Galatiansby Khan Hui Neon
Today's reading pivots on the question: Is Paul's gospel trustworthy?
The main issue being discussed in Galatians is the integrity of the gospel. Yet, Paul begins with a fairly long section (Galatians 1:11-2:21) in which he spends much time describing how he became an apostle. Why does Paul spend so much time on this?
He does so because the Judaizers are attacking both Paul's apostleship and his teaching. It is likely they are trying to discredit him by sowing suspicion regarding the source of his teaching. Their argument probably goes something like this: Paul is not one of Jesus' original twelve disciples. He was not even a believer when Jesus was around. In fact, he was once a persecutor of the early Christians. So, can his gospel be trusted?
The Judaizers probably reason that if they can convince the Galatians that Paul's apostleship is suspect, then his teaching would not have the same authority as that of the twelve disciples.
That is why Paul goes into detail when sharing his testimony. He has already briefly defended his apostleship in Galatians 1:1, and now he defends his teaching. Paul starts by making it clear that he has received the gospel ″by revelation from Jesus Christ″ (v. 12), and not from men. In this opening statement, Paul is stressing that his message and authority come directly from God; it is not his own invention. Therefore, the gospel he preaches is trustworthy. God is the source of both his apostleship and teaching.
This truth is important because the authority of the gospel depends on it. We can trust in the gospel of the Bible because God revealed it directly to people He appointed, who then proclaimed it to us; man did not discover or put it together through his own effort. The very basis of our faith and salvation comes from God, and not from any human source.
Today, we have the complete revelation of God's salvation plan recorded for us in the Bible-God's Word-and we can therefore measure any human teaching against it, like the Bereans did when they were taught by Paul. Acts 17:11 records how they ″received the message with great eagerness″, but also ″examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true″. Not sure if someone is teaching a different gospel? Check it against the Word of God.
What assurances can you draw from the knowledge that the gospel is from God and not from men?
Knowing that the Bible contains God's complete salvation plan for mankind, how can you equip yourself to evaluate a new teaching?