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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE GALATIANS - Chapter 1 - Verse 2
**Due to the length of Introductory Material to Chapter, Notes for Verses 1 and 2 have been combined in notes for Verse 2.**
This is the usual form in which he commences his epistles; and it was of special importance to commence this epistle in this manner, because it was one design to vindicate his apostleship, or to show that he had received his commission directly from the Lord jesus.
Not of men. "Not from ap, men." That is, he was not from any body of men, or commissioned by men. The word apostle means sent; and Paul means to say, that he was not sent to execute any purpose of men, or commissioned by them. His was a higher calling—a, calling of God, and he had been sent directly by him. Of course, he means to exclude here all classes of men as having had anything to do in sending him forth; and especially he means to affirm, that he had not been sent out by the body of apostles at Jerusalem. This, it will be remembered, (see the Introduction,) was one of the charges of those who had perverted the Galatians from the faith which Paul had preached to them.
Neither by man. "Neither by or through di the instrumentality of any man." Here he designs to exclude all men from having had any agency in his appointment to the apostolic office. He was neither sent out from any body of men to execute their purposes, nor did he receive his commission, authority, or ordination, through the medium of any man. A minister of the gospel now receives his call from God, but he is ordained or set apart to his office by man. Matthias, the apostle chosen in the place of Judas, (Ac 1:17,) received his call from God, but it was by the vote of the body of the apostles. Timothy was also called of God, but he was appointed to his office by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery, 1 Ti 4:14. But Paul here says that he received no such commission as that from the apostles. They were not the means or the medium of ordaining him to his work. He had, indeed, together with Barnabas, been set apart at Antioch by the brethren there, (Ac 13:1-3,) for a special mission in Asia Minor; but this was not an appointment to the apostleship. He had been restored to sight after the miraculous blindness produced by seeing the Lord Jesus on the way to Damascus, by the laying on of the hands of Ananias, and had received important instruction from him, (Ac 9:17;) but his commission as an apostle had been received directly from the Lord Jesus, without any intervening medium, or any form of human authority, Ac 9:15; 22:17-21; 1 Co 9:1.
But by Jesus Christ. That is, directly by Christ. He had been called by him, and commissioned by him, and sent by him, to engage in the work of the gospel.
And God the Father. These words were omitted by Marcion, because, says Jerome, he held that Christ raised himself from the dead. But there is no authority for omitting them. The sense is, that he had the highest possible authority for the office of an apostle; he had been called to it by God himself, who had raised up the Redeemer. It is remarkable here, that Paul associates Jesus Christ and God the Father as having called and commissioned him. We may ask here, of one who should deny the Divinity of Christ, how Paul could mention him as being equal with God in the work of commissioning him? We may further ask, how could he say that he had not received his, call to this office from a man, if Jesus Christ was a mere man? That he was called by Christ he expressly says, and strenuously maintains it as a point of great importance. And yet the very point and drift of his argument is to show that he was not called by man. How could this be if Christ was a mere man?
It is not quite clear why Paul introduces this circumstance here. It may have been
(1) because his mind was full of it, and he wished on all occasions to make that fact prominent;
(2) because this was the distinguishing feature of the Christian religion, that the Lord Jesus had been raised up from the dead; and he wished, in the outset, to present the superiority of that religion which had brought life and immortality to light; and
(3) because he wished to show that he had received his commission from that same God who had raised up Jesus, and who was, therefore, the Author of the true religion. His commission was from the Source of life and lights; the God of the living and the dead; the God who was the Author of the glorious scheme which revealed life and immortality.
Verse 2. And all the brethren which are with me. It was usual for Paul to associate with him the ministers of the gospel, or other Christians who were with him, in expressing friendly salutations to the churches to which he wrote, or as uniting with him, and concurring in the sentiments which he expressed. Though Paul claimed to be inspired, yet it would do much to conciliate favour for what he advanced, if others also concurred with what he said, and especially if they were known, to the churches to which the epistles were written. Sometimes the names of others were associated with his in the epistle. See Barnes "1 Co 1:1"; See Barnes "Php 1:1"
As we do not know where this epistle was written, of course we are ignorant who the "brethren" were who are here referred to. They may have been ministers with Paul, or they may have been the private members of the churches. Commentators have been much divided in opinion on the subject; but all is conjecture. It is obviously impossible to determine.
Unto the churches. How many churches there were in Galatia is unknown. There were several cities in Galatia, as Ancyria, Tavia, Pessinus, etc. It is not improbable that a church had been established in each of the cities, and as they were not far distant from each other, and the people had the same general character and habits, it is not improbable that they had fallen into the same errors. Hence the epistle is directed to them in common.
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