Bible Reading – Galatians 1
Galatians 1:11-12, 15-17 KJV
11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
We know that at one point in Paul’s life, he was violently opposed to Christ. To this day there are countless millions who refuse the Gospel of Christ, perhaps as Paul did, ignorantly and not entirely with evil intentions. It is fair to say that while we are certainly blessed with the truth, the majority of the world does not have the same opportunity that we have here. We would do well to be patient, even with the most vehement opposers of Christianity, knowing that perhaps the most productive missionary in history was at one time such as they are.
Paul warned earlier in the chapter against preachers of a false gospel having been part of such a belief system. And at some point, every Christian had to or will have to change their way of thinking to be a follower of a Christ. But because the voices are numerous and the messages varying, it can be difficult (especially for young believers and truth seekers) to understand what is truth. It is of no small significance here that Paul reveals his steps of growth to the churches of Galatia, who had been struggling with faltering faith. Verses 15-18 outline what appear to be the first three years of Paul’s new Christian life. Paul did not consult with men. Perhaps this was for his own safety, as the Christians were likely fearful of him and the religious leaders would now have hated him. But as we know by the testimony of Paul, he was used to dangerous and even a violent lifestyle. Perhaps a better explanation for his separation was that he was allowing himself to grow in Christ. Christ died for him, called him, and revealed truth to Paul.
While Paul had a unique experience, the truth here is important and vastly applicable. Paul, one of the greatest Christians ever to live, realized the importance of dedicated time to learn from Christ. He recognized the importance of getting alone with God. Because there are so many varying messages, it is important for us to understand that at some point in our lives, we must allow God, not just trusted men of God, to teach us. While it is certainly beneficial to listen to preaching and reading books written by godly men, nothing can be a substitute for spending time alone with God with His Word filling our minds and His Spirit moving our souls. It is a weak faith (not necessarily wrong faith) that rests solely on the words and lives of men. It is a much more enduring faith which relies on the Words of God! Any number of arguments can be made truthfully against the leadership and motive of men, as Paul pointed out earlier in this chapter. It is impossible to find error in the God of the universe. While we cannot physically be with Christ as Paul was on the road to Damascus, we have the Words of God before us in Scripture! It is vitally important for each of us and our children that at some point we stop relying wholly on the teachings of men and determine to dedicate precious time to study Scripture ourselves. It is only then that faith will not only grow, but it will also have a more secure foundation. That is not to say that we should not trust men to help our faith, but we cannot grow in our faith without God’s Word and intentional and focused personal study. Such was Paul’s testimony and encouragement to the churches he wrote to, and we should make it a focus of each day of our lives!
— Eli Faulds