Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.
As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message. On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised. For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.–Galatians 2:1-10
One of the things to consider is that, though Paul didn’t actually learn anything about Jesus from the 11, he did go to visit them to confirm his message (although, Paul did visit Peter and James for 15 days, so they possibly bonded some and helped him with what he was preaching…maybe also shared with him what would later be written down as the Gospel of Mark. So, 14 years later, Paul returned and verified his message to the council). His confirmation was when they didn’t add anything to his message, even when the phony Christians, who were actually Jews, challenged him. They backed him up instead.
So today we have people sometimes who believe they’ve been called and ordained by Jesus Himself for the ministry, so they begin preaching their message. They start up their ministry by teaching their friends, family and strangers. Sounds like a great ministry, and it often is. But the problem arises when these people remain independent. They should meet up with and be discipled by somebody already in the ministry and who is connected with the Church.
Also, throughout the years, you should be taught and confirmed of your ministry by a group…this keeps us on track and accountable. Remember, though Paul didn’t return to Jerusalem for 14 years, he did travel with Barnabas, an experienced and commissioned missionary who was also his mentor, and others throughout the years. This helped in keeping him sharp, encouraged, gave him prayer support and accountability, and it also kept him from thinking of himself as higher than others who were preaching the same message.
In Paul’s example, he ran out to repent and preach to those who he’d wronged.