Week of September 10 2023
"For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin. For I did not receive it from a human source and I was not taught it, but it came by a revelation of Jesus Christ.
For you have heard about my former way of life in Judaism: I intensely persecuted God’s church and tried to destroy it. I advanced in Judaism beyond many contemporaries among my people, because I was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. But when God, who from my mother’s womb set me apart and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me, so that I could preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone. I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who had become apostles before me; instead I went to Arabia and came back to Damascus.
Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas, and I stayed with him fifteen days. But I didn’t see any of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. I declare in the sight of God: I am not lying in what I write to you.
Afterward, I went to the regions of Syria and Cilicia. I remained personally unknown to the Judean churches that are in Christ. They simply kept hearing, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me."
1) In Galatians 1:16-22, Paul overviews some of the time following his conversion. Where did he go, and who did he spend time with? How would Paul’s limited connection with other early church leaders strengthen his argument that the gospel he proclaims is not from man?
2) Compare Galatians 1:15-16 to Romans 8:28-30. As you reflect on your own faith story, identify specific instances where you see how God was at work in your past. What circumstances did God use to make the truth of Christ clear to you?
3) Paul’s conversion and commitment to share the gospel caused others to worship God. How have you been encouraged by someone else’s growth and transformation? Who could you share your faith story with this week?
Prayer: Take some time thanking God for the ways he has worked in your life (even bringing you to faith in Christ).
Andy and I always look back to our early walk with the Lord, and we know our pastor Jesse Hodge and his wife Liz greatly influenced and strengthened our commitment to Jesus. At that time they ALWAYS demonstrated total trust in Jesus, a genuine zeal for studying His word, and loved unconditionally. Please believe me, they were Pauls in our life.
I only hope that I can be like them for other young Believers.
Just a thought I had about Paul. He was such an ardent student of Judaism, knew the Law, and was so committed to his faith. Just think how his brain must have exploded with TRUE understanding of his "knowledge" after meeting the Savior! "OH LORD,...NOW I GET IT!"