Galatians 1:1-24

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From Memory*:
“Paul, and apostle, called not from men nor by man, but Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead, and all the brothers with me, to the churches in Galatia:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever, amen.
I am astonished you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel, which is really no gospel at all. Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again, if anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned. For am I now trying to win the approval of God or of man? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
I want you to know brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it. Rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. For you know 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 jews my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his son in me so that I might preach it to the gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was. But I immediately went into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.
Then, after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles, only James, the Lord’s brother. I assure you before God what I am writing you is no lie. Later I went to Syria and Cilicia.
I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. The 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.”

Wow, it’s been an extremely fun month or so memorizing this passage. Even though I’ve been discussing this with my high school small group, Bryan and studying it rather in depth since last fall, there is something powerful about memorizing scripture. I think it’s because memorizing forces me to meditate.
Here are some notes/thoughts about what I’ve learned from this first chapter of Galatians.

1. Paul clearly expresses a separation from man

  • In his description of self […sent not from men nor by man, BUT by Jesus Christ…]
  • In his description of the gospel. This “new” gospel which the Galatians are turning to [which is really no gospel at all] is most definitely not from God, it’s from people. [Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion…] also […what I preached is not something man made up…I did not receive it from any man…]
  • In his mission [If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.]
  • In his consulatation […I did not consult any man] not even the apostles who Jesus hung out with!

2. Paul was given the gift of apostleship

  • There are two clear signs of this: [rather I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ] and [nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before I was]
  • I’m still unsure if the gift of apostleship (as noted in 1 Cor. 12-13) is even possible today. Obviously, Paul talked to Jesus by revelation and thus was an apostle just as the disciples were later called apostles because they hung out with Jesus. I’m sure that it is possible today, to received a revelation of the teachings of Jesus from Jesus himself but does it happen? With the Bible and all of the knowledge we have? I don’t know. What do you think?
  • Paul clearly received this gift for a very specific purpose [But when God…was pleased to reveal his son in me so that I might preach it to the gentiles…] God had specific job for Paul, which is maybe why he got to learn directly from Jesus. (I know, I know, we all have specific jobs in God’s kingdom, but seriously, is anyone ready to claim that they’re the next Apostle Paul?)

3. Paul immediately reacts on his “calling” (that is to [preach it to gentiles])

  • [I did not consult any man…rather I immediately went into Arabia and later return to Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem…] Well, talk about immediately responding to the powerful Holy Spirit!
  • I have a question about this though, I think there are two scales of this, a Micro and a Macro level. My question is, would you recommend this to another believer when it is on a Macro level? Let me explain, on a micro level, I am extremely spurred by Paul’s example. It is all too often when I know the Holy Spirit is tugging on my heart and calling me to immediate action and I quench it. But on a macro level (example: flying to China to become a missionary), should I really trust the feeling inside as the Holy Spirit and act immediately on that? I think I would advise other believers to seek counsel. But that is the opposite of what Paul did, once again [I did not consult any man]. So I don’t know about this one either and it furthers my question about Paul being very specifically called not just by the Holy Spirit but by Jesus and was given the rare (?) gift of apostleship.

4. The Main Point: The gospel is true, from God, and powerful.

  • Paul is [astonished] at the Galatians for deserting such a powerful, life-changing God and turning to whatever the next person preaches.
  • Though the Galatians heard the gospel through Paul, a man, Paul received the gospel by revelation from Jesus Christ. This demonstrates the difference between Paul and the people who [are throwing you into to confusion and trying to pervert the gospel of Christ] as well as the difference between the gospel which Paul preached and the different gospel which was swaying the Galatian believers [which is really no gospel at all]!

Alright, I’m done. My brain hurts anyway. I want to know what you think though, because I’m probably wrong in a lot of my thinking! Let me know!

*Original NIV Text (Only a few errors!):
“Paul, an apostle-sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the deadand all the brothers with me, to the churches in Galatia:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospelwhich is really no gospel at all. Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again, if anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! 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. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. 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 Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his son in me so that I might preach him among the gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I immediately went into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.
Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostlesonly James, the Lord’s brother. I assure you before God what I am writing you is no lie. Later I went to Syria and Cilicia.
I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. The 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.”

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