Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but
through Jesus Christ and God the Father, Who raised Him from the dead),
(an (KJV): Ro 1:1 1Co 1:1)(not (KJV): Ga 1:11,12,17)(neither (KJV): Ac
1:16-26 13:2-4)(but (KJV): Ac 9:6,15,16 22:10,14-21 26:16-18 Ro 1:4,5
2Co 3:1-3 Eph 3:8 1Ti 1:11-14 2Ti 1:1 Tit 1:3)(and (KJV): Mt 28:18-20
Jn 5:19 10:30 20:21)(raised (KJV): Ac 2:24-32 3:15 Ro 4:24,25 10:9 14:9
Eph 1:19,20 Heb 13:20 1Pe 1:21 Rev 1:5,18 2:8)
EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS
Gospel of Grace
Gospel of Grace
Gospel of Grace
Defense of the
to Love and to Serve
Justified by Faith not
Justified by Faith not
Grace and Law Cannot
Position and Practice
Power of Liberty
Performance in Liberty
Style or Tone: Vigorous, blunt, aggressive, direct,
corrective, confrontative, forceful, urgent, brief, righteous
anger, strong wording
Justification by Faith and not by Works of the Law
Paul in large letters (Gal 6:11)
Churches in Galatia (Gal 1:2) (Most likely the Southern
Christ in Galatians:
Jesus is the Source and Power for the believer's New Life (Gal
(From Irving Jensen & Merrill Unger)
Lost in Adam all die
Physically in Adam
Another Gospel (false)
Saved in Christ all live
Spiritually in Christ
The Genuine Gospel
Law Works curse of death
Condemnation by Works
Servants in Bondage (Defeat)
(Symbolized by Hagar)
Grace Faith blessing of life
Justification by Faith
Sons in Freedom (Victory)
(Symbolized by Sarah)
Living in the Flesh
Works of the Flesh
Falling from grace
World or self object
Walking by the Spirit
Fruit of the Spirit
Standing Firm in Grace
The Cross the sole object
Magna Charta of Christian Liberty
Paul's letter to the Galatians has
been called the the Magna Charta of Christian Liberty as well as the
Christian Declaration of Independence. "Out of its pages grew the
Protestant Reformation, for it was by the study in Galatians that
Luther’s heart was opened to the truth of justification by faith alone."
(Gromacki) Galatians is the only letter of Paul that is specifically
addressed to a number of churches (“To the churches of Galatia” in Gal
Date: Most favor 48/49 AD, so
that only the letter to James is earlier (45 AD). James addressed the
Antinomianism (anti =
against + nomos = law. See
another short discussion or
Wilkinson - The Epistle to the
Galatians has been called “the charter of Christian liberty.” It is
Paul’s manifesto of justification by faith and the liberty it produces.
Paul directs this great charter of Christian freedom to a people who are
willing to give up the priceless liberty they possess in Christ. Certain
Jewish legalists are influencing the believers in Galatia to trade their
freedom in Christ for bondage to the Law. Paul writes to refute their
false gospel of works, and to demonstrate the superiority of
justification by faith. (Talk thru the Bible)
John Piper told his
congregation in 1983 (he retired in 2012) the reason he had
"chosen to preach from Galatians over the next several months is that
more than any other New Testament letter, this one is alive. I mean that
in Galatians Paul is at his most vigorous. The sheer emotional force of
the book has captured me again and again over the years. You can’t read
the first ten verses without feeling that something utterly important is
at stake. You can’t read Galatians and think, “Well this is an
interesting piece of religious reflection”—any more than you can
examine a live coal with your bare hands. Galatians is a virile
statement of the central truths of Christianity.
If we as a people can make these
truths and this vigor a part of our thinking and our willing, the bones
of our faith will be strong and not brittle, and the emotional force of
our life in Christ will not be lukewarm but ardent and intense and
undivided. The Scottish
minister, P. T. Forsythe, said, “The secret of the Lord is with those
who have been broken by his cross and healed by his Spirit.” Galatians
exalts these two things: the cross of Christ as the only way a person
can get right with God, and the Spirit of Christ as the only way a
person can obey God. Anything that diminishes the beauty and
all-sufficiency of what happened on the cross of Christ is anathema to
Paul. Anything that puts our willing or running where the Holy Spirit
belongs is witchery to Paul. And the reason we sense a kind of
compassionate rage running beneath this letter is that someone had
bewitched the Galatians to put themselves where the Spirit
belonged and the works of law where faith in the cross
belonged. My hope is that you will study this great book with me. That
you will marry it and that “the two will become one.” There is nothing
that I would rather be over the next several months than a spiritual
cupid to help you fall in love afresh with the magnificent Christ of
Outline of Galatians 1 (John
A. The Commencement of Paul
B. The Concern of Paul (Galatians 1:6–12)
C. The Change in Paul (Galatians 1:13–24)
To better understand the epistle to
the Galatians read Luke's account of Paul's First Missionary
Journey, which was primarily to cities in Southern Galatia. (Acts
13:1-14:28, the journey actually commencing in Acts 13:4. For reference
the Second begins in Acts 15:35 and the Third in Acts
18:23) This area of Southern Galatia is what most commentators feel was
the "target" audience of this relatively "scathing" letter, one which is
unusual for Paul in that it includes no commendation.
Authenticity from Jim L. Wilson
M R DeHaan - “GOOD things come
in small packages,” is a popular saying, which may or may not always be
true. It is, however, true in the case of Paul’s Epistle to the
Galatians, which we are studying. It is not one of the longest epistles,
containing only six comparatively brief chapters, but they are jammed
full of most important doctrines and practical truths. No one can fully
understand the relationship between Law and Grace, faith and works,
Israel and the Church, without knowing the teaching of the grace of God
as set forth in this and the Roman epistle.
Jerry Bridges - In the year
1215, English barons forced King John to sign a historic document, the
Magna Carta, giving his assent to a charter of civil liberties for the
English people. He did not do this freely and voluntarily, but actually
under duress from the English nobles who had confronted him about his
totalitarian and unjust rule. The apostle Paul’s letter to the
Galatians has been called the great charter of religious freedom, the
Christian Declaration of Independence, and the Magna Carta of the
church. The FREEDOM set forth in Galatians is not freedom from God, but
from those who insist on some form of legalism in the life of a
Grace- Living Confidently in God's Unfailing Love)
Christian Freedom is
not the right to do as I wish,
but the power to do as I should.
KEY WORDS IN GALATIANS (Note:
Stats are based on NASB77)
Just from the key words, can you begin to see what the letter to the
Galatians is about?
Christ (38x/33v) - Gal 1:1, 3,
6, 7, 10, 12, 22, 2:4, 16 (3x), Gal 2:17(2x), Gal 2:20 (2x), 21, 3:1,
13, 14, 16, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 4:14, 19, 5:1, 2, 4, 6, 24, 6:2, 12,
14, 18 (Note that Christ is
found in the first and last verse of Galatians! Indeed, He is the Alpha
and the Omega, the All in All, Everything we need for life and
Grace (7x/7v) - Gal 1:3, 6,
15, 2:9, 21, 5:4, 6:18
Law (32x/25v) - Gal 2:16 (3x), Gal 2:19 (2x), Gal 2:21, 3:2, 3:5,
10 (2x), Gal 3:11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 21 (3x), Gal 3:23, 24, 4:4, 5, 21
(2x), Gal 5:3, 4, 14, 18, 23, 6:2, 13
Gospel (11x/11v) - Gal 1:6, 7,
8, 9, 11, 2:2, 5, 7, 14, 3:8, 4:13,
Faith (21x/19v) Gal 1:23, 2:16 (2x), Gal 2:20, 3:2, 5, 7, 8, 9,
11, 12, 14, 22, 23 (2x), Gal 3:24, 25, 26, 5:5, 6, 6:10
Believe (4x/4v) Gal 2:16, 3:6, 9, 22
Promise (11x/10v) - Gal 3:14,
16, 17, 18 (2x), Gal 3:19, 21, 22, 29, 4:23, 28
Justified (8x/6v) Gal 2:16
(3x), Gal 2:17, 3:8, 11, 24, 5:4
Spirit (18x/18v - 16 refer to
Holy Spirit) Gal 3:2, 3, 5, 14, 4:6, 29, 5:5, 16, 17, 18, 22, 25, 6:1
(not Holy Spirit), Gal 6:8, 6:18 (not Holy Spirit)
Flesh (16x/14v) - Gal 1:16,
2:16, 2:20, 3:3, 4:23, 29, 5:13, 16, 17, 19, 24, 6:8, 6:12, 6:13 (Note:
Some uses refer to physical flesh, others to our fallen, "anti-God"
nature inherited from Adam)
(13x/12v) - Gal 2:3, 7, 8, 9, 12, 5:1, 3, 6, 11, 6:12, 13 (2x), Gal 6:15
Bondage (8x/7v) - Gal 1:10,
2:4, 4:3, 22, 23, 30, 31
KEY VERSES: Galatians 1:4,
2:16, 2:20-21, 5:1
THEME: Justification by faith
apart from works of the Law is the theme of this urgent and corrective
PURPOSE: To counter and
correct the false teaching that living under the Mosaic Law (the Message
of Legalism and Works Mindset) was a requirement of the Christian faith
(the "Christ life", the Gospel of Grace). Paul clearly wanted believers
to understand that they can live the supernatural Christian life ONLY by
surrender to and reliance upon the life of Christ and the power of the
Spirit and His enabling, transforming grace (cf Gal 2:20, 3:2, 3, 5, 14,
4:19, 5:4, 5:16-25). The key to walking in the freedom (from law, works,
world, devil, flesh) is to walk directed and enabled by the Holy Spirit
rather than by trying to keep the law or a list of rules, for law and
rules only "stir up" the works of the flesh (cp Ro 7:5).
How do you know that you are
walking by the Spirit? Are you boastful, oppositional, envious? (Gal
5:26) Are you joyful regardless of the circumstances (Gal
5:22-23)? How are your relationships (cf Gal 5:13-16, 20-26)?
Before you begin Galatians, take a
few moments and ask the Spirit to search your heart and see if there is
any hurtful way in you, anything that is impeding the flow of rivers of
living water from your innermost being? (Ps 139:23-24, Jn 7:37-39)
Do I have a works mentality or even subtle tendencies in this direction?
Do I follow a list of do's and don'ts that if I keep, I think I have
merited God's favor and blessing? Do I have a "do" mentality by which I
am seeking the applause of others? Do I experience joy when
circumstances dictate otherwise? Am I living according to the lusts of
my flesh or in the power of the Spirit?
D L Moody - Five aspects of Crucifixion in Galatians:
I crucified in Christ. Gal 2:20.
Christ crucified for me. Gal 3:1.
The flesh crucified in me. Gal 5:24.
The world crucified unto me. Gal 6:14.
I crucified unto the world. Gal 6:14.
OUTLINES OF GALATIANS 1
A. The Commencement of Paul
1. The Greeter (Galatians 1:1,2)
• The identity of the greeter.
• The individuals with the greeter.
2. The Greeted (Galatians 1:2)
3. The Greeting (Galatians 1:3–5)
• The grace in the greeting.
• The gift in the greeting. (Galatians 1:4).
• The glory in the greeting.
B. The Concern of Paul (Galatians 1:6–12)
1. The Marvel in the Concern
2. The Matter of the Concern
• The perverting of the Gospel.
• The perturbing of the Redeemed.
3. The Malediction in the Concern
• The cause of the malediction.
• The character of the malediction.
• The crowd for the malediction.
4. The Message in the Concern
• The speaking of the message.
• The source of the message.
C. The Change in Paul (Galatians 1:13–24)
1. His Conduct (Galatians 1:13,14)
• The awareness of his conduct.
• The awareness of his conduct.
• The allegiance in his conduct.
2. His Calling (Galatians 1:15,16)
• The Person in his calling.
• The pleasure in his calling.
• The planning of his calling.
•The passion in his calling.
• The preaching in his calling.
• The place of his calling.
3. His Creed (Galatians 1:16–19)
• The seeking of his creed.
• The source of his creed. (Galatians
• The support of his creed.
4. His Confinement (Galatians
• The place of his confinement.
• The period of his confinement.
• The product of his confinement.
• The praise in his confinement.
I. Introduction (Gal 1:1–10)
A. The salutation (Gal 1:1–5)
B. The denunciation (Gal 1:6–10)
II. Personal: A Defense of Paul’s
Authority (Gal 1:11–2:21)
A. He was independent of the apostles
1. Thesis: Paul’s gospel was a
revelation (Gal 1:11–12)
2. Events before Paul’s conversion (Gal 1:13–14)
3. Events at Paul’s conversion (Gal 1:15–16a)
4. Events after Paul’s conversion (Gal 1:16b–24)
B. He was recognized by the apostles
C. He rebuked the reputed chief of the apostles (Gal 2:11–21)
(Bible Knowledge Commentary)
1. Introduction (Gal 1:1–10)
A. Salutation (Gal 1:1–5)
B. Occasion for Writing (Gal 1:6–9)
C. Review of Accusations (Gal 1:10)
2. Paul and the Nature of His
Apostleship (Gal 1:11–2:21)
A. Pre-conversion Days (Gal 1:11–14)
B. Conversion (Gal 1:15–17)
C. First Meeting with Jerusalem Leadership (Gal 1:18–24)
(Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary)
I. AUTHORITY: The Apostolic
A. Greeting—Gal 1:1–5
B. Paul’s Astonishment—Gal 1:6–10
C. Paul’s Call by God—Gal 1:11–17
D. Paul’s Brief Meeting with Leaders—Gal 1:18–24
E. Showdown: Conference in Jerusalem—Gal 2:1–5
F. Apostolic Agreement—Gal 2:6–10
G. Showdown: Conflict in Antioch—Gal 2:11–14
H. Apostolic Conclusion—Gal 2:15–21
II. ARGUMENTS: Law Vs.
III. APPLICATION: Living for
I. Introduction (Gal
A. Paul greets the Galatians and
reminds them his commission came from God (Gal 1:1–5).
B. Paul reprimands the Galatians (Gal 1:6–10).
1. They are turning to another gospel
of a different kind (Gal 1:6).
2. There is no other (true) gospel than the one he preached to them (Gal
3. People who preach another gospel are to be accursed, eternally
condemned (Gal 1:8–9).
4. Paul seeks to please God and not other persons (Gal 1:10).
II. Paul Defends His Gospel
A. He received his gospel directly
from Jesus Christ (Gal 1:11–12).
B. He recounts his previous life in Judaism (Gal 1:13–14).
C. He reminds them of his calling to preach to the Gentiles (Gal
D. He visited Jerusalem for 15 days (Gal 1:18–24).
E. After 14 years he made a second visit to Jerusalem (Gal 2:1–10).
F. He confronted Peter at Antioch for withdrawing from Gentile believers
G. He summarizes his understanding of the true gospel—faith alone
justifies (Gal 2:15–21).
(Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
Paul - Paul is his Latin name.
He was originally called by His Hebrew name Saul (Acts 13:9), was of the
tribe of Benjamin, the tribe of Israel's first king also named Saul. As
Butler says "One (King Saul) had a good start and bad ending, the other
(Apostle Paul) had a bad start but a good ending."
from apo = from + stello = send forth) means one
sent forth from by another, often with a special commission to represent
another and to accomplish his work. It can be a delegate, commissioner,
ambassador sent out on a mission or orders or commission and with the
authority of the one who sent him. (Another
Discussion of Apostle) Apostolos referred to someone
who was officially commissioned to a position or task, such as an envoy.
Cargo ships were sometimes called "apostolic," because they were
dispatched with a specific shipment for a specific destination. In
secular Greek apostolos was used of an admiral of a fleet sent
out by the king on special assignment. In the ancient world a apostle
was the personal representatives of the king, functioning as an
ambassador with the king’s authority and provided with credentials to
prove he was the king's envoy. Paul is an apostle sent out by the
King with the King's authority!
Not sent from men - "Not"
is ouk which signifies absolute negation, no exceptions. No man
served as the source of authority by which he was appointed an apostle.
Nor through (Gk prep dia
- points to the medium by which authority is ordinarily conveyed) the
agency of man - "Nor" is oude which is also the strongest
negation and which more literally is "not even." The point is that not
only was Paul's apostleship not given directly by men (Not sent from
men), neither was it mediated through any man "but through Jesus
Christ and God the Father." The Father and the Son made Paul an
apostle and shared this work together.
C H Spurgeon - Paul begins
this Epistle by stating his commission as an apostle. In Galatia, he had
been subjected to the great sorrow of having his apostle-ship called in
question. Does he, therefore, give up his claim to the office, and
retire from the work? No, not for a moment; but he begins his letter to
the Galatians by declaring himself to be “an apostle, not of men,
neither by man, but by Jesus Christ.” His enemies had said, “Paul was
never one of the Saviour’s twelve apostles; he is not like those who
were trained and educated by Christ himself. No doubt he has borrowed
his doctrine from them, and he is only a retailer of other men’s goods”.
No, no,” says Paul, “I am an apostle as truly as any other of the
twelve; ‘not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the
Father, who raised him from the dead;’” (Spurgeon's
Kenneth Wuest explains that
"Not only does Paul say that his apostleship did not find its ultimate
source in mankind, but it did not find its intermediate source in man.
Man was not even the agent of God in conferring that apostleship. By is
the translation of dia, the preposition denoting intermediate
agency. It denotes the means or instrument in the hands of an individual
by which an act is performed. Thus Paul not only denies that he was made
an apostle by men, but also that God used the intermediate agency of man
to constitute him an apostle. His apostleship was not derived from a
human source or given through a human channel. The reason why Paul
changes from the plural word men to the singular word man,
is that titles and offices which emanate from a body of men are
conferred by their single representative. The acts of the Roman senate
took effect through the reigning monarch, those of the Sanhedrin,
through the high priest. (The word "but" in "but through Jesus
Christ") is from alla the stronger of the two
adversatives, de being the milder one. Paul is very
strong in his language when contrasting the divine origin of
his apostleship with the human origin of the apostleship of the false
apostles." In short, in the strongest way (linguistically) possible Paul
denies any human involvement in his appointment as an apostle." (Word
Studies from the Greek New Testament-Highly
Raised Him from the dead -
While the resurrection is a crucial component in the Gospel (), the fact
that this is the only direct reference to the resurrection in Galatians
suggests that false teaching on the resurrection was not a major or
immediate concern. The other apostles were commissioned by Jesus still
on earth, but Paul's commission was unique in that it was from the
resurrected, ascended Lord Jesus (Acts 9:3-8).
Wuest paraphrases Galatians
Paul an apostle, not from man (as an
ultimate source), nor even through the intermediate agency of a man, but
through the direct agency of Jesus Christ and God the Father, the One
who raised Him out from among the dead.
and all the brethren who are with me, to the churches of Galatia:
(All: Php 2:22, Php 4:21)(Churches: Acts 9:31, Acts 15:41,
Acts 16:5,6 Acts 18:23 1Co 16:1)
All the brethren - Paul's use
of the word "all" suggests that there were a considerable number
who were in agreement with his letter.
C H Spurgeon - Paul ever loved
to associate others with him in his Christian service. He was not one
who wanted to ride the high horse, and to keep himself aloof from his
brethren in Christ. He frequently mentions the true-hearted men who were
with him, even though they were far inferior to him in talent and also
in grace. He often joins with himself such men as Timothy and Silvanus,
and here he puts in, “all the brethren which are with me, unto the
churches of Galatia:” (Spurgeon's
Brethren who are with me - We
don't know definitely who these brethren were, however the omission of
their names shows that the Galatians must have known who they were.
Clearly Paul's point is that he is not a "lone ranger" in regard to his
concern for the integrity of the gospel of grace in Galatia. This
suggests that he consulted with others (not excepting God of course) as
to the best course of action to address the reports of "another gospel"
being promoted in the Galatian churches. Indeed, there is victory in an
abundance of counselors (Pr 24:6).
Wuest adds an interesting
persons who join in the address
prefixed to a letter, are persons whose authorization is required and
conveyed in it. They are indicated as joint-authors. The letter, though
composed by Paul, is a letter of Paul and those named with him. These
all stamp with authority what is said in the letter. Accordingly, where
Paul associates anyone with himself in the prefatory superscription of
his letters, it is always some person who stands in a position of
authority and influence towards those addressed. (Word
Studies from the Greek New Testament-Highly
To the churches of Galatia -
There is no commendation or thanks offered as Paul did for all the other
churches to whom he wrote. Needless to say, Paul is not pleased with
their defection from the Gospel of grace! Wuest adds "he did not
address them as saints, although they were!"
Churches of Galatia (See
Map of churches in southern Galatia) - "Galatia was not a
city, but a Roman province located in what is now north central and
northeastern Turkey. It had earlier been overrun by Gauls, for whom the
area was named, and was later incorporated in the Roman empire. Several
of the cities reached on Paul's first missionary journey (Antioch of
Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe) were in the area just south of Galatia
proper. They could be considered as Galatian churches, but there is no
internal evidence to that effect. Possibly the churches Paul was writing
to were certain unknown churches in Galatia proper, churches that Paul
had reached on his second missionary journey." (Morris)
John Trapp on the Churches
of Galatia - They are not unchurched though much corrupted. Uzziah
ceased not to be a king when he began to be a leper; the disease of his
forehead did not remove his crown. (Ref)
from ek = out + klesis
= a calling, verb = kaleo = to call) literally means called out
and as commonly used in the Greco-Roman vernacular referred to citizens
who were called out from their homes to be publicly assembled or
gathered to discuss or carry out affairs of state. Here ekklesia
refers to the local assemblies of believers in Galatia.
As someone said the church is the
fruit of the gospel, but Paul sees those churches in Galatia as rotting
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
(Ro 1:7-15 1Co 1:3 2Co 1:2 13:14 Eph 1:2 Php 1:2 Col 1:2 1Th 1:1 2Th 1:2
Grace was the Greek greeting
and peace the Hebrew greeting.
= to rejoice. English = charity. Beggars need "charity"
even as sinners need grace, for we are all spiritual paupers outside of
Christ, but "God gives where he finds empty hands"-Augustine cp Mt 5:3-note)e
in simple terms is God's unmerited favor and supernatural enablement and
empowerment for salvation (justification, past tense salvation) and for
daily sanctification (present tense salvation). Grace is everything for
nothing (albeit to procure grace for sinners cost God His only Son's
life, so there is no such thing as "cheap grace!") to those who don't
deserve anything. Grace is what every man needs, what none can earn and
what God Alone can and does freely give (Ro 8:32-note
where "freely give" is
from charis = a grace gift!). Grace addresses man's sin, while mercy
addresses man's misery.
= to join or bind together) literally pictures the binding or joining
together of that which had been separated or divided. The result is a
"setting at one" again, which is conveyed by the common expression of
“having it all together”. Peace is a state of concord and harmony and is
the opposite of division, dissension or war.
Even this opening greeting directly
confronts the false gospel that had spread like leaven through the
Galatian churches. Law offers no grace and in fact negates it! It
follows that a legalistic system will bring no peace because
peace flows from God's grace! If you want peace
with God, you first must accept the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
Grace always precedes peace.
There can be no peace without grace. To experience peace with God, we
must first accept the free gift of the grace of God in Christ Jesus. It
is interesting that even though Paul is upset that the Galatians have
listened to and begun to follow a false gospel, he does not hesitate to
offer them God's grace and peace. Sadly, I must confess that my fleshly
tendency, when someone rejects me in some way, is to withhold kind,
edifying words like "grace and peace to you" (cp Eph 4:29)!
C H Spurgeon - It is the
genius of the gospel to wish well to others. Hence Paul begins the
actual Epistle with a benediction: “Grace be to you and peace.” Dear
friends, may you all have a fullness of these two good things! Grace
rightly comes first, and peace afterwards. Peace before grace would be
perilous; nay more, it would be ruinous. But may you always have enough
of grace to lead you on to a deep and joyful peace! The two things go
together very delightfully, — grace and peace, — and it is the best of
grace, and the best of peace, since they come “from God the Father, and
from our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Spurgeon's
Wuest - The salutation proper
as given in this verse is the uniform one found in all of the Pauline
church letters, but it has special significance in the Galatian letter
since the recipients were turning away from the doctrine of grace toward
the legalistic teachings of the Judaizers. The grace spoken of
here is sanctifying grace, the enabling ministry of the Holy Spirit in
the lives of the saints. The Galatian letter reveals the fact that the
Galatian saints were being deprived of the ministry of the Spirit by the
teaching of the Judaizers to the effect that growth in the Christian
life was to be had by obedience to the legal enactments of the Mosaic
law (Gal 4:19), and thus coming under the Mosaic economy in which there
was no provision for an indwelling Spirit whose ministry it was to
sanctify the believer, they substituted self-effort for their
former dependence upon the Spirit. The salutation therefore is
the out breathing of a Pauline prayer that the Galatians might again
become recipients of the full work of the Spirit in their lives. The
peace here mentioned is heart peace which is the result of the
ministry of the Spirit. (Word
Studies from the Greek New Testament-Highly
From God our Father and the Lord
Jesus Christ - The source of grace and peace is
both the Father and the Son (the single preposition "from"
links both Father and Son as the unified Source). Thus this passage
shows us the co-equality of the Godhead.
Lord Jesus Christ - Lord
implies His authority. Jesus speaks of His mission (Deliverer), and
Christ denotes His Messianic anointing.
signifies that one is supreme, sovereign and possesses absolute
authority, absolute ownership and uncontested power. Jesus is
referred to as Lord (Kurios) more frequently than by any
other title. Lord is not merely a name that composes a title, but
signifies a call to action so that every saint should willingly,
reverently bow down to Jesus Christ. If Christ is our Lord, we are to
live under Him, consciously, continually submitting our wills to him as
His loyal, loving bondservants ("love slaves"), always seeking first His
Kingdom and His righteousness (Mt 6:33-note).
According to this practical working "definition" beloved we all need to
ask ourselves "Is Jesus Christ my Lord?". "Do I arise each day,
acknowledges this is the day the Lord hath made?" (Ps 118:24-note)
"Do I surrender my will to His will as I begin each day?" (cp Ro 12:1-note,
Beloved, don't misunderstand. None of us have "arrived" in this area of
Jesus as Lord of our lives. And it is precisely for that reason that
Peter commands us to continually "grow
in the grace (unmerited favor, power to live the supernatural, abundant
life in Christ) and knowledge (not just intellectual but
transformational) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the
glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." (2Pe 3:18-note)
So do not be discouraged. Don't "throw in the towel" as they say. Keep
on keeping on, pressing (continually = present tense) "on toward the
goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Php
James Montgomery Boice adds
that "Citizens of the empire were required to burn a pinch of incense to
the reigning Caesar and utter the words Kyrios Kaisar (“Caesar is
Lord!”). It is this that the early Christians refused to do and for
which they were themselves thrown to the wild lions or crucified. It was
not that Christians were forbidden to worship God. They were free to
worship any god they chose so long as they also acknowledged Caesar.
Romans were tolerant. But when Christians denied to Caesar the
allegiance that they believed belonged to the true God only, they were
executed." (Daniel: An Expositional Commentary)
Today in the Word - Galatians
1:1-5 - In 1976, Vie Carlson bid $400 for the angry letter Frank Sinatra
wrote to Chicago Daily News columnist Mike Royko. Twenty years later,
that letter was valued at more than $15,000. In the letter, Sinatra
promised Royko $100,000 if he could prove that Sinatra punched the
elderly man Royko claimed he did. He could double his earnings if he
could pull Sinatra’s alleged hairpiece. “Quite frankly,” Sinatra fumed,
“I don’t understand why people don’t spit in your eye three or four
times a day.”
It is always telling how a person responds to criticism and personal
attack, and Paul began his letter to the Galatians having to do just
this. Conspicuously absent are the customary greetings and blessings of
his other letters. Rather, Paul had to immediately assume a defensive
Much more is at stake than Paul’s personal reputation. His critics
wanted to subvert the gospel he had been preaching, and their first line
of attack was to discredit Paul as an apostle. If Paul was to defend the
gospel he preaches, he must also defend the validity of his apostleship.
He reminded the Galatians that he had been sent by Jesus Christ and God
the Father. No man commissioned him, not Peter or any other elder of the
church. He had a divine call, and therefore he had legitimate apostolic
authority. The forcefulness of his defense, which becomes even clearer
as we read on in chapter one, helps us to realize the critical nature of
The gospel is what matters most. The Galatians had to understand the
gospel rightly, and these opening verses summarize the gospel. The
theology of Galatians is Trinitarian: the gospel is a shared work of the
Father, Son and Spirit. In these opening verses, Paul exalts the work of
the God the Father through the Son, Jesus Christ. Both have willingly
expressed their love for humanity. God the Father sends Jesus for our
rescue; God the Son lays down His life as payment for our sins. By the
end of this letter, we’ll see even more clearly the ongoing work of the
Holy Spirit. For this spectacular mission to save the world, God
deserves glory forever and ever.
Contemporary Americans pride themselves on personal freedom. They have
much to say about the Constitution's guarantees of freedom of religion,
speech, press and assembly. They want ""free love"" and freedom from all
moral standards. For a nation that puts so much stress on personal
freedom, the book of Galatians has a contemporary relevance. Its message
is liberty--freedom from the law. This appeals to our
""freedom-seeking"" society. We welcome the chance to be free from any
personal or moral restraints. But Galatians doesn't encourage that kind
of liberty. As we will discover in our study of this key book, the
world's idea of freedom is very different from true freedom in Christ.
TODAY IN THE WORD - A few years ago a
popular series of posters initially looked like a jumble of patterns and
colors. As one looked intently at them, the apparent chaos would
suddenly resolve itself into a well-defined three-dimensional image.
While it may not be immediately obvious, a long look at Galatians shows
that this epistle fits nicely into the theme of wisdom that we have been
studying throughout the year. Galatians represents the apostle Paul’s
teaching on living wisely in light of the gospel message.
Who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this
present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father: tou
dontos (AAPMSG) heauton huper ton hamartion hemon, hopos exeletai
(3SAMS) hemas ek tou aionos tou enestotos (RAPMSG) ponerou kata to
thelema tou theou kai patros hemon:,
(gave (KJV): Ga 2:20 Mt 20:28 26:28 Mk 10:45 Lk 22:19 Jn 10:11,17,18 Ro
4:25 Eph 5:2 1Ti 2:6 Tit 2:14 Heb 9:14 10:9,10 1Pe 2:24 1Pe 3:18 1Jn 2:2
3:16 Rev 1:5)(from (KJV): Ga 6:14 Isa 65:17 Jn 12:31 14:30 15:18,19 17:14,15 Ro 12:2
2Co 4:4 Eph 2:2 6:12 Heb 2:5 6:5 Jas 4:4 1Jn 2:15-17 5:4,5,19 1Jn 5:20
Rev 5:9 7:9)(according (KJV): Ps 40:8 Mt 26:42 Lk 22:42 Jn 5:30 6:38 14:30,31 Ro
8:3,27,32 Eph 1:3,11 Heb 10:4-10)(our (KJV): Mt 6:9 Ro 1:7 Eph 1:2 Php 4:20 1Th 3:11,13 2Th 2:16)
OUR GREAT SAVIOR'S
GRAND GOSPEL RESCUE
In a parallel passage Paul
wrote that God has...
delivered us from the domain
of darkness (~ "this present evil age"), and transferred us to the
kingdom of His beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness
of sins. (Col 1:13-14)
Comment: Notice that in Col
1:13 it is the Father Who delivers un. In Gal 1:4 the Son.
Phillip Ryken observes four
significant truths about Jesus' "rescue operation" on the Cross
First, it shows the
willingness of Jesus to go to the Cross. The crucifixion was a
voluntary self-sacrifice. Jesus gave the most precious gift of all. He
"gave Himself" (Gal. 1:4). He "gave Himself up" (Eph. 5:25), or He "gave
Himself for us" (Titus 2:14). No one took Christ's life away from Him;
He freely gave it away: "I lay down my life"—Jesus said—"that I may take
it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own
accord" (John 10:17-18). This is also emphasized in the Gospel of
Matthew, where an unusual phrase is used to show that at the moment of
his death Jesus "yielded up His spirit" (Matt. 27:50).
Second, this verse shows the purpose of the Cross. The
reason Christ gave himself away was "for our sins" (Gal. 1:4). A
transaction took place on the cross. We were the ones who deserved to
die because we owe God an infinite debt for our sin. But Christ took our
place on the Cross. He became our substitute, our sin-offering. He
gathered up all our sins, put them on His own shoulders, and paid for
them with His death. Thus the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ was not merely
an example of supreme sacrifice, but an actual atonement for sin. It
enabled God to forgive us by satisfying His pure justice....
Third, this verse shows the effect of the Cross. Christ
was crucified "to deliver us from the present evil age" (Gal. 1:4). When
we think of the cross, we usually think first of the atonement. As we
have seen, Christ died to pay for our sins. But Christ was also
crucified to emancipate us from this evil age. The Gospel is a rescue,
like being released from servitude or freed from prison....
Fourth, this verse shows the
origin of the Cross. Christ died "according to the will of our
God and Father" (Gal. 1:4). The execution of Jesus of Nazareth was not
an unforeseen tragedy, a mere accident of history; it was part of God's
plan for the salvation of sinners. The apostle Peter said as much to the
very men who nailed Jesus to the cross. In his famous sermon in
Jerusalem, he declared, "This Jesus, delivered up according to the
definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the
hands of lawless men" (Acts 2:23). (Galatians
Reformed Expository Commentary- Philip Graham Ryken -
Wuest comments on the phrase "Who
gave Himself for our sins"
Here Paul brings to the attention of
the Galatian Christians who were practically ignoring the
substitutionary character of the atoning death of the Lord Jesus, a
declaration of the true ground of acceptance with God (Gal 2:21; 5:4).
This was purposely added because the Galatians were falling back on
works as the ground of such acceptance. The voluntary aspect of the
death of our Lord is brought out here. He said, “Lo, I come to do thy
will, O God” (Heb. 10:9). (Word
Studies from the Greek New Testament-Highly
Who gave Himself - The Father
gave the Son. The Son gave Himself. "Purposely added with reference to
the Galatians' falling back on the works of the law as the ground of
acceptance with God." (Vincent) "He gave Himself-a gift
impossible without incarnation-a gift valueless without a mysterious
union with divinity." (John Eadie) " Since the nature of love is giving,
the greatest gift is that of self. Christ gave Himself! (cp Jn 15:13, Jn
10:11, every husband's model = Eph 5:25)" (Robert Gromacki) "He thus
reminds the Galatians, who wished to return to the bondage of the law,
of the great object of the Atonement, which they had forgotten. Gal 3:13
is but a restatement, in more precise terms, of this." (Henry Alford)
novels in which the protagonist survives to fight another day, but in
real life the hero sometimes perishes. A plaque at a makeshift memorial
at the World Trade Center read, “All gave some. Some gave all.” Jesus
gave all of Himself for us." (Bridges)
Spurgeon comments on Who
gave himself for our sins — There is the doctrine of the atonement,
which Paul always brings into his preaching and writing as soon as he
can: “Who gave himself for our sins.” Well does Luther say, “Christ
never gave himself for our righteousness; but he gave himself for our
sins, because there was no other way of saving us except by a sacrifice
for sin.” The substitutionary character of Christ’s death is always to
be noticed. If our Lord's bearing our sin for us is not the gospel, I
have no gospel to preach. The heart of the gospel is redemption, and the
essence of redemption is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. (Spurgeon's
Ridderbos - By way of
exception to the usual pattern of the salutation, the apostle attaches a
long description of the work of Christ to his mention of the name of
Christ. This at once thrusts the purpose of the letter to the fore: the
issue between Paul and the Galatians is the significance of Christ.
Jesus Himself testified to the
voluntary nature of His sacrificial gift...
John 10:17 “For this reason (What
reason? see Jn 10:16)
the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it
again.18 “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own
initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to
take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
Eph 5:2 and walk in love, just as
Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for (huper) us, an offering and a
sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
Titus 2:14 Who gave Himself
for (huper) us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed
and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good
1 Timothy 2:6 Who gave Himself
as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.
Matt 20:28 (cf Mk 10:45) just as the Son of Man did
not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a
ransom for many.”
Hebrews 9:14 how much more will the
blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself
without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve
the living God?
Jesus' action fulfilled the OT High
Priest's actions on the Day of Atonement, with one exception. In His
giving Jesus functioned in the same manner as the Jewish High Priest who
brought the blood of the sacrifice into the Holy of Holies. However the
pronoun "Himself" signifies that Jesus was the sacrifice! (Jn 1:29).
Jesus, our Great High Priest, was both the Sacrificer and the
Sacrifice! Amazing love for those who were so unlovely in their
sinful state! Hallelujah! Thank You Lord Jesus!
For (huper - see also
uses below) can mean "on behalf of" and thus pictures the
substitutionary aspect of Christ's sacrifice. He did not become a sinner
on the Cross, but our sin bearer (Jn 1:29, 1Cor 5:7, 1Pe 2:24, Isa
Wuest explains the word "huper"
The preposition for is huper, a word
that speaks of substitution, which was its usual meaning in the secular
world of the first century. The professional letter writer acting in
behalf of and instead of the illiterate, would put that fact at the
close of a document which he wrote, using this word; for instance, “Heraikleios
Horou; I wrote on behalf of him who does not know letters.” This is
the usual formula which makes the contents legal. Two instances in the
New Testament where huper in its substitutionary usage is as plain as in
the secular documents are: John 11:50, where Caiaphas uses it to speak
of a political substitution, not a theological, although John finds that
too; and II Corinthians 5:14, 15 in the words if one died for all, that
is, instead of and in behalf of. Thus Paul brings over against the
Judaizers’ bloodless religion, the doctrine of the substitutionary
atonement which teaches that the Lord Jesus took our place with relation
to our sins and gave Himself as the Sacrifice that would perfectly
satisfy the just demands of God’s holy law which the human race has
Studies from the Greek New Testament-Highly
sins - On account of them.
literally conveys the idea of missing the mark as when hunting with a
bow and arrow (in Homer some hundred times of a warrior hurling his
spear but missing his foe). Later hamartia came to mean missing or
falling short of any goal, standard, or purpose. Hamartia in the Bible
signifies a departure from God's holy, perfect standard of what is right
in word or deed (righteous). It pictures the idea of missing His
appointed goal (His will) which results in a deviation from what is
pleasing to Him. In short, sin is conceived as a missing the true end
and scope of our lives, which is the Triune God Himself. As Martin
Luther put it "Sin is essentially a departure from God." Ryrie adds that
sin "is not only a negative idea but includes the positive idea of
hitting some wrong mark."
is a deviation from the straight line, marked off by the "plumb line" of
God's perfect, pure Word. As someone has well said ultimately sin is
man's (foolish) declaration of independence of God, of the "apostasy" of
the creature from his Creator! Woe! Puritan John Bunyan minced no words
when he defined sin as "the dare of God's justice, the rape of His
mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power and the
contempt of His love." Hamartia is what happens when we err (err is from
Latin errare = to wander!) which means to wander from the right way, to
deviate from the true course or purpose and so to violate an accepted
standard of conduct.
Martin Luther comments that
"these words (Christ died for our sins) are very thunderclaps from
heaven against all kinds of righteousness (i.e., all forms of
John Stott - Once we have seen
that Christ ‘gave himself for our sins’, we realize that we are sinners
unable to save ourselves, and we give up trusting in ourselves that we
Spurgeon - Christ died for our sins, not for our virtues. It is not your efficiencies, but your
deficiencies which entitle you to the Lord Jesus. It is not your wealth,
but your lack. It is not what you have, but what you have not. It is not
what you can boast of, but what you mourn over that qualifies you to
receive the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
John Eadie - The doctrine
taught is, that Jesus Christ did spontaneously offer Himself as the one
propitiation, so that He is the source of grace and peace; and the
inference is, because He gave Himself, the oblation is perfect as also
the deliverance secured by it, so that obedience to the Mosaic law as a
means of salvation is quite incompatible with faith in Him. (Commentary
Barry Horner - The Christ who
“gave himself for our sins” is the same Christ who, on the ground
of this justification, has rescued us from this present evil age; it is
the same grace that justifies which also sanctifies as a consequence. We
are not only clothed in righteousness (justification) (Ro 9:30; Phil.
3:9) whereby our sin is pardoned, but also rescued from unrighteousness
(sanctification) that the world represents, solely on the basis of the
Son of God’s atonement, and the power of the Gospel. Having been
initially saved by the Gospel, we are consummately saved by the Gospel
Warren Wiersbe - Christ paid
the price that He might achieve a purpose-delivering sinners from
bondage. “Liberty in Christ” is the dominant theme of Galatians. (Check
the word bondage in Gal 2:4; 4:3, 9, 24–25; 5:1.) The Judaizers wanted
to lead the Christians out of the liberty of grace into the bondage of
Law. Paul knew that bondage was not a part of the message of the Gospel,
for Christ had died to set men free.
A J Gordon - Attachment to
Christ is the only secret of detachment from the world.
That (hopos) means in order
that and points to the purpose of Christ's sacrifice.
In a sense the Biblical narrative
stretching from the expulsion from Eden to the reestablishment of
the New Jerusalem can be viewed as one long rescue story.
Dictionary of Biblical Imagery
Much of the NT is an explication of
the significance of the cross and resurrection in this grand
rescue, and how a rescued people can live as those who
will one day inherit and inhabit a rescued creation. But
the Bible also contains numerous and smaller episodes of rescue, some of
which foreshadow the grand rescue of the cross and resurrection.
Rescue is in many ways synonymous with deliverance, though
the image of rescue frequently carries a sense of immediate or impending
danger, of a hazardous predicament and of bold and decisive action. It
speaks of courage, strength, skill and risk. Rescue easily evokes
more concrete scenes than deliverance or salvation. Many Americans will
never forget the television image of a man risking his life by jumping
into the ice-choked Potomac River to rescue a flight attendant
from the wreckage of a crashed plane. Rescues involve hapless
victims who are in over their heads and cannot help themselves. They
face awful consequences, often death. Rescuers take risks. They
plunge into the fray.
Rescue - "deliver" (KJV), "set
us free," (NRSV, TEV), "to free us" (NCV), "to liberate us" (NJB)
Rescue strikes a keynote of Galatians
for the Gospel is indeed a rescue from danger, an emancipation from a
state of bondage. In context rescue speaks primarily of a deliverance of
saints from the power of the ethical characteristics of this present
evil age. Christ died not to improve us, but to rescue us!
Webster says "rescue"
means to set free from confinement, danger or evil. To liberate from
actual restraint, or to remove or withdraw from a state of exposure to
evil. To rescue is to actively deliver someone out of danger.
This implies that the one being rescued passively receives the rescuing.
Rescue - Deliverance from
people or forces that are overwhelming. It implies a liberator with
strength and wisdom to ensure true freedom. God’s physical rescue of the
Israelites points to the spiritual deliverance obtained by Jesus Christ.
Freedom as the result of
emancipation is the great blessing of the Gospel (See Gal5:1, 13, cp.
John 8:32–36) and is a keynote of Galatians.
from ek = out + aireo = to take, remove, seize) literally
means to take out (used literally in Lxx of Jdg 14:9KJV "he took
the honey out of the mouth of the lion"). In some
context it means tear out or pluck out (Mt 5:29, 18:9, Lxx = Lev 14:40).
To take out from a number. To select.
(most of the uses in the Lxx and NT are middle voice) it means to take
out for oneself and hence to rescue or deliver someone from a perilous
or confining circumstance, setting them free. Spicq adds that
"This idea of extracting or removing is indicated by the reflexive
meaning of the middle voice, which places the beneficiaries of
the act of deliverance in the hands of the agent of deliverance (Ed:
Which in Gal 1:4 is Jesus!)."
Vine adds that
the middle voice, suggests that He
who thus delivers us has an interest in the result of His own act. Thus
in Ephesians 1:4 there is the thought that God “chose us for Himself” in
Christ, i.e., that we might be His sons, verse 5. So here. The words may
be paraphrased, “Who gave Himself for our sins, in order that He might
deliver us out of this present evil age that so we might belong to Him.”
Exaireo signifies to deliver
by rescuing from danger! In some secular uses exaireo meant to choose
for oneself or to carry off as booty.
J. B. Lightfoot writes that
the exaireo, rescue, ‘strikes the keynote of the epistle’. ‘The Gospel
is a rescue, an emancipation from a state of bondage.
DELIVERED FROM THE
POWER NOT PRESENCE
OF THIS AGE
Guzik has an excellent
explanation of this rescue or deliverance...
The idea behind the word deliver is
not deliverance from the presence of something, but
deliverance from the power of something. We will not be
delivered from the presence of this present evil age until
we go to be with Jesus. But we can be experience deliverance from the
power of this present evil age right now.
John MacArthur says that
was used by Stephen in his sermon
before the Sanhedrin as he described the divine deliverance of Joseph
and the children of Israel from Egyptian affliction (Acts 7:10, 34).
Peter used the word to describe God’s deliverance of him from prison
(Acts 12:11), and the Roman commander Claudius Lysias used it of his
rescue of Paul from the belligerent mob in Jerusalem (Acts 23:27; cf.
Acts 23:10). Galatians 1:4 contains the only metaphorical use of the
term in the New Testament.
John Eadie on exaireo...
In other passages of the New
Testament it has the sense of rescue from peril by an act of power,
as of Joseph (Acts 7:10); of the Hebrews out of slavery (Acts 7:34); of
Peter from the hand of Herod (Acts 12:11); of Paul from the mob in
Jerusalem (Acts 23:27); and it is the word used by the Divine Master to
the apostle in reference to his frequent deliverances from danger (Acts
26:17). Compare Genesis 32:11, Isaiah 42:22, Psalms 140:1.
Exaireo - 8 verses in NT -
pluck(1), rescue(2), rescued(3), rescuing(1), tear(1).
Matthew 5:29 "If your right eye makes
you stumble, tear
imperative) and throw it
from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your
body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Comment: The right eye was
presumed to be more precious, so it was the one to go after in an enemy:
“that I gouge out the right eyes of all of you” (1Sa 11:2; Zech 11:17);
“to gouge out their right eyes” (Josephus, Ant. 6.71)
Zodhiates: These functions
(tear it out) symbolize actions we should perform at the inception of
temptation. The second we are conscious of it, we must cut off the
temptation. When we lose the function of our hands or eyes, we are
severely handicapped. So if that which causes us to sin is destroyed,
sin loses its power over us. (Exegetical Commentary on Matthew)
Matthew 18:9 "If your eye causes you to stumble,
imperative) and throw it
from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have
two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.
Acts 7:10 and rescued him (Joseph - Acts 7:9) from all his
afflictions, and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh,
king of Egypt, and he made him governor over Egypt and all his
Acts 7:34 'I HAVE CERTAINLY SEEN THE OPPRESSION OF MY PEOPLE IN EGYPT
AND HAVE HEARD THEIR GROANS, AND I HAVE COME DOWN TO RESCUE THEM;
COME NOW, AND I WILL SEND YOU TO EGYPT.'
Acts 12:11 When Peter came to himself, he said, "Now I know for sure
that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the
hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting."
Acts 23:27 "When this man (Paul) was arrested by the Jews and was about to be
slain by them, I came up to them with the troops and rescued him,
having learned that he was a Roman.
Acts 26:17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the
Gentiles, to whom I am sending you,
Galatians 1:4 who gave Himself for our sins so that He might
rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our
God and Father,
Exaireo - 113x in 111v in the
- Gen 32:11; 37:21f; Ex 3:8; Ex 18:4, 8ff; Lev 14:40, 43; Num 35:25; Deut
23:14; 25:11; 32:39; Josh 2:13; 9:26; 10:6; 24:10; Jdg 10:15; 14:9; 1
Sam 4:7f; 7:3; 10:18; 12:10f, 21; 14:48; 17:37; 26:24; 30:8, 18, 22; 2
Sam 14:6; 19:5, 9; 22:1f, 20; 23:12; 1Kgs 1:12; 2Kgs 17:39; 18:29f,
34f; 19:12; 1Chr 16:35; 2Chr 25:15; 32:17; Job 5:4, 19; 10:7; 36:21;
Ps 31:1f; 37:40; 50:15; 59:1; 64:1; 71:2; 82:4; 91:15; 116:8; 119:153;
140:1, 4; 143:9; 144:7, 11; Eccl 7:26; Isa 16:12; 31:5; 38:14; 42:22;
43:13; 44:17, 20; 47:14; 48:10; 50:2; 57:13; 60:16; Jer 1:8, 17, 19;
15:21; 20:13; 21:12; 22:3; 31:11; 34:13; 42:11; Ezek 33:5, 9, 12; 34:10,
27; Da 3:15, 17, 29; 6:14ff; Hos 2:10; 5:14; Mic 5:8; 7:3; Nah 2:1;
Zeph 1:18; Zech 11:6
Exodus 3:8 (cf Ex 18:8,9,10) "So I
have come down to deliver (Lxx = exaireo) them from the power of
the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and
spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of
the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the
Hivite and the Jebusite.
Comment: Notice how the
purpose of the deliverance by God was to bring about a people of His
own. That OT "shadow" is fulfilled in the NT where Jesus' delivers us
that we might be His possession. (Titus 2:14, 1Pe 2:9, cf 1Cor 6:19-20)
2 Samuel 22:20 "He also brought me
forth into a broad place; He rescued (Lxx = exaireo) me, because
He delighted in me.
Comment: Keep the context in
mind - for at least 10 years David had been in "tight" places.
David's bold prayer for deliverance -
Psalm 31:1 For the choir director. A Psalm of David. In You, O LORD, I
have taken refuge; Let me never be ashamed; In Your righteousness
(Lxx = aorist
imperative) me. 2 Incline
Your ear to me, rescue
(Lxx = aorist
imperative) me quickly; Be to me a rock of strength, A
stronghold to save me.
Spurgeon on "rescue me
quickly": We must not set times or seasons, yet in submission we may
ask for swift as well as sure mercy. God's mercies are often enhanced in
value by the timely haste which he uses in their bestowal; if they came
late they might be too late—but he rides upon a cherub, and flies upon
the wings of the wind when he intends the good of his beloved.
Psalm 37:40 The LORD helps them and delivers them; He delivers
them from the wicked and saves them, Because they take refuge in Him.
Psalm 50:15 (Ps 50:14 - context is offering spiritual sacrifices from
the heart, not dead ritual) Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue
you, and you will honor (KJV = glorify which is supported by the Greek
verb used in; Lxx =
doxazo = to
Spurgeon: Oh blessed verse! Is
this then true sacrifice? Is it an offering to ask an alms of heaven? It
is even so. The King himself so regards it. For herein is faith
manifested, herein is love proved, for in the hour of peril we fly to
those we love. It seems a small think to pray to God when we are
distressed, yet is it a more acceptable worship than the mere heartless
presentation of bullocks and male goats. This is a voice from the
throne, and how full of mercy it is! It is very tempestuous round about
Jehovah, and yet what soft drops of mercy's rain drop from the bosom of
the storm! Who would not offer such sacrifices?
Troubled one, haste to present it
Who shall say that Old Testament
saints did not know the Gospel? (cp Gal 3:8) Its very spirit and essence
breathes like frankincense all around this holy Psalm.
I will rescue (Lxx = exaireo)
you. The reality of your sacrifice of prayer shall be seen in its
answer. Whether the smoke of burning bulls be sweet to Me or not,
certainly your humble prayer shall be, and I will prove it so by My
gracious reply to your supplication. This promise is very large, and may
refer both to temporal and eternal deliverances; faith can turn it every
way, like the sword of the cherubim.
And thou you glorify Me (cf
Gal 1:5). Your prayer will honour Me, and your grateful perception
of My answering mercy will also glorify Me. The goats and bullocks would
prove a failure, but the true sacrifice never could. The calves of the
stall might be a vain oblation, but not the "calves" of sincere lips.
Thus we see what is true ritual. Here we read inspired rubrics.
Spiritual worship is the great, the essential matter; all else without
it is rather provoking than pleasing to God. As helps to the soul,
outward offerings were precious, but when men went not beyond them, even
their hallowed things were profaned in the view of heaven.
Psalm 59:1 For the choir director; set to Al-tashheth. A Mikhtam of
David, when Saul sent men and they watched the house in order to kill
imperative) me from my
enemies, O my God; Set me securely on high away from those who rise up
against me. (PRAYER FOR
Psalm 64:1 For the choir director. A Psalm of David. Hear my voice, O
God, in my complaint;
imperative) my life from
dread of the enemy. (PRAYER
Psalm 71:2 In Your righteousness
(Lxx = rhuomai - aorist
imperative) me and
(Lxx = exaireo - aorist
imperative) me; Incline Your
ear to me and save me.
Spurgeon: “Deliver me in
thy righteousness, and cause me to escape.” Be true, O God, to thy
word. It is a righteous thing in thee to keep the promises which thou
hast made unto thy servants. I have trusted thee, and thou wilt not be
unrighteous to forget my faith. I am taken as in a net, but do thou
liberate me from the malice of my persecutors. “Incline thine ear
unto me, and save me.” Stoop to my feebleness, and hear my faint
whispers; be gracious to my infirmities, and smite upon me: I ask
salvation; listen thou to my petitions, and save me. Like one wounded
and left for dead by mine enemies, I need that thou bend over me and
bind up my wounds. These mercies are asked on the plea of faith, and
they cannot, therefore, be denied.
(Lxx = exaireo - aorist
imperative) the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of
the wicked. (PRAYER FOR
Spurgeon: “Deliver the poor
and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.” Break the nets
of the man-catchers, the legal toils, the bonds, the securities, with
which cunning men capture and continue to hold in bondage the poor and
the embarrassed. It is a brave thing when a judge can liberate a victim
like a fly from the spider’s web, and a horrible case when magistrate
and plunderer are in league. Law has too often been an instrument for
vengeance in the hand of unscrupulous men, an instrument as deadly as
poison or the dagger. It is for the judge to prevent such villainy.
Psalm 91:15 "He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with
him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.
Spurgeon: “I will deliver
him, and honour him.” The man honours God, and God honours him.
Believers are not delivered or preserved in a way which lowers them, and
makes them feel themselves degraded; far from it, the Lord’s salvation
bestows honour upon those it delivers. God first gives us conquering
grace, and then rewards us for it.
Psalm 116:8 For You have rescued my soul from death, My eyes from tears,
My feet from stumbling.
Spurgeon: “For thou hast
delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from
falling.” The triune God has given us a trinity of deliverances: our
life has been spared from the grave, our heart has been uplifted from
its griefs, and our course in life has been preserved from dishonor. We
ought not to be satisfied unless we are conscious of all three of these
deliverances. If our soul has been saved from death, why do we weep?
What cause for sorrow remains? Whence those tears? And if our tears have
been wiped away, can we endure to fall again into sin? Let us not rest
unless with steady feet we pursue the path of the upright, escaping
every snare and shunning every stumblingblock. Salvation, joy, and
holiness must go together, and they are all provided for us in the
covenant of grace. Death is vanquished, tears are dried, and fears are
banished when the Lord is near.
Psalm 119:153 Look upon my affliction and
(Lxx = exaireo - aorist
imperative) me, For I do not forget
Your law. (PRAYER FOR
Psalm 140:1 For the choir director. A Psalm of David.
(Lxx = exaireo - aorist
imperative) me, O LORD,
from evil men; Preserve me from violent men (PRAYER
Spurgeon: “Deliver me, O LORD,
from the evil man.” It reads like a clause of the Lord’s prayer,
“Deliver us from evil.” David does not so much plead against an
individual as against the species represented by him, namely, the being
whose best description is—“the evil man.” There are many such abroad;
indeed we we shall not find an unregenerate man who is not in some sense
an evil man, and yet all are not alike evil. It is well for us that our
enemies are evil: it would be a horrible thing to have the good against
us. When “the evil man” bestirs himself against the godly he is as
terrible a being as a wolf, or a serpent, or even a devil. Fierce,
implacable, unpitying, unrelenting, unscrupulous, he cares for nothing
but the indulgence of his malice. The persecuted man turns to God in
prayer; he could not do a wiser thing. Who can meet the evil man and
defeat him save Jehovah himself, whose infinite goodness is more than a
match for all the evil in the universe? We cannot of ourselves baffle
the craft of the enemy, but the Lord knoweth how to deliver his saints.
He can keep us out of the enemy’s reach, he can sustain us when under
his power, he can rescue us when our doom seems fixed, he can give us
the victory when defeat seems certain; and in any and every case, if he
do not save us from the man he can keep us from the evil. Should we be
at this moment oppressed in any measure by ungodly men, it will be
better to leave our defence with God than to attempt it ourselves.
Psalm 140:4 Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked;
(Lxx = exaireo - aorist
imperative) me from
violent men Who have purposed to trip up my feet. (PRAYER
Spurgeon: “Preserve me from
the violent man.” His intense passion makes him terribly dangerous.
He will strike anyhow, use any weapon, smite from any quarter: he is so
furious that he is reckless of his own life if he may accomplish his
detestable design. Lord, preserve us by thine omnipotence when men
attack us with their violence. This prayer is a wise and suitable one.
Psalm 143:9 Deliver
(Lxx = exaireo - aorist
imperative) me, O LORD, from my enemies; I take refuge in You.
(PRAYER FOR DELIVERANCE)
Spurgeon: “Deliver me, O
LORD, from mine enemies.” Many foes beset us, we cannot overcome
them, we cannot even escape from them; but Jehovah can and will rescue
us if we pray to him. The weapon of all-prayer will stand us in better
stead than sword and shield. “I take refuge in You.” This was a
good result from his persecutions. That which makes us flee to our God
may be an ill wind, but it blows us good. There is no cowardice in such
flight, but much holy courage. God can hide us out of reach of harm, and
even out of sight of it. He is our hiding-place; Jesus has made himself
the refuge of his people: the sooner, and the more entirely we flee to
him the better for us. Beneath the crimson canopy of our Lord’s
atonement believers are completely hidden; let us abide there and be at
rest. In the seventh verse our poet cried. “Hide not thy face,” and here
he prays, “Hide me.” Note also how often he uses the words “unto thee”;
he is after his God: he must travel in that direction by some means,
even though he may seem to be beating a retreat; his whole being longs
to be near the Lord. It is possible that such thirstings for God will be
left unsupplied? Never, while the Lord is love.
Psalm 144:7 Stretch forth Your hand from on high;
(Lxx = exaireo - aorist
imperative) me and deliver
me out of great waters, Out of the hand of aliens (PRAYER
Spurgeon: Make a Moses of
me,—one drawn out of the waters. My foes pour in upon me like torrents,
they threaten to overwhelm me; save me from their force and fury; take
them from me, and me from them.
Psalm 144:11 Rescue me and
deliver (Lxx = exaireo - aorist
imperative) me out of the hand of aliens, Whose mouth
speaks deceit And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood. (PRAYER
Spurgeon: Because of what the
Lord had done, David returns to his pleading. He begs deliverance from
him who is ever delivering him. “Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of
strange children.” This is in measure the refrain of the song, and the
burden of the prayer. He desired to be delivered from his open and
foreign adversaries, who had broken compacts, and treated treaties as
Jeremiah 1:8 Do not be afraid of
them, for (term
of explanation - What does
Jehovah explain to Jeremiah?) I am with you to deliver (Lxx =
exaireo) you,” declares the LORD.
Present evil age - The KJV
says we are rescued from this "present evil world" but this is not as
accurate as "age." The grand purpose of the rescue is to deliver us from
the dominion of this godless age. We have been rescued from the
enslaving power of this present evil age—a world ruled by Satan, full of
cruelty, tragedy, temptation, and deception. Our rescue is from an
ethical system, a way of thinking under the dominion of the Evil One and
thus diametrically opposed to God. Our holy purpose now in this world
which is passing away (1Jn 2:17) is to be salt (Mt 5:13) and light (Mt
5:14-16, cp Php 2:14, 15). So yes, for the present, we are in
the world but we are no longer of the world (Jn 17:11,
14-18, Php 3:20-21, 1Jn 5:5.) And so now
The present evil age is
under the domination of "the prince of this world" (Jn 12:31; 14:30;
16:11), the "Evil One," (1Jn 5:19) which helps understand why it is so
"The faithful Christian life is
the heavenly life lived on earth." (John MacArthur) (Yes,
even in the midst of a present evil age.)
"This age is evil,
corrupt and corrupting, deceived and deceiving." (Hindson)
Ron Dunn - The Christian lives
in two worlds. He is resident of this present evil age and of the Age to
Come. Though he is a citizen of this world, the Bible says his
"citizenship is in heaven" (Phil. 3:20) and that already he is
"seated... with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:6).
As a believer he has been delivered "from this present evil age" (Gal.
1:4) and has "tasted... the powers of the age to come" (Heb. 6:5).
Eternal life is a present possession. The Christian lives simultaneously
in the physical world and in the spiritual world, in the seen and in the
unseen, in the present and in the future, on earth and in heaven.
Robert Rapa explains that
exaireo in Gal 1:4 - “denotes not a ‘deliverance from,’ but a
‘rescue from the power of’ ” (Boice, 426). Thus, defeat of the
power of this “age” (ainos) to incite and exacerbate human
sinfulness is included in humanity’s rescue in Christ’s self-sacrifice.
God’s power in Christ is available to the believer not only to rescue
from eternal death but also to energize an obedient life as a dependent
disciple of Jesus (cf. Ro 6:12–14). (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary,
John Stott agrees - The
purpose of Christ’s death, therefore, was not only to bring us
forgiveness, but that, having been forgiven, we should live a new life,
the life of the age to come.
William MacDonald - Christ
died to deliver us from this present evil age. This includes not only
the moral and political corruption of this age, but also the religious
world which mixes rituals and ceremonies with faith in Christ. It was
especially timely, therefore, for the Galatians to be reminded that they
were going back into the very system from which Christ had died to
Alan Cole - The division
between ‘the present age’ and ‘the age to come’ was familiar to every
Jew, and therefore to the Christian.
Timothy George - The notion of
two ages, borrowed from Jewish apocalyptic thought, juxtaposes a present
age of sin and decay and a future age of blessing and peace. For Paul,
however, the death and resurrection of Jesus has radically punctuated
this traditional time line. The Christian now lives in profound tension
between the No Longer and the Not Yet. The coming of Christ has
drastically relativized, though not completely obliterated, former
distinctions of race, class, and gender. It also has placed in a totally
new perspective such former requirements as circumcision, food laws, and
feast days. Christ has rescued us from this present evil age through
justifying us by faith and pouring out his Spirit in our lives. This is
an accomplished fact, and we must not be drawn back into “a yoke of
slavery” (Gal 5:1). But while Christ has rescued us from this evil age,
he has not taken us out of it. Thus our liberty must not degenerate into
license nor the gift of the Spirit be abused by selfish carnal behavior
(Gal 5:16–26). (The New American Commentary)
Wayne Barber -
Now this strikes the key note of the
whole epistle. He has taken us
out from under something that has been pulling us down for quite a while.
Christ came to die for our sins to deliver us. And from what? A state of
bondage. Bondage to what? This present evil age. (KJV = "present
evil world") Now I don’t know if
you’ve studied Romans, but Romans focuses more on the fact that
Jesus saved us from
the penalty of sins. Yes, He did. And He saves us from the power of sin.
Yes, He did. But Galatians has a slightly different focus on what Jesus came to
do, which is germane to the remainder of the epistle. He wants them to
understand this very thing. Our sins are simply indications of our
bondage, bondage to a system of living and thinking that is found in
this world. You turn a television on, you’re
listening to that system. You turn the radio on, and I hear stuff on that
thing, I’m thinking good grief! Get a clue people! But, you know, it’s
interesting. I love to listen to it to kind of keep up with what the
system’s doing to people’s minds. Christ not only delivered us from our
personal sins, but He from the pull and the power of a system, which is the way the world does what it does.
We live in a spiritually (and
morally) dark time, but God promises that this night (present evil age)
is almost spent and the Day of the Lord is near (Ro 13:12-note).
The possibility that Christ could come at any time
and the certainty that He will come at some time
should motivate us to holy living right now!
Note that Gal 1:4 does not promise
that Christ will deliver us from all of our present earthly problems.
describes evil in active opposition to good. It means not only evil in
its nature but viciously evil in its influence and actively harmful.
Poneros used to describe Satan (ho poneros = "Evil one"), the god of
this age, who is corrupting man and dragging him to destruction. This
denotes someone who is not content in being corrupt themselves. They
seek to corrupt others and draw them into the same destruction.
is used in this context to refer to the popular culture and manner of
thinking that is in rebellion against God and which will try to conform
us to its ungodly pattern (cf use of aion in Ro 12:2-note).
Bengel adds that "aion" is that "subtle, informing spirit of the world
of men who are living alienated and apart from God." Aion conveys the
sense of "the spirit of this age" in which we live. It describes a
lifestyle in which people follow the ways of the world and the evil
ruler of the world system. It is dominated
by the humanistic philosophy that seeks to eliminate God from every
aspect of life.
Trench in his classic definition
for age (aion) writes that "age" is...
All that floating mass of thoughts,
opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at
any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and
accurately define, but which constitute a most real and effective power,
being the moral or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives
we inhale, again inevitably to exhale. (See
Trench's analysis of kosmos versus aion)
Why would we ever want to go back
into this foul environment after being miraculously rescued by grace,
grace in which we now stand and which enables and transforms us? In
context the Galatians were believing a false teaching (a teaching
this present evil age) and were going back up under the Law and the old
dead works based mentality.
Barry Horner - By way of
application the New Testament picture of this age is that of a
ship run aground on rocks, breaking up. Some are rescued since they
confess their plight and cry out to be delivered, but others are
foolishly trying to patch the vessel up and cast off once again, only to
encounter further tragedy after tragedy! We might name this ship, “this
present evil age.”
Rescued Twice - A wealthy
English family once invited friends to spend some time at their
beautiful estate. The happy gathering was almost plunged into a terrible
tragedy on the first day. When the children went swimming, one of them
got into deep water and was drowning. Fortunately, the gardener heard
the others screaming and plunged into the pool to rescue the helpless
victim. That youngster was Winston Churchill. His parents, deeply
grateful to the gardener, asked what they could do to reward him. He
hesitated, then said, "I wish my son could go to college someday and
become a doctor." "We'll pay his way," replied Churchill's parents.
Years later when Sir Winston was prime minister of England, he was
stricken with pneumonia. Greatly concerned, the king summoned the best
physician who could be found to the bedside of the ailing leader. That
doctor was Sir Alexander Fleming, the developer of penicillin. He was
also the son of that gardener who had rescued Winston from drowning as a
boy! Later Churchill said, "Rarely, has one man owed his life twice to
the same person."
Rescuer's Marred Hands - An
orphaned boy was living with his grandmother when their house caught
fire. The grandmother, trying to get upstairs to rescue the boy,
perished in the flames. The boy's cries for help were finally answered
by a man who climbed an iron drain pipe and came back down with the boy
hanging tightly to his neck. Several weeks later, a public hearing was
held to determine who would receive custody of the child. A farmer, a
teacher, and the town's wealthiest citizen all gave the reasons they
felt they should be chosen to give the boy a home. But as they talked,
the lad's eyes remained focused on the floor. Then a stranger walked to
the front and slowly took his hand from his pockets, revealing severe
scars on them. As the crowd gasped, the boy cried out in recognition.
This was the man who had saved his life. His hands had been burned when
he climbed the hot pipe. With a leap the boy threw his arms around the
man's neck and held on for dear life. The other men silently walked
away, leaving the boy and his rescuer alone. Those marred hands had
settled the issue. And so it is with Jesus. His nail-pierced hands
remind us that he has rescued us from sin and its deadly consequences.
Rescue the Perishing - One
time Fanny Crosby, the blind hymn writer, visited the McAuley Mission in
New York. She asked if there was a boy there who had no mother, and "if
he would come up and let her lay her hand on his head." A motherless
fellow came up, and she put her arms about him and kissed him. She went
from that meeting and wrote: "Rescue the perishing, care for the
dying, Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave, Weep o'er the erring
one, lift up the fallen, Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save."
Some time later, when Mr. Sankey was about to sing this song in St.
Louis, he related the incident. A man sprang to his feet in the audience
and said, "I am the boy she kissed that night. I was never able to get
away from the impression made by that touching act, I have become a
Our Daily Bread - William D. Matheson, in My Grandfather's War,
tells of a veteran who walked through the streets of his hometown with
an empty sleeve. When a passerby commented on the loss of his arm, the
veteran replied, "I didn't lose it. I gave it." That describes what
Jesus did for us. He didn't lose His life on the cross. He gave it. As
today's verse says, He "gave Himself for our sins." He paid the penalty
so that all who believe on Him would experience forgiveness of sin and
have eternal life. In fulfillment of the Old Testament picture of the
sacrifice of the lamb, He yielded His life for us. Following Christ's
example, we are to give ourselves unselfishly to His service and help
others. That makes sense, though it may seem absurd to many Our
sacrifices will glorify the Lord and make an impact for Christ on our
selfish world. —D. C. Egner
When the Word Dawned - When
Dr. Willis R. Hotchkiss went to Central Africa, he had great trouble to
find a word that would explain to them the Saviour who died to save
them. Over two years had passed, but this magic word "Saviour" he could
not translate clearly and adequately. One night he was sitting with some
of the natives around their campfire, when Kikuvi, the most intelligent
of the natives, began to tell about Mr. Krieger, who had been attacked
by a lion and badly torn. Kikuvi had come to his rescue and had driven
the lion away. Kikuvi modestly said, "Bwana nukuthaniwan na Kikuvi [The
master was saved by Kikuvi]." The missionary leaped for joy. At last he
had heard the precious word. He immediately changed the verb from the
passive to the active form, and said, "Ukuthania Bwana? [You saved the
master?]" This proving correct, the missionary said: "Why, Kikuvi, this
is the word I have been trying to get you to tell me these many days,
because I wanted to tell why Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth."
"Oh," Kikuvi interrupted, his black face lighting up as he turned to the
missionary: "I see it now. I understand! Jesus came to kuthania [save]
us from our sins, and to deliver us from the hands of Muima [Satan.]"
The moment the word "Saviour" had dawned on his darkened vision, all the
scattered fragments of truth that had been floating through his mind
became one glorious revelation. (Union
Lawrence Lemieux: Rescue the
Perishing (as told by Rob Morgan) - One of the most incredible
stories coming from the Olympics occurred during the 1988 games in
Seoul, South Korea. There was a young competitor there whose whole life
had been in pursuit of an Olympic medal. The 1988 games represented his
best chance. He was a Canadian named Lawrence Lemieux, and his event was
in sailing. Off the coast of Korea, he was racing for the Gold. The sea
was stormy and rough, but Lemieux was in second place with an excellent
shot at first. Suddenly his attention was drawn aside by an overturned
boat, and he saw a sailor draped over the hull, desperately trying to
hold on. Another sailor was bobbing in the water. The tides and winds
were pushing both men further out to sea. They were Olympians, too, and
were competing in another event. The man who was draped over the
overturned hull of the boat had cut his hand in the accident and was
rapidly losing strength. The crewman in the water was drifting away from
the boat and going down. Lemieux had a heart-rending decision to make.
If he didn’t stop to help the men, they would likely drown; but if he
did stop and help them he would lose his lifelong dream of winning an
Olympic Gold Medal. Well, it might have been a heart-rending decision,
but it didn’t take the young champion long to make it. He turned his
boat toward into the screaming wind and paddled toward the desperate
men. As he approached the man who was thrashing in the water, the man
gasped, “Please help me! I can’t last much longer.” “Grab onto my
boat when I come past you,” said Lemieux. “I can’t,” said the man.
“I hurt my back and I can’t pull myself up into your boat.” Lawrence
leaned over and grabbed the man’s vest and tried to haul him aboard, but
the effort almost capsized the little craft. “Just try to hold on until
we get to your boat,” shouted Lemieux. Somehow he managed to navigate
his boat through the crashing waves and he managed to rescue the other
man as well. He held them both until a patrol boat arrived. But the
delay cost him any chance he had of winning an Olympic medal. He resumed
the race, but finished in 21st place. In its place, the International
Olympic Committee awarded him The Fair Play Award of the 1988 games in
Seoul. And when he returned home, the members of Northwood Presbyterian
Church in Spokane, Washington, had a special medal cast for him and
draped it around his neck while the Canadian National Anthem was played.
He told the congregation, “You spend your whole lifetime trying to
achieve a goal, and my goal was winning a gold medal. I didn’t win a
gold medal, but I won something more valuable—the love you’ve shown me
here today.” While everyone else in the world is trying to win medals,
accomplish goals, accumulate prizes, and achieve status, we have only
one mission, don’t we—to rescue the perishing and care for the dying.
for Gold- A Sermon About the Olympics)
This one life will soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
According to the will of God and
our Father - God's will is the ultimate cause and law.
Redemption is its fulfilment. Hence our Lord declares that He came to do
the will of Him that sent Him. John 4:34, 5:30, and Jn 6:38–40. The Son
became man and entered the world to do the will of God (Heb 10:7). As He
approached the time of His crucifixion, He prayed, “not as I will, but
as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). "This places the credit where it
belongs—not in man’s puny efforts, but rather in the sovereign will of
God. It emphasizes that Christ is God’s way of salvation and that there
is no other." (MacDonald)
Guzik - False doctrine was a
real problem in the Galatian churches, and their false doctrines robbed
God of some of the glory due to Him. By emphasizing the rightly
recognized glory of God and His plan, Paul hopes to put them more on the
from thelo = to will
with the "-ma" suffix indicating the result of the will = "a
thing willed") generally speaks of the result of what one has decided.
In its most basic form, thelema refers to a wish, a strong desire, and
the willing of some event. (Note: See
for comments relating to thelema).
to Whom be the glory forevermore. Amen. (whom (KJV): 1Ch
29:13 Ps 41:13 72:19 Isa 24:15 42:12 Mt 6:13 Lk 2:14 Ro 11:36 16:27 Eph
1:12 Php 4:20 1Ti 1:17 2Ti 4:18 Heb 13:21 1Pe 5:11 2Pe 3:18 Jude 1:25
Rev 4:9-11 5:12 7:12 14:7)(Amen (KJV): Mt 28:20)
Will Metzger - In a God-centered gospel, grace is central—God is
exalted at every point.
Trapp - The benefit of our
redemption should make us lift up many a humble, joyful, and thankful
heart to God.
Glory to Jesus is the
ultimate, consummate purpose of all things. Indeed, all heaven
Worthy is the Lamb that was
slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and
glory and blessing. (Rev 5:12-note)
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the
grace of Christ, for a different gospel; (marvel (KJV): Mk
6:6 Jn 9:30)(so (KJV): Ga 3:1-5 4:9-15 5:4,7 Ps 106:13 Isa 29:13 Jer 2:12,13)(that called (KJV): Ga 5:8 1Co 4:15 2Th 2:14 2Ti 1:9 1Pe 1:15 2Pe 1:3)(the grace (KJV): Ac 15:11 Ro 5:2 1Ti 1:14 2Ti 2:1 Rev 22:21)(unto (KJV): Ro 10:3 2Co 11:4)
I am amazed - Present tense
signifies he is continually amazed. Paul considered the defection of the
Galatian Christians as an extra-ordinary thing. His use of thaumazo
conveys a rebuke similar to our expression, “I can hardly believe what I
am hearing about you!”
Henry Alford on amazed
- It is a word of mildness, inasmuch as it imports that better things
were expected of them,—and of condescension, as letting down the writer
to the level of the readers and even challenging explanation from them.
Still, like many such mild words, it carries to the guilty conscience
even sharper rebuke than a harsher one would.
Oswald Chambers - There is nothing attractive about the gospel to
the natural man; the only man who finds the gospel attractive is the man
who is convicted of sin.
from thauma [from thaomai = to wonder] = wonder,
means to wonder, marvel, be struck with admiration or astonishment. Thaumazo describes the human response when confronted by divine
revelation in some form (Mt 9.33). Be surprised (Gal 1:6). It
denotes incredulous surprise
Thaumazo was a rhetorical
device used in law courts and politics to attack things done by the
See studies on other NT
verbs translated amaze -
NIDNTT on Thaumazo in Classic
Greek - The word-group associated with thauma is found in Gk.
from the 8th and 7th centuries, to designate that which by its
appearance arouses astonishment and amazement. The root is cognate with
theaomai, to look at.
TDNT on Classic Greek uses -
The group has first the sense of astonishment, whether critical or
inquisitive, then admiration, with a nuance of awe or fear at what is
unusual or mysterious, e.g., miracles or oracles in religion, also
magical acts or media, and certain phenomena (prior to their
explanation) in philosophy.
Luke uses thaumazo to
express reaction to miraculous events or to teaching (cf. Lk 1:63; 2:18;
4:22; 7:9; 8:25; 9:43; 11:14; 20:26).
W E Vine - Thaumazo
means surprise at the unexpected, whether regretful, as here in
Gal 1:6, or pleasurable, as at 2Th 1:10, the only occurrences in Paul’s
epistles; but see also Acts 13:41.
Ralph Earle - Thaumazo
is found most frequently in the Gospels (33 times), where it expresses
the wonder and amazement caused by Jesus' miracles. It seems clear that
the idea of wonder or astonishment is inherent in the term.
Vincent - Thaumazo is
often used by Greek orators of surprise at something reprehensible. So
in N T, Mk. 6:6; Jn 7:21; Lk 11:38; Jn 4:27.
In the KJV thaumazo is most
often translated as marvel which Webster says means to become filled
with surprise, wonder, or amazed curiosity. Webster says to amaze is to
fill with wonder or transitively to cause astonishment and suggests an
effect of bewilderment. To be astonished implies that one is surprised
so greatly as to deem something incredible.
Thaumazo is used as a Hebraism
in Jude 1:16 literally "admire the face" (thaumazo + prosopon) which
signifies to flatter or to praise insincerely
John tells us "Do
not be surprised (marvel),
brethren, if the world hates you." (1John 3:13)
MacArthur says: The expression
not be surprised translates the present active imperative form of
the verb thaumazo, a term that has the connotation of wonder,
astonishment, or amazement. Rather than being shocked by the world’s
opposition, believers should instead expect it (cf. Acts 14:22; 2Ti
3:12; 1Pe 4:12), because the world has nothing in common with the
kingdom of God (cf. 2Co 6:14–15), and the lives of the righteous rebuke
those of the unrighteous.
BDAG says the two basic
meanings of thaumazo are (1) to be extraordinarily
impressed or disturbed by something - (a) intransitively to wonder,
marvel, be astonished (the context determines whether in a good or bad
sense) (Mt 8:10) or (b) transitively to admire, wonder at, respect
(persons) with accusative and (2) to wonder, be amazed (to be filled
with wonder), (Rev 17:8).
Thaumazo - 43x in 43v in NAS -Translated - am amazed(1),
amazed(15), amazement(1), astonished(3), being amazed(1), flattering(1),
marvel(4), marveled(5), marveling(2), surprised(2), wonder(2),
Matthew 8:10 Now when Jesus heard
this, He marveled and said to those who were following, "Truly I
say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.
Mt 8:27 The men were amazed, and said, "What kind of a man
is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"
Matthew 9:33 After the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke; and the
crowds were amazed, and were saying, "Nothing like this
has ever been seen in Israel."
means to be greatly amazed and astounded, to be overcome with awe. The
intensified forms of the verb found in Matthew 27:14 (see below) and
Mark 12:17 (Here the verb is related verb "ekthaumazo" which means to
wonder or marvel greatly) carry an even stronger meaning. As Jesus’
miracles increased so did the astonishment of the crowds. They became
amazed beyond amazement.
Matthew 15:31 So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute
speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind
seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.
Comment: They were struck with
awe. The people were seeing something that defied human explanation.
Matthew 21:20 Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked,
"How did the fig tree wither all at once?"
Matthew 22:22 And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving
Him, they went away.
Matthew 27:14 And He did not answer him with regard to even a single
charge, so the governor was quite amazed.
Comment: Here the sense is
surprised that he received no response. The adverb quite (Gk = lian)
means to a high degree, very much or exceedingly. See comment on Mt 9:33
Mark 5:20 And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great
things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.
Mark 6:6 And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going
around the villages teaching.
Mark 15:5 But Jesus made no further
answer; so Pilate was amazed.
Mark 15:44 Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and
summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already
Luke 1:21 The people were waiting for
Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple.
Luke 1:63 And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, "His name is
John." And they were all astonished.
Luke 2:18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were
told them by the shepherds.
Luke 2:33 And His father and mother
were amazed at the things which were being said about Him.
Luke 4:22 And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the
gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying,
"Is this not Joseph's son?"
Luke 7:9 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and
turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, "I say to you, not
even in Israel have I found such great faith."
Comment: Would you like to
amaze and astonish Jesus? There are two ways to do it—one is
recommended, the other is not. There are only two times when the Gospels
record Jesus being “amazed” or “astonished” at something, and,
amazingly, both have to do with faith. Here in Luke He is amazed
that the Centurion believed and in Mark 6:6 "He wondered at their
unbelief," their failure to believe!
Luke 8:25 And He said to them, "Where is your faith?" They were fearful
and amazed, saying to one another, "Who then is this, that He
commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?"
Luke 9:43 And they were all amazed (ekplesso) at the greatness of God.
But while everyone was marveling (thaumazo) at all that He was
doing, He said to His disciples,
stronger word than thaumazo. Ekplesso suggests a strong, sudden
sense of being astounded. Ekplesso means to strike a person out of his
senses by some strong feeling and is used 13x in the NT - Matt 7:28;
13:54; 19:25; 22:33; Mark 1:22; 6:2; 7:37; 10:26; 11:18; Luke 2:48;
4:32; 9:43; Acts 13:12
Luke 11:14 And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute; when the
demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed.
Comment: Thaumazō can
be positive or negative, depending on its context. People can be amazed
and still not like what they see. In fact, despite the amazement, Jesus’
work splits the crowd. Luke 11:15 mentions the skepticism of some, while
Lk 11:16 mentions the uncertainty of others.
Luke 11:38 When the Pharisee saw it, he was surprised that He had
not first ceremonially washed before the meal.
Luke 20:26 And they were unable to catch Him in a saying in the presence
of the people; and being amazed at His answer, they became
Luke 24:12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking
in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home,
marveling at what had happened.
Luke 24:41 While they still could not believe it because of their joy
and amazement, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?"
John 3:7 "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born
John 4:27 At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed
that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, "What do You
seek?" or, "Why do You speak with her?"
denotes incredulous surprise (MM). Ingressive impferfect, “they began to
wonder.” The surprise arises because He was talking to a woman, which
was held to be improper, esp. for a rabbi. One does not talk to a woman
publicly on the street, not one’s own wife, and particularly not to
another woman, due to the gossip of the people.
John 5:20 "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that
He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than
these, so that you will marvel.
28 "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all
who are in the tombs will hear His voice,
John 7:15 The Jews then were astonished, saying, "How has this
man become learned, having never been educated?"
21 Jesus answered them, "I did one deed, and you all marvel.
Acts 2:7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, "Why, are not
all these who are speaking Galileans?
Comment: Luke wants us to
sense what a strong impact the Pentecost event had on the onlookers.
They marvel that by a miracle of speaking or hearing, or both, they can
understand Galileans, who were disdained for their indistinct
Acts 3:12 But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, "Men of
Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as
if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?
Acts 4:13 Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and
understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were
amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.
Acts 7:31 "When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he
approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord:
Acts 13:41 'BEHOLD, YOU SCOFFERS, AND MARVEL, AND PERISH; FOR I
AM ACCOMPLISHING A WORK IN YOUR DAYS, A WORK WHICH YOU WILL NEVER
BELIEVE, THOUGH SOMEONE SHOULD DESCRIBE IT TO YOU.'"
Galatians 1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him
who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
2 Thessalonians 1:10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that
day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed-- for our
testimony to you was believed.
Comment: Christ will come
again with power and great glory and at the "shining forth of His
Parousia, at the Second Advent."
1 John 3:13 Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates
Jude 1:16 These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own
lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of
gaining an advantage.
Comment: The expression is
used to translate the Hebrew idiom, “to take, or raise, a man’s
countenance,” i.e., to do honor or show favor to him. The formula had
its origin in the oriental custom of making one to rise from the ground
as a token of welcome. This imagery soon disappeared and the expression
meant “to show favoritism toward” or “to curry favor w.” (Kelly).
Revelation 13:3 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his
fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and
followed after the beast;
Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints,
and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I
7 And the angel said to me, "Why do you wonder? I will tell you
the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has
the seven heads and the ten horns.
8 "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out
of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth,
whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation
of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was
and is not and will come.
Thaumazo - 30x in the
non-apocryphal Septuagint - Ge 19:21; Lev 19:15; 26:32; Deut 10:17;
28:50; 2Kgs 5:1; 2Chr 19:7; Esther 4:17; Job 13:10; 21:5; 22:8; 32:22;
34:19; 41:9; 42:11; Ps 48:5; Pr 18:5; Eccl 5:8; Isa 9:15; 14:16; 41:23;
52:5, 15; 61:6; Jer 4:9; Dan 3:24; 4:17, 19; 6:12; Hab 1:5
I am amazed that you are so
quickly deserting - They were deserting the Gospel of grace to
retreat into law, which is a "heteros" "Gospel," one that was distinctly
at odds with the former true Gospel. Furthermore, while you might blame
the false teachers, in fact the Galatians bore the responsibility for
their defection. They could have refused to listen to the false
teachers, who would then have no power or influence. Doctrinal error is
still rampant today, and the hearer is still responsible to turn away
from such teaching.
Quickly (tacheos) means
quickly, speedily, hastily, rashly, suddenly (1Co 4:19; Ga1:6; Php 2:19,
24; 2Ti 4:9; Jdg 9:48; Isa 8:3) Tacheos in 1Ti 5:22 warns against
ordaining an elder "too hastily." By using tacheos Paul is emphasizing
how speedily the Galatians were "jumping ship" from the Gospel to that
which was not a Gospel. Notice that the addition of "houtos" (so) even
further emphasizes Paul's astonishment at the speed of departure to a
Spurgeon — The Galatians
were a very fickle people. Some have said that they were a colony from
Gaul, — Galatians, — and that they partook somewhat of the fickleness
which is attributed to the character of the Gaul. I know not how true
that may be; but, certainly, they seem very soon to have left the
gospel, to have adulterated it, and to have fallen into Ritualism, into
Sacramentarianism, into salvation by works, and all the errors into
which people usually fall when they go away from the gospel. (Spurgeon's
from metá = change of place or condition + títhemi =
place) means to transpose two things, one of which is put in the place
of the other. To transpose, put in another place hence transport,
transfer, translate. To change from one place to another. "In classical Greek metatithemi was
used of a turncoat. The word is used of one altering his opinion or
becoming of another mind. The word was also used of desertion or revolt,
frequently of a change in religion, philosophy, or morals." (Wuest)
New Linguistic & Exegetical Key to
the Greek New Testament - The word was used of desertion or revolt
in a military or political defection and frequently had the idea of a
change in religion, philosophy, or morals
Here in Gal 1:6 the verb is in the
Middle Voice which means to transfer oneself, and metaphorically speaks
of a change sides or parties, of deserting or of turning away from
Metatithemi is in the
which indicates that when Paul wrote this letter, the Galatians were in
the process of defecting. Defection was in progress. If Paul had instead
Kenneth Wuest observes "that would have indicated that the Galatians had
actually and finally turned against grace and had come to a settled
attitude in the matter. The mind of Paul wavers between fear and hope as
to the outcome. Paul was trying desperately to arrest the progress of
this new doctrinal infection if he could. The Judaizers had not yet
achieved any decisive success, although the Galatians were disposed to
lend a ready ear to their insinuations."
Him who called you - Called is
aorist tense which in context points to a past, completed "historical"
action, which would point to the previous time when the Galatians
received the Gospel. As an aside, this indicates that Paul considered
them genuine believers despite their desertion.
can have several meanings but one distinctive use "is to call a person
for a definite purpose. Hence, it is synonymous with to select or
choose. It refers to the act of calling someone so that he may hear,
come, and do that which is incumbent upon him. It thus is a word that
becomes a technical term for special relationships. In secular Greek it
was used of a summons in the law courts. It denotes in the New Testament
a call from God or in God’s Name, a call to participate in the
revelation of grace. Paul’s use of the word in general suggests that he
thought of those only as called who obeyed the divine summons. Of a
rejected call he never speaks."
By the grace - This is
literally "in the grace" (of Christ) which is "locative of sphere" signifying that
God's call to the Galatians was in the sphere ("atmosphere") of grace,
of unmerited favor! Wuest goes on to explain that when God "effectually
summoned them to a participation in the salvation procured by His Son on
the Cross, it was on a basis, not of works, but of a salvation unmerited
by them and freely bestowed, offered out of the pure generosity and love
of the heart of God, with no strings tied to it, offered as a free gift
to be accepted by the outstretched hand of faith. This put the Galatians
in a position in relationship to God in which they were the objects of
His everlasting favor. In speaking of the change of position on the part
of the Galatians, it would be more natural for Paul to refer to the
state in which God’s call they are or should be than to emphasize the
basis or instrument of God’s call. The Galatians were abandoning the
position of grace, the relation toward God which made them the objects
of the grace of Christ and participants in its benefits, to put
themselves under law which could only award them their sad desserts."
another of a different kind. A "strange" one. The true gospel is
centered on "the grace of Christ." The "heteros" Gospel ("good news") is
in fact bad news!
A different gospel -
"Don’t be misled by a forgery. Only the original saves our souls." (Rob
James Denney - As there is only one God, so there can be only one
Roy Gustafson - Religion is the story of what a sinful man tries
to do for a holy God; the gospel is the story of what a holy God has
done for sinful men.
Vance Havner -The gospel makes some people sad, some mad and some
glad. It is better that people should go out of church mad than merely
go out, neither sad, mad, nor glad.
- Arthur S. Way in his
excellent translation of Galatians renders heteros gospel, an
opposition gospel, allos gospel, an alternative gospel.
Thus, the Galatians were turning to an opposition gospel diametrically
opposed to Paul’s message of grace, and this opposition gospel was not
an alternative one! (Ibid)
Butler - Any theology that
requires one to do good works or be baptized or circumcised or be a
church member to be saved is legalism and is condemned in Scripture.
from eú = good + aggéllo = proclaim, tell) is literally
good news or glad tidings. In secular Greek it originally referred to a
reward for good news and later became the good news itself. The word
euaggelion was commonly used in the first century as our words "good
news" today. The idea then and now is something like this - “Have you
any good news (euaggelion) for me today?” This was a common question in
the ancient world.
Euaggelion was commonly used
in the Greco-Roman culture as "a technical term for "news of victory."
The messenger appears, raises his right hand in greeting and calls out
with a loud voice: "rejoice …we are victorious". By his appearance it is
known already that he brings good news. His face shines, his spear is
decked with laurel, his head is crowned, he swings a branch of palms,
joy fills the city, euaggelia are offered, the temples are garlanded, an
agon (race) is held, crowns are put on for the sacrifices and the one to
whom the message is owed is honored with a wreath...[thus] euaggelion is
closely linked with the thought of victory in battle. " (Theological
Dictionary of the New Testament) This is a convicting definition - here
a pagan messenger radiantly announces good news of an earthly victory.
How much more radiant should we be who are the bearers of the great news
of Christ's eternal triumph over sin, Satan, and death!
Swindoll - (Their desertion) could be compared to your rearing
your children in a healthy environment. They grow up in your home, and
because it is a good home, they develop a security and a stability as
they pick up your authenticity and unguarded lifestyle. They communicate
openly and freely. They learn how to confront and handle problems. In
short, they learn the basics of real living . . . which include knowing
Christ and loving God and walking with Him and relating well to one
another—all those things that represent integrity, vulnerability,
authenticity. Once they grow up, they move far away. Time passes and you
begin to miss them, so after three or four years you go visit them.
You’re shocked! You find them living cramped, closed, dirty, and
emotionally crippled lives. You’re amazed to find them struggling with
problems, evidencing negative attitudes; they’re even suicidal.
Naturally you ask, “Who got to you? Who twisted your mind? What’s
happened over these past few years?” It is with that same kind of
passion that Paul writes his concern to his Galatian friends. (The grace
awakening: believing in grace is one thing. living it is another)
Spurgeon - We have not only
“another gospel,” but we have fifty other gospels now preached.
G Campbell Morgan - To reveal His
Son in me, that I might preach Him.—Gal. 1.6 - The experience which
the Apostle thus described was at once the inspiration of his preaching,
and the secret of that conviction as to the authority of his Gospel
which called forth this letter. To him the Gospel was infinitely more
than a doctrine, a truth heard from others, and intellectually accepted.
It was his very life, and the deepest thing therein. In this first
chapter he made three references to his experience, which are revealing.
First he wrote of a "revelation of Jesus Christ." Then, in our verse, of
a revelation of "His Son in me." And finally he declared that the
churches of Judaea glorified God in him. The first of these references
was undoubtedly to that wondrous hour in which Jesus of Nazareth was
unveiled before his astonished soul, as risen, and active in the affairs
of His people. The experience on the road to Damascus was one of
revolution. To this man the whole scheme of things was turned upside
down. Then, in the quiet seclusion of those waiting days in Damascus,
that which had been an arresting and blinding revelation from without,
became a convincing and quickening revelation within his own soul.
Christ was unveiled within him. That is the secret of preaching. A
consciousness of Christ which is purely objective is fundamental, but it
is not enough to equip any man for preaching. There must be this deeper
knowledge of Christ, the subjective unveiling of Him within the life. A
man who knows much about Christ, may talk about Him, A man who knows
Him, can preach Him. (Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible)
Scammed By Spam - Have you
ever been scammed by spam? Spam is a computer term that refers to junk
mail on the Internet. It’s a common problem for people who use personal
computers. Sometimes it’s harmless, but sometimes it’s not.
You open your e-mail, and you get a note saying someone wants to help
you. Your credit card is invalid, the message says, and your number has
to be reentered to reactivate your account. So, you type it in and hit
“send”—thinking you’re doing the right thing. Later you get a bill for a
bunch of items you didn’t buy. You’ve just been scammed by spam! What
appeared to be helpful is no help at all. You trust the message, do what
it says, and you end up losing.
We can also be scammed spiritually. It happens when supposed
teachers of the Bible distort the gospel and proclaim a false message
that they call the truth (salvation by works, for example). But it’s “a
different gospel” (Galatians 1:6). How can you avoid such a scam? By
knowing from the Bible what the true gospel is. Eternal salvation is
available only by grace, through trusting in Jesus Christ and His death
on the cross for our sins (Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). Don’t be
fooled. Any other message is a scam! — by Dave Branon (Our
There's no better news than the
spread the word!
A Different Gospel - What is
the greatest challenge to us as Christians in the 21st century? Is it
rampant immorality? Is it divisive social issues? Is it increasing
hostility toward God? Those are dangers, for sure, but I would venture
to say that our biggest threat is religion—religion that draws us away
from the gospel.
Some religions openly oppose Christ, but others are more subtle. They
use language Christians already know, giving their faith a familiar
sound. Then they add to it their own twisted brand of thinking.
If such groups sound Christian, how can we know if they are preaching “a
different gospel”? (Galatians 1:6). Here are some false teachings to
watch out for.
1. Salvation through anything other
than faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross (Acts 4:12).
2. A refusal to see Jesus as the eternal God in the flesh, our only
Savior (John 1).
3. Giving more importance to the word of man than to the Word of God (1
4. Leaders who do not provide Christlike guidance through careful
biblical instruction (1 Timothy 4:6; Jude 4).
There are those who want to lead you
into another gospel. Learn God’s Word, so you won’t be deceived. — by
Dave Branon (Our
The Word of God provides the light
We need to see the way;
So if we learn what God has said,
We'll not be led astray. —Sper
Apply yourself to the Scriptures
and the Scriptures to yourself.
Theodore Epp - Don't Minimize
God's Grace - Galatians 1:1-10
The basic error the Apostle Paul was dealing with was the mingling of
Law with grace. There are three grave errors that arise out of this.
First there is what we call "legalism." This is the teaching that people
are saved by works or human effort. That, in this case, would include
the keeping of the Law and observing the rituals and ceremonies found in
the Old Testament covenant God made with Israel.
This same error is reflected today when someone claims to have done his
best to keep the Ten Commandments. This to him is the way of salvation.
The second error that can undermine true faith in Jesus Christ is what
we may call "false liberty."
The Christian is called unto liberty, but that liberty is defined for us
in the Scriptures and not left to our imagination. Yet there are those
who teach that because they are saved by grace, it makes no difference
how they live or behave.
This Satanic error is answered in the Book of James. He wrote: "Even so
faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone" (2:17). In other
words, a faith that does not produce works is not real faith.
The third error is the one Paul deals with in his Letter to the
Galatians. In fact, the error itself is often named "Galatianism." This
false doctrine teaches that we are saved by grace but are kept saved by
In reality this makes salvation dependent on our works. Our works of
righteousness are to be a supplement to our faith for ultimate
salvation. One must endure to the end by keeping the works of the Law if
he is going to be saved.
This is the error of Galatianism, the error that Paul combats in this
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John
which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you
and want to distort the gospel of Christ. (but (KJV): Ga 2:4
4:17 5:10,12 6:12,13,17 Ac 15:1-5,24 20:30 Ro 16:17,18 2Co 11:13)(pervert (KJV): Ga 5:10,12 Jer 23:26 Mt 24:24 Ac 13:10 15:1,24 2Co 2:17
4:2 1Ti 4:1-3 2Ti 2:18 3:8,9 4:3,4 Tit 1:10,11 2Pe 2:1-3 1Jn 2:18,19,26
4:1 2Jn 1:7,10 Jude 1:4 Rev 2:2,6,14,15,20 12:9 Rev 13:14 19:20 20:3)
Not another - In Gal 1:6 Paul
had used heteros (another of a different kind), but here Paul
uses allos which means "another of the same kind." Jesus uses
allos to refer to the Spirit telling His disciples "I will ask the
Father, and He will give you another Helper (another Helper of
the same kind - just like you have experienced My help, teaching,
protection, comfort, the Holy Spirit will in the future provide those
things to you), that He may be with you forever." (Jn 14:16).
Spurgeon — “Another
gospel: which is not another;” for there are not two gospels, any more
than there are two gods. There is one only message from God, of good
news to men; and if you turn away from that, you turn away to a
falsehood, to that which will bring you trouble, to that which will
pervert you, and lead you astray. (Spurgeon's
Augustine - If you believe
what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don't like, it is not
the gospel you believe, but yourself.
The "gospel truth" is that we don't
change the Gospel, but the Gospel changes us! If we change the Gospel to
another "gospel," it has no power to change us. There's a saying in
Texas "Don't Mess with Texas!" Paul was not a Texan but I think if he
were, he would say "Don't Mess with the Gospel!"
Some - Probably the Judaizers.
Whoever they were they preached a message of "Bad News", a heteros
(different) "gospel" of works and legalism diametrically opposed to the
Good News of Grace found only in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
stirring up) (5015)(tarasso)
literally means to shake back and
forth and therefore to agitate and stir up (like the pool in John 5:4,7,
Lxx = Ezek 32:2, 13, Isa 51:15). To shake together, stir up, disturb,
unsettle, throw into disorder (Lxx = Ps 46; 2Sa 22:8 = of earth
shaking). In secular Greek tarasso was used of political agitators
who cause confusion and turmoil. Most of the NT uses of tarasso are figurative and
describe the state of one's mind as stirred up, agitated or experiencing
inward commotion. Tarasso is a strong word, meaning “to deeply upset,”
“to deeply disturb,” “to perplex,” or “to create fear.” Here in
Gal 1:7 (and also in Gal 5:10) tarasso describes the effect of false
doctrine on the minds and hearts of the Galatians.
False doctrine had "mentally
disturbed" the Galatians! And it will do the same for any saint who
partakes of this false fetid fair!
Tarasso - 17x in NAS - Matt
2:3; 14:26; Mark 6:50; Luke 1:12; 24:38; John 5:7; 11:33; 12:27; 13:21;
14:1, 27; Acts 15:24; 17:8, 13; Gal 1:7; 5:10; 1 Pet 3:14. Translated in
NAS - disturbed(1), disturbing(2), stirred(3), stirring(1),
Tarasso conveys the idea of to disturb mentally or to cause a
deep emotional disturbance and thus refers to an unsettled mind, as when
Herod heard of the birth of Jesus (Mt 2:3), Zacharias' fear when he saw
the angel (Lk 1:12), the terror of the disciples when they witnessed
Jesus walking on the water (Mt 14:26), Jesus' reaction to the lack of
faith among the people before He raises Lazarus (Jn 11:33), in Jesus'
command to not let their hearts be troubled (Jn 14:1) and of disturbing
the faith of someone (Gal 5:10). Tarasso emphasizes the intensity of the
Lord's reaction to His impending death (Jn 12:27) and His response to
Judas' imminent betrayal.
Tarasso in Gal 1:7 is in the
they (the "some" presumably the Judaizers) are even at
the time of the writing of this letter on the scene continually stirring up the Galatians with
their false gospel, their "heteros" gospel. The active voice
indicates that they are doing this as a definite choice which is
emphasized even more by the following verb "want."
Want (thelo) indicates
the false teachers have a desire, a motive, even a resolve to distort
the true Gospel. And again the
indicates that this was their present, continual wish and desire, that
the actions were still in progress. They are
determined to distort the truth! Wow! Watch out for false teachers!
Kenneth Wuest draws an interesting conclusion based on Paul's use of
thelo writing that "the perversion was yet only a wish of the Judaizers,
and that the Galatians had not completely succumbed to their influence."
Distort (3344) (metastrepho
from meta = change + strepho = to twist) means to turn
about or turn around. Transform into something of an opposite character.
Corrupt. Pervert. Reverse. The idea is to turn something (here the true Gospel)
to it opposite state, so altering it and causing it to be different, so that
it really no longer a gospel of Christ and of His grace. Metastrepho was
also used as a political term, with revolutionary action in view
In this passage the aorist tense
indicates a complete and thorough change or perversion of the true
Gospel of Grace! The intent of the Judaizers was to pervert Paul's
message of grace by adding salvation by works instead of by faith alone.
- It was not merely to
derange Paul's gospel of grace or to turn aside its true meaning. It was
to transform it into something diametrically opposed to what it was
originally, into something of an opposite nature. Thus the actions of
the Judaizers themselves testify to the mutual incompatibility of law
and grace. These two systems have nothing in common; as Paul says, “If
by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.
But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no
more work” (Rom. 11:6).
Pervert - to cause to turn
aside or away from what is good or true or morally right; to twist the
meaning or sense of; To turn from truth, propriety, or from its
proper purpose; to distort from its true use or end; as, to pervert
reason by misdirecting it; to alter from its original meaning or state
to a corruption of what was first intended.
Distort - to twist out of the
true meaning or proportion; to twist out of a natural, normal, or
original shape or condition. To mar or spoil by or as if by twisting.
Paul is describing Spiritual
Warfare 101! The cults in one way or another will always center
their "stealth attack" on the most vital aspect of our faith, the Gospel
The only other NT use of
metastrepho is in Acts where Peter declares...
THE SUN WILL BE
TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND
GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. (Acts 2:20)
Metastrepho - 17x in the
non-apocryphal Septuagint - Ex 14:5 (of Pharaoh having "a
change of heart") ; Deut 23:5 ("God turned the curse to
blessing"); 1 Sam 10:9 ("God changed his [Saul's] heart"); 2 Chr
36:4 ("changed his name"); Ps 66:6 ("turned the sea into
dry land"); Ps 78:44 ("turned their rivers to blood"), Ps 78:57
("They turned aside like a treacherous bow"); Ps105:25
("He turned their heart to hate His people"), Ps 105:29 ("He
turned their waters into blood"); Jer 6:12; 21:4; Lam 5:2; Hos 7:8
("like a cake not turned"); Hos 11:8 ("My heart is turned
over within Me"); Joel 2:31 (Quoted in Acts 2:20 above); Amos
8:10 ("I will turn your festivals into mourning"); Zeph
3:9 ("then I will give [turn to an opposite state] to the peoples
purified lips [instead of impure speech - this is an act of grace, and
the timing is most likely at the beginning of the
Gospel of Christ -
D L Moody on Choosing a Church
- Salvation is obtained solely by faith in Him and quite apart from any
works or human merit (Galatians 1:6-9). Be sure to find out what is
taught concerning His precious blood. Apart from that blood there can be
no remission of sins.
Ray Pritchard - The church had
to hammer out its faith on the anvil of doctrinal controversy. That's
why you find so many warnings in the New Testament concerning false
teachers in the church. Virtually every New Testament book contains one.
Some of the major references are: Matthew 24:4–5, 24; Acts 20:29–30;
Romans 16:17–19; 2 Corinthians 11:13–15; Galatians 1:6–9; Philippians
3:1–2; Colossians 2:4, 8, 18, 20–23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1–3; 1 Timothy
1:3–7; 4:1–6; 2 Timothy 3:1–9; 4:3–4; 2 Peter 2:1–3; 1 John 2:18–19; 2John 7–11; Jude 3–4; Revelation 2:6, 14–15, 20–24. Clearly, the early
church took very seriously the threat posed by those who would add to or
subtract from the original faith handed down from the apostles. (Stealth
TODAY IN THE WORD - A
second-century Christian heresy was ""rediscovered"" in 1945. That year,
archaeologists recovered a number of documents from an Egyptian
monastery, among them a book called ""The Gospel of Truth"" by a
theologian named Valentinus (or one of his followers). Once a candidate
for bishop of Rome,
Valentinus (Gnostic) was
excommunicated when he emerged as leader of a gnostic heresy. Gnosticism
denies that the spiritual has anything to do with the physical, a heresy
with which other ages of the church have also wrestled. Valentinus
interpreted the Bible in a strange, allegorical way. His teachings
blurred the line between Christianity, mysticism, philosophy and
Judaism. He rejected the incarnation, crucifixion and bodily
resurrection of Jesus. Church leaders attacked Valentinus' heretical
ideas and defended biblical truth.
Heresies and cults have always threatened the church. When falsehoods
are exposed, the church must do all it can to defend the truth. In his
epistle to the Galatians, Paul is defending the truth of Christianity
against false theology. He criticizes the Galatians for neglecting
Christian liberty and for focusing instead on the error of legalism. The
Galatians may have been startled when the apostle accused them of
turning from God (Gal 1:6). No doubt they thought they were pleasing the
Father by keeping the law, as did the Jews and Paul before his
conversion. But God had extended to the Galatians grace through Jesus
Christ, the instrument by which He brings us to salvation. The Galatians
had set aside that important truth, and distorted the simple truths of
the gospel (Gal 1:6-7)
TODAY IN THE WORD - The
neighborhood kids decided to organize themselves into a playgroup and
little Danny was their leader. All the members had bicycles and
decorated them the same way so that everyone in the neighborhood would
know who they were. When Sarah’s family moved in, she too wanted to be
part of the group. “You can join,” Danny told her, “but only if you have
a bicycle and decorate it just like ours!” This story reflects something
of the situation in Galatia. (Galatians
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!
(Even if: Ga 1:9 1Co 16:22 2Co 11:13,14 1Ti 1:19,20 Tit 3:10 Rev
22:18,19)(He is to be: Ga 3:10,13 Ge 9:25 Dt 27:15-26 Jos 9:23 1Sa 26:19 Ne 13:25 Mt
25:41 2Pe 2:14)(accursed: Mk 14:71 Ac 23:14 Ro 9:3 1Co 12:3 16:22)
But (alla) the
strongest adversative conjunction. Emphasizes how strong the contrast is
between Paul's gospel and the counterfeit.
We (plural) shows that Paul is
not alone in his strong feelings concerning the integrity of the Gospel
of grace. Indeed, we today should be just as zealous to "Guard, through
the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted
to" us (2Ti 1:14-note)
adds "He wants to show the Galatians that the controversy is not
between one teacher and another, but between truth and error."
Even if: Subjective with
ean expresses a Third class condition which views the condition as a
Spurgeon — Paul is no
fanatic, no raving enthusiast; yet he cannot endure the notion of a
false gospel. In his solemn anathema, he includes himself, and all the
brethren with him, yea, and the very angels of God if they “preach any
other gospel.” Let him be accursed, saith he, and so he is. (Spurgeon's
to announce or bring good news, to "evangelize," making known
God's message of salvation with the authority of His Word and the power
of His Holy Spirit.
Paul S. Rees - The gospel is
neither a discussion nor a debate. It is an announcement.
has the root meaning of "beside." In the present context para is used
adversatively which signifies against, contrary to or without regard for
(cf this sense in Ro 4:18, Heb 11:11).
Will Metzger - A gospel that elevates man and dethrones God is
not the gospel.
A doctored gospel by C H Spurgeon
- In “Babbage’s Economy of Manufactures,” we are told that some years
ago a mode of preparing old clover and trefoil seeds, by a process
called “doctoring,” became so prevalent as to attract the attention of
the House of Commons. By this process old and worthless seed was
rendered in appearance equal to the best. One witness tried some
“doctored” seed, and found that not above one grain in a hundred grew.
Is it not to be feared that a “doctored” gospel is becoming very common
among us; and if so, it is no wonder that conversions are but few. Only
pure truth is living seed. (The
John Marshall - God and his truth cannot be changed; the gospel
is not negotiable.
= to place, lay up) means strictly speaking something set up or placed
so as to be kept, such as a votive [free will] offering which is "set
up" in the temple. It describes that which has been dedicated to
divinity, in the positive sense as a free will offering, in the negative
sense as one delivered over to divine wrath or dedicated for
destruction! Read Acts 23:14 for a forceful illustration of the meaning
of this word. Most of the NT uses are by Paul who uses
in a negative sense of delivering ("setting up" or "placing") someone
under divine wrath or a curse, "devoted to the direst woes." (Thayer)
Vine - Anathema anathema is
translated from the Greek, occurs frequently in LXX, where it is used to
translate the Hebrew cherem, a thing devoted to God, whether, a, for His
service, as the sacrifices, Leviticus 27:28, or, b, for destruction, as
an idol, Deuteronomy 7:26, or Jericho, Joshua 6:17. Then later, cherem
took on a wider, more general meaning, the disfavor of Jehovah, see
Isaiah 34:5; Zechariah 14:11; Malachi 4:6. This latter is the New
Testament sense of anathema.
cannot refer here to ecclesiastical
excommunication, for angels are included. The epistles of Paul attach to
the word the idea of spiritual death. Its use in Romans 9:3 where Paul
says that he could wish himself accursed from Christ for his brethren’s
sake, associates it with the further idea of separation from Christ and
destruction for all eternity, which is the fate of the unsaved. The word
does not, like excommunication, pronounce a judicial sentence on
particular convicted offenders, but solemnly affirms general laws of the
spiritual kingdom. In I Corinthians 16:22, those who love not the Lord
Jesus are declared to be outcasts from the Faith.
Wayne Detzler - Not only are
all accursed who do not love the Lord, but those who preach a false
gospel are under a special curse. Paul aimed part of his Galatian letter
at counterfeiters of the Christian message. Anyone who does not preach
the same Gospel as Paul is accursed (Gal. 1:8–9). In this day of wildly
divergent theologies, it is good to remember how important Gospel purity
is. (New Testament Words in Today’s Language)
Jerry Bridges - Paul reacted
against all forms of legalism with force and focus, calling for those
who teach such lies to “be accursed” (Gal. 1:8–9) and even wishing that
those who were unsettling the Galatian Christians would “emasculate
themselves” (Gal. 5:12). This is strong language. But such attacks by
Paul do not seem shocking when we pause to consider what is at stake. By
substituting man centered performance as the basis for acquiring
righteousness, the very essence and foundation of redemptive truth is
compromised. (The Great Exchange)
Kevin Backus (Gal 1:8) - Do
Mormons believe in Jesus? Yes, make no mistake about that. But the Jesus
of Mormonism is not the Jesus of the historic Christian faith. The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints proclaims a Jesus who is
radically different from the Christ of Scripture. (The Journal of
Modern Ministry, Volume 5, Issue 1, Winter 2008)
TODAY IN THE WORD - If you
ever watch sports, you’ve seen this scenario: a time-out is called, and
the players gather breathlessly around the coach. The coach’s words are
punctuated with urgency. He doesn’t smile. He gestures emphatically at
his clipboard. The outcome of the game hangs in the balance. Paul
is like this coach on the sidelines. His words are urgent. The
situation, as he sees it, is tenuous. Paul doesn’t waste any time in his
letter to the Galatians before addressing the dire problem he sees in
their churches. False teachers have been given standing in the churches,
and the Galatians have been deceived. The error of the Galatians
actually threatens their standing in Christ. Paul accused the Galatians
of having abandoned God the Father and the gospel of Jesus Christ. They
have deserted the One who called them and embraced another gospel.
What Paul wants to emphasize is that the message that the Galatians have
now believed is really no gospel at all. The Galatians, of course,
didn’t see it that way. Most likely, the false teachers hadn’t asked the
Galatians to renounce their faith in Christ. No, their message was
probably much more subtle. They’ve criticized Paul’s ministry, trying to
discredit him and expose what they see as the error of his preaching and
teaching. They’ve elevated their teaching as the “true” gospel. To
Paul’s horror, they’ve preached the necessity of circumcision to Gentile
believers (cf. 5:2).
Paul answers back emphatically: May all of God’s curses fall on them, or
on anyone in fact who preaches anything other than the gospel of Jesus
Christ! Paul was not going to cede any ground to these false teachers.
He would not compromise the gospel, nor would he give up on the
Galatians so easily.
What we start to see in this letter is Paul as a man who’s fiercely
committed to the Galatians and who wants to secure their total
commitment to Christ. Like a coach explaining a key play in the game,
Paul carefully outlined an argument in his letter for the true gospel of
Beecher - No matter how
infidel philosophers may regard the Bible: they may say that Genesis is
awry, and that the Psalms are more than half bitter imprecations, and
the Prophecies only the fantasies of brain-bewildered men, and the
Gospels weak laudations of an impostor, and the Epistles but the letters
of a mad Jew, and that the whole book has had its day, I shall cling to
it until they show me a better revelation. The Bible emptied, effete,
worn out! If all the wisest men of the world were placed man to man,
they could not sound the shallowest depth of the Gospel of John. O
philosophers! break the shell, and fly out, and let me hear how you can
sing,—not of passion, I know that already; not of worldly power, I hear
that everywhere: but teach me, through your song, how to find joy in
sorrow, strength in weakness, and light in darkest days; how to bear
buffeting and scorn; how to welcome death, and to pass, through its
ministration, into the sphere of life; and this, not for me only, but
for the whole world that groans and travails in pain. And, until you can
do this, speak not to me of a better revelation.
But even IF
As we have before said, and now
again I say, IF
we or a heavenly
preach a gospel to you
Anyone is preaching
a gospel to you
besides that which we
which you received
let him be accursed.
let him be accursed
As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching
to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
(so: 2Co 1:17 13:1,2 Php 3:1 4:4)(Contrary: Dt 4:2 Dt 12:32
Dt 13:1-11 Pr 30:6 Rev 22:18,19)
We have said before
from pro = before +
lego = to say, declare) means literally to say before, to foretell
or predict, to speak in advance. Foretell or predict in the sense of
prophetically (Mt 24:25, Mk 13:23, Acts 1:16, Ro 9:29, 1Th 3:4, Heb 4:7,
2Pe 3:2). In the simple sense of something that someone has said to
someone before, so that it represents a repetition. (2Cor 7:3, Jude
1:17). Something spoken before as a warning (that a future event is
dangerous) (2Cor 13:2, Gal 5:21, 1Th 3:4 - both a foretelling and a
The use of prolego here in Gal
1:9 emphasizes that Paul had spoken to the Galatians before (since it is
used contrast to the word "now") about the dangers of a false
gospel and the destruction decreed to those who propounded it.
Furthermore, Paul used the
which points to the abiding authority of that say previously-what Paul
had said in the past still stands. The verb expresses the communication
of authorized Christian teaching (Guthrie).
- 13x - Translated - foretold(2), forewarned(1), previously said(1),
said before(3), spoken beforehand(2), told...in advance(2),
Matthew 24:25 "Behold, I have told
you in advance.
Mark 13:23 "But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in
Acts 1:16 "Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy
Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who
became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.
Romans 9:29 And just as Isaiah foretold, "UNLESS THE LORD OF
SABAOTH HAD LEFT TO US A POSTERITY, WE WOULD HAVE BECOME LIKE SODOM, AND
WOULD HAVE RESEMBLED GOMORRAH."
2 Corinthians 7:3 I do not speak to condemn you, for I have said
before that you are in our hearts to die together and to live
2 Corinthians 13:2 I have previously said when present the second
time, and though now absent I say in advance to those who have sinned in
the past and to all the rest as well, that if I come again I will not
Vine: the idea is not so much
that he had prophesied a certain result if such things were permitted,
but that he had told them, and now repeated his warning, of the
inevitable consequence of permitting such things.
Galatians 1:9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any
man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to
Galatians 5:21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these,
of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that
those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Vine: the meaning in Gal. 5:21
is not so much that Paul prophesied the result of the practice of the
evils mentioned but that he had told them before of the consequence and
was now repeating his warning, as leaving no possible room for doubt or
1Thess 3:4 For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you
in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it
came to pass, as you know.
Vine: the subject told before
was the affliction consequent upon the preaching of the Gospel
1 Thessalonians 4:6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother
in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just
as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.
Vine: the warning was as to
the consequences of whatsoever violates chastity.
Hebrews 4:7 He again fixes a certain day, "Today," saying through David
after so long a time just as has been said before, "TODAY
IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS."
2 Peter 3:2 that you should remember the words spoken
beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and
Savior spoken by your apostles.
Jude 1:17 But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were
spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,
If - not ean
which would signify an unfulfilled condition, but ei which
speaks of a fulfilled condition (see Vine's comment).
Vine comments on the phrase "is
preaching to you"
whereas in the previous verse the
verb is in the subjunctive mood, here it is in the indicative; the
former is purely hypothetical, = “if by any chance anyone should
preach,” whereas the latter is more direct and concrete, = “if, as a
matter of fact, anyone is preaching.”
WE PREACHED Gal 1:8
YOU RECEIVED Gal 1:9
from para = beside +
lambano = appropriate, receive) means to receive from another, to
receive alongside or to take to oneself (into close association). There
are two basic ideas - to take or to receive. To receive something
transmitted, as spiritual instruction or truth (see 1Cor 11:23, Gal 1:9)
or a ministry (Col 4:17-note).
Paralambano also meant to take someone along as a traveling companion.
Vine adds that "The gospel for
which he was so jealous was not merely that which he had proclaimed at
the outset, it was that which they had accepted, which had lightened
their darkness, and freed them from their sins, cp. 1 Corinthians 15:1.
Robertson says paralambano was
"a common verb meaning to welcome." We see this use in Paul's epistle to
1Thess 2:13 (note)
And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received
(paralambano) from us the word of God’s message, you accepted (dechomai)
it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God,
which also performs its work in you who believe.
The Galatians had appropriated Paul's
Gospel for themselves, even as a host would extend a warm welcome to a
guest (this is another sense of paralambano). Paralambano also means to
receive as authoritative teaching what was passed on. Cleon Rogers says
"The word corresponds to the technical term in the rabbinical
literature, quibbel, meaning to receive tradition which has been passed
on. (New Linguistic & Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament )
Anathema - Why the repetition?
Vine suggests "the repetition of the curse shows he had pronounced it
not passionately but deliberately, as a matter not of feeling but of
John Piper - Scripture
alone is the final authority for revealing and defining the gospel of
Chuck Swindoll - I don’t think
there is any disagreement . . . the man was hot!
Jay Adams, Christian psychologist
- Self-esteem doctrine is a Christian heresy which is an enemy of the
true good news. Self-esteem is a modern form of the ancient heresy of
Pelagianism which Augustine and the
James Scudder - Living Water
Devotional - Making It Clear - Galatians 1:8-9 1 Corinthians 14:8
Have you ever tried to speak to someone who didn't understand your
language? When I travel, I frequently encounter this problem. I forget
that the entire world does not speak English. I will only get a smile or
a blank stare. No matter how vital my conversation is, the other person
cannot comprehend it. When we share the Gospel with people, we often
speak in a language that the unsaved cannot comprehend. We talk with
words that they've never heard. The Apostle Paul stressed in his letters
that we must make the presentation of the Gospel as clear as crystal.
Often, we add confusing terms and conditions that only confuse the
issue. This reminds me of a story about the Chevy Nova. This was a
moderately successful American car for many years. The company,
encouraged by the sales, began marketing this vehicle throughout the
world. Unfortunately, the car didn't sell so well in Spanish-speaking
countries. The company could not figure out the reason for the decline
in sales. That was, until they discovered that the word "Nova" in
Spanish means, "no go." Not a very good name for a mode of
transportation. When we confuse terminology in presenting the Gospel, we
may be sending a false message to the world without realizing it. That
is why it is so important to present a clear gospel message every time
we share our faith with someone. We want to make sure we are speaking
their language. I do not frustrate the grace of God. = Galatians2:21
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving
to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a
bond-servant of Christ. (now: Ac 4:19,20 5:29 2Co
5:9-11 1Th 2:4)(seeking favor: 1Sa 21:7 Mt 28:14 Ac 12:20 Ro 2:8:
1Jn 3:9)(seek: 2Co 12:19 1Th 2:4)(for if: Mt 22:16 Ro
15:1,2 1Co 10:33 Eph 6:6 Col 3:22 Jas 4:4)(bondservant: Ro 1:1)
Wuest paraphrase - For, am I at this
present moment seeking to win the favor of men rather than the approval
of God? Or, am I making it my business to be constantly pleasing men? If
I still were pleasing men, in that case, Christ’s bondslave I would not
For (gar) is a term of
explanation (always stop and determine "What is being explained?" See
term of explanation).
In this case "For introduces a justification of the severe language just
used." (Vincent) He is going to justify why he is speaking so strongly.
Vine explains Paul's use of "now
(arti)" - the contrast is not with his life before his conversion,
when, indeed, he showed no conciliatory spirit, but rather with the
general course of his ministry. His traducers (those seeking to expose
Paul to shame by means of his having misrepresented himself) suggested
that he was a trimmer (one who modifies a policy or position out of
expediency) who sought to ingratiate (gain favor for) himself by
“becoming all things to all men,” 1 Corinthians 9:22. In support of this
contention they could point to the circumcision of Timothy as a bid for
Jewish favor, and to his repudiation of law as an attempt to conciliate
the Gentiles. So the emphasis is thrown on “now,” as though he
would say, “never mind the past, at least in this repeated statement my
meaning is not to be mistaken or misrepresented.”
Seeking the favor
means to cause to come to a particular point of view or course of
action. To win over. To persuade. To bring about a change of one's mind
by the influence of reason or of moral considerations (cp 2Cor 5:11-note,
Acts 13:43 urge).
PLEASING MEN OR
Am I striving to please men -
Before his conversion this was undoubtedly Paul's aim. "Is what I have
just now said a sample of men-pleasing, of which I am accused?"
(Jamieson) "I have been charged with conciliating (seeking to gain
as goodwill by pleasing acts) men. Does this anathema of mine look like
it? Is it a time for conciliatory words now, when Judaizing emissaries
are troubling you (Gal 1:7) and persuading you to forsake the true
but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the
gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines
Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be
pleasing to Him.
George MacDonald - When one
has learned to seek the honour that cometh from God only, he will take
the withholding of the honour that cometh by man very lightly indeed. ()
Puritan Thomas Watson - Do not
preach so much to please as to profit. Choose rather to discover men’s
sins than to show your own eloquence. That is the best looking-glass,
not which is most gilded but which shows the truest face.
Spurgeon — He would not
be the servant of Christ if he pleased men. Those whom we try to please,
are our masters. If a man tries to please the populace, or to please the
refined few, these are his masters, and he will be their flare; but if
he tries to please his God, then is he a free man indeed. (Spurgeon's
Not men but God - The answer
of course is God is the One he was striving to please. How can fallen
men be pleasing to a Holy God? This is something that can only be done
as one relies on the enabling power of the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:8-note,
Are you relying on your own strength to please God or have you come to
the point where you recognize the futility of the flesh to do anything
pleasing to God and so you throw your weight so to speak in total
dependence on the Spirit? Paul had learned this secret through easy
times and hard times (Read Php 4:11, 12-note)
so that he could finally conclude from experience...
I can do (present
= continually) all things (Paul's
responsibility as well as each believer's responsibility) through Christ
Who strengthens (God's provision -
= CONTINUALLY infuses with
dynamic power, supernatural power, His power via His indwelling Spirit
in) me. (Php 4:13-note)
Wiersbe - When Verdi produced
his first opera in Florence, the composer stood by himself in the
shadows and kept his eye on the face of one man in the audience-the
great Rossini. It mattered not to Verdi whether the people in the hall
were cheering him or jeering him; all he wanted was a smile of approval
from the master musician. So it was with Paul. He knew what it was to
suffer for the Gospel, but the approval or disapproval of men did not
move him. “Therefore also we have as our ambition... to be pleasing to
Him” (2Co 5:9). Paul wanted the approval of Christ. The servant of God
is constantly tempted to compromise in order to attract and please men.
When D. L. Moody was preaching in England, a worker came to him on the
platform and told him that a very important nobleman had come into the
hall. “May the meeting be a blessing to him!” was Moody’s reply, and he
preached just as before, without trying to impress anybody. Paul was not
a politician; he was an ambassador. His task was not to “play politics”
but to proclaim a message. These Judaizers, on the other hand, were
cowardly compromisers who mixed Law and grace, hoping to please both
Jews and Gentiles, but never asking whether or not they were pleasing
Bondservant of Christ - One
who seeks to please the Master in all things (See Eph 6:6-note,
When we submit to Christ as Master, we will not be popular with men, a
fact Paul knew all too well, for immediately after entering the bond
service of Christ, his former friends took counsel to kill him (Acts
9:23), and persecution for the sake of Christ had not ceased even as he
wrote this epistle (Read Gal 5:11). Beloved, if we truly yield to Him as
Master, we can expect similar treatment! Paul preached the genuine
gospel, the "real thing," which did not curry people’s favor nor please
but instead brought him great suffering. In marked contrast, his
opponents’ false (man pleasing) "gospel" helped them avoid suffering!
This begs several questions
- "Have I ever been "persecuted" for the message my life and lips
preach? Is my Gospel the same as Paul's Gospel? Am I seeking to please
fallen men on earth or my exalted Father Who is in Heaven?"
from deo =
to bind) is an individual bound to another in servitude. Doulos conveys
the idea of the slave's close, binding ties with his master, belonging
to him, obligated to him, desiring to do his will and in a permanent
relation of servitude. In sum, the will of the
is consumed in the will of the master. Indeed, a
is one who surrendered wholly to another’s will and thus devoted to
another to the disregard of his own interest. Paul was not his own but
had been bought with the price of the blood of Christ (1Cor 6:19-note,
He was now and forever the property of our
(Kurios means "Master")
and was His slave exclusively. No man can serve two masters (Mt 6:24-note).
Paul (as have all of believers before regeneration) had been a slave to
the harsh task master,
(who desires to reign and
gives orders to "lust"
cf Ro 6:11, 12, 13, 14-note
- see note on
by their birth into Adam's likeness (Ro 5:12NLT), but now they are
slaves of Christ by their new, second birth. They had no will of their
own, no business of their own, no time of their own and were acting for
their Master, Christ; dependent upon Him and obedient to Him.
Somerville writes - The
success syndrome says that you must achieve your own goals; you must
achieve the approval of men. God says we must choose to seek to please
Him. Rather than seeking to be a man pleaser, I need to be like Paul,
who did not seek the favor of men but God. (The Journal of Modern
Ministry, Volume 2, Issue 2, Spring 2005)
Swindoll - There was a time in
my ministry, many years ago, when a single verse of Scripture jolted me
back to a place of confidence, delivering me from the trap of telling a
group of influential people what they wanted to hear. I realize now it
was a turning point in my leadership pilgrimage from “slave to others”
to “servant of Christ.” It reads, “For am I now seeking the favor of
men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying
to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ” (Galatians
1:10). A leader who wants to be respected can afford flattery no more
than he can deception. As someone once said, “I don’t know the secret of
success, but I do know the secret of failure— try to please everybody!”
(Start where you are)
Swindoll - "The Conviction:
Nonconformity of the Christian Upheld -
A. Those who seek to please
only God become invincible within. When we serve the Lord diligently,
our minds and hearts will not wander or become victimized by spiritual
counterfeits. Our souls will become like steel, firmly cemented in the
foundation of the Christian gospel. How solid is your foundation? Is it
reinforced with a commitment of steel, bent on pleasing God only? Can it
withstand the weight of counterfeits? Or does it crumble under pressure?
If so, maybe you need to take an engineer's look at your life to
determine whether pleasing God is truly an undergirding motivation (2
B. Those who stop striving to please people are not intimidated
There will always be those who try to lead us astray. But if our lives
are centered on pleasing God rather than people, we will be able to
stand strong when the lures come our way. Are you able to look
intimidation in the face and stare it down?...
C. Those who are true servants of Christ think and act
independently." (Quote from Paul Apple)
WHAT OTHERS THINK - Am I trying to please man? (GALATIANS 1:10) -
Often we don’t enjoy our freedom in Christ because we’re afraid of what
others will think. We do or don’t do certain things because of a fear
that we’ll be judged by others. But standing firm in our freedom in
Christ means resisting that fear. In Galatians, Paul wrote, “Am I now
seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If
I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ”
(Galatians 1:10). I had to learn this lesson the hard way. Surprisingly
soon after the death of my first wife, God brought into my life another
godly lady—a single woman who had been a family friend for many years.
As our friendship deepened into a romantic relationship, I became
concerned about what people would think. I knew I would be violating the
culturally accepted maxim of “don’t make any major decisions the first
year.” I also sensed an inner compulsion in my spirit, which I felt was
from God, to move ahead. My journal during those days records numerous
times when I struggled with God over this issue. One day I wrote, “I
wonder if God is pushing me along faster in this relationship than I
want to go because of fear of what people will think.” I’d put God in
the box of our culturally accepted norm. Surely He wouldn’t do anything
in my life that would be unacceptable to my friends. God was actually
doing a wonderful thing, but instead of fully enjoying His work of
grace, I was struggling with Him because of what people might think. If
you’re going to experience the joy of your freedom in Christ, you have
to decide whether you’ll please God or people. (Jerry Bridges - Holiness
Day by Day: Transformational Thoughts for Your Spiritual Journey)
The Mouth of Gold - His name
was John of Antioch, but history knows him as Chrysostom, a word which
means “Mouth of Gold.” His sermons in the fourth century are among the
most eloquent in the history of the church. He was the Billy Graham of
his day, combining careful exegesis of Scripture with incisive moral
application to everyday life. His popular sermons were taken down in
shorthand as he preached them and have been preserved through the
centuries, making him the most quoted of the church’s ancient preachers.
But Chrysostom often found himself in the crosshairs of Roman rulers who
resented his powerful and unflinching message. In such times, he kept
Galatians 1:10 close to his heart. His archenemy was the Empress Eudoxia.
Furious over Chrysostom’s attacks on sin, she determined to rid
Constantinople of him. He countered by preaching a blistering sermon
about Elijah and Jezebel with obvious overtones. Eudoxia struck back and
Chrysostom found himself deposed and shipped into exile. But the people
of Constantinople rioted, angrily insisting on the preacher’s return. At
the same time an earthquake shook the city. Eudoxia, trembling, admitted
defeat, and Chrysostom returned in triumph. He later expressed his
feelings in these words: "When I was driven from the city, I felt no
anxiety, but said to myself: If the empress wishes to banish me, let her
do so. The earth is the Lord’s. If she wants to have me sawn asunder, I
have Isaiah for an example. If she wants me to be drowned in the ocean,
I think of Jonah. If I am to be thrown into the fire, the three men in
the furnace suffered the same. If cast before wild beasts, I remember
Daniel in the lions’ den. If she wants me to be stoned, I have before me
Stephen, the first martyr. If she demands my head, let her do so; John
the Baptist shines before me. Paul reminds me, “If I still pleased men,
I would not be the servant of Christ.”"
Our Daily Bread - At one point
in his ministry, English evangelist George Whitefield (1714-1770)
received a vicious letter accusing him of wrongdoing. His reply was
brief and courteous: "I thank you heartily for your letter. As for what
you and my other enemies are saying against me, I know worse things
about myself than you will ever say about me. With love in Christ,
George Whitefield." He didn't try to defend himself. He was much more
concerned about pleasing the Lord. Such an attitude prevailed in the
life of the apostle Paul. He said, "For if I still pleased men, I would
not be a bondservant of Christ" (Gal. 1:10). He also prayed that the
Colossian believers would be "fully pleasing" to God (Col. 1:10). If we
are faithfully serving Christ, we don't need to waste time defending
ourselves when harsh, hurtful, and untrue things are said about us. We
can take comfort in knowing that we are walking "worthy of the Lord"
What God knows about us is more
than what people say about us.
TODAY IN THE WORD - Since it
was selected for Oprah's Book Club, New-Age spiritual leader Eckhart
Tolle's book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, has sold
over 3.5 million copies. When Tolle and Oprah launched a series of
“webinars,” over two million people participated. Tolle preaches a
message that many people want to hear. According to Tolle, our basic
problem is living out of our “false” self, which is ego-centered.
Overcoming our false self involves discovering our “oneness” with God,
who is everywhere and in everyone. Thus finding God and finding our true
self is essentially the same thing, because God is in us, just as He is
in everyone. It's easy to see why Tolle's message is so successful: the
hard truth about sin and judgment is nowhere to be found. The situation
wasn't much different in Paul's day. There were plenty of traveling
philosophers who went from town to town preaching whatever people wanted
to hear and often making good money by doing so. Speakers were
considered to be good if they could persuade, not necessarily if they
told the truth. Such individuals often used clever-sounding arguments or
trickery, but when their deception was discovered, they frequently had
to leave town quickly. Apparently, some in Thessalonica were accusing
Paul of doing the same thing. They may have noted that Paul had to flee
Philippi just as he had left Thessalonica. This probably explains why
Paul defends himself and his ministry at several points in 1
Thessalonians, including today's passage.
Henry Blackaby - Pleasing God,
Pleasing Others.—Galatians 1:10 - At times you will have to make a
choice between pleasing God and pleasing those around you, for God's
ways are not man's ways (Isa. 55:8–9). As important as it is to strive
for good relations with others, it is even more important to maintain a
steadfast and obedient relationship with Christ. Disobeying God to keep
peace with other people is never wise. Peace with God is always
paramount. Jesus warned that obeying Him might cause division in your
relationships (Matt. 10:35–36). If Paul's primary goal had been to
please others, he would never have become an apostle of Jesus Christ.
Paul went completely against the wishes of his colleagues in order to
obey Christ. At times, obedience to God sets family members at odds with
each other (Matt. 10:35–36). When you follow Jesus' Lordship, your
family may misunderstand, or even oppose you, yet your obedience to God
reflects your identity as His child. Jesus said that those who obey His
will are His brothers and sisters (Luke 8:21). God does not intend to
divide the home, but He places obedience before domestic harmony. It is
important to get alone in quietness with God so that you understand what
pleases Him. The world's thinking will mislead you more easily when you
are not clear about what God desires. It broke Peter's heart to know
that the opinion of a servant girl had mattered more to him than the
approval of his Lord! If the desire to appease others tempts you to
compromise what you know God wants you to do, learn from Peter's
mistake. Determine that you will please your Lord regardless of the
opinions of others. (Experiencing God Day by Day)
James Scudder - Living Water -
Devotional - Dressing Up Sin - Galatians 1:10 - A man in a beat-up
Volkswagen once scraped the side of a brand-new Porsche as he got out of
his car at a parking lot. Noticing several people watching, he quickly
took out a piece of paper and pen and began writing a note. When he was
done, he placed it on the windshield. Do you know what it said, "The
people watching think that I'm writing down my name and address, but I'm
really not." How many times are we more concerned with our image than
with our character? We live in an age shaped by opinion polls and
surveys rather than by principle. The president, before making a tough
decision, calls in his advisors and asks, "What will the media say? How
will the people react?" Business leaders weigh their decisions by their
effect on the bottom line. There's an old saying, "Be good and you'll
look good." I think that is very true. Sometimes we work so hard on the
impression we're giving but ignore our real spiritual needs inside. It
is important to have a good testimony, but more important to have
genuine Christian character. Even if you're the best at putting on a
show, the real you is eventually revealed. People and polls are not our
final authority. Our main objective is to please God. When we do that,
our image will not only be good, but also genuine.
Character is what you are in the dark.
-D. L. Moody
For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached
by me is not according to man. (that: Gal 1:1 1Co 2:9,10,
11:23 1Cor 15:1-3 Eph 3:3-8) Other Resources: (John
Brown's exposition of Gal 1:11)
Eadie's exposition of Gal 1:11)
PAUL THE CPA
"Certified Public Apostle"
For - Paul continues his
explanation of his credentials as an apostle.
Wiersbe explains - Paul’s
enemies pointed to his nonconformity as proof that his message and
ministry were not really of God. “He claims to be an apostle,” they
argued, “but he does not stand in the apostolic tradition.” It is this
misrepresentation that Paul answers in this section of Galatians. His
nonconformity was divinely deliberate. God had chosen to reveal
Himself in a different way to Paul.
Have you know (KJV = certify) (gnorizo)
means make known with certainty, to certify (thus KJV = "I certify").
Gnorizo was is used to introduce matters of great importance (1Cor 12:3;
15:1; 2Cor 8:1) Paul is defending his authority as an apostle and
the authenticity of his message and so he uses this emphatic word so as
to leave no doubt in his hearers that what follows is "gospel truth," so
to speak! In context, gnorizo also conveys the sense of reminding
the Galatians of truths regarding which they had already become
R A Cole - What follows is a
declaration of more than usual solemnity. Paul has a variety of ways
with which he introduces such ‘statements at law’; this is one of them.
Once again, it is noteworthy that the apostle does not try to defend
some theological position; he simply appeals to the sort of gospel which
they, as well as he, know to have been preached in Galatia with
well-remembered results. (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries)
Spurgeon — Paul foresaw
what would be said about him in the after ages; and truly, to this day,
the fiercest attack upon Christianity is always made upon the teaching
of the apostle Paul. The men who creep in unawares among us talk glibly
about having great reverence for Christ, but none for Paul. Yet Paul is
Christ’s apostle; Paul speaks only what was personally revealed to him
by the Lord himself; and he is in everything to be accepted as speaking
by divine revelation. (Spurgeon's
To certify (KJV) - to
attest authoritatively: to confirm or attest as being true or as
represented or as meeting a standard. To guarantee that the required
standards have been met. "I certify to you with certainty" In other
words, a certified statement of facts is about to follow..
MacArthur adds that gnorizo
"was often used, as here, to introduce an important and emphatic
statement that immediately followed. In vernacular English the phrase
could be rendered, “Let me make it perfectly clear.”
Lehman Strauss - His opponents
argued that Paul was not of the original twelve who met with the risen
Christ before His ascension, therefore he could not possibly be one of
Christ's true apostles. It is the old satanic method of discrediting the
man. The devil used this same approach against Job (Job 1:9).
means literally from the same womb. Adelphos (here in the plural) is a
reminder that they were members of the same family, Paul's
brethren, who are in Christ with the same Father (1Jn 3:1-note).
KJV Bible Commentary - They
are deceived, disturbed, and defecting in their devotion and duty to
Christ. But they are still regarded as brethren, brethren needing Paul’s
The Gospel which was preached (euaggelizo/euangelizo) by
me (Literally, "the gospel gospelled by me") - "Paul uses the word
“gospel” of two closely allied but quite distinct things, a,
of the facts of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
as in 1 Corinthians 15:1–3; b, of the interpretation of
these facts, as in Gal 1:8; 2:2, and here, cp. “my gospel” in Romans
2:16, et al. In a the gospel is viewed historically, in
b doctrinally. Not the facts but the interpretation of them
was in dispute among the Galatians. Hence b is the meaning here."
Not according to man ("It
rests on no human foundation" - Barclay; "something that man made up."
NIV) - The Greek word for "not" is "ou," the strongest adverb to negate
an allegation. Paul is seeking to "set the record straight!" The gospel
I preach is not "man-made." "I did not invent it or alter it!" It is not
according to a human standard and is not even in harmony with ideas of
men! Human wisdom would not come with such a message. By implication,
this message is completely divine in origin, and as such it counters all
theories of salvation contrived by the fleshly wisdom of fallen men (who
in some form always add works as a means of attaining salvation; i.e., a
works based righteousness, a "religion" instead of a "relationship.")
"Both his mission and his message are independent of man, both received
by direct divine revelation." (KJV Bible Commentary)
"Not after a human standard and so he
does not try to conform to the human ideal. Paul alone (1Cor 3:3; 9:8;
15:32; Ro 3:15) in the NT uses this old and common idiom." (A T
Paul is dominated by a Gospel that is
God and grace centered.
Man is dominated by a "Gospel" that
is man and works centered.
MacArthur - The gospel
Paul preached was not human in origin or it would have been like all
other human religion, permeated with works righteousness born of man’s
pride and Satan’s deception...Man’s sinful pride is offended by the idea
that only God’s mercy and grace can save him from sin, and he therefore
insists on having a part in his own salvation. The very fact that Paul
preached a message of salvation in which works play absolutely no part
was itself evidence that his message was from God and not…man.
John Piper - The point of
Galatians 1:11–24 is to argue that Paul was not a second-hander. He was
not a Johnny-come-lately to the apostolic band. He argues that there is
enough public information about his life before and after his encounter
with the living Christ that no one can reasonably assert that he is a
second-hander. He makes a persuasive case (as we saw last week) that his
apostleship and his gospel came to him independently from the Jerusalem
apostles, and that he stands on an equal footing before Christ with
Peter, James, and John.
Religion Or Relationship? -
Two kinds of religion exist in our world: Religion A and Religion B. The
first is “faith” in name only (2 Tim. 3:5). It’s the outward practice of
Christianity without genuine faith in the living Lord.
Religion B, on the other hand, is a life-transforming, destiny-changing
experience. It’s a definite commitment to the crucified and risen
Savior, which establishes an ongoing personal relationship between a
forgiven sinner and a gracious God.
This difference explains why for many years British author C. S. Lewis
had such great difficulty in becoming a Christian. Religion A had
blinded him to Religion B. According to his brother Warren, his
conversion was “no sudden plunge into a new life, but rather a slow,
steady convalescence from a deep-seated spiritual illness—an illness
that had its origins in our childhood, in the dry husks of religion
offered by the semi-political churchgoing of Ulster, and the similar
dull emptiness of compulsory church during our school days.”
Are you bogged down in the empty ritual of Religion A? If so, you must
receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Then make sure your relationship
with Christ is growing deeper and more vital every day.— by Vernon C.
You only are true life—
To know You is to live
The more abundant life
That earth can never give.
You can have tons of religion
without one ounce of salvation!
For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received
it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Brown's exposition of Gal 1:12)
Eadie's exposition of Gal 1:12)
RECEIVED NOT CONCEIVED!
This verse is straightforward.
Regarding the Gospel Paul preached, no man gave it to him or teach him,
but it came for a direct "Coram Deo" (before the face of God) encounter,
an encounter with the resurrected, ascended, glorified Christ, Whose
radiant majesty blinded Paul (Acts 9:5-7,8,9). It is notable that the
revelation of Jesus Christ was only to Paul and not to those who were
with him (Acts 9:7).
I - This is the specific
pronoun ego which adds emphasis (because a separate
pronoun was not needed for the verb received which by itself is
translated "I received.")
discussion by John Brown)
John Stott - This is why Paul
dared to call the gospel he preached ‘my gospel’ (cf. Rom. 16:25). It
was not ‘his’ because he had made it up but because it had been uniquely
revealed to him. The magnitude of his claim is remarkable. He is
affirming that his message is not his message but God’s message, that
his gospel is not his gospel but God’s gospel, that his words are not
his words but God’s words.
- Paul uses the personal
pronoun here to show that he is laying emphasis upon the special
education he had received for his ministry of the gospel. He had not,
like his converts, learnt it from human teachers, but by direct
communion with God, as the Twelve had learnt it from Christ’s teaching.
Paul is studiously careful to show his independence of the Twelve....The
entire tenor of this section indicates that Paul’s commission had been
declared inferior to that of the Twelve, and that he had this in
view when he was defending his apostleship from the attacks of the
(oute) are the strongest Greek words for negating what follows.
He absolutely denied reception from a man (e.g., he had heard
Stephen's sermon in Acts 7) or teaching by a man. The gospel of Christ
is not a gospel "after man."
Harrison comments on the
contrasting "but" - Paul's repeated "but" carries the antithesis
of a crisis experience. No trends here; no groping for something better.
He knows himself taken out of the column of self-effort (Php 3:3) and
flesh-confidence to the column of God's beneficiaries in the bestowment
of His righteousness. It was a clear-cut break with OUR SIDE over to HIS
Comment: As an aside, always
take time to study the
terms of contrast
(but, yet, on the other hand) - Observe carefully and interrogate the
with the 5W/H questions),
asking questions like what the writer is contrasting? why now? how does
it impact the flow of the argument? when does it occur? who is being
speaks of communication received directly from another. - See other use
of paralambano in Gal 1:9.
For this reason (Stop! Always ask
"What reason?" which will force you to re-read preceding context) I,
Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles-- if
indeed you have heard of the stewardship (Paul was "appointed manager"
over the Gospel and knew he would be held accountable one day by the
"Owner", his Master, Jesus Christ! Talk about motivation!) of God's
grace (The Message of the Gospel of Grace, the same one he had
preached in Galatia) which was given to me for you; that by revelation
there was made known to me the mystery (believing Jews and Gentiles
would be equal heirs in the one body of Christ, the Church), as I wrote
before in brief. (Eph 3:1-3)
know or teach; English = didactic) means to provide instruction or
information in a formal or informal setting. While the reception of
specific teaching was the primary means most of the believers as well as
the Christian teachers of Paul's day received the Gospel of Grace, such
was NOT the case with Paul.
John MacArthur makes the
excellent point that Paul's reception of the Gospel from Jesus was "in
contrast to the Judaizers, who received their religious instruction from
tradition. Most Jews did not
study the actual Scriptures; instead they used human interpretations
of Scripture as their religious authority and guide. Many of their
traditions not only were not taught in Scripture but also contradicted
it (Mk 7:13).
Comment: Dr MacArthur's preceding explanation begs the question,
beloved student of God's Word -- Do I go directly to the Word of God to
be taught Truth by the Holy Spirit, the Author of the Holy Word? If not,
can I honestly, accurately comment on the veracity of the commentaries?
I am thankful you are reading these notes. I try to be as diligent as
possible in rightly dividing the Word of Truth (because I have a strong
fear of doing otherwise - all teachers read 2Ti 2:15-note,
Jas 3:1, Pr 30:6-note),
but only the Word is inerrant and infallible. So be sure to perform your
of the Scriptures so that you can discern whether these or any other
commentator's notes are an accurate
inspired inerrant Word!
THE GOSPEL OF GRACE:
NOT MAN'S REASONING
BUT GOD'S REVELATION
from apó = from + kalúpto = cover, conceal, English =
apocalypse) literally means "cover from" and so the idea is to remove
that which conceals something. Apokalupsis conveys the idea of "taking
the lid off," removing the cover and exposing to open view that which
was heretofore not visible, known or disclosed. In all its uses,
revelation refers to something or someone, once hidden, becoming visible
and now made fully known. In this case it was the Gospel which had been
a mystery to Paul until he had been regenerated and given specific
revelation from Jesus, the Highest Authority! The gospel was not an
invention, or a tradition, but a revelation. How then could the
Galatians question his own authority and the authenticity of the Gospel
Vine says Paul got "a direct
communication of the mind of God."
What the Christian faith needs is a
return to its birthright -- the authoritative revelation.
Take it, or leave it! That is, leave
- Revelation therefore
is the act of God the Holy Spirit uncovering to the Bible writers truth
incapable of being discovered by man’s unaided reason, this revelation
being accompanied by the imparted ability to understand what is
Criswell: "This message is a
sermon on dogmatism, on finality, on authoritarianism, which is an
unusual message to hear today in the midst of our studied broad-minded
liberalism... The revelation of the Lord is not double-faced nor is it
deceptively speculative. It is not as though we were selecting opinions.
It is not as though we were in dilemmas choosing theories. It is not as
though we were listening to blind, metaphysical gropings. The sound of
the trumpet is clear in the Word of God. It is final. It is superlative,
never comparative. The authoritarianism of the Gospel! 'My brethren,
though I or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than
ye have heard, anathama esto. Let him be accursed.' One faith, one Lord,
one baptism, one God and Father for us all, one Book, one way -- just
(Quote from Paul Apple)
Of Jesus Christ - That is to
say Christ was the One who did the revealing of the Gospel to Paul. Most
commentators favor that the time of this revelation of the gospel of
grace to Paul was during his sojourn in Arabia (Gal 1:17) which served
to supplement his initial revelation on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:3-22).
Recall that in Gal 1:1 Paul had asserted the divine origin of his
apostolic mission and now adds that his message was also of divine
origin. Neither his mission nor his message had been from man, but both
were from God! God also spoke to Paul at Corinth (Acts 18:9), at
Jerusalem (Acts 23:11), and even in the instructions concerning the
Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:23).
John Phillips comments on
Paul's Damascus Road encounter with Jesus
"I am Jesus!" the voice had said
(Acts 9:5). His instant response had been to enthrone Him. "Lord, what
wilt thou have me to do?" (Acts 22:10) He was already a saved man when
he said that, saved and ready to serve his new found Lord to the end. It
had all been of grace. The risen Jesus had extended unmerited favor to
him, the chief of sinners. That was what had saved him! Grace and grace
alone! In a flash, the light dawned. It was not law; it was
grace. It was not works; it was simple faith. It was
not Moses; it was Christ. It was not Sinai; it was
Calvary. It was not to be earned; it was to be received.
It was not trying; it was trusting. It was not by means of
the rules and rituals of religion, however hedged about
with both truth and tradition; it was by means of the undeserved,
undiluted, undying grace of God. His gospel was received on the
Damascus road "by the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Noel Due - It came not through
the agency of man, but through a revelation of the man, Jesus Christ. We
must allow the word ‘revelation’ to have its full force. The gospel was
not apprehended by Paul’s intellect, or attained by his moral power.
Rather it was a revelation, a sovereign work of God in unveiling the
truth to him. (Galatians Commentary)
KJV Bible Commentary on the
phrase "of Jesus Christ" - This can mean either Christ is
revealing or Christ is revealed; both interpretations make good
sense....Christ revealed Himself to Paul. Christ was the subject, sum,
and substance of that revelation with the result that Paul became a new
man with a new message to proclaim. Paul was not a man-made apostle. He
received his commission and his message from Christ.
Puritan John Brown said that
"Jesus Christ took him (Paul) under His own immediate tuition
Ryken - Not surprisingly, the
religions that human beings invent always end up glorifying human
beings. There is some law to keep, some teaching to follow, some ritual
to perform, some penance to endure, or some state of consciousness to
achieve that will bring salvation. One way or another, we can climb up
to heaven and reach God. Christianity is different. What distinguishes
it from other world religions is that it actually comes from God. The
one true gospel is not man-made, which is why it gives all the glory to
God. The good news of the cross and the empty tomb could come only from
God because it is about what God has done to save us through Jesus
Christ. It does not teach that we can reach up to heaven; it teaches
that God has come down to earth. In Christ, God has entered human
history and the human heart.
Irving Jensen has an well done
summary of the sometimes confusing Chronology of Paul's "autobiography"
in Galatians and the parallel passages in Acts...
Click Chronological Diagram to enlarge
John MacArthur's offers a
caveat regarding "revelation" which is occasionally claimed by
preachers and teachers in our day
It is one thing to claim direct
revelation from God but another to prove it. Throughout the history of
the church many people have falsely claimed such revelation, as many do
today. But Paul was not content merely to make the claim. Nor did he
expect his readers to believe him simply on the basis of personal
assertions. In the next 12 verses (Gal 1:13-24), therefore, the apostle
proceeds to substantiate his claim by presenting irrefutable evidence of
that divine revelation and of his apostolic credentials.
Swindoll - Paul asserted that
Christ directly revealed redemptive truth to him (Gal. 1:11–12). Paul
had instantaneous understanding of this imparted wisdom. (Understanding
John Bunyan - A little from
God is better than a great deal from men. What is from men is often
tumbled over and over; things that we receive at God’s hand come to us
as things from the minting house. Old truths are always new to us if
they come with the smell of heaven upon them.
Norman Harrison - The chief
enemy of the Gospel is human nature. Man is proud. Especially is he
proud of his own thinking. He does not want to be told what to do or
believe! He dislikes having a supernatural revelation handed to him; it
leaves to room for speculation. He likes to "discover truth"; then it is
HIS truth, something he can be proud of.
Many of us who willingly acknowledge that man's MORAL nature is
perverted by sin -- the evidence is incontrovertible -- still refuse to
realize that man's MENTAL processes are likewise warped, biased and
undependable because of sin. The Corinthians prided themselves on their
thinking. Read 1 Corinthians 1-2 for God's estimate of human thinking
that set aside divine wisdom, climaxing in a statement of man's utter
incapacity for spiritual things: unto him: neither can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned" (1Corinthians 2:14).
It is to be feared that the average preacher of our day is feeding his
mind upon human thoughts; and, naturally, these mould his own thinking
and preaching, when the charge is, "Preach the Word."
I was in a metropolitan preachers' meeting when the visiting speaker, a
popular pastor, advocated preachers reading a BOOK A DAY (preparation
for book reviews). Only a
sense of courtesy restrained me from asking what he would advise as to
habits of reading the Bible.
On a transcontinental trip I was thrown in with a preacher who had just
pocketed a call to a pulpit under the eaves of an outstandingly modern
university. He had with him a case containing a dozen to a score of
books. From them he was busy gleaning the latest "trends" of thought.
Later I came to know his ministry.
His people testified that it
lacked the Gospel. Human thought crowded it out.
The reason men of our day repudiate Paul's theology and turn with
preponderant emphasis to the teachings of Jesus is crystal clear. By
ridding themselves of a supernatural interpretation of those teachings,
climaxing in His death and resurrection -- an interpretation which is
rigidly unsusceptible of alteration -- they leave themselves free to
give their own interpretation. They are free to speculate as to what
those "teachings of Jesus" SHOULD mean for "the modern mind."
What Christendom needs is
a renewed fear of God's anathema upon all perversions of the pure
Gospel. It seems that nothing but such fear will bring us back to its
unadulterated purity. (Amen!)
And we, with our very best
intentions, need to exercise great care lest our ministry be but
Galatianizing our people, through exhorting them to a goodness of life
which is not definitely the expression of an inliving Presence. (Galatians 1:11, 12, 2:2 A Revelation
versus a Reasoning)
TODAY IN THE WORD - Towards
the end of his second term, President George W. Bush set a record for
the highest disapproval rating in the 70-year history of the Gallup
poll. But in his recently published memoir, the former president
resolutely affirms, “I had always done what I believed was right.” Being
popular and being principled don’t always go hand-in-hand. The apostle
Paul realized this in the context of his own ministry. To be faithful to
the call of God and the truth of the gospel would make him wildly
unpopular in most places. Early on, Paul had to settle in his mind the
answer to these all-important questions: Whom am I trying to please?
Whose approval do I seek? As a faithful minister of the gospel, his
answer had to be Christ and Christ alone. He could not simultaneously
seek the approval of people and of God. He had to surrender the desire
to be liked, to be understood, and to be approved. This, as we’ll see
later in the letter, was not true of the false teachers.
Paul’s ministry is accredited by the fact not only that he exclusively
sought the approval of Christ, but also that he received a divine
message and call. The gospel Paul preached is not of “human origin.”
That is to say, Paul hadn’t learned the gospel secondhand from Peter or
any other leaders of the early Christian church. He was not making it up
to suit his own purposes, either. Paul received his commission directly
from Jesus Christ, the crucified Messiah. His Damascus Road experience
made him a true Apostle.
If the gospel Paul had received were of human origin, it would weaken
his message and his authority. The gospel would be subject to human
ratification or amendment. And it would put Paul under the authority of
his teachers. But because Paul received the gospel directly from Jesus,
the message was guaranteed to be true. As such, it would be protected.
As well, Paul could claim a divine authority in his ministry.
TODAY IN THE WORD - One of the
great leaders of the Protestant movement in late nineteenth and early
twentieth century Russia was
Ivan Prokhanov. His career in
ministry was not unlike that of the apostle Paul. Ivan consciously
followed Paul's "tent -making" example, earning a living as an engineer
but using all of his remaining time to evangelize and teach. Like Paul,
Ivan suffered persecution for his faith under both Czarist and Communist
governments. And like Paul, Ivan's achievements were enormous, in areas
including publishing, education, and even hymn-writing! As Paul reviews
his career in ministry for the Galatians, he moves into a defense of his
right to preach the gospel of grace and Christian liberty. He must
clearly vindicate his apostleship before he can vindicate his message.
He has already made it clear that salvation is by grace alone and that
one can enjoy true Christian liberty by the power of Christ alone. As
was to be very clear from Paul's experience, preaching of that sort
would not please men (Gal 1:10) and would not lead to an easy life. Paul
insists that his presentation of the gospel is not "something that man
made up" (Gal 1:11), nor does man give the gospel its authority.
Furthermore, Paul did not receive his message from man--that is, he had
not learned it from human teaching as his converts had. He obtained his
message by direct revelation from Jesus Christ (Gal 1:12).
TODAY IN THE WORD - “You may
not run in the hall!” shouted the teacher. “Says who?” the defiant
ninth-grader retorted. “Says the principal, and if you don’t obey,
you’ll spend time in detention!” Challenge authority, and you’ll face
the consequences. We don’t know exactly what was said by those to whom
Paul is responding in this epistle, but it seems likely that they were
challenging his authority. We can imagine them saying something like,
“Who gave Paul the authority to spread a gospel that extends salvation
to Gentiles apart from obedience to the Law?” They might have added,
“Isn’t Paul’s gospel just a compromise intended to please people by
making salvation available without requiring them to follow the
practices prescribed in the Law?”
Paul’s pointed response appeals to the highest authority–he is doing
what he is doing and saying what he is saying because of his direct
encounter with Jesus. His radical transformation in attitude and action
(he changed from one who persecuted, to one who propagated the churches
of Jesus) showed beyond doubt that his appeal to the authority of Christ
was genuine and not a human fabrication (Gal 1:11–12, 20–23). In the
end, his encounter with Jesus resulted in praising God (Gal 1:24), a
sure mark that God was at work.
Paul’s appeal to Jesus is important not only because it helps him
establish his authority, but also because it builds up the confidence of
those who read his letter, both then and now. As Christians we are
committed to the belief that God speaks in all of Scripture. We are
committed to the authority and truth of what we now call the Old
Testament. Yet a little reading in the Old Testament raises the issue of
how Gentiles can be acceptable to God apart from obedience to the Law
For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to
persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it;
(You have heard: Ac 22:3-5 Acts 26:4,5)(how Ac 8:1,3 9:1,2,13,14,21,26 22:4,5 26:9-11 1Co 15:9 Php 3:6
Brown's exposition of Gal 1:13)
Eadie's exposition of Gal 1:13)
For (gar) - This
"formally commences the historical proof."
Luke records Paul's
pre-conversion testimony before the Jews at the time he was first taken
into Roman custody...
I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of
Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly
according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, just as you
all are today. 4 “And I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and
putting both men and women into prisons, 5 as also the high priest and
all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received
letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring
even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished.
You have heard - The aorist
tense points to a past historical event, presumably when he first
preached the Gospel to the Galatians. It follows that the Galatians knew
he had formerly been a vicious persecutor of the church. The supernatural transformation
that took place in Paul's life after meeting Jesus serves as proof
of the statement that the life changing Gospel was not of human but
of divine origin.
Witmer - Paul's story must
have been familiar to the Galatians and served to show how divine his
conversion had been. Only God could change the heart of one who had been
such a terror to the church.
- Paul’s argument in
this verse is that his early education is a proof that he did not
receive the gospel from man. He was brought up in a rigid school of
ritualism directly opposed to the liberty of the gospel. He was a
staunch adherent of the principles of that school, and as such,
relentlessly persecuted the Christian Church. No human agency could
therefore have brought about the change. It required the direct
interposition of God.
My former manner of life in
Judaism - Prior to his conversion.
J. C. Ryle - There are no incurable cases under the gospel. Any
sinner may be healed if he will only come to Christ.
Spurgeon — He was an
out-and-out Jew. He never took up anything without going through with it
thoroughly; so, while he believed in Judaism, he did believe it. He was
no hypocrite, no pretender, so he fought for it tooth and nail. This was
the man who afterwards preached the Christianity he had received from
Christ, Evidently he did not borrow it from his parents, for they had
taught him quite differently. His religion was not the product of his
training; but it came to him from God, — to him who seemed to be the
most unlikely person in the whole land ever to receive it. (Spurgeon's
describes the religious system of the Jews that had its basis in the OT
teachings, especially the Law of Moses and the traditions of the elders.
The main emphases of Judaism are circumcision and Sabbath keeping. The
word occurs in II Maccabees where it refers to the Jewish religion as
opposed to the Hellenism that the Syrian kings were imposing upon the
- the Judaism with which
Paul was acquainted and in which his life had been immersed, was
apostate. He knew nothing before his conversion, of the supernatural
Judaism in which the Levitical sacrifices were the outward expression of
an inward faith in a coming substitutionary atonement for sin. Judaism
in Paul’s time was a mere ethical cult basing salvation on good works,
and observing the sacrifices as a mere form. But when he was rethinking
the Old Testament economy in the light of the revelations received in
Arabia, the supernatural significance of it all opened up to him. But in
this verse he is speaking of the apostate Judaism of his early life.
Manner of life (conduct)
from ana = again +
strepho = to turn) literally describes a turning around or turning
back and is used figuratively to refer to one's conduct, especially
focusing on our daily behavior and our general deportment. Anastrophe
deals with the general ordering of
one's conduct in relation to others. The point is that Paul had related
his history as a persecutor of the church to the Galatians. Wuest
adds that "It was Paul’s habit to include in his preaching the history
of his past life as a persecutor (Acts 22 and 26)."
from dío = pursue, prosecute, persecute) means to follow or press
hard after, literally to pursue as one does a fleeing enemy. It means to
chase, harass, vex and pressure and was used for chasing down criminals.
Dioko speaks of an intensity of effort leading to a pursue with
earnestness and diligence in order to obtain. To go after with the
desire of obtaining or in Gal 1:13 the desire was to harm. Dio
gives us a picture of hounds on the hunt, relentlessly tracking and
pursuing their victim (fox).
Paul uses the
which speaks of his persecution of the church as relentless up to
the time of his conversion.
The church (ekklesia)
of God - Prior to his conversion Paul's sole purpose in
life had been to destroy Christianity which he now willingly recognizes
as the church of God. "The possessive genitive (the theou) points
out strongly the sinfulness and audacity of his career (Ed:
because it was the possession of God he was attacking!)."
1Cor 15:9 For I am the least of the
apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted
the church of God.
Early persecution of Christians by
C H Spurgeon - “Oh!” said Caesar, “we will soon root up this
Christianity. Off with their heads!” The different governors hastened
one after another of the disciples to death; but, the more they
persecuted them, the more they multiplied. The pro-consuls had orders to
destroy Christians; the more they hunted them, the more Christians there
were, until, at last, men pressed to the judgment-seat, and asked to be
permitted to die for Christ. They invented torments; they dragged saints
at the heels of wild horses; they laid them upon red-hot gridirons; they
pulled off the skin from their flesh piece by piece; they were sawn
asunder; they were wrapped up in skins, and daubed with pitch, and set
in Nero’s gardens at night to burn; they were left to rot in dungeons;
they were made a spectacle to all men in the amphitheatre; the bears
hugged them to death; the lions tore them to pieces; the wild bulls
tossed them upon their horns: and yet Christianity spread. All the
swords of the legionaries which had put to rout the armies of all
nations, and had overcome the invincible Gaul and the savage Briton,
could not withstand the feebleness of Christianity; for the weakness of
God is mightier than men (1Cor 1:25). (The
Beyond measure (kata
from hupér = above +
bállo = cast, put ) means literally a throwing beyond and
figuratively expresses an extraordinary degree (amount, quality) of
anything (2Cor 4:7); superiority, excellence, preeminence. BDAG -
"a state of exceeding to an extraordinary degree a point on a scale of
extent (the context indicating whether in a good or a bad sense)." Paul
used huperbole in 2 Corinthians 1:8 of the afflictions which he suffered
at the hands of others.
Eadie - What the apostle says
of himself is abundantly confirmed—Read Acts 8:3;Acts 9:1; Acts 9:2;
Acts 9:21; Acts 22:4; Acts 22:19; Acts 26:10-11. No wonder, then,
that he uses those two verbs (persecute and destroy), and
prefixes to the first beyond measure kata huperbole, one of his
favorite phrases. Ro 7:13; 1Co 12:31; 2Co 1:8; 2Co 4:17. It was no
partial or spasmodic effort, either feeble in itself, or limited and
intermittent in operation. It was the outgrowth of a zeal which never
slept, and of an energy which could do nothing by halves, which was as
eager as it was resolute, and was noted for its perseverance no less
than for its ardor. And he distinctly sets before his readers the
heinousness of his procedure, for he declares the object of his
persecution and fierce devastation to have been the church of God...The
object of this statement is to show that the apostle, during his furious
persecution of the church, could not be in the way of learning its
theology from any human source; its bloody and malignant enemy could not
be consorting with the apostles as a pupil or colleague.
means to attack and cause complete destruction. To pillage. To
devastate. To Reek havoc. To annihilate.
Portheo applied not only to cities and lands but also to people.
Used in secular Greek of besieging a town or of soldiers ravaging. Paul
which speaks of continuous attempt by Paul not just to ravage but to
ruin and destroy Christianity.
Although Acts 22:4 does not use portheo it does portray the effect Paul
sought ("to the death" for the "Way" = Christians).
Portheo - 3x in NT -
Acts 9:21 All those hearing him
continued to be amazed, and were saying, "Is this not he who in
Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had
come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief
Galatians 1:13 For you have heard of my former manner of life in
Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and
tried to destroy it;
Galatians 1:23 but only, they kept hearing, "He who once persecuted us
is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy."
Raised in Tarsus (Acts 21:39)
A Roman citizen (Acts 21:39)
Studied under the famous rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3)
Studied in Jerusalem (Acts 22:3)
Of the tribe of Benjamin (Phil 3:5)
Of the sect of the Pharisees (Acts 23:6)
Originally named Saul, probably after King Saul (Acts 9:1)
His sister's son resided in Jerusalem (Acts 23:16-22)
Probably had a wealthy father
Was advancing as a leader in Judaism (Gal. 1:14)
Was zealous for his Jewish traditions (Gal 1:14)
Set out to destroy the church of God (Gal 1:13)
Was given authority by the chief priests to murder Christians (Acts 9:1,
TODAY IN THE WORD - Yigal Amir
was born into an Orthodox Jewish family in 1970. His mother was a
kindergarten teacher, his father a Jewish scribe. As a university
student, Amir became actively involved in right-wing protests against
Israel’s signing of the Oslo Accords. On November 4, 1996, Amir shot and
killed Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin. Later at his trial, Amir
defended himself very simply: “According to the Halacha [Jewish legal
code], you can kill the enemy.” We could compare Saul of Tarsus to Yigal
Amir. Saul belonged to the strictest sect of the Pharisees, a group
whose concern wasn’t simply personal piety but also political
revolution. Zeal for the Jew, in this first-century context of Roman
occupation, called for violent overthrow of the Roman regime. As one
scholar described it, “For the first-century Jew, ‘zeal’ was something
you did with a knife.”
and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries
among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral
traditions. (advancing: Isa 29:13 57:12)(
being: Ac 22:3 26:5,9 Php 3:4-6)(traditions: Jer 15:2 Mt 15:2,3,6 Mk 7:3-13 Col 2:8 1Pe 1:8)
Brown's exposition of Gal 1:14)
Eadie's exposition of Gal 1:14)
present tense = continually)(4298)(prokopto
= before or forward +
= cut) means literally to cut forward or cut down in front. The idea is
to remove the obstacles from a road so that straight and uninterrupted
progress is possible. Comparing prokopto to the verb
the growth is caused by factors outside oneself or by the element of
life placed there by God Himself, whereas with prokopto the advance is
by one's conscious effort.
Saul kept "cutting his way forward" (imperfect
through Judaism and would let nothing stand in his path, especially
Beyond my contemporaries -
"The persons referred to are those (Jews) of similar age and
standing,-fellow-pupils, it may be, at the feet of Gamaliel."
More extremely (perissoteros)
means more superabundantly, more earnest, more exceedingly, more
frequent, much more, more earnestly. "Being more exceedingly a zealot
for the traditions of my fathers."
False zeal - A false zeal in
religion is always, in some respect or other, a misdirected zeal, or a
zeal not according to knowledge; a zeal seeking some false end, or,
while proposing to itself a good end, seeking its promotion in some
unauthorized way. Jehu had a good zeal, which he called zeal for the
Lord of Hosts. His fault was not that he was too zealous, but that his
zeal was really directed to his own advancement. The Jews, in the days
of Christ, had a zeal for God; but it was so misdirected as to fire them
with a frenzy to destroy the Son of God, and extinguish the Light of the
world. There are countless forms of false zeal now at work; but, in all
cases, they sin not by excess, but by misdirection. Some are flaming
with a zeal to spread some of the corruption of Christianity, and to
carry men away from its great and cardinal truths. Some are equally
zealous to build up a sect or a party on other foundations than those
which God has laid in Zion; and that which taints their zeal is the
purpose to which they employ it, and not any excessive fervour of their
zeal itself. (Dr. Bonar.) (The
= be zealous in turn from
zeo = to boil, figuratively "boiling" with envy) describes one
burning with zeal. Jealous. Most eagerly desirous of or zealous for, a
thing. Used in Lxx to describe God (Ex 20:5, Dt 4:24). To defend and
uphold a thing, vehemently contending for a thing (zealous for).
Can convey the sense of an
enthusiastic adherent of a person or a cause.
Of a Jew zealous for the Law (Acts
22:3) A member of a fanatical patriotic group of Jews who sought
independence from Rome (Luke 6:15).
Thayer - From the time of the
Maccabees (105-63 B. C.) there existed among the Jews a class of men,
called Zealots, who rigorously adhered to the Mosaic law and
endeavored even by a resort to violence, to prevent religion from being
violated by others; but in the latter days of the Jewish commonwealth
they used their holy zeal as a pretext for the basest crimes, Josephus,
Zealous - means intense
emotion compelling action and implies energetic and unflagging pursuit
of an aim or devotion to a cause. Passionate ardor in pursuit of
anything. Excessive zeal may rise to enthusiasm. In general, zeal is an
eagerness of desire to accomplish or obtain some object, and it may be
manifested either in favor of any person or thing, or in opposition to
it, and in a good or bad cause. Zealous speaks of filled with fervent or
enthusiastic devotion, often extreme or fanatical in nature.
Zelotes - 8x in NAS. 6x in
Septuagint (Lxx)- Ex 20:5; 34:14; Deut 4:24; 5:9; 6:15; Nah 1:2
Luke 6:15 and Matthew and Thomas;
James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot;
Acts 1:13 When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room
where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew,
Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus,
and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.
Acts 21:20 And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they
said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the
Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the
Acts 22:3 "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in
this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our
fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today.
1 Corinthians 14:12 So also you, since you are zealous of
spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.
Galatians 1:14 and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my
contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous
for my ancestral traditions.
Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed,
and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous
for good deeds.
1 Peter 3:13 Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for
what is good?
Zealous (zēlōtēs) means “intensity” or “enthusiasm” and describes a
person with great ardor for a specific cause. In New Testament times,
there was a radical political party of Jewish patriots, called the
Zealots (from zēlōtēs), which pledged to free the Jews from all foreign
rule by whatever extreme measures (lying, stealing, assassination) were
necessary, even if those efforts resulted in their own deaths
Being (5225) (huparcho)
means to be from the beginning.
More extremely zealous - Read
Paul's own testimony in Php 3:4-6
Ancestral traditions (KJV
= traditions of my fathers) - These
traditions are of the same "genre" which Jesus classified as “the
tradition of men," presumably rabbinic exposition of the law which was
in conflict with God’s Word and will. The point is that by using the
word "ancestral" Paul is making it clear that he is not referring to the
Mosaic law. As Jesus stated the manmade
traditions were in direct conflict with the Word of God, for He accused
his Jewish Pharisees and Scribes, saying that you are "neglecting the
commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." (Mk
MacArthur - Ancestral
traditions refers to the body of oral teachings about the Old
Testament law that came to have equal authority with the law commonly
known as the Halakah, this collection of Torah interpretations became a
fence around God’s revealed law and all but hid it from view. Over a
period of several hundred years it had expanded into a mammoth
accumulation of religious, moral, legal, practical, and ceremonial
regulations that defied comprehension, much less total compliance. It
contained such vast amounts of minutiae that even the most learned
rabbinical scholars could not master it either by interpretation or in
behavior. Yet the more complex and burdensome it became, the more
zealously Jewish legalists revered and propagated it.
NET Note - The traditions
of my ancestors refers to both Pharisaic and popular teachings of
this time which eventually were codified in Jewish literature such as
the Mishnah, Midrashim, and Targums.
Stott comments on Paul's
zealous devotion as a Pharisee - Now a man in that mental and emotional
state is in no mood to change his mind, or even to have it changed for
him by men.…Only God could reach him-and God did!” (The Message of
Eadie - It cannot therefore be
supposed that the apostle would be learning Christianity during the
period when his progress in Judaism was so marked, when his zeal for
patristic traditions so far outran that of his contemporaries,-a zeal in
utter and burning antagonism to the new religion. He had kept from all
contact with it, save the contact of ferocity with the victim which it
immolates. Luther touchingly applies this verse to his own previous
has an interesting note
- Had Paul lived in his unsaved state in the thought world of the Mosaic
economy instead of having his thinking dominated by the Pharisaic
traditions, his act of receiving Christ as Saviour would have had some
reasonable background, for the Mosaic institutions pointed to a need for
Christ and also to the Christ who was needed, the moral law serving the
first purpose, the Levitical sacrifices, the second. But Paul is at
pains to show his Galatian converts that his salvation and his
appointment to the apostleship broke completely with all his background
and all his traditions.
= deliver in teaching)
refers to that which is handed down or transmitted from generation to
generation; injunction delivered or from one to another. Paradosis
"means literally “to give from the presence of,” thus “to give
personally.” It signifies an act of transmission or that which is
transmitted. In the New Testament it is used in the latter sense,
without indicating the method of transmission or implying any lapse of
time such as is usually associated with the English word tradition."
Eadie - The noun paradosis,
“giving over,” is literally employed as with enemy (Thucydides, 3:53;
Josephus); then it signifies handing over or down an inheritance
(Thucydides, 1.9), and by a natural trope (use of the word) it is used
Paradosis is a giving over either by
word of mouth or in writing; objectively, what is delivered. Paradosis refers to
that which is passed along by
teaching. It can have a negative (man made teachings passed on) or
positive sense (divine teachings passed on) depending on the context. In
the present context (Gal
1:14) paradosis refers
to "man made" Jewish traditions (See similar negative sense in Mt 15:2,
3, 6;Col 2:8 Matt 15:2, 3, 6; Mark 7:3, 5, 8, 9, 13). Paul’s teaching
that was passed on to the saints at Thessalonica and Corinth reflects
the positive (doctrinally acceptable) sense of paradosis (2Th 2:15; 3:6;
1 Cor. 11:2).
Patzia - Customs and beliefs
that are handed down (Gk paradosis, “tradition”), such as the
“traditions of the elders” referred to in the Gospels (Mt 15:2–3; Mk
7:5, 13) or the “human tradition” that Paul contrasts with a revelation
from Christ (Col 2:8). Paul valued Christian traditions that he “received”
from his early Christian predecessors and in turn “delivered” (paradidomi)
to his congregations (1Co 11:23–25; 15:3–4). (Pocket Dictionary of
New Unger's Bible Dictionary -
It is also used of the body of precepts, especially ritual, which, in
the opinion of the later Jews, were orally delivered by Moses and orally
transmitted in unbroken succession to subsequent generations. These
precepts, both illustrating and expanding the written law, as they did,
were to be obeyed with equal reverence (Matt. 15:2–3, 6; Mark 7:3, 5, 9,
13; Col. 2:8). “My ancestral traditions” (Gal. 1:14) are precepts
received from the fathers, whether handed down in the OT books or
orally. Meyer, in his Com. on Matt. 15:2, says: “The Jews, founding upon
Deut. 4:14; 17:10, for the most part attached greater importance to this
tradition than to the written law. They laid special stress upon the
traditional precept, founded on Lev. 15:11, which required that the
hands should be washed before every meal. Jesus and his disciples
ignored this tradition as such, which had been handed down from the men
of olden time.”
Paradosis - 13x/13v in NAS -
All translated tradition(s). (Note: 2 uses in Lxx Jer 32:4, 34:2,
neither with same sense as used in the NT).
Matthew 15:2 "Why do Your disciples
break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their
hands when they eat bread."
3 And He answered and said to them, "Why do you yourselves transgress
the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?
6 he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And by this you
invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
Mark 7:3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they
carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the
5 The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not
walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their
bread with impure hands?"
8 "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition
9 He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside the
commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.
13 thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you
have handed down; and you do many things such as that."
1 Corinthians 11:2 Now I praise you because you remember me in
everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered
them to you.
Comment: Here paradosis refers
to the inspired apostolic teaching of Paul which was passed on to the
Corinthians and to which they were firmly adhering.
Galatians 1:14 and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my
contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my
Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through
philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of
men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than
according to Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brethren,
(present imperative - command to keep on standing firm) and
(present imperative - command to keep
on holding firm) to the
traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by
letter from us.
Comment: Again, here and in
the following passage paradosis refers to the inspired apostolic
teaching of Paul which was passed on to the Thessalonian believers and
to which they were firmly adhering. In this verse Paul clearly shows
that paradosis could be passed on to others either orally or in
2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an
unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received
But when God, Who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called
me through His grace, was pleased (it: Dt 7:7,8 1Sa
12:22 1Ch 28:4,5 Mt 11:26 Lk 10:21 1Co 1:1 Eph 1:5,9 3:11)(who: Isa 49:1,5 Jer 1:5
Lk 1:15,16 Ac 9:15 13:2 22:14,15 Ro 1:1)(and: Ro 1:5 Ro 8:30 Ro 9:24 1Co 1:9,24
1Cor 15:10 2Th 2:13,14 1Ti 1:12-14 2Ti
1:9 1Pe 5:10)
But when God - (Always ask
what God is contrasting. See
term of contrast)
The contrast with the preceding (Gal
1:13-14) is striking and is reflects God’s intervention in the life of
Saul of Tarsus, most graphically described in Acts 9. And so here
Paul alludes to his
conversion. Look at some of the other great uses of "but God" -
Ge 8:1, 21:12, 48:21, 50:20, Ps 49:15, 73:26, Mk 2:7, Acts 13:30, Ro
5:8, 1Cor 1:27, 3:6-7, 1Cor 7:15, Gal 3:18 and my all time favorite Eph
2:4 (see preceding context Eph 2:1-3)
Set me apart even from my mother's
womb - Clearly Paul did not choose God. God chose Paul for salvation
even as He chose him to be His apostle.
We see a similar divine choosing in
the lives of two OT prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah
Isaiah said " The LORD called Me from
the womb; From the body of My mother He named Me." (Isa 49:1) and
"formed Me from the womb to be His Servant." (Isa 49:5)
Jer 1:5 “Before I formed you in the
womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have
appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
from apó = off from, apart + horízo = place a limitation
upon, fix limits around) means to mark off the boundaries, to appoint,
set one apart for some purpose. It is used of the final separation
of the righteous from the wicked (Matt. 13:49; 25:32); of the separation
of the disciples from the world (Luke 6:22); and of the setting apart of
apostles to special functions (Acts 13:2).
Setting apart indicates the separating of an individual for specific
service. Paul was set apart to God for His service (cp 2Ti 2:21
describing men as sanctified by the Master for good works.) Compare
“chosen vessel,” Acts 9:15.
Ro 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ
Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart (aphorizo) for the
gospel of God (Note Paul had a clear delineated purpose).
Paul's testimony before King
And this is just what I did in
Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having
received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being
put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 “And as I punished them
often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and
being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign
cities. 12 “While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the
authority and commission of the chief priests, 13 at midday, O King, I
saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all
around me and those who were journeying with me. 14 “And when we had all
fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew
dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to
kick against the goads.’ 15 “And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the
Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 ‘But get up and
stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint
you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen,
but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing you
from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you,
18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and
from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of
sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in
Me.’ 19 “So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the
heavenly vision, 20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first,
and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and
even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God,
performing deeds appropriate to repentance. (Ac 26:10-20)
A T Robertson - 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.
in this context refers to God's effectual call in the sense of His
choosing so that one might receive some special benefit or experience
(salvation and apostleship). God's effectual call was realized on the
Damascus Road (Acts 9:1-22). The Westminster Shorter Catechism states
"Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby, convincing us
of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of
Christ, and renewing our wills, He doth persuade and enable us to
embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the Gospel."
Divine calling - A river
flowing with rapid and majestic current to the sea would defy the
efforts of the whole world to turn it back again to its source; yet, by
the returning tide it is not only arrested in its course but driven up
again with great rapidity towards its fountain head. It is thus that a
sinner is stopped in his career of sin, and turned towards high and
heavenly things. (Charles Simeon.)
Through His grace (charis)
- The basis for God's calling of Paul was grace, God's unmerited love,
kindness and favor (See Ro 8:30-note,
Paul (like all of us) deserved death, but God called him to life and
into a life of service as an apostle and proclamation of the life giving
Gospel of grace.
Ryken - This ("set
apart") was a clever phrase because the Pharisees (Ed comment:
Greek pharisaios is from Aramaic "peras" meaning to separate,
taking on a different manner of life from that of the general laity)
considered themselves set apart by keeping God's law. Paul had been a
Pharisee himself, but God did not set him apart merely to keep the law
after all; he set him apart to preach the gospel. Literally, he set him
apart "from the womb." Paul was like some great Old Testament prophet
(see Jer. 1:5): God claimed his life and ministry while he was still in
his mother's womb. Many years later, when the time was right, God was
pleased to call Paul "by his grace" (Gal. 1:15). Calling refers
to the life events that lead a person to repentance for sin and faith in
Jesus Christ. Such effectual calling is always by grace because
the call shows God's undeserved favor. Yet calling also refers to
God's special plan for someone's life work. What God had planned for
Paul to do was to take the gospel to the Gentiles
John Piper - Jesus has chosen
Paul long before Paul chose Jesus. In fact Paul says in Galatians
1:15 that God had set him apart before he was born. And since he is
chosen by Jesus, Jesus does not speak as though Paul might not go along
with it. He will. So Jesus speaks of the great ministry Paul is going to
have with kings and nations and Israel. And he speaks of how much he
must suffer—not might suffer. So it is clear that this conversion is a
work of divine, sovereign grace. God moved in on Paul's life and, as C.
S. Lewis said, surprised him with joy—and with suffering.
Rob Morgan - You have been
foreknown from the beginning of time. God has always known in advance
exactly what you would look like. He has always known your innermost
thoughts, your background, your history, your problems, your struggles,
your strengths, your weaknesses, and the course of your life. He has
always known His plans for you. With a single glance He knew all about
you, long before the earth launched its maiden orbit around the sun.
This was profound and praise-worthy to the psalmist. He exclaimed in
Psalm 139:6, "This extraordinary knowledge is beyond me."
Wayne Detzler - To the
Galatians who were bothered by legalism, Paul explained that the call of
God was a product of grace (Gal. 1:15). (New Testament Words in
Oswald Chambers - The vocation
of the natural life. But when it pleased God … to reveal His son in me …
Gal. 1:15–16 . - The call of God is not a call to any particular
service; my interpretation of it may be, because contact with the nature
of God has made me realize what I would like to do for Him. The call of
God is essentially expressive of His nature; service is the outcome of
what is fitted to my nature. The vocation of the natural life is stated
by the apostle Paul—“When it pleased God to reveal His Son in me that I
might preach Him” (i.e., sacramentally express Him) “among the
Gentiles.” Service is the overflow of superabounding devotion; but,
profoundly speaking, there is no call to that, it is my own little
actual bit, and is the echo of my identification with the nature of God.
Service is the natural part of my life. God gets me into a relationship
with Himself whereby I understand His call, then I do things out of
sheer love for Him on my own account. To serve God is the deliberate
love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God. Service is
expressive of that which is fitted to my nature: God’s call is
expressive of His nature; consequently when I receive His nature and
hear His call, the voice of the Divine nature sounds in both and the two
work together. The Son of God reveals Himself in me, and I serve Him in
the ordinary ways of life out of devotion to Him. (My utmost for his
to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I
did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, (reveal: Mt 16:17 1Co 2:9-13 2Co 4:6 Eph 1:17,18 3:5-10)(that: Ga 2:7-9 Ac 9:15 22:21 26:17,18 Ro 1:13,14 11:13 15:16-19
Eph 3:1,8 Col 1:25-27 1Th 2:16 1Ti 2:7 2Ti 1:11)(immediately: Ga 1:11,12
Dt 33:9 Lk 9:23-25,59-62 Ac 26:19,20
2Co 5:16)(flesh: Mt 16:17 26:41 1Co 15:50 Eph 6:12 Heb 2:14) (John
Brown's exposition of Gal 1:16)
Pleased to reveal (apokalupto)
His Son in me (see Acts 9:1-31, esp 9:3-6, Acts 22:21) - This
revelation was supernatural, reminiscent of Paul's statement to the
2Cor 4:6 For God, who said, “Light
shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to
give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of
John Eadie - Revelation unlike
reasoning - Revelation is opposed to knowledge gained by prolonged
and patient thought. It is unlike the common process by which an
intellectual conclusion is reached, the inference of one syllogism
forming but the premise of another, till by a series of connected links,
primary or abstract truth is reached. For it is sudden and perfect
illumination, lifting the receptive power into intensest susceptibility,
and so lighting up the whole theme disclosed, that it is immediately and
fully apprehended in its evidence and reality. We know not, indeed, what
the process is, what the waking up of the higher intuition is, or what
the ecstasy which throws into momentary abeyance all the lower
faculties. It may resemble that new sphere of vision in which genius
enjoys gleams of unutterable beauty, or that “demonstration of the
Spirit” which gives the truth new aspects of richness and grandeur to
the sanctified soul in some mood of rapt meditation. But still it is
different and higher far both in matter and purpose. It was God’s
revelation of His Son,--not glimpses of the truth about Him, but
Himself; not merely summoning His attention to His paramount claims, so
as to elicit an acknowledgment of them,--not simply presenting Him to
his intellectual perception to be studied and comprehended,--nor even
shining an image of Him in his heart to be loved and cherished,--but His
Son unveiled in living reality; and in him--in his inner self, not in
any distinct and separate realm of his being--with the conscious
possession of all this infallible and communicable knowledge which was
given, perhaps, first in clear and vivid outline, and then filled in
surely and gradually.
Life in the revelation of Christ
- A man often passes through many stages before he becomes truly
converted to God. When he is first awakened to serious impressions, and
sees the folly of intently pursuing worldly things, to the neglect of
the more durable riches, he resembles a boy emerging from childhood, who
throws aside his trifles and playthings for amusements of a higher and
more intellectual kind. He now sets himself with all diligence to
working out his own salvation in his own strength; multiplies his
religious duties, and reforms his bad habits; yet all this while he is
like one who has been employed in new painting and varnishing a wooden
statue--it has no life within. But when the Holy Spirit influences his
heart, and reveals Christ in him, he is in the state of one who has
awakened from a dream, in which he has been acting a fictitious part, to
live and move and use all his faculties in reality, and enter on the
great business of life. (H. G. Salter.)
The inner revelation of Christ
- Education refines and elevates but does not save and sanctify the
soul; law civilizes but cannot change the heart and the will; science
and philosophy give power and endless resources to enlarge the faculties
of the mind, but they leave the problems of sin and pardon unsolved. The
revelation of Christ fills the soul with light, and life, and joy; is
the only solution of the problems of our moral being; the only deliverer
from the law of sin and death; the only pledge of everlasting life, and
indeed the beginning of a Divine education which ennobles and saves, and
the dawn of a heavenly day which brings wisdom, and righteousness, and
peace. (T. Goadby.)
In me - MacArthur comments
that "in me does not force us to interpret the
revelation as a purely internal, subjective feeling but can mean “to
me” and carry the idea of objective experience." (See
That - In order that.
Expresses purpose. Learn to stop and question this conjunction. What
purpose? Why? Who? etc. This discipline will help you learn to observe
and meditate on the Scriptures. In this case we see it is a revelation
for proclamation. In other words God supernaturally revealed the truth
respecting His Son to Paul's heart and mind for the express purpose that
he might preach Jesus among the Gentiles.
By way of application, it is
important to remember that God does not call individuals to salvation
just to keep them out of hell and get them into heaven, but to be useful
in His service, for every believer has been "created in
Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared (specific, special works
for them), that (they) should walk in them." Indeed, very believer is
given the good work of proclaiming "the excellencies of Him who has
called (us) out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).
We are redeemed to give a witness of our Redeemer!
Personal conviction - What we
need is the revelation of Christ within us; not the communication of
truths yet unrevealed, as was necessary in the case of the founders of
our religion, but the communication of truths already made known; the
removal of the veil from our hearts, and the giving of the knowledge of
God in the face of Jesus Christ. Each of us must for himself discover
the hid treasure; whether the light flashes upon us in an instant, as
with the woman at the well of Jacob, or comes to us as the result of
long search and patient inquiry, as in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch,
we must find the Messiah, we must hear Him ourselves, and know that this
is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. It will not suffice, in
this day at least, to take religion upon trust, to accept the popular
faith, just because it is popular. Such belief will not stand in the day
of trial; it certainly will exercise no constraining influence upon our
hearts and lives. Whether for our peace or for our usefulness, Christ
must live within us; the reasonable mind must apprehend Him, the heart
must cleave to Him. Thus our lives will tell upon the world around us.
There will be a living power within, full of holy joy, and peace, and
comfort; whilst a living power will go forth from us, and act silently,
it may be, but effectually, upon the world without. (Emilius Bayley, B.
John Brown has a "weighty"
quote by Perkins...
Ministers of the gospel must learn
Christ as Paul learned him. They may not content themselves with that
learning which they find in schools; but they must proceed further to a
real learning of Christ.
They that must convert others,
it is meet that they should be effectually converted.
John must eat the book (Ed:
I love this picture! Not books but THE BOOK!!!), and then prophesy; and
they who would be fit ministers of the gospel, must first themselves
eat the book of God. And this book is indeed eaten, when they are
not only in their minds enlightened, but in their hearts are mortified,
and brought in subjection to the Word of Christ. Unless Christ be thus
learned spiritually and really, divines shall speak of the Word of God
as men speak of riddles, and as priests in former times said their
matins (morning prayers, first canonical hour in the Romish church),
when they hardly knew what they said.
- same verb in Gal 1:8 (2x), Gal 1:9, 11, 16, 23. The present tense is
“continuous” while the revelation was aorist, at a point in time. While
the revelation was a definite and completed act, the commission to
preach was for his lifetime. The
is reflexive ("I myself might preach") indicates Paul initiates the
action and participates in the process.
I. His great motive. To preach
II. His prompt surrender.
3. Final. (A. F. Barfield.)
Among the Gentiles - Two
Jewish missionaries - Peter to the Jews. Paul to the Gentiles.
Preach Him - He preached
"Christ crucified to Jews a stumbling block," because they expected a
political savior, and to the Greeks it was foolishness because they
considered anyone who would be crucified of no account. (1Cor 1:23).
And when I came to you, brethren, I
did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you
the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you
except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. (1Cor
Readiness for service - Brutus
visiting Ligarius found him ill, and said, “What! sick, Ligarius?” “No,
Brutus,” said he; if thou hast any noble enterprise in hand I am well.”
So should the believer say of Christ; what might excuse us from other
labour shall never prevent our engaging in His service. (C. H.
from euthus = immediate) means instantly, forthwith. See notes on
from prós = towards, in
addition to + anatíthemi from ana = up + tithemi =
to put) means to lay up in addition, to impart or communicate further
(Gal 2:6) or by way of consultation, to confer with, consult as in the
Prosanatithemi is used only in
Gal 1:16 and Gal 2:6 ("contributed").
The root verb anatithemi means
to set forth one's cause (Acts 25:14), to expound with a request for
counsel, approval, or decision, to communicate (anatithemi in
The shorter form anatithemi,
is the less intensive word simply signifying the imparting of
information, rather than conferring with others to seek advice.
To go to someone for advice. To
present one's cause to another as for approval or judgment (Gal 1:16).
In other words in Gal 1:16 the idea is “to lay a matter before others so
as to obtain counsel or instruction." (Vine)
John Brown - The word
translated “conferred (consult),” properly signifies ‘to impose a new
burden.’ In the classics, the middle voice is used in the sense,—‘I
allow a burden to be imposed on myself—I undertake some difficult
affair.’ It is sometimes used by the later writers with the dative of a
person, to signify ‘to take counsel or advice of a person,’ as he who
asks advice lays a burden on the person consulted. This is its meaning
Thayer says "with a
dative of the person to put oneself upon another by going to him (pros),
i.e. to commit or betake oneself to another namely, for the purpose of
consulting him, hence, to consult, to take one into counsel. (Gal 1:16)"
To contribute or add something to someone. To add from one's store (the
force of the middle voice), to impart, to lay before (Gal 2:6).
Vine - prosanatithemi, lit.,
“to lay upon in addition,” came to be used in the sense of putting
oneself before another, for the purpose of consulting him; hence simply
“to consult, to take one into counsel, to confer.” With this meaning it
is used only in Gal. 1:16. In Gal. 2:2, a shorter form, anatithemi,
is used, which means “to lay before” (kjv, “communicated unto”). This
less intensive word may have been purposely used there by the apostle to
suggest that he described to his fellow apostles the character of his
teaching, not to obtain their approval or their advice concerning it,
but simply that they might have the facts of the case before them on
which they were shortly to adjudicate.
was also used to signify “to communicate, to impart.” With this meaning
it is used only in Gal. 2:6, in the middle voice, the suggestion being
to “add” from one’s store of things. In regard to his visit to Jerusalem
the apostle says “those who were of repute imparted nothing to me” (kjv,
“in conference added”), that is to say, they neither modified his
teaching nor “added” to his authority.
BDAG - (1) to add something to
an existing amount, add or contribute (Gal 2:6). (2) to take up a
matter with, consult with (Gal 1:16)
- The word conferred
(consult) deserves careful study. It is prosanatithemi. It
means “to betake one’s self to another for the purpose of consulting
him.” In pagan writers it was used of consulting soothsayers and the
like. It was as if Paul said, “I did not consult with anyone in order to
learn the opinion of others as to this revelation I received, or to
obtain instruction from them, or guidance, or advice.”
Flesh and blood - Human nature
in general. Paul did not consult with other human
beings, other people, probably especially other human authorities.
Paul asserts that his commission and
message came to him directly from God, and that neither was affected in
any way by human intervention. As John Brown expounds this...
‘I neither consulted my own reason or inclination, nor did I seek
instruction from others: I committed myself entirely to Divine guidance
and teaching. I did not consult with any man. I did not seek instruction
from any man. I did not inquire at other Christians if the views of
Christianity which had been conveyed into my mind were correct or not. I
asked at no man what I was to preach, or where I was to preach. I gave
myself up to the guidance of the Divine impulse; and immediately
commenced speaking the things of the Spirit, not in words which man’s
wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth.’
F B Meyer - It pleased God …
to reveal his Son in me. - O soul of man, has this revelation ever
been thy experience? Dost thou know that Christ is in thee? If thou
truly believest in Him, there is no doubt of it. “Know ye not as to your
own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
And yet thou mayest be in ignorance of this transcendent possession. Ask
God to reveal His Son in thee, to make thee know experimentally the
riches of the glory of this mystery. He will rend the veil of the inner
life in twain from the top to the bottom, and in the most holy place of
thy spirit disclose the Shekinah of His eternal presence. Two conditions
only must be fulfilled. Thou must be prepared to yield thine own will to
the cross; and to wait before God in the silence and solitude of thy
Oswald Chambers - When in
doubt, haul yourself up short and concentrate on God and every time you
do, you will find that God will engineer your circumstances and open the
way perfectly securely, the condition on your part being that you
concentrate on God....You feel amazed at the sense of God’s call, and in
your eagerness you talk to someone else about it, and you find that they
much prefer to talk about their breakfast. Then comes the danger that
you are apt to become contemptuous. Keep that profound relationship
between your soul and God.
F B Meyer - Galatians 1:15–16 It
was the good pleasure of God … to reveal his Son in me.
If you have truly believed in the Son of God, it is certain that He, by
the Spirit, has taken up his abode in your heart. But perhaps He is
hidden in the deeps of your nature, as the young Joash in the heart of
the Temple. He is, therefore, unable to exert that influence on your
inner thought and outward life that He should. Is it not befitting that
you should ask the Father to reveal his Son in you? He has been revealed
to you as the Divine Substitute, but not in you as the source and spring
Beneath the body with its physical existence, and the mind with the play
of intellect, lies the spirit of man, like the most holy place in the
Temple of old. That is the shrine in which the Shechinah of Christ’s
presence shines, and in which we can hold fellowship with Him face to
face. Alas, that so heavy a veil of unbelief, of absorption in the world
around us, of inattention, hangs between Him and us! Would that the
strong hands which rent the veil in twain when our Savior died would
rend in twain all that deprives us of this inspiring and most helpful
vision of the Son, so that we might anticipate the eternal years!
But such revelations are only given that we may better help others. Not
for selfish enjoyment, but for ministering help. Hence the apostle says,
“that I might preach Him among the Gentiles.” Be pleased, O Father, to
give us that revelation, that we may speak as those who have seen the
great sight, and need no further conference with flesh and blood! Then,
like the apostles of old, we shall go forth among men, saying, “We
cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Meyer, F. B.
Our Daily Homily)
nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I
went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus.
(went (KJV): Ga 1:18 Ac 9:20-25)(returned (KJV): 2Co 11:32,33)
Go up to
- "Went up is from anerchomai. It was used especially of visiting
Jerusalem which was situated in the highlands of Palestine.
Katerchomai was used of the descending journey from the city. The
religious position of Jerusalem as the seat of the Temple and the
mother-city of the Church, and its geographical position on the central
heights of Palestine, were the factors that suggested the expressions
“going up” and “going down,” when a journey was made to that city and
then back to one’s home." (Wuest)
Before me (pro emou) - This short clause would intimate
that Paul was then an apostle as well as those in Jerusalem, and the
only difference was in the priority of the date of their apostleship. As
NOTE PROGRESSION IN
PAUL'S ESTIMATE OF SELF:
1Co 15:9 (55AD) For I am the least of the apostles, who am
not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of
Eph 3:8 (61AD) To me, the very least of all saints, this
grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of
1Ti 1:15 (63-66AD) It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full
acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among
whom I am foremost of all.
Went away to Arabia -
When did this occur?
This period in Paul's life probably
fits between Acts 9:22 and Acts 9:23 (See
Jensen's chronological diagram
Arabia is the transliteration
(spelling) of a Hebrew word meaning “an arid, thus a sparsely populated
Acts 9:22 But Saul kept increasing in
strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that
this Jesus is the Christ.
Acts 9:23. And when many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted
together to do away with him
John Brown - he went into Arabia, for the purpose, it may be, of
yielding himself up in its solitudes to solemn meditation and communion
with his divine Master. No proof can be derived from these words that
Paul preached in Arabia. There is no trace of that in the Acts of the
Spurgeon — What he did there, we do not know; but probably
he had a time of quiet meditation and prayer, all alone: “I went into
Arabia.” The best thing we can do, sometimes, is to get away from the
voices of men, and listen only to the voice of God: (Spurgeon's
supposes that Paul "needed to be alone with God. He needed
time and isolation in order to think. The revelation of the Son of God
had blasted away the foundations of the Pharisaic thought structure
which he had been building up with such consummate skill and zeal, and
it had come tumbling down in ruins about his head. This revelation also
furnished him with another foundation upon which to build a new
theological structure. But the replacement of the ruined structure with
a new one could not be the work of a day or a month. There in Arabia,
isolated from all human contact, alone with God, the great apostle
restudied his Old Testament scriptures, not now with the Pharisaic
traditions vitiating his thinking, but, led by the Holy Spirit, with the
central fact of the Cross of the Lord Jesus as the controlling factor in
his meditations. Out of all this study emerged the Pauline system of
doctrine as we have it presented in Romans.
Oswald Chambers - The
nutriment of a man’s life comes when he is alone with God; he gets his
direction in the desert experiences.
Dennis Egner - As we run the
race of the Christian life, we need to end well. The apostle Paul is an
example of a good finisher. He received Christ on the Damascus road. He
attended "seminary" in the Arabian desert (Galatians 1:17-18). He served
Christ in spite of hardship and persecution. He opened Europe to the
Gospel. And at the close of his life, he could say with confidence, "I
have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7). What about us? What stalls our
spiritual engines? What causes us to break down? When we find ourselves
out of the running, we need to diagnose the problem, make the necessary
repairs, and get back into the race. God needs people He can count on to
cross the finish line.
Returned once more to