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Quits Sabio
Elder at Sovereign Mercy Evangelical Church Inc. and President of Reformed Exegetes Society
User since 2013
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The first Christmas happened in order to establish God's kingdom through His Son Jesus Christ.
Haggai 2:20-23
When He who is clean, namely the Lord Jesus Christ, touched us, we are made clean
Haggai 2:10-19
For all of his bigness, our God has a remarkable love for the small. - Scott Hubbard
Haggai 2:1-9
We should align our priorities with God's priorities, because only when we do so we can be truly satisfied.
Haggai 1:1-15
Where there is hope, there is life (and faith and love) - J. Scott Duvall
Colossians 1:4-5
To walk worthy of our calling is not to call attention to our own worth but to show the worth of our calling
Ephesians 4:1-6
How does a soul magnify the Lord?
Luke 1:39-56
The Death that Delivers From Fear of Death
Hebrews 2:5-15
What is a fruitful life?
John 15:1-7
How can God make much of us and still be for Himself?
Ephesians 1:3-14
Elect Exiles According To The Foreknowledge Of The Father, In The Sanctification Of The Spirit, For Blood Bought Obedience To Jesus
1 Peter 1:1-2
Christian Hospitality Covers a Multitude  of Sin
1 Peter 4
No one can take away your joy from you - Jesus
John 16:16-22
True knowledge about God will result in true love for others.
1 Corinthians 8:1-3
In sin we were dead but in Chirst we were made alive.
Ephesians 2:1-10
To be under the Mosaic law again is not only childish, but also devilish and damning.
Galatians 4:8-11
Beware of working for God! Instead, gladly obey God as our Father and not as our taskmaster.
Galatians 4:1-7
The law serves the promise until the coming of the seed
Galatians 3:19-22
The Law cannot nullify the Promise
Galatians 3:15-18
Law demands a life of perfect obedience, but Faith demands a life of faith in Christ's act of redemption alone
Galatians 3:9-14
Faith is the spiritual DNA by which our familial relationship to Abraham can be proven.
Galatians 3:6-9
We can't start with the Spirit and then end with the flesh
Galatians 3:1-5
What is dying to the law and living to God?
Galatians 2:15-21
Lead others to the truth of the gospel not just with propositions but also with our actions.
Galatians 2:11-14
How important that there is only one gospel?
Galatians 2:1-10
What are you hoping for?
Psalm 42:11
No other gospel that brings glory to God than the gospel of grace that transforms its messenger
Galatians 1:18-24
Want some peace of mind? So Pray!
Philippians 4:6-7
What brings understanding, our thinking or God's granting?
2 Timothy 2:7
What it means to be a slave of Christ?
Galatians 1:10
To desert from the Gospel is to desert away from God
Galatians 1:6-9
Seek God's approval and not the approval of men
Galatians 1:1-5
God gets more glory when more people rely on Him for contentment in times of need.
Philippians 4:10-20
Standing Firm in the Lord demonstrates itself in unity, peacekeeping, rejoicing in the Lord always and forbearance toward one another
Philippians 4:1-9
Resurrection is a means to lay hold of the prize who is Christ Jesus so strive to attain it since He already laid hold of you
Philippians 3:12-21
Jesus came into the world to exegete the Father
John 1:1-18
God is more glorified in us when we enjoy him than when we fear him
Luke 2:8-20
The supremacy of the worth of Christ outweighs all things, and that includes all human boastings!
Philippians 3:1-11
Risking for Jesus will yield greater returns
Philippians 2:25-30
Seeking the interest of Christ is seeking the interest of others above one's own
Philippians 2:19-24
What is the secret to a grumble free life and happy pastors?
Philippians 2:14-16
God is not wasting our suffering,  we shouldn't also
Philippians 1:12-18
How to work out your own Salvation?
Philippians 2:12-18
Motivations for Obedience
Philippians 2:12-13
Christ Emptied himself by Adding
Philippians 2:6-7
Christian unity delights itself in the interest of others
Philippians 2:1-5
To Know Christ is to have the will of the Father
John 7:17-18
Find your Joy in God in the joy of your leaders and the flock
Hebrews 13:17
The Law does not negate the Promise, it's the restatement of the Promise
Galatians 3:15-18
The Church Abides to Chirst so should Wives to their Husbands. Christ never forsake His Church, so should Husbands to their Wives
Ephesians 5:22-33
Herald the word even if your life is at stake
2 Timothy 4:2
Any talk of gender roles and equality must be grounded on creation.
1 Corinthians 11:7-12
There is Joy in praying for the sanctification of our brethren!
Philippians 1:3-11
Since God is righteous, God must elect according to his own freedom
Romans 9:14-18
view all (55 total)
Seeking what Pleases God
Galatians 1:11-17
If you want to please God, seek what pleases Him, namely the preaching of Christ
#galatians
#Christ
#gospel
Published February 26th, 2019; Updated May 14th, 2022
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Block Diagram of 1:10-17
Outline of 1:10-2:21
Exegesis of 11-17
Bracket
Exposition
Scriptural References
Expositor's Bible Commentary
Block Diagram of 1:10-17
NT
Galatians 1:10-17
na28
Ἄρτι γὰρ ἀνθρώπους πείθω ἢ τὸν θεόν; ἢ ζητῶ ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκειν; εἰ ἔτι ἀνθρώποις ἤρεσκον, Χριστοῦ δοῦλος οὐκ ἂν ἤμην.
Argument from Origin
Γνωρίζω γὰρ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ...
1st Ground of 10
ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν κατὰ ἄνθρωπον•
τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν ὑπʼ ἐμοῦ
γὰρ
Ground of 11a
οὐδὲ ... ἐγὼ ... παρέλαβον αὐτὸ
Negative
οὔτε ἐδιδάχθην,
παρὰ ἀνθρώπου
Source
ἀλλὰ
Substitute
διʼ ἀποκαλύψεως
Means of 12e
Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Agency
Argument from Concession
γὰρ
2nd Ground of 10
Ἠκούσατε ... τὴν ἐμὴν ἀναστροφήν ποτε ἐν τῷ Ἰουδαϊσμῷ,
Concession
ὅτι καθʼ ὑπερβολὴν ἐδίωκον τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ
καὶ ἐπόρθουν αὐτήν,
καὶ προέκοπτον ἐν τῷ Ἰουδαϊσμῷ ὑπὲρ πολλοὺς συνηλικιώτας ἐν τῷ γένει μου,
περισσοτέρως ζηλωτὴς ὑπάρχων τῶν πατρικῶν μου παραδόσεων.
Argument from Calling
δὲ
Ὅτε ... εὐδόκησεν [ὁ θεὸς] ...
Temporal of 16c - 17
ὁ ἀφορίσας με ἐκ κοιλίας μητρός μου
καὶ καλέσας
διὰ τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ
Means of 15e
ἀποκαλύψαι τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ ἐν ἐμοί,
Context of 15b
ἵνα εὐαγγελίζωμαι αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν,
Purpose of 16a
εὐθέως οὐ προσανεθέμην σαρκὶ καὶ αἵματι
οὐδὲ ἀνῆλθον εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα πρὸς τοὺς πρὸ ἐμοῦ ἀποστόλους,
ἀλλʼ ἀπῆλθον εἰς Ἀραβίαν καὶ πάλιν ὑπέστρεψα εἰς Δαμασκόν.
Substitute of 16c - 17a
Ἄρτι γὰρ ἀνθρώπους πείθω ἢ τὸν θεόν; ἢ ζητῶ ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκειν; εἰ ἔτι ἀνθρώποις ἤρεσκον, Χριστοῦ δοῦλος οὐκ ἂν ἤμην.
Γνωρίζω γὰρ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν ὑπʼ ἐμοῦ ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν κατὰ ἄνθρωπον•
οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐγὼ παρὰ ἀνθρώπου παρέλαβον αὐτὸ οὔτε ἐδιδάχθην, ἀλλὰ διʼ ἀποκαλύψεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Ἠκούσατε γὰρ τὴν ἐμὴν ἀναστροφήν ποτε ἐν τῷ Ἰουδαϊσμῷ, ὅτι καθʼ ὑπερβολὴν ἐδίωκον τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐπόρθουν αὐτήν,
καὶ προέκοπτον ἐν τῷ Ἰουδαϊσμῷ ὑπὲρ πολλοὺς συνηλικιώτας ἐν τῷ γένει μου, περισσοτέρως ζηλωτὴς ὑπάρχων τῶν πατρικῶν μου παραδόσεων.
Ὅτε δὲ εὐδόκησεν [ὁ θεὸς] ὁ ἀφορίσας με ἐκ κοιλίας μητρός μου καὶ καλέσας διὰ τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ
ἀποκαλύψαι τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ ἐν ἐμοί, ἵνα εὐαγγελίζωμαι αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, εὐθέως οὐ προσανεθέμην σαρκὶ καὶ αἵματι
οὐδὲ ἀνῆλθον εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα πρὸς τοὺς πρὸ ἐμοῦ ἀποστόλους, ἀλλʼ ἀπῆλθον εἰς Ἀραβίαν καὶ πάλιν ὑπέστρεψα εἰς Δαμασκόν.
phrasing
Outline of 1:10-2:21
APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY : PAUL A SLAVE OF CHRIST 1:10-24; 2:1-21 1. Paul's definition of a Slave of Christ 1:10 2. Paul's Arguments that he's a Slave of Christ 1:11-24; 2:1-21 i. Arugument from the origin of his message 1:11-12 ii. Argument from Concession : Zeal for Judaism 1:13-14 iii. Argument from Calling 1:15-17 a. Election, Conversion, and Calling 1:15-16 b. No Contact with the other apostles 1:16-17 c. Paul's priority in obeying Christ 1:17 iv. Argument from Concession : Acquaintance with Peter after 3 years 1:18-20 v. Argument from the testimony of others 1:21-24 vi. Argument from Rebuking a Pillar of the Church 2:1-14 a. Concession : Paul's Apostleship was confirmed by the Pillars 2:1-10 b. Paul Rebuked Peter 2:11-14 vii. Argument from the definition of the Gospel 2:15-21
notes
Exegesis of 11-17
[For] I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that I preached is not a human gospel. For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it. But, it came through a revelation from Jesus Christ. For you have heard about my former manner of life in Judaism: that I intensely persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it, and that I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of those my own age among my people, [by] being exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when [God], the One who set me apart from the womb of my mother and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me—in order that I might preach the good news about him among the Gentiles—I did not immediately consult with human beings, neither did I go up to Jerusalem, to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia and then again returned to Damascus.
Bracket
Galatians 1:6-17
esv
sbl
nasb
net
I am astonished
Θαυμάζω
I am amazed
I am astonished
that you are l so quickly deserting m him
ὅτι οὕτως ταχέως μετατίθεσθε ἀπὸ
that you are so quickly deserting a Him
that you are so quickly deserting the one 4
who called you in the grace of Christ
τοῦ καλέσαντος ὑμᾶς ἐν χάριτι Χριστοῦ
who called you 1 by the grace of Christ,
who called you by the grace of Christ 5
situationresponse
and are turning to n a different gospel—
εἰς ἕτερον εὐαγγέλιον,
for a b different gospel;
and are following 6 a different 7 gospel -
actionpurpose
o not that there is another one,
ὃ οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλο·
which is really not another;
not that there really is another gospel, 8
but p there are some who trouble you
εἰ μή τινές εἰσιν οἱ ταράσσοντες ὑμᾶς
only there are some who are a disturbing you
but 9 there are some who are disturbing you
and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
καὶ θέλοντες μεταστρέψαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Χριστοῦ.
and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
and wanting 10 to distort the gospel of Christ.
actionmanner
negativepositive
ideaexplanation
But even if we or q an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel
ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐὰν ἡμεῖς ἢ ἄγγελος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ⸀ εὐαγγελίζηται ⸀ ὑμῖν
But even if we, or a an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel
But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach 11 a gospel
contrary to the one we preached to you,
παρ’ ὃ εὐηγγελισάμεθα ὑμῖν,
1 contrary to what we have preached to you,
contrary to the one we preached to you, 12
r let him be accursed.
ἀνάθεμα ἔστω.
he is to be 2 b accursed!
let him be condemned to hell! 13
inference
conditional
As we have said before,
ὡς προειρήκαμεν,
As we a have said before,
As we have said before,
so now I say again:
καὶ ἄρτι πάλιν λέγω,
so I say again now,
and now I say again,
comparison
If anyone is preaching to you a gospel
εἴ τις ὑμᾶς εὐαγγελίζεται
b if any man is preaching to you a gospel
if any one is preaching to you a gospel
contrary to the one you received,
παρ’ ὃ παρελάβετε,
1 contrary to what you received,
contrary to what you received,
r let him be accursed.
ἀνάθεμα ἔστω.
he is to be 2 c accursed!
let him be condemned to hell! 14
concessive
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?
Ἄρτι γὰρ ἀνθρώπους πείθω ἢ τὸν θεόν;
For am I now a seeking the favor of men, or of God?
Am I now trying to gain the approval of people, 15 or of God?
Or am I trying s to please man?
ἢ ζητῶ ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκειν;
Or am I striving to please men?
Or am I trying to please people? 16
series
If I were still trying to please man,
⸀ εἰ ἔτι ἀνθρώποις ἤρεσκον,
If I were still trying to please men,
If I were still trying to please 17 people, 18
I would not be a t servant 1 of Christ.
Χριστοῦ δοῦλος οὐκ ἂν ἤμην.
I would not be a b bond-servant of Christ.
I would not be a slave 19 of Christ!
ground
For u I would have you know, brothers,
Γνωρίζω ⸀ γὰρ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί,
For a I would have you know, brethren,
Now 20 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, 21
that v the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 1
τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν ὑπ’ ἐμοῦ ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν κατὰ ἄνθρωπον·
that the gospel which was preached by me is b not according to man.
that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 22
w For I did not receive it from any man,
οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐγὼ παρὰ ἀνθρώπου παρέλαβον αὐτό,
For a I neither received it from man,
For I did not receive it
nor was I taught it,
⸀ οὔτε ἐδιδάχθην,
nor was I taught it,
or learn it from any human source; 23
but I received it x through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
ἀλλὰ δι’ ἀποκαλύψεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
but I received it through a b revelation of Jesus Christ.
instead I received it 24 by a revelation of Jesus Christ. 25
For you have heard of y my former life in Judaism,
Ἠκούσατε γὰρ τὴν ἐμὴν ἀναστροφήν ποτε ἐν τῷ Ἰουδαϊσμῷ,
For you have heard of a my former manner of life in Judaism,
For you have heard of my former way of life 26 in Judaism,
how z I persecuted the church of God violently
ὅτι καθ’ ὑπερβολὴν ἐδίωκον τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ
how I b used to persecute c the church of God beyond measure
how I was savagely persecuting the church of God
and tried to destroy it.
καὶ ἐπόρθουν αὐτήν,
and d tried to destroy it;
and trying to destroy it.
And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people,
καὶ προέκοπτον ἐν τῷ Ἰουδαϊσμῷ ὑπὲρ πολλοὺς συνηλικιώτας ἐν τῷ γένει μου,
and I a was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my 1 countrymen,
I 27 was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my nation, 28
so extremely a zealous was I for b the traditions of my fathers.
περισσοτέρως ζηλωτὴς ὑπάρχων τῶν πατρικῶν μου παραδόσεων.
being more extremely zealous for my b ancestral traditions.
and was 29 extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. 30
But when he c who had set me apart d before I was born, 1 and who e called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to 1 me,
ὅτε δὲ ⸀ εὐδόκησεν ὁ ἀφορίσας με ἐκ κοιλίας μητρός μου καὶ καλέσας διὰ τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ ἀποκαλύψαι τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ ἐν ἐμοὶ
But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and a called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me
But when the one 31 who set me apart from birth 32 and called me by his grace was pleased to reveal his Son in 33 me
in order f that I might preach him among the Gentiles,
ἵνα εὐαγγελίζωμαι αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν,
so that I might a preach Him among the Gentiles,
so that I could preach him 34 among the Gentiles,
I did not immediately consult with anyone; 2
εὐθέως οὐ προσανεθέμην σαρκὶ καὶ αἵματι,
b I did not immediately consult with 1 c flesh and blood,
I did not go to ask advice from 35 any human being, 36
nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me,
οὐδὲ ἀνῆλθον εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα πρὸς τοὺς πρὸ ἐμοῦ ἀποστόλους,
a nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me;
nor did I go up to Jerusalem 37 to see those who were apostles before me,
but I went away into Arabia,
ἀλλὰ ἀπῆλθον εἰς Ἀραβίαν,
but I went away to Arabia,
but right away I departed to Arabia, 38
and returned again to Damascus.
καὶ πάλιν ὑπέστρεψα εἰς Δαμασκόν.
and returned once more to b Damascus.
and then returned to Damascus.
progression
temporal
discourse
Exposition
A true slave of Christ strives to please God and not men, Paul argued in verse 10 of the first chapter of his letter to the Galatians. We can safely infer from Paul's strong language against anyone who preached and will preach another gospel in verses 8-9 that he's not seeking the approval of people. Paul's main aim was to please his Lord. Now, the following passages from Galatians 1:11-24 , up until Galatians 2:1-21 were written to support that claim. We will tackle the first three arguments from verses 11-17 first. Argument from Origin(verses 11-12) Verse 11 begins with the conjunction "for" in English which means that it is the ground or the explanation for what was said from the preceding verses, but in greek before the postpositive conjunction γαρ, he used the word γνωριζω, translated in English as "know". Paul wants the Galatians to know that as a slave, he can't have his own gospel message. It must come from someone else. But Paul made it clear that it is not according to man, though he himself, the messenger who preached it, is just a man. His gospel was not man made. It was not a human thing; it did not originate with man. "If you think about it, you have to admit that we would not make this gospel up. If we were given the power to determine how one earned God’s favor and a place in heaven, we would make up a scoring system, something that emphasized human works. Why? Because the natural default mode of the human heart is works-righteousness. The message of grace—that the work has already been done—is counter-intuitive. Grace offends our natural sensibilities." - David Platt and Tony Merida, Exalting Christ in Galatians The phrase "kata anthropon" is an old idiom that was used only by Paul in the New Testament which means "according to human standards or ideals."( 1Co 3:3, 9:8, 15:32 ; Ro 3:15 ) Therefore Paul does not try to conform the gospel to men's ideals because it is incompatible with human sensibilities. Our fallen nature cries self sufficiency and not dependence on God's grace. Then in verse 12 he further support it with another ground clause. First a double denial; "I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it", then the affirmative; "but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ." I neither received it from man nor was I taught it This is reminiscent of what he said in Galatians 1:1 about his apostleship. He was sent not from men nor through man. In other words, Paul did not receive both his apostolic mandate and message from man, whether Peter or other apostle. There's no intermediary. He did not learn it from any institution or tradition. but [I received it] through a revelation Instead it is through a direct revelation(δι' αποκαλυψεως). The gospel was revealed to him. He did not muster up enough reasoning powers to learn this. This is God's sovereign act. revelation of Jesus Christ Now how does the genitive phrase "of Jesus Christ" qualifies the prepositional phrase "through revelation"? Is it functioning as an objective genitive or subjective genitive? If it is the former, then the revelation is about Jesus Christ, but if it is the latter then Jesus Christ is the subject and or more precisely the agent of the unveiling or revealing. There's a third option actually, plenary genitive, meaning both. Paul left it ambiguous. On the one hand he's arguing that Christ himself revealed the gospel of justification by grace through faith but on the other hand God the Father revealed the person of Christ to him. I lean towards the plenary genitive for the following reasons: 1) He's contrasting human agency from divine agency. It wouldn't make sense for Paul to leave the identity of the one doing the unveiling unknown in light of the fact that his exhibit A was that his message did not come from mere human beings. Let's just say for the sake of argument that it is a revelation about Christ(which is also true as we will see from Galatians 1:15-16) and Paul didn't mention who's doing the revealing, then one might infer that his message came only from men unknown to them, and as a result destroy a crucial argument for his claim that he's not a man pleaser. Here's another way of saying it: if Paul was indebted to another human being for that revelation then he will have a motive to please that person. Therefore Paul makes it clear that it is a direct revelation from Jesus Christ himself. He's indebted only to his Lord and no one else. 2) God the Father indeed reveals the person of his Son during conversion according to 2 Corinthians 4:6 3) But it was Christ himself who appeared to Paul and gave his divine appointment and purpose to be an apostle to the gentiles in Acts 9:4-6 and Acts 26:14-18. But why does it even matter for us today whether Paul's message came from Jesus or not? Why bother? One commentary said that It is crucial to note this point, for Paul’s call to the ministry and the gospel which he preached rested upon this single fact: did Jesus Christ really reveal Himself and the truth of His death and resurrection to Paul or not? If Paul was lying, then he was not a true minister of the gospel. He would be a fraud, a deceiver, a man who viewed the ministry only as a profession to provide a livelihood, to secure honor, and to secure power over people. Therefore if that were the case, then we're all deceived by this man. Paul wrote more than half of the New Testament and that's like saying we can throw it away out of the window. But Paul is not a liar, a fraud or a charlatan, he's just a faithful slave following his master. Argument from Concession : Zeal for Judaism(verses 13-14) Paul's second argument comes as part of a mini autobiography that serves to vindicate his gospel and its origins, validity, and authority. This narrative section within a highly didactic literary piece is arranged around time markers : "former" (1:13), “when” (1:15), “then” (1:18), “later” (1:21), “fourteen years later” (2:1), and “when” (2:11). These are the chronological pegs on which he hangs each of his arguments according to one commentary. Now verses 13-14 is a concession to support the third argument in verses 15-17 and therefore makes a cumulative evidence for his case. Paul concedes that before his conversion he sought for the approval of men. He said "you have heard". Which implies that Paul's reputation as a zealous Jew precedes him. He used to persecute the church of God and tried to destroy it and was ahead of the curve in Judaism amongst many of his contemporaries. His prominence came as a result of zeal for their ancestral traditions. Paul, so to speak, was a better candidate for being a Judaizer, the legalist of legalists. He knew better than most of these proselytizing false teachers what it meant to please the elites and so gain their support and protection and therefore avoid persecution. This only shows the impossibility of Paul's gospel's having originated from himself given his Judaistic past. Argument from Calling(verses 15-17) But.. Oh how I love the buts and fors and therefores in the scriptures. Verse 15 says "But when the One [God] was pleased". That is all what Paul would ever want to hear and say. Namely that inspite of his former manner of life, God was pleased! God's grace is a sovereign joyful grace. It flows from the pleasure of God. Not that God was pleased by how Paul persecuted the church but by how He himself would use this man for his own purposes. We know that because (1) He already set him apart from his mother's womb, knowing that Paul would persecute the church(Romans 9:11-13). (2) He called him through his grace. This is Paul's conversion. But not only that, (3) God was pleased to reveal His Son to his elect. In this case Paul. Lastly, the Father revealed His Son so that (4) he(Paul) might preach Christ among the Gentiles. That's why God was pleased. What pleases God was the fact that Christ would be preached among the gentiles. So since Paul wanted to please God more than anyone else, he will do what God wants him to do. He cannot appeal to human authority nor modify the message of the gospel of Christ. So what was Paul's response then to his calling? Verse 16c-17 says that he did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, that is human beings in general, nor did he seek the approval of the apostles before him. Instead Paul obeyed his Lord first, because the mandate of Christ to preach the gospel to gentiles cannot wait for men's approval. When our Master speaks, we obey. For application, first, Paul definitely was not saying that we should believe any person who claims to have a direct revelation from God today just because they claimed to have one. Notice that he didn't just say that his message was from God, instead he challenges his opponents to test whether his message accords with the will of God. He already said that even if he himself or an angel preached that which is contrary to what they received, let them be accursed. In other words, there's a standard set forth by God by which we must test any claims of direct revelation, and that is the Word of God. Today, we know that there can no longer be an apostle since the word of God tells us that the office of the Apostles was foundational. It can never be repeated. Second, we are not to wait for the approval of men before we act on the mandates of Christ. It can be very paralyzing if we wait for other people's stamp of approval first before we obey our Lord Jesus whose approval and pleasure should matter most to all professing Christians. Third, we should not despair from our former manner of life, thinking that God can't use us for his good purposes. Instead we should rejoice in the fact that God's good pleasure in proclaiming his glory through his Son was the unshakable ground and foundation of our election, conversion and calling to gospel ministry. It does not rely on our performance before our conversion nor our performance after our conversion. Fourth, we don't deify Paul or any other people we admire. But we can say with John Piper that: " Paul is not God. He is not the highest authority. Only Christ is the Himalayan touchstone. Christ never sinned! Paul shares not only my humanity, but also my sinful humanity. But, oh, what heights of greatness and Godwardness he attained — most of it through suffering! I love him for the Christ he shows me. I love him for the unsearchable riches of truth he opens to me. I love him for the constellation of his own personal excellencies, which are all the more compelling because of how diverse, even paradoxical, they are." I'll close by pointing your attention to verses 13-14. Notice that the subject in these sentences was Paul but then in verses 15-16 he shifts to God. In the words of David Platt and Tony Merida, it can be said that "Paul's raging fanaticism was no match for the good pleasure of God. God set him apart, God called him, and God saved him by revealing Christ. And it was all by grace. You and I may not have the same background as Paul, but every follower of Christ has this same testimony."
Scriptural References
1 Corinthians 2:7
7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God b predestined before the c ages to our glory;
Ephesians 1:9
9 He 1 a made known to us the mystery of His will, b according to His 2 kind intention which He c purposed in Him
Ephesians 3:4-6
4 1 By referring to this, when you read you can understand a my insight 2 into the b mystery of Christ, 5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy a apostles and prophets 1 in the Spirit; 6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are a fellow heirs and b fellow members of the body, and c fellow partakers of the promise in d Christ Jesus through the gospel,
Colossians 1:25-27
25 a Of this church I 1 was made a minister according to the b stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might 2 fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 26 that is, a the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His 1 saints, 27 to whom a God willed to make known what is b the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is c Christ in you, the d hope of glory.
1 Thessalonians 2:4
4 a but just as we have been approved by God to be b entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, c not as pleasing men, but God who 1 d examines our hearts.
1 Timothy 1:11
11 according to a the glorious gospel of b the blessed God, with which I have been c entrusted.
Titus 1:3
3 but a at the proper time manifested, even His word, in b the proclamation c with which I was entrusted d according to the commandment of e God our Savior,
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Expositor's Bible Commentary
Though it is grammatically possible to construe Paul’s words as meaning that Jesus is the content or the “object” of the revelation (an objective genitive, translated “the revelation of Jesus Christ”) rather than the source, the “subject” producing the revelation (a subjective genitive, translated as “revelation from Jesus Christ”), it seems likely in light of vv.13–14 that he does indeed have in mind the revelatory disclosure to him by the Lord Jesus that began for him in his Damascus Road experience. It was out of this revelation that the aggressive, believer-persecuting Pharisee became the humble apostle. This is why Paul’s gospel is to be trusted and why he is to be believed. The message that he preaches is not his own message; nor is it merely the result of strategic thinking about God and salvation. This is the word of God himself, conveyed to Paul by the resurrected Christ, who, again, “gave himself for our sins . . . according to the will of our God” (v.4).
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