Galatians Chapter 1

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Introduction

The main design of Paul, in this chapter, is to show that he had received his call to the apostleship, not from man, but from God. It had been alleged (see the Introduction) that the apostles at Jerusalem possessed the most elevated rank, and the highest authority in the Christian church; that they were to be regarded as the fountains and the judges of the truth; that Paul was inferior to them as an apostle; and that they who inculcated the necessity of circumcision, and the observance of the rites of Moses, were sustained by the authority and the examples of the apostles at Jerusalem. To meet this statement was the design of this first chapter. Paul's grand object was to show that he was not appointed by men; that he had not been commissioned by men; that he had not derived his instructions from men; that he had not even consulted with them; but that he had been commissioned and taught expressly by Jesus Christ; and that when the apostles at Jerusalem had become acquainted with him, and with his views and plans of labour, long after he had begun to preach, they had fully concurred with him. This argument comprises the following parts: --

I. The solemn declaration that he was not commissioned by men, and that he was not, in any sense, an apostle of man, together with the general salutation to the churches in Galatia, Gal 1:1ff.

II. The expression of his astonishment that the Galatians had so soon forsaken his instructions, and embraced another gospel; and a solemn declaration that whoever preached another gospel was to be held accursed, Gal 1:6ff. Twice he anathematizes those who attempt to declare any other way of justification than that which consisted in faith in Christ, and says that it was no gospel at all. It was to be held as a great and fixed principle, that there was but one way of salvation; and no matter who attempted to preach any other, he was to be held accursed.

III. To show, therefore, that he was not appointed by men, and that he had not received his instruction from men, but that he had preached the truth directly revealed to him by God, and that which was therefore immutable and eternal, he goes into a statement of the manner in which he was called into the ministry, and made acquainted with the gospel, vets. Gal 1:11ff.

(a) He affirms that he was not taught it by man, but by the express revelation of Jesus Christ, Gal 1:11, Gal 1:12.

(b) He refers to his former well-known life, and his zeal in the Jewish religion; showing how much he had been formerly opposed to the gospel, Gal 1:13, Gal 1:14.

(c) He says that he had been separated, by the Divine purpose, from his mother's womb, to be a preacher of the gospel; and that when he was called to the ministry, he had no conference with any human being, as to what he was to preach; he did not go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were older apostles, but he retired far from them into Arabia, and thence again returned to Damascus, Gal 1:15ff.

(d) After three years, he says, he did indeed go to Jerusalem; but he remained there but fifteen days, and saw none of the apostles but Peter and James, Gal 1:18, Gal 1:19. His views of the gospel were formed before that; and that he did not submit implicitly to Peter, and learn of him, he shows in chapter 2, where, he says, he "withstood him to the face."

(e) After that, he says, he departed into the regions of Cilicia, in Asia Minor, and had no opportunity of conference with the churches which were in Judea. Yet they heard that he who had been formerly a persecutor had become a preacher, and they glorified God for it, Gal 1:20ff. Of course, he had had no opportunity of deriving his views of religion from them; he had been in no sense dependent on them; but, so far as they were acquainted with his views, they concurred in them. The sum of the argument, therefore, in this chapter is, that when Paul went into Cilicia and the adjacent regions, he had never seen but two of the apostles, and that but for a short time; he had never seen the apostles together, and he had never received any instructions from them. His views of the gospel, which he had imparted to the Galatians, he had derived directly from God.

Text

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

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

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

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: edit

5: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. edit

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

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

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. edit

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. edit

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. edit

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

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

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: edit

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. edit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

24: And they glorified God in me. edit

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