Galatians 1:11–24 (NKJV)
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.Galatians 1:11-17
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.
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 here against verifies that his ministry and his gospel are not from any man, but was revealed to him through the revelation of Jesus Christ. He then recounts the circumstances of his conversion. Being formerly a persecutor of the Christian faith, he was confronted by Christ Himself and converted to the very faith which he had opposed. Through the grace of God Paul realized his calling to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. When he was converted, though, he did not immediately go to Jerusalem to confer with the leaders of the Christian movement. Instead, He went to Arabia and then back to Damascus after he had spent much time with the Lord.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. 20 (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.)Galatians 1:18-24
21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. 23 But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God in me.
After three years of seeking God and being mentored by few men, Paul went up to Jerusalem to see Peter and James for a few weeks, then he went away again, this time to Syria and Cilicia. In his early ministry, Paul was almost like a ghost. Only a few people had ever seen him, and nearly no one even knew what he looked like. Paul did not seek the adulation of the crowds, and surely felt as though he was not worthy of their time and approval. So he just did what he felt God had called him to do: preacher the gospel! The only reputation he had was that the man who once persecuted the church now preached the gospel. Imagine the skepticism! Think about how people would have received him had he held a reception in Judaea. They may have been afraid of him, that somehow he was pulling some elaborate ruse to destroy the church from within. But, when they heard of the revival of salvation and conversion that had been happening through the ministry of Paul, they eventually figured out that no one could be that effective and that dedicated, sacrificially preaching the gospel, if they did not have an actual experience with Christ. Live in such a way that no one can doubt your salvation or relationship with God. Make it undeniable that you experienced a radical call and conversion.
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