Journey in the Word

Karen Ingrid Clark

Broken & Redeemed – Paul: Misplaced Zeal and Pride

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Week Four – Day 1. Monday, March 27, 2107WK04D01
Read GALATIANS 1:11-14 SOAP Galatians 1:14

What does zeal mean? Before his conversion, what was Paul most zealous about?

MONDAY GALATIANS 1:11-14 11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.

O – Paul is certain to make sure of two things in this passage. First – he received the gospel from Jesus Christ, not from men. It was not the doing of “man”, not something received or taught, but through a “revelation of Jesus Christ.” This is the encounter that Saul (Paul) had on the Damascus Road in Acts 9.

Second, his former life had changed. Previously, he persecuted the church, was a serious student of Judaism, and was “extremely zealous” for the traditions of his people. His actions, his studies, and his “pedigree” were far different than after he encountered Christ.
His wording gives understanding to the person that he WAS. Persecuted, violently destroy advancing, beyond, extremely zealous. His energy, his perspective, his purpose – was to persecute and destroy the church of Jesus Christ. It was his life purpose – to be the best, to ensure that nothing or no one got in his way. He took great pride in his life and goals.

A – What could I say about my former life? “I learned all my Bible verses. I knew the Bible stories. I grew up in the church. I attended faithfully with my family. I was proud of how much I KNEW.” But – until God’s word, and God’s Spirit made their way down to my heart – it was just knowledge. It was pride. It was “I.” Just like Paul.

But – do I still take pride in what I know? The verses stored up? The ability to study the Bible? The knowledge gained as a Bible major and student of the Word?

Oh, Lord, take away the pride, and replace it with a gentle humility. My life has been changed. My heart is not the same. And God has used, and is using my background to give me a solid foundation as a Bible study facilitator and mentor. May I never be filled with pride for what God is doing – but remain a humble servant of His.

P – Father God, thank You for Your working in my life – for bringing me to Yourself. Yes, Lord, take away the pride that creeps up. Replace it with a gentle humility direct from Your Holy Spirit. Father, may others not see me, but You when I teach, when I write, when I meet with others. Thank You for Your saving power, Your saving grace, and Your continued work in my heart and life.

Study Notes:
Zeal – great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective. (google dictionary)

In his description of his former life, Paul himself is the subject of all the verbs: I persecuted . . . tried to destroy . . . I was advancing . . . and was extremely zealous. In contrast to Paul’s ego-centered former life, God himself is the central subject in Paul’s conversion. God is the subject of all the verbs: God, who set me apart . . . called . . . was pleased to reveal. God abruptly interrupted Paul’s life and turned him around. (IVP Commentary of the NT)

At Calvary =

Years I spent in vanity and pride,
caring not my Lord was crucified,
knowing not it was for me He died
on Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
pardon there was multiplied to me;
there my burdened soul found liberty
at Calvary.

2 By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
till my guilty soul imploring turned
to Calvary. [Refrain]

3 Now I’ve given to Jesus everything,
now I gladly own Him as my King,
now my raptured soul can only sing
of Calvary. [Refrain]

4 Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
at Calvary. [Refrain]


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