Paul taught “freedom” from circumcision and from the Law, which he calls “a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1-3). For that reason, he was accused of “trying to please men” (Gal 1:10). He continued to defend his gospel by claiming that he received it from God:
Paul received the gospel that he preached not from other people; he received it directly from Jesus Christ (Gal 1:11-12).
After God stopped Paul on his way to persecute the Christians, he did not consult other people (Gal 1:16-19).
When he visited Jerusalem, “those who were of reputation, contributed nothing to me” (Gal 2:6).
Gal 1:10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?
Or am I striving to please men?
If I were still trying to please men,
I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
1:11 For I would have you know, brethren,
that the gospel which was preached by me
is not according to man.
1:12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it,
but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
SEEKING THE FAVOR OR MEN
The defensive stance which Paul assumes in this verse implies that he was accused of “seeking the favor of men” (Gal 1:10) by his gospel. This is perhaps the very first indication in the letter of what the distortion was. Paul taught “freedom” from “circumcision” and from “the whole Law,” which he calls “a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1-3). Apparently, he was, therefore, being accused of “trying to please men” (Gal 1:10).
NOT ACCORDING TO MAN
He continues to defend his gospel by claiming that he received it from God. The NIV is perhaps clearer:
“The gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”
This is the main message of the first chapter of the letter to the Galatians; namely that he did not receive his message from people (Gal 1:11, 12). He was not “sent of men” (Gal 1:1). In Gal 1:15-20 he explains what happened in the years after God stopped him on his way to persecute the Christians; how he did not “consult with flesh and blood” (Gal 1:16) and he “did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother” (Gal 1:19). In chapter 2 he recalls a visit to Jerusalem and said: “those who were of reputation, (namely James, Peter Cephas and John – Gal 2:9) contributed nothing to me” (Gal 2:6).
Rather, he claims that he was sent through God (Gal 1:1) and received his message through a revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal 1:12).