Galatians 1:11-24 “And they glorified God because of me”

Posted: July 21, 2010 by Rick Hogaboam in Biblical Studies, Galatians

Galatians 1:11–24 (ESV) — “And they glorified God because of me”

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.

Paul’s Denials and Affirmations

–          Not conceived by man (11); Paul didn’t make this up; man didn’t make this has attempted to write their own gospels, but never good news

–          Not received from man (12A); Paul didn’t receive this Gospel from man, didn’t follow some religious guru who claimed to have special revelation, nor did he get it from some angel that the Bible nowhere speaks of

–          Received from Jesus Christ (12b); subjective genitive, Divine origin, Diving Gospel

  • “received”- word refers to a en entrusting of tradition
  • “revelation” – apokalupsis, unveiling of something hidden, the New Covenant isn’t novel, but rather a fulfilling of all that the Jews had awaited.

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.

Paul’s Conversion (13-16a)

–          Persecutor (13); persecuted the church

  • Acts 8:1–3 (ESV) — 1 And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. 3 But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.
  • Acts 9:1–2 (ESV) — 1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

–          Practitioner (14); practiced strict Judaism

  • Rabbinic  student, committed to the “Oral Torah”
  • Philippians 3:4–11 (ESV) — 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

–          Set Apart (15a); before he was born, this is the doctrine of election

  • Acts 9:3–16 (ESV) — 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

–          Called (15b); we call this the Gospel call, called according to grace, we also see his special calling. God calls whom He wills. It is a humbling thing.

–          Special Revelation (16a); salvation involves an encounter with Christ in conversion, justification, adoption, but this revelation that Paul speaks of is a special Apostolic revelation, he is NOT receiving new information that wasn’t revealed to anyone else, but rather an unfolding of something new that was revealed to others as well, “to me” = “in me” both work

Paul’s Charge (16b); His apostolic calling was for the sake of the  “tois ethnetes” (nations); Gentiles, the irony of calling a zealous, Christian-persecuting Israelite to reach the Gentiles

–          We also are saved for the purpose of being a “missional” people. A people that seek to share the Gospel to others by declaring the goodness of our God.

Paul’s Confinement (16c-17); It was not God’s will that Paul go consult with the Apostles, but rather that he would go into Arabia and Damascus for 3 years (18a), Jesus’ ministry and training of His disciples lasted 3 years.              Formal theological training for pastors is 3-5 years. Futile to speculate on what Paul was doing.

–          We are to be transformed as well.

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!)

Paul’s Pilgrimage to Jerusalem (18-20)

–          Peter; prominent apostle, “to visit” = to get to know, get information from, prob a valdidating experience

–          James; little “a” apostle, bishop in Jerusalem Church???

21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.

Paul’s Journey to the Gentiles (21)

–          This visit to the extreme north corresponds to Acts 9:30 where we are told that Paul, who was already in danger for his life, was brought by the brethren to Caesarea, where they ‘sent him off to Tarsus’, which is in Cilicia. Since he says here that he ‘went into the regions of Syria’ as well, he may have revisited Damascus and called at Antioch on his way to Tarsus. Be that as it may, the point Paul is making is that he was up in the far north, nowhere near Jerusalem.[1]

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.

Paul’s Ministry to the Jews (22)


Paul was converted, was transformed, was missional, God was glorified. This same cycle needs to correspond We need to be missional people, to realize that God blesses us to be a blessing, saves us to save.

Converted, transformed, missional, doxological.

Transformation leads to doxology:

–          Do people glorify God because of you?

–          They were glorifying God because of Paul

Conversion is the beginning:

–           we must be transformed

–          Renewed

–          this leads to the transformation and renewal of our families

  • communities in the Church, sacred community

–          this leads to mission

–          this leads to increasing worship

–          missions exists because worship doesn’t

“And they glorified God because of me”. This is not something earned or merited. They glorified God because of the grace of God in Paul’s life. Our lives are to lead to worship!!!

–          We need to be saved, we need an encounter with Christ

  • Repent, turn to Him, believe in the heart and confess Him as Lord!!!

–          We need to be transformed, we need to be blinded to our ways and have our eyes opened afresh and anew to His ways

  • Romans 12:1–2 (ESV) — 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

–          We need to embrace God’s calling on our lives

  • Our Charge: 1 Peter 2:11–12 (ESV) — 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.



  • Matthew 5:13–16 (ESV) — 13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

[1] Stott, J. R. W. (1986). The message of Galatians : Only one way (35–36). Leicester, England; Downer’s Grove, Ill., U.S.A.: Inter-Varsity Press.


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