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 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.
In writing this letter to the Galatians, Paul is trying to counter the false teaching of those who came after him and preached a different gospel. Let’s take a look at what Paul has said already about the origin of the gospel he shared with the Galatians:
1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father
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.
The true gospel is the gospel that comes from God and not from human origins. Paul is concerned the Galatians have been deceived by a false, human-made gospel. He’s writing to persuade the Galatians to return to the true gospel that is revealed from God.
Paul continues on to share the story of how his own life was radically transformed by the true gospel. He continues developing the idea that the gospel he preaches is revelation from God alone, and not something he learned from another human:
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.
Paul was not dependent on anyone else to learn and grow in his faith. He didn’t have the faith someone else handed to him. He didn’t wait around for someone to tell him what he should believe. He had a life-changing encounter with Jesus, and then he devoted himself to searching and studying the Scriptures to learn more!
>>>Here’s a few questions to think about:
Go back to Galatians 1:11-12 and 1:15-16 and look for the words “revelation” and “reveal” in how the gospel came to Paul. Look how the gospel is similarly talked about in Romans:
Romans 1:16 >>> For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Receiving the gospel is categorically different than learning a history lesson. As the gospel acts on your life, it comes with the power of God to bring about life change! It’s not something to be learned; it’s something to be received and responded to.
How did you first receive the gospel? Can you relate to the idea that the gospel is supernatural and not just another idea man came up with?
Read Acts 9:1-31. When Paul received the gospel, he spent some time away studying. He wanted to be sure the gospel he believed and the gospel he preached were not influenced or led astray from another human, but purely the revelation of the gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ.
Is there anything you believe that might be from a human source in regards to the gospel?
What would it look like for you take time to get to know God better for yourself instead of relying on what someone else has told you about God?