What does Paul mean in his letter to the Galatians when he says that he did not receive his gospel from humans but direct from God through a revelation of Jesus? Does he mean that he was the one (through direct divine inspiration) who came up with the idea that it was the death and resurrection of Jesus, rather than, say, Jesus’ life and teachings, that brings salvation? And if so, doesn’t that mean that Paul himself would be the founder and creator of Christianity, since Christianity is not the religion of Jesus himself, but the religion about Jesus, rooted in faith in his death and resurrection?
It may seem like that’s the case, but it’s not. Not at all. In my previous post, I showed that the belief in Jesus’ death and resurrection were around before Paul and that Paul inherited this belief from Christians who were before him. But then what would Paul mean when he explicitly says in Galatians 1:11-12 “For I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me – that it is not a human affair; for I neither received it from a human nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ”?
That sure sounds like he is saying that his gospel message came straight from Jesus, not from humans, right? Yes, right, it does sound that way. But it’s important to know – and not just to assume – what Paul means by his “gospel” in this passage. He doesn’t mean what you might at first think he means.
Paul begins his letter to the Galatians with a…
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