'We Don't Need No Education' ~ The Apostle Paul

chairsMany falsely assume or even proclaim that they have been taught by God directly without the aid or through the agency of people. I’m not talking about the daily life lessons we learn as we walk together with God and each other (Matthew 28:19,20), or the wisdom he gives us when we ask (James 1:5), or even the answers to our prayers. I’m talking about overarching concepts like the Gospel, ALL that Christ commanded, and those things that God has revealed concerning His own nature.

No one can claim to have received these things while perched on a mountain on an island of their own existential creation. Some may claim, like Paul, that they “received the gospel he preached and that it was not of human origin, and that they did not receive it from any man, nor were they taught it; but rather, received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11,12)

But, they would be wrong.

Paul spent his entire life in the scriptures which were mediated through men by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He was a Pharisee and a descendant of Pharisees, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, studied under Gamaliel, and was thoroughly trained in the law of his ancestors. He was “taught” extensively and exhaustively.

So, what was Paul saying them? If we look carefully at Galatians 1:12,3 – He said that what he received was not from “human origin.” he was referring to the vision he had “fourteen years before” ( 2 Corinthians 12:1), to the specific aspect of the “gospel of grace.” and not to all knowledge he had attained in the past. A few questions:

Can anyone be born again without the scriptures? (Careful, it’s a trick question)

Can anyone claim to be taught directly by God in such a way as to understand ALL that God has revealed without Scripture?

Can anyone claim to have been taught anything by God which contradicts scripture?

0 thoughts on “'We Don't Need No Education' ~ The Apostle Paul

  1. William Floyd says:

    1. Yes
    2. Minus the prophecy and history? Yes.
    3. No

    • Miguel says:

      William,

      So, it’s your assertion that besides the history and the prophetic, we can know everything else without the scriptures?

  2. William Floyd says:

    Are you speaking in the name of the Lord in this post of yours? Because if you’re not, then you might be a little more careful in the future in how you word things, as opinions stated as fact have a nasty habit of making one look foolish in retrospect.

    • Miguel says:

      Just to clarify, which opinions did I state as fact?

      • William Floyd says:

        I asked you a question. Is your post being presented in the name of the Lord our are you presenting your opinion? You make some black and white statements in your posy without any type of ‘I believe’ or ‘I think’ qualifiers to identify the difference between your opinion and fact as from the Lord. Simply look at some of your declarative sentences from outside of yourself and out should be obvious what I’m referring to.

        So is the authority which you’ve written in as an oracle of God or did you just make such strong statements out of your own opinions and perceptions?

        • Miguel says:

          Again, what did I state as fact? Then we’ll dialogue.

          • William Floyd says:

            A man of God, let alone a man of character, would have simply said what i shared was my opinion or what I shared was the God given truth. Not play games of deflection. But, i understand the situation I put you in. If you sat out was from God, then you speak presumptuously and it catches up to you. If you show character and humility then you fear losing face amongst your peers. Which would actually help you grow in your walk, I might add.
            What you’ve demonstrated by avoiding a very simple question is one of the very problems the Lord who you claim to serve has with His people, most especially those who think that they know Him well enough to assume leadership roles.

            I hope you don’t display such character before those who look to you as mature, because it’s the type of character which diminishes the presence of God in ones walk.

  3. David Woods says:

    The funny thing about Paul, is that he had studied the Scriptures, and been taught by the finest (men) of his day how to interpret them, and he still went about violently persecuting Christians. Then the Lord, on the road to Damascus, knocked some sense into him, and corrected his man-taught theology real quick.

    Can it be done without having any knowledge of Scripture whatsoever? I believe it has, although the first revelations these people received were revelation of Scripture. It is the foundation our Christian life is built upon, and anyone God receives must go through them, quite obviously, but must they be read? Are the Illiterate doomed to hell unless someone reads the Bible to them?

    The book Visions Beyond the Veil (which I believe to be true, and will not debate because it’s pointless), tells the story of mine slave kids which had been left to die spending days receiving visions of the Lord concerning Scripture (as their new missionary “family” just watched in awe), and became some of the most vocal martyrs in modern time–never having any knowledge of Scripture previously, but receiving the knowledge they needed of it directly from the Lord. I really don’t see the point of limiting God on this. You’ve given some really good references to what He’s capable of. Here’s a few more.

    1 John 2:27
    But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

    John 14:26
    But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

    John 16:13
    However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

    1 Cor. 2:10-13
    10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

  4. Kat says:

    I sometimes wonder if people know that He is actually alive and dwells in us. To know HIM.

    • Jim Wright says:

      Christ in me, Kat, brings me to a vibrant relationship with the Living Word, while submitting to the authority and discipline of His written Word. Otherwise, we only know a fractured Logos.

  5. Peter says:

    1. Yes. Repent & believe doesn’t require Scripture, just accepting the Lordship of Christ.

    2. This is the trick question. I don’t understand all that God has revealed even with Scripture! Someone could possibly understand all that God has revealed to *them* without Scripture. But if you’re talking about understanding ALL that God has revealed to humanity in general, then I’d say no one understands this, Scripture or no.

    3. Another trick question. The technical answer is “yes” and many people do claim to have been taught by God all sorts of nonsense. But the answer you’re looking for is “no”. God does not lie nor contradict Himself so any revelation I have that contradicts Scripture is a lie originating somewhere other than God.

    • Miguel says:

      Peter,

      You say that “Repent & believe doesn’t require Scripture.” Are you saying then that the concepts of repentance and belief are also relayed to man without scripture?

      • Peter says:

        I believe so. We read in Romans 2:14 about the Gentiles knowing the Law without ever hearing the law. The pagan myths and poets are replete with the sacrificial hero and substitutionary redemption. Of course all salvation is through Christ alone, but I expect the realization of that salvation isn’t effected only through Bibles or Christians with Bible verses. The Spirit is far more missional than we are, and I must concede that He may not always wait for a Christian effort to turn a heart to God.

  6. Marshall says:

    Curious still, how we anticipate getting to know the Son and the Father via letters, while we would so generally avoid this method for those most dear to us.

    being careful regarding apparent contradictions, where in truth no contradiction exists. May we not become the victim of another false dichotomy.

    • David Woods says:

      I always love the “contradictions” question. It assumes that when God says something to someone, that it is absolute, and for all people throughout all time, space, and culture. This is just silly. God is sovereign enough to handle each situation in the moment, according to the people and the circumstances at hand, just like we do on a day-to-day basis.

      I mean, please, half the Bible seems to “contradict Scripture”. If God wants to command us not to put Him to the test, and then answer Gideon twice when he puts Him to the test with fleece, that’s His business, and it’s not for us to question Him on it. There are many more examples. Of course, my favorite is when Peter is given a vision of the Lord of a sheet full of unclean animals, and is told, in the vision, to go kill and eat these “unclean animals” completely contrary to the Scriptures in his hand at the time. And what does Peter, one of our major “examples” and fathers of our modern faith do? He obeys the vision that the Lord gave him, instead of the Scriptures in his hand. 😀 Ha! I’ve still never heard a decent explanation for this one.

  7. Carlos says:

    Hi Miguel,

    I must respectively disagree with your apparent premise Miguel. That no one can come to a knowledge of the Gospel apart from the Scriptures and a careful study of them.

    You state…

    “Paul spent his entire life in the scriptures which were mediated through men by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He was a Pharisee and a descendant of Pharisees, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, studied under Gamaliel, and was thoroughly trained in the law of his ancestors. He was “taught” extensively and exhaustively.”

    What you state proves my point.

    Despite ALL that he studied and whom he studied under he got it DEAD WRONG!

    All his studying didn’t do him a whee bit of good in coming to grips and grasping the Gospel. It took the Living Lord to open his eyes and to bring him to an awareness of His person and His grace.

    We can study the Scriptures until our eyes grow dim and until we just can’t study no more and unless God opens our hearts through His grace as we cry out to Him for understanding and trust Him (not our studying or ourselves) to give us the understanding we seek it won’t work.

    There have been a number of times in my life when I studied and studied, the Greek and nuances of Scriptural meaning and what have you. Back and forth racking my brain trying, and trying to come to grips with some aspect of God’s ways or truth to no avail.

    Until…well…I came to the end of my rope in my natural self and cried out to God for understanding believing that through Jesus Christ and under the grace in which I stand that the Father would act to give me understanding that I could not attain to on my own and it has happened according to my faith.

    I have gained the understanding I sought.

    It is difficult to describe and to know the exact boundary line between when we are relying on our own understanding and when we are relying on God to give us understanding that we in our natural selves are simply incapable of acquiring on our own but there IS a line there.

    Many times I don’t know that I am walking in self-reliance for understanding until I get to the end of my rope and truly cry out to Him for an understanding that eludes me.

    Of course sometimes the Lord doesn’t give me the understanding I want either and I must rest content in His sovereignty and His timing and wait on Him to give me understanding that I desire according to His timing and His will…not mine (if He ever chooses to give understanding in some area).

    Does that mean that all scriptural study is invalid or worthless. No.

    But it is NOT through such study that we arrive at God’s ways.

    We arrive at and grasp an understanding of His ways no differently than we arrive at salvation. By faith IN HIM!

    It is a matter of reliance more than what we do. What is our heart relying on? Ourselves? Our own prowess in the study of the Word (how many get it so wrong despite having degrees in Greek or other accomplished degree!).

    Or are we relying on God with humble hearts to feed us with the finest of the wheat?

    Relying on God doesn’t mean we don’t do anything. It means that as we go about our studying that our heart attitude is one of relying on Him and not on ourselves or any particular means or way of studying.

    So yeah…I think Paul got the Gospel not because of his great learning but because he got knocked off his horse by GOD! Humbled such that he chose to respond to God with humility opening the way for GOD Himself to give him a grasp of the Gospel he NEVER got on his own.

    I hope that makes sense.

    Carlos

  8. Miguel says:

    Carlos,

    I did not say “That no one can come to a knowledge of the Gospel apart from the Scriptures and a careful study of them.”

    I merely pointed out that Paul studied a lot and was taught a lot.

    But, I’ll admit to the first part and stand by it. In my view, no one can come to a knowledge of the gospel without scripture. Now, that doesn’t mean that one has to have actual writings in their possession, but that the scripture carried in the heart and relayed verbally is equally appropriate.

    • Carlos says:

      Sorry if I misunderstood what you said Miguel. It won’t be the first time I’ve done that and gone off in defense of truth when I needn’t have done that LOL.

      I’ve got to learn to ask questions before I speak.

      Carlos

    • William Floyd says:

      What about Abraham? What about the prophets?

    • William Floyd says:

      It would be more accurate to say that if one has the Word, not the Scripture, within them. Big difference. But even more fundamental and encompassing is to actually know God, like Enoch and Abraham. Then one well know the God news by default, and not necessarily require what most call the Scriptures.

  9. Wbmoore says:

    It seems Paul was taught scripture directly from Christ. It also seems that there are people coming to faith in Christ through visions and dreams – I am not sure that qualifies as scripture.

    I disagree that Paul was wrong. Plenty of people can study something and have it all wrong, as Saul did. It was not until he received the gospel from Christ that he understood the scriptures.

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