Epistle to the Galatians
This letter had been written around the 1st century to the churches established in the southern region of Galatia. This letter is included in the bible as it serves an instruction for all Christians today.
This letter from Paul is to address the wolves that have crept in amongst the church, making claims that Christians must follow the Jewish Mosaic laws, to be Torah observant, including circumcision to be saved. These false teachers were trying to usurp Paul’s teachings and essentially leading them away from Christ.
These teachers would tell the people that “they needed to go further; you need to obey the laws and ordinances”.
This letter to the churches in Galatia is to rebuke these teachers and explain to the churches what the Gospel really is.
Chapter 1 – Greetings from Paul, called of God
Paul always begins his letter with a salutation to his audience, in this particular salutation however he elaborate more on who he is, and on who’s authority he comes with.
Paul, is an Apostle not of men, neither was he commissioned by men but by Jesus Christ and God the father. So Paul makes it a point in his greeting that he was not commissioned by men. Paul also makes it clear in these statements about our Lord Jesus Christ, that he died for our sins to deliver us from the evils of this world, according to the will of God our Father.
Paul expresses great wonder and amazement that the people in the churches of Galatia have been subverted and moved away from the Father, who called these people into the Grace of his son for by which reason; of following another Gospel. Paul tells them that they are basically deserting God, and instead; they are giving their allegiance to the Law taught by these false teachers. The message these false teachings; were of bad news not good news, leading the people into believing that they had to keep the elements of the old covenant, the elements that our Lord Jesus Christ came to rescue us from.
In verse 7 he makes it clear it is not even another gospel; it’s not a gospel at all, but there are people amongst the believers who seek or wish to distort the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Verses 8-9 Paul gives a very powerful rebuke and warning, for if anyone or an angel from heaven come preaching something different to the one that they have been given; let them be accursed.
In fact he hammers the same message home twice with verse 9. Any man or angel preaching another message contrary to the message of the Lord let him be accursed! There I’ve hammered this again as well.
Paul is not asking people to be loyal to him; he is asking the people to be loyal to the message of Jesus Christ.
Lastly in verse 10 asks the following questions, does he seek to please men or God? If he were trying to please men, then he is certainly not a servant of the Lord.
Paul, Called by God
In Verse 11-12, Paul attests to the brethren that the Gospel he preached was not sourced by men. He did not receive and taught it by men; it was a direct revelation from Jesus Christ himself.
To support his reaffirmation to the brethren, verses 13-14 he tells them about his previous life before his conversion. The brethren had heard in his previous conversations that long ago while he was still a devout follower of Judaism, being extremely passionate about his religion, and traditions of his fathers, far exceeding that of his peers; he had committed to a very great extent, persecution of the church of God and the Christians. In fact, Paul uses really strong language here, it says he “Wasted It”, we hear this term used in our everyday life, meaning he had little to no regard for them. My goodness, no wonder why our Lord Jesus Christ chose this man!
Verses 15-17 Paul says that when it pleased God to reveal his son in Paul, so that he might go forth and preach among the Gentile nations, he did not tell any man about it. Rather, he travelled directly to Arabia and abode there; he did not go to Jerusalem where the other Apostles were staying. Paul does not state how long he was in Arabia before returning back to Damascus, but what is really interesting here is that there is strong evidence and support that the real Mount Sinai is located in Arabia (very interesting study can be done on this topic) and not Egypt. It is believed among scholars that this is the time Paul would have received his instruction and schooling from the Lord.
From Damascus after three years, Paul decides to head into Jerusalem to meet with Simon Peter; spending a total of fifteen days with him.
During his stay with Peter, he did not see any of the other but the Lord’s Brother, James.
He says these things he has spoken of before God; are true it is not a lie, Pauls accusers would have been saying that Paul had been trained by the Apostles; by men rather than a revelation from the Lord.
After leaving Jerusalem, Paul headed into Syria and Cilicia. Syria is situated NE of Jerusalem and about 487km away as the crow flies, Paul must’ve gone to Antioch, and in Cilicia which is located in the southern region of modern Turkey; he must have stayed in the city of Tarsus.
Verses 22 we read that the Judean Churches did not know Paul by his face, but only heard of him; being of which; he who had persecuted the saints in Judaea long ago now preaches the faith which he had once tried to destroy. And the saints glorified God in him.