Galatians 1 Pleasing Man or God

This is week one of the  Blogged Bible Study. Each week I will be posting on Thursdays as mentioned previously and others will be posting other days of the week. If you would like to read and study along by blogging check here. Now for my part of the study.

Pleasing Man or God

Galatians 1:10 (NIV) Am I trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Of  course this is being spoken by Paul who had a radical encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.  You may be saying why did he feel he had to explain this? Many people were questioning if his conversion could be real or was he just a phony?  In other words they thought that surely one of the most over zealous well-known persecutors of Christians had to have some ulterior motive for what he was doing.  I went back to a book on Paul by Robert T. Boyd and was able to glean the following about Paul:


Paul who was originally known as Saul of  Tarsus was a Pharisee. Pharisees were a sect of Jews who had a strict observance of Mosaic ritual. They were zealous of the Law, zealous of tradition (legalism), outwardly moral, self-righteous and boastful of their life of prayer and fasting.  They were outwardly religious. They had a form of godliness that was ruled not by the Holy Spirit but by man-made rules.  A Pharisee never felt himself indebted to the infinite mercy of God for the salvation of his own soul and cared less about the salvation of others.  Pharasaism honored God with their lips, but not their heart (Mark 7:6).  Pharasaism led otherwise good men to plot to take the lives of any who opposed them. Anyone who reproved them–Christ, Stephen, or Paul–was put on their so called hit list.   Paul was a privileged man. His parents bestowed upon him a cherished freedom, Roman citizenship, which gave him the rights and privileges that less than two thirds of of the Roman Empire enjoyed. He had attained heights in Jewish circles. What a change God wrought in this man’s life when he was converted. Whatever Paul had in mind  to fully accomplish for Jewry, God had something more noble in mind for Paul to accomplish for Christianity.

Perhaps you can see now why Paul felt he had to point this out.  Everything the Pharisees did was outwardly for men to see.    It must have been mind blowing for them to see him preaching  Christ and him crucified.  They were probably just waiting for him to slip up or see him profit personally in some way. Of course as time went on and they saw him being imprisoned and beaten time after time after living a privileged life it had to become obvious he had had a true conversion.

Many of us may have been like Paul before our conversions.  Of course we didn’t physically harm Christians but we may have mocked them.  We could have even said we were religious but had our own form of righteousness as did Paul.  We may have been pursuing fortune and fame and would perhaps have pleased any man if we thought it would get us what we wanted.  And then when we were saved by grace through faith (not religion) those around us were probably or may still be waiting for us to trip up so they could say, “I knew it wasn’t for real.”  

Paul had been a “religious” man. Because he knew the Old Testament Scriptures he also knew the Ten Commandments. He was the one who gave consent for Stephen’s death so as the Holy Spirit began to convict him he became aware of the fact that he had broken the Ten Commandments.  Does it sound similar to when the Holy Spirit began to draw you and convict you of your sin?  You may not have ordered someones death but maybe you hurt them with your behavior in some other way.

Galatians 1:11-12  (NIV) I want you to know brothers, that the gospel  I preached is not something man made up. I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

You can see when you read verses 11 and 12 why Paul explained things the way he did. He was taught to be a Pharisee and man molded religion. But when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus he had a true experience with the one true living God. So now not only did he have a knowledge of the Old Testament which spoke of and prophesied the coming of the Messiah but he had proof  that He lives.  He was a new creature in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:17)  

So in closing I would like to add something that Paul said that I love and want to live myself and reinforces what was discussed.  It is:

1  Corinthians 2:2  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 

About Charmaine

I am a Christian woman seeking to truly "know" God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I love the Word of God and it's life changing power. I like reading, writing, and amateur gardening. My passion is working in women's ministry with emphasis on Bible Study. I believe discipleship is very important in our transformation process to become more Christlike.
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11 Responses to Galatians 1 Pleasing Man or God

  1. ckroboth says:

    Good Morning Sister.. .Welcome to the Study.

    You Said: “Everything the Pharisees did was outwardly for men to see. It must have been mind blowing for them to see him preaching Christ and him crucified. They were probably just waiting for him to slip up or see him profit personally in some way.”

    And that is so the way the media sees us today. Just waiting for the bad apple to step out of line, so they can say ” SEE SEE SEE… Those Christians are hypocrites. ”

    Paul fully understood his position and predicament but did not let the deter him from Spreading the Gospel of Christ.

    Love this… Wonderful Wonderful to have you aboard.

  2. Brian says:

    We Christians are hypocrites.

    • Born4Battle says:

      That’s a rather ‘sweeping’ generalization, without explanation. What are we do do with it? Guilt trip? Self check? Are we all hypocrites in some way, or is there a ‘literary’ device of some sort behind that?

      • Brian says:

        It is a sweeping generalization, just like saying We Christians are sinners.

        Just a reality check. I know we try to not be hypocrites, but as sinners it is a tough one to handle.

    • Born4Battle says:

      Thanks Brian. those weren’t necessarily my questions, just questions any reader might ask. When we make statements, there’s a statement or point we want to make. Yours seems to have been to do a eality check. Now those whw might have wanted to ask the same question won’t have to. Cool.

  3. darla says:

    i love verse 11,12…this is not something we invented or that any man invented..but it is steadily changing about it?? thanks for being part of us in the study. Thanks for bring out the background of Paul.. be back later, need to keep moving this is a workday for me… Peace and love

  4. charread09 says:

    Thanks all for the comments. I’m glad I have made myself accountable to this Bible Study. Due to my physical limitations right now it’s hard for me to commit to going out to a physical study so this is really an answer to my prayers.

  5. Debs says:

    Hi Charmane!

    You bet many of us were like Paul…I was in the line saying “pick me”…LOL

    That 1 Corinthians verse was a good one for me to read today. I also love how you pointed out the Holy Spirit drew him to himself…I love how He does that!


  6. Born4Battle says:

    Good stuff about Paul! He cetainly had reason to establish his ‘bona fides’, and did so numerous times during his ministry!

  7. charread09 says:

    Thanks for your comments Born4Battle. Was not trying to put a gult trip on anyone. Last thing I would want to do.I guess I would just say, “He loved us while we were yet sinners”

    But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
    Romans 5:8

    Thanks so much for stopping by.

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