Galatians Chapter 1
1 Paul, an apostle-not from men, nor through man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead-
2 and all the brothers who are with me, to the assemblies of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,
4 who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father-
5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
6 I marvel that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different "good news",
7 but there isn't another "good news." Only there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the Good News of Christ.
8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any "good news" other than that which we preached to you, let him be cursed.
9 As we have said before, so I now say again: if any man preaches to you any "good news" other than that which you received, let him be cursed.
10 For am I now seeking the favour of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? For if I were still pleasing men, I wouldn't be a servant of Christ.
11 But I make known to you, brothers, concerning the Good News which was preached by me, that it is not according to man.
12 For I didn't receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my way of living in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the assembly of God and ravaged it.
14 I advanced in the Jews' religion beyond many of my own age amongst my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through his grace
16 to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him amongst the Gentiles, I didn't immediately confer with flesh and blood,
17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia. Then I returned to Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days.
19 But of the other apostles I saw no one except James, the Lord's brother.
20 Now about the things which I write to you, behold, before God, I'm not lying.
21 Then I came to the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
22 I was still unknown by face to the assemblies of Judea which were in Christ,
23 but they only heard: "He who once persecuted us now preaches the faith that he once tried to destroy."
24 So they glorified God in me.
- Verse 2 (Brothers)
- The word for "brothers" here and where context allows may also be correctly translated "brothers and sisters" or "siblings."
- Verse 20 (Behold)
- "Behold" means look at, take notice, observe, see, or gaze at. It is often used as an interjection.
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Galatians Chapter 1 Guide
In the beginning of most of his epistles Paul definitely declares his apostleship. In this instance, in a parenthesis, he defends that declaration more emphatically than in any other introduction. The absence of personal salutations is marked. He does not, however, omit the salutation of the Gospel. Grace and peace are for them also.
As there are no words of personal salutation, so also there are no expressions of thankfulness for the Galatians' condition. Instead of the usual, "I thank my God," we find him writing, "I marvel." These people were "so quickly," that is, so easily "removing" from the Gospel. There were those who troubled them. These troublers were perverting "the Gospel of Christ." They were insisting on fleshly ceremonies (3:1, 3), on the observance of days (4:10), on circumcision (5:2), and on a new legalism (5:4). This was utterly subversive of the evangel of the Cross. The apostle showed the completeness of the Gospel by telling his own story.
The divine element throughout is clearly marked. There was, first, the revelation to him of Jesus Christ, then the revelation in him of the Son of God, and, finally, such revelation through him that the churches of Judea, though they did not know his face, glorified God in him.
From "An Exposition of the Whole Bible" by G. Campbell Morgan.
Galatians Chapter 1 Commentary
- The apostle Paul asserts his apostolic character against such as lessened it. -- (1-5)
- He reproves the Galatians for revolting from the gospel of Christ under the influence of evil teachers. -- (6-9)
- He proves the Divine authority of his doctrine and mission; and declares what he was before his conversion and calling. -- (10-14)
- And how he proceeded after it. -- (15-24)
St. Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ; he was expressly appointed by him, consequently by God the Father, who is one with him in respect of his Divine nature, and who appointed Christ as Mediator. Grace, includes God's good-will towards us, and his good work upon us; and peace, all that inward comfort, or outward prosperity, which is really needful for us. They come from God the Father, as the Fountain, through Jesus Christ. But observe, first grace, and then peace; there can be no true peace without grace. Christ gave himself for our sins, to make atonement for us: this the justice of God required, and to this he freely submitted. Here is to be observed the infinite greatness of the price bestowed, and then it will appear plainly, that the power of sin is so great, that it could by no means be put away except the Son of God be given for it. He that considers these things well, understands that sin is a thing the most horrible that can be expressed; which ought to move us, and make us afraid indeed. Especially mark well the words, "for our sins." For here our weak nature starts back, and would first be made worthy by her own works. It would bring him that is whole, and not him that has need of a physician. Not only to redeem us from the wrath of God, and the curse of the law; but also to recover us from wicked practices and customs, to which we are naturally enslaved. But it is in vain for those who are not delivered from this present evil world by the sanctification of the Spirit, to expect that they are freed from its condemnation by the blood of Jesus.
Those who would establish any other way to heaven than what the gospel of Christ reveals, will find themselves wretchedly mistaken. The apostle presses upon the Galatians a due sense of their guilt in forsaking the gospel way of justification; yet he reproves with tenderness, and represents them as drawn into it by the arts of some that troubled them. In reproving others, we should be faithful, and yet endeavour to restore them in the spirit of meekness. Some would set up the works of the law in the place of Christ's righteousness, and thus they corrupted Christianity. The apostle solemnly denounces, as accursed, every one who attempts to lay so false a foundation. All other gospels than that of the grace of Christ, whether more flattering to self-righteous pride, or more favourable to worldly lusts, are devices of Satan. And while we declare that to reject the moral law as a rule of life, tends to dishonour Christ, and destroy true religion, we must also declare, that all dependence for justification on good works, whether real or supposed, is as fatal to those who persist in it. While we are zealous for good works, let us be careful not to put them in the place of Christ's righteousness, and not to advance any thing which may betray others into so dreadful a delusion.
In preaching the gospel, the apostle sought to bring persons to the obedience, not of men, but of God. But Paul would not attempt to alter the doctrine of Christ, either to gain their favour, or to avoid their fury. In so important a matter we must not fear the frowns of men, nor seek their favour, by using words of men's wisdom. Concerning the manner wherein he received the gospel, he had it by revelation from Heaven. He was not led to Christianity, as many are, merely by education.
St. Paul was wonderfully brought to the knowledge and faith of Christ. All who are savingly converted, are called by the grace of God; their conversion is wrought by his power and grace working in them. It will but little avail us to have Christ revealed to us, if he is not also revealed in us. He instantly prepared to obey, without hesitating as to his worldly interest, credit, ease, or life itself. And what matter of thanksgiving and joy is it to the churches of Christ, when they hear of such instances to the praise of the glory of his grace, whether they have ever seen them or not! They glorify God for his power and mercy in saving such persons, and for all the service to his people and cause that is done, and may be further expected from them.
From the "Concise Commentary on the Bible" by Matthew Henry.