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Chapter 1

1:1 Not from men, neither through men [ouk ap’ anthrōpōn oude di’ anthrōpou]. The bluntness of Paul’s denial is due to the charge made by the Judaizers that Paul was not a genuine apostle because not one of the twelve. This charge had been made in Corinth and called forth the keenest irony of Paul (2Co 10-12). In Ga 1; 2 Paul proves his independence of the twelve and his equality with them as recognized by them. Paul denies that his apostleship had a human source [ouk ap’ anthrōpōn] and that it had come to him through [di’ anthrōpou] a human channel (Burton). But through Jesus Christ and God the Father [alla dia Iēsou Christou kai theou patros]. The call to be an apostle came to Paul through Jesus Christ as he claimed in 1Co 9:1 and as told in Ac 9:4-6; 22:7ff.; 26:16ff. He is apostle also by the will of God. Who raised him from the dead [tou egeirantos auton ek nekrōn]. And therefore Paul was qualified to be an apostle since he had seen the Risen Christ (1Co 9:1; 15:8f.). This verb [egeirō] is often used in N.T. for raising from the sleep of death, to wake up the dead.

1:2 All the brethren which are with me [hoi sun emoi pantes adelphoi]. The same phrase in Php 4:21 in distinction from the saints in verse 22. Probably the small company of travelling companions. Unto the churches of Galatia [tais ekklēsiais tēs Galatias]. A circular letter therefore to all the churches in the province (both South Galatia and North Galatia if he really laboured there).

1:3 Grace to you and peace [charis humin kai eirēnē]. As in I Thess., II Thess., I Cor., II Cor. (already written) and in all the later Epistles save that in I and II Timothy “mercy” is added. But this customary salutation (see on 1Th 1:1) is not a perfunctory thing with Paul. He uses it here even when he has so much fault to find just as he did in I and II Corinthians.

1:4 For our sins [huper tōn hamartiōn]. Some MSS. have [peri] (concerning). In the Koinē this use of [huper] as like [peri] has come to be common. He refers to the death of Christ (cf. 1Co 15:3; Ga 2:20; Ro 5:6f.). As a rule [peri] occurs of things, [huper] of persons. Deliver [exelētai]. Second aorist middle subjunctive (final clause with [hopōs] of [exaireō], old verb to pluck out, to rescue (Ac 23:27). “Strikes the keynote of the epistle. The gospel is a rescue, an emancipation from a state of bondage” (Lightfoot). Out of this present evil world [ek tou aiōnos tou enestōtos ponērou]. Literally, “out of the age the existing one being evil.” The predicate position of [ponērou] calls emphatic attention to it. Each word here is of interest and has been already discussed. See on Mt 13:22 for [aiōn], Mt 6:23 for [ponēros]. [Enestōtos] is genitive masculine singular of [enestōs] second perfect (intransitive) participle of [enistēmi] for which see on 2Th 2:12; 1Co 3:22; 7:26. It is present as related to future (Ro 8:38; Heb 9:9). According to the will of God [kata to thelēma tou theou]. Not according to any merit in us.

1:5 To whom be the glory [hōi hē doxa]. No verb in the Greek. For like doxologies see Ro 9:5; 11:36; 16:27; Eph 3:21; 1Ti 1:17.

1:6 Ye are so quickly removing [houtōs tacheōs metatithesthe]. The present middle indicative of [metatithēmi], to change places, to transfer. “You are transferring yourselves” and doing it “so quickly” either from the time of their conversion or most likely from the time when the Judaizers came and tempted them. So easily some of them are falling victims to these perverters of the gospel. That is a continuous amazement [thaumazō] to Paul and to men today that so many are so silly and so gullible to modern as to ancient charlatans. Unto a different gospel [eis heteron euaggelion]. See on 2Co 11:4 for distinction between [allo] and [heteron] as here. It is not here or there a mere difference in emphasis or spirit as in Php 1:18 so long as Christ is preached. These men as in 2Co 11:4 preach “another Jesus” and a “different gospel” and so have fallen away from grace and have done away with Christ (Ga 5:4). Hence the vehemence of Paul’s words.

1:7 Which is not another [ho ouk estin allo]. It is no “gospel” (good news) at all, but a yoke of bondage to the law and the abolition of grace. There is but one gospel and that is of grace, not works. The relative [ho] (which) refers to [heteron euaggelion] (a different gospel) “taken as a single term and designating the erroneous teachings of the Judaizers” (Burton). Only [ei mē]. Literally, “except,” that is, “Except in this sense,” “in that it is an attempt to pervert the one true gospel” (Lightfoot). Who disturb you [hoi tarassontes]. The disturbers. This very verb [tarassō] is used in Ac 17:8 of the Jews in Thessalonica who “disturbed” the politarchs and the people about Paul. Would pervert [thelontes metastrepsai]. “Wish to turn about,” change completely as in Ac 2:20; Jas 4:9. The very existence of the gospel of Christ was at stake.

1:8 If we [ean hēmeis]. Condition of third class [ean] and aorist middle subjunctive [euaggelisētai]. Suppose I (literary plural) should turn renegade and preach “other than” [par’ 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 [anathema estō]. See on 1Co 12:3 for this word.

1:9 So say I now again [kai arti palin legō]. Paul knows that he has just made what some will consider an extreme statement. But it is a deliberate one and not mere excitement. He will stand by it to the end. He calls down a curse on any one who proclaims a gospel to them contrary to that which they had received from him.

1:10 Am I persuading? [peithō?]. Conative present, trying to persuade like [zētō areskein] (seeking to please) where the effort is stated plainly. See 2Co 5:11. I should not be [ouk an ēmēn]. Conclusion of second class condition, determined as unfulfilled. Regular construction here [ei] and imperfect indicative in the condition [ēreskon, ouk an] and imperfect in the conclusion). About pleasing men see on 1Th 2:4. In Col 3:22; Eph. 6:6 Paul uses the word “men-pleasers” [anthrōpareskoi].

1:11 Which was preached [to euaggelisthen]. Play on the word [euaggelion] by first aorist passive participle of [euaggelizō], “the gospel which was gospelized by me.” It is not after man [ouk estin kata anthrōpon]. Not after a human standard and so he does not try to conform to the human ideal. Paul alone (1Co 3:3; 9:8; 15:32; Ro 3:15) in the N.T. uses this old and common idiom.

1:12 Nor was I taught it [oute edidachthēn]. He did not receive it “from man” [para anthrōpōn], which shuts out both [apo] and [dia] of verse 1), whether Peter or any other apostle, nor was he taught it in the school of Gamaliel in Jerusalem or at the University of Tarsus. He “received” his gospel in one way, “through revelation of Jesus Christ” [di’ apokalupseōs Iēsou Christou]. He used [parelabon] in 1Co 15:3 about the reception of his message from Christ. It is not necessary to say that he had only one (because of the aorist active [parelabon], from [paralambanō], for it can very well be constative aorist) revelation (unveiling) from Christ. In fact, we know that he had numerous visions of Christ and in 1Co 11:23 he expressly says concerning the origin of the Lord’s Supper: “I received [parelabon], again) from the Lord.” The Lord Jesus revealed his will to Paul.

1:13 My manner of life [tēn emēn anastrophēn]. Late word in this sense from Polybius on from [anastrephomai]. In the older writers it meant literally “return” or “turning back.” See 1Pe 1:15. It is absent in this sense in the papyri though the verb is common. In the Jews’ religion [en tōi Ioudaismōi]. “In Judaism.” The word in N.T. only here and next verse, already in II Macc. 2:21; 8:1; 14:38; IV Macc. 4:26. In these passages it means the Jewish religion as opposed to the Hellenism that the Syrian Kings were imposing upon the Jews. So later Justin Martyr (386 D) will use [Christianismos] for Christianity. Both words are made from verbs in [-izō]. Beyond measure [kath’ huperbolēn]. “According to excess” (throwing beyond, [huperbolē]. I persecuted [ediōkon]. Imperfect active, “I used to persecute” (see Ac 7-9 for the facts). Made havock of it [eporthoun autēn]. Customary action again, imperfect of old verb [portheō], to lay waste, to sack. In N.T. only here, verse 23, and Ac 9:31 (used by Christians in Damascus of Saul after his conversion of his former conduct, the very word of Paul here). Paul heard them use it of him and it stuck in his mind.

1:14 I advanced [proekopton]. Imperfect active again of [prokoptō], old verb, to cut forward (as in a forest), to blaze a way, to go ahead. In N.T. only here, Ro 13:12; 2Ti 2:16; 3:9,13. Paul was a brilliant pupil under Gamaliel. See Php 3:4-6. He was in the lead of the persecution also. Beyond many of mine own age [huper pollous sunēlikiōtas]. Later compound form for the Attic [hēlikiōtēs] which occurs in Dion Hal. and inscriptions (from [sun], with, and [hēlikia], age). Paul modestly claims that he went “beyond” [huper] his fellow-students in his progress in Judaism. More exceedingly zealous [perissoterōs zēlotēs]. Literally, “more exceedingly a zealot.” See on Ac 1:13; 21:20; 1Co 14:12. Like Simon Zelotes. For the traditions of my fathers [tōn patrikōn mou paradoseōn]. Objective genitive after [zēlotēs]. [Patrikōn] only here in N.T., though old word from [patēr] (father), paternal, descending from one’s father. For [patrōios] see Ac 22:3,14. Tradition [paradosis] played a large part in the teaching and life of the Pharisees (Mr 7:1-23). Paul now taught the Christian tradition (2Th 2:15).

1:15 It was the good pleasure of God [eudokēsen ho theos]. Paul had no doubt about God’s purpose in him (1Th 2:8). Who separated me [ho aphorisas me]. [Aphorizō] is old word (from [apo] and [horos] to mark off from a boundary or line. The Pharisees were the separatists who held themselves off from others. Paul conceives himself as a spiritual Pharisee “separated unto the gospel of God” (Ro 1:1, the same word [aphōrismenos]. Before his birth God had his plans for him and called him.

1:16 To reveal his Son in me [apokalupsai ton huion autou en emoi]. By “in me” [en emoi] Paul can mean to lay emphasis on his inward experience of grace or he may refer objectively to the vision of Christ on the way to Damascus, “in my case.” Paul uses [en emoi] in this sense (in my case) several times (verse 24; 2Co 13:3; Php 1:30; 1Ti 1:16). Once (1Co 14:11) [en emoi] is almost equivalent to the dative (to me). On the whole Lightfoot seems correct here in taking it to mean “in my case,” though the following words suit either idea. Certainly Paul could not preach Christ among the Gentiles without the rich inward experience and in the objective vision he was called to that task. I conferred not with flesh and blood [ou prosanethemēn sarki kai haimati]. Second aorist middle indicative of [prosanatithēmi], old verb, double compound [pros, ana], to lay upon oneself in addition, to betake oneself to another, to confer with, dative case as here. In N.T. only here and 2:6.

1:17 Before me [pro emou]. The Jerusalem apostles were genuine apostles, but so is Paul. His call did not come from them nor did he receive confirmation by them. Into Arabia [eis Arabian]. This visit to Arabia has to come between the two visits to Damascus which are not distinguished in Ac 9:22f. In verse 23 Luke does speak of “considerable days” and so we must place the visit to Arabia between verses 22, 23.

1:18 Then after three years [epeita meta tria etē]. A round number to cover the period from his departure from Jerusalem for Damascus to his return to Jerusalem. This stay in Damascus was an important episode in Paul’s theological readjustment to his new experience. To visit Cephas [historēsai Kēphān]. First aorist infinitive of [historeō], old verb (from [histōr], one who knows by inquiry), to gain knowledge by visiting. Only here in N.T. If we turn to Ac 9:26-30, we shall see that the visit of two weeks to Peter came after Barnabas endorsed Paul to the suspicious disciples in Jerusalem and probably while he was preaching in the city. It was a delightful experience, but Peter did not start Paul upon his apostleship. He visited him as an equal. Peter no doubt had much to say to Paul.

1:19 Except James the brother of the Lord [ei mē Iakōbon ton adelphon tou Kuriou]. James the son of Zebedee was still living at that time. The rest of the twelve were probably away preaching and James, brother of the Lord, is here termed an apostle, though not one of the twelve as Barnabas is later so called. Paul is showing his independence of and equality with the twelve in answer to the attacks of the Judaizers.

1:20 I lie not [ou pseudomai]. So important does he deem the point that he takes solemn oath about it.

1:21 Into the region of Syria and Cilicia [eis ta klimata tēs Syrias kai tēs Kilikias]. This statement agrees with the record in Ac 9:30. On [klimata], see 2Co 11:10. Paul was not idle, but at work in Tarsus and the surrounding country.

1:22 And I was still unknown [ēmēn de agnoumenos]. Periphrastic imperfect passive of [agnoeō], not to know. By face [tōi prosōpōi]. Associative instrumental case. Of Judea [tēs Ioudaias]. As distinct from Jerusalem, for he had once scattered the church there and had revisited them before coming to Tarsus (Ac 9:26-30). In Ac 9:31 the singular of [ekklēsia] is used, but in a geographic sense for Judea, Samaria, and Galilee.

1:23 They only heard [monon akouontes ēsan]. Periphrastic imperfect, “They were only hearing from time to time.” That once persecuted us [ho diōkōn hēmas pote]. Present active articular participle, a sort of participle of antecedent time suggested by [pote], “the one who used to persecute us once upon a time.” The faith [tēn pistin]. Here used in the sense of “the gospel” as in Ac 6:7.

1:24 They glorified [edoxazon]. Imperfect, kept on doing it. In me [en emoi]. In my case as in 1:16.

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