Some mornings I give you the whole thought. This time I’m giving you homework. We’ve talked about the first few sentences of Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia. Over the next couple days, I’d like you to read the next section of the letter and think about it.
Galatians 1:11-2:10 starts with an assertion: “…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.” If he proves this to the satisfaction of his readers, he’s able to do other things. He has authority to apply the gospel. He has authority to speak against people who are talking about the gospel differently. He has authority equal to the disciples who actually walked with Jesus.
The rest of the section is Paul providing evidence for getting instruction from God, not from others. So read it carefully and look for some things.
- Notice that he’s talking about a learning and living process that spreads across many years. When we read the book of Acts, we think that events happen at Twitter speed. For us, “later” means “that afternoon”. But in Paul’s story, “later” could mean “months later”. So how long did his training take?
- Notice how often he talks about his independence from other human influence. When I hear someone say “God told me” I hesitate. Especially when God seems to tell you to do what makes you most happy and comfortable regardless of what he told Moses, Paul, John, Nehemiah, and others. So how reliable is his hearing?
- Notice how his account is consistent with and different from Acts 9-14. Do they have to be identical, or is it possible they differ the way we may include or exclude events as we are telling our life story to different people?
Read well. Let me know what you see.
See you Monday.