You have truly help me understand the Bible more clearly by your teaching to rightly divide. I do have a question for my “group it altogether friends”. What chapter and verse in ACTS did Jesus reveal the “mystery” to Paul? Thank you for your help and may God richly bless you and your ministry.
Thanks for your patience in waiting for me to get to your question.
First know that according to Acts 26:16 – which took place at Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul is told that his revelation would be progressive (not all at once).
“But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee.”
II Corinthians 12:1 Paul declares it himself: “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.”
Now if you following the events laid out in Acts 9 which follow the conversion of Saul (or Paul), he is in Damascus from verse 17-25, then in Jerusalem from verse 26-29, and then sent from Ceasarea to Tarsus in verse 30. Prior to verse 22 he only taught that Jesus is the Christ. Then in verses 22 & 23 we read: “But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him.”
Most of the time the Jews tried to kill Paul because of his Gentile ministry, however these verses do not say that, but they do speak of Paul increasing in his spiritual understanding. Remember he is in Damascus, Syria.
When we compare these events with Paul’s recounting of them in Galatians 1:11-24, we learn that from his conversion till he left Damascus, a total of 3 years passed. During that time Paul had gone into Arabia and back. According to Galatians 4:25, this is where Moses received the Law. As the 12 Apostles were trained by Jesus Christ for 3 years, so it appears that Paul was given “the gospel of the grace of God – the gospel of the uncircumcision” over the space of those 3 years. His first recorded preaching is in Acts 13:38,39, where we see him preaching “justification by faith to all who believe.” Certainly this is not the first time he knew of it or preached it. He had already been ministering for over a year in Antioch (Acts 12:26) and had also preached in the cities of Salamis and Paphos in Cyprus.
Another interesting event that took place is in Acts 14:19,20 where Paul was stoned and left for dead. No one can be sure if he was dead or not but either way a miracle of resurrection or healing took place when he stood up, waked back into the city and traveled the next day. The timing of that event (which would take too long for me to write out) fourteen years later Paul refers to in II Corinthians 12:1-8
“It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.”
There in Acts 14:19 Paul received more revelation regarding the heavenly places for the “Body of Christ.”
Even more, here again is where Paul received additional revelation. It would appear from the reading of Ephesians and Colossians where Paul prays that we might be filled with knowledge and all wisdom, that Paul’s revelations had been completed and is being written for our learning in his prison epistles. This occurs after Acts 28. Read the prayers of Ephesians 1:16-20 and Colossians 1:9-12.
I hope this will help you and guide you in your study of this important question.