slightly from the story of his call in Acts 9
. In Acts 9.26–30; 22.17–21
, Paul returns to Jerusalem immediately after his conversion. Arabia was a nearby region. The return to Damascus locates the events of v. 15
(Acts 9; 2 Cor 11.32–33
This visit is sometimes identified with Acts 9.26–30
, although Acts 9
mentions neither Cephas (Peter) nor James.
2 Cor 11.31
Syria is the region of Damascus; Cilicia is eastern Asia Minor.
This is difficult to harmonize with Acts 9.26–30
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