Seeking Our God

Galatians 1:11-17 – Paul Defends His Authority

Episode Summary

Galatians 1:11-2:14 is one of the longest autobiographical sections in Paul’s epistles (2 Cor 11:22-12:10). Paul then took up in more detail the challenge to his authority as an apostle. Was he a self-appointed impostor? Arguing autobiographically, Paul declared that (1) he was an apostle before he met the other apostles; (2) when he did meet them he was received as an equal; (3) and he even found it necessary to rebuke Peter, the reputed chief apostle. In Galatians 1:11–12, Paul states his theme: his message and ministry are of divine origin. He did not invent the Gospel, nor did he receive it from men; but he received the Gospel from Jesus Christ. Both his message and his apostolic ministry were divinely given. Therefore, anybody who added anything to Paul’s Gospel was in danger of divine judgment, because that Gospel was given by Jesus Christ from heaven (1 Cor. 15:1–11). The best way for Paul to prove his point is to reach into his past and remind the Galatian Christians of the way God had dealt with him. Paul states that his past life was already known to his readers (Gal. 1:13), but it was obvious that they did not fully understand what those experiences meant.

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