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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - GALATIANS 1
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    CHAPTER 1

    Ga 1:1-24. SUPERSCRIPTION. GREETINGS. THE CAUSE OF HIS WRITING IS THEIR SPEEDY FALLING AWAY FROM THE GOSPEL HE TAUGHT. DEFENSE OF HIS TEACHING: HIS APOSTOLIC CALL INDEPENDENT OF MAN.

    Judaizing teachers had persuaded the Galatians that Paul had taught them the new religion imperfectly, and at second hand; that the founder of their church himself possessed only a deputed commission, the seal of truth and authority being in the apostles at Jerusalem: moreover, that whatever he might profess among them, he had himself at other times, and in other places, given way to the doctrine of circumcision. To refute this, he appeals to the history of his conversion, and to the manner of his conferring with the apostles when he met them at Jerusalem; that so far was his doctrine from being derived from them, or they from exercising any superiority over him, that they had simply assented to what he had already preached among the Gentiles, which preaching was communicated, not by them to him, but by himself to them [PALEY]. Such an apologetic Epistle could not be a later forgery, the objections which it meets only coming out incidentally, not being obtruded as they would be by a forger; and also being such as could only arise in the earliest age of the Church, when Jerusalem and Judaism still held a prominent place.

    1. apostle--in the earliest Epistles, the two to the Thessalonians, through humility, he uses no title of authority; but associates with him "Silvanus and Timotheus"; yet here, though "brethren" (Ga 1:2) are with him, he does not name them but puts his own name and apostleship prominent: evidently because his apostolic commission needs now to be vindicated against deniers of it.
    - of--Greek, "from." Expressing the origin from which his mission came, "not from men," but from Christ and the Father (understood) as the source. "By" expresses the immediate operating agent in the call. Not only was the call from God as its ultimate source, but by Christ and the Father as the immediate agent in calling him (Ac 22:15; 26:16-18). The laying on of Ananias' hands (Ac 9:17) is no objection to this; for that was but a sign of the fact, not an assisting cause. So the Holy Ghost calls him specially (Ac 13:2, 3); he was an apostle before this special mission.
    - man--singular; to mark the contrast to "Jesus Christ." The opposition between "Christ" and "man," and His name being put in closest connection with God the Father, imply His Godhead.
    - raised him from the dead--implying that, though he had not seen Him in His humiliation as the other apostles (which was made an objection against him), he had seen and been constituted an apostle by Him in His resurrection power (Mt 28:18; Ro 1:4, 5). Compare as to the ascension, the consequence of the resurrection, and the cause of His giving "apostles," Eph 4:11. He rose again, too, for our justification (Ro 4:25); thus Paul prepares the way for the prominent subject of the Epistle, justification in Christ, not by the law.

    2. all the brethren--I am not alone in my doctrine; all my colleagues in the Gospel work, travelling with me (Ac 19:29, Gaius and Aristarchus at Ephesus: Ac 20:4, Sopater, Secundus, Timotheus, Tychicus, Trophimus, some, or all of these), join with me. Not that these were joint authors with Paul of the Epistle: but joined him in the sentiments and salutations. The phrase, "all the brethren," accords with a date when he had many travelling companions, he and they having to bear jointly the collection to Jerusalem [CONYBEARE and HOWSON].
    - the churches--Pessinus and Ancyra were the principal cities; but doubtless there were many other churches in Galatia (Ac 18:23; 1Co 16:1). He does not attach any honorable title to the churches here, as elsewhere, being displeased at their Judaizing. See First Corinthians; First Thessalonians, &c. The first Epistle of Peter is addressed to Jewish Christians sojourning in Galatia (1Pe 1:1), among other places mentioned. It is interesting thus to find the apostle of the circumcision, as well as the apostle of the uncircumcision, once at issue (Ga 2:7-15), co-operating to build up the same churches.

    3. from . . . from--Omit the second "from." The Greek joins God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ in closet union, by there being but the one preposition.

    4. gave himself-- (Ga 2:20); unto death, as an offering. Found only in this and the Pastoral Epistles. The Greek is different in Eph 5:25 (see on Eph 5:25).
    - for our sins--which enslaved us to the present evil world.
    - deliver us from this--Greek, "out of the," &c. The Father and Son are each said to "deliver us," &c. (Col 1:13): but the Son, not the Father, gave Himself for us in order to do so, and make us citizens of a better world (Php 3:20). The Galatians in desiring to return to legal bondage are, he implies, renouncing the deliverance which Christ wrought for us. This he more fully repeats in Ga 3:13. "Deliver" is the very word used by the Lord as to His deliverance of Paul himself (Ac 26:17): an undesigned coincidence between Paul and Luke.
    - world--Greek, "age"; system or course of the world, regarded from a religious point of view. The present age opposes the "glory" (Ga 1:5) of God, and is under the authority of the Evil One. The "ages of ages" (Greek, Ga 1:5) are opposed to "the present evil age."
    - according to the will of God and our Father--Greek, "of Him who is at once God [the sovereign Creator] and our Father" (Joh 6:38, 39; 10:18, end). Without merit of ours. His sovereignty as "GOD," and our filial relation to Him as "OUR FATHER," ought to keep us from blending our own legal notions (as the Galatians were doing) with His will and plan. This paves the way for his argument.

    5. be glory--rather, as Greek, "be the glory"; the glory which is peculiarly and exclusively His. Compare Note, see on Eph 3:21.

    6. Without the usual expressions of thanksgiving for their faith, &c., he vehemently plunges into his subject, zealous for "the glory" of God (Ga 1:5), which was being disparaged by the Galatians falling away from the pure Gospel of the "grace" of God.
    - I marvel--implying that he had hoped better things from them, whence his sorrowful surprise at their turning out so different from his expectations.
    - so soon--after my last visit; when I hoped and thought you were untainted by the Judaizing teachers. If this Epistle was written from Corinth, the interval would be a little more than three years, which would be "soon" to have fallen away, if they were apparently sound at the time of his visit. Ga 4:18, 20 may imply that he saw no symptom of unsoundness then, such as he hears of in them now. But English Version is probably not correct there. See see on Ga 4:18; Ga 4:20; also see Introduction. If from Ephesus, the interval would be not more than one year. BIRKS holds the Epistle to have been written from Corinth after his FIRST visit to Galatia; for this agrees best with the "so soon" here: with Ga 4:18, "It is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you." If they had persevered in the faith during three years of his first absence, and only turned aside after his second visit, they could not be charged justly with adhering to the truth only when he was present: for his first absence was longer than both his visits, and they would have obeyed longer in his "absence" than in his "presence." But if their decline had begun immediately after he left them, and before his return to them, the reproof will be just. But see on Ga 4:13.
    - removed--Translate, "are being removed," that is, ye are suffering yourselves so soon (whether from the time of my last visit, or from the time of the first temptation held out to you) [PARÆUS] to be removed by Jewish seducers. Thus he softens the censure by implying that the Galatians were tempted by seducers from without, with whom the chief guilt lay: and the present, "ye are being removed," implies that their seduction was only in process of being effected, not that it was actually effected. WAHL, ALFORD, and others take the Greek as middle voice. "ye are removing" or "passing over." "Shifting your ground" [CONYBEARE and HOWSON]. But thus the point of Paul's oblique reference to their misleaders is lost; and in Heb 7:12 the Greek is used passively, justifying its being taken so here. On the impulsiveness and fickleness of the Gauls (another form of Kel-t-s, the progenitors of the Erse, Gauls, Cymri, and Belgians), whence the Galatians sprang, see Introduction and CÆSAR [Commentaries on the Gallic War, 3.19].
    - from him that called you--God the Father (Ga 1:15; Ga 5:8; Ro 8:30; 1Co 1:9; 1Th 2:12; 5:24).
    - into--rather, as Greek, "IN the grace of Christ," as the element in which, and the instrument by which, God calls us to salvation. Compare Note, see on 1Co 7:15; Ro 5:15, "the gift by (Greek, 'in') grace (Greek, 'the grace') of (the) one man." "The grace of Christ," is Christ's gratuitously purchased and bestowed justification, reconciliation, and eternal life.
    - another--rather, as Greek, "a second and different gospel," that is, into a so-called gospel, different altogether from the only true Gospel.

    7. another--A distinct Greek word from that in Ga 1:6. Though I called it a gospel (Ga 1:6), it is not really so. There is really but one Gospel, and no other gospel.
    - but--Translate, "Only that there are some that trouble you," &c. (Ga 5:10, 12). All I meant by the "different gospel" was nothing but a perversion by "some" of the one Gospel of Christ.
    - would pervert--Greek, "wish to pervert"; they could not really pervert the Gospel, though they could pervert Gospel professors (compare Ga 4:9, 17, 21; 6:12, 13; Col 2:18). Though acknowledging Christ, they insisted on circumcision and Jewish ordinances and professed to rest on the authority of other apostles, namely, Peter and James. But Paul recognizes no gospel, save the pure Gospel.

    8. But--however weighty they may seem "who trouble you." Translate as Greek, "Even though we," namely, I and the brethren with me, weighty and many as we are (Ga 1:1, 2). The Greek implies a case supposed which never has occurred.
    - angel--in which light ye at first received me (compare Ga 4:14; 1Co 13:1), and whose authority is the highest possible next to that of God and Christ. A new revelation, even though seemingly accredited by miracles, is not to be received if it contradict the already existing revelation. For God cannot contradict Himself (De 13:1-3; 1Ki 13:18; Mt 24:24; 2Th 2:9). The Judaizing teachers sheltered themselves under the names of the great apostles, James, John, and Peter: "Do not bring these names up to me, for even if an angel," &c. Not that he means, the apostles really supported the Judaizers: but he wishes to show, when the truth is in question, respect of persons is inadmissible [CHRYSOSTOM].
    - preach--that is, "should preach."
    - any other gospel . . . than--The Greek expresses not so much "any other gospel different from what we have preached," as, "any gospel BESIDE that which we preached." This distinctly opposes the traditions of the Church of Rome, which are at once besides and against (the Greek includes both ideas) the written Word, our only "attested rule."

    9. said before--when we were visiting you (so "before" means, 2Co 13:2). Compare Ga 5:2, 3, 21. Translate, "If any man preacheth unto you any gospel BESIDE that which," &c. Observe the indicative, not the subjunctive or conditional mood, is used, "preacheth," literally, "furnisheth you with any gospel." The fact is assumed, not merely supposed as a contingency, as in Ga 1:8, "preach," or "should preach." This implies that he had already observed (namely, during his last visit) the machinations of the Judaizing teachers: but his surprise (Ga 1:6) now at the Galatians being misled by them, implies that they had not apparently been so then. As in Ga 1:8 he had said, "which we preached," so here, with an augmentation of the force, "which ye received"; acknowledging that they had truly accepted it.
    - accursed--The opposite appears in Ga 6:16.

    10. For--accounting for the strong language he has just used.
    - do I now--resuming the "now" of Ga 1:9. "Am I now persuading men?" [ALFORD], that is, concilia

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