Bible Commentaries
Galatians 1

Bengel's Gnomon of the New TestamentBengel's Gnomon

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verse 1

Galatians 1:1 . Παῦλος ἀπόστολος , οὐκ ἀπʼ ἀνθρώπων , οὐδέ διʼ ἀνθρώπου , ἀλλὰ διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ , καὶ Θεοῦ πατρὸς τοῦ ἐγείραντος ἀυτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν , Paul an apostle, not of [ ἀπʼ called by ] men, nor by [ διὰ , instructed through the instrumentality of] man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead ) A remarkable antithesis, in which, while Paul asserts his apostleship, he mentions also his divine vocation, οὐκ ἀπʼ ἀνθρώπων , ἀλλὰ (supply διὰ ) Θεοῦ πατρὸς , not of man, but (by) God the Father; comp. Galatians 1:15 , and the following verses; and his immediate instruction, οὐδὲ διʼ ἀνθρώπου , ἀλλὰ διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ , not by man but by Jesus Christ . Instruction is generally effected by one individual, for example, as Paul was instructed by Gamaliel; calling, by more than one; hence the difference of number, of men, by a man . Artemonius page 211, 212, contends, after Le Clerc, that we must insert ἀπὸ from after καὶ : but διὰ by is rightly supplied from the last clause, and the force of the particle διὰ by in this passage includes the meaning of the particle ἀπὸ , from , but not vice versa . Paul, when he mentions the Father and the Son in connection, often uses a single preposition. 1 Timothy 6:13 . διὰ , by ) He had just used διὰ with) an apostrophe; it is now without the apostrophe, for the sake of emphasis. ἐγείραντος , who raised ) The seeds preparatory to the discussion of his subject are [here already] scattered. The resurrection of Christ is the source of righteousness and apostleship, Romans 1:4-5 ; Rom 4:25 ; 2 Corinthians 5:19 .

Verse 2

Galatians 1:2 . Πάντες , all ) This short verse adds to this epistle the form of a creed . ἐκκλησίαις , to the churches ) He uses the plural on account of the multitude of churches and towns in Galatia. Nor does he add the epithets, which he applies to the Romans, Corinthians, etc. Γαλατίας , of Galatia) 1 Peter 1:1 .

Verse 4

Galatians 1:4 . Τοῦ δόντος , who gave ) Paul adds such a periphrasis nowhere else to the prayer for grace and peace: who gave himself , Galatians 2:20 . ἁμαρτιῶν , for our sins ) which had enslaved us to this evil world. ἐξέληται , might deliver ) Paul describes the whole benefit of redemption on that side, on which the Galatians, carried away by the mischievous influence of Jewish teaching, experienced greatest difficulty. ἐνεστῶτος , present ) This present lasts as long as wickedness prevails. αἰῶνος πονηροῦ ; evil world ) A rare mode of speaking by which the whole economy of sin under the authority of Satan is denoted. The ages of ages ( for ever and ever ) in the following verse are opposed to this world [ which is both depraved and unhappy . V. g.], on which comp. Romans 5:6 : and by it the Galatians had been almost entirely led away. The present world obstructs the glory of God, and is under the authority τοῦ πονηροῦ , of the Wicked One . Paul speaks of Satan nowhere more sparingly than in this epistle. κατὰ , according to ) construed with, who gave; John 10:18 , at the end. τὸ θέλημα the will ) without any merit of ours; comp. John 6:38-39 . καὶ , and ) See Romans 15:6 , note [of Him who is at once God (the Creator) and our Father].

Verse 5

Galatians 1:5 . Ἡ δόξα , the glory ) for this will , which brings salvation. A delightful introduction.

Verse 6

Galatians 1:6 . Θαυμάζω , I marvel ) Paul, writing to all the other churches, begins with an expression of thanksgiving and praise to God, which, although the subject here requires something different, has however been virtually expressed, [has been represented by an equivalent] Galatians 1:5 . He also delays giving them the appellation of brethren . We give this summary of the epistle. There are three divisions.

I. The Inscription, Galatians 1:1-5 .

II. The Recalling of the Gentiles to the true Gospel, where

i. He reproves them, Galatians 1:6-10 .

ii. He asserts the divine authority of the Gospel preached by himself: because he

1) From a persecutor has become an apostle by heavenly calling, Galatians 1:11-17 .

2) Never acted as if he had not been Peter’s equal, Galatians 1:18-19 ; Galatians 1:21-22 .

iii. He vindicates justification by faith, anew reproaching the Galatians, Galatians 3:1-2 ; Galatians 3:15 Galatians 4:11 .

iv. He explains the same subject to the Galatians, with the most tender affection, by the allegory of the son of the bond maid and of the son of the free woman, Galatians 4:12 .

v. He then exhorts them to maintain their liberty, Galatians 5:1-12 , dissuades them from its abuse, and admonishes them not to walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit,Galatians 5:13-14; Galatians 5:13-14 ; Galatians 5:16 Galatians 6:5 , Galatians 6:6-10 .

III. Conclusion, Galatians 5:11-12 ; Galatians 5:17-18 .

See also the note at Galatians 2:16 .

οὕτω ταχέως , so quickly ) Paul had been with the Galatians not long before. See Ordo temp . (arrangement of dates) p. 281 [Ed. ii., p. 242, No. 6.] μετατίθεσθε , you are removed ) transferred [you have changed your place from Him] A weighty expression, having an excuse blended with it. Jerome says: Galatia in our language implies transference, [removal from one place to another]. ἀπὸ τοῦ καλέσαντος ὑμᾶς , from Him, who called you ) One’s calling, is therefore the channel of grace, the rule for the future; ch. Galatians 5:8 ; Galatians 5:13 . We have here, Galatians 1:6-10 , a Proposition [statement of the subject, viz. the calling ] and a sort of Division of it into parts [ διαίρεσις ]; and the calling in [“into the”] grace [ Gal 1:6 ] is treated of in continuation from Galatians 1:11 : the words “there be some that trouble you” are treated of, ch. Galatians 5:7 , etc. ἐν χάριτι , in grace [Engl. Vers., into the grace ] Acts 15:11 . Χριστοῦ , of Christ ) The construction is with ἀπὸ from . 1 [1] )

[1] 1 This word Χριστοῦ itself, although it is not considered as a reading fully established by the margin of both Ed., is, however, expressed in the Germ. Ver. E. B.

G g Cypr. Lucif. omit Χριστοῦ . But ABHD [adding Ἰησοῦ with f ] Vulg. support it; τοῦ καλέσαντος agreeing with Χριστοῦ , and both governed by ἀπο ; but Engl. Vers. and Vulg. make Χριστοῦ be governed by χάριτι . ED.

Verse 7

Galatians 1:7 . ‘O, which ) This word relates to the Gospel , not to the words a different gospel . οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλο , is not another ) ἄλλο [aliud] another differs from ἕτερον , [alterum] a second and different . [2] Paul not merely rejects that so-called Gospel, which the Galatians had allowed to be thrust upon them, but any other whatever. τινές , some ) unhappy persons, Galatians 1:8 , ch. Galatians 5:10 ; Galatians 5:12 . ταράσσοντες , that trouble ) ch. Galatians 5:10 . θέλοντες , wishing ) They really were not able, but yet they were earnestly wishing to do it. Paul often glances at the Galatians and their seducers by this expression; ch. Galatians 4:9 ; Galatians 4:17 ; Galatians 4:21 , Galatians 6:12-13 . So Colossians 2:18 . μεταστρέψαι ) הפך is frequently translated by this word. τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Χριστοῦ , the Gospel of Christ .) Those, who troubled them, did not quite deny Jesus Christ; but Paul acknowledges nothing but the pure Gospel.

[2] ἄλλος , one of many; ἓτερος , one of two. Diversity is more strongly expressed in ἔτερος than ἄλλος . ED.

Verse 8

Galatians 1:8 . Ἡμεῖς ) We , many as we are, Galatians 1:2 . ἢ ἄγγελος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ , or an angel from heaven ) whose authority, with the exception of God and Christ, is the highest, ch. Galatians 4:14 . ὅ εὐηγγελισάμεθα , which we have preached ) This proves the apostolic infallibility. ἀνάθεμα , let him be [accursed] anathema ) Deprived of all part in Christ and God. The antithesis is at Galatians 6:16 . ἔστω , let him be ) Controversies not only cannot, but not even ought to be carried on without strong feeling; but that strong feeling ought to be holy feeling.

Verse 9

Galatians 1:9 . Ὡς , as ) He speaks deliberately. He seems to have paused between the writing of each verse. A similar asseveration is repeated, ch. Galatians 5:2-3 ; Galatians 5:21 . προειρήκαμεν , we said before ) In the plural: for in Gal 1:8 he wrote we have preached , also in the plural. λέγω , I say ) in the singular. All knew the truth of the Gospel; Paul knew that the minds of the Galatians had been truly impressed with the Gospel; he now therefore says, ye have received , and by this expression there is an epitasis [emphatic addition, or augmentation of force] in the repetition. [3] ΕἸ ) if . This is more positive than εἂν [though it should happen that], Galatians 1:8 . ὙΜᾶς ΕὐΑΓΓΕΛΊΖΕΤΑΙ , furnish you with any other Gospel [ preach to you ]) Here ὑμᾶς is put before the verb ΕὐΑΓΓΕΛΊΖΕΤΑΙ , though in the 8th verse ὙΜῖΝ is put after; this is for the sake of emphasis; moreover we are not to suppose that there is no distinction intended in the different cases [ ὙΜῖΝ and ὙΜᾶς ]: We have preached the Gospel to you , has the dative of advantage: To furnish any one [Accusative] with a Gospel , is fitted to direct a sneer against the false teachers’ pretensions.

[3] See Append. on Epitasis. In the first use of the words, ver. S, “Though we, etc., preach any other Gospel,” there do not occur the words “than that ye have received.” The addition of these words, Galatians 1:9 , on the second use or repetition of the former words, constitutes the Epitasis. ED.

Verse 10

Galatians 1:10 . Ἄρτι γὰρ , for now ) The reason why even now he writes with such asseverations: now is repeated from Galatians 1:9 . ἀνθρώπους , men ) This word is without the article, but presently after, τὸν Θεὸν , God , with the article. Regard is to be had to God alone. πείθω ) πείθω τινὰ , is much the same as the word ἀρέσκω , which presently occurs, I seek to please any one: πείθειν τινὰ , to obtain the consent or indulgence of any one. Plato de Leg. lib. 10, at the beginning; comp. 2 Corinthians 5:11 , note. ἀνθρώποις , men ) The antithesis is, of Christ . ἔτι , yet ) The meaning is, I have not heretofore sought, nor do I yet seek to please men; comp. yet , ch. Galatians 5:11 . The particles of the present time, ἄρτι , now , and ἔτι , yet , refute the words of him who troubled the Galatians. They here distinguish the present from the former time, not only when he was a Pharisee, but likewise when he was an apostle. As to the time when he was a Pharisee, Paul neither denies nor affirms in this passage. Paul not long before had circumcised Timothy for example. They were wishing to turn that circumstance as a conclusive argument against him with the Galatians. ἀνθρώποις , men ) for the feelings of men are at variance with those of God and Christ; hence, the evil of this present world , Galatians 1:4 . ἠρέσκον , I pleased ) ἀρέσκω , I seek to please , Romans 8:8 , note. A man generally either pleases or displeases him, whom he either seeks or does not seek to please. Χριστοῦ , of Christ ) whom I seek to please, as is becoming in a servant , Titus 2:9 .

Verse 11

Galatians 1:11 . Ἀδελφοὶ , brethren ) He now at length calls them brethren . κατὰ , according to [ after ]) κατὰ includes the meaning of the prepositions ἀπὸ , διὰ , and παρὰ , in Galatians 1:1 ; Galatians 1:12 . My Gospel is not according to the estimate of men.

Verse 12

Galatians 1:12 . Παρέλαβον , I received ) This differs from I was taught it [ ἐδιδάχθην ]; for the one is accomplished without labour; the other is acquired by the labour of learning. διʼ ἀποκαλύψεως , by revelation ) viz., I received .

Verse 13

Galatians 1:13 . Ἠκούσατε , ye have heard ) before I came to you. ποτὲ , in time past ) when Paul was no way desirous of promoting the cause of the Gospel. ἐπόρθουν , I wasted ) This word denotes what is quite the opposite of edification [ the building up of the Church].

Verse 14

Galatians 1:14 . Προέκοπτον , I was becoming a proficient [ I profited ]) in my very acts. συνηλικιώτας , my equals in years ) who were at that time in their full vigour. πατρικῶν μου , of my fathers [ of my hereditary and national traditions]) which were very dear to me, as if they depended on me as their sole patron. A mimesis. [4]

[4] See App. Here he imitates the language which himself formerly, and which the Jewish legalists used in speaking of the traditions. ED.

Verse 15

Galatians 1:15 . Εὐδόκησεν , it pleased ) The good pleasure of God is the farthest point which a man can reach, when he is inquiring with respect to the causes of his salvation. Paul attributes nothing to merit; presently he adds, from the womb; comp. Romans 9:11 . ὁ ἀφορίσας , who separated me ) that he might show to me this good pleasure . ἐκ κοιλίας μητρός μου , from my mother’s womb ) Jeremiah 1:5 .

Verse 16

Galatians 1:16 . Ἀποκαλύψαι , to reveal ) construed with it pleased God . A remarkable word. τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ , His Son ) Galatians 2:20 . ἐν ἐμοὶ ) in me , not merely by me; for that after all is but the consequent [which must be preceded by the revelation in the preacher]. The Son of God had been formerly revealed, now He was also revealed in Paul , in relation to Paul, i.e. [He was revealed] to Paul. So, in , presently in this verse, and Galatians 1:24 . ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσι , among the heathen ) whose calling corresponds in many respects to my own. There was the less need therefore to repair to Jerusalem. εὐθέως , immediately ) This is chiefly connected with ἀπῆλθον , I went away . The sudden fitness of the apostle is denoted, Acts 9:20 , he straightway preached . [ Moved, however, by peculiar modesty, he willingly yielded the palm to his senior colleagues, if at any time they were present . V. g.] Jerome construes εὐθεώς with ἵνα εὐαγγελίζωμαι , that I might forthwith preach . οὐ προσανεθέμην ) I had not recourse to flesh and blood, for the sake of consulting them. The same verb, and ἀνεθέμην , occur Galatians 2:6 ; Galatians 2:2 . The dictionaries (which see) make no distinction between the single and double compound verb. But the apostle seems to have considerately made the distinction, so that πρὸς means, besides, further, i.e. , divine revelation was sufficient for me [I went no further than it]. σαρκὶ καὶ αἵματι , to flesh and blood ) i.e. , to man or men, ch. Galatians 2:6 ; comp. Matthew 16:17 , note.

Verse 17

Galatians 1:17 . Οὐδὲ ἀνῆλθον ) Neither went I up; so ἀνῆλθε , John 6:3 . Ἱεροσόλυμα , to Jerusalem ) the seat of the apostles. Ἀραβίαν , Arabia ) a country of the Gentiles . πάλιν ὑπέστρεψα , again I returned ) Paul here takes for granted that his journey to Damascus, on which he had been converted, was previously known. Δαμασκὸν , Damascus ) of Syria. There is no other Damascus than that of Syria, but I have added the mention of Syria, because he had been formerly speaking of Arabia , etc.

Verse 18

Galatians 1:18 . Τρία , three ) After he had given proofs of the apostolic office. ἱστορῆσαι ) a weighty expression, [5] as referring to an important matter. He did not say ἰδεῖν [though Engl. Vers. so renders it, to see ], but ἱστορῆσαι , “which,” (says Chyrs.) “is said by those who accurately observe ( οι καταμανθάνοντες ) great and splendid cities.” Plutarch represents Solon and many others as having travelled for the purpose of acquiring great wisdom and information ( ἱστορίας ). Julian, when he was about to consult the diviners in the cities of Greece, alleged as the cause of his going, the extensive information of Greece ( καθʼ ἱστορίαν τῆς Ἑλλάδος ), and of the schools there. Greg. Naz., Or. 4, Cresoll. theatr. rhet., p. 163. Πἑτρον , Peter ) Therefore Paul preferred him to the other apostles, ch. Galatians 2:7 . δεκαπέντε , fifteen ) during so short a time, Paul means to say, Peter would not have been able to have made me an apostle. [ It is profitable to observe rather carefully, what are the dealings of God with thee, that when circumstances permit, thou mayest confidently appeal to them even after a long interval . V. g.]

[5] Ἱστορέω Th. ἳστωρ , ἴσημι ; to become acquainted with anything by visiting and inquiry, Pol. ix. 14, 3. Ἱστορ , τινὰ , to become acquainted with one by a face to face interview. ED.

See Wahl. Clav.

Verse 19

Galatians 1:19 . Τὸν ἀδελφὸν τοῦ Κυρίου , the Lord’s brother ) cousin of Jesus. There was no other James, the Lord’s brother, and an apostle.

Verse 20

Galatians 1:20 . Ἰδοὺ , behold ) viz. ἐστὶ , it is; for ὅτι means that . [6]

[6] It is the case before God, that , etc. ED.

Verse 21

Galatians 1:21 . Ἦλθον , I came ) with the Gospel, Galatians 1:23 .

Verse 22

Galatians 1:22 . Τῆς Ιὀυδαίας , of Judœa ) with the exception of Jerusalem.

Verse 23

Galatians 1:23 . Ὁ διώκων , he who persecuted ) He had been very well known by this name, nor was the name Saul itself so celebrated, as that of the persecutor.

Verse 24

Galatians 1:24 . Ἐδόξαζον , they glorified ) And in the present day the Church glorifies God in Paul . [ Remember thou to observe the same thing (to glorify God) as often as a good report (about some one converted from ungodliness), has been brought to thee . V. g.] ἐν ἐμοὶ , in me ) comp. note to Galatians 1:16 . They glorified God previously, they now glorified Him also on account of Paul.

Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Galatians 1". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.