Not Man’s Gospel, part 2

v11: “I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.”

This is the main point of this passage: for Paul to distinguish the gospel he preached from any other gospel that the Galatians might hear, to prove that Paul’s gospel is worth listening to because he received it not from men, but from God.

I don’t think this is a new concept for anyone here. I think we’re all content that the gospel Paul preached was from God, not just made up by some 1st Century Jews. So it would seem unnecessary to do a Bible Study on this, but I guess that’s what happens when you do a series of studies on a book of the Bible; there will be sections where the main teaching point in the text is something that people are very familiar with. So although I don’t think I’m going to be saying much that’s new to you, this is what God inspired Paul to write about at this point in his letter to the Galatians, so I think it’s right that we spend this time thinking about what he said and why he said it.

Evidently there was some doubt among the Galatians about where Paul got his gospel message from. It seems they thought this other gospel they’d been hearing was at least as believable and trustworthy as Paul’s gospel. And why shouldn’t they? Well, Paul’s answer is that his gospel is not man-made. Not that they should give his gospel special attention because of who he was, but because of who he received it from, namely God himself. v12: “I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”

And Paul reinforces the point that he received this gospel from God in v16 when he says “I did not immediately consult with anyone.” God revealed his son to Paul and that was enough, he didn’t need anyone else to validate what he’d heard from God, nor did he give anyone the chance to twist what God had revealed to him or distort his understanding of what God had made clear to him. So there was no human wisdom involved in crafting the message Paul would preach to the Galatians, it was purely from God.

In v17 we see it was only after 3 years that Paul went up to Jerusalem to meet Peter, and even then he only spent a couple of weeks with him. He wasn’t there to learn the gospel from the apostles, he already had the gospel, and neither Paul nor anyone else had invented it. It came from God himself.

And again, v11 starts with the word “For”, so this point about Paul’s gospel not being man-made relates to what he said before, because the reason people invent man-made gospels is they’re trying to make man-pleasing gospels. In the case of the Galatians, someone was trying to appeal to man’s pride by appending the gospel with something men could do themselves to add to Christ’s righteousness.

So the main point in saying “I did not immediately consult with anyone” was for Paul to prove the purity of his God-given gospel, and I think the application for us is to accept Paul’s gospel as, well, gospel, and we must not try to modify it to make it more attractive to men. When God speaks, don’t say “yes, but…”

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