Hey! Randy

Galatians 1:1-2

Posted by heyrandy on May 12, 2010

In the first two verses, Paul calls himself an apostle, so ordained by God the Father and Jesus Christ. This calling is distinct from that of men. Why does Paul need to vindicate his apostleship? Why does Paul twice in the same sentence state that his calling is not of men?

We know from the rest of the letter that the churches in Galatia were being troubled by teachers of false doctrine. Paul had previous experience with false teachers, 2:4ff. We also know that it was Paul who first preached the Gospel to them, 4:13. It seems the situation is so bad that Paul must restate his credentials. The false teachers have been so effective that the churches have forgotten the true gospel and the bona fides of the one who introduced them to it.

Paul also makes mention to the resurrection of Christ. This is the core of the Gospel. Given the problems in the Galatian churches, does this mean that the resurrection is being questioned? The resurrection is not mentioned again. The mention of the resurrection is to remind the Galatians that the message of the Gospel is not anything but the resurrection. The resurrection affects everything, including Paul’s office.

Paul states that he is an apostle by Jesus Christ and God the Father. The order in which the persons are mentioned is reversed from what we usually expect (see v. 3). I think that this is to reinforce the idea that as the Christian message is centered in Christ so is Paul’s apostleship. The mention of the resurrection is to further strengthen Paul’s asseveration.

Verse two begins by telling us that Paul is not writing alone. Other “brethren” are with him. Paul’s concern for the Galatians in not only his, but it is also the concern of the those with whom Paul is working. How much did these brethren contribute to the letter? This is an impossible question to answer. No one knows the exact process by which the Biblical writers composed their works. We know all the Scripture is inspired by God, but the means used are a mystery. I think that the mention of the brothers is to indicate widespread concern, not to signify joint authorship. The matter is so serious that it is unlikely that Paul would not mention it in prayers with the believers in his fellowship.

The addressee is really part of v. 3. “Churches,” plural meaning that the problem is pervasive in the area’s fellowships. Action is required. We do not know how many churches were there or where they were. This is all lost, but it does not matter. We have preserved for us the material we need. We need today this letter. The danger of legalism is ever present. Time has not weakened threat to our freedom in Christ. Read Galatians.

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