Here are a couple of startling verses for these times when we use the words “inclusion” and “diversity” so freely.
Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—
For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.
The NIV on 1:11 says, “…the gospel I preached is not something that man made up.”
So then we can understand these words in terms of history and theology. The meaning of what Paul is saying is not hard to grasp. He is referring to his conversion (recorded in Acts 9 and repeated on other plaes as well.) Paul and Luke say that no teacher, preacher, mentor or evangelist introduced Paul to Jesus; Jesus himself made his own introduction on the Road to Damascus.
It is a passage that calls for a decision from the reader. This blog is about reading the bible for what it says, not for what you have heard others say that it says. It seems as if you can disbelieve Paul – that somehow he made it up, or was confused. Perhaps he took a dream, from his sub-conscious, and believed that it was a message from God. Or you can believe Paul, that he did encounter Jesus, after the crucifixion, on that dusty road.
Sooner or later, as we read the biblical text, we have to decide if we can believe or not. Is there a God, are there miracles, did the Red Sea part for the Israelites, did Jesus heal the sick and walk on water, and can God speak to us clearly and truthfully?
This is one of those passages where you, the reader, will inevitably make a decision. Neutrality is itself a decision – for if Paul’s message is true, you do not gain anything from neutrality.
This is why faith is a central theme in the scriptures, both the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament.