1:1 Paul's Apostleship of God, Not of Men
SUMMARY OF GALATIANS 1:
Greetings. Paul's Wonder That the Galatians Had Swerved from the Gospel. They Had Received. Anathemas on Those Who Preach Another Gospel. The Gospel Communicated to Paul by Christ Himself. Paul's Early Life. A Persecutor. Christ Revealed. Goes Not Then to Jerusalem. After Three Years, Abode with Peter Fifteen Days. Then Preached in Cilicia.
Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man. This verse is the text of the first two chapters. In the Introduction I have pointed out that this Epistle was written on account of the disturbance made among the churches of Galatia by false teachers. These teachers sought to prepare a way for their doctrines by discrediting Paul. If they admitted that he was an apostle at all, they claimed that he was inferior to Peter and the Twelve; that he had received his gospel from them, and hence all must look to Jerusalem for the true gospel. Hence Paul here begins by declaring that his apostleship is not from man,
but by Jesus Christ, directly from Christ. The other apostles did not convert, choose, or appoint him, but Christ came from heaven to commission him.
1:2 And all the brethren which are with me. His fellow-laborers, such as Timothy, Titus, Silas, Luke, etc. some of whom at least were with him at this time. The word all implies that a number were with him.
Unto the churches of Galatia. The inference from the language is that there were a considerable number scattered through the province.
1:3 Grace... and peace. The salutation is a benediction, a petition that the blessings of Father and Son may be bestowed upon them. See PNT Ro 1:7.
1:4 Who gave himself for our sins. The name of Christ causes the utterance of a grand truth, of which the heart of Paul was always full, and which needed at this time to be impressed on the Galatian brethren. It was not Moses, but Christ who gave himself for them.
This present evil world. The existing state of things, where sin and death reign.
1:5 To whom [be] glory. This doxology is an indirect rebuke to those who were exalting Moses to share the glory of Christ.
1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed. Paul abruptly springs into the midst of his subject. With the fickleness of their race, they had so soon swerved
from him that called them. The analogy of Paul's language would show that he refers to God. Compare Ga 1:15 1Co 1:9 Ro 8:30. The call was a divine one. Paul was only the instrument that God used.
Into the grace of Christ. The gospel privileges. Called into these, they had removed
unto another gospel, one of a different kind, not worthy of the name.
1:7 Which is not another. Is not a gospel at all, but only a perversion of the only gospel of Christ, due to false teachers.
1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, etc. He supposes an impossibility in order to make his statement emphatic. These false teachers said, Our gospel is of Peter, or of James. Paul replies, Even though they, or we, or even an angel, preach another gospel, let him be accursed.
Accursed. Anathema; given over to the judgments of God. He who corrupts divine truth is an enemy of God, and is under the curse. See 1Co 16:22.
1:9 As we said before. This refers, it is generally supposed, to Paul's last visit to Galatia, mentioned in Ac 18:23, at which time he had warned the brethren against the Judaizers.
So say I now again, etc. The strong language shows how great a sin it is to pervert the gospel or Bible truth.
1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? Is this his motive, or to please God? If he sought to please men, he would never have become the
servant of Christ. By so doing he had displeased all his own nation and brought on himself the hatred of men. See 2Co 11:23.
1:11 The gospel which was preached by me is not after to man. It is not preached to please man, nor is it of human origin.
1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it]. It could not be of man, for it did not come to him from man. No preacher or apostle taught it to him.
But by the revelation of Jesus Christ. It came by a direct revelation of Christ. The first revelation was on the way to Damascus (Ac 26:13-18). There were no doubt successive revelations (2Co 12:1).
1:13 Ye have heard of my conversation in time past. Of my manner of life (Revised Version). While he was still a Jew. In order to show that his gospel did not come from man, he cites his history, of which they knew something.
I persecuted the church of God. See Ac 9:21. He made a determined effort to destroy Christianity. Compare Ac 22:4 26:10,11.
1:14 Profited in the Jews' religion. Made progress in it. He was a Pharisee, was well educated, exceedingly zealous, and reached a high degree.
Traditions of my fathers. Not only the law of Moses, but the traditions handed down which were taught so assiduously. See Mt 15:2 Mr 7:3,13. Our Lord condemned these Jewish traditions.
1:15 But when it pleased God, etc. The language that follows implies that, like Moses, John the Baptist (Lu 1:15-17), Isaiah (Isa 49:1), and Jeremiah (Jer 1:5), Paul was destined to his work from birth.
1:16 To reveal his Son in me. It was one thing to call him, as was done on the way to Damascus; another to reveal Christ to him. This was needful that he should be a witness of the resurrection to the Gentiles.
I conferred not with flesh and blood. He did not go to men to learn more, or for counsel.
1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them who were apostles before me. He did not seek those who were apostles before him at Jerusalem to be taught.
I went into Arabia. This is the only place where this fact is mentioned. Like Moses and Elijah, he spent a season, perhaps for reflection, communion with God, and preparation, amid the Arabian solitudes. He then
returned again to Damascus. Here he probably did his first preaching (Ac 9:20-23). Arabia lay south and east of Palestine, extending to the vicinity of Damascus.
1:18 Then, after three years I went up to Jerusalem. Three years after conversion. This journey to Jerusalem, hurried by persecution at Damascus (2Co 11:32), was probably A.D. 40.
To see Peter. He had probably never met him before. He desired to form his acquaintance and counsel over their great work. He then remained
fifteen days, not long enough to have been taught the gospel by Peter, if that had been his object.
1:19 But other of the apostles saw I none. The other apostles were probably absent among churches of Judea (Ac 9:31).
Save James, the Lord's brother. Not James the brother of John, an apostle, but James, the brother of the Lord, named in Ac 12:17 15:13 21:18 This James was not one of the Twelve, but rose to great dignity and influence in the church at Jerusalem. He is called here the brother of the Lord, to distinguish him from James, the son of Zebedee (Mt 4:21 10:02 Mr 1:19 3:17), and James, the son of Alphaeus (Mt 10:3 Mr 3:18 Lu 6:15 Ac 1:13), who were of the Twelve. For Introduction to Epistle of James, see PNT Jas 1:1.
1:20 Behold, before God, I lie not. This statement, an important one in view of the declarations of the Judaizers, Paul makes very solemnly.
1:21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. He was forced to leave Jerusalem by the attempt of the Hellenistic Jews to kill him. See Ac 9:29,30.
1:22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea. The churches of Judea had heard of him, but few had seen him.
1:23 They had heard. Rather, they kept hearing. That he was busy planting churches in Syria and Cilicia at this time we know from the fact that we find them in existence soon after (Ac 15:41).
The faith. In the study of this Letter, it is well to keep in mind that the term faith is used by Paul often in a sense that means more than the act of belief. When it is put in contrast with the law, it is used in the sense of The Faith, that is, The Gospel. It comprehends what is believed, believing, and the results of believing. The fact that the apostles so often places the definite article before the word faith, so that in the Greek he speaks of The Faith, leaves no doubt of his meaning. It is unfortunate that the translators have obscured the meaning by omitting the article. Thus in this chapter the Greek gives the definite article before the word ( the faith ) five times where it is omitted in the Common Version. The examples are Ga 3:14,23,25,26.
1:24 They glorified God in me. Glorified God for the work I was doing. The idea of glorifying men for the success of their work was unknown in the early church.