“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.. I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”
Paul has just said he was “astonished” at the Galatians “deserting” of the gospel and pronounced a curse on the Judaizers who had led them astray. Paul then asks them in verse 10 if this is how he should speak if he were trying to please the Galatians and the Judaizers.
One of the attacks on Paul and his methods by the Judaizers was that Paul was trying to make friends and develop a following. Paul is destroys that accusation by insulting both groups at the same time in his opening verses (1:6-9).
If he is not trying to please men and win their approval, who is he trying to impress? The answer is Christ. As Jesus said, “No servant can serve two masters.” (Luke 16:9)
There are issues that are not foundational to the Christian faith that often come up.
1) There may be areas that are important to other people but are immaterial to Christianity:
B) electric guitars in church
C) the supremacy of the King James translation
2) There are areas that are divisive that should not be allowed to become an issue:
B) spiritual gifts
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23:
“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to every one to win as many a possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law) though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”
Paul here explains why his gospel and his opinion out weighs anyone else's on this matter. Paul’s gospel did not come from man. When other religions teach they hand down a system that men have developed over time. When churches fight for their local church traditions or the denominational practices they often are defending or promoting what man made up.
The gospel that Paul preaches came to him directly from Jesus Christ. It was by revelation. The word for revelation is “apokalupto” which speaks of removing the vale that covers something from being seen. Paul saw and understood something that humans can not perceive with their own powers. It was an act of God that revealed to Paul the gospel.
2 Peter 3:15
It is God the Holy Spirit’s job to reveal the scriptures and the gospel to us. Notice, who revealed it to Paul: “I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” When did this happen? How did it happen? What did Jesus do or say? Paul will answer these questions in the following verses.
Paul’s life before he embraced Christ was that of a strict Jew following the sect called the Pharisees. The Bible gives us this information concerning Paul’s ancestry, his youth, his education, his character and records his actions as a persecutor of the church.
An Israelite could trace their linage back to
Abraham. But, to be called a Hebrew
meant you had maintained the ancient customs and spoke the Hebrew tongue. All this along with the fact that he was born outside of
Paul was from the city of
Saul, by racial ancestry was of
Saul left his home during his
youth and was taken to
It was in this environment that
Saul received his education in the religion of Judaism and became well versed
in its dogma and apologetics. Sometime during his educational years it was
instilled in him a fervent hatred for Christ and His followers and therefore
became the perfect agent in the employment of the Sanhedrin against the
Christians. No doubt, Saul made many such trips throughout the Roman world in
his approximately thirty years in
HIS CONVERSION NEAR
Then by divine sovereignty the
Lord intervenes in Saul’s life and he is genuinely converted during that
encounter with the Lord Jesus. Under the ministry of Ananias
he is also healed and filled with the Holy Ghost. Saul immediately began
preaching Christ in the synagogues of
No doubt Paul’s preaching was very convincing and disturbing to the Damascus Jews to the point where they desired to kill him. Therefore, the other Christian
Is Paul trying to win the approval of people in his ministry??
Paul challenges the Galatians by telling them that he is “astonished” at their “deserting” his teaching.
The Judaizers receive a curse to be “eternally condemned” for changing Paul’s teaching.
The Source of Paul’s Gospel Was NOT:
Man did not make it up. - Paul’s gospel did not have human origin. In fact, it is not even Paul’s gospel. He did not create it.
It was not received from man. -Paul says “I did not receive it” to show that it was not something that men had and it was handed down to Paul. The word “received” is from “paralambano” simply means to receive through communication, but it is also a word used to identify the style of teaching used by the rabbis when their students would memorize their system of religion. Paul says he used this style of teaching himself in 1 Cor. 15:1,3 when he handed down the death, burial and resurrection.
It was not taught by man. -Most Christians today
are taught the gospel by people. No one
taught Paul the gospel. We should
understand his emphasis here is on the fact that the
HIS STAY IN ARABIA From the reading of the
text in Acts 9:26-28 one would get the impression that Saul went directly from
his escape at
Nowhere in the Scriptures does it
indicate which part of the vast area of Arabia he went to, but we can safely assume
it was somewhere east of
At that time the area known as
Arabia included the region governed by Aretas ( II Cor. 11:32) which extended
HIS RETURN TO DAMASCUS In
the Galatian letter in 1:17-18 Paul clearly states
that upon his return from Arabia he came back to the city of
HIS VISIT TO
During his visit to Jerusalem
Paul tried to join himself to the disciples, but was
faced with two obstacles. The disciples were afraid of him and they did not believe
that he was a true disciple of the Lord (Acts 9:26). It is understandable why
the disciples felt this way; either because the saints at
Thanks to Barnabas, the son of consolation, Paul was introduced to the Apostles (Acts 9:27) and proceeded to declare unto them the details of his conversion experience.
HIS ESCAPE TO CAESAREA After
Paul "spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus
and disputed against the Grecians" (Acts 9:29) at
HIS VISIT TO REGIONS OF
BACK HOME TO
PAUL’S STAY AT ANTIOCH Acts 11:25-26 After the persecution of the church at Jerusalem and the martyrdom of Stephen the Gospel began to rapidly spread throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1).
When news of the acceptance of the Gospel by the Grecians of Antioch had reached the church at Jerusalem, they sent Barnabas to Antioch to verify the reports and he therefore was instrumental in increasing the number of converts there (Acts 11:19-24).
Paul was in his hometown of