Full Text for Galatians- Volume 7 - Can you tell us more about the relationship between Paul and Peter in the Book of Acts? And how did Barnabas and James fit into the picture? (Video)

No. 7. >> Hello. I'm your student from Wyoming where the number of people and the number of square miles are roughly similar. I'm presently teaching the Book of Acts in my Sunday morning Bible class. Can you tell us more about the relationship between Paul and Peter in the Book of Acts? And how did Barnabas and James fit into the picture? >>DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.: Thank you for that question, Josh. My son-in-law's name is Josh so it's become a favorite name of ours. He's a seminarian. And he is studying now to finish his time here and be taking a call next year. I think you can see, Josh, that one of the things that fascinates me about the New Testament is that it is filled with people who do have personalities, who do interact with one another. And that it's important for us to see that rich fabric of people's lives. Now, the New Testament isn't written the way perhaps novels are today or were throughout the history of the world in which you get a deep sense of the inner thinking of people. But you can learn a lot by reading between the lines and seeing how people interact in the New Testament. I think when you read the gospels, for example, you get a good picture of the kind of person Peter is. Peter is a courageous man, somewhat impetuous, a man who is not afraid to burst forward with the truth. He's the one that first confesses Jesus as the Christ. He's the one that stands up at Pentecost. He clearly was a leader and was shown that way particularly by Matthew and Luke. And Mark, who we think is really the Gospel of Peter shows the kind of person Peter is. Like a lion roaring around doing things. Sometimes Jesus is called the lion, too, the lion of Judah. But you can really get a sense of Peter. And that's what they needed in the early church. That's what they needed in Pentecost. Those first few chapters of Acts needed somebody like Peter who was bold and courageous and able to move forward. Probably had a very, very winsome and very significant charismatic in the right sense of the word presence. We've already talked about the personality of Paul. And Paul is a different kind of person. Same sort of courage and passion. But the thing you have to remember about Paul is he's a biblical scholar. Peter is not. Peter is a Galilean fisherman. Peter is more of a doer. You know, now Paul did have a trade. He was a tent maker. So he clearly had the capacity to work with his hands and work among the folks. But Paul really is the biblical scholar. And when you see the interaction of Paul and Peter, you see these two giants coming out of totally different situations. Peter from this kind of very marginal place in Israel, Galilee that was not considered very significant being thrown into this mission. And Paul who is really in a sense a man who was brought up in a Gentile context and yet learned in the school of Gamaliel. You've got these two giants coming together. And I think there's mutual respect. I think we're going to see that in the book of Galatians. Particularly Paul's respect for Peter. And yet when Peter seems to compromise the truth of the Gospel, Paul is not afraid to confront him and get in his face. And to really call him on the carpet. There are other figures, though, that figure in the book of Galatians, which is why we want to talk about them. Barnabas is a very, very important figure. And yet sometimes just completely obscured by Peter and Paul. Barnabas, of course, is from the Jerusalem church. He's a Jew. And he's called -- this is his nickname -- son of encouragement, son of consolation. There must have been something about Barnabas' personality whereby he could come into a situation where there might have been tension, there might have been some difficulties, and he could bring kind of a peace there. Paul was a very volatile man. As I said before, we would probably not consider him a nice guy. Sometimes when he runs into a situation, he may have broken a few eggs. But then there was Barnabas beside him, especially in that first missionary journey, who was able to come alongside him and be able to create a situation in which there was encouragement and consolation. A great example of this is at the beginning of the second missionary journey, John Mark who was later on the evangelist St. Mark. John Mark whose mother Mary had the house in Jerusalem where Peter was in, perhaps even was the one who owned the upper room. We don't know for sure. But she was a significant presence. All of the apostles came to her house. That was command central for the apostolic church in Jerusalem. And Mark is this little kid who is seeing all of these apostles running through this house. And his mother is the one who is running the show. And who knows what Mark's problem was. But whatever it was, Paul did not want to take him on the second missionary journey. He did not think he was either mature enough or he was lazy or he was filled with pride. But he said: I'm not taking them. And there's actually kind of a break between Paul and Barnabas. And Barnabas says. Listen you go ahead on your second missionary journey. I'm going to go to Cyprus and I'm going to take John Mark with me. Now, Barnabas saw something in John Mark worth redeeming. And we're going to see later on in the years 58 to 60 when Paul is in Caesarea Maritima Mark is there and Paul speaks in his letters of Mark as being a great help to him in the mission. Barnabas did something or something happened to John Mark by his relationship with Barnabas that made it significant for him to change into an evangelist who Paul, who had a falling out with him ten years earlier, is able to say: Hey, John Mark is of great value to me. Barnabas is also one who when Peter compromised the Gospel, Barnabas went along with him. Barnabas of course was one of the first founders of the church in Antioch, the first Christian church, a church we're going to see is made up of Jews and Gentiles which is unusual in this moment in the history of the church. But Barnabas is a significant person because he is there with Paul in at least the first and second missionary journeys, even though he doesn't go with Paul in the second missionary journey. Finally, there's James the brother of our Lord. I've already mentioned him from Acts 12. If you read the gospels, you know that the brothers of Jesus didn't necessarily believe in him or were not his fiercest followers. But after the resurrection the brothers of Jesus become foundation stones for the early Christian church. In Proverbs it says that the church is built on seven pillars and here it's speaking about now Israel. And we believe that the early Christian church was built on seven pillars, as well. Certainly the foundation stones are the 12 apostles. But the pillars of the church were Peter, James and John -- I've already talked about them, the ones who went up on the mountain of transfiguration, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, and Peter. And then the other four to make up the seven were the four brothers of Jesus: James, Joseph Simon and Jude. Now James is the eldest and James is the one who becomes bishop of Jerusalem. There was something about James that was significant. And if you read some of the early church historians, they have the utmost regard for James. We are going to see this when we talk about the Apostolic Council. But there was something about James that held all of that tensioning together in Jerusalem. Think about what it was like after he became bishop. Think about the tension between Jews and Christians and Romans. James would have been the one who was able to negotiate all of that. There was something about him that provided kind of what they would call a bulwark. He was called a bulwark between the tension breaking out. And as soon as James is martyred and we believe he was martyred in the year 62, not very soon after that the church in Jerusalem begins to go downhill. And of course eight years after his martyrdom the entire city of Jerusalem is destroyed. We believe James the brother of our Lord, bishop of Jerusalem was the one who held it together for almost 20 years before the whole thing collapsed. Now, he's going to be a significant figure in the Apostolic Council. Peter, James and John. Those are the big three. The brothers of Jesus. The four. The pillars of the church. But then there are these significant ones that rise up. Peter the bishop of Jerusalem probably the first 12 chapters of Acts. James the bishop for the rest of Acts until his martyrdom. And then of course Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. We're going to see that all of these names are in Galatians. So it's helpful for us to have a little bit of background on them so when we read Paul's words to the Gentiles in Galatia, we'll see how significant these Jews are for the Gentile church.