In the previous blog I demonstrated both contextually and grammatically that Galatians 2:7 is referring to only one gospel – the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ which was first announced to the shepherds on the night Christ was born in Bethlehem, and later blossomed into the full-orbed gospel as it was finally revealed to Paul by the glorified Christ Himself. At the council at Jerusalem, it was determined that Paul’s gospel wasn’t different from the gospel they themselves had been proclaiming. In the council, Peter, who had previously spent fifteen days with Paul (Gal 1:18), explained to the rest of the council that the gospel Paul preached was not different from the gospel they preached. He said:
“Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of THE gospel (τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, sing.) and believe. 8 So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, 9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved IN THE SAME MANNER as they.” (Acts 15:7-11)
Paul said of this singular, one-and-only gospel that it was the “power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom 1:16). In chapter one of Galatians, Paul most emphatically insisted that there is only one gospel (Gal 1:6-9). Therefore, it is unreasonable to think he would turn around and say that there are two distinct gospels only a few verses later in Galatians 2:7. This error is primarily due to the fact that the KJV rendered it “the gospel of the uncircumcision” rather than “to the uncircumcision.”
Those who would insist that it must read “of the uncircumcision” rather than “to the uncircumcision,” simply because the noun, uncircumcision, is in the genitive case, only show their lack of understanding of the many nuances of the genitive case in Greek. When teaching first year Greek, we always warned the students that they needed to continue on to at least complete the second year, due to the complexities of the Greek language. Many consider themselves to be authorities on Greek after only having received the basics of the language.
I don’t claim to be an expert myself, but it often troubles me to see some who obviously lack any real knowledge of the original languages, showing contempt for the translators as if those scholars didn’t know what they were doing. The Greek scholar A.T. Robertson lists ten distinct uses of the genitive. 1[i] As we saw in the previous blog, a common use of the genitive case is the objective genitive, which would read “to” or “towards.” The reason many of the more recent translations render it as “to the uncircumcision” rather than “of the uncircumcision” is because the structure allows it, and the context requires it.
Upon this demonstrably erroneous two-gospel doctrine an entire doctrinal system has been build which also argues for two separate groups of believers among the people of God, each with their own private set of Scriptures and disparate doctrines. They dogmatically affirm that they are the only ones in our day who rightly divide the Word of God (2Tim 2:15).
However, I must ask the question: are they rightly dividing the Word of God when they divide believers into two bodies? I hope to demonstrate in this blog that in reality they are actually dividing that which God has joined together. They are drawing lines of division where Paul himself most emphatically states that they are not to be drawn.
In his book “The Two Gospels,” Dawson Barlow argues that Galatians is key to understanding God’s present program since it contains a major “road sign” or transition that most of the Church has failed to recognize. 2[ii] Paul’s visit to Jerusalem, related in Galatians 2, corresponds to his appearance before the Jerusalem council as recorded in Acts 15. There, as we have already seen, they determined that the gospel Paul preached was not another gospel and gave him the right hand of fellowship, saying that he should go to the Gentiles and Peter would go to the circumcised (Gal 2:9).
However, two-gospel advocates like Dawson and Martin Zender, insisting upon the Authorized Version’s rendering of Galatians 2:7, argue that the Jerusalem council actually concluded the very opposite – that Peter and Paul were to proclaim two different gospels for two separate people groups: Paul to the Gentiles and Peter to the Jews. They not only argue that from the Jerusalem council onwards there were two distinct gospels, but they also insist that God had two separate people groups contemporaneous with each other: 1) The Messianic Jews or the circumcision, and 2) the Gentile believers or the uncircumcision. They also claim that only the Jewish believers make up the bride of Christ, while the Gentiles are the Church or the body of Christ and separate from the bride.
But is Christ divided? If such a distinction had been made at the Jerusalem council, we would certainly expect to see it mentioned by Paul in Galatians, but what does he say in this regard? In the very next chapter, Paul makes it abundantly clear that no such division existed between Jew and Gentile believers at that time. He said:
“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for YOU ARE ALL ONE in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal 3:27-29)
Here we see that, not only do Jews and Gentiles make up the one and only body of Christ, but the Gentiles have also become Abraham’s seed by virtue of their union with Christ, who is Abraham’s Seed (cf. Gal 3:16). To Paul, as to no other Apostle, was entrusted the mysteries of the gospel. However, the mystery revealed to him was not that the Gentile believers were separate from the Jewish believers, but quite to the contrary, the mystery was that they both make up the same body. He said:
“by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of THE SAME BODY, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel (τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, sing.).” (Eph 3:3-6).
“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into ONE BODY — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Cor 12:13)
So, we see that Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, teaches the exact opposite of that which the two-gospel people affirm. He clearly states that Jew and Gentile believers form one body in Christ. Additionally, it needs to be pointed out that the mysteries of the gospel were not exclusive to Paul, as they claim. Here Paul says that this mystery was also revealed to Christ’s “holy apostles and prophets” by the Spirit. The mysteries revealed to Paul were not revealed to him to the exclusion of the other Apostles, they were revealed to the whole body.
The argument that the Gentiles make up the Church, the body of Christ, while the Jews who believe only become the bride of Christ, is based upon the fact that Paul’s epistles do not use the word “bride” referring to believers. Since they believe that no part of the New Testament, apart from Paul’s epistles, is applicable to the Gentile Church, they argue that the lack of mention of the word “bride” is conclusive evidence that the Church will not be the bride of Christ.
I will consider the fallacy of the two Scripture doctrine in another blog. However, while the actual word “bride” is not directly applied to the Church in Paul’s epistles, since the wedding feast is yet future, he nevertheless does refer to the church as having been betrothed to become the bride. Paul said to the Corinthians:
“For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (2 Cor 11:2)
Here Paul presents himself as one who made himself a eunuch for the kingdom’s sake, preparing the betrothed bride of the King for the wedding day. Likewise, in Ephesians, Paul compares the one flesh husband/wife relationship in marriage to that of the relationship of Christ to His Church:
“So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Eph 5:28-32)
Paul here says that the one-flesh union with a man and his wife is a representation of a great mystery – the mystery of the union of Christ with His Church. Clearly, the Church is presented as the bride of Christ, not only in the book of Revelation, but also in Paul’s epistles.
They argue that the book of Revelation is not applicable to the Church but only to the Jews or the bride of Christ. However, in the very introduction, John specifically says: “John, to the seven churches which are in Asia” (Rev 1:4). Jesus then says: “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia…” (Rev 1:11). How can it reasonably be argued that the book of Revelation was not addressed to the Gentiles in the churches, when it was Paul himself who first took the gospel to most of the cities mentioned here in Revelation?
Also, it should be noted that, while Paul was commissioned to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, he did not preach the gospel exclusively to them. In fact, just as he said in Romans 1:16, it was his custom to preach the gospel first to the Jews. In Acts 17, after the Jerusalem council in chapter 15, it was still his custom to preach first to the Jews. It says:
“Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” (Acts 17:1-2).
How can the two-gospel people explain the fact that Paul customarily went and preached the gospel first to the Jews if indeed his gospel was different from that of the circumcision? Paul said that, to the Jews he became as a Jew in order to win the Jews, but he preached the same gospel to them and not another (1Cor 9:19-23).
They also argue that the Great Commission, which Jesus commanded the 12 Apostles to preach to the ends of the earth, was suspended at the Jerusalem council in Acts 15. If that is true, then what was the gospel that the other 12 Apostles took to the nations during their lifetime? Did they only evangelize the Jews?
The two-gospel advocates imply that the 12 remained in Jerusalem preaching the gospel to the Jews only. However, that is not the case. In Acts 1 Jesus said that they would be His witnesses beginning in Jerusalem, then Judea and Samaria, and finally unto the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Following through Acts, we can see that the Great Commission was carried out in that order, just as Jesus said – first in Jerusalem (1:1 – 7:60), then Judea and Samaria (8:1 – 9:43), and finally to the ends of the earth (10:1 – 28:31). In the final verse of Acts we see that Paul is still preaching the same gospel of the kingdom of God and not another, as the two-gospel people claim (Acts 28:31). Jesus said that the end would come as soon as the gospel of the kingdom had been preached to all the world as a witness to all the nations (Matt 24:14).
The other 12 Apostles began in Jerusalem, but they didn’t remain there. Even Peter spent his final days in Rome. Most of them died as martyrs at the hands of the Gentiles because of their testimony with the exception of John, who died of old age in Ephesus. In the following map one can see that they didn’t consider the Great Commission Jesus commended to them as having been suspended in Acts 15, as claimed by the two-gospel people.
 Robertson, A. T. A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, Objective Genitive.
 R. Dawson Barlow, The Two Gospels – A big difference.