Tuesday, 9 February 2016
For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:12
This verse further bolsters Paul’s statement of verse 1 concerning His apostleship which was “…not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead.” The words he gives now are to show the contrast between his teachings and those of the false apostles who had come into the churches in Galatia and infected them with the doctrines of mere men.
They had first received their false teachings from man, or they had made them up. Either way, the message that those in Galatia had received was of human origin. Paul stood in contrast to this. The “neither” and the “nor” of this verse both independently stem back to the preceding verse. If we tie them independently to that verse, the fuller meaning of what Paul is saying can be seen –
“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man….”
“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man; nor was I taught it,”
In the first instance, he is says that the gospel he preached was not received from man. There was no human origin involved in what he presented to the Galatians. If not human, then it was of divine Source. “The gospel is not from any human as it had come to you.”
In the second instance, he was not actually taught this gospel that he preached as if it were of human origin. “The gospel is not from any human as it came to me.”
Rather, its Source was “through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Paul had been converted on the road to Damascus. At that time, and then for the next three days as he waited to be healed of his blindness, he was able to process what had happened, coming to the realization that all of the Scripture he had been trained in and knew so well pointed to Christ. After this, Ananias came as directed and we read this –
“Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Ananias did not give him any instruction; instead, he simply obeyed the Lord and proved the Lord’s message by restoring Paul’s eyesight. Even after this, there is no note of human instruction for Paul. Instead, the account simply states the following –
“Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.
19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.
20 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.”
When Paul was strengthened, he immediately went out preaching the Christ; the gospel message. There was no need for him to be taught by a human because the revelation, working through the knowledge he already possessed, and through the proofs of the encounter with the risen Christ, were sufficient to make the gospel known from that point on. Other instances of visions from the Lord are noted as well, but this first divine revelation was enough for Paul to understand and proclaim the gospel to others.
Before going any further, we must ask ourselves, “If Paul’s words are through the revelation of Jesus Christ, then shouldn’t we look for our doctrine in Paul’s letters and not from the misguided teachings of others?” His commission is clearly laid out in Acts. If it is an untruthful account, then the entire book of Acts is suspect and is to be disregarded. However, if Paul’s revelation (and thus his calling as an apostle) is true, then his words must be what the Bible portrays them as, which is the very word of God.
Life application: 1) Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles. This is noted several times in Scripture. 2) This is now the Gentile-led church age. 3) Therefore, Paul’s writings are doctrine for this dispensation of time. They are prescriptive and they are to be accepted as such. Should we fail to accept them as he intends, then we also disregard the One who speaks through him.
Lord God, there is nothing in this life that I desire more than to be right with You. I desire to dwell in Your presence in righteousness and in a manner which will find favor in Your eyes and approval from Your lips. And how can I obtain such a favorable nod of approval? I can only receive it by applying Your instructions to my life in the proper way. Help me in this Lord. Help me to accept Your word, apply it to my life, and to be in a good and happy standing with You at all times. This I pray. Be glorified in me, O God! Amen.