Galatians 1

Galatians 1

Galatians 1 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Just like we see today in the political sphere, Paul was battling against two extreme views within the Christian movement. There were the Judaizers who were local Christians (Gentiles) that had succumbed to the pressure to adopt Jewish law and tradition. Then there were the libertine radicals who were also Gentile Christians but were passionate about severing all ties with Judaism.

There is speculation that the Judaizers were only Jews trying to win over the Gentiles. However, there is evidence of judaizing activity at least as far as Antioch and Syria-Cilicia (NIC – New Testament) signifying that many Gentile believers were leading the front.  Whatever the case, it was a blended mess. Paul was about to set the record straight both in Galatia and beyond. He doesn’t waste any time. He comes out with strong words against those who have abandoned the true faith for another version.

I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the good news about the Messiah.

Galatians 1:6-7 HCSB

Paul essentially calls them “turncoats.” Not only did they desert Jesus quickly, but easily. The latter is probably more concerning to Paul because it shows the lack of wisdom and discernment that comes from a relationship with Christ.

Verse 11 is where Paul’s first letter really picks up steam. If anyone was qualified to distinguish between what is old Jewish tradition and what is the true Christian gospel, it would be Paul. He outlines these credentials in making his point that his message came directly from Jesus Christ and God the Father.

  • Paul’s Gospel did not come from human thought but came from Jesus Christ Himself.
  • Paul was against Christianity, but when Jesus appeared to him, he stopped everything he was doing and went to Nabatean Arabia, a wilderness desert, to study this new revelation for 3 years.
  • After that, Paul went directly to Jerusalem to talk with the original disciples and compare his Gospel to theirs.
  • Paul personally stayed with Peter for 2 weeks. Imagine the conversations that Paul and Peter had reminiscing about everything Jesus had done for both of them!
  • He then went to see James, the brother of Jesus. James and Paul would have shared the most common experience with Christ because they were both initially against the Gospel of Jesus and were converted later when Jesus personally appeared to them (1Co 15:7-9).

Paul’s goal in this opening letter is the attack the false doctrines that were beginning to overtake the early church. He uses Galatians 1 to establish his credibility. It would have been horrifying for the Gospel to be preached to the dreaded Gentiles, so Paul is backing his Gospel with facts that cannot be ignored.

This is how God works in our lives. He takes us through circumstances in which we struggle and grow so that we can turn around and glorify Him. Had Paul not been a Pharisee and persecutor of the Church, he would not have had the leverage to preach such a strong message. God will use our past to bring glory to His Kingdom!

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