Can We Make The Apostle's Claim?

Paul the Apostle, when Speaking to the Galatian churches said “I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up.  I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”  Galatians 1:11,12

Matthew Henry said, “Concerning the manner wherein he received the gospel, he had it by revelation from Heaven. He was not led to Christianity, as many are, merely by education.”

There are those in the church who make the same claim.  They say that what they know of Christ and His Gospel was given to them by direct revelation.  They support this claim by citing another Apostle, when he said “But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true–it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.” 1 John 2:27

The idea, for some, is that God teaches them directly and it’s not mediated through scripture, other men, or some sort of oracle, but directly from Jesus.  After all, His sheep hear his voice.  (John 10:27)  This is especially true when their teaching is “different” than what has already been revealed in the scriptures.  Some, at this point may object and say that we can make the same claim as Paul and declare that the message we’re delivering was delivered to us directly by Jesus Himself or the Spirit.  A few questions:

Can any make the Apostle’s claim?

Shouldn’t all “revelations” be checked against that which has already been revealed?

What are the essential conditions by which we should receive any “new” revelation?  


0 thoughts on “Can We Make The Apostle's Claim?

  1. David Woods says:

    It seems to me that these questions only make sense if there are no new revelations to be had. Any true revelation, by definition:

    1. Will not depend on whether or not you make the Apostle’s claim.
    2. Will not have already BEEN revealed any other way (or it’s therefore, NOT a revelation)
    3. Cannot be conditional upon any man-made rules because you’d have to know the revelation already in order to make the rules.

    The only real condition can be—-Did it actually come from God? And the Bible doesn’t, to my knowledge, make any claim that God’s Voice will be difficult to hear or decipher for those who bother trying.

    • David Woods says:

      The Holy Spirit CAN be trusted to not only lead and guide us through life, but also to lead and guide OTHERS through THEIR lives as well. That’s the hardest thing for some people to grasp. Present company excluded, of course.

      Some people think they are not “doing it right” if they don’t first get their doctrine perfect, then teach it perfectly, then make sure their pupil believes it just as they taught it—all the time completely excluding the Holy Spirit from the picture all together. Or worse, they trust the Holy Spirit only so far as to make sure the pupil “gets it” as it’s being taught (as if the HS is there to serve their purposes).

      They see it the same as teaching their child to drive, finally letting them do it, and then correcting them along the way—when what they SHOULD be doing is closer to making sure they really wanna know how to drive, telling them what to expect along the way, and then introducing them to the best driving instructor on the planet. (or something like that).

  2. Rob Kampen says:

    Last time I checked, Paul’s epistles were well backed by scripture. Sure God gave him revelation, particularly in relation to spiritual gifts and their use, yet in their entirety they fit the cannon of scripture and the ethos / intent of God’s heart as written and conveyed and prophesied in the OT.
    It seems the debate of revelation vs scripture in an old one. May I suggest that we need both the knowledge (primarily gained through scripture, yet needing His light, may I use the word revelation (sic), on our limited intellects to “get it”) AND the power (the alive and active work of the Holy Spirit) as Jesus pointed out to the Sadducees in order to avoid error.

  3. Laurie Norris says:

    There are new revelations every day in every Christian life. It’s a new day, what has passed is past. If there were opportunities for prayer, they are past. If there was a book on a shelf, it remains on a shelf. If you made mistakes, you can repent and start fresh. This is the day the Lord hath made. I have no idea where you are coming from with this question. My understanding is that it is pointless to seek the living among the dead. Everything in the Good News points to this. If someone is making claims that he is between you and God, don’t drink the Koolaid. God is closer than your own failing flesh.

  4. Marshall says:

    “new revelation” need not be a contrary revelation; need not be contrary to other divine revelation, including revelations recorded in the Scriptures.
    possibly we get hung up with maintaining a “compact revelation”, which is to say, open to no more than what can be bound within the pages of a book that will fit on a typical library shelf or night table?
    As Paul rarely stumbled, so also ought we do ideally. After all, is this not what we have been admonished by Paul and the rest to be and do? Same Christ; same power. Only the times are more urgent for us now.
    May you and I only speak, as it were, the oracles of God, even as we receive from Him in Christ.

  5. Dan B. says:

    Isn’t Paul referring to the Damascus road, when Jesus himself revealed himself to Paul. Paul was not led to belief by teaching from Peter or anyone else. I’m not sure Paul received any revelation that’s not supported by Scripture. In that light, it seems the question doesn’t really make sense except as it applies to people who are led to the Lord as Paul was. I’ve read stories about that happening in some remote areas.

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