1:1 Paul, 1 an apostle, (not a of men, neither by b man, but by c Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
(1) A salutation which puts in a few words the
sum of the apostle's doctrine, and also immediately from the beginning shows
the gravity appropriate for the authority of an apostle, which he had to
maintain against the false apostles.
(a) He shows who is the author of the ministry
generally: for in this the whole ministry agrees, that whether they are
apostles, or shepherds, or teachers, they are appointed by God.
(b) He mentions that man is not the instrumental
cause: for this is a special right of the apostles, to be called directly from
(c) Christ no doubt is man, but he is also God,
and head of the Church, and in this respect to be exempted out of the number
Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil d
world, according to the will of God and our Father:
(2) The sum of the true Gospel is this, that
Christ by his offering alone saves us who are chosen out of the world, by the
free decree of God the Father.
(d) Out of that most corrupt state which is
I marvel that ye are so soon e removed
from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
(3) The first part of the epistle, in which he
witnesses that he is an apostle, nothing inferior to those chief disciples of
Christ, and wholly agreeing with them, whose names the false apostles abused.
And he begins with chiding, reproving them of unsteadiness, because they gave
ear so easily to those who perverted them and drew them away to a new gospel.
(e) He uses the passive voice to cast the fault
upon the false apostles, and he uses the present voice to show them that it
was not completely done, but in the process of being done.
1:7 4 Which
is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would f
pervert the gospel of Christ.
(4) He warns them in time to remember that there
are not many Gospels; and therefore whatever these false apostles pretend who
had the Law, Moses, and the fathers in their mouths, yet these ones had indeed
corrupted the true Gospel. And he himself, indeed, also the very angels
themselves (and therefore much more these false apostles) ought to be held
accursed, if they go about to change the least thing that may be in the Gospel
that he delivered to them before.
(f) For there is nothing more contrary to faith
or free justification, than justification by the Law or by deeds.
1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach
any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be g
(g) See (Romans
For do I now persuade h men, or God? or
do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant
(5) A confirmation taken both from the nature of
the doctrine itself, and also from the manner which he used in teachings. For
neither, he says, did I teach those things which pleased men, as these men do
who put part of salvation in external things, and works of the Law, neither
went I about to procure any man's favour. And therefore the matter itself
shows that that doctrine which I delivered to you is heavenly.
(h) He refers to the false apostles, who had
nothing but flattery in their mouths for men, and he, though he would not
detract from the apostles, preaches God, and not to please men.
1:11 6 But I
certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after
(6) A second argument to prove that his doctrine
is heavenly, because he had it from heaven, from Jesus Christ himself, without
any man's help, in which he excels those whom Christ taught here on earth
after the manner of men.
1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I
taught [it], but by the i revelation of
(i) This passage is about an extraordinary
revelation, for otherwise the Son revealed his Gospel only by his Spirit, even
though by the ministry of men, which Paul excludes here.
1:13 7 For
ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that
beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
(7) He proves that he was extraordinarily taught
by Christ himself, by this history of his former life, which the Galatians
themselves knew well enough. For, he says, it is well known in what school I
was brought up, even from my childhood, that is, among the deadly enemies of
the Gospel. And no man may raise a frivolous objection and say that I was a
scholar of the Pharisees in name only, and not in deed, for no man is ignorant
of how I excelled in Pharisaism, and was suddenly changed from a Pharisee to
an apostle of the Gentiles, so that I had no time to be instructed by men.
1:14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many
my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the k
traditions of my fathers.
(k) He calls them the traditions of his fathers,
because he was not only a Pharisee himself, but also had a Pharisee for his
1:15 But when it pleased God, who l
separated me from my mother's womb, and called [me] by his grace,
(l) He speaks of God's everlasting
predestination, by which he appointed him to be an apostle, of which he makes
three distinctions: the everlasting council of God, his appointing from his
mother's womb, and his calling. And we see that there is no mention at all
of foreseen works.
1:16 To reveal his Son m
in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately 8
I conferred not with n flesh and blood:
(m) To me, and this is a type of speech which the
Hebrews use, by which it shows us that this gift comes from God. (8)
He says this because it might be objected that he was indeed called by Christ
in the way, but afterward was instructed by the apostles and others (whose
names, as I said before, the false apostles abused to destroy his
apostleship), as though he delivered another Gospel than they did, and as
though he were not of their number, who are to be credited without exception.
Therefore, Paul answers that he began immediately after his calling to preach
the Gospel at Damascus and in Arabia, and was not from that time in Jerusalem
except for fifteen days, when he saw only Peter and James. And afterwards, he
began to teach in Syria and Cilicia, with the consent and approval of the
churches of the Jews, who knew him only by name: so far off was it, that he
was there instructed by men.
(n) With any man in the world.
Now the things which I write unto you, behold, o
before God, I lie not.
(o) This is a type of an oath.
they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the
p faith which once he destroyed.
(p) The doctrine of faith.