August 30th B. Personal – Paul, Apostle of Christ Paul’s Testimony
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. 13: For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14: And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 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. 18: Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. 19: But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. 20: Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. 21: Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; 22: And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: 23: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. 24: And they glorified God in me.
Paul testifies that the Gospel he preaches is not from man. In other words it is not a man made theology nor is it from him – Paul. Some people speak of ‘Pauline theology’ yet Paul says there is no such thing. He continues saying that he neither received it from any man nor was he taught it. The Gospel he preached was given to him by direct revelation from God. Paul is using the word ‘Gospel’ to mean not only how a man is saved but the whole theology of the NT. So Paul sets out the whole history of his conversion and revelations to prove his point. First he starts off reminding the believers that he was steeped in Judaism from his childhood and that he persecuted the church far beyond what was reasonable. At this time he says he rose above many of his fellow Jews through the zealous observance of the Jewish traditions. However it was Gods pleasure, who brought him to birth, to call him by his Grace and to reveal his Son in him, so that he might preach him among the heathen. When he was saved he did not confer with any man, nor did he go to Jerusalem to those who were apostles already, but he went off into Arabia (the site of Mt Sinai) and after a long time returned to Damascus. Only after three years did Paul go to Jerusalem to see Peter and he stayed with him for two weeks. Pauls says he saw none of the other Apostles except James the Lords brother. Then Paul emphasises his point saying, I am telling the truth – l am not lying. This record of Paul confirms the truth that Paul was not a disciple of the Jerusalem Church or of those who were Apostles before him. After this Paul went to the regions of Syria and Cilicia. (In the far north of Israel). Paul says his face was unknown to the churches of Judea but they had only heard that he that had destroyed the churches now preached the faith and they praised God for his conversion.