Monday, August 27, 2012

Galatians 1


Paul introduces himself as an apostle from Jesus. He wishes the church grace and peace from God.

No Other Gospel

Paul is amazed that the Galatian people are following a different gospel. He says there is no other true gospel and even if he came back and tried to teach them an alternate gospel they should be accursed.

I understand the idea of telling them not to follow anyone else preaching an alternate gospel, but to ban them from hearing an alternate gospel even from Paul just seems a bit confusing. What if Paul tells them something similar but different from what he told them before, is that a new gospel or a new take on the old one?

Paul Called by God

Paul did not learn the gospels he is teaching from anyone else, but instead from God through revelation.  He used to persecute the church and tried to destroy it, but God spoke to him directly and he switched sides. He then spent three years away from all the other disciples and learned directly from God. Later people heard that the man who tried to destroy the church was preaching for it and they rejoiced in God because of me.

This claims he got revelation directly from God, how is someone supposed to tell the difference between that and simple insanity? Or if not insanity, how can you tell it isn't just your own thoughts instead of thoughts God has implanted in your brain?


  1. It's interesting that he tells the Galatians to curse people who follow different gospels in verses 8-9, but told the Romans not to curse people. I'm really confused as to the purpose of this.. I wonder if this is one of the reasons why some church denominations are so divisive.

    I think you bring up a good point about insanity. How can you tell? Two glaring differences between the story of his conversion are whether he went directly to Jeresualem from Damascus immediately after his conversion or not, and whether or not he visited all of the disciples when he went to Jersualem after his conversion. Now far be it from me to call anyone a liar, but the differences almost sound like it's either two different authors of a made up story, or Paul is having trouble keeping a lie straight. I had a friend once who was a habitual liar. I let it slide for many years, trusting that maybe he just didn't remember his stories correctly. Time can change memories. After I started calling him out on it, he slowly disappeared. Maybe I'm just reminded of that.

    1. Good catch of the contradiction with the curse thing. I completely missed it.

      As to whether Paul is a liar, hard to know. Especially given that this is more than 14 years in the past. In this example one telling of it has Paul being rejected and another has him basically avoiding the situation where he was rejected. It seems perfectly reasonable to me that early tellings of the story are accurate that he was rejected and his memory later became altered to his benefit to say he didn't even try to talk to them. Whether that is what is happening here is certainly debatable, he might be a liar, but he also might just be mistaken. I think this kind of rewriting of memory is more common that people think.

      Of course if you are of the opinion that the bible is 100% accurate because God wrote it this goes completely out the window :)


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