Galatians 1:11-12 – …the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 2:1-2 – Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain.
Speculation is what happens when we look up and speculate about God. To make this all sound more official we call it religion or philosophy because saying, “I dunno, here’s my guess” does not carry a lot of weight.
Revelation is what happens when God looks down to speak to us about Himself. The God of the Bible is a God who has a lot to say, starting in the opening pages which tell us “God said”. Apparently, God also had a lot to say to Paul about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Because the gospel message God gave Paul conflicted with the popular speculation that, in addition to believing in Jesus, you needed to be circumcised to go to heaven. These enemies of Paul started a public campaign to criticize him and replace the real gospel from God with a false gospel from man. This same thing happens every day on the prison riot that is our planet. The real gospel is preached, and then, like bees swarming for a kill, the critics attack the person who preached the good news to take them down. This is the demonic pattern of God creating and Satan counterfeiting and is exactly what is happening in the book of Galatians.
In humility, Paul took a trip to meet with the fellow Christian leaders of Peter, John, and Jesus’ brother James who were leading the mothership of Christianity in Jerusalem. This is recorded in Acts 15 if you want to see the exact details, but the gist is everyone agreed Paul was preaching the true gospel and had nothing to modify in his message. The point is clear – God communicates His truth, and then the person who claims to have received that truth needs to have the message confirmed by other godly leaders. If Paul is willing to be humble and accountable to oversight, then the same is true for everyone. Notice, however, that the enemies of the gospel and critics of Paul did not participate in the evaluation of his ministry and message? They were not invited to exercise authority over him, or render a verdict regarding him.
Who do you check what you believe with to make sure you are not off track?