Paul next describes his Gentile mission in functional terms. At this point he reverts from you to we, perhaps to call to mind his colleagues, especially Epaphras, with whom he shares the gospel ministry. Paul uses three related verbs, anchored by we proclaim and expanded by admonishing and teaching, which are the "two natural and necessary concomitants of the proclamation of the mystery of Christ" (Harris 1991:72). The word for "proclaim" (katangello), which is used only in Pauline writings and in Acts, refers to the publication of the gospel for conversion. Lohse calls it "missionary preaching" (1971:77). Yet Paul does not conceive of his evangelistic outreach as the mere proclamation of the gospel for conversion; rather, the conversion of the lost is accompanied by spiritual nurture, admonishment and instruction.
Public gauges of success, whether large numbers of converts or eloquent speech or architecturally elegant sanctuaries, are not effective measures of a ministry's importance. God calculates success by whether a congregation entrusted to the care of a minister is spiritually fed and fit to the end. Paul's gospel not only provides knowledge of God's redemptive mystery but also equips the converted so as to present everyone perfect in Christ. The purpose of Paul's Gentile mission is exactly the same as the plan of God's salvation (1:22): the final justification of the saints. His ministry's success, then, can be fully measured only at Christ's parousia (see 2 Cor 3—5).
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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