5/07/20 – Galatians 1:10-17


Why does Paul go into such detail concerning his previous “life” of a pharisee persecuting the church? What does it have to do with his current topic in Galatians: that adding the requirements of the law to obtain their salvation “shall profit you nothing.” (Galatians 5:2)?


While he was an unsaved pharisee, Paul considered that he was serving God, even the more so because of his zeal. However, his zeal was for the Judaism of his fathers, enforcing the traditions of his fathers. (Galatians 1:14) Such traditions were largely of man and not of God. Paul had been an enforcer of the teachings of man (see Matthew 15:9) and now he had forsaken that, instead being the servant of Christ whose gospel he now preached. Paul is trying to persuade the Galatians that he had once believed in the power of the law of man but now had put it aside after Christ had revealed Himself to Paul on the road to Damascus. Paul desires that the Galatians learn from what Paul had already learned the hard way.


Galatians 1:10For 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.


nownow; just now; this moment. Also translated in other KJV occurrences: “henceforth”, “hereafter”, “hitherto”.

persuadepersuade; induce one by words to believe; win one’s favour; gain one’s good will; strive to please one; be persuaded; to listen to; obey; yield to; comply with; trust; have confidence in; be confident. Here it could mean “seek to win the favour of”, or even “make friends of”.

to pleaseto please; to strive to please; to accommodate one’s self to the opinions, desires and interests of others.

servantdoulos (servant; attendant; slave; bondman)

yet – or “still” Thus: “for if I were still pleasing men now, I would not be the servant of Christ.”


For do I aim to win the favour (approval) of men or of God? Or am I merely trying to please (accommodate myself to the opinions, desires and interests) of men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not (or “should not”) be the servant of Christ.


to pleasearesko;



Those who are men-pleasers should not be considered as good servants of Christ.

Colossians 3:22-2422Servants, obey in all things [your] masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers (anthropareskos); but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. (Also see Ephesians 6:5-7)


We cannot serve both God and the world (mammon).

Matthew 6:24No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

We should fear God alone and not be afraid of the scorn or worse of men.

Matthew 10:28And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.


Galatians 1:11But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel (euaggelion) which was preached (euaggelizo) of (by) me is not after man.


But – or “moreover”

certifygnorizo (to make known; to become known; be recognised; to know; to gain knowledge; have thorough knowledge of) Derived from ginosko (to know). Can be translated “certify” or “declare (to)”. Translated “declare” in 1 Corinthians 15:1Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

and “have made known” in John 15:15bfor all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.


gospeleuaggelion (good news; good tidings)

was preachedeuaggelizo (to bring good news; to announce glad tidings) We get “evangelise” from this word.

Luke 2:10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings (euaggelizo) of great joy, which shall be to all people.

of me – or “by me”

is not after man – or “is not according to man”.


But I declare to you, brethren, that the gospel which I preached (which was preached by me) was not according to man (but through the revelation of Jesus Christ – see next verse).

That is, Paul was not teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men (Matthew 15:9) as did the pharisees, and as did, clearly so, those false teachers of Galatia.


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


of – or “from”

the revelationapokalypsis


For I (Paul) did not (emphatically so) receive this gospel from man, nor was I taught it (by man) but by (or “through”) the revelation (apocalypse) of (or “by”) Jesus Christ.


neither was I taught (it) – Paul did not gain this knowledge (that he declares to them – gnorizo Vs 11 above) by learning from the teachings of other men, but directly revealed to him by Jesus Christ.

In all this, Paul denies the input of man in any of the gospel that was preached to them (probably by him).


Man in his weakness might fail but God cannot fail.

Psalm 73:26My flesh and my heart faileth: [but] God [is] the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.


Galatians 1:13For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:


conversationanastrophe (manner of life; conduct; behaviour)

in time pastonce i.e. formerly; aforetime; at some time in the past.

the Jews’ religionIoudaismos (the Jewish faith and worship; religion of the Jews; Judaism) This word is only used twice in the NT, here and in Vs 14 below.

(beyond) measurehyperbole (beyond measure; exceedingly; pre-eminently; beyond all measure; superiority; excellence; pre-eminence) We get our word “hyperbole” from this Greek term. “hyperbole” is the use of exaggeration to emphasise a point.


wasteddestroyed; overthrew


For (says Paul) you (Galatians) have heard of my behaviour in the past in the religion of the Jews how that I exceedingly persecuted the church of God and was destroying it.


Paul here is explaining to the Galatians what he had once been: the persecutor of the church, but, as the following verse shows, he had become what he is now by the grace of God.

1 Corinthians 15:9-109For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which [was bestowed] upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.


Galatians 1:14And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.


profitedprokopto [to beat forward; lengthen out by hammering (as with metal); advance; proceed; to increase; make progress] Here it would mean to have made (significant?) progress, to have advanced the cause of Judaism.

my equalssynelikiotes – Paul is an equal together as one with the others. This is a synthesis word (sun-), many people acting as one.


zealouszelotes (one burning with zeal; a zealot; most eagerly desirous of, zealous for, a thing; vehemently contending for a thing) Our word “jealous” derives from the same word.

Note the probable connection of the following with the Galatians.

Acts 21:20-2120And when they heard [it], they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: 21And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise [their] children, neither to walk after the customs.

zelotes is derived from zelos (zeal) as per the following:

Philippians 3:4-64Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, [of] the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6Concerning zeal (zelos), persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.


traditionsparadosis (giving up; giving over; surrender of cities; a giving over which is done by word of mouth or in writing, i.e. tradition by instruction, narrative, precept, etc.; objectively, that which is delivered, the substance of a teaching; of the body of precepts, esp. ritual, which in the opinion of the later Jews were orally delivered by Moses and orally transmitted in unbroken succession to subsequent generations, which precepts, both illustrating and expanding the written law, as they did were to be obeyed with equal reverence)

Matthew 15:1-31Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 2Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

Colossians 2:8Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.


Paul was one of the more zealous of the pharisees. It was this zeal that led him to persecute the church more thoroughly and extensively than many of his fellow-pharisees (his “equals”). He was so zealous of the traditions of Judaism that he saw such persecution and slaughter against the church as a measure of his service to God.

Acts 9:1-4   1And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?


Galatians 1:15-1615But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called (kaleo) [me] by his grace, 16To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:


it pleasedeudokeo (seems good to one; is one’s good pleasure; think it good; choose; determine; decide; do willingly; be ready to; to prefer; be well pleased with; take pleasure in; be favourably inclined toward one)

separatedaphorizo (mark off from others by boundaries; to limit; to separate; exclude as disreputable; appoint; set apart for some purpose)


Here it would mean separated for service for God …

Romans 1:1Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

…. in the same way Jeremiah was separated for God’s service as a prophet.

Jeremiah 1:5Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.


But when it was God’s good pleasure …. to reveal (apokalypto) His Son in me …. (says Paul) God who set me apart from before I was born, and called (kaleo) me to service by His grace, that I might preach (euaggelizo) Him among the heathen (ethnos – ethnic groups, here that refers to the Gentiles or non-Jews), I immediately (henceforth) did not seek to consult with man (flesh and blood – implying that man could no longer answer his questions).


This does appear to be a passage that calvinists could try to manipulate to demonstrate their heresies. Calvinists delight in finding verses that speak of a divine purpose for man long before he is able to make any free will choice for himself. They reason that such a calling (here to service) must therefore be the consequence of God’s unconditional election predestinating Paul to this without any free will choice of Paul involved.


Without free will and foreknowledge, calvinist doctrine is totally inconsistent as the following from MacArthur demonstrates.

MacArthur says of this event (in The Doctrine of God’s Effectual Call): when the call of God came on the life of the apostle Paul, it was a sovereign, divine, gracious, and irresistible summons.  He was slammed in to the dirt on the road to Damascus with nothing to do but respond.  He is called as an apostle. ….

And when he who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me (Galatians 1:15-16) - ” when God was pleased God reached down, knowing it had all been determined even from His mother’s womb, and He called him through His grace when it pleased Him, and He “ - revealed His Son in me that I might preach Him among the Gentiles.”

Paul understood that he was just grabbed by the neck by God and awakened to the glory of Christ and saved and made an apostle. …..

No one was ever saved against their will.  No one was ever brought into the Kingdom kicking and screaming, protesting.  No one was ever saved who was dragged against the grain of having dug their heels in.  That is not what Scripture teaches.  No one has ever been saved against his will.  No one ever will be.  Everybody who is saved is saved because they will to believe the gospel. (MacArthur appears to support the free will of man here!) In fact, they will with all their heart and soul to believe the gospel.  No one is ever saved without being willing.  It is an act of the will to believe. ….

There’s nothing in the sinner to make him willing.  There’s nothing in the sinner, even under the best of the preacher’s effort.  It is only when the power of God makes him willing that he becomes willing. ….

But it’s not that the sinner comes kicking, and screaming, and protesting, and trying to resist, because when the summons comes, the sinner is made willing.  In fact, it is the passion of his heart.  When the gospel comes, the sinner is so eager to respond. (That is, the calvinist God pulls the puppet strings and makes his elect “want” to come!)


But calvinists leave out one essential yet true doctrine; that of God’s foreknowledge. God foreknows all things from the beginning. It’s God’s foreknowledge that knows (from the beginning) all man’s free will decisions for all time. It’s why the Bible says that Christians are “Elect by the foreknowledge of God the Father” (1 Peter 1:2a). God does have an election from the beginning of time and He does predestinate people according to that election. But the election is dependent upon God’s foreknowledge; thus the election is conditional upon God’s foreknowledge. And predestination is also dependent upon God’s foreknowledge (For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his SonRomans 8:29a). (This is so clear! To deny this would require a need to lie to “prove” their “truth”, teaching the lies of men as the truth of God!)


And so, God did separate Paul from the womb to serve Him as preacher of the gospel to the Gentiles, but it required Paul to have chosen to obey God’s call to be saved. The Bible states clearly that Paul was obedient to that call; thus there also had to be an option of disobeying. Paul was not disobedient!

Acts 26:19Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:


Calvinists teach a mixture of truth and lies. Yes, there is an election (but not unconditional election) and there is predestination (but not based upon the unconditional election). Those who read their Bibles properly, testing all things, should be able to discern the deception.


that I might preach him among the heathenActs 26:15-1815And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 16But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17Delivering thee from the people, and [from] the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.


immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood – Flesh and blood here must refer to some extent to the fleshly (and corrupted) side of our nature.

Romans 7:18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not.

It also must refer to the weaknesses of man who on his own cannot stand against the spiritual powers of satan and his demons.

Ephesians 6:12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].

“Flesh and blood” is associated with corruption that opposes our incorruptible eternal life in heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.


Galatians 1:17Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.


Paul did not consult with flesh and blood, neither did he go to Jerusalem to consult with the apostles there. Instead he went to Damascus, then to Arabia (this destination is uncertain) after which he returned to Damascus, having gone there immediately after his conversion on the road to Damascus.

Acts 9:8And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought [him] into Damascus.


Acts Ch.9:23-25 also appears to have Paul escaping vindictive Jews at Damascus (also see 2 Corinthians 11:32-33) and going to Jerusalem (Acts 9:26), yet if Galatians is true (which it will be), Paul must have spent some time in a place called Arabia during his time at Damascus (which seems to have been 3 years according to Galatians 1:18) and before going to Jerusalem.

Arabia may have simply referred to the desert areas near Damascus as Paul also (in Galatians 1:18) said that he had been in Damascus for 3 years and this must have included his time in Arabia.


Now have a think about the following which may demonstrate the idiocy of calvinist thinking when applied to everyday life.

Look at this statement: “A woman has 5 children. She tells them all to eat their food. Only one child eats his food; the other four do not eat their food.

Calvinist interpretation: “The woman makes one child eat his food and makes the other four not eat their food. Because she never intended to feed them all, she only provided food for the one that she made to eat. She didn’t provide any food for the other four because she never intended feeding them in the first place, even though she told them all to eat their food.

MacArthur says, “God did not intend to save everyone. He is God. He could have intended to save everyone. He could have saved everyone. He would have if that had been His intention. The atonement is limited.” (The Doctrine of Actual Atonement Part 1)

Thus the woman never intended to feed them all. She is boss. She could have intended to feed them all. She could have fed them all. She would have if that had been her intention. The feeding is limited.


And calvinists declare themselves to be learned intellectuals! Obviously it’s only the calvinists who must think so!


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