What Does Galatians 1:17 Mean?

nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus.

Galatians 1:17(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

The apostle Paul had a ministry that was distinct from the other disciples, who accompanied the Lord Jesus from the beginning of His earthly ministry. In various of his epistles, he emphasized that he was given his gospel, by special revelation, directly from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Although his message does not conflict with the teaching of the other apostles, Paul was independent of them, in many respects, and was the one and only apostle, who received a special directive to go to the gentiles, with God's message of salvation. Paul wanted to stress that he did not receive his message through the teachings of Christ's other apostles, but exclusively from the Lord Jesus, Himself.

Paul's ministry was exclusive. His commission was unique and his calling was distinctive. He did not need any human approval, to teach the message he received, nor did he learn his doctrine from any other apostle. Paul was not given a mandate to teach the gospel from any human source, but from God, Himself. Paul did not receive the apostolic message he taught through the ministry of Peter, James, John or any of Christ's other apostles - but was given it exclusively from Christ Jesus.

Following his amazing conversion, Paul remained briefly in the city of Damascus. After he was born again, he went to Arabia for a time before returning to Damascus, where he quietly shared the good news of the gospel of grace.

Because of the contentious content of his message, which condemned Judaism's legalism, and the false, gospel message they taught (which was not the true, gospel of grace, which Paul was given from Christ) and because he wanted to impress on the Galatian believers, that the content of his message did not derive from any human source, but came by divine revelation from God.. we read, nor did I go up to Jerusalem, to those who were apostles before me.

Paul stressed that God, had set him apart from his mother's womb, and that he was called by His mercy and grace, to be God's special mouthpiece. He declared that God was pleased to reveal His Son in him, so that he might preach Christ crucified, risen and ascended among the Gentiles.. and so we read, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood.

Paul did not travel to Jerusalem to learn the truth of the glorious gospel of grace, nor was he taught it by Christ's other apostles and teachers.., for, we read, did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; he wrote, but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus. Paul heard the voice of God on the road to Damascus, and responded to His call on his life, and as a result God used him for a very special ministry.

You and I will not be called on to write sections of the new testament or undertake the ministry to which Paul was called.. but like him, we can all respond to God's call on our lives, and carry out the work that God had called us to do - so that like Paul we can fulfil the good work that God has prepared for us to do - to His greater praise and glory.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the ministry of Paul and the wonderful example of a man who heard God's call on his life and was ready and willing to respond and obey. I pray that I may be like this apostle and be ready and willing to listen to Your voice and obey Your will for my life, for Your greater praise and glory - this I ask in Jesus name, AMEN.

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