Galations 1:11-12, Paul’s Authority

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.

//Paul remains such an enigma to me! Driven beyond the endurance of superheroes, his influence in undeniable. But is it fair to label Paul the founder of Christianity?

Two books I’ve reviewed recently sit side-by-side in my library. I love studying from all angles, and these are five-star books that deal with Paul’s accomplishment from two different directions: Barrie Wilson’s How Jesus Became Christian and Tom Holland’s Contours of Pauline Theology.

You can find lots of books on the topic of Paul’s brand of Christianity. Some are happy to call Paul a founder, arguing that the message he espoused radically differed from the message of other apostles. Paul’s influence among the Gentiles, they insist, overwhelmed that of the more Jewish version of Christianity centered in Jerusalem. 

Certainly Paul stood up for his understanding and adamantly preached his beliefs. In today’s verse, Paul makes clear his authority to preach: Jesus, himself, gave him his revelation! Nobody taught him this stuff. It didn’t come from the Jerusalem church or from any other men.

When those irritants back in Jerusalem accused Paul of lacking credentials to speak for Jesus, he angrily insisted “I am not in the least inferior to the ‘super-apostles'” (2 Corinthians 12:11). Earlier in this chapter Paul tells how he was caught up to the third heaven (whether in or out of body, he wasn’t sure) and how, there in Paradise, he “heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.”

One can hardly blame Paul for standing true to his convictions!

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