Is there any account of how Paul learnt Jesus teachings after he converted? In Galatians 1:11-12 Paul states:

But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ"

Was he saying that Christ revealed gospel to him directly or should we assume that he was mentored by another christian?


7 Answers 7


Yes, Paul gives an account of how he learned his gospel several times:

2 Corinthians 12:1 1

"It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord."

1 Corinthians 11:23

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: that the Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread,

Ephesians 3:3-4

How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

Romans 16:25

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

The whole first chapter of Galatians should really be gone through, but I'll pick out the significant parts. Right from the beginning Paul affirms he is an apostle sent directly from Yeshua the Messiah, and not from men:

Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

Paul begins to talk about certain men that seem to be teaching a different gospel than his.2 To affirm his authority, he again claims he was taught his gospel by none other than Messiah in Galatians 1:11-12

But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

After giving his account of his conversion,3 Paul says in Galatians 1:16-17 that even immediately after his conversion, he did not speak to any man, including the Apostles:

To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

  1. The translation of this verse is controversial. Here are a few different ways it's been translated
  2. For more details about who these men were and why it was so crucial for Paul to convince the Galatians that he received his gospel directly from Yeshua, please see What role did James have in Paul's conflict with Peter
  3. For a comparison of Paul's conversion accounts, please see Why are the three accounts of Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus different
  • 1
    I think we can all agree that the author of the message is Jesus, therefore Paul affirms he was sent by Jesus Christ. However, that doesn't confirm whether this information came directly from the Lord or through the disciples. Although, this us an excellent account of verses that lean towards the idea of Jesus himself being Paul's teacher.
    – Andres
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 3:41
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    @Jorge Thanks for choosing my answer. I have to ask that you reconsider though. Although these quotes from Paul certainly lean towards the idea that Yeshua was Paul's teacher, my answer draws a much different conclusion.
    – Cannabijoy
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 11:11
  • 1
    One vital omission: Scripture. Paul was a capable student of the Old Testament both before and after his conversion. Combine that with Christ appearing to him and the Holy Spirit teaching him the meaning of the Word, and you have a fuller understanding of where Paul got his message. Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 22:04

I have always loved the beautiful fellowship described in Acts 2:41-47. Specifically:

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

It was a growing tradition in the newly formed religion for disciples to gether together to praise God, which I personally assume includes discussing the gospel as taught by Jesus and expounded upon by the apostles.

Paul appears to be the beneficiary of that tradition. From Acts 9:18-20 we read (emphasis mine):

And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

I don't know if we know who Paul was with, but he did spend time with the disciples before embarking on his ministry. I, personally, am willing to believe that it was during that time he received great instruction. But, in summary remember:

  • Paul, then Saul, would have understood something about Jesus' teachings. Jesus was a very well known teacher (having taught thousands during His ministry). As an agent of Jewish leadership fighting against Jesus, he would necessarily have gained insight (if not the most positive kind) into at least the basics of the gospel.

  • Paul then has his vision, leading to his conversion. Suddenly, and with a veracity I have not experienced in my own life, he knows that what he understands about the Lord's gospel is true.

  • Paul spends time with the disciples after his baptism, where deficiencies in his understanding are removed.

  • Finally, I personally believe it would be inaccurate to assume Paul's understanding of the gospel was perfect from the moment he started his ministry. Consider Ephesians 3:3-4:

How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

Paul continued to receive understanding through the Holy Ghost.

So, to answer your final question, it was both: instruction from fellow disciples and by revelation.

  • I apologize, but after reading 2 Cor 12:11 I'm wondering what your issue is? Paul is writing long after the fact of receiving his testimony and knowledge of the word. 1 Cor 11:23 is one of many verses (including Eph 3:3-4, which I address directly in my answer) that demonstrate Paul's contiuing revelation, which is my fourth bullet point and statement, "Paul continued to receive understanding through the Holy Ghost." The others you list will be more of the same. Have I missed something? It appears you failed to actually read my post.
    – JBH
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 5:50
  • As the first bullet describes, it refers to the time before Paul's conversion when he acted as an agent of Jewish leadership. Frankly, I don't believe this needs citation, but if you think it's that relevant, Acts 7:58; Acts 8; Acts 9:1-2. I won't take the time to cite the many scriptures proving Jesus taught publically. The second bullet is supported by Acts 9:18-20, as described in my answer.
    – JBH
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 13:58

Is there any account of how Paul learnt Jesus teachings after he converted?

Jesus revealed to him that the Christian heresy was actually true, and inspired him to properly understand and believe what he already knew but could not accept.

At the time of Saul's conversion, the Greek scriptures, what we call the New Testament, hadn't been written yet. All references to "scripture" within the New Testament are to the Hebrew scriptures.

Acts 8:25–40 tells of how Philip taught the Gospel:

  • [The Ethiopian] was reading Isaiah the prophet …
  • Philip … said "Do you understand what you are reading?"
  • Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.

The Apostles relied upon the Hebrew scriptures to teach the message of the Gospel.

Saul, as a defender of the faith, had to be very familiar with the scriptures.

Acts 8:1–3, 9:1–3 describes his persecution of the new Christian sect:

  • Now Saul was consenting to [Stephen's] death.
  • At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
  • As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
  • Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

Saul was very familiar both with the scriptures and with Christian heresies.

Saul had an encounter with Jesus, as described in Acts 9:3–9:

  • suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.
  • Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
  • And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
  • So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”

Acts 9:15–16 says that Jesus had chosen Saul for a special purpose:

  • he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
  • For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.

Jesus chose Saul because of his knowledge and dedication.

Following his realization that the Gospel of Jesus was not heresy, Saul quickly absorbed any details he hadn't previously known from the disciples, as described in Acts 9:19–22:

  • Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.
  • Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.
  • Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?”
  • But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.

Saul now used his existing knowledge of scripture and Christian doctrine to promote Christianity, with the same dedication and determination that he had previously used to persecute it.

  • 1
    +1 for the straightforward scenario that Paul has studied up on the nascent Christianity while he was persecuting them. Similar to how C.S. Lewis was studying the faith while he was still an atheist and it was his personal experience of how God was pursuing him which provided the "final kick" for his conversion "on the road to the zoo" :-) (see picture of a probable sidecar here). Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 4:44

The first question you've got to ask is "what was the 'good message' that Paul received through revelation of Jesus Christ"? That's what "gospel" means, after all - "good message", "good news", "glad tidings". It doesn't necessarily have anything at all to do with knowing about Jesus' teachings, his ministry, his miracles, his interactions with others, and so on.

Paul answers that question himself in 1 Corinthians 15: "1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the 'good news' which I preached to you..."

He then spends the rest of the chapter talking about nothing but the resurrection. The resurrection was the "good news".

Paul knew before his conversion that Jesus was crucified and died. He also knew before his conversion that Jesus was said to have been resurrected (hence, the "faith" that he persecuted).

Upon seeing Jesus himself, the truth of that resurrection then became real to him. That was the "good news".

The idea that Paul somehow learned of "the life and times of Jesus" - Jesus' teachings, accounts of his miracles, and of Jesus' interactions with his own disciples and with other people - via revelation has no real biblical support.


All of what others have contributed so far has been great. What I would like to add is that the Church in Antioch had questions of matters in Faith and morals. It is evident that Paul was not able to decifer the matter himself since they sent him and Barnabas to the authority of the Church in Jerusalem for discernment (Acts 15:1-21) In this First Council at Jerusalem, notice that those in the council were not only the Apostles but the elders as well. This would imply that the elders had been given the same same power of authority as the Apostles themselves. From this gathering, Paul would learn something new from the Church that was not learned by Jesus.

Recall that one of the major issues at hand regarded circumcision. I'm sure the Church of Antioch could have easily turned to the God-breathed Scripture and quote Genesis 17:9 where God declares that circumcision must continue from generation to generation - that is to say - forever. Instead they deferred their judgment to that of the Church. In fact, the Church's decision would seem to override God's command. But the truth of the matter is that the Church did not make any decision on their own cognizance. It was God who manifested His wisdom through the Church. The Truth came from the Church - not from Sacred Scripture.


yes, I too believe that Paul received the salvation direct from Christ. The gospel means the Resurrection of Jesus is the proof of living Christ. And he had spent time with Anania who baptised him might be taught the truth some extent before baptising him which is part of the great commission in Matt. 28:16-19. teach them what did you learn from me. And after that he met the Apostles Peter and James could be very fruitful to him. Above all he was master in the old testament he was educated under the great rabbi Gamaliel. so, got direct teaching is against the norms of the scripture this concept is leading many to claim false revelations apart from the bible.

  • 1
    Welcome Jacob. Your answer is rather disorganized; could you please edit it to break it down into discrete points that support your answer? It's a little hard to tease out what you mean due to presentation. The tour, How to Ask and How to Answer provide some guidance on how to answer a question at an SE Q&A site. Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 12:29

The Gospel (Good News) taught by Christ was not the same as that taught by Paul. Saved by GRACE and FAITH (Eph. 2.8-10) which is the mantra of contemporary Christianity; was never preached by Christ. Paul’s CHEAP GRACE was not the same as the COSTLY ONE taught by Christ. Could anyone show me or make reference to scripture, where Christ ever preached, that we can attain the kingdom of god (Salvation) by Grace and Faith (Sola Fide)? Look up Thomas Manto who said, “A faith that costs nothing is worth nothing”.

If you say, Paul was SAVED by Christ appearing to him on the way to Damascus; why then did Paul struggle by constantly chastising Himself, “I keep under my body and bring into subjection; for whilst I preach unto the others, I might become a castaway”? For heaven’s sake, WHO EXACTLY DID PAUL SPEAK TO? Is there any CORROBORATION of Paul’s claim? He could have very well-spoken or heard the devil himself. Is he the devil known as the greatest deceiver?

Please do not get carried away with Paul’s doctrine of SALVATION as it is far from the PATH to SALVATION taught by Christ. To just give you a taste of Christ, read this:

Except ye be converted and become like little children you cannot enter into the kingdom of God” Amen

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    – Lesley
    Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 16:24
  • 1
    Whether Paul's gospel was the same as that of Jesus or not is a different question from whether he learned the gospel of Jesus or not - and certainly different from the question How did he learn it? Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 12:39

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