BY WHOSE AUTHORITY?
Lord, thank You for supplying me with the true Gospel.
Read GALATIANS 1:11–24
Paul Called by God
11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.
18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas[a] and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.
21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me.
a Galatians 1:18 That is, Peter
New International Version (NIV)
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“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart” (Rom. 10:8). Lord, thank You for Your Word and the Gospel it contains.
In this autobiographical passage, Paul speaks of his pre-Christian life, his conversion, and the events that follow. Why does Paul reveal all this? Since the central issue in Galatians is the true Gospel, Paul must make the case that the Gospel he proclaimed to the Galatians is the genuine version and that of his opponents’ is fraudulent. Paul wants the Galatians to know that he has received the Gospel directly from Christ and that his commission to preach it comes from God himself (cf. 1).
Immediately after his conversion, Paul began to preach the Gospel in Damascus and the region south of it, called “Arabia.” Only three years later, Paul had brief contact with Peter and James in Jerusalem, after which he went to the Roman province of Syria-Cilicia with Antioch as its capital. The difficulty with the long passage from 1:11 to 2:21 is how to line up its various events with those recorded in Acts. The events in verses 13–24 correspond broadly with those in Acts 9:1–31, and some seeming discrepancies should not distract us from the overall purpose of the account. Paul’s main point is that his message and commission are divine in origin and do not come from the mother church in Jerusalem.
When Paul wrote Galatians probably in the late 40s, there was no written Gospel—only the oral tradition about Jesus, supervised by the apostles as the original eyewitnesses. Hence, if Paul wants to succeed in persuading the Galatian believers to make a drastic U-turn, establishing the authority and authenticity of his message is of central importance, especially if his opponents claim authorization by the Jerusalem church, as was the case earlier in Antioch (see the report that “certain people came from James”; Gal. 2:12).
What evidence is there of your faithful proclamation and passionate defense of the one, true Gospel about Jesus Christ, as written in the four divinely inspired Gospels in the Bible?
Lord, help me in my efforts to defend the true Gospel to those around me who may question its message or origin.