“For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ”
For I neither received it from man,
The source of Paul’s gospel of grace is not from his associations with people. Paul did not receive the gospel from anyone other than the Lord Himself. His gospel was not a man-manufactured message. Paul did not invent the gospel, nor did he spin it out of his own spiritual cocoon.
nor was I taught it,
The word “taught” means to teach didactically by a course of instruction (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; Romans 12:7; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Timothy 2:12; 4:11). No one imparted the gospel of grace to Paul by instruction. Peter, John, or James did not teach him at the Jerusalem Theological Seminary.
Ananias taught Paul some basics shortly after he became a Christian. Paul’s point in this passage is not that no one ever at any time taught him about things in general. His point is that he received the gospel of grace exclusively from the Lord Jesus Christ.
but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ
Paul went to seminary at the feet of Jesus Christ. He could have no better seminary professor.
The word “revelation” means an uncovering, unveiling. Jesus took the scales off Paul’s eyes about the gospel (Acts 26:4-19). The gospel came to Paul like a dramatic unveiling of a new statue in the football hall of fame. Jesus removed the veil of darkness over his eyes and made the gospel fully known to him independently by immediate revelation (Ga 1:17,18). When Paul connected to the apostles, his message was the same as their gospel.
Jesus Christ is both the revealed and the revelator (1:16; Acts 9:3-8). Paul, the erstwhile Saul of Tarsus, received the gospel of grace from the Lord Jesus personally. Human beings had nothing to do with it. There was no personal evangelism involved in his salvation. Paul was the head of a goon squad on his way to Damascus to slaughter Christians when the Lord revealed Himself to him. He did not anticipate this direct revelation from the Lord. It was not his plan to become a Christian, but the Lord turned him right about-face (Acts 9:5,6).
The Bible is not man’s message but God’s.
We are accustomed to thinking of the Holy Spirit as the revealer of truth, but Jesus revealed the truth to the apostles. Whether it is the Holy Spirit or the Lord Jesus, the gospel message is supernatural. Human rhetoric does not win people to Christ; the miracle of the gospel of Christ transforms lives. Oratory is of little consequence in the final analysis. No human being can win anyone to Christ without the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.
The source of the Christian gospel is direct revelation. The Christian can be certain about truth because he deductively receives truth from God by the Bible. No one can find final truth by inductive methods– such as science uses–because man is finite and cannot find infinite truth by his pint-sized brain. The Bible is the Supreme Court beyond which there is no appeal.
I love this translation. It succinctly brings home the point that the bible is God’s message, not man’s, and without His anointing, man/woman can’t change lives. Thanks.
‘…His point is that he received the gospel of grace exclusively from the Lord Jesus Christ.’
While it is true, that St Paul received his Good News straight from God, on the road to Damascus, the Descent of the Holy Spirit had already come down upon the Apostles, thus annointing and affirming the Church in Christ; therefore, although St. Paul received his Good News directly from God, the grace flowing through the Church was already in process, calling all people to God, through her, including St. Paul (note: St. Paul received his conversion after the Descent of the Holy Spirit and not before), and so it is, St. Paul was subservient to the Church, and the very reason he eventually went to meet with the rest of the Church, out of obedience.
F. Chips, It is true that the church began in Acts 2 but it is also accurate to say that God uniquely revealed the concept of the church to Paul (Eph 3:1ff).