Whence the Gospel

“For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.” (Gal. 1:11)

This must be important information since Paul introduces it as a have to know. Is it possible the Galatians attributed the gospel to Paul and not to Jesus? This might explain why they were at the time trying a different gospel. It’s a problem that continues to this day. All around the world are various beliefs relative to the good news of Jesus. You will, more than likely, find this true in your community.

Sometimes we find religious groups with buildings across the street from each other with names that suggest something about their version of the gospel. Paul seemed to believe that this was not a good idea. We learn that not just in the Galatian letter but also in the first letter to the Corinthians. Going back to Luther we find group after group basing its existence on a theologian. Usually, the group takes some major point of the leader’s gospel to name their denomination or to express the basis of their separate identity.

In the Ephesians letter, Paul has a lot to say about unity of believers based on the concept of one. In speaking of the church he says there is one body. Evidently, Christians in the Galatian churches missed that. Looks like we may have missed it in our area as well. Let’s see how that measures up to Paul’s declaration in this verse.

Paul claims to have preached the gospel but not to have originated it. The gospel as preached by Paul was not his version of the salvation story. It was not the version offered by other men either. Notice Paul says he received the gospel he preached from otherworldly sources. In the next verse, he will state who gave him the gospel. When we consider the origin of the gospel Paul preached we understand why he was upset at what was going on in the Galatian churches.

The good news given by Jesus is all about the work that he did for the souls of man and includes the kingdom message and eternal life in the heavenly kingdom when the universe is ended. The record of Jesus’ gospel is in the writings of the New Testament. Even a casual reading will show us the message of redemption through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. As Jesus went about teaching even His disciples had trouble understanding what He was saying but after His resurrection they finally got it. This makes the final teaching of Jesus important because He knew the disciples would understand it. You can read it in Mark 16.

Task for Today: Try reading the New Testament for your own personal learning. Forget for a while what men taught you and read what Jesus taught. On a sheet of paper list the major teachings of your religious group and check them out in the word of God. With so many different gospels out there you sure want to know you have the one not according to man.

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