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In Gal 1:10-12, Paul introduced his argument to redirect the Galatia ekklēsia away from the influence of the Judaizer’s false teaching resulting in the Galatians falling away to a Christian identity marked by Jewish rites and practices. In his letter, Paul refuted “a different gospel, which is not another” (1:6b-7a)–a false doctrine of works opposed to Christ’s gospel of grace (v.7b). Thus, in vv. 10-12, Paul began the process of building a case validating the gospel he preached and taught, which the Galatian believers originally accepted.

Not After Man.Gal1.11-12

Galatians 1:10–For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

Paul laid the foundation for his apostolic authority in this verse posing two, pointed questions serving to validate his integrity as a servant of Christ (Grk: δοῦλος; doulos), and accordingly, the gospel he preached: “For do I now persuade men, or God” and Do I seek to please men?” (1:10a). He utilized questions as rhetorical practices in his various epistles to draw the audience’s attention, organize his thoughts, or function persuasively in rhetoric (Rom 2:3-4; 3:1-9; 1 Cor 9:1-13). Perhaps, he either purposed to bring attention to his opponents’ claims against him over circumcision and observance of Mosaic Law or announce his intentions for the argument that ensued.

Nevertheless, his self-acknowledged status as a servant (Grk: δοῦλος; doulos) of Christ bound him to the truth of the gospel he preached. He did not seek to please men, rather the one God and Father of all who assumed the likeness and limits of man, Jesus. Paron (2013) explained a “bondservant gives up self-interests and will to advance God’s mission as a slave for the sake of Christ…” Therefore, Paul could not assume authority without service as a slave of Christ. A servant gives up all self-interests in devotion and obedience to God.

Galatians 1:11–But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

“But I certify you brethren,” γνωρίζω γὰρ ὑμῖν ἀδελφοί, announced further thoughts from Paul’s preceding points in verse ten. Defending the authenticity of the gospel he preached, Paul informed the brethren of the Galatian community how he received it. The apostle identified the source as divine through Jesus’ revelation (1:12), rather than “after man,” κατὰ ἄνθρωπον (1:11).

Galatians 1:12–For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

The apostle defined “not after man.” Unlike the Galatians who received the gospel Paul taught them, he did so through direct revelation knowledge from Jesus to himself by His personal divine action. Hence, that which he received had no human basis because its genesis originated from Jesus by His Spirit.–The apostle neither received it through man’s preaching nor imparted by teaching. This same true gospel he preached to the Galatians and they accepted—the gospel of Christ (1:7,9).

Paul described himself as a “Hebrew of Hebrews; as to Torah, a Pharisee, as to zeal, a persecutor of the church” (Phil 3:5-6). He well understood Hebraic tradition. Judaizers, including Paul the former Saul prior to his conversion, learned religious instruction primarily from rabbinic tradition subject to human interpretations as to their religious authority and guide.[2] However, Jesus in Spirit rather than flesh revealed the gospel to Paul. The Greek word kai gives a fuller meaning to Gal 1:3 as God the Father, even (kai) our Lord Jesus Christ speaking to the union of the man Jesus with God as one being.

In whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2:9-10), the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ serves as God in activity to man, indistinguishable from Him with the same mind, purpose, and will. Resulting from Saul’s baptism in the Spirit, as part of his personal encounter with Jesus and subsequent conversion and a new name as Paul, he had access to God’s self-revelation from Jesus. Paul’s once blinded eyes opened to the truth of the gospel, of which he argued and defended in his letter to the Galatians

[1] Ken Schenck, Making Sense of God’s Word, (Indianapolis: Wesleyan House Publishing, 2009): 54. Schenck cited categorizes for flow thought as follows: Determine how big blocks of text connect to each other. –

  • Patterns, Cause to effect (What is taught in the first block, follows in the second half. i.e. Romans logical movement from cause to effect),
  • Background (First block prepares of lays foundation or provides introduction for second block),
  • Compare and contrast (Stories of David and Saul contrast to each other.),
  • General and particulars (Can go in either order–i.e. arguments in Romans go from general to particular),
  • Logical causation (One idea can follow other ideas to produce an argument),
  • Conclusion (Effect caused by what preceded it),
  • Problem to solution and Question to answer (Specialized cause and effect–Much of Romans is structured as questions and answers.),
  • Themes (Reoccurrences – i.e., unity and rejoicing in Philippians),
  • Patterns (Like recurrent contrasts between Christ and various OT figures) and
  • Relationship: How do the big blocks of materials in a book relate to each other. (i.e., do the introductory paragraphs of Romans relate to the rest of the letter?)

[2] MacArthur, J. (2019). Paul’s Revelation of Jesus Christ. Retrieved from https://www.gty.org/library/bibleqnas-library/QA0319/pauls-revelation-of-jesus-christ