would not be a bondservant of Christ. 11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which waspreached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but itcame through the revelation of Jesus Christ. (
Here Paul emphasizes the divine nature of his teaching. He claims that Yeshua the Messiah himself revealed the truth to him.This claim is designed to differentiate the gospel that Paul initially brought to them from the gospel they later accepted.
GALATIANS 1:13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of Godbeyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporariesin my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the
traditions of my fathers
In the Second Temple period, Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Qumran sectarians, Nazarenes, etc. all considered themselves to be Jews. Judaism is a useful term insofar as it indicates that one worships the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. However, thedifferent Jewish sects differed widely in belief and practice in the 1st century.We know from the New Testament that Paul was a member of the sect of the Pharisees (Acts 23:6; 26:5; Phi. 3:5). The"traditions of the fathers" he mentions in verse 14 is a reference to the Oral Law of the Pharisees. The Pharisees (and later their successors, rabbinic Judaism) believed that Moses was given oral laws as well as the written Law while on Mount Sinai for 40days. According to Jewish tradition, these oral laws were handed down through the generations from father to son to explainhow the written Law was to be kept. Many of these oral laws were later recorded by the rabbis in the
.Paul does not just mention the "traditions of the fathers" in passing here. His comment is intended to set up what he will writeto the Galatians later in his letter about the teachings of the "false brethren."
GALATIANS 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me throughHis grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediatelyconfer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but Iwent to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. (
Unlike many who would have sought human validation for the supernatural instruction he had just received, Paul did not go toJerusalem to consult with the disciples who had been with Yeshua. Instead, he went to Arabia and then Damascus for a total of three years (v. 18).
GALATIANS 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteendays. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother. 20 (Now concerning thethings which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.) 21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syriaand Cilicia. 22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. 23 But they werehearing only, "He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy." 24And they glorified God in me. (
At the end of chapter 1, Paul speaks of his trip to Jerusalem three years after his experience on the road to Damsacus. Whilethere, he conferred with the apostle Peter for 15 days.
GALATIANS 2:1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Tituswith me. 2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among theGentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain.3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was
compelled to be circumcised
Paul tells of another trip he took to Jerusalem after 14 more years, this time accompanied by Barnabas and Titus. He states thathe was told to go "by revelation." The purpose of his trip was to confirm that he was preaching the same message to theGentiles that the original apostles were preaching to the Jews.Paul's statement regarding Titus not being compelled to be circumcised (v. 3) is another clue regarding the problems that hadarisen in Galatia. Indications from the text are that
was one of the false teachings being brought to the
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