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Galatians One

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

Galatians 1:2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:

churches of Galatia. Galatia was not a city, but a Roman province located in what is now north-central and northeastern Turkey. It had earlier been overrun by Gauls, for whom the area was named, but was later incorporated in the Roman Empire. Several of the cities reached on Paul's first missionary journey (Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe) were in the area just south of Galatia proper, and could be considered as Galatian churches, but there is no internal evidence to that effect. Possibly the churches to whom Paul was writing were certain unknown churches in Galatia proper, churches that Paul had reached on his second missionary journey.

Galatians 1:3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

gave himself. This is the first of six times in the New Testament where we are reminded that Jesus Christ not only has given us forgiveness and blessing, but in fact has given Himself! See also Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:2, 25; 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:14. There can be no greater love!

present evil world. The word for “world” is aion; Paul indicates that the present age is an evil age, and that one purpose for which Christ died was to deliver us from it.

Galatians 1:5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

another gospel. The word “another” in this verse is heteros, meaning “another of a different kind.” That is, any gospel that is not centered on “the grace of Christ” is not just an alternative gospel; it is a false gospel—no gospel at all.

Galatians 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

not another. In verse 7, on the other hand, the word for “another” is allos, which means “another of the same kind.” Galatians 1:6-7 stresses that the so-called gospel that was misleading the Galatians was not really one with just minor variations from the true gospel, but was altogether opposite to it, a false gospel.

Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

angel from heaven. Note Revelation 14:6, 7, which tells how, during the coming tribulation period, God will send an angel to preach the “everlasting gospel” from the heavens. The message of the angel will exhort people to worship the true God who had created all things. This obviously can only be the same gospel that Paul said that “we have preached unto you.” The gospel thus includes the creation as the foundation of all things, as well as the death and resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) for our sins. It also includes the coming eternal kingdom when He will reign over all things (Matthew 4:23). We must accept it by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).

accursed. “Accursed” is the Greek anathema, referring to being dedicated to a false god, and therefore under the curse of God.

Galatians 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

Galatians 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

gospel. The word “gospel,” both in English and in Greek, means “good news,” not “good works” or “good advice.” It is the good news concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ, with the forgiveness and salvation He provides—not information concerning the divine laws we must keep to be saved, as the men troubling the Galatian churches were teaching.

Galatians 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

revelation. Paul frequently claimed divine inspiration for his own teachings (e.g., 1 Corinthians 2:13), just as he did for the Old Testament Scriptures (e.g., 2 Timothy 3:16). There is a strong emphasis here in Galatians on divine inspiration, as it was in 1 and 2 Corinthians, because Paul was forced to counter the influence of the false apostles and false teachers who were trying to turn his converts away from “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).

Galatians 1:13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

Galatians 1:14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,

from my mother's womb. This is a strong testimony to God's electing sovereignty and unmerited grace. Paul for many years had “persecuted the church of God” (Galatians 1:13), yet he had been a “chosen vessel” unto God (Acts 9:15) from his mother's womb. Note also Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:15. In God's own good time, God called him by His grace.

Galatians 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

Galatians 1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

Galatians 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

after three years. Even before such a learned man as Paul was truly fit to preach and teach God's Word, he must spend three years alone with Christ, as it were, just as the eleven apostles had spent three years being taught by Him. It is presumptuous for a new convert to think he is ready for such a ministry before he also has spent at least the equivalence of three full years in intensive study of the Scriptures. Note the warnings in 1 Timothy 3:6 and James 3:1.

Galatians 1:19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.

James the Lord's brother. James, the presiding elder of the initial church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:13, 19; Galatians 2:9), as well as author of one of the New Testament books (James 1:1), is thus confirmed by Paul as one of the human brothers of Jesus. Christ's brothers at first did not believe on Him (John 7:5), but they later joined their mother in fellowship with the rest of His disciples (Acts 1:14). Whether the Greek original of this verse requires the understanding that James was also an apostle has been argued by scholars. The fact that the Holy Spirit chose James as one of the authors of the New Testament would indicate that he also had been specially called and prepared as an apostle, even though no particulars have been recorded. He had been among those who had seen Christ after His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:7). The same would then apply to Jude (Jude 1). Both James and Jude are named as among Jesus' brothers (Matthew 13:55).

Galatians 1:20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.

Galatians 1:21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;

Galatians 1:22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:

Galatians 1:23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

Galatians 1:24 And they glorified God in me.