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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Galatians 1:8

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!


Adam Clarke Commentary

But though we, or an angel - That Gospel which I have already preached to you is the only true Gospel; were I to preach any other, I should incur the curse of God. If your false teachers pretend, as many in early times did, that they received their accounts by the ministry of an angel, let them be accursed; separate them from your company, and have no religious communion with them. Leave them to that God who will show his displeasure against all who corrupt, all who add to, and all who take from the word of his revelation.

Let all those who, from the fickleness of their own minds, are ready to favor the reveries of every pretended prophet and prophetess who starts up, consider the awful words of the apostle. As, in the law, the receiver of stolen goods is as bad as the thief; so the encouragers of such pretended revelations are as bad, in the sight of God, as those impostors themselves. What says the word of God to them? Let them be accursed. Reader, lay these things to heart.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/galatians-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

But though we - That is, we the apostles. Probably, he refers particularly to himself, as the plural is often used by Paul when speaking of himself. He alludes here, possibly, to a charge which was brought against him by the false teachers in Galatia, that he had changed his views since he came among them, and now preached differently from what he did then; see the introduction. They endeavored probably to fortify their own opinions in regard to the obligations of the Mosaic law, by affirming, that though Paul when he was among them had maintained that the observance of the Law was not necessary to salvation, yet that he had changed his views, and now held the same doctrine on the subject which they did. What they relied on in support of this opinion is unknown. It is certain, however, that Paul did, on some occasions (see the note at Acts 21:21-26), comply with the Jewish rites, and it is not improbable that they were acquainted with that fact, and interpreted it as proving that he had changed his sentiments on the subject.

At all events, it would make their allegation plausible that Paul was now in favor of the observance of the Jewish rites, and that if he had ever taught differently, he must now have changed his opinion. Paul therefore begins the discussion by denying this in the most solemn manner. He affirms that the gospel which he had at first preached to them was the true gospel. It contained the great doctrines of salvation. It was to be regarded by them as a fixed and settled point, that there was no other way of salvation but by the merits of the Saviour. No matter who taught anything else; no matter though it be alleged that he bad changed his mind; no matter even though he should preach another gospel; and no matter though an angel from heaven should declare any other mode of salvation, it was to be held as a fixed and settled position, that the true gospel had been preached to them at first. We are not to suppose that Paul admitted that he had changed his mind, or that the inferences of the false teachers there were well-founded, but we are to understand this as affirming in the most solemn manner that the true gospel, and the only method of salvation, had been preached among them at first.

Or an angel from heaven - This is a very strong rhetorical mode of expression. It is not to be supposed that an angel from heaven would preach any other than the true gospel. But Paul wishes to put the strongest possible case, and to affirm in the strongest manner possible, that the true gospel had been preached to them. The great system of salvation had been taught; and no other was to be admitted, no matter who preached it; no matter what the character or rank of the preacher: and no matter with what imposing claims he came. It follows from this, that the mere rank, character, talent, eloquence, or piety of a preacher does not of necessity give his doctrine a claim to our belief, or prove that his gospel is true. Great talents may be prostituted; and great sanctity of manner, and even holiness of character, may be in error; and no matter what may be the rank, and talents, and eloquence, and piety of the preacher, if he does not accord with the gospel which was first preached, he is to be held accursed.

Preach any other gospel … - See the note at Galatians 1:6. Any gospel that differs from that which was first preached to you, any system of doctrines which goes to deny the necessity of simple dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.

Let him be accursed - Greek ἀνάθεμα anathēma(anathema). On the meaning of this word, see the notes at 1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 Corinthians 16:22, note. It is not improperly here rendered “accursed,” or devoted to destruction.” The object of Paul is to express the greatest possible abhorrence of any other doctrine than that which he had himself preached. So great was his detestation of it, that, says Luther, “he casteth out very flames of fire, and his zeal is so fervent, that he beginneth almost to curse the angels.” It follows from this:

(1) That any other doctrine than what is proclaimed in the Bible on the subject of justification is to be rejected and treated with abhorrence, no matter what the rank, talent, or eloquence of him who defends it.

(2) that we are not to patronise or countenance such preachers. No matter what their zeal or their apparent sincerity, or their apparent sanctity, or their apparent success, or their real boldness in rebuking vice, we are to withdraw from them.

“Cease, my son,” said Solomon, “to hear the instruction that causes to err from the words of knowledge; Proverbs 19:27. Especially are we to withdraw wholly from that instruction which goes to deny the great doctrines of salvation; that pure gospel which the Lord Jesus and the apostle taught. If Paul would regard even an angel as doomed to destruction, and as held accursed, should he preach any other doctrine, assuredly we should not be found to lend our countenance to it, nor should we patronise it by attending on such a ministry. Who would desire to attend on the ministry of even an angel if he was to be held accursed? How much less the ministry of a man preaching the same doctrine! It does not follow from this, however, that we are to treat others with severity of language or with the language of cursing. They must answer to God. “We” are to withdraw from their teaching; we are to regard the doctrines with abhorrence; and we are not to lend our countenance to them. To their own master they stand or fall; but what must be the doom of a teacher whom an inspired man has said should be regarded as “accursed!” It may be added, how responsible is the ministerial office! How fearful the account which the ministers of religion must render! How much prayer, and study, and effort are needed that they may be able to understand the true gospel, and that they may not be led into error, or lead others into error.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/galatians-1.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

But though we or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel, other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.

Paul's indignation here stood upon the very highest ground. "It is not on account of antagonism to himself, but antagonism to the truth. Though he himself should fall away from it, the truth must still be supreme."[27] In fact, supposing that he himself should defect from the truth, Paul invoked upon his own head the curse of God.

An angel from heaven... McGarvey pointed out that the word of Christ was superior to that of angels who had ministered the old covenant, and "The sayings of Jesus were weightier than the words of angels in this very respect."[28] This probably accounts for Paul injecting the thought of angels into this passage. Also, as Cole said, "Paul may be using this word to show them the possibility of Satan himself appearing as an angel of light to deceive them."[29] It will be remembered that when Peter proposed to Christ the elimination of the cross, our Lord said, "Get thee behind me, Satan" (Mark 8:33).

Anathema... Some have sought to soften the meaning of this word, but there can be no doubt that it is the strongest curse that can be uttered, having the meaning of "yielded up to the wrath of God, surrendered to the curse of God."[30]

The gospel which we preached... It is a gross error to suppose that Paul's gospel was different from that proclaimed by all the Twelve, although it is true that Paul had a more accurate understanding of its being for Gentiles and not restricted to Jews only. Paul wrote, "According to my gospel" (Romans 2:16); but he meant it was his in the sense of "my God" (Philippians 4:9) and "my Lord" (Philippians 3:8). Of the same gospel, he wrote that it is "our gospel"; (2 Thessalonians 2:14). In Galatians 1:23, Paul's gospel was exactly the same gospel that was being preached by others while he was yet a persecutor. Thus, "Paul was referring to his gospel in opposition to all counterfeits,"[31] especially persistent Judaism. Even here, Paul did not say, "the gospel I preach," but "the gospel we preach." Dummelow affirmed that the "we," both here and in the following verse, is epistolary;[32] but it seems mandatory to read it as Paul's conscious intention of including the other apostles as also being preachers of the true gospel.

In later historical times, "anathema" came to refer to excommunication by ecclesiastical authority; but "this curse may not be thought of as anything like that; after all, an angel too is hypothetically involved."[33] No angel was ever subject to ecclesiastical discipline.

[27] John Wesley, op. cit., in loco.

[28] J. W. McGarvey, op. cit., p. 251.

[29] R. A. Cole, op. cit., p. 42.

[30] Herman N. Ridderbos, op. cit., p. 50.

[31] Arthur W. Pink, Gleanings from Paul (Chicago: Moody Press, 1967), p. 49.

[32] J. R. Dummelow, op. cit., p. 947.

[33] Herman N. Ridderbos, op. cit., p. 50.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/galatians-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians

Galatians 1:8. ᾿αλλὰ καὶ ἐὰν ἡμεῖς ἢ ἄγγελος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ εὐαγγελίζηται ὑμῖν παῤ ὃ εὐηγγελισάμεθα ὑμῖν, ἀνάθεμα ἔστω—“But if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any other gospel different from what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”

There is some difference of reading. K, Theodoret, OEcumenius, have εὐαγγελίζεται; while A, א, and others, have εὐαγγελίσηται . There are also variations with regard to ὑμῖν: F and אomit it; B, H, place it before the verb; the majority of MSS. place it after the verb; while D has ὑμᾶς. “But” be the τινές who they may who seek to subvert the gospel, they incur an awful peril. The καί belongs to ἐάν, “even if.” The case put so strongly is one which may never have occurred; but its possibility is assumed, though it may be very improbable. Hermann, Opuscula, iv. p. 95; Hermann, Vigerus, vol. 2.664, London 1824; Jelf, § 861. On the difference of εἰ καί and καὶ εἰ, see under Philippians 2:17; Kühner, § 824; Hartung, vol. i. pp. 139, etc. The ἡμεῖς-not himself alone, the pronoun being expressed and emphatic-may take in, though not necessarily, ἀδελφοὶ σὺν ἐμοὶ of Galatians 1:2, or perhaps Silvanus and Timothy, fellow-preachers (Hofmann). He was speaking by divine commission when he preached, and he had no right to alter the message. If it should ever by any possibility happen that he did so, on him should fall the anathema. “We or an angel from heaven”-no fallen spirit who might rejoice in falsehood, but one ἐξ οὐρανοῦ; the phrase being joined to ἄγγελος, and not to the verb (2 Corinthians 11:14), which agrees with ἄγγελος. An angel from heaven is highest created authority, but it cannot exalt itself against a divine commission. An angel preaching a Judaizing gospel would be opposing that God who had “called them in the grace of Christ.” Chrysostom supposes allusion to other apostles. The verb εὐαγγελίζηται is here followed by the dative of person: Galatians 4:13; Luke 4:18; Romans 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:1; 1 Peter 4:6. The variety of construction which it has in the New Testament-it being found sometimes absolutely, sometimes with accusative or dative, often with accusative of thing and dative of person-may have originated the variations connected with ὑμῖν, though Lightfoot, from these variations, regards the word as doubtful. The spurious preaching is characterized as

παῤ ὃ εὐαγγελισάμεθα ὑμῖν—“contrary to that which we preached to you” (Ellicott), or “beyond” it (Alford). The παρά can bear either meaning. Bernhardy, p. 259. The Vulgate has praeterquam, and some of the Greek fathers give the same sense, so Beza also; while “against,” contra, is the interpretation of Theodoret, Winer, Rückert, Matthies, De Wette, Jatho, Turner, Estius, Windischmann. Thus Romans 1:26, παρὰ φύσιν; Acts 18:13, παρὰ νόμον; Xen. Mem. 1.1, 18. Examples may be found in Donaldson, § 485. What is specifically different from it, must in effect be contrary to it. Romans 11:24; Romans 16:17. Usually Catholic interpreters take the sense of “contrary to” (Estius, Bisping); and Lutherans adopt that of “beyond,” or “in addition to,” as if in condemnation (aus blinder Polemik, Bisping) of the traditions on which the Romish Church lays such stress. But the apostle refers to oral teaching only, and the preposition παρά glancing back to ἕτερος, naturally signifies “beside,” that is, in addition to, or different from, the gospel,-or what is really another gospel. But the gospel is one, and can have no rival.

᾿ανάθεμα ἔστω—“let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:10). ᾿ανάθεμα: the earlier classical form was ἀνάθημα, ᾿αττικῶς (Moeris). Lobeck, Phrynichus, p. 249. Thus ἐπίθεμα, ἐπίθημα; εὕρεμα, εὕρημα. The general sense is, “laid up,” set apart to God: τῷ θεῷ ἀνατιθέμενον (Suidas). The meaning of the word in the New Testament is derived through the Septuagint, where it represents the Hebrew ֵחרֶם, H3051, something so set apart to God as to be destroyed or consecrated to divine vengeance. The other form, ἀνάθημα, retained its original meaning, comprehending all gifts to the gods. Xen. Anab. 5.3, 5. Such gifts were often ornamental, and Hesychius defines it by κόσμημα ; but the other form, ἀνάθεμα, he identifies with ἐπικατάρατος. The distinction begins to appear in the Septuagint, though differences of reading prevent it being fully traced and recognised. In Leviticus 27:28-29, the living thing devoted to God is to be surely put to death: πᾶν ἀνάθεμα ἅγιον ἁγίων ἔσται τῷ κυριῷ . . . θανάτῳ θανατωθήσεται: the city of Jericho, and all in it, was declared ἀνάθεμα κυρίῳ σαβαώθ. Joshua 6:16-17. This consecration of Jericho to utter ruin was in obedience to the command, Deuteronomy 13:14-16, ἀναθέματι ἀναθεματιεῖτε αὐτήν, and was a reproduction of an older scene (Numbers 21:1-3), where a city was devoted, and then truly named חָרַָמה׃, ἀνάθεμα. Comp. Joshua 7:11. In the case of Jericho, portion of the spoil was set apart for the sacred treasury, and part was to be utterly destroyed-two modes of consecration to God, for divine blessing and for divine curse-God glorified in it, or glorified on it. Trench, Syn. p. 17, 1st ser. In Ezekiel 44:29, the offering of a dedicated thing given to the priests (the same Hebrew term) is rendered ἀφόρισμα in the Septuagint, but ἀνάθημα by Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion. Orig. Hex. tom. ii. p. 321, ed. Montfaucon. In the Apocrypha the distinction appears to be preserved: 2 Maccabees 9:16, καλλίστοις ἀναθήμασι κοσμήσειν; 3 Maccabees 3:14; Judith 16:19; also in Joseph. Antiq. 15.11, 3, Bell. Jud 2:17; Judges 1:2:3. So in the New Testament, Luke 21:5, the temple adorned with goodly stones, καὶ ἀναθήμασι, “and gifts.” But the other form, ἀνάθεμα, occurs six times, and in all of them it has the meaning of accursed. Acts 23:14; Romans 9:3; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 Corinthians 16:22; and Galatians 1:8-9. Theodoret, on Romans 9:3, recognises this διπλῆν διάνοιαν, which he gives to ἀνάθημα; also on Isaiah 13, and on Zephaniah 1. See also Suidas, sub voce; Chrysostom on Romans 9:3; and Suicer, sub voce. Among the ecclesiastical writers, ἀνάθεμα came to signify excommunication, the cursing and separation of one put out of communion. Bingham, Antiquities, Works, vol. v. p. 471, London 1844. Such a use of the word was natural. Council of Laodicea, Canon xxix. But to justify this use by any appeal to the New Testament is vain. Nowhere has it this meaning, but a darker and a more awful one. Nor does ֵחרֶם, H3051 in the Old Testament ever signify ecclesiastical separation; it is synonymous with ἀπωλεία, Isaiah 54:5 ; ἐζολόθρευμα, 1 Samuel 15:21; ἀφάνισμα, Deuteronomy 7:2. On the various forms of the Jewish curse, see Selden, De Syned. viii.; Opera, vol. i. p. 883, etc. The idea of excommunication cannot be adopted here (Grotius, Semler, Flatt, Baumgarten-Crusius, Hammond, and Waterland); for it is contrary to the usage of the New Testament, and could not be applicable to an “angel from heaven.” Excommunication is described in very different terms, as in John 9:22; John 12:42; John 16:2, or Luke 6:22, 1 Corinthians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 5:13. Winer, sub voce. How tame Grotius, cum eo nihil vobis sit commercii; or Rosenmüller, excludatur e caetu vestro. The preacher of another gospel exposes himself to the divine indignation, and the awful penalty incurred by him is not inflicted by man: he falls “into the hands of the living God.” See Wieseler's long note.


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Bibliography
Eadie, John. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jec/galatians-1.html.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But though we, or an angel from heaven,.... The apostle, in order to assert the more strongly the truth, purity, and perfection of the Gospel, as preached by him; and to deter persons from preaching another Gospel, and others from receiving it, supposes a case impossible; and, in such a case, denounces his anathemas. It was not possible, that he, or any of his fellow apostles, who had been so clearly led and so fully established in the Gospel of Christ, and of which they had had such a powerful and comfortable experience in their souls, could ever preach one different from it; nor was it possible that a good angel, one that is in heaven, that always beholds the face of God there, is ever ready to do his will, as he never could be employed by God in publishing another, so he never would; and yet, was it possible or such a thing to be done by such men, or such an angel, he or they would deserve the curse of God and men; their having the highest names, or being of the highest character, and in the highest office and class of beings, would not screen them; and therefore how should the false apostles, and those who followed them, ever think to escape, since even these would not, should they

preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you; that is, not only anyone that is contrary to it, but any one besides it; for such was the perfection of the Gospel, as preached by the apostle, who declared the whole counsel of God, and kept back nothing that was profitable to the churches, that no addition could, or might be made unto it:

let him be accursed, or "anathema"; see 1 Corinthians 16:22 which may respect his excommunication out of the church, and his sentence of condemnation by Christ at the last day; and the sense be this, let him be ejected from the ministry of the word, degraded from his office, and cast out of the church; let him be no more a minister, nor a member of it; and let him be abhorred of men, and accursed of Christ; let him hear the awful sentence, "go ye accursed", &c.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/galatians-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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 g accursed.

(g) See (Romans 9:3).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/galatians-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

But — however weighty they may seem “who trouble you.” Translate as Greek, “Even though we,” namely, I and the brethren with me, weighty and many as we are (Galatians 1:1, Galatians 1:2). The Greek implies a case supposed which never has occurred.

angel — in which light ye at first received me (compare Galatians 4:14; 1 Corinthians 13:1), and whose authority is the highest possible next to that of God and Christ. A new revelation, even though seemingly accredited by miracles, is not to be received if it contradict the already existing revelation. For God cannot contradict Himself (Deuteronomy 13:1-3; 1 Kings 13:18; Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9). The Judaizing teachers sheltered themselves under the names of the great apostles, James, John, and Peter: “Do not bring these names up to me, for even if an angel,” etc. Not that he means, the apostles really supported the Judaizers: but he wishes to show, when the truth is in question, respect of persons is inadmissible [Chrysostom].

preach — that is, “should preach.”

any other gospel … than — The Greek expresses not so much “any other gospel different from what we have preached,” as, “any gospel BESIDE that which we preached.” This distinctly opposes the traditions of the Church of Rome, which are at once besides and against (the Greek includes both ideas) the written Word, our only “attested rule.”


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/galatians-1.html. 1871-8.

Martin Luther's Commentary on Galatians

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.
Paul's zeal for the Gospel becomes so fervent that it almost leads him to curse angels. "I would rather that I, my brethren, yes, the angels of heaven be anathematized than that my gospel be overthrown."

The Greek word anathema, Hebrew herem, means to accurse, execrate, to damn. Paul first (hypothetically) curses himself. Knowing persons first find fault with themselves in order that they may all the more earnestly reprove others.

Paul maintains that there is no other gospel besides the one he had preached to the Galatians. He preached, not a gospel of his own invention, but the very same Gospel God had long ago prescribed in the Sacred Scriptures. No wonder Paul pronounces curses upon himself and upon others, upon the angels of heaven, if anyone should dare to preach any other gospel than Christ's own.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website

Bibliography
Luther, Martin. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "Martin Luther's Commentary on Galatians". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mlg/galatians-1.html. Zondervan. Gand Rapids, MI. 1939.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

If we (εαν ημειςean hēmeis). Condition of third class (εανean and aorist middle subjunctive ευαγγελισηταιeuaggelisētai). Suppose I (literary plural) should turn renegade and preach “other than” (παρ οpar' ho), “contrary to that which we preached.” Preachers have turned away from Christ, alas, and preached “humanism” or some other new-fangled notion. The Jews termed Paul a renegade for leaving Judaism for Christianity. But it was before Paul had seen Christ that he clung to the law. Paul is dogmatic and positive here, for he knows that he is standing upon solid ground, the fact of Christ dying for us and rising again. He had seen the Risen Jesus Christ. No angel can change Paul now.

Let him be anathema (ανατεμα εστωanathema estō). See note on 1 Corinthians 12:3 for this word.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/galatians-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

We

See on 1 Thessalonians 1:2.

Angel from heaven ( ἄγγελος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ )

The phrase only here. “Angels in heaven or the heavens,” Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Mark 13:32. “Angels of the heavens,” Matthew 24:36.

Other than that ( παρ ' ὃ )

Roman Catholic interpreters insist that παρ ' should be rendered contrary to, though the Vulg. gives praeterquam besides. Some Protestant interpreters insist on besides as being against supplementing the gospel with traditions. The explanation is found in the previous words, a different gospel. Any gospel which is different from the one gospel, is both beside and contrary to.

Accursed ( ἀνάθεμα )

See on Romans 9:3, and see on offerings, Luke 21:5. Comp. κατάρα , curse and see on ἐπικατάρατος cursed Galatians 3:13. In lxx. always curse, except Leviticus 27:28, and the apocryphal books, where it is always gift or offering. By Paul always curse: see Romans 9:3; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 Corinthians 16:22. The sense of excommunication, introduced by patristic writers, does not appear in New Testament.


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The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/galatians-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

But if we — I and all the apostles.

Or an angel from heaven — If it were possible.

Preach another gospel, let him be accursed — Cut off from Christ and God.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/galatians-1.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

8.But though we. As he proceeds in defending the authority of his doctrine, his confidence swells. First of all, he declares that the doctrine which he had preached is the only gospel, and that the attempt to set it aside is highly criminal. But then he was aware, the false apostles might object: “We will not yield to you in our desire to maintain the gospel, or in those feelings of respect for it which we are accustomed to cherish.” Just as, at the present day, the Papists describe in the strongest terms the sacredness with which they regard the gospel, and kiss the very name with the deepest reverence, and yet, when brought to the trial, are found to persecute fiercely the pure and simple doctrine of the gospel. Accordingly, Paul does not rest satisfied with this general declaration, but proceeds to define what the gospel is, and what it contains, and declares boldly that his doctrine is the true gospel; so as to resist all further inquiry.

Of what avail was it to profess respect for the gospel, and not to know what it meant? With Papists, who hold themselves bound to render implicit faith, that might be perfectly sufficient; but with Christians, where there is no knowledge, there is no faith. That the Galatians, who were otherwise disposed to obey the gospel, might not wander hither and thither, and “find no rest for the sole of their foot,” (Genesis 8:9,) Paul enjoins them to stand steadfastly by his doctrine. He demands such unhesitating belief of his preaching, that he pronounces a curse on all who dared to contradict it.

And here it is not a little remarkable, that he begins with himself; for thus he anticipates a slander with which his enemies would have loaded him. “You wish to have everything which comes from you received without hesitation, because it is your own.” To show that there is no foundation for such a statement, he instantly surrenders the right of advancing anything against his own doctrine. He claims no superiority, in this respect, over other men, but justly demands from all, equally with himself, subjection to the word of God.

Or an angel from heaven. In order to destroy more completely the pretensions of the false apostles, he rises so high as to speak of angels; and, on the supposition that they taught a different doctrine, he does not satisfy himself with saying that they were not entitled to be heard, but declares that they ought to be held accursed. Some may think, that it was absurd to engage in a controversy with angels about his doctrine; but a just view of the whole matter will enable any one to perceive, that this part of the apostle’s proceedings was proper and necessary. It is impossible, no doubt, for angels from heaven to teach anything else than the certain truth of God. But when the credit due to doctrines which God had revealed concerning the salvation of men was the subject of controversy, he did not reckon it enough to disclaim the judgment of men, without declining, at the same time, the authority of angels.

And thus, when he pronounces a curse on angels who should teach any other doctrine (21) though his argument is derived from an impossibility, it is not superfluous. This exaggerated language must, have contributed greatly to strengthen the confidence in Paul’s preaching. His opponents, by employing the lofty titles of men, attempted to press hard on him and on his doctrine. He meets them by the bold assertion, that even angels are unable to shake his authority. This is no disparagement to angels. To promote the glory of God by every possible means was the design of their creation. He who endeavors, in a pious manner, to accomplish this object, by an apparently desrespectful mention of their name, detracts nothing from their high rank. This language not only exhibits, in an impressive manner, the majesty of the word of God, but yields, also, a powerful confirmation to our faith while, in reliance on that word, we feel ourselves at liberty to treat even angels with defiance and scorn. When he says, “let him be accursed,” the meaning must be, “let him be held by you as accursed.” In expounding 1 Corinthians 12:3, we had occasion to speak of the word ἀνάθεμα. (22). Here it denotes cursing, and answers to the Hebrew word, הרם (hherem.)


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/galatians-1.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

Ver. 8. Or an angel] Not an evil angel (as Ambrose understands it), but a good angel, per impossibile, as John 8:55.

Than that which we, &c.] Or besides that which we have preached. He saith not, contrary to that, but besides that; for indeed that which is directly besides, is indirectly against the gospel.


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/galatians-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Galatians 1:8. Though we, or an angel from heaven, Some have imagined, that the Apostle uses this expression as a prophetical prevention against crediting the pretences of Cerinthus and Mahomet, who both pretended to have received their revelations by the ministry of an angel.It may likewise glance at the manner of giving the law, which, according to the Apostle, was by the ministration of angels. By preaching any other Gospel, he means the preaching any thing as Gospel besides what he had preached.


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/galatians-1.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. How our apostle supposes an impossibility only for the confirmation of what he had before affirmed. He doth not suppose it possible for any angel in heaven, or apostle upon earth, to contradict the doctrine of the gospel which he had delivered, to preach any thing contrary to it, or besides it, or different from it; making that necessary to be believed and practiced, which Christ and his apostles never made necessary.

Learn hence, that the written word of God, without unwritten traditions, contains in it all things necessary to salvation; and whatever doctrines are propounded to the church, not only contrary to, but differing from it, or besides the written word, are cursed doctrines.

Observe, 2. The terrible Anathema which the apostle denounces against those, whoever they should be, be it an apostle upon earth, or an angel from heaven, that should thus pervert the gospel of Christ, by making any thing necessary to be believed or practiced in order to salvation, which Christ has not made necessary, Let him be accursed. Let the church of Rome in general, and the council of Trent in particular, dread the efficacy of this curse, who have added so many new articles to the Christian faith, and enforced them as necessary to be believed by all Christians; insomuch that they pronounced, "that no salvation can be obtained without the belief of them," and denounced their anathemas against us who cannot believe them: but as their curse, causeless, shall not come, so we believe that they, propounding terms of salvation, nowhere delivered by Christ and his apostles, do bring themselves under the apostle's anathema here in this text: for if the new articles of the church at Rome be necessary to salvation, than what Christ and his apostles delivered was not sufficient to salvation before; and thus the pride of man exalts itself above the wisdom of God.

Observe, 3. How the apostle expresses his assurance in this matter; and to shew that he did not speak rashly, and in a heat, but upon due consideration, he repeats again, As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach otherwise, let him be accursed Galatians 1:9.

Note here, how positive and peremptory the apostle is in this matter: and doubtless this one Anathema of his, is more dreadful than all the bruta fulmina, the freakish anathema, of an enthusiastic church, who, in a manifest affront to the authority of St. Pual, has presumed to add so many new articles to the Christian religion, for which there is not the least ground or warrant, either from the holy scriptures, or any of the ancient creeds.

Observe lastly, how the apostle puts himself into the number, if I, or any man, or any angel preach otherwise, let him be accursed. As if the apostle had said, "Not only the false apostles are to be rejected, but I myself deserve to be anathematized, and accounted an execrable person, should I preach any other doctrine to you, than what you have received from Christ by me; nay, should any angel from heaven attempt it, he ought to be detested for it."

Learn, that no angel in heaven, no person or church upon earth, have power to make new articles of faith, or to impose any thing upon our belief or practice, that is either against or besides the written word, or any ways inconsistent with it, or contrary unto it.


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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/galatians-1.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

8.] But (no matter who they are οἱ ταρ. &c.) even though (in καὶ εἰ, καὶ ἐάν, &c., the force of the καί is distributed over the whole supposition following, see Hartung, Partikell. i. 139; and ἐάν is distinguished from εἰ, in supposing a case which has never occurred, see 1 Corinthians 13:1, and a full explanation in Herm. on Viger, p. 832) we (i.e. usually, ‘I, Paul:’ but perhaps used here on account of οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ πάντες ἀδελφοί, Galatians 1:2) or an angel from heaven ( ἄγγ. ἐξ οὐρ. to be taken together, not ἐξ οὐρ. εὐαγγ.: introduced here as the highest possible authority, next to a divine Person: even were this possible, were the highest rank of created beings to furnish the preacher, &c. See 1 Corinthians 13:1. Perhaps also, as Chrys., there is a reference to the new teachers having sheltered themselves under the names of the great Apostles: μὴ γάρ μοι ἰάκωβον εἴπῃς, φησί, καὶ ἰωάννην· κἂν γὰρ τῶν πρώτων ἀγγέλων ᾖ τις τῶν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ διαφθειρόντων τὸ κήρυγμα κ. τ. λ. Then he adds: ταῦτα δὲ οὐχ ὡς καταγινώσκων τ. ἀποστόλων φησίν, οὐδὲ ὡς παραβαινόντων τὸ κήρυγμα, ἄπαγε· εἴτε γὰρ ἡμεῖς, εἴτε ἐκεῖνοι, φησίν, οὕτω κηρύσσομεν· ἀλλὰ δεῖξα. βουλόμενος ὅτι ἀξίωμα προσώπων οὐ προσίεται, ὅταν περὶ ἀληθείας ὁ λόγος ᾖ), preach (evangelize: it is impossible to preserve in English the εὐαγγέλιον, and in it the reference back to Galatians 1:6-7) to you other than what ( παρά (reff.) as in παρὰ δόξαν, παρὰ τοὺς ὅρκους, παραβαίνειν, &c. not merely ‘against,’ nor merely ‘besides,’ but indicating ‘beyond,’ in the sense of overstepping the limit into a new region, i.e. it points out specific difference. The preposition is important here, as it has been pressed by Protestants in the sense of ‘besides,’ against Roman Catholic tradition, and in consequence maintained by the latter in the sense of ‘against.’ It in fact includes both) we preached (evangelized) to you, let him be accursed (of God: no reference to ecclesiastical excommunication: for an angel is here included. See note, Romans 9:3, and compare ch. Galatians 5:10; also Ellic.’s and Bagge’s notes here).


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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/galatians-1.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Galatians 1:8. ἀλλά, not but, as an antithesis to οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλο (Hofmann), which has already been fully disposed of by εἰ μὴ κ. τ. λ. It is rather the however confronting most emphatically the τινές εἰσιν οἱ ταράσσοντες κ. τ. λ. “There are some, etc.; whoso, however, it may be who so behaves, let him he accursed!” This curse pronounced by the apostle on his opponents is indirect, but, because it is brought about by a conclusion a majori ad minus, all the more emphatic.

καὶ ἐάν] to be taken together, even in the case that. See Herm. ad Viger. p. 832; Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 140 f.

ἡμεῖς] applies primarily and chiefly to the apostle himself, but the σὺν ἐμοὶ πάντες ἀδελφοί (Galatians 1:2) are also included. To embrace in the reference the associates of the apostle in founding the Galatian churches (Hofmann) is premature, for these are only presented to the reader in the εὐηγγελισάμεθα which follows.

ἄγγελος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ] to be taken together: an angel οὐρανόθεν καταβάς (Hom. Il. xi. 184). Comp. ἄγγελοι ἐν οὐρανῷ, Matthew 22:30. If Paul rejects both his own and angelic authority—consequently even the supposed superhuman intervention (comp. 1 Corinthians 13:1)—with reference to the case assumed, as accursed,(20)every one without exception (comp. ὅστις ἄν , Galatians 5:10) is in the same case subject to the same curse. The certainty, that no other gospel but that preached by the apostle to his readers was the true one, cannot be more decisively confirmed.

παρʼ εὐηγγελισ. ὑμῖν] This , which is not to be explained by εὐαγγέλιον (Schott, Flatt, Hofmann), is simply that which, namely, as the context shows, as contents of the gospel; “beyond that which we,” etc. (Bernhardy, p. 259.) This may mean either praeterquam (Vulgate, Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Erasmus, Beza, Calovius, Rambach, and others) or contra (so Theodoret and the older Catholics, Grotius, and many others; also Winer, Rückert, Usteri, Matthies, Schott, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Wieseler, Hofmann). For the two meanings, see Matthiae, p. 1381; Winer, p. 377 [E. T. 503]. In earlier times a dogmatic interest was involved in this point: the Lutherans, in order to combat tradition, laying the stress on praeterquam; and the Catholics, to protect the same, on contra. See Calovius and Estius. The contra, or more exactly, the sense of specific difference, is most suitable to the context (see Galatians 1:6, ἕτερον εὐαγγέλ.). Comp. Romans 16:17.

εὐηγγελισάμεθα ὑμῖν] that is, “I and my companions at the time of your conversion” (comp. παρελάβετε, Galatians 1:9). The emphasis, however, lies on παρʼ.

ἀνάθεμα ἔστω.] Let him be subject to the divine wrath and everlasting perdition ( חֵרֶם ), the same as κατάρα and ἐπικατάρατος, Galatians 3:13; see on Romans 9:3. The opposite, Galatians 6:16. To apply it (Rosenmüller, Baumgarten-Crusius, comp. also Grotius and Semler) to the idea of excommunication subsequently expressed in the church (Suicer, Thes. I. p. 270) by the word ἀνάθεμα, is contrary to the usage of the N.T. (Romans 9:3; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 Corinthians 16:22), and is besides in this passage erroneous, because even a false-teaching angel is supposed in the protasis. Comp., on the contrary, Galatians 5:10, βαστάσει τὸ κρῖ΄α; 2 Thessalonians 1:9. See generally the thoroughly excellent discussion of Wieseler, p. 39 ff. Mark, moreover, in the use of the preceptive rather than the mere optative form, the expression of the apostolic ἐξουσία, Let him be!


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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/galatians-1.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Galatians 1:8. ἡμεῖς) We, many as we are, Galatians 1:2.— ἄγγελος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ, or an angel from heaven) whose authority, with the exception of God and Christ, is the highest, ch. Galatians 4:14.— 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.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/galatians-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ver. 8,9. The apostle, by this vehement expression, doth no more suppose it possible that a heavenly angel should publish to them any other way of salvation than what he had published, than that he himself might so contradict his own doctrine. He only by it declares his certainty of the truth, which he had delivered to them; it was not to be contradicted either by man or angel; and further teacheth us, that additions to the doctrines of the gospel make another gospel; God neither allowing us to add to, nor to diminish from, Divine revelations; for of this nature were the corruptions crept into this church. These seducers owned Christ and the doctrine of the gospel: only teaching the Jewish circumcision, and other ceremonial rites, as necessary to be observed in order to people’s salvation, they made the pretended gospel (which they taught) to be another gospel than that which Paul had preached, and which believers in this church had received. In saying let him be accursed, he also saith that he who doth this shall be accursed; for the apostle would neither himself curse, nor direct others to curse, whom he did not know the Lord would curse, and look upon as cursed. These two verses look dreadfully upon the papacy, where many doctrines are published, and necessary to be received, which Paul never preached, nor are to be found in any part of Divine writ.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/galatians-1.html. 1685.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

8. ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐὰν ἡμεῖς. I and those with me (Galatians 1:2) in spite of any such false statements as the Galatians may have heard (Galatians 1:10 note). They know the gospel that he preached on his first visit. He will afterwards remind them of the effect of it among them, briefly in Galatians 1:9 and more in detail in Galatians 3:1 sqq. Upholders of the South Galatian theory see an implied reference to St Paul’s circumcision of Timothy, a semi-Gentile, which might have suggested his sympathy with obedience to the Law on the part of Gentile Christians on his second visit (Acts 16:3).

ἤ ἄγγελος ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ. ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ is added probably only to enhance the dignity of the supposed preacher. But of course it does not exclude the bare possibility of ἄγγελος, when alone, meaning a human messenger. Upholders of the South Galatian theory compare the belief at Lystra in a divine visit, and the assertion that St Paul was Hermes the messenger of the gods (cf. Galatians 4:14 note and Introd. p. xxviii.).

εὐαγγελίσηται [ὑμῖν] παρʼ ὃ εὐηγγελισάμεθα ὑμῖν. παρά, “contrary to,” Romans 16:17. After so strong a word as μεταστρέψαι “besides” seems improbable. But Protestant commentators have not unnaturally deduced from παρά here a lesson against the addition of anything besides the Scriptures: “For he that delivers any doctrine out of them, and beside them, as necessary to be believed, is accursed” (Perkins). εὐηγγελισάμεθα. The reference is to St Paul’s companions on his first visit (Silas and Timothy, Acts 15:40; Acts 16:3), or on his second (probably Timothy). According to the South Galatian theory they would be Barnabas on the first visit (Acts 13, 14) and Silas and Timothy on the second.

ἀναθέμα ἔστω = Galatians 1:9. ἀνάθεμα is in the LXX. the regular translation of cherem, a thing devoted to God either for preservation or destruction. In Rabbinic and modern times cherem often signifies excommunication from a visible society, and this meaning has been attributed to ἀνάθεμα here. But to the Apostle ἀνάθεμα is the very antithesis of nearness and likeness to Christ. Hence he names as the supreme example of demonic utterance the saying ἀνάθεμα Ἰησοῦς (1 Corinthians 12:3) and suggests as the most extreme form of his love to the Israelites that he could pray to be himself ἀνάθεμα ἀπὸ τοῦ χριστοῦ (Romans 9:3). Here therefore he is solemuly writing a curse in the strongest possible form, ἀπηλλοτριωμένος θεοῦ (Theodore on Zechariah 14:8, quoted by Swete). Deissmann sees in this passage and others (especially 1 Corinthians 5:4-5) examples of the influence upon St Paul of the heathen use of formulae devoting persons to gods of the underworld (Licht v. Osten, pp. 218 sqq.).


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"Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/galatians-1.html. 1896.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any Gospel other than that which you received, let him be anathema.’

Did they not remember that they had received the Gospel with powerful evidence of the working of the Spirit (Galatians 3:2)? Thus anyone, whether man or supernatural being, who sought to turn them from what they had received to anything else, was worthy only to be ‘cursed’ (anathema), that is, devoted to the judgment of God. The words stress the strong feeling that Paul has about the matter. It is not his own teaching that they are deserting, he warns them, it is the work of the Spirit of God. And it is so important that he repeats his powerful words again.

An ‘anathema’ was something that was declared against the worst of sinners, those who had ‘sinned with a high hand’. And these men were guilty of the greatest sin of all, taking men’s eyes off Christ, God’s beloved Son.


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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/galatians-1.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

8. Though… an angel—This is possible only as an angel from heaven is a free agent, and able, like the first angels, to forsake God. Paul had heard his gospel from Christ himself, and he felt his assurance greater even than the counter testimony of an angel from heaven. Christ’s gospel is superior to an angel’s anti-gospel. The gospel, like Christ himself, is superior to all finite worth. Should some angelic form appear at Ancyra, and say that the gospel is false, there is a delusion about it.

And so in modern days, a false demonism is abroad ignoring Christ, or demanding to transform his gospel. It can bring nothing greater than Christ; nothing truer, holier, more saving than his gospel. Let them be anathema so far as they abjure the Lord Jesus. Chrysostom finely suggests that Paul is here sweepingly answering those who were quoting Peter and James against him. Speak you of apostles? I tell you if an angel contradict the gospel he is to be rejected!

Accursed—An anathema, devoted to destruction. This is the New Testament sense; the later Church sense is excommunicated, severed from true believers. In such sense it is used in the old creeds as condemning the rejecters of each given article.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/galatians-1.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Paul leveled his strongest verbal artillery against these teachers. Whoever they were, they apparently claimed the highest authority for their teaching since Paul warned his readers to reject it even if it had come from angelic messengers sent directly from heaven. This is an example of hyperbole: exaggeration for the sake of emphasis. [Note: See Tenney, p138 , for a chart of the figures of speech in Galatians.] By "accursed" Paul meant under God"s judgment. Islam claims that Mohammed received his revelations from the angel Gabriel.

"In Paul"s eyes, the acknowledgment of Jesus as Messiah logically implied the abrogation of the law ... If Christ displaced the law as the activating centre of Paul"s own life, he equally displaced the law in the economy of God, in the ordering of salvation-history. Therefore, if the law was still in force as a way of salvation and life, the messianic age had not yet dawned, and Jesus accordingly was not the Messiah." [Note: Bruce, p83.]


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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/galatians-1.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Galatians 1:8. But even though we ourselves (I and my colleagues, Galatians 1:2), or an angel from heaven, should preach [unto you] any gospel other than that (beyond that) which we preached unto you, let him be anathema. It is impossible to express more strongly and solemnly the conviction of the unerring truth of the gospel as preached by Paul, the zeal for its purity, and the aversion to every heresy. Only an inspired Apostle could thus speak. The condemnation of the opponents is indirect, but the more certain by the argument a fortiori. The severity of Paul against false brethren was equalled by his forbearance with weak brethren (comp. Galatians 6:1; Romans 14:1; Romans 15:1), All personal assumption and arrogance is here excluded, the more so as he conditionally includes himself and his colleagues in the anathema. His only motive was zeal for the purity of the gospel of his divine Lord and Master.

An angel from heaven, proverbial expression for a being possessed of the highest authority next to the divine. Beside that; lit., beyond what, which is both beside (præterea) and against (contra). The gospel admits of no rival, either in the form of foreign additions or in the form of changes. Paul condemns not indeed mere differences in form, such as existed even among the Apostles themselves, and will always exist, but every material alteration of the gospel, either by perversion, or omission, or such additions as contradict the spirit of apostolic teaching. The Judaizers did not expressly deny the doctrine of justification by faith, but they indirectly undermined it by adding the assertion of the coordinate necessity of circumcision; just as the Pharisees professed to hold fast to the Word of God in the Old Testament, and yet made it of none effect by their human traditions (comp. Mark 7:13). The passage admits of easy application to the unscriptural traditions of the Greek and Roman churches.

Let him be anathema, anathematized, i.e., devoted (in a bad sense), given over to the judgment of God. It is a solemn judgment of condemnation as in the name of God (comp. 1 Corinthians 16:22 : ‘If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema;’ also Galatians 3:13; Galatians 5:10; Romans 9:3; 1 Corinthians 12:3). Subsequently, among the fathers the idea of ecclesiastical excommunication (accompanied sometimes with an execration) was attached to this term; but this is not the Biblical sense, and in our passage it is forbidden by the mention of an angel who cannot be excommunicated from the church.


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/galatians-1.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Galatians 1:8. ἡμεῖς. Paul here associates with himself the colleagues Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, who had combined with him to preach the Gospel. He desires to impress on his disciples that the controversy is not between one teacher and another, but between truth and falsehood: no minister of Christ, not even an angel, can alter the truth in Christ.— ἀνάθεμα. The two derivatives, ἀνάθημα and ἀνάθεμα, are both employed in the LXX and N.T. in different senses. ἀνάθημα serves, as in other Greek authors, to denote a temple offering, statue, or ornament (cf. 2 Maccabees 9:16, Luke 21:5), while ἀνάθεμα is restricted to the Hebrew conception of an offering devoted under a solemn vow to death or destruction (Leviticus 27:28, Joshua 7:1, Acts 23:14). The Epistles of Paul attach to the word the idea of spiritual death. The significant addition ἀπὸ τοῦ χριστοῦ in Romans 9:3 associates with it the further idea of separation from Christ, and consequent loss of all Christian blessings and means of grace. It does not, like excommunication, pronounce a judicial sentence on particular convicted offenders, but solemnly affirms general laws of the spiritual kingdom, e.g., in 1 Corinthians 16:22, any who love not the Lord, here any who tamper with the truth of the Gospel, are pronounced outcasts from the faith, and dead to the Spirit of Christ.


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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/galatians-1.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

though = even if (Greek. ean. App-118. b).

heaven. See Matthew 6:9, Matthew 6:10,

preach, &c. = preach a gospel (Greek. evangelizo. App-121.)

beside (Greek. para. App-104.), or than, that.

have. Omit.

accursed. Greek. anathema. See Acts 23:14 and Compare Galatians 3:10, Galatians 3:13.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/galatians-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

But - however weighty they seem 'who trouble you.' [ kai (Greek #2532) ean (Greek #1437)] 'Even though we'-namely, I and the brethren with me-weighty and many as we are (Galatians 1:1-2). The Greek implies a case supposed which never has occurred.

Angel - in which light ye at first received me (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:1; Galatians 4:14); whose authority is the highest possible next to that of God. A professed revelation even though seemingly accredited by miracles, is not to be received if it contradict the already existing revelation; for God cannot contradict Himself (Deuteronomy 13:1-3; 1 Kings 13:18; Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9). The Judaizers sheltered themselves under the names of the great apostles, James, John, and Peter: 'Do not bring these names up to me; for even if an angel,' etc. Not that these apostles really supported the Judaizers; but he wishes to show, when the truth is in question, respect of persons is inadmissible.

Preach - i:e., 'should preach.'

Any other gospel unto you than. The Greek [ par' (Greek #3844) ho (Greek #3588) eueengelisametha (Greek #2097)] expresses not only 'any other gospel different from what we have preached,' but also 'any gospel BESIDE that which we preached.' This opposes the traditions of Rome, which are at once besides and against the written Word, our only attested rule. The context and argument do not (as Ellicott thinks) favour the translation 'against.' Paul just denied not only the existence of a different [ heteron (Greek #2087)] gospel, but that of another [ allo (Greek #243)] gospel. This he enforced by saving, If he or an angel preached anything beside what he had preached, let him be accursed (Revelation 22:18).


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/galatians-1.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

But even. "They tell you that Peter, and even I myself, preach that you can be put right with God through the Law. But even if we ourselves, or an angel from heaven (if such a thing were possible), would dare to preach a different gospel, may he be condemned to hell!" The TEV correctly brings out the emphatic curse inherent in ANATHEMA! This is not profanity, but a solemn curse from God himself! The "eternally condemned" of the NIV is also correct, but doesn't sound as emphatic. ANATHEMA = condemned to hell = eternally condemned. Paul wants to make this as strong as possible to shock them into awareness of the horrible sin the circumcision party is doing!!! Compare Peter's language in Acts 8:20.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/galatians-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(8) Though.—The Greek is, strictly, even though, marking an extreme and improbable supposition.

We.—It seems, perhaps, too much to say, in the face of 2 Thessalonians 2:2 (“by letter as from us”), that St. Paul never used the plural in speaking of himself alone. Still there may, both there and here, be some thought of associating his more immediate companions (“the brethren which are with me,” Galatians 1:2) with himself, the more so as he knew them to be entirely at one with him in doctrine.

Than that.—The Greek has here, not a conjunction, but a preposition, the precise sense of which is ambiguous. It may mean “besides,” “in addition,” or it may mean “contrary to.” The first of these senses has met with the most favour from Protestant, the second from Roman Catholic commentators, as, on the one hand, it seemed to exclude, and on the other to admit, the appeal to tradition. Looking at it strictly in connection with the context, the sense “contrary” seems best, because the gospel taught by the Judaising teachers was “another,” in the sense of being different from that of St. Paul. It was a fundamental opposition of principles, not merely the addition of certain new doctrines to the old.

Accursed.—See 1 Corinthians 16:22. The original Greek word is retained in the translation, Let him be Anathema. The word exists in two forms, with a long e and a short e respectively; and whereas its original meaning was simply that of being “devoted to God,” the form with the long vowel came by gradual usage to be reserved for the good side of this: “devoted, in the sense of consecration; “while the form with the short vowel was in like manner reserved for the bad sense: “devoted to the curse of God.” Attempts have been made to weaken its significance in this passage by restricting it to “ex-communication by the Church;” but this, though a later ecclesiastical use of the word, was not current at such an early date.

In considering the dogmatic application, it is right to bear in mind the nature of the heretical doctrines which it was the Apostle’s object to denounce. They made no profession to be deduced from his own, but were in radical and avowed opposition to them. Still, there is room to believe that if the Apostle could have reviewed his own words at a calmer moment he might have said of himself: “I spake as a man.”


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/galatians-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
though
9; 1 Corinthians 16:22; 2 Corinthians 11:13,14; 1 Timothy 1:19,20; Titus 3:10; Revelation 22:18,19
let
3:10,13; Genesis 9:25; Deuteronomy 27:15-26; Joshua 9:23; 1 Samuel 26:19; Nehemiah 13:25; Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:14
accursed
Mark 14:71; Acts 23:14; Romans 9:3; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 16:22; *Gr:

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/galatians-1.html.

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.

Oooops, sorry Mormon readers - that was God speaking, not me!

I had a professor in graduate school that loved puns, so he was one of my favorite professors. He read this passage once as follows: "But though we, or an angel, (affectionately called phony Morony) from heaven, preach any other gospel...." Neither he nor I mean any disrespect to the Mormon follower, but would wish to point out that if you have even an angel from heaven telling you that what is recorded in the Word is not the complete gospel, let HIM BE ACCURSED.

Anyone that adds to the Word of God is accursed. This applies to all that follow traditions, confessions, versions, etc. that are over and above the Word. Many today set tradition, books and teachings above the Word of God - these are accursed according to Paul.

I have seen reformed people that do not really teach that the confessions are above the Word, but they practice it. They speak of teaching their confessions to their families, rather than teaching them the Word of God. Indeed, their gospel at times seems to be another gospel, for they seem to require following of the creeds as the standard of acceptance rather than the obedience to the Word.

The term "heaven" is used of the sky, the universe or the dwelling place of God. In this context it would indicated God"s dwelling place, in that the angels have access to all, but dwell in the same place as God Himself.

As a complete side note, take a few moments and contemplate the life of an angel, able to transit from God"s throne, though the galaxies, through the atmosphere and to earth - how much like those wonderful dreams when we fly above the ground and go where we will to and fro with little if any effort - this is the normal life of the angel - and just why would an angel turn against God and give all this up to follow Satan - another topic of contemplation!

Some fine points from the verse:

1. The preaching of another gospel is a present tense as opposed to the gospel preached by Paul which is an aorist. The gospel of Christ was preached once and they accepted it, but this false gospel is continually being preached to them.

Once and for all your salvation was sealed at one point in time. To sway you from that truth takes persistence - don"t allow persistence of error to rob you of truth.

2. The language used here is of interest. Loosely translated it runs along this line: But though we, or an angel from heaven, EVANGELIZE unto you than that which EVANGELIZE unto you let him be accursed. The American Standard version states "But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema"

The force of this is that these people are attempting to evangelize just as Paul had evangelized them - equal force is the thought - as I evangelized you so they are evangelizing you - even though they appear to be as I - though they seem to be concerned with your spiritual health - let them be accursed. In essence isn"t Paul also implying that the Judaizers felt that the people were lost and in need of their gospel - that without Christ and the Law, they would be lost to hell? I think that is the direct implication.

Now, such language - this Paul ought not be so mean and rude to these people, after all they have my best interest at heart and he is telling me they are accursed. Where does he get off being so judgmental? Does this sound like some you have run into? Paul says these that mislead, these that teach falsely, these that would remove you from your peace, and these that would substitute the gospel of grace are accursed!

I suggest we use the same tactics that Paul used - call these false teachers what they are - accursed. The Mormon"s that mislead are accursed, they are not part of Christianity, they are not just another way to God, and they are accursed.

Those that would have you work for your salvation are accursed.

Those that would have you do more than accept Christ are accursed.

Those that would have you replace the work of the cross with works of your own are accursed.

I think that is plain enough for now!

3. The term translated accursed is the Greek word "anathema" which means to put under a great curse. The Net Bible ends this verse with the thought of condemned to hell. A footnote suggests that not only is the curse in view but the result as well. If the person is accursed, they are definitely on their way to eternal punishment.

Paul uses the same term again in the next verse when he restates his curse. The word is also used in the following texts.

Acts 23:14 "And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul." I won"t comment on the priests and elders but this might be a little exaggeration for effect on their part. They had sworn to not eat until they killed Paul. To them a noble effort, to God a foolish effort, but I"m sure they wanted him dead - not just sure they would have starved to death if they couldn"t have killed him.

Romans 9:3 "For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:" Here we see the word used in the reality that if it were true it would result in hell for the one accursed. Paul would give himself up to hell if his brethren - the Jews - could be saved.

1 Corinthians 12:3 "Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and [that] no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." Again, we see the thought of the one accursed ending in hell (not that Christ could).

1 Corinthians 16:22 "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha." Here as in the last three verses the result of the accursed is hell. The word is not translated here, just presented in its original Greek form.

A moment of application if we might. Paul tells them that the Judaizers were accursed - they are trying to live by keeping the law for salvation - they are on their way to hell, so anyone trusting in keeping the law is damned. Remember that. Indeed, it would seem that trusting anything but the blood of Christ for salvation is trusting the wrong thing and places the person on a fast track to eternal damnation.

A sincere warning to anyone trying to keep the law or any list of do"s and don"ts to gain salvation - you won"t be able to based on Paul"s teaching here. Consider carefully what you trust for salvation, since only the blood of Christ will do. If you want to work and/or keep something feel free to do so as a way to please God, but don"t you dare expect salvation from it.

4. Even if Paul or the apostles come teaching - don"t you believe them. No matter what they say, if they preach another gospel than the one preached originally - don"t you believe them.

Application: Question ALL you read and hear and trust nothing unless it lines up squarely with the Word of God. Even if it comes from a trusted friend, a trusted teacher, a trusted preacher, or a trusted acquaintance, don"t you accept it unless you first compare it to the Word of God.


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Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.

Bibliography
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on Galatians 1:8". "Stanley Derickson - Notes on Selected Books". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sdn/galatians-1.html.

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