Galatians Commentary: Part One

Galatians 1:1-5

1. Paul begins his letter by getting right to the point. He states unequivocally the he is an Apostle. He is an Apostle of the same rank as Peter, John, and all the rest. The Galatians had forgotten this but Paul is quick to remind them that he was made an Apostle, not by the laying on of hands, although this had happened, or by the will of himself or others, but by Jesus Christ and the Father, who had raised Him from the dead. In other words, Paul was commissioned as an Apostle by the risen Christ.

2. The Letter is written to churches either in the southern part of a Roman province called Galatia or to cities in northern Asia Minor. The best and more conservative archaeology points towards a Southern Galatia audience. Four major cities are probably in view; Antioch (Pisidia), Lystra, Iconium, and Derbe. (Acts 13 and 14) Paul wrote to the Galatians in order to call them back to the Gospel that he had originally proclaimed to them. The Galatian churches were born in intense persecution from the Jews. In the cities of Galatia; Antioch, Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium, Paul had been very bold in preaching the true faith that had been revealed to him from Jesus Christ. He had been run out of all those cities by the Jews who the Bible says were jealous of him, because of the crowds that gathered to hear him preach. (Acts 13:13-14:23) First in Antioch, after there had been some success in preaching, Paul and Barnabas were persecuted and thrown out of that area. Then in Iconium, after a large number of both Jews and Gentiles were saved, the Jews from Antioch stirred up the people in Iconium against Paul and Barnabas. Then in Lystra, after Paul had healed a crippled man, and where the people were barely restrained from offering sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas because of that healing, the Jews came down from Antioch and Iconium, and stirred up more trouble among the people. It was there that Paul was stoned and left for dead outside of the city. Then, the very next day, Paul moves on to Derbe. Derbe is a good experience for Paul. Probably because the Jews thought that they had killed him, and so did not follow him into Derbe. After many disciples were made in Derbe, they backtracked back through Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, appointing elders in each city.

3. Here is the whole Christian message. Grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace and Peace were exactly what the Galatians were forfeiting when they began to substitute works for Grace. ‘Salvation by works’ had replaced ‘salvation by grace through faith’, and without faith, it is impossible to please God. If God is not pleased, there is no peace with God for by faith we relinquish all personal merit in order to receive Christ’s merit as the one who truly pleased God.

4. Freedom and bondage are major themes throughout the book. Sin binds, the Law binds, and men bind, but Christ liberates. The mission of Christ was rescuing, liberating, freeing, or delivering us from the bondage, of sin, law, and men. Christ has delivered us from this world system so that we might live as free men in the Kingdom of light through the power of the Spirit. The rescue was accomplished by His substitutionary atonement, whereby He accepted our guilt and impending curse and gave us His own righteousness and made us heirs of all the blessings.

5. Christ accomplished this by the will of the Father; therefore, all glory belongs to God alone. What I could not, would not, do myself, Christ has done for me. When my will, heart, desires, and mind were all at enmity with God Christ died for me. And all subsequent progressions in salvation have been initiated by God through the Spirit. All glory belongs to Him alone.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Galatians Commentary: Part One

  1. Daniel

    I started teaching on Galatians three weeks ago – now it seems that everywhere I look everyone is talking about Galatians.

    Cool.

  2. Garry Weaver

    Daniel,
    Just a word of caution. You’d best bring your teaching on Galatians to a swift conclusion, because when Jeremy is finished there will be nothing more to be said.

  3. Jeremy Weaver

    Stop making fun of me.

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