Paul goes to great lengths in this section to argue that he didn’t get his understanding of the gospel from any man. “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ”(Gal 1:12). He then summarizes his past spent persecuting Christians—hardly a time when he was crafting a unique Christian message.
But when God “was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia and returned again to Damascus”(Gal 1:16-17). Even his visit to Jerusalem (Gal 1:18-19) was brief and not a time for him to receive careful teaching. Paul is not detailing his travels for the sake of information; he is proving that this message did not come from him or from any other man. Paul is prepared to defend the gospel he preaches even if no one else believes and teaches it. (We find out in chapter 2 that other apostles do, in fact, agree). Paul and Jesus make a majority.
I find Paul’s boldness and courage here refreshing. He is supremely confident that what he is teaching is true, yet it is not the confidence that comes from defending our own thinking. He knows what Jesus wants and no angel or apostle or Judaizing teacher will convince him otherwise. Truth is not determined by popularity or opinion polls. Great numbers of people—majorities, even—can be wrong. Truth is determined by Jesus’ words.
One thing to think about: What things do I find hard to believe because many people accept them as true?
One thing to pray for: A deeper knowledge of—and commitment to—the actual words of Jesus
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Fairview Park church of Christ, 11820 Fairview Road, Little Rock, AR 72212
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