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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Wednesday, July 03 2019

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai


In last week’s study, we saw the urgency with which Apostle Paul addressed the situation reported of the churches in Galatia. Where those who live by Jewish practices persuaded the Galatians to adopt Jewish practices—circumcision in particular. In the first few verses of chapter one, Paul rebuked the Galatians for their fickle turn away from the Gospel which they had been taught—and he pronounced a curse on those who had seduced them to observe Jewish practices or anyone who preached a contrary gospel for that matter. In today’s study, we see how he defends both his apostleship and the Gospel he preaches in the hope that what he writes will persuade the Galatians to forego the practice of observing Jewish law.


“I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”

Paul continued here by making it clear that the Gospel preached by him was not the product of human thought or human instruction. There were, of course, people involved in Paul’s conversion and maturing in the faith.  After Jesus appeared to Saul (who later became known as Paul) on the road to Damascus, Jesus called Ananias to lay hands on Saul so that Saul could regain his sight and receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:12-19).  When Jews tried to kill Saul, disciples lowered him in a basket through a hole in the wall so that he might escape (Acts 9:23-25).  In Jerusalem, where the disciples knew Saul’s reputation and were afraid of him, Barnabas served as Saul’s advocate so that Saul could proclaim the Gospel there (Acts 9:26-30).

The content of Saul’s preaching came through revelation of Jesus Christ. This revelation began on the road to Damascus in Acts 9, and continued thereafter. Paul had not learned his theology by sitting at the feet of more experienced apostles.


“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. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.”

Saul had been a persecutor of the church prior to seeing a vision of Jesus on the Damascus road.  He had been present at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:58).  He might or might not have been one of those throwing stones to kill Stephen, but he clearly approved of that action (Acts 8:1).

He “ravaged the assembly (church), entering into every house, and dragged both men and women off to prison” (Acts 8:3) and, “still breathing threats and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:1-2).

Saul’s reputation as a persecutor traveled quickly, and Jesus’ disciples feared him. See Acts 9:13-17 and 27-31).


“But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 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. 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.”

Paul makes several important points here:

  • It was God’s good pleasure to call Saul. It wasn’t Saul’s idea—not at all.
  • It was by God’s grace that he revealed his Son to Saul. No one who knew Saul’s history could believe anything else to be true.
  • God called Paul to preach Christ among the Gentiles

In verse 16b Paul established that the Gospel that he preached was the product of direct revelation rather than by sitting at the feet of more established Christian leaders in Jerusalem which was, for a time, the chief city for Christian disciples.  It was where the church was established at Pentecost (Acts 2). It was where the Jerusalem Council met (Acts 15:1-35), and it was a gathering place for the church’s leadership.

Note that Paul speaks of those who were apostles before I was”—not “the senior apostles.”  He doesn’t speak of them disrespectfully, but neither does he speak of them reverently.  They have their place in the church, and Paul has his.  He felt no need to seek out their guidance and counsel, because he had learned what he needed to know through divine revelation. He also went on a personal retreat in Arabia located to the east and south of Damascus; seeking solitude to pray and to consider how he might proclaim the Gospel. 


“Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas (Peter) and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother.”

Paul went to Jerusalem to visit Peter, who was the leading disciple/apostle from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry through Acts 12.  Paul’s point in telling of his visit to Arabia and the three-year time period was to tell his readers that he had been active in considering the revelation that God had given him—and what he would do with it.  In other words, he didn’t visit Peter until his faith and understanding had matured.

But Paul could nevertheless profit from the time he spent with Peter. Peter had been one of Jesus’ first disciples (Matthew 4:18)—and remained with Jesus until Jesus’ ascension.  Paul had not seen Jesus until after Jesus’ ascension, so Peter could relate details from his day-to-day walk with Jesus throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth. He also met James, the Lord’s brother. James was not a disciple of Jesus prior to the crucifixion and resurrection, but became a disciple and a leader of the Jerusalem church after Jesus’ ascension.  As a measure of his importance, he was a decision-maker at the Jerusalem Council, and gave the final report of the Council’s findings (Acts 15:12-21). Paul refers to him as an apostle (Galatians 1:19).


“I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me.”

Paul knows that his opponents will challenge his account, so he adds this note about his truthfulness. Paul’s statement skirts on the edge of violating of Jesus’ injunction against oaths and vows (Matthew 5:33-37)—but it also shows Paul’s seriousness in defending himself.  He and his readers understand that it would be a gross sin to make this kind of statement if it were not true. In his travels, Paul preached the Gospel on these visits, still depending on the revelation given him by God rather than other apostolic influence. Paul had met with Peter and James, but was unknown to the disciples of Judean churches. The disciples didn’t know Paul by sight (v. 22), but were aware of his reputation as a persecutor of the church.  They glorified God for transforming the former persecutor into a disciple and an apostle.


This is a perfect example of a time for everything - a time to be silent and a time to speak. (Eccl.3:7b). This was a time to speak for Paul! When we evaluate what is at stake; we should not be afraid or ashamed or too “humble” to speak out! The churches in Galatia were not aware of the process Paul had gone through and his encounters with the Lord and other apostles that would rebuff his critics and give assurance to the Galatians of the authority he had in preaching to the Gentiles so he needed to write this letter. Paul’s motivation was clear. Knowing that the glory of Christ and people’s souls were at stake didn’t hold back even if it appeared that he was “blowing his trumpet”. If that’s what it would take to convince the churches in Galatia not to be led astray, he was ready to do it.

This study was culled from

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