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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Galatians 1

 

 


Other Authors
Verses 1-5

The Salutation - Galatians 1:1-5 is called the salutation and is found in all thirteen of Paul's New Testament epistles and is used as an introduction to his letters. Paul wrote his salutations as a signature of authenticity ( 2 Thessalonians 3:17) just like we place our signature today at the end of a document. He may have written entire epistles as indicated in Philemon 1:19. However, there are indications in six of his epistles that Paul used an amanuensis to write most of his letters (see Romans 16:22, 1 Corinthians 16:21, Galatians 6:11, Colossians 4:18, 2 Thessalonians 3:17, Philemon 1:19).

2 Thessalonians 3:17, "The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write."

The salutation of Galatians gives us the underlying theme of this great epistle ( Galatians 1:1-5). Through Jesus Christ we have been delivered from the evil powers on this earth ( Galatians 1:4) and the epistle of Galatians will take us on a journey of deliverance from the bondages of this world.

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

Galatians 1:1 — "Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man" - Comments- "Paul, an apostle" - The word "apostle" literally means, "one who is sent out." This word involves a sense of calling and a mission to be accomplished, which is to take the Gospel to the whole world.

To those churches and individuals in which Paul displayed his apostleship over them in order to give correction and doctrine, he introduces himself as "an apostle of Jesus Christ" ( Romans 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:1 and Titus 1:1). To the Philippians Paul describes himself as a "servant." This is because within the context of this epistle Paul will give examples of himself ( Philippians 1:12-20), of Jesus Christ ( Philippians 2:1-11), of Timothy ( Philippians 2:19-24) and of Epaphroditus ( Philippians 2:25-30) as servants who laid aside their own wills and in order that to fulfill the will of those in authority over them. For this is the message and theme of Paul's epistle to the Philippians. To Philemon Paul declares himself as a "prisoner of Jesus Christ," because his message to Philemon was about a slave, or prisoner, who was serving Philemon. In his two letters to the church of Thessalonica Paul defers the use of a title in order to equate himself as co-workers with Silas and Timothy. He will refer to his apostleship in 1 Thessalonians 2:6, but he will be mindful to use it in the plural form as a co-worker with Silas and Timothy. This is because he emphasizes their need to labour together until Jesus returns.

Paul recognized his office as an apostle of Jesus Christ. As he faithfully executed this office as an apostle its accompanying powers were demonstrated. There are Scriptural signs for one who walks in the office of an apostle. BDAG says that signs are given as "the distinguishing mark by which something is known." (see σημεῖον 1)

2 Corinthians 12:12, "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds."

Paul referred to his apostleship frequently in his epistles, making mention of his office as an apostle in nine of his thirteen epistles:

Romans 1:1, "called an apostle"

Romans 11:11, "an apostle of the Gentiles"

1 Corinthians 1:1, "an apostle of Jesus Christ"

1 Corinthians 9:1-2, "Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord."

1 Corinthians 15:9, "For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."

2 Corinthians 1:1, "an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God"

2 Corinthians 12:12, "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds."

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

Ephesians 1:1, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:"

Colossians 1:1, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,"

1 Timothy 1:1, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;"

1 Timothy 2:7, "I am ordained an apostle" - Ordained means to be appointed, put in the position (by God Himself).

2 Timothy 1:1, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,"

2 Timothy 1:11, "Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles."

Titus 1:11, "an apostle Jesus Christ according to the faith of God's elect and acknowledging of the truth".

In contrast, John never referred to his office. Some scholars suggest that Paul makes these references because he was often challenged by others in this office, unlike John. Peter also opens his epistles stating his apostleship in the Lord.

"not of men" - His apostleship came not from men as its source or its origin (beginning). Paul makes another reference to this source in Galatians 1:12, "For I neither received it of man." Note a similar statement by Jesus Christ:

Luke 20:4, "The baptism of John , was it from heaven, or of men?"

"neither by man" - The phrase "of man" describes an agent or mediator who speaks for another. Paul makes another reference to this agency in Galatians 1:12, "neither was I taught it (with the implied phrase by man)."

Comments- An apostle must be both trained and then commissioned. Paul's calling and training was not by a Prayer of Manasseh , but from God. He will spend a large portion of this letter in Galatians 1:11 to Galatians 2:21 defending this opening statement of his divine calling. He was commissioned and sent forth, not by men, but by Jesus Christ. Paul received his gospel directly from Jesus Christ not being taught by man. Thus, Paul emphases his divine calling several times in this epistle. Note how Paul later explains that He received his revelation of the Gospel directly from the Lord without being taught by men:

Galatians 1:11-12, "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of Prayer of Manasseh , neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."

Also, note another verse where Paul says that he received his ministry, or commission, from the Lord and not from man:

Acts 20:24, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."

This description stands in contrast to his training as a Pharisee and his commission to persecute the Church. Previous to Paul's conversion, his education, and later, his authority to carry out religious plans came from the chief priests. Song of Solomon , this phrase is in strict contrast to his early years as a devout Pharisee. Also, Paul is about to confront the doctrines of the Judaizers, who have, in fact, been sent by men to fulfill their tasks, in contrast to Paul"s divine calling. These Judaizers placed a lot of emphasis upon their Jewish education and ordination. Thus, Paul emphasizes the fact that his training and commissioning came directly from the Lord.

Note Paul"s earlier efforts to carry out man"s calling:

Acts 9:1, "And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:"

Acts 22:5, "As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished."

Acts 26:10, "Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them."

Jesus Himself had to take this very stand of knowing God"s divine calling:

John 5:34, "But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved."

John 5:41, "I receive not honour from men."

We, too, must receive our gospel the same way, through Jesus Christ, since the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us. If a minister is to be successful in his calling, he must have an experience with the Lord that confirms this calling, else, in the struggles of life, a man will begin to doubt this calling, and thus, will waiver and fail.

Galatians 1:1 — "but by Jesus Christ"- Paul first encounter with the Lord and the prophecy of Ananias is recorded in Acts 9:1-22; Acts 22:21; Acts 26:15-18. At this time of conversion, Paul received a general prophecy of preaching the Gospel, "for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel." ( Acts 9:15-16) About fourteen years later, Paul was sent out through prophecy and the laying on of hands of the Church leaders in Acts 13:1-3. At this time, Paul received a more specific commission as an apostle to the Gentiles. Paul would go on to further revelations and visions of Jesus Christ ( 2 Corinthians 12:1-10), as the Lord gave him specific revelations and entrusted him with the task of laying down the doctrines of the New Testament Church within his epistles. Thus, Paul's divine calling by Jesus Christ was progressive, as it is with any minister of Jesus Christ. All of us must be faithful in little things before God will entrust to us greater things.

Acts 9:15, "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name"s sake."

2 Corinthians 12:1, "It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord."

Galatians 1:1"God the Father, who raised Him from the dead" - Comments - "God the Father" - That Isaiah , the all-powerful God, who raised Jesus Christ from the dead ones (plural), and set Him at the right hand of the Father.

"who raised Him" - The revelation of Jesus' resurrection first became truth to Paul on the Damascus road. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, His deity and Godhead as a part of the trinity is the foundation of the Christian faith. This doctrine was severely attacked for the first few centuries of the early church. Here, Paul bases his epistle on this foundation, which is the Lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ, which was the result of His resurrection from the dead. We see the adversity that Jesus faced by calling God His Father.

John 5:18, "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."

"from the dead" - The Greek phrase εκ νεκρων contains a plural noun, and literally reads, "from the dead ones." Who do the dead ones refer to? It most likely refers to those whom Jesus preached to in hell:

1 Peter 3:18-20, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that Isaiah , eight souls were saved by water."

1 Peter 4:6, "For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit."

It probably does not refer to the saints, who sleep in the Lord, since the Scriptures refer to them as asleep, and not dead. Note:

1 Thessalonians 4:14, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."

Galatians 1:1Comments (1) - When Paul preached and ministered the Word of God, he taught only what the Lord Jesus had revealed to him by revelation ( 1 Corinthians 11:23). He did not teach things he had learned in any classroom. His messages were fresh with the anointing or revelations from God. Paul's messages centered around knowing Jesus, his daily walk, fellowship and revelations from Jesus ( 1 Corinthians 2:2).

1 Corinthians 11:23, "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:"

1 Corinthians 2:2, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."

Comments (2) - God's Word is our direct revelation from God to man. By it we receive faith for salvation and deliverance from this world.

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

Galatians 1:2 — "And all the brethren which are with me" - Comments - Paul was sending these co-workers out on assignments on a regular basis because he could not do the work of the ministry alone. Paul's inclusion of his co-workers granted them the right to exercise divine authority when ministering among the churches of Galatia.

Paul was accompanied by companions on his journeys. The word "brethren" in Galatians 1:2 implies a much closer relationship than friendship. We would sacrificially give to help a member of our family, hurt when they hurt, suffer when they suffer, and be responsible for guiding them spiritually. This closeness is how Paul the Apostle sees the members of the body of Christ.

The Lord gave Paul much brotherly fellowship throughout his missionary journeys. It would have been a difficult task alone. Fellowship and companionship with the Lord is what strengthened Paul no matter where he traveled. Today, you can move to any city and find members of your own family, the family of Christ.

There is strength in witnessing together. Jesus sent the apostles out by twos ( Deuteronomy 32:30).

Deuteronomy 32:30, "How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?"

Galatians 1:2 — "unto the churches of Galatia" - Comments The churches of Galatia were evidently churches located in the cities where Paul had evangelized on his missionary journeys. It does not appear that Paul had made his headquarters in any particular city of northern Galatia; for we have no mention of the three, chief Galatian cities of Pessinus, Ancyra, and Tavium. 72] Thus, no particular church appears to have the pre-eminence, as we find with the church of Ephesus.

72] Henry Alford, The Greek Testament, vol 3 (London: Gilbert and Rivington, 1865), 2.

Paul closes this epistle by calling these churches "his brothers" ( Galatians 6:18)

Galatians 6:18, "Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen."

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

Galatians 1:3Comments (Word Study on Grace and Peace) - "Grace" - The word "grace" also means, "favor." Grace comes only through Jesus Christ ( John 1:17).

John 1:17, "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

Illustration- In Exodus 33:2-3; Exodus 33:15-17, God would have consumed Israel if He had come into the midst of a stiff-necked people. Moses prayed for favour in God's eyes and for God to go with them. God gave them favour and showed it by going with them. This is God"s grace.

Exodus 33:2-3, "And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way."

Exodus 33:15-16, "And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth."

God's holiness has not changed. Our grace comes through Jesus. Note:

Romans 1:5, "By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:"

Romans 5:21, "That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."

1 Corinthians 15:10, "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."

Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"

Ephesians 3:8, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;"

Hebrews 4:16, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

"peace" - When God's presence comes in our lives by grace, a peace settles in our hearts. Note:

John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Romans 5:1, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"

Romans 8:6, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."

Philippians 4:6-7, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Colossians 3:15, "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."

In Romans 15:13, He is called the "God of peace," because His presence brings peace. 73]

73] Bertha Smith, Go Home and Tell (Nashville, Tennessee: Baptist Sunday School Board, 1964), 85.

Romans 15:13, "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."

Comments (The Pauline Greeting) - Scholars discuss the meaning of Paul's epistolary greetings from two different angles, either an historical approach or a theological approach.

(1) The Historical Approach - The historical approach evaluates the history behind the use of the words "grace" and "peace" in traditional greetings, with this duet of words limited in antiquity to New Testament literature. J. Vernon McGee says the word "grace" in Paul's greetings was a formal greeting used in Greek letters of his day, while the word "peace" was the customary Jewish greeting. 74] More specifically, John Grassmick says the Greek word χαίρειν was a common greeting in classical Greek epistles (note this use in Acts 15:23; Acts 23:26, James 1:1), so that χάρις was a "word play" Paul used in conjunction with the Hebrew greeting "peace." 75] Thus, Paul would be respectfully addressing both Greeks and Jews in the early Church. However, Paul uses these same two words in his epistles to Timothy, Titus and Philemon , which weakens the idea that Paul intended to make such a distinction between two ethnic groups when using "grace" and "peace." Perhaps this greeting became customary for Paul and lost its distinctive elements.

74] J. Vernon McGee, The Epistle to the Romans , in Thru the Bible With J. Vernon McGee (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub, 1998), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on Romans 1:1.

75] John D. Grassmick, "Epistolary Genre," in Interpreting the New Testament Text, eds. Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), 232.

(2) The Theological Approach- Another view is proposed by James Denny, who explains the relationship of these two words as a cause and effect. He says that grace is God's unmerited favor upon mankind, and the peace is the result of receiving His grace and forgiveness of sins. 76] In a similar statement, Charles Simeon says the phrase "‘grace and peace' comprehended all the blessings of the Gospel." 77]

76] James Denney, The Epistles to the Thessalonians, in The Expositor's Bible, eds. William R. Nicoll and Oscar L. Joseph (New York: Hodder and Stoughton, n.d.), 15-16.

77] Charles Simeon, 2 Peter , in Horae Homileticae, vol 20: James to Jude (London: Holdsworth and Ball, 1833), 285.

Comments (The Pauline Blessing) - In a similar way that the early apostles were instructed by Jesus to let their peace come upon the home of their host ( Matthew 10:13), so did Paul the apostle open every one of his thirteen New Testament epistles with a blessing of God's peace and grace upon his readers. Matthew 10:13 shows that you can bless a house by speaking God"s peace upon it.

Matthew 10:13, "And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you."

This practice of speaking blessings upon God's children may have its roots in the Priestly blessing of Numbers 6:22-27, where God instructed Moses to have the priests speak a blessing upon the children of Israel. We see in Ruth 2:4 that this blessing became a part of the Jewish culture when greeting people. Boaz blessed his workers in the field and his reapers replied with a blessing.

Ruth 2:4, "And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee."

We also see this practiced by the king in 2 Samuel 15:20 where David says, "mercy and truth be with thee."

2 Samuel 15:20, "Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee."

Song of Solomon , this word of blessing was a part of the Hebrew and Jewish culture. This provides us the background as to why Paul was speaking a blessing upon the church at Ephesus, especially that God would grant them more of His grace and abiding peace that they would have otherwise not known. In faith, we too, can receive this same blessing into our lives. Paul actually pronounces and invokes a blessing of divine grace and peace upon his readers with these words, "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." I do not believe this blessing is unconditional, but rather conditional. In other words, it is based upon the response of his hearers. The more they obey these divine truths laid forth in this epistle, the more God's grace and peace is multiplied in their lives. We recall how the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, with six tribes standing upon Mount Gerizim to bless the people and six tribes upon Mount Ebal to curse the disobedient ( Deuteronomy 27:11-26). Thus, the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy 28:1-68 were placed upon the land. All who obeyed the Law received these blessings, and all who disobeyed received this list of curses. In the same way, Paul invokes a blessing into the body of Christ for all who will hearken unto the divine truths of this epistle.

We see this obligation of the recipients in the translation by Beck of 2 Peter 1:2, "As you know God and our Lord Jesus, may you enjoy more and more of His love and peace."

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:

Galatians 1:4 — "Who gave himself for our sins"- Comments - "Who gave himself" - Jesus laid down His life. No man took it from Him ( John 19:10-11).

John 19:10-11, "Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin."

Jesus has become our example of how to lay down our lives:

Matthew 20:28, "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."

John 10:11, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep."

1 Timothy 2:6, "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."

Titus 2:14, "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."

Hebrews 5:7-9, "Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Song of Solomon , yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;"

Illustration- My Grandmother Everett ministering to my granddad for seven years while he was in bed. She gave herself. We are to give our lives to serve others:

John 15:12, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."

"for our sins" - We can translate the phrase to read, "in behalf of our sins."

Matthew 27:46, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Galatians 3:13, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:"

Galatians 1:4"that he might deliver us from this present evil world" - Word Study on "that" - The Greek preposition ὅπως used in Galatians 1:4 serves to introduce a purpose clause, and can be translated "in order that." Thus, this phrase explains the central purpose of the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Word Study on "deliver" - Strong says the Greek word "deliver" ( εξαιρέ ω) (G 1807) literally means, "to tear out, to select," and figuratively, "to release." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 8 times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "deliver 5, pluck out 2, rescue 1." Note other uses of this Greek word:

Acts 7:10, "And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house."

Acts 7:34, "I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt."

Acts 12:11, "And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews."

Acts 23:27, "This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman."

Acts 26:17, "Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,"

Galatians 1:4Comments - The Greek text may literally read, "this present age of the evil one," which would refer to Satan as the instigator of all evil ( 1 John 5:19).

1 John 5:19, "And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness."

This statement implies that we were in bondage to this world and man needed a Deliverer. The purpose for the atonement of Jesus Christ was to deliver mankind from the bondage of Satan in this life, in this "present evil world." The bondage that Jesus Christ delivered us from is stated in a number of passages ( Ephesians 2:1-7, Hebrews 2:14-15). Therefore, when a believer is saved, his sins are forgiven, but he is also delivered from the bondages of Satan and everything that Satan has power and control on this earth to destroy. He can no longer destroy a believer's mind, body, or finances once his heart has been transformed and he has been seated with Christ in a place of heavenly authority over the dominion of Satan.

Through Jesus Christ we have been delivered from the evil powers on this earth. The epistle of Galatians will take us on a journey of deliverance from the bondages of this world ( Galatians 4:3; Galatians 4:9). We have been set free from sin, sickness, disease, and poverty. The atonement paid for everything. Thus, Paul says, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." ( Galatians 5:1)

Galatians 4:3, "Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:"

Galatians 4:9, "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?"

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

Galatians 1:5 — "To whom be glory for ever and ever" - In Galatians 1:5 Paul writes, "to whom be glory for ever and ever." The word δόξα (glory) (G 1391) includes the idea of praise, adoration, honor, fame, renown, or worship. Paul, the Apostle, had been caught up into heaven ( 2 Corinthians 12:1-5). In that experience, he saw and heard things that were glorious beyond description. Here, in the first few verses of this chapter, Paul is reminded of those glorious experiences as he describes the Cross, the resurrection, and our eternal home. He can only say what he did in 2 Corinthians 12:5, "Of such a one will I glory." Paul was overwhelmed by God"s wonderful gift of salvation. Note this quote from John Chrysostom.

"Having spoken of the Cross (who gave Himself for our sins), and Resurrection (who raised Him from the dead), of redemption from sin and security for the future (that he might deliver us from this present evil world), of the purpose of the Father (according to the will of God and our Father, and the will of the Song of Solomon , of grace and peace and His whole gift, he concludes with an ascription of praise." (Commentary On the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians 1:5)

Anytime Paul breaks out into praise to God for His eternal grace, I believe that it is because he received a divine revelation regarding this truth and is overwhelmed at God's eternal grace for man. This is why he begins the next verse marveling that anyone who has trusted in Christ would ever walk away from that grace.

Galatians 1:5 — "Amen" - Note a comment from John Chrysostom regarding the use of the word "Amen" in an opening passage to a Pauline epistle:

"This too is new and unusual, for we never find the word, "Amen" placed at the beginning of an Epistle, but a good way on; here, however he has it in his beginning, to show that what he had already said contained a sufficient charge against the Galatians , and that his argument was complete, for a manifest offence does not require an elaborate crimination." (Commentary On the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians 1:5)


Verses 6-10

Opening Rebuke- In Galatians 1:6-10 Paul rebukes the Galatians for being brought back into bondage by embracing a false gospel. This false gospel was embraced because they were seeking to please men rather than God. Since Paul was dealing with Judaizers who were challenging Paul's apostleship and message as well as attempting to bring these Gentiles under the Law of Moses, he launches a two-fold argument. He first explains his divine calling and authority ( Galatians 1:11 to Galatians 2:21) and then explains the relationship of the Mosaic Law to the Church ( Galatians 3:1 to Galatians 4:31).

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

Galatians 1:6Comments- Paul usually begins with prayers of thanks of appreciation for their faith in Jesus. The epistle of Galatians opens with a rebuke as Paul marvels that they were walking away from the grace that had delivered them from their bondages to sin.

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed" - In a mood of reflection upon God's divine and glorious plan for His church which he mentions in Galatians 1:4-5, Paul marvels at how a believer could willfully walk away from the grace that rescued them. He states later in this epistle that those who has followed another gospel had "fallen from grace."

Galatians 5:4, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."

This was not the first time that God's people walked away from His grace. In Exodus 32, Israel made a golden calf and began to worship it soon after the Lord brought them out of Egyptian bondage.

Exodus 32:1, "And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him."

"from him that called you" - Paul has just made a reference to his own personal through Jesus Christ calling in the opening verse. Now, he asks the Galatians to examine their calling. This question leaves them with the implied answer that they were being called away from the Gospel by men, and not by the Lord.

"unto another gospel: Which is not another" - Two different Greek words ( ἕτερος and ἄλλος) are translated using the English word "another" in Galatians 1:6-7 a.

(1) BDAG says the first Greek word "another" ( ἕτερος) (G 2087) means, "different." The Enhanced Strong expands this definition to mean, "one not of the same nature, form, class, kind, different." Thus, the first word ἕτερος means, "another gospel of the different sort."

(2) BDAG says the Greek word "another" ( ἄλλος) (G 243) means, "another (except, besides)." Zodhiates says, "Another, numerically but of the same kind in contrast to ἕτερος…another qualitatively, other, different one." It refers to something of the same kind or of similar nature. Thus, the second word ἄλλος (243) means, "another of the same sort."

Illustration- Today there is another gospel, which talks about Jesus Christ, yet it is not according to the full Gospel of Jesus Christ as preached by Paul. It includes humanism, man's teachings, etc. Extreme illustrations are Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses. Others are denominational teachings, which deny the gifts of Holy Spirit and the baptism and Holy Ghost. Some, like Catholicism, teach from the Bible, yet they often do not teach now to be born again through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Such teachers of the Holy Bible bring this curse into their lives that Paul prophesied here, because they are preaching "another gospel."

2 Corinthians 11:4, "For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."

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

Galatians 1:7"but there be some that trouble you" - Comments- These troublesome Jews were trying to get the Gentiles to be circumcised as a condition of salvation.

Galatians 5:11, "And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased."

Galatians 6:12, "As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ."

Paul had experienced trouble from the Jews for years ( Acts 14:19; Acts 15:1; Acts 15:24; Acts 17:13, 1 Thessalonians 2:15).

Acts 14:19, "And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead."

Acts 15:1, "And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved."

Acts 15:24, "Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:"

Acts 17:13, "But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people."

1 Thessalonians 2:15, "Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:"

Galatians 1:7 — "and would pervert the gospel of Christ" - Comments- Paul is referring to the Judaizers, whom he will describe in more detail later in this epistle. For now, Paul is explaining the genuine Gospel and the true servants of Christ before he shows them the counterfeit Judaizers.

Satan hinders the Gospel by trying to give a twisted and descriptive version, which perverts the truth.

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.

Galatians 1:8"But though we"- Comments- The phrase ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐὰν ἡμεῖς (but though we) can be translated "but even if we…" Galatian Galatians 1:8 is a third class conditional sentence. The action has not taking place, but it is possible to take place; that Isaiah , the potential lies there.

Galatians 1:8"let him be accused" - Comments- A curse lies upon anyone who preaches contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 16:22, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha."

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 1:9Comments- Galatians 1:9 is a first class conditional sentence. It affirms the reality of this state of action that some people are presently doing.

The phrase "let him be accursed" is used in Galatians 1:8 and repeated in Galatians 1:9, so that this repetition is used as a method of emphasizing and reinforcing a statement. The Scriptures teach that a matter is confirmed in the mouth of two or three witnesses ( Deuteronomy 17:6). Thus, Paul's repetition of this phrase confirmed its validity as a warning.

Deuteronomy 17:6, "At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death."

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 1:10"For do I now persuade men, or God" - Word Study on "persuade" - BDAG says the Greek word ( πείθω) (G 3982) means, "To persuade and appeal to, or to win over and strive to please."

Comments- Paul is obviously trying to please and appeal to God, not to man ( 1 Thessalonians 2:4).

1 Thessalonians 2:4, "But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts."

If our actions are focused on pleasing man and being praised by them, rather than pleasing and being exalted by God, then we are not Christ's servants.

Galatians 1:10 — "or do I seek to please men?" - Comments - The phrase reads "do I seek to please men (or God)," with the implied "or God" being carried from the previous statement.

Galatians 1:10 — "for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ" - Word Study on "servant" - BDAG says the Greek word "servant" ( δοῦλος) (1401) means "a slave." The opposite of δοῦλος (slave) is ἐλεύθερος (free). Paul uses δοῦλος to describe himself on four occasions in his epistles ( Romans 1:1, Galatians 1:10, Philippians 1:1, Titus 1:1).

Romans 1:1, "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,"

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."

Philippians 1:1, "Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:"

Titus 1:1, "Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God"s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;"

Comments- Leviticus 25:39-40 makes a distinction between a hired servant and a bondservant (slave).

Leviticus 25:39-40, "And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee:"

Comments- One reason why Paul uses the phrase "servant of Jesus Christ" often in his epistles is because many Old Testament people used this word in their relationship to God:

Abraham:

Genesis 26:24, "And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham"s sake."

Job:

Job 42:7-8, "And it was Song of Solomon , that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job , the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job."

Moses:

Joshua 1:1, "Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses" minister, saying,"

Samuel:

1 Samuel 3:9, "Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place."

David:

2 Samuel 3:18, "Now then do it: for the LORD hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies."

2 Kings 19:34, "For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David"s sake."

Solomon:

1 Kings 3:9, "Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?"

Elijah:

2 Kings 9:36, "Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel:"

Hezekiah:

2 Chronicles 32:16, "And his servants spake yet more against the LORD God, and against his servant Hezekiah."

Israel and Jacob:

Isaiah 44:21, "Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me."

Daniel:

Daniel 6:20, "And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel , O Daniel , servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?"

Zerubbabel:

Haggai 2:23, "In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts."

Jesus:

Isaiah 52:13, "Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high."

Isaiah 53:11, "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities."

Paul became a servant at his conversion in Damascus ( Acts 9:1-22), although Ananias prophesied of his future divine calling unto the nations. He spent about fourteen years evangelizing Damascus and the regions of Syria and Cilicia prior to being sent out with Barnabas as an apostle. Notice that Paul calls himself a servant before declaring himself an apostle. The Greek language often lacks our familiar word order of Subject-Verb-Object. Instead, the Greek places words in the order of their emphasis, or the order of importance to the thought being presented. Because Greek is so highly inflected, there is little or no confusion when distinguishing between the subject and the object to its respective verb.

Therefore, in Romans 1:1 we see Paul placing his servitude to Jesus Christ before his office of apostleship. Paul's anointing to walk as an apostle is in direct proportion to his servitude to his Master. In the natural world, no business manager is worthy of his hire who is not first willing to carry out the will of the business owner. This is because the authority to rule over man is always based upon one's willingness to yield to a higher authority. Paul knew that the secret to walking in the anointing as a apostle was to daily crucify his own will and serve his Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Illustration- If anyone has ever had a servant that lived and worked in their home, they know that a servant is a person who abandons his own pursuits, and daily takes care of the pursuits and needs of the master. A servant does not have great plans for his own life. He literally gives his life so that the master"s goals and plans may be achieved. This is the heart of a servant.

Illustration - I was trying to comfort my precious wife one morning while we were serving the Lord in the mission field. After fifteen years working overseas, having left wonderful opportunities and a comfortable life in the United States, she said that she felt like a prisoner. She could not do what she wanted to do. She had her own dreams that she did not pursue. I then reminded her of Paul's description of himself in his epistles as a slave and even a prisoner of Jesus Christ. We talked about our feelings and concluded that life is very short, and all that we have gained in this world is left behind when we die. Thus, we reconciled ourselves to our fate of serving the Lord at the cost of sacrificing our own will and desires. Paul must have felt the same on occasions, looking at his family and loved ones who were able to enjoy a normal lifestyle, and stable home, and the many comforts that a home and family brings to one's life. While in the mission field planting churches in the Greco-Roman cities teaming with slavery, Paul identified himself with the life of a slave. While in prison, he called himself a prisoner of Jesus Christ. He gave himself daily to the will of God, often laying aside his own desires. (4October 2012)

Galatians 1:10Comments (1) - Galatians 1:10 contains a third class conditional clause - "if, but I'm not."

Galatians 1:10Comments (2) - Pleasing men and pleasing God cannot work hand in hand. A choice has to be made; for no one can serve two masters ( Luke 16:13, John 5:44; John 12:43, Romans 2:29).

Luke 16:13, "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

John 5:44, "How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?"

John 12:43, "For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."

Romans 2:29, "But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."

When we become concerned about how others see us, we lose our authority. If authority becomes our goal, we will begin to lose genuine authority. We must seek to please Father, who gives authority. It does not come with Prayer of Manasseh -made titles. In God"s kingdom, authority comes by obedience to God. It comes from who we are, not by a position or title in a denomination. In God"s kingdom, rank is earned by humility, service and love. 78]

78] Rick Joyner, The Call (Charlotte, North Carolina: Morning Star Publications, 1999), 198.

One danger that ministers and pastors must avoid is to become so knitted together in fellowship that they seek to please one another rather than God. This often happens within denominational groups. When such a group of men seek the approval of one another they cease pleasing God. This is just the way that the Pharisees and Judaizers could be described.


Verses 6-31

Explaining Our Liberties in Christ - In Galatians 1:6 to Galatians 4:31 Paul explains our liberties in Christ Jesus. After rebuking the Galatians for their double-minded faith ( Galatians 1:6-10) he reminds them of his divine calling which gave him the authority to proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles ( Galatians 1:11 to Galatians 2:21). He then explains the role of the Mosaic Law within the revelation of the new covenant in Christ Jesus ( Galatians 3:1 to Galatians 4:31).

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Opening Rebuke — Galatians 1:6-10

2. The Nature of Paul's Calling — Galatians 1:11 to Galatians 2:21

3. The Nature of the Mosaic Law — Galatians 3:1 to Galatians 4:31


Verses 11-21

The Defense of Paul's Divine Calling as an Apostle to the Gentiles- Paul opens this epistle to the churches of Galatia by stating that his divine calling was not orchestrated by Prayer of Manasseh , but was entirely brought about by God's divine interventions in his life. He now explains his opening statement at length by defending his apostleship in Galatians 1:11 to Galatians 2:21. It is important to note that much of the material in this passage regarding Paul's life is not found in any other place in the New Testament. We can divide this story into several sections. After rebuking the Galatians for their double-minded faith ( Galatians 1:6-10) Paul then gives an account of his personal testimony as a witness of the truth of the freedom of the Gospel that he received by revelation from Jesus Christ ( Galatians 1:11 to Galatians 2:21). This testimony is a summary of Paul's spiritual journey in light of the office and ministry of Jesus Christ setting him free from the bondages of this world. Paul could have told the churches of Galatia many other stories of his life and ministry. However, Paul picked out the key events that verified the authenticity of his apostleship, which were his supernatural conversion, his two visits to Jerusalem that sealed him as an apostle to the Gentiles and his zeal for the Gospel.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline of Galatians 1:11 to Galatians 2:21 :

1. Paul's Conversion & Gospel by Divine Revelation — Galatians 1:11-24

a. Paul's Divine Commission — Galatians 1:11-12

b. Paul's Former Life in Judaism — Galatians 1:13-14

c. Paul's Conversion (A.D 36) — Galatians 1:15-16

d. Paul's Stay in Damascus (A.D 37-39) — Galatians 1:17

e. Paul's First Visit to Jerusalem (A.D 39) — Galatians 1:18-19

f. Paul Pauses to Confirm His Testimony — Galatians 1:20

g. Paul's Stay in Syria (A.D 39-43) — Galatians 1:21-24

2. Paul's Gospel Approved by Church at Jerusalem — Galatians 2:1-6

3. Paul's Calling Approved by Church at Jerusalem — Galatians 2:7-10

4. Paul's Steadfastness to the Gospel — Galatians 2:11-21


Verses 11-24

Paul's Conversion and Gospel Came by Divine Revelation (His Justification) - In Galatians 1:11-24 Paul places emphasis upon the fact that his conversion and justification through Jesus Christ came by divine revelation apart from any influence from the apostles at Jerusalem. He takes the time to explain how little contact he made with the apostles during his early years of ministry. He tells them about his conversion and explains how he received the Gospel directly by revelation alone ( Galatians 1:11-24). Such a divine calling and impartation would place Paul on an equal footing with the other apostles. Paul discusses his extraordinary conversion experience and subsequent experiences after having come out of Judaism ( Galatians 1:11-17), then his first, but brief, visit to Jerusalem ( Galatians 1:18-19), and finally his zeal for the Gospel ( Galatians 1:21-24). In the next passage Paul will follow this argument by explaining how the apostles in Jerusalem have confirmed the accuracy of his Gospel ( Galatians 2:1-10). We can imagine that Paul's adversaries, the Judaizers, were saying that Paul's Gospel was incomplete, or that Paul lacked the authority to deliver his message to the Galatians. Thus, Paul was dealing with both accusations. We can read much more details about Paul's conversion in Acts 9:1-19; Acts 22:6-16; Acts 26:12-18.

Galatians 1:11-12Paul's Divine Commission - In Galatians 1:11-12 Paul states that he received a divine commission and instruction by direct revelation from Jesus Christ, something which no other apostle or person in the New Testament could declare. However, the twelve apostles of the Lamb also receive their commission directly from Jesus Christ while He was alive on earth prior to His Passion and Ascension.

Scripture References- Note similar verses where Paul states that he received the Gospel of Jesus Christ by divine revelation:

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

Acts 20:24, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."

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

Galatians 1:11Word Study on "certify" - Strong says the Greek word ( γνωρίζω) (G 1107) Or "to make known, to know."

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

Galatians 1:12 — "neither was I taught it" - Comments- Neither was Paul taught the Gospel, with the implied "by man" which is carried from the previous statement.

Galatians 1:12"but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" - Comments- The revelation of the mystery was salvation by faith in Jesus Christ to all nations:

Acts 26:23, "That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles."

Romans 16:25, "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:"

Colossians 1:27, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"

Ephesians 3:3-12 - The mystery of the Gentiles as fellowheirs.

Ephesians 3:3, "How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,"

Galatians 1:13-14 — Paul's Former Life in Judaism- Few people knew the emptiness of the Jewish religion like Paul the apostle. As a Pharisee, he had experiences the depths of its ceremonies and pursuits for righteousness. He had now totally abandoned this religion, never to return and had replaced this religion with a deep and living relationship with the true God of the Jewish faith. The emphasis of these two verses is Paul's zeal for his religion, even to the point of persecuting the Church.

It was necessary in some parts of Paul's epistles to describe the Jewish religion from a positive light, as a people to whom were committed the oracles of God ( Romans 3:1-2), and as the people of the covenants of promise ( Ephesians 2:11-12). Now in Galatians 1:13-14 Paul has to reveal the negative aspect of the Jewish religion, as one of "traditions" motivated by zeal, rather than out of godly devotion.

Romans 3:1-2, "What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."

Ephesians 2:11-12, "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:"

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 1:13"how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it" - Comments- Paul had a great zeal for persecuting God's Church. Note other references to Paul"s zeal.

Acts 8:3, "As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison."

1 Corinthians 15:9, "For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."

1 Timothy 1:12-13, "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief."

Philippians 3:6, "Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless."

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 1:14Word Study on "profited" - Strong says the Greek word "profited" ( προκόπτω) (G 4982) literally means, "to drive forward," and figuratively, "to advance." This same Greek word is used in Luke 2:52, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man."

Galatians 1:14 — "And profited in the Jews" religion above many my equals in mine own nation" - Comments- Judaism had established a system of rewards and promotions. Thus, Paul is saying by this statement that he was advancing in this religion according to man's standards and not by God's standards of success.

Galatians 1:14 — "being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers" - Comments- Paul uses the words "zealous" and "traditions" rather than "devotion" and "divine ordinances" because he is having to bring out the negative side of the Jewish religion to his Galatian readers; for these churches were being side-tracked from the purity of the Gospel into Prayer of Manasseh -made traditions by zealous Jewish converts whose motive was not pure.

Galatians 1:14Comments- Paul also had a zeal for the tradition of the fathers of Israel.

Galatians 1:15-16 — Paul's Conversion (A.D 36) (The Foreknowledge of God the Father) - Within the first section of Paul's spiritual journey in which he explains his conversion and justification through faith in Jesus Christ ( Galatians 1:11-24) he refers to a previous event of how God the Father separated him from his mother"s womb, and called him by His grace to reveal His Son to him so that he might preach Christ among the heathen ( Galatians 1:15-16). Within the context of Galatians 1:11 to Galatians 2:21, in which Paul is placing emphasis upon his divine calling, he explains his conversion and calling as a matter of divine providence, an event that God had planned before Paul's birth. Thus, the emphasis in these two verses is God's divine providence in his conversion.

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

Galatians 1:15 — "But when it pleased God" - Comments- The apostles of the Lamb became so familiar with Jesus during His earthly ministry that they had difficulty understanding His heavenly ministry. Paul, however, only knew Jesus as the resurrected Lord and Saviour, from a heavenly perspective, so that he was able to better perceive and understand Christ Jesus' work of redemption as we read in the Pauline epistles. Perhaps for this reason it was necessary for God to raise up Paul the apostle in due season, or when it pleased Him, after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, to whom He would impart the understanding of the doctrines of the New Testament Church.

Galatians 1:15"who separated me from my mother's womb" - Comments- Note other people in the Scriptures who were separated to God from birth:

David:

Psalm 22:10, "I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother"s belly."

Isaiah:

Isaiah 49:1, "Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name."

Isaiah 49:5, "And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength."

Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."

Why was Paul separated for the Gospel?

Acts 9:15, "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:"

Romans 1:1, "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an

apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,"

1 Timothy 1:14-16, "And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting."

Galatians 1:15"and called me by his grace"- Comments- This calling came by the sovereignty and grace of God in Paul's life ( 1 Timothy 1:14-16).

1 Timothy 1:14-16, "And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting."

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 1:16"To reveal his Son in me" - Comments- The purpose of God's work in Paul's life and in ours is that others might see Jesus in us.

Galatians 1:16"I conferred not with flesh and blood" - Comments- Note a similar use of this phrase in Matthew 16:17, "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

Galatians 1:17Paul's Stay in Damascus (A.D 37-39) (17a) and Trip to Arabia (A.D 36) (17b) - The book of Acts records Paul's ministry during his first three years in Damascus ( Acts 9:19-25). Scholars date Paul's stay in Damascus around A.D 37-39. How long he spent in Arabia is not known. After his return from this region, we are told that Paul preached Christ in the synagogues of Damascus. He continued this until the Jews plotted to kill him, whereby the disciples helped him escape over the city walls by night and Paul fled to Jerusalem. It was there that Barnabas stood with Paul and introduced him to the Church at Jerusalem. See find details to this story in Acts 9:19-25.

It is very common for the Lord to pull young Christians aside for periods of solitude. It is during these times that God teaches His children in order to prepare them for the work that He has called them to. Paul's time in Arabia was not wasted time, but a time for the Lord to teach him the ways of God. It is very likely that Mount Sinai is located in Arabia and that this is the sacred site that Paul visited on this journey.

The Need for Solitude- Note these insightful words from Frances J. Roberts regarding Paul's visit to Arabia:

"O My beloved, ye do not need to make your path (like a snow plow), for lo, I say unto thee, I go before you. Yea, I shall engineer circumstances on thy behalf. I am thy husband, and I will protect thee and care for thee, and make full provision for thee. I know thy need, and I am concerned for thee: for thy peace, for thy health, for thy strength. I cannot use a tired body, and ye need to take time to renew thine energies, both spiritual and physical. I am the God of Battle, but I am also the One who said: They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. And Jesus said, Come ye apart and rest a little while.

"I will teach you, even as I taught Moses on the back side of the desert, and as I taught Paul in Arabia. So will I teach you. Thus it shall be a constructive period, and not in any sense wasted time. But as the summer course to the schoolteacher, it is vital to thee in order that ye be fully qualified for your ministry.

"There is no virtue in activity as such - neither in inactivity. I minister to thee in solitude that ye may minister of Me to others as a spontaneous overflow of our communion. Never labor to serve, nor force opportunities. Set thy heart to be at peace and to sit at My feet. Learn to be ready, but not to be anxious. Learn to say ‘no' to the demands of men and to say ‘yes' to the call of the Spirit…...Come away, My beloved, and be as the doe upon the mountains; yea, we shall go down together to the gardens." 79]

79] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 145-6.

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 1:17 — "Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me" - Comments- In his book He Gave Gifts Unto Men Kenneth Hagin tells of a conversation that he had with Jesus Christ in one of his visions. 80] The Lord explained to him that there are four levels of apostles. Jesus Christ stood in the first level of an apostle with an anointing that no man has walked in. The second level of apostles was the twelve apostles of the Lamb. This unique class of apostles accompanied Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry and became eyewitnesses of His glory to the nations. This level of apostles laid the foundation of the New Testament writings. The third level of apostles was men like Paul who helped lay the final foundational writings in the New Testament. The fourth level of apostles is those who followed in the next generation. In light of this insight, it is interesting to note how Paul refers to the apostles of the Lamb in Galatians 1:17 as "them which were apostles before me" as if he understood that they walked in a higher level.

80] Kenneth Hagin, He Gave Gifts Unto Men: A Biblical Perspective of Apostles, Prophets, and Pastors (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1992, 1993), 1-40.

Galatians 1:17Comments (1) - Paul's emphasis away from the church in Jerusalem and upon his time of separation from the apostles in Galatians 1:17 may have been necessary because the troublesome Judaizers mentioned in Galatians could have based their authority and doctrine upon the mother church in Jerusalem. We know that they were preaching in the name of Christ, but with a clear emphasis on the need of circumcision and perhaps other Jewish traditions. Thus, Paul feels compelled to make a clear distinction to the Galatians between the liberties of the Gospel of Christ Jesus and Judaism.

Galatians 1:17Comments (2) - Jesus Christ definitely appeared to Paul again after his Damascus road experience, and very likely divine visions took place during these early times of solitude:

Acts 26:16, "But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;"

Galatians 1:18-19 — Paul's First Visit to Jerusalem (A.D 39) - Many scholars date Paul's first visit to Jerusalem around A.D 39, having been converted on the road to Damascus about A.D 36. The emphasis in these two verses is the fact that Paul did not receive revelation about the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the apostles.

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

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

Galatians 1:19 — "save James the Lord"s brother" - Comments- Now James the Lord's brother was the first pastor of the church in Jerusalem according to early church tradition. This is supported by his words of authority at the first church council held in Jerusalem in Acts 15. (This would also make James the first person to hold the office of a pastor in the early church.) So it is very possible that Peter took Paul to his pastor and introduced him. We know that James would have certainly heard about Saul the persecutor of the church. But this meeting would have served to establish Paul's acceptance by the church in Jerusalem and therefore by any church. In fact, this would have given Paul the credentials to move into the regions of Syria and Cilicia ( Galatians 1:21) and preach the Gospel with the church of Jerusalem giving him their stamp of approval.

Paul will make a reference to his second visit to Jerusalem in Galatians 2:1-2 which served to confirm the fact that he was preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ accurately and without error and to reconfirm that the church at Jerusalem continued their approval of his ministry.

Galatians 1:20 — Paul Pauses to Confirm His Testimony - In Galatians 1:20 Paul inserts a comment to confirm the testimony of his conversion.

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

Galatians 1:21-24 — Paul's Stay in Syria (A.D 39-43) - The book of Acts records Paul's flight to Syria and Tarsus ( Acts 9:30-31). Paul had been preaching the Gospel in Jerusalem and disputing with the Grecians. When they plotted to kill him, the disciples sent him forth to Tarsus via Caesarea. Scholars date Paul's stay in Syria around A.D 39-43, approximately 4-5 years.

Acts 9:28-31, "And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied."

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 1:23Comments- Paul was then preaching in the regions of Syria and Cilicia (verse 21), because he was not known visually (by face) to the churches in Judea. Paul did this for 14years. Some might say that these are Paul's quiet years. However, he did preach, although we do not know where he traveled to preach during these years.

Galatians 1:24 And they glorified God in me.

Galatians 1:24Comments- A good illustration of how people glorify God in this manner can be found in Matthew 5:6. The praise certainly could not go to Paul, or any Prayer of Manasseh , because it was his evident that God Himself had done this miraculous work in Paul's life. Hence, they say "this is from the Lord; It is marvelous in our eyes" ( Psalm 118:23), or "see what great things the Lord has done in our midst." That Isaiah , to convert and use this man Saul who once persecuted us.

Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Psalm 118:23, "This is the LORD"S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes."

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Galatians 1:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/galatians-1.html. 2013.

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Saturday, December 5th, 2020
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