Man and Message

Passage for Today

Galatians 1:1 - 2:1

1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.

2 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2


  1. What distinctive feature do we notice in the Book of Galatians?
  2. Why does Paul pull his biography into this book so often?
  3. Why does the way you live matter in God’s grand scheme of things?


By Pastor Dan Hickling

One of the distinguishing features of the Book of Galatians is the way Paul weaves his personal history into the text. It’s sort of half epistle, half biography. There’s a purpose for doing this, because we’ll also find that the main message of this letter is supported by the apostle’s own life experiences. Paul is essentially using himself to illustrate the great truth that he knows the Church of Galatia needs to know.

We encounter this dynamic as we launch into the letter’s second chapter. Having just recounted his incredible conversion story and meteoric rise in ministry, Paul skips ahead to something that occurred fourteen years later.

Paul recounts what also appears in Acts chapter 15. It had become necessary for the leaders of the early Church to define what was essential to the Christian faith, so they gathered for what is commonly known as The Jerusalem Counsel. This was an important crossroads, because it defined what does and what doesn’t constitute God’s gospel of salvation. Notice what Paul says about his involvement there: “I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation . . .” (Galatians 2:2 NKJV).

We see three important details here. First, it was by divine direction that Paul went, not by some worldly motivation. Second, he defined the gospel as that which he’d been sharing with non-Jews, which was all about Jesus and not the Law of Moses. And third, he was discreet in how he shared the gospel.

Paul is pointing out that he was led by God to declare the true gospel of salvation in the wisest way possible. Consequently, they should respect his motives, message, and methods. Everything here is calculated to move their minds to the central truth of the letter, which will become clear as we read on.

But going back to our initial thought, Paul’s life was pointing to the spiritual principles that he needed to communicate. Why? Because he wasn’t off doing his own thing but was walking in God’s will for his life. When a person decides to live like that, their steps add up to something the Lord can use to get a powerful, even life-saving, message across.

May we follow in Paul’s footsteps by following the Lord’s leading for our lives—by being about His will and not our own. In doing so, our lives can serve to advance the message of the gospel to a world that desperately needs to know it.

*  This devotion was found at titled “Live Free: the book of Galatians” by Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale.

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