The Salutation– The introductory words of the letter. The common practice of the first century world was to include in the letters greeting three parts:
a) Identification of the author
b) Identification of the recipient
c) A customary greeting to the recipients from the writer.
Paul’s attitude and purpose for the letter are seen immediately. He identifies himself as:
“Paul, an apostle— sent not from men nor by man, by Jesus Christ and God the Father. . .”
The issue is clear right away. Paul wants any one who reads this letter to know what he is. He is an apostle of God. Paul also wants everyone to know even more importantly what he is not. Paul is not an apostle sent from men. Paul’s ministry is not to represent men and their message, culture, feelings or thoughts.
Notice some other salutations in other letters of Paul’s and how they themselves briefly contain the purpose of the letter:
Romans— “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel he promised before hand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures. . .”
1 Corinthians— “Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. . .”
Ephesians— “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. . .”
Philippians— “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus Colossians—”Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, . . .”
1 Thessalonians— “Paul, Silas and Timothy.”
1 Timothy— “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope.”
2 Timothy— “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus.
Titus— “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowl edge of the truth that leads to godliness—a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Saviour, To Titus, my true son in our common faith.”
“Paul, an apostle” - “apostle” is the Greek word “apostoloV” /apostolos/. An apostle was one sent with a mission to be carried out with the authority of the one sending him.
“Not” - The use of the word not in the opening line indicates that this is going to be an argumentative letter. Paul is already drawing a comparison.
Also, the use of the word “but” in “not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ” is a strong adversative word used to draw a comparison. Paul could have used the more passive “de” /de/ which would also have been translated “but”. Instead he uses “alla” /alla/
“from men” speaks of a group of men
“by man” renounces the thought that not even one man sent Paul.
“and all the brothers with me.” This indicates that though Paul was not sent by men, he has been received by man and stands in fellowship with a group that is willing to defend Paul and his message. Any attack on Paul will be more than an attack on one man. It will be an attack on the God who sent Paul and the men who have embraced the message Paul brings.
Galatians 1:3-5 includes the full message and plan of God that Paul preaches, that the Galatians have abandoned, that the Judiazers have attacked and that Paul plans on defending in this letter.
The message is important.
Apostles (Paul) where commissioned by God.
Paul received message from God; We have received Paul's (from God) message.
1:6 "deserting" is "metatithesthe" is not just "had been removed." They were deserting the Christian camp altogether.
The Greek word speaks of:
1) a military revolt
2) Change of attitude
This verb is in the middle voice (not passive) meaning they did it to
This verb is in the present tense meaning they were still in the process of revolt and the action was not yet completed
"Deserted the one who called them" meaning God the Father. They had left God and turned to legalism.
1- God does
the calling, it is not a ritual or legalistic attempt by man.
2- It is by grace not by merit.
"another gospel" -is “heteron euaggelion”
1- "heteros" - another of a different kind
2- "allos" - another of the same kind
1- "heteros" - qualitative differences
2- "allos" - numerical differences
1- "heteros" - distinguishes one of two
2- "allos" - adds one beside
1- "heteros" - involves the idea of difference of kind
2- "allos" - denotes simply distinction of individuals
"heteros" leaves room to say it is so different it is evil.
Every "heteros" is an "allos," but not every "allos" is a "heteros."
“Gospel” is "euaggelion" or "good news"
The gospel of "good works" is an evil gospel,
or not the Gospel at all:
1) Titus 3:5, "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us."
2) If by works how many works are required and which kind of works count?
i. To attain salvation
ii. To maintain salvation
POINT: This is no message at all. This is to say we do not know, but keep working, keep looking. To teach legalism quickly turns into no message at all but ideas of hitting and missing to get something from God.
"Heteros" is opposition gospel.
"Allos" is an alternative gospel.
The Judiazer's legalism is an opposition ("heteros") gospel which makes it no alternative (allos) gospel.
“Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ” 1:7
"throwing you into confusion" is "taraso" and means to "mentally disturb".
Present tense means the false teachers were still in
False teachers are rebuked not by name but by their teaching and the resulting
1) they were perverting the gospel.
2) They were troubling the church (To tamper with the gospel is to trouble the church.)
i. The churches greatest trouble is not those outside but those with in.
ii. The greatest trouble ("to mentally disturb") does not come from ridicule or persecution, but from those who change the gospel.
iii. The best way to serve the church is to believe and preach/teach accurately the gospel.
1:8 POINT: You can not evaluate the message by the messenger .
The Galatians may have said: "But these men came from
(Remember: Peter and legalism in
Paul said here: "It doesn't matter if the message came from an angel
of God, nor does it matter if the new message came from Paul or Barnabus, if it isn't the gospel it is wrong."
You can not judge the message by the messenger.
In Act 14:8-18 the Galatians in Lystra received Paul and Barnabus as a visitation from the god's.
Satan can disguise himself in a messenger, but he cannot disguise himself in the truth.
Satan and Jesus in Luke 4
1) Satan tried diverting Jesus from God’s plan (4:3)
2) Satan tried giving the crown before cross (4:6)
3) Satan tried perverting the word of God (4:10)
2 Corinthians 11:14-15
"Though" is supposing a case that has not occurred and probably won't.
"Anathema" is related to the Hebrew word "herem" which denotes a thing devoted to God for destruction because of hatred for God. It means damnation.
It is not an ecclesiastical decision like excommunication, but is affirming a spiritual principal.
The concept of "anathema" and Paul's strong attitude and pronouncement is foreign to modern Christian's. This shows how little the gospel of grace is:
3) How little Christians are concerned for the advance of biblical truth
The conflict is not between teachers, but between truth and error.
A false teaching will affect:
1- The glory of Jesus. . . . Galatians 2:21
2- The salvation of men. .
.Matthew 18:6; 23:13-15
1:9 Paul repeats "anathema"
This is not a reference to 1:8, but refers to something that Paul had already taught them in Galatia or by a letter.
The repeat of the damnation has changed from "ean" (an unfulfilled or hypothetical situation) to "ei" which speaks of a fulfilled condition.
1:8 was a hypothetical situation. 1:9 has occurred.
1- "The one we preached" to "what you accepted"
2- The potential of it occurring is increased
3- A future possibility is taken to a present reality
"Damn the Judiazers in
Transition to his personal Defense:
1:10 Paul had been accused by the Judiazers as presenting an easy, greasy gospel just to please men. Paul now says after "damning" anyone who teaches false truth:
"There, does that sound like the talk of a man pleaser?"
Paul does not have the crusader mentality of the belligerent, fault finding religious zealot. Paul does try to please men (1 Cor. 9:19-22) but he does not oppose God to please men.
"Be a servant of Christ."
Matthew 6:24, can't serve both.
Servant is slave - the letter is about freedom in Christ. That freedom is for all by being a bond-slave to Christ.