GALATIANS Chapter One  

Kenneth Wuest's entire commentary on Galatians is available on line at the present time at:

The goal of my commentary is to analyze the text of the letter and make practical applications
to the Christian way of life (CWL).

Every person and group of people have some kind of religious history, background and influence.
This will always be present in that person's life as a source of either conflict or support.
If the person is taught Bible truth accurately and completely (whole counsel, Acts 20:27), that person will have what he needs to resist any negative influences from that religious background or any future inaccurate teachings. However, even with an accurate doctrinal frame of reference, the person still must CHOOSE to utilize that truth in the face of doctrinal challenges, and indeed, in the face of all kinds of temptations.
This is what happened in the Galatian churches. But it was not so much their past that was the challenge. It was the barrage of false teaching from the Judaizers that challenged these believers, and what elicited the writing of this letter.
Paul began his ministry in the Jewish synagogues, but his audience and the churches that were established were comprised of both Jew and Gentile.
These Galatian churches that Paul and Barnabas established in 45 AD were taught accurate and sufficient spiritual truth. It was around 56-57 AD, shortly after Paul's third journey through the region, that the Judaizers infiltrated the Galatian churches and brought their 3-pronged attack on Christianity.
(1) Circumcision for salvation: Acts 15:1
(2) Detailed observance of the Mosaic law for righteous acceptance before God:
Acts 15:5; Gal. 4:10; Col. 2:16-17.
(3) Rejection of Paul's authority.

It was not only Galatia that was under attack, but all the churches that Paul established.
The Judaizers had such a strong influence in the churches because the gospel of Jesus Christ has its foundation in the Jewish Old Testament. The Old Testament was in fact the primary source for knowledge about God and God's plan within the churches. Paul practically spoke and wrote in Old Testament quotations. His "representative" evangelistic message as found at Acts 13:16-41 is based entirely on the Old Testament.
Likewise Peter's message in Acts 2 and 3; and Stephen's message in Acts 7.

But the Judaizers also gave lip-service to the Messiahship of Jesus, which caught many of he believers off guard. So because of this and the Old Testament or "Jewish" heritage within Christianity, the unbelieving religious, legalistic Jews gained an easy hearing within the churches.

See Topic: The Judaizers

SUMMARY of Paul's ministry to Galatia
(Historical background to the Galatian people from Wuest's commentary)

1. The area of Southern Galatia consisted of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe.
2.On Paul's first missionary journey, he traveled through Southern Galatia only. Acts 13:1-14, 28.
   Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe and then back to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch. About 45 AD.
3. It was here in Southern Galatia that Paul and Barnabas established strong churches in Antioch,
    Iconium, Lystra and Derbe. Acts 14:21-23.
4. On his second journey, he went through Southern Galatia a second time (Acts 16:1-4),
    And through Northern Galatia for the first time. Acts 16:6. This was about 54 AD.
5. On his third journey, he went through Southern Galatia a third time and through Northern Galatia
    a second time. Acts 18:23. This was about 56 AD.
6. After this third visit to Galatia, Paul spent about  2 years in Ephesus and then visited Macedonia
    and Corinth.
7. It was after Paul's third visit to these churches, that the Judaizers infiltrated and began to destroy
     the doctrines of grace taught by Paul.
8. This is the reason Paul wrote the letter. It was from Corinth at the same time that Romans was
    written about 58 AD. Whether written before Romans or after is not certain.
9. It was written primarily to the Southern churches as it seems that the Judaizers had not yet had
    time to reach further north. However, this letter as with all the others, would be circulated
    throughout all the churches and be especially valuable wherever the Judaizers had influence.
10. It was written from either Corinth or Macedonia and in the same time frame as Romans;
    either before or after. Romans was written from Corinth. Rom. 16:23; 1 Cor.1:14.

For assistance with proper pronunciation of the Greek see GUIDE.

Verse 1
1. Paul: His Jewish birth name is Saul.
Very soon after being saved Saul changed his name to paulos, which in the Greek means "little." The change is simply noted at Acts 13:9 without any explanation. But given his attitude, as revealed in his writings, the name change is probably a personal recognition of God's grace to him. (1Cor 15:9; 2Cor. 12:11; Eph.3:8; 1Tim. 1:15)
For details on his background see Topic: Paul apostle: The apostles were the human agents of the new dispensation. They were responsible for proper organization and dogma during the transition period between the age of Israel and the church (the years 30 to 96 AD) Eph. 3:1-7; 2:20. Example: Acts 8:14-15
Paul was the 12th apostle and there were only 12. Rev. 21:14.
See topic: Apostles

3. not of men: negative ouk plus preposition apo - not "from the source" of men (anthropos - plural - mankind). It is not something that finds its origin in the human race.
4. nor through a man:  preposition dia - through something that any man (singular) DID.
The gift and authority of apostle was not and can not be passed on through the agency
of man or any church body.
5. BUt through Jesus Christ and God the Father: preposition dia - through.
    The SOURCE and the MECHANICS are from God.
   A. Jesus provided all the spiritual gifts upon His ascension after the resurrection.
       Ephesians 4:8-11.
   B. But of course everything comes FROM God the Father. 1 Cor. 8:6; 1 Cor. 12:18, 28.
   C. And the specific gift is given by the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor. 12:11.

6. The first and most important factor that Paul must establish is that he is in fact an apostle of Christ with full apostolic authority. Since the Judaizers dispute that authority, Paul needs to preface any of his instruction with an assertion of his apostleship.
He will return to that issue later, but the second factor is an immediate rejection of the false teaching and a rebuke to those who have embraced it.

7. However, before that Paul states the validity of Christianity by referencing the resurrection of Christ which of course is the PROOF of Christ's person and work.
"Who raised him from the dead." Acts 17:31; 2:32-36
   A. Verb egeir
ō simply means to lift something from one location to another.
       It does not automatically indicate "resurrection" even when used with the word,
       "dead." Those raised at  Matthew 27:52-53 were NOT resurrected.
   B. out from: preposition, ek, further indicates CHANGE from one place to another.
   C. the dead: nekros is an adjective in the plural - "dead ones."
       In this case, as is established by the rest of Scripture, this is a return from among
       those who are characterized as "physically" dead, and are given a new spiritual body.
       It refers to Christ receiving a "spiritual" resurrection body and becoming at that time
       the "first fruits" of those who have died. 1 Cor. 15:20, 23.
See topic: Resurrection of Christ

Verse 2
1. and all the brethren who are with me: It could be the same group of people in the list
   at Romans 16:21-23.
2. to the churches of Galatia: Acts 14:23a
   Probably the churches in Southern Galatia are in view although the doctrinal content
   certainly has application to all believers of all churches and all generations.

Verse 3 The Greeting
1. grace to you and peace: This is the standard apostolic greeting, and expresses his desire AND exhortation that they experience the abundant life of peace, joy and inner stability.
    A. The word GRACE, refers to all of God’s resources that are available
        as per Rom. 8:32 (“freely give us all things”), and 2 Peter 1:3-4
        (“everything that pertains to life and good worship”).
        1. The resources are available to all, but the believer must CHOOSE to use
            those provisions. Heb. 4:16; 1 Peter 5:12, “you stand firm in it.”
        2. This then will result in soul strength through character growth.
        3. The maximum utilization of grace resources is based on consistency in knowing and
            expressing love for God.   Eph. 6:24; 3:14-19

    B. And peace: the noun, eirāne, refers to perfect soul relaxation; free from guilt and antagonism
         and conflict.
        See Topics:  Peace of God  and  Peace: 7 different kinds
        1. It is the peace of the abundant life as promised by Jesus.   John 14:27; 16:33
        2. Paul describes it at Philippians 4:6-7.
        3. Romans 15:13, peace, joy and confidence. Joy and confidence go hand in hand to produce a
            genuine peace within.
        4. The peace of God is the RESULT of using God’s grace resources to handle the pressures of
            the antagonistic environment in which we live. Grace always comes first.
            a. The environment is PHYSICALLY antagonistic to us because of the curse on the earth.
            b. The environment is SPIRITUALLY antagonistic to us because we live in the kingdom of
             darkness, and the darkness hates the light. Thus we come under attack from Satan and his
              angels (demons) and from the human citizens of this kingdom, the unbelievers.
            c. The environment is INHERENTLY antagonistic to us because we have the sin nature still
                in our mentality and it is inconstant conflict with the Holy Spirit and the Word.
                Galatians 5:17; Rom. 7:24; 1 Pet. 2:11
        5. The mechanics of experiencing grace and peace is by knowing and using Bible Truth.
            2 Pet. 1:2-4. As we come to understand more and more about the character and plan of
           God from LEARNING what is revealed in the Bible, we gain capacity to USE that
           understanding to access God’s GRACE resources and to experience true PEACE and joy.

2. From God our Father:
    A. Communicates personal relationship through the new birth.
    B. Communicates authority and origin: Rom. 8:32
    C. Communicates the SOURCE of our provisions.
    D. At 2 Corinthians 13:11, the Father is called, “the God of love and peace.”

3. And from the Lord Jesus Christ: Since Jesus is the one who actually carried out the plan by BEING the sacrifice on the cross, He too is the source and example of many of our grace resources.
Heb. 2:14-18 and 4:14-16.

.  A. Jesus: The Greek, iāsous, is simply the form for the Hebrew, Joshuah (yeshua) which means Yahweh saves or simply “savior.” With this personal name assigned to the Messiah, we see His first advent mission clearly proclaimed by Gabriel at Mat. 1:21, "And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins." The emphasis is on his humanity and the soul sacrifice required for the redemption of mankind. Isaiah 53:10-11; John 1:14, 29, the Lamb of God.
    B. Christ: christos means anointed one, and refers to
the Messiah (Hebrew, mishiyach - for anointed one) promised throughout the Old Testament. It indicates that Jesus received the Messianic commission from  God the Father.   Luke 4:18 ; Acts 4;27; Psalm 2:1 and Acts 4:26

   C. Lord: kurios in context gives even greater emphasis on the deity of Jesus. When used of God
       and of Jesus the focus is on divine authority.

   D. It was established throughout the Old Testament that the Messiah would in fact, be Yahweh come in the flesh Who will "dwell with us." Is. 7:14; Mat. 1:23
        1. The promise to Abraham: Gal. 3:16; Rom. 9:4-5
        2. At Jesus’ birth: Luke 2:11
        3. Simeon’s confession: Luke 2:25-32
        4. John’s confession: John 1:19 -20; 3:27 -36;
        5. Jesus’ confession: John 4:25-26; Mat. 26:63-66
        6. Peter’s confession: Mat. 16:15 -16; Acts 2:36
        7. Apostle John’s statement: John 20:30-31
        8. Paul’s conviction: Acts 9:22
        9. Son of man title: John 9:35-38
      10. The issue of the incarnation: 1 Jon. 2:22; 4:2; 5:1
      11. Fulfilled prophecy: Luke 24:25-27
See topics on Christ's deity.

Verse 4
Focus on Jesus as the savior
1. The one who gave himself:  verb, didomi as an aorist active participle
   A. The aorist is the historical point of time when Christ died spiritually on the cross.
   B. The active voice indicates He did this voluntarily. He was not "given" - He GAVE. Heb. 10:9
2. for our sins: preposition, huper - FOR because the penalty for sin had to be paid.
    Thus, the idea is "in payment for" or "on behalf of." Rom. 5:6; John 1:29; 1Pet 2:24.
Topic: Redemption

3. So that He might deliver us:
   A. preposition, hopōs  plus the subjunctive mood indicates purpose AND potential.
   B. deliver is the verb exzaireō as an aorist middle subjunctive.
        It means to raise up OUT OF (preposition ek plus verb, aireō).
        1. aorist tense refers to the historical point of time that the act of deliverance takes place.
        2. middle voice is the form for this meaning of aireō.
        3. subjunctive mood indicates that this is indeed the purpose for the sacrificial death of Christ,
            but the actual deliverance will not and cannot occur until and unless the individual person
            makes a volitional, conscious choice to trust in Christ as savior.
   C. The deliverance occurs in two stages.
       1. First is the positional deliverance at the moment of trusting in Christ. The action of God at
           that| very instant is to transfer the person out from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom
           of light.
       2. The second stage is experiential and occurs through the growth process which is the
           learning AND application of Bible truth in the life. We are saved not just to be placed
           into God's kingdom, but to remain here on earth living above the influence of evil and
|          representing the divine value system of LIGHT to the world in which we live.
           As Jesus prayed, "I ask not that you take them out from the world, but to keep them
           from the evil." John 17:15.

4. from the present evil age:  The noun, aiōn (age), is not used as a dispensation here, but as the time
    period from the fall of Adam until the removal of the curse on the earth and Satan as the god and
    ruler of this world at the end of Messiah's 1000-year reign.
    For details: This age and the age to come
    The word, evil, is pon
āros which refers to evil that is infectious; that is it seeks to influence and
    dominate everything in its vicinity.
    This deliverance is first and foremost a positional transfer OUT FROM so that the believer is no
    longer a citizen of "this present evil age," but a citizen of heaven. Philip. 3:20.


   A. When Adam fell from his spiritual relationship with God, he lost his rule
      over the earth to Satan. John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Luke 4:6;
      cf. Gen. 9:1-7 ( no repeat of the "rule over" command).
      2Cor 4:4, "the god of this age."

   B. Satan, having previously become the adversary of God, represents all that is
      contrary and opposite to God.

1. God is light: 1 John 1:5a
2. And in Him is no darkness at all: 1 John 1:5b
3. Therefore Satan represents darkness and evil.

   C. Thus, his rulership is called "this darkness." Eph. 6:12

   D. All who are born into the human race are under Satan's darkness kingdom.

1. 1 John 5:19
2. Eph. 2:1-2
3. John 8:44, child of the devil

   E. Jesus came to provide transfer from this darkness into light.

1. Luke 1:78-79
2. John 8:12; 12:36, 46
3. and here at Galatians 1:4, deliverance from this present evil age.

   F. That is the message of the gospel. Acts 26:14-18
   "from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God."

   G. This transfer is entrance into the kingdom of God's Son. Col. 1:12-13
   "For He delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom
    of the Son of His love."
   H. The transfer occurs immediately and permanently whenever a person trusts in Christ
    as Savior. Eph. 1:13; Rom. 8:38-39; 2 Tim. 2:11-13
   I. The term "in Christ" designates that the transfer has occurred. We are in positional
    union with Christ and no longer IN the kingdom of darkness.
    See Topic: Positional union with Christ


   A. All believers are in union with Christ. 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Cor. 1:30
   B. This union confers on the believer the positional status of being one and equal
       with the glorified humanity of Jesus. Gal. 3:27-28
   C. This union is permanent and unable to be disbanded by God or man.
       Rom. 8:38-39; Eph. 1:13; 2 Tim. 2:11-13
   D. The character of the believer through this positional status is perfectly righteous
       and sinless. 2 Cor. 5:21; Col. 2:10

   E. But in actual experience, the believer must still contend with the world,
      the sin nature and the devil. Eph. 6:12; Gal. 5:17; Col. 2:8; 1 Pet. 2:11; 5:8
      1. Because of our positional identification with Christ's victory over sin,
         we should live in victory over sin. Rom. 6:11-13
     "don't let THE sin (nature) reign in your mortal body so that you should obey its lusts."
      2. We should reflect our exalted standing before God into our Christian experience by
      seeking to imitate the light of His standards and the character of Christ.
      Eph. 5:8; Col. 3:1-2

   F. So the issue throughout the Christian life is to use the Word (1 Tim. 1:5)
      and the filling-control of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25) to live a life that consistently
      reflects the perfect character and status of our position. Eph. 5:8; Col. 3:1, 9-10

7. According to the will of our God and Father: It is God's plan.
   A. According to the good thinking of His will. Eph. 1:5
   B. According to His good thinking which he purposed in Him (Christ). Eph. 1:9
   C. According to the plan of Him who works all things according to the thinking of His will.
       Eph. 1:11
   D. THE PLAN OF THE AGES as per Ephesians 3:11.
      1. As an expression of His perfect essence, God chose to have created beings
         functioning in the universe on the basis of "free will." He wanted them to express
         themselves toward Him in a positive attitude from choice and not as a programmed

      2. God is absolute righteousness. In God's foreknowledge, He anticipated that the
         opposite of His perfect righteousness would manifest itself through a volitional

      3. So in order to allow for existence of volitional creatures throughout eternity, God
         must permit the manifestation of unrighteousness and then deal with it in perfect
         justice once and for all. CF. Psalm 92:7

      4. Unrighteousness cannot be tolerated by God's absolute righteousness.
         It must be judged.

           a. Once exposed and judged, it will no longer be an issue throughout the universe.
         b. And so, volitional creatures will be able to exist with that volition but without the
            threat of going against God's righteousness.
         c. That course of action will not be available to them.
         d. Sin and unrighteousness will be totally exposed for what it is and then judged
             once and for all, put as it were, in the divine "museum" of history and left there
             as evidence for all eternity.
         e. This is because unrighteousness will have been fully exposed and dealt with
             and demonstrated to all the creation that it is undesirable and unacceptable
             and non-beneficial.

      5. Thus, God permitted the sin of Satan which is described at Ezek. 8:15-17a.
          Details at Topic: Angelic Conflict
          a. Satan sinned and God judged him.
          b. Satan protested accusing God of being unfair and unloving.
          c. God chose to prove to Satan is wrong and created the human race for that purpose.
          d. Whenever a person trusts in Christ, this demonstrates to Satan and all the fallen angels
              that God is indeed, fair and loving.
          e. So the salvation of everyone who trusts in Christ is according to God's plan of the ages.

Verse 5
1. To whom be the glory: This refers to recognition of the absolute sovereignty of The Father
    Jude 25
   A. be glory: doxa - recognition of His character
   B. majesty: megal
ōsunā - recognition of his superiority in all things
   C. dominion: kratos - ruling power. Sovereignty in action over all his creatures.
   D. authority: exousia - the PRINCIPLE of absolute authority for all eternity.

Romans 1:36, "For out from Him and through Him and unto Him are all things."
Everything revolves around showcasing the character and plan of the Godhead, focusing on the Father as the designer of the divine love initiative - the plan of the ages.

2. unto the ages of the ages: preposition eis + aiōn, two times (plural).
Jude's formula: at verse 25:
   A. From before every age: preposition, pro + pas + aiōn in the singular.
        From BEFORE every age, thus eternity past.
       The "ages" began when "time" began at the creation of the angels and universe.
        And then "every age" refers to the time periods that occur after that and before the "now."
        Those include the time before human history and the two dispensations before the church
        (the age/dispensation of the family priesthood and the national priesthood)..

   B. and now: It does not seem that this refers to "this age" as the period of human history in contrast
       with "the age to come" since there are ageS (plural) that follow the "now" time period.
       Thus, it probably refers to the present church time period from 30 Ad until the second coming
       and the rapture.
       Jude does not say the now "age." He does not use the word "age" for the present "now" time
       period. This is consistent since the word, age, is not used for dispensations, and NOW does
       refer to the present church dispensation within this context.
   C. and unto all the ages: preposition eis + pas (all) + ai
ōn (plural). Historical and eternal future.
       The use of "all" suggests that God sees multiple "ages" beyond the "now" time period
   D. The "now" time period includes the church age from 30 Ad until the second coming and the
       70th week of Daniel which completes the Jewish age  (Plus the additional 75 days of
       Daniel 12:11-12).
   E. After this is the 1000 year reign of Christ.
   F. And after this is the eternal age, which might be broken down into other time periods based on
       unrevealed aspects of God's plan for the future.

3. The ultimate glorification of the Father (the Godhead) is described at 1Cor. 15:21-28.

4. amen:  amān: in absolute truth. Confirmation of inspired spiritual principles.
This affirms the author's agreement with all that has been stated.

Verses 6-10 The occasion for writing this letter
Verse 6
1. I marvel: thaumadzō as a present active indicative to indicate surprise. Paul had taught them well and established them with teaching elders. But this shows how powerful cultural, religious and peer pressure can be.
2. that you are so easily deserting:
   A. soon: adverb, tacheōs. From the first missionary journey until shortly after Paul's visit during his
       third visit to these churches, it has been about 10 or 11 years. So "soon" is not a factor.
       It has also been about 2 years since his last visit. Paul spent 2 years in Ephesus before going
       through Macedonia and Corinth from where he wrote this letter. So, even in this case, the idea
       of "soon" does not seem to be a factor.
       Another meaning of this adverb gives the sense of EASE. This is what is in view here..
       It has not been a "soon" factor, but an "ease" factor. He is amazed at the EASE of departure,
       not the brevity of time.
   B. The verb metatith
āmi as a present middle indicative. In the middle voice it means to desert or
       to transfer oneself from one "thing" or "location" to another.
3. from Him who called you: The preposition is apo; away from the ultimate source.
God is the ultimate and ONLY source of true salvation and true spiritual victory over sin and evil. They are deserting their experiential relationship with God the Father (spiritual freedom) and embracing a belief in a false gospel as well as a way of life that spiritually enslaves them.
The verb "called" is kaleō as an aorist active participle to refer to both the invitation and placement into God's plan of election which is accomplished by God Himself.1 Cor. 1:9; 1 Thes. 5:4.
   A. It occurs (or occurred) in the plan of God from eternity past. Eph. 1:4 (eklegomai).
   B. And in reality at the moment of time that a person trusts in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
   C. Election involves three concepts.
       1. PRIVILEGE: the invitation is given on the basis of God's grace. Undeserved and unearned.
       2. RANK: The rank and status of spiritual royalty in the universe.
       3. FUNCTION:  the new responsibility as priests and ambassadors while here on earth.

4. into the grace of Christ: This refers to everything we have as members of the body of Christ; in union with Him, free from the condemnation of sin, possessing everlasting life, and access to a way of life that knows true inner peace, joy and stability.

5. These believers were taught accurate and sufficient spiritual truth, and the churches were established with leaders who continued teaching the principles of grace and freedom.
Acts 14:22, "strengthening the souls of the disciples."
Verse 23, "appointed elders in every church."
Acts 16:5, "So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number
Acts 18:23, "strengthening all the disciples."

6. But the Judaizers had such a strong influence in the churches because
   (1) the churches were comprised of a very large number of Jewish believers who had the
       "religious" traditions of the Mosaic law as their background.
   (2) the gospel of Jesus Christ has its foundation in the Jewish Old Testament. The Old Testament
        was in fact the primary source for knowledge about God and God's plan within the churches
        before the apostolic letters became circulated.
   (3) They gave lip-service to Jesus being the Messiah.

7. unto another gospel: heteros means a gospel of a DIFFERENT kind.
    The word gospel (euangelion - good news) is used because the false teachers (Judaizers and all
    apostate sects) were still claiming that what they taught was indeed "good news" about relationship
    and fellowship with God.

Verse 7
1. which is not another: allos means another of the SAME kind. This clearly states that the false teaching had no similarity to the truth.
   A. The good news of God is a message of blessing; freedom, peace and joy.
   B. The "different" gospel is a message of bondage and unhappiness.
   C. Anything that is contrary to THE truth (as revealed in the bible) can only bring spiritual slavery,
        frustration and unhappiness.
   D. The good news that is contrary to the truth is an attempt by man to gain favor with God through
        his own ideas and efforts.
   E. Or - it is an attempt to satisfy the sin nature of man in one of two ways.
      1. Asceticism: the denial of normal life activities in areas of food, sex, pleasure.
      2. Lasciviousness: a total abandonment to excess in normal life activities; gluttony, promiscuity.
   F. Man tries through these things to cover his unhappiness and frustration with life. Sublimation.
   G. Sublimation is taking something (anything), whether it is bona fide or not, to hide from or deny
       whatever is unpleasant in one's life.
   H. It is attempting to solve the pressures of life (evil, suffering, pain, death) on one's own terms
        while  rejecting the divine solution which is (1) first through salvation and (2) and then through
        learning and using God's word while living here on earth.

2. Except there are some who are disturbing you:
   A. Disturb is tarassō as a present active participle. The present tense indicates an on-going
        influence and effect.
   B. They are confused, in doubt, and many have actually departed from grace and truth.
   C. the "some" of course, are the judaizers who have infiltrated the churches with their false gospel.

3. and who want: thelō as a present active partciple. This is the desire of the false teachers.
4. to distort: metastrephō is an aorist act infinitive. distort, corrupt, pervert, alter.
   The aorist tense expresses a "one-time" idea. They want to totally destroy the true gospel once and
   for all; to remove it from the face of the earth, as it were.
5. But their problem is that they don't know that what they are fighting is in actuality - THE TRUTH.
   They think that what they have is the truth and this makes them all the more determined and sincere
    to fulfill their desire.
6. And of course, behind the scenes is Satan, who is constantly trying to discredit and destroy the
    truth and the plan of God. He initiates or fuels the false doctrines and the unbelievers love it,
    embrace it, and become enslaved to it. Their souls become scarred and calloused so that they
    become blind to the truth of God and become pro-active to destroy it, all the while supporting the
    satanic poison that has filled their souls.
Examples of his schemes: fulfills the "not ignorant" aspect of 2 Corinthians 2:11

A. 2 Corinthians 11:14-15: Satan as an angel of light, servants as servants of righteousness. (Mt. 13:24-30)
B. Behind organized idolatry: 1 Corinthians 10:20-21; Rev. 9:20
C. Has his own doctrine: I Tim. 4:1-3 2 Tim. 2:24-26
D. Attacks through organized religion: Rev. 2:9; John 8:44-47
E. Seeks to distort and destroy the work of the cross. Luke 22:3; 1 Cor. 2:8

8. Because the content of Satan's false doctrine, that they have embraced and are now teaching, is so
    close  to the truth - because Satan imitates the truth - many are deceived.
    It seems that a great majority of the Galatian believers have failed to apply the doctrinal truths that
    were previously taught by Paul. When this focus on truth is lost, the believer is ripe for deception.
    If truth is followed, that which is contrary to the truth will not deceive, but instead, will become
    open and exposed for what it is - distortion, perversion, satanic.

Verse 8
And now through apostolic authority, Paul condemns and judges the false teachers.
1. But even if we: 3rd class condition of possibility with the very strong "alla" (but).
    The "we" refers to himself or any of those associated with Him (Barnabas, Silas, Timothy).
    The issue is not personality, but the content of the message; truth vs. error.
2. or an angel from heaven: anticipates the claim from some of the cults that they are receiving
    divine revelation from angels. Intercepts demonic activity, supernatural or semi-supernatural
    activity, to lend support to the message that is proclaimed. The occult, false miracles, visions, etc.
    (1 Corinthians 13:1-3; 2 Corinthians 11:14; 1 Timothy 4:1; Col. 2:18).
3. It is also a reminder that some of them had been deceived before, thinking in fact, that Paul and
    Barnabas were angels or representatives of the gods. Acts 14:8-18.And it was with great
    difficulty that they finally convinced the people that they were only men who were bringing the
    good news of salvation through grace and faith.
4. proclaim the gospel (good news) to you: present middle subjunctive of euangelidzō.
    The subjunctive mood gives the sentence the air of potential.
5. contrary to: preposition para - "away from the side of." Indicates difference and contradiction.
6. that which we proclaimed to you: aorist middle indicative of euangelidzō.
    This indicates that they have indeed been taught the true gospel and KNOW the truth.
    With this statement using WE, Paul is also dogmatically affirming HIS apostolic authority.

7. let him be accursed: the verb eimi as a present imperative expressing not only an apostolic
    indictment from Paul, but also a most certain judgment from God.
8. anathema: under a divine curse of judgment. Some aspect of separation from God.
   A. If it is an unbeliever, that separation if the perpetuation of spiritual death into eternity.
       The only thing that could reverse such a curse is if the person trusts in Christ before death.
   B. For the believer, the separation is the experience of divine discipline which places the person
       into a sphere of experiential judgment and suffering. Used this way at 1 Cor. 16:22, "If anyone
       does not love the Lord, let him be under a curse."
       The believer cannot lose salvation but can be severely disciplined by God directly (applied
       consequences) or through natural consequences (effects of sin and disobedience).
   C. Paul uses it for himself in an extreme example of devotion, wishing that he himself could be
       under the curse of separation from God, although such a thing could never happen. Rom. 9:3

Verse 9 Repetition for emphasis and clarity so that there is no misunderstanding
1. just as I said before even now again I say: the verb is prolegō as a perfect active indicative.
There are two possible ideas to Paul's words here.
   A. He is simply repeating what he just wrote, and in fact, the force would then be,
         "as I just said . . ."
         This would be for emphasis to indicate certainty in his authoritative statement.
         Against this sense is the presence of the adverb, "now" (arti) which seems out of place
         if he is referring to the previous verse. Otherwise, he would need simply write, "say AGAIN."
   B. Wuest suggests that Paul had actually warned them before on a previous visit, which of course,
       would make their defection even more a stain upon them. Wuest contrasts the "before" idea in
       the verb with the adverb, "now' (arti) to support this claim. It certainly seems out of place to use
       "now" unless he is in fact, referring to a time other than the statement in verse 8.
       Even if it is to be viewed in this sense, the EMPHASIS is still there and the authority of the
        apostolic "curse" remains intense and certain.

2. If anyone proclaims a gospel (euangelidzō) to you contrary to (para - away from the side of) what
    you have received: The verb, paralambanō, is an aorist active indicative and refers to the specific
    historical point of time that they were taught and received the true gospel of Christ.
3. let him be cursed: anathema. Again, the repetition is for emphasis and certainty.

4. These are very strong and harsh words. But Paul has justification and defends his harshness and
     authority by stressing two factors and asking two rhetorical questions.
   A. As the bond servant of God, Paul is not concerned about pleasing or showing favor to men.
       Verse 10.
   B. The gospel is such that it cannot tolerate any attempt at alteration in any way, shape, or form.
       It is indeed THE gospel that Paul learned by revelation from Jesus Christ. Verses 11-12.
5. This is a good place to study the gospel in its entirety.
See Topic: The Gospel

Verse 10
Men are not to be favored or catered to at the expense of maintaining the integrity of the gospel,
and pleasing God.
1. For am I now favoring man or God?: The verb is peithō as a present active indicative to refer to his intent and goal as a servant of God. Here, it means to win over or strive to please. If he does not respond in a harsh tone to these false teachers, it will appear as though he is showing favor to them.
That would of course be the opposite of fulfilling his responsibility of showcasing the character and
plan of God - showing favor to God.
The question then is rhetorical with the obvious answer being that I am here to please God.
I am favoring God's agenda over man's. God's plan over Satan's.

2. or am I seeking to please men?: A different verb with a different focus. areskō as a present active infinitive with the verb, seek (zāteō) as a present active indicative.
Here, the idea is to use language or gimmicks to bring pleasure to the hearers and gain their acceptance.
Paul has been accused by the Judaizers of being a "man-pleaser." Accused of not proclaiming truth accurately in order to gain favor with the hearers.
It is true that Paul was not perfect. He made mistakes and compromised in areas where he should not have in order to please man.
A very serious example, known to the believers in Lystra, was the circumcision of Timothy (because of the Jews) WHILE Paul was out of fellowship from his prideful behavior of Acts 15:36-39. Paul remained out of fellowship until Acts 16:9-10.
Of course the most egregious example was his compromise at Acts 21:20-26 which led to his intent to offer an animal sacrifice and resulted in the divine discipline of the Roman imprisonment.
See Topic: PAUL'S SINS

Paul makes a point in other letters that he has never used flattery or tricks to elicit the favor of the
hearers. 1 Thes. 2:5-6
PRINCIPLE: Very well stated by R. B. Thieme Jr. in his teaching on Galatians.
Principle: No man in the ministry can continue in the ministry as the servant of Christ by pleasing men. You make the issue of what God’s Word has to say. They must use it or not, you cannot make anyone use the Word of God. So the issue is: Here is the information, you can use it, you can apply it, or you can fail to use it and fail to apply it, but it is up to you. This scripture makes it very clear that the ministry must always choose for doctrine, never for pleasing people."

3. If I were pleasing men (which I am not): This is a second class condition "if" clause, which views
the action as unfulfilled - that is, something that does not or has not occurred. This of course, is viewed within the context of proclaiming the gospel. We should view this as a "general" behavior for Paul and consider his recorded sins as rare exceptions. But we can see how one's failures in following various tenets of one's belief system can bring many challenges to one's testimony.
 The verb, areskō (as an imperfect act indicative) is repeated to stress the fact that Paul does not tolerate any teaching that is contrary to the truth that has been revealed by the Spirit to the apostles and prophets.
This verb must always be kept IN CONTEXT. Here, it is clear that Paul is referring to any toleration
of teaching that is contrary to the truth. But then, once again, Paul must swallow his pride and acknowledge to himself and anyone who will challenge him, that he himself has failed to be consistent.
At 1 Corinthians 10:33, the context again shows that Paul seeks to please all men ONLY as it furthers the proclamation of the gospel. "Just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own benefit, but the benefit of the many, so that they might be saved."

4. then I would not be the bond servant of God:
The imperfect indicative of the verb eimi indicates status.
It occurs with the negative to indicate the reality of two incongruous ideas.
And the particle, "an" occurs to show that his is a 2nd class condition if-clause.
If I cater to man at the expense of the truth of the gospel, then I am in opposition to God
and NOT his bond servant.
And of course, any time that the believer is out of fellowship and fails to follow and promote the truth of God's word, during that time, that believer is NOT functioning as a servant of God.

The word servant is doulos and refers to an indentured slave who is such either by force or by choice. The “bond” servant was a servant/slave who completed his service/bondage, but chose to remain in the service of the master out of love and devotion.
According to Jewish custom, such a person would then have his ear pierced as indication of his choice to offer lifetime service and devotion to the owner/master. Ex. 21:6; Deut. 15:17.
    A. This title teaches the principle of true humility as we recognize that God is the source and
     provider of all things.
    B. the example of being a bond servant is seen in Jesus. Phil. 2:5-7
    C. Four principles pertaining to the bond servant.
        1. A servant belongs to someone else.
        2. He was purchased by someone else.
        3. The buyer is responsible for the care and protection.
        4. The servant’s whole life is now centered around serving and pleasing the master.
The believer in Jesus Christ has entered into a relationship of benevolent servitude.
The MASTER (God) has only the welfare of his servants in mind.
As a bond servant the believer seeks only what is beneficial to the master. He seeks only
to please God. Acts 5:29, "We must obey God rather than men."
We are left here on earth to promote the character and plan of God in our life and our message.
And Paul's statement here shows that there is no room for compromise in our life and message.
Religion and Christianity are mutually exclusive. And only Christianity is pleasing to God.
And in fact, only true biblical Christianity is pleasing to God.
So it is imperative that each believer comes to terms with grace, faith, freedom
and true spirituality. And of course, that is why there is so much debate and division.


Verses 11-12
The True Gospel Message
1. For: explanatory gar to focus on the fact that the gospel of Christ is not OF or FROM man.
2. I inform you brethren: the verb is gnōridzō as a present act indicative - I make known to you.
    The use of the word brethren confirms that Paul is addressing fellow believers.
    He knows they are believers even though they have become deceived and are wandering away
    from the principles of grace.
3. the gospel that was proclaimed by me: euangelidzō as an aorist passive participle.
    The aorist tense refers to the specific historical POINTS of time that Paul taught them.
4. that it is not according to the standard of man: the preposition, kata, means "according to
    standard." It is not a human message. It is not a man-made message or belief system.
    It does not reflect human viewpoint. In fact, the idea of a substitutionary sacrifice for sin that is
    utilized or applied by grace through faith alone without human merit, deserving, or works is
     completely foreign to any human belief system.
5. For I neither received it: the verb is paralambano as an aorist active indicative and refers to the
    historical point of time that Paul received divine revelation of the details of the gospel.
6. from man: preposition para to indicate from the immediate source of man. It was not given to him
    by any human agency.
7. Nor was I taught it: the verb is didaskō as an aorist passive indicative. The aorist tense refers to
    any point of time in Paul's history when such a teaching situation might occur.
    The gospel was not something that was communicated to Paul through any kind of teaching
    from man.
8. But: the conjunction, alla, indicates the strongest kind of CONTRAST. Totally opposite to any
    of the above ideas, Paul received the gospel directly from Jesus.
9. through the revelation from Jesus Christ: preposition, dia plus the genitive case of the noun.
    apokalupsis indicates a supernatural revelation.
    This is described in the book of Acts at 26:16, "to appoint you a minister and a witness, not only
    to the things you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you."
    Paul's salvation decision occurred at Acts 9:17-18 with 22:16, "Arise, be baptized,
    and wash away your sins BY calling on His name."
    Ananias gave Paul an accurate gospel message of "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you
    shall be saved." The act of "calling on His name," is the expression of faith in the gospel message.
    Romans 10:13, "whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved."
    One can only "call upon his name" for salvation if that person understand that salvation is by grace
    alone, through faith alone - thus putting trust in the person and work of Jesus.

    Paul immediately began to proclaim Jesus as the promised Old Testament Messiah to the people
    of Damascus, which he did for several days. Acts 9:19-20.
    After this Paul resided in Arabia for 24 or more months where it is most likely that he received the
    more detailed facts about the grace of God and the gospel.
    This is represented at Acts 9:22, "but Saul kept increasing in strength." And with the statement
    already mentioned at Acts 26:16, "also the things in which I will appear to you."

    Galatians 1:17 says that after his time in Arabia he returned to Damascus.
    This is what is in view with the next phrase at Acts 9:22, "and confounding the Jews who lived in
    Damascus proving that this Jesus is the Christ (the anointed Messiah)."
    So it seems most likely that the "revelation from Jesus Christ" that Paul mentions here at Galatians
    1:12 took place while he was in Arabia.

Verses 13-24
Paul relates about 4 years of his post salvation history to help establish the validity of the commission
given to him from God and the gospel message which was accepted by other church leaders and by
those who had trusted in Christ before him.
Kenneth Wuest has written a great summary of this passage,
which I provide complete at this link: Wuest: Galatians 1:13-24

And partially in the verses below where his words are beneficial.

Verse 13
"For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I was continually persecuting the church of God beyond measure and was continually seeking to destroy it."

1. It was because of this extreme devotion to the destruction of the church that through divine inspiration, Paul evaluated himself to be "the foremost" among sinners (1 Tim. 1:16).
And to be "the least of all saints" (Eph. 3:8).
And to be "the least of the apostles . . .  because I persecuted the church of God" (1Cor. 15:9).

2. The power of RELIGION (True Christianity is not a religion) all throughout history has shown its ugly head through the persecuting and killing of anyone who does not adhere to its various tenets. And Paul's obsession can be considered the prime example.
And there are other examples throughout the history of the church where a FALSE Christianity, using the name of Christ, but being totally contrary to New Testament truth, has sought to squelch opposition by physical violence, torture and murder.
True Christianity as represented in the New Testament has never advocated using physical violence of any kind to deal with opposition.

3. The verb destroy is portheō as an imperfect active indicative to indicate continuous action in the past. Thus, "I was continually ravaging it." or "seeking to destroy it."
It is used of Paul at Acts 9:21, "Is this not the one who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name." It occurs as an aorist active participle to describe an historical fact covering a specific period of time; the time of Paul's persecution activity.

4. The church of GOD: Although Paul is reviewing his past history, his use of this term shows that at this time, he clearly recognizes the concept of the universal church. He certainly did not call it the church of God when he was persecuting it.
A. The universal church is comprised of all church age believers.
    Eph.1:22-23, 5:25-27; Col.1:17-18.
   1. All those who trusted in Christ prior to the day of Pentecost in 30 AD
        and who were alive at that  time."
   . All those who trusted in Christ from the day of Pentecost forward until the rapture.

B. The universal church was yet in the future during Christ's ministry, although clearly in the mind and
    plan of God from eternity past (Eph. 1:4). Mat. 16:18, "On this Rock (Christ) I will build my
    church." (The future tense of oikodomeō).

C. Synonyms for the universal Church.
   1. All church age believers are placed into union with Christ and become (1) personally a new
         creation, and (2) collectively a member of a new body or entity  in Christ.
         1 Cor 15:45-47; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Eph. 2:15 (one new man).
   2. The universal church is the body of Christ and Christ is the head of the body. Christ is the
        controller, the one in authority. The body has many parts or "members" which refers to the
        various spiritual gifts and ministries of individual believers.
        Eph 1:22-23, 2:16, 4:4-5, 5:23; 1 Cor 12; Col 1:17-18,24, 2:19.
   3. Christ is the shepherd and the church is His sheep. Jn 10; Heb 13:20; 1 Pet 5:4. This analogy connotes the security and great blessings that come to us as members of His body. This analogy appropriately sees us like sheep. Sheep have no sense of direction, cannot fend for themselves, are helpless, and therefore need the guidance, sustenance, and protection of the shepherd. Practically, the believer-sheep must be guided, guarded and fed by the under-shepherd, the pastor of the local church.
   4. Church age believers are branches IN the vine. Jn 15:1-6. Jesus Christ is the vine; we are the branches. This analogy teaches union with Christ; positional truth and/or positional sanctification.
In this passage we see both position and experience; relationship and fellowship. And this passage deals with both failure and success in growth and service.
See John 15:1-11
   5. Christ is the chief cornerstone, and the stones of the building are believers as members of the universal church. This was first taught by Christ in Mt 16:16-18 when He told Peter, “You are blessed, Simon, Son of Jonas. And on this rock (PETRA, giant rock, Christ) I will build my Church.. Therefore, your name is now PETRAS (part or chip of a rock).” This reference to Christ as the chief cornerstone is found in Eph 2:20; 1 Pet 2:4-8.

   6. 1 Peter 2:4-8 actually gives us FOUR terms to describe the universal church.
       a. A chosen race: A SPIRITUAL race based on being CHOSEN or ELECTED into
           the body of Christ.
           Topic: ELECTION

       b. A royal priesthood: This is still viewing church age believers as ONE body, but the focus
            with all four of these terms is on SERVICE while here on earth.
           The "royalty" factor is because Christ is the KING and we are IN UNION with the king.
           We are a new spiritual entity viewed as ROYALTY within the entire universe.
       c. A holy nation: Again, this is a new SPIRITUAL nation replacing the evangelistic function
           of the nation of Israel, as both Jew and Gentile are joined together to spread the gospel.
       d. A people for (God's) possession: verse 10, "the people of God." Again, chosen by God
           to replace the physical nation of Israel as God's ambassadors on the earth.

   7. The universal church is seen as the "bride of Christ." 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25-27; Rev 19:6-8.
This is viewed from both a present positional focus as well as a future focus at the wedding feast of the Lamb after Christ's second coming.

Verse 14
"And I was continually advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries within my race, being more extremely zealous for the traditions of my forefathers."
See topic: Paul's religious background

From Wuest:
"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.
The Jews’ religion.
The word religion is not in the Greek text. The Greek word is Ioudaismos which refers to the Jewish faith and worship. The term was perhaps coined by the Gentile world as was the name Christianos, the name given followers of the Christ (Acts 11:26). 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 Jews. As with the case of the name Christianos
 (IPeter 4:14; Acts 26:28), the word Ioudaismos conveyed some shadow of the contempt with which the pagan world regarded both Judaism and Christianity. But adopted by the Jews, it would lose the idea of contempt and even become a title of honor, as is the case with the name Christian. Now, 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."

Verse 15
CT: "But when the one who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace,
thought it good . . ."
1. But when (God) was pleased: the verb is eudokeō as an aorist active indicative.
   A. the adverb, eu, means good.
   B. the verb, dokeō, means to think. Thus, to think it good, proper, right, beneficial.
   C. The aorist tense refers to the eternal thinking of the Godhead, who in the sphere of His
        "plan of the ages" (Eph. 3:11), established "before the foundation of the world" (Eph. 1:4)
        that He would use Paul as a key asset for the advance of the gospel.
   D. It carries the force of a decree; a sovereign decision based on divine love and wisdom.
       1. love: the DESIRE to do what is beneficial.
       2. wisdom: the capacity to KNOW what is beneficial.
       3. sovereignty: the authority to put into operation the plan to accomplish the intent of love.
           The Divine Love Initiative
       4. power: and of course, He has the ability to DO whatever he wants.
   E. 1 Cor. 1:21, "God thought it beneficial (determined) . . . to save those who believe."
   F. Col. 1:19, "for he thought it beneficial (determined) for all fullness to dwell in Him."
   G. Eudokia (noun): good pleasure; good thinking; beneficial choice
       1. Ephesians 1:5, according to the beneficial choice (thinking) of His will (sovereignty)."
       2. Ephesians 1:9, according to his beneficial choice (thinking), which he predesigned in Him."
   H. What God decided to do as beneficial to the furtherance of His plan was to -
        "reveal His Son in me in order to proclaim the gospel," verse 16.

2. the one who appointed me:  the verb is aphoridzō as an aorist active participle to indicate the Point of time within the good-thinking of God for Paul's purpose, that He had established from eternity past according to the plan of the ages.
   A. The verb can mean to mark out or set a limit upon or appoint.
        As with Robertson, Wuest, Thieme, etc.
        Paul uses this verb at Rom. 1:1 describing himself as "set apart" or "appointed" for the gospel.
        God knew that Paul would respond positive to the gospel message given to him by ananias,
        and on that basis established a specific plan for him to become the twelfth apostle.

   B. Or, the verb can mean to separate or take away, and refer in this case to physical birth.
        As with Frederic Rendall of The Expositor's Greek New Testament.
        "He did not hesitate accordingly to regard himself, like Hebrew prophets of old
        (Is. 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5, as dedicated from his birth to the service of God."
      1. Acts 19:9, Paul left and "took away" the disciples.
      2. Mat. 25:32, Jesus will separate the nations from (apo) one another as a shepherd
          separates the sheep from (apo) the goats.
      3. Gal. 2:12, when they came he separated himself.
      4. Mat. 13:49, the angels will separate the wicked out from (ek) among the righteous.

   C. I think that either idea is acceptable without taking anything from the plan of God.
       However, I prefer the PHYSICAL aspect of "from birth" for two reasons.
       1. If the plan of God from eternity past is in view, the verb prooridzo is more appropriate,
           as it speaks of a BEFORE marking out or appointment as at Eph. 1:5, "having predistined"
           or "marked us out before hand."
       2. The preposition, ek, with the word "womb" lends itself NATURALLY to the idea that Paul
           has in mind, "from the point of his physical birth."

3. out from my mother's womb: The preposition, ek, indicates a removal out from one place to another, which in this case, seems reasonably to refer to removal from the womb into the world.
Even Wuest writes, "
The impression one gets from the rendering of the a.v. is that it refers to the physical separation of the child from the mother’s womb, which idea was not in the apostle’s mind."

I think that "from the time of physical birth" is also the impression that comes across from the Greek.
And I think that commentators and/or theologians strain to preserve the TRUE fact that God has indeed placed each of us into His plan from eternity past, and that we have thus been "marked out" for the various ministries that he has for us. But we don't need to insist on that idea in this passage. The truth stands without straining the language here to support it.

Wuest continues, "The idea is, “who set me apart, devoted me to a special purpose from before my birth, and before I had any impulses or principles of my own.” Passages from the Old Testament sustain this usage (Judges 16:17; Isaiah 44:21, 24, 49:1, 5). This idea is also seen in those instances where a child’s destiny is clearly fixed by God before birth as was Samson’s (Judges 16:17), and John the Baptist’s (Luke 1:15)."

I suggest that instead, these passages simply indicate a "staring point" from the standpoint of TIME; that is, the start of a person's life. There is no idea of "before birth" in these passages without "reading into it."
Judges 16:17, "for I have been a Nazarite to God from my mother's womb."
Isaiah 49:1, "Yahweh called me from the womb, from the body of my mother He named me."
Luke 1:15, "and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even out from (ek) his mother's womb."
Notice, that even Wuest recognizes this:
"The preposition ek translated from, in the phrase 'from my mother’s womb,' is used at times to mark a temporal starting point (John 6:66, 9:1; Acts 9:33, 24:10). Paul, therefore, states that he was set apart or devoted by God to the apostleship before he was born."

But once again he goes beyond the simple idea of from the time of birth, to "before" he was born.
How does one go from "a temporal staring point" that is "from the womb" to some time "before he was born." There is no justification for this. Notice especially, John 9:1, "a man blind out from (ek) birth."

What then is Paul's purpose for referring to God as the one who gave me birth?
It focuses on the plan of God that accomplished TWO things in bringing Paul to the place of his ministry. (1) He brought him into this world, and (2) he elected me (called) into his plan based upon my choice to trust in Jesus.
In other words, He gave me both PHYSICAL life and SPIRITUAL life.

4. and called me: The verb is kaleō as an aorist active participle and refers to Paul's entrance into the plan of God through the doctrine of election, which was studied at verse 6.
Election involves three concepts.
       1. PRIVILEGE: the invitation is given on the basis of God's grace. Undeserved and unearned.
       2. RANK: The rank and status of spiritual royalty in the universe.
       3. FUNCTION:  the new responsibility as priests and ambassadors while here on earth.

5. through His grace: preposition dia plus the genitive case of charis (grace).
This then emphasizes the PRIVILEGE aspect of election - it is through grace.
Paul did not deserve, earn or work for it. It was given to him based on his faith in Christ.

Verse 16
1. to reveal his son: The verb is apokaluptō as an aorist active infinitive and refers to a specific historical event in the life of Paul. This is a revealing of something that had previously been hidden.
In Paul's case, the fact that Jesus was the promised Messiah and Savior was unknown to him and in fact, resisted by him with every fiber of his being. It seems to refer to the initial appearance of Jesus to Paul on the road to Damascus. Acts 9:5, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting."
At Acts 26:16 Paul quotes Jesus as saying, "for this reason I have appeared to you." This indicates that this event was indeed a revelation of Jesus TO Paul.

2. in me: The preposition "en" plus the pronoun "emoi" indicates either a "to me" idea
or a "within me" idea. Robertson, agreeing with Lightfoot, prefers the idea of "in my case." Although he admits that both "in me" or "in my case" fit the context.
This revelation of Jesus was first, a visible occurrence, as Paul SAW the light which "suddenly flashed around him." And then an audible revelation, as Jesus identified himself. So it seems that this event could indeed be considered a revelation of Jesus "to me," even though Paul did not actually see the face of Jesus. As indicated above, the words of Jesus at Acts 26:16, "for this reason I have appeared to you," clearly indicates that this event was indeed a revelation of Jesus TO Paul.
In addition, Acts 16:16 gives the same coupling of factors as here at Galatians.
(1) the appearing:
     a. revealed His Son in me. Galatians 1:16
     b. appeared to you. Acts 26:16
(2) the purpose:
     a. that I might proclaim Him among the Gentiles. Galatians 1:16
     b. to appoint you a minister and a witness. Acts 26:16

Now, most certainly there must be an INWARD understanding and acceptance of the fact that Jesus is the promised Messiah; an inward "revealing" if you please. However, this is not what Paul has in mind as he relates these aspects of his conversion.

3. so that I might proclaim him: The conjunction, hina, occurs with the subjunctive mood of the verb to indicate the purpose of God for Paul. The verb is a present middle subjunctive of euangelidzō.
It means to proclaim good news. In this case it is the good news of salvation from sin and eternal life.
4. among the gentiles: God had a specific plan for Paul to unite the two categories of humanity into one new spiritual body; the universal church, as studied above. Paul had a unique ministry to the Gentiles while at the same time ministering to the Jews as well.
Acts 20:21, "thoroughly testifying to both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles)."

5. I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood (v. 17a) nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me. Paul did not seek confirmation or counsel from other Christians or  the Christian leaders in the Jerusalem church.
Although, according to Acts 9:19-21, Paul spent several days in Damascus simply proclaiming what had been revealed to him - that Jesus was the promised Messiah.

Verse 17b
but I went away into Arabia.
Wuest writes:
The word Arabia was the term applied by Greek writers froth Herodotus down, to the whole or various portions of the vast peninsula between the Red Sea on the southwest, the Persian Gulf on the southeast, and the Euphrates River on the northeast. There is nothing to indicate exactly where in this vast territory Paul went. It is not necessary to suppose that Paul went far from Damascus, for the Arabian deserts were within easy reach of that city. It is not likely that Paul went to Mt. Sinai, as some suggest, for that would have constituted too effective an argument for the divine origin of his apostleship, to be omitted here."

Wuest summarizes this stay in Arabia:
"He 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."

It seems best to place the time in Arabia with the phrase at Acts 9:22a, "and Saul kept increasing in strength."
His preparation in Arabia included:
(1) Complete review of the Old Testament Scriptures from the standpoint of Jesus being the Messiah and the fulfillment of all Messianic Old Testament prophecies.
(2) Direct revelation from God concerning the new age (dispensation) and all doctrine pertaining to it.

Verse 17c
After the time in Arabia, Saul returned to Damascus and continued to proclaim Jesus, "confounding the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the anointed one (Christ)." Acts 9:22b.
According to Acts 9:23-25, Paul spent several days in Damascus until a discovered plot to "do away with him" and "put him to death" required leaving town.
Paul does not mention this in Galatians.
Verse 18 picks up 3 years after his conversion when he arrives in Jerusalem.
After his escape from Damascus, Acts 9:26 simply records, "and when he had come to Jerusalem."
At this point it seems best to provide a harmony of Acts and Galatians to see how the various events meld together from Paul's conversion to just before the Jerusalem counsel of 53 AD, which is the time that Galatians one ends.

Verse 18
1. Concerning Peter Wuest writes:
Paul had been suddenly driven out of Damascus (Acts 9:19–25). He went to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Peter and possibly to seek another sphere of labor.
The Authorized Version has the name Peter which is the English spelling of the Greek word petros meaning “a rock.” The Greek text has the word Kephas which is the Greek spelling of a Chaldaic word meaning “a rock.”

2. The verb, to see, is historoō as an aorist active infinitive. It means to more than just to "see," as in the King James Translation.
It means to visit someone in order to get acquainted with or get to know (as with the NASB).
Peter was probably the most dominant leader of the Christian church at this time, and it was certainly advisable for Paul to to meet with him.
I think that Paul's overall view of Peter is reflected at Galatians 2:8, "for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles."

Verse 19
I saw James, the Lord's brother.
James was the leader or administrator of the Jerusalem church at this time so it was a good idea for Paul to make acquaintance with him as well.

Concerning James, Wuest writes:
The construction in the Greek indicates that James was one of the apostles Paul saw. He was not one of the Twelve however, since the brethren of our Lord did not believe on Him at the time of the choosing of the Twelve. The expression “James the Lord’s brother” means that he was the son of Joseph and Mary by natural generation. He is the same James mentioned in Mark 6:3; Galatians 2:9, 12; I Corinthians 15:7; Acts 15:13, 21:18. It is supposed that he was led to believe in the Lord Jesus by reason of the fact that he saw our Lord in His post-resurrection ministry (John 7:5; I Corinthians 9:5, 15:7). He was the Moderator of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13, 21:18)."

I must add one thing to avoid any misunderstandings. James, the brother of Jesus, was NOT an apostle. There were only 12 apostles; the 11 disciples and Paul.
James and certain others are sometimes labeled "apostle because they often operated in close association with an apostle and under apostolic delegated authority.
This would facilitate the implementation of doctrine and policy, but it would not include any of the
functional aspects of the apostle gift.
Likewise with Mathias who was "elected" by human vote, but not CHOSEN by God. Paul was the twelfth apostle chosen by God.

See topic: JAMES

It was a short visit. Wuest writes:
He mentions his fifteen day stay to show how brief were his conversations with Peter. The reason his visit was so abruptly terminated was that the Hellenistic Jews were seeking his life (Acts 9:29), and also that the Lord Jesus appeared to him in the Temple and ordered him out of Jerusalem since his ministry would not be received by the Jerusalem Jews (Acts 22:17–18)."

Verse 20
Concerning these remarks about his preparation and independence from human influence, Paul makes a solemn statement of promise and certainty.
"Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying."

Verse 21
Wuest summarizes it:
"This verse records a period of preaching, as indicated by verse 23. The word region is from klimata. It denotes the fingers of coastland sloping down from the mountains to the sea in northwestern Syria and eastern Cilicia. The name Syria is placed first because Paul’s ministry at Antioch preceded that at Tarsus, and because Cilicia was subordinate to Syria in the Roman empire, being only a district of the great province of Syria. Here we have about ten years of Paul’s life passed over in silence, between his flight from Jerusalem to Tarsus and his return to the former city for the Apostolic Council.
These years were spent around Tarsus and Antioch, in Cyprus and Asia Minor."

These years are covered by Acts 13-14 and records Paul's first missionary journey and takes place over a period of about 14 years (Galatians 2:1) rather than the "ten" that Wuest suggests. This all depends on how one interprets the "14 years" of verse 2:1.

Verse 22
As per Wuest:
In the construction translated 'was unknown,' the emphasis is upon a continuous state, literally “I remained unknown.” By face could be rendered “with respect to the face,” that is, they did not recognize Paul when they saw him. He speaks of the churches of Judaea as distinct from the church at Jerusalem. He left this city so abruptly that the Judaean churches had no opportunity to become acquainted with him. Had he been a disciple of the Twelve, his work would have been in Judaea, but because he was not, that showed that he was an independent missionary, and that he was not operating under the supervision of the Jerusalem church and the Twelve. The phrase in Christ distinguishes the Christian churches in Judaea from the unconverted Jewish assemblies."

Verse 23
But they continually heard what the Christians were saying.
The imperfect tense of akouō indicates that they were hearing over and over all about Paul and about what he was doing.
"He who persecuted us is now proclaiming THE FAITH which he once tried to destroy."
This term, "the faith" refers to the entire package of Christianity. It refers not only to the church as a group of people, but to the belief system that was held by these people. The primary emphasis is on the entrance factor for Christianity, which is belief (faith) in Christ.
Acts 6:7, "and a great many were becoming obedient to the faith."
But FAITH is the operating factor for living after salvation (Col. 2:6), so the term aptly applies to the whole realm of doctrine as revealed to the apostles and prophets by the Spirit. Acts 13:8; 14:22
Galatians 6:10, "the household of the faith." Those who hold to the Christian belief system.
See commentary on James 1:3 and 2:1 for details.

So, certainly, Saul tried to destroy this new belief system by removing bodies - the people who held to it. But he was fighting against the belief system itself and the person of that system; Jesus Christ.
That is why Jesus said to him, "why are you persecuting Me." Acts 9:4.
And, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting." Acts 9:5
This belief system was labeled as "the way" in the early church. Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22.
This probably is based on the words of Jesus, "I am the way, the truth and the life." John 14:6.
Also as "the way of the Lord" and "the way of God." Acts 18:25, 26.

Verse 24
And they were continually glorifying God because of me.
The imperfect tense of doxadzō indicates a continuous attitude and expression toward God as they continually heard over and over all about Paul and his proclamation of truth.
To glorify God means to recognize the advancement of the character and plan of God.
He gets the credit. His character and plan are showcased through the conversion of Paul and through the accurate communication of the gospel message by Paul.


Questions and comments are always welcome

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