Heavenly Father, we claim the promise that all Scripture is inspired by You and is beneficial for doctrine, correction, reproof, correction, for training in righteousness, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Galatians 1: 11-16, Paul’s apostolic authority
VV 11-12, 11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Paul’s apostolic authority came directly from the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not receive the gospel through the teaching and preaching of men. It was a direct revelation from Christ. Christ appeared and spoke to him in a vision on the road to Damascus, Acts 9: 1-19. After his baptism by Ananias, Jesus commissioned him to be an apostle to the Gentiles.
Acts 9:5, And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
Acts 9:15, But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel”.
VV 13-14, 13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
Before conversion, Paul was an exceedingly zealous Pharisee, a cruel persecutor of Christians, and was all out to harm the Christians and destroy the church. After conversion, he became an exceedingly zealous apostle, church planter, and evangelist.
Acts 9:1-2, “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem”.
Philippians 3:5, “circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee”.
VV 15-17, 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
Paul alluded to Psalm 139 when he said that God had chosen and sanctified him even before he was born. Greek for apostle is “apostolos” which means someone who is sent out on a mission. Jesus revealed Himself to Paul and appointed him to be an apostle to the Gentiles. After conversion, Paul did not meet up with any of the apostles in Jerusalem but chose to isolate himself in the desert of Arabia for 3 years before returning to Damascus.
Psalm 139:16, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be’”
Today, we learned about Paul who was called by God to be an apostle to the Gentile. His encounter with Christ and his subsequent conversion was sudden and dramatic. From a zealous Pharisee, he became a zealous apostle. Let us imitate Paul even as He imitates Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank You for this inspired Epistle of Paul to the Galatians and for preserving it in the New Testament canon for our benefit. Help us to emulate Paul as our role model, in Jesus’ name, Amen.