#See note on Rom 1:1–7, concerning the greeting. 1#a. [1:1–3] Rom 1:1–7; 1 Cor 1:1–3. Paul, an apostle#Apostle: because of attacks on his authority in Galatia, Paul defends his apostleship. He is not an apostle commissioned by a congregation (Phil 2:25; 2 Cor 8:23) or even by prophets (1 Tm 1:18; 4:14) but through Jesus Christ and God the Father. not from human beings nor through a human being but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead,#b. [1:1] 1:11–12. 2#All the brothers: fellow believers in Christ, male and female; cf. Gal 3:27–28. Paul usually mentions the co-sender(s) at the start of a letter, but the use of all is unique, adding weight to the letter. Galatia: central Turkey more likely than the Roman province of Galatia; see Introduction. and all the brothers who are with me, to the churches of Galatia: 3grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4#The greeting in v 3 is expanded by a christological formula that stresses deliverance through the Lord Jesus from a world dominated by Satan; cf. 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2; 6:12. who gave himself for our sins that he might rescue us from the present evil age in accord with the will of our God and Father,#c. [1:4] 2:20; Eph 5:2; 1 Tm 2:6 / 1 Jn 5:19 / Rom 12:2; Eph 5:16; Heb 10:10. 5to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.#d. [1:5] Rom 16:27; 2 Tm 4:18.
II. LOYALTY TO THE GOSPEL#In place of the usual thanksgiving (see note on Rom 1:8), Paul, with little to be thankful for in the Galatian situation, expresses amazement at the way his converts are deserting the gospel of Christ for a perverted message. He reasserts the one gospel he has preached (Gal 1:7–9) and begins to defend himself (Gal 1:10).
6#e. [1:6–7] 5:8, 10; Acts 15:1, 24; 2 Cor 11:4. I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you#The one who called you: God or Christ, though in actuality Paul was the divine instrument to call the Galatians. by [the] grace [of Christ] for a different gospel 7(not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8#f. [1:8–9] 1 Cor 16:22 / 5:3, 21; 2 Cor 13:2. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach [to you] a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed!#Accursed: in Greek, anathema; cf. Rom 9:3; 1 Cor 12:3; 16:22. 9As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed!
10#g. [1:10] 2 Cor 5:11 / 1 Thes 2:4. Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.#This charge by Paul’s opponents, that he sought to conciliate people with flattery and to curry favor with God, might refer to his mission practices (cf. 1 Cor 9:19–23) but the word still suggests it refers to his pre-Christian days (cf. Gal 1:14; Phil 3:6). The self-description slave of Christ is one Paul often uses in a greeting (Rom 1:1).
III. PAUL’S DEFENSE OF HIS GOSPEL AND HIS AUTHORITY#Paul’s presentation on behalf of his message and of his apostleship reflects rhetorical forms of his day: he first narrates the facts about certain past events (Gal 1:12–2:14) and then states his contention regarding justification by faith as the gospel message (Gal 2:15–21). Further arguments follow from both experience and scripture in Galatians 3; 4 before he draws out the ethical consequences (Gal 5:1–6:10). The specific facts that he takes up here to show that his gospel is not a human invention (Gal 1:11) but came through a revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal 1:12) deal with his own calling as a Christian missionary (Gal 1:13–17), his initial relations with the apostles in Jerusalem (Gal 1:18–24), a later journey to Jerusalem (Gal 2:1–10), and an incident in Antioch involving Cephas and persons from James (Gal 2:11–14). The content of Paul’s revealed gospel is then set forth in the heart of the letter (Gal 2:15–21).
His Call by Christ.
11#h. [1:11–12] 1 Cor 15:1 / 1:1; Eph 3:3. Now I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin. 12For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.#Although Paul received his gospel through a revelation from Christ, this did not exclude his use of early Christian confessional formulations. See note on Gal 1:4.
13#Along with Phil 3:4–11, which also moves from autobiography to its climax in a discussion on justification by faith (cf. Gal 2:15–21), this passage is Paul’s chief account of the change from his former way of life (Gal 1:13) to service as a Christian missionary (Gal 1:16); cf. Acts 9:1–22; 22:4–16; 26:9–18. Paul himself does not use the term “conversion” but stresses revelation (Gal 1:12, 16). In Gal 1:15 his language echoes the Old Testament prophetic call of Jeremiah. Unlike the account in Acts (cf. Acts 22:4–16), the calling of Paul here includes the mission to proclaim Christ to the Gentiles (Gal 1:16). For you heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it,#i. [1:13] Acts 8:1–3; 9:1–2; 1 Cor 15:9. 14and progressed in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my race, since I was even more a zealot for my ancestral traditions.#j. [1:14] Acts 26:4–5. 15But when [God], who from my mother’s womb had set me apart and called me through his grace, was pleased#k. [1:15] Is 49:1; Jer 1:4. 16to reveal his Son to me,#l. [1:16] 1:11–12; Rom 1:5; 1 Cor 15:10; Acts 9:3–9 / 2:2, 7 / Mt 16:17. so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult flesh and blood,#Flesh and blood: human authorities (cf. Mt 16:17; 1 Cor 15:50). Paul’s apostleship comes from God (Gal 1:1). 17nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; rather, I went into Arabia#Arabia: probably the region of the Nabataean Arabs, east and south of Damascus. and then returned to Damascus.
18#Paul’s first journey to Jerusalem as a Christian, according to Galatians (cf. Acts 9:23–31 and the note on Acts 12:25). He is quite explicit about contacts there, testifying under oath (Gal 1:20). On returning to Syria (perhaps specifically Damascus, cf. Gal 1:17) and Cilicia (including his home town Tarsus, cf. Acts 9:30; 22:3), Paul most likely engaged in missionary work. He underscores the fact that Christians in Judea knew of him only by reputation. Then after three years#After three years: two years and more, since Paul’s call. To confer with Cephas may mean simply “pay a visit” or more specifically “get information from” him about Jesus, over a two-week period. Cephas: Aramaic name of Simon (Peter); cf. Mt 16:16–18 and the notes there. I went up to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas and remained with him for fifteen days.#m. [1:18] Acts 9:26–30 / Jn 1:42. 19But I did not see any other of the apostles,#n. [1:19] 2:9; Mt 13:55; Acts 12:17. only James the brother of the Lord.#James the brother of the Lord: not one of the Twelve, but a brother of Jesus (see note on Mk 6:3). He played an important role in the Jerusalem church (see note on Gal 2:9), the leadership of which he took over from Peter (Acts 12:17). Paul may have regarded James as an apostle. 20(As to what I am writing to you, behold, before God, I am not lying.)#o. [1:20] Rom 9:1; 2 Cor 11:31. 21Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.#p. [1:21] Acts 9:30. 22And I was unknown personally to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; 23they only kept hearing that “the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”#q. [1:23] 1:13. 24So they glorified God because of me.
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