1:1 Paul, 1 an apostle, (not a of men, neither by b man, but by c Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
(1) A salutation which puts in a few words the sum of the apostleís doctrine, and also immediately from the beginning shows the gravity appropriate for the authority of an apostle, which he had to maintain against the false apostles.
1:4 2 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil d world, according to the will of God and our Father:
(a) He shows who is the author of the ministry generally: for in this the whole ministry agrees, that whether they are apostles, or shepherds, or teachers, they are appointed by God.
(b) He mentions that man is not the instrumental cause: for this is a special right of the apostles, to be called directly from Christ.
(c) Christ no doubt is man, but he is also God, and head of the Church, and in this respect to be exempted out of the number of men.
(2) The sum of the true Gospel is this, that Christ by his offering alone saves us who are chosen out of the world, by the free decree of God the Father.
1:6 3 I marvel that ye are so soon e removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
(d) Out of that most corrupt state which is without Christ.
(3) The first part of the epistle, in which he witnesses that he is an apostle, nothing inferior to those chief disciples of Christ, and wholly agreeing with them, whose names the false apostles abused. And he begins with chiding, reproving them of unsteadiness, because they gave ear so easily to those who perverted them and drew them away to a new gospel.
1:7 4 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would f pervert the gospel of Christ.
(e) He uses the passive voice to cast the fault upon the false apostles, and he uses the present voice to show them that it was not completely done, but in the process of being done.
(4) He warns them in time to remember that there are not many Gospels; and therefore whatever these false apostles pretend who had the Law, Moses, and the fathers in their mouths, yet these ones had indeed corrupted the true Gospel. And he himself, indeed, also the very angels themselves (and therefore much more these false apostles) ought to be held accursed, if they go about to change the least thing that may be in the Gospel that he delivered to them before.
1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be g accursed.
(f) For there is nothing more contrary to faith or free justification, than justification by the Law or by deeds.
1:10 5 For do I now persuade h men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
(g) See (Romans 9:3).
(5) A confirmation taken both from the nature of the doctrine itself, and also from the manner which he used in teachings. For neither, he says, did I teach those things which pleased men, as these men do who put part of salvation in external things, and works of the Law, neither went I about to procure any manís favour. And therefore the matter itself shows that that doctrine which I delivered to you is heavenly.
1:11 6 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
(h) He refers to the false apostles, who had nothing but flattery in their mouths for men, and he, though he would not detract from the apostles, preaches God, and not to please men.
(6) A second argument to prove that his doctrine is heavenly, because he had it from heaven, from Jesus Christ himself, without any manís help, in which he excels those whom Christ taught here on earth after the manner of men.
1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the i revelation of Jesus Christ.
(i) This passage is about an extraordinary revelation, for otherwise the Son revealed his Gospel only by his Spirit, even though by the ministry of men, which Paul excludes here.
1:13 7 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jewsí religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
(7) He proves that he was extraordinarily taught by Christ himself, by this history of his former life, which the Galatians themselves knew well enough. For, he says, it is well known in what school I was brought up, even from my childhood, that is, among the deadly enemies of the Gospel. And no man may raise a frivolous objection and say that I was a scholar of the Pharisees in name only, and not in deed, for no man is ignorant of how I excelled in Pharisaism, and was suddenly changed from a Pharisee to an apostle of the Gentiles, so that I had no time to be instructed by men.
1:14 And profited in the Jewsí religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the k traditions of my fathers.
(k) He calls them the traditions of his fathers, because he was not only a Pharisee himself, but also had a Pharisee for his father.
1:15 But when it pleased God, who l separated me from my motherís womb, and called [me] by his grace,
(l) He speaks of Godís everlasting predestination, by which he appointed him to be an apostle, of which he makes three distinctions: the everlasting council of God, his appointing from his motherís womb, and his calling. And we see that there is no mention at all of foreseen works.
1:16 To reveal his Son m in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately 8 I conferred not with n flesh and blood:
(m) To me, and this is a type of speech which the Hebrews use, by which it shows us that this gift comes from God. (8) He says this because it might be objected that he was indeed called by Christ in the way, but afterward was instructed by the apostles and others (whose names, as I said before, the false apostles abused to destroy his apostleship), as though he delivered another Gospel than they did, and as though he were not of their number, who are to be credited without exception. Therefore, Paul answers that he began immediately after his calling to preach the Gospel at Damascus and in Arabia, and was not from that time in Jerusalem except for fifteen days, when he saw only Peter and James. And afterwards, he began to teach in Syria and Cilicia, with the consent and approval of the churches of the Jews, who knew him only by name: so far off was it, that he was there instructed by men.
1:20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, o before God, I lie not.
(n) With any man in the world.
(o) This is a type of an oath.
1:23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the p faith which once he destroyed.
(p) The doctrine of faith.