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Galatians 1

CHAPTER 1
Greetings and introduction
Paul, an apostle (not from men, nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead), 2 and all the brothers that are with me, to the churches of Galatia.
   3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father. 5 To whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
   6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you to the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel. 7 Not that there is another one; but there are some who trouble you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any gospel other than that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so I now say again: If anyone preaches to you any gospel other than that which you received, let him be accursed.
   10 For am I now seeking the favour of men or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.

Paul recounts his conversion
   11 For, brothers, I make known to you, as regards the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not from man. 12 For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through direct revelation from Jesus Christ.
   13 For you have heard of my manner of life in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God and made havoc of it. 14 And I advanced in the Jews' religion beyond many of my own age among my fellow countrymen, being even more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles- immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go to Jerusalem to those that were apostles ahead of me; but I went away into Arabia, and returned to Damascus.
   18 Then after three years I went to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 But none of the other apostles did I see, except James, the Lord's brother. 20 In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!
   21 Then I came to the regions of Syria and Cilicia, 22 but I was still unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. 23 They only heard say: He that once persecuted us now preaches the faith of which he once made havoc! 24 And they glorified God in me.

Commentary

1:6,7 A teaching which appears to make mention of Jesus isn't therefore harmless; a 'distortion' of the Gospel (v. 7) is another Gospel (v. 6), which can lead to condemnation (v. 9). Correct understanding of the Gospel is so important (1 Cor. 15:2).

1:8 An angel- This is hyperbole; Paul means 'even if even an Angel was to teach something else...'. But Angels in fact do not sin; for our reward is to live eternally like them (Lk. 20:35,36). Sin brings death (Rom. 6:23), and so Angels can't sin, seeing they are eternal.

1:10 Any preaching of Christ will lead to opposition from men, and we have to simply accept this fact.

1:16 Paul emphasizes that he was never one to be "in with the in crowd"; he was a loner, who preached Christ according to his totally personal experience of Him, not because any man had sent him to preach. We should be the same.

1:17 These silent three years of Paul in the Arabian desert may have been his disobedience to the call to preach, after his preaching immediately after conversion was met with rejection and opposition.