See Lesson, Paul the man.
See Lesson, Paul's ecclesial letters.
"This epistle has been like 'living fire' again and again in
quickening men to vital thinking when the deadening influence of ritual was
destroying spiritual life" (CGal 142). Paul's "angry voice".
See VL, Christ's resurrection, reality.
Notice: no words of praise, in ct 1Th 1:1; 1Co 1:2;
Paul's changing self-image: (1) an apostle (Gal 1:1; etc), (2)
least of the apostles (1Co 15:9), (3) less than the least of all the saints (Eph
3:8), (4) worst of sinners (1Ti 1:15). As Paul drew nearer to Christ, so his
BY JESUS CHRIST: To counter criticism that Paul's
apostleship was derived and secondary.
TO THE CHURCHES IN GALATIA: This was what we might call
a "circular" letter -- being sent to the "churches" of Galatia. From that we
should conclude that all meetings in Galatia needed the same issues covered.
We must be aware that different ecclesias have differing
problems and needs. So what may be a problem in one ecclesia may not be in
another. From this we conclude that ecclesial problems are best resolved by
those who are in the area rather than by outside involvement by those who only
have limited knowledge of the needs.
Notice that the ground-breaking letter which was generated at
the "Jerusalem council" (Acts 15:30) was only sent to the ecclesia where there
was a problem with the integration of Gentiles into the ecclesia, though its
contents must have been well known throughout Asia because of the two references
to it in Rev 2:14,20.
AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN: How could this happen? But a man
could claim angelic visitation as a pretense for teaching error (cp the old
prophet in 1Ki 13:18: "an angel said to me").
LET HIM BE ETERNALLY CONDEMNED: "A man denies an
obvious mathematical statement, and he displays dullness of intellect. But if a
man denies the essential truths of salvation when they are made known in a
revelation authenticated as true by many evidences, his fault passes from the
intellectual to the moral plane. As it is a moral fault to deny God's way, it
becomes a moral necessity to uphold it. Its defence and maintenance is nothing
less than taking the side of God, and a refusal to do so is joining the enemies
of God" (CGal 35).
ETERNALLY CONDEMNED: Note contrasting attitudes: the
teacher is cursed (cp Tit 1:11; 1Ti 1:3,20), but misled followers are reproached
and warned (Gal 1:6; 3:1).
Paul is prob quoting his critics: "win approval", "please",
SERVANT OF CHRIST: "Doulos" = bond-slave. This
description emphasizes submission and dependence on their Lord. It is not a
technical reference to a specific office, but characterizes their willing
service of Christ, their divine Master. The same designation appears in the
letters of James, 2Pe, and Jude.
Man's slave becomes free in Christ, and a freeman (like Paul)
becomes Christ's slave (1Co 7:22).
The use of the term "slaves" also suggests the "redemptive"
work of God in Christ: the Israelites were "slaves" in Egypt, who were "bought"
or "redeemed" out of their slavery to become the "purchased possession" of the
Father (Exo 15:16). (See Lesson, Redemption.)
DESTROY: "Portheo" = "make havoc" (sw Act 9:21; Gal
ARABIA: Perhaps even as far as Sinai, in view of Gal
Paul's honesty had been called in question.