Tuesday, 26 February 2008

1v11-20 I did not consult anyone

This next part of Paul's introduction seems peculiar at first. We find him making a big and repeated point about how he got the gospel direct from Jesus by a revelation and then got stuck into teaching it without checking with anyone. In most situations that would be regarded as supreme arrogance and the marks of an egotistical nut-case.

But, v11, his concern is to teach about the gospel he preaches.
v11. It is not man's gospel for people pleasing.
v12. It came from Jesus, like for the other apostles.
v12. It came by a revelation of Jesus, like for the other apostles, though abnormally.
v16. Jesus revealed himself.
v16. I didn't check with anyone.
v17. Or Jerusalem.
v18-19. Only three years later with Peter and James.
v20-21. Before God, that's no lie.

This could look like Paul digging himself a very deep hole. But remember, v10 - he's not interested in pleasing people. This isn't an ego trip to show off his credentials. This is about restating that he preaches the gospel of Jesus. Yes he didn't check with anyone else, but that's not because he takes sound doctrine lightly - false gospel preaching is curseworthy as he has already said. Not to mention, he wants to please Jesus not people.

Rather than making Paul sound impressive this laying out of his ministry is designed to draw attention Jesus, whom Paul preaches. The gospel comes by revelation not by human thinking. It's origins are divine. It's revealer is Jesus. And Paul is one of it's apostles. Receiver of revelation, sent to the Gentiles to preach Jesus.

The gospel we hold too must also be the Apostolic Gospel. The one revealed to the apostles and written in the scriptures. All who call themselves Christians claim to be believers in that Apostolic Gospel and we must ensure we are. Let us return again and again to consult our beliefs against the Apostolic Gospel. God's gospel - revelation of Jesus by Jesus.

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