Verse By Verse Through Galatians (1:23)

23 They only heard the account: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” -Galatians 1:23 BSB

The saints in Jerusalem heard of Paul’s intent and eagerness to persecute the other believers in different regions. The church then heard of his conversion and how now he is preaching everywhere about Jesus being the Messiah.

When Saul, also known as Paul, persecuted the church, see verse 13 and its commentary.

For Paul’s conversion, read Acts 9:1-19.

Verse By Verse Through Galatians (1:14)

14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. -Galatians 1:14 BSB

The phrase “advancing in Judaism” is most likely in reference to being more rigid and strict in keeping the Law of Moses and the traditions of men, which will eventually end up canceling the Scriptures.

Paul’s zeal pushed him to the extreme, causing him to hunt down Christians wherever they went.

Having zeal is good but must be accompanied by knowledge of the truth. Paul, also known as Saul, had that zeal, but he was misguided since he relied on man-made tradition. The traditions handed down to the Jews trumped the Scriptures, which pushed him to persecute the saints at the time, see Acts 22:1-5.

Jesus condemns man-made tradition

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? -Matthew 15:3 BSB

Zeal without knowledge is not good

2 For I testify about them that they are zealous for God, but not on the basis of knowledge. 3 Because they were ignorant of God’s righteousness and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. -Romans 10:2-3 BSB

Adding to God’s Word will delude one’s understanding of God’s standard and from walking in the truth. If one adds extra-biblical sources to the Word of God, it will be favored over the Scriptures since dark spiritual forces are behind it.

Verse By Verse Through Galatians (1:11)

11 For I certify to you, brothers, that the gospel I preached was not devised by man. -Galatians 1:11 BSB

Paul didn’t receive spiritual revelations or insights by men, but by Jesus Christ, see verse 12 and 2 Corinthians 12:7. Not only did Paul learn the gospel of Jesus Christ, some through the Apostles, see verse 18 & Galatians 2:2, and by his own studies (Paul used to be a religious leader, schooled in the Scriptures, see Philippians 3:4-6), but he also received new details of the rapture through the Holy Spirit, see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 & 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. Peter recognized Paul’s letters as Scripture, see 2 Peter 3:15-16.

2 Peter 1:20-21 makes it very clear that the Scriptures only has one author, and that is the Holy Spirit who used men, the saints, to pen down the very words of God for the salvation of those who would believe in the Lord Jesus Christ by reading or hearing it (Romans 10:17).