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GALATIANS

CHAPTER  ONE

YE ARE SO SOON REMOVED

Are removed - metatiqemi (metatithemi) = "to transpose two things, one of which is put in the place of the other."

1.  In classical Greek it was used of a turncoat.  The word was used of one altering his opinion or becoming of another mind.
2.  It was also used of desertion or revolt, frequently of a change in religion, philosophy, or morals.
3.  The present tense indicates that when Paul wrote, the defection of the Galatians was yet only in progress. Had he used the perfect tense, that would have indicated that the Galatians had actually and finally turned against grace and had come to a settled attitude in the matter.

The mind of Paul wavers between fear and hope as to the outcome. Paul was trying desperately to arrest the progress of this new doctrinal infection if he could. The Judaizers had not yet achieved any decisive success, although the Galatians were disposed to lend a ready ear to their insinuations.

The Amplified: "I am surprised and astonished that you are so quickly turning renegade and deserting Him Who invited and called you by the grace (unmerited favor) of Christ, the Messiah, (and that you are transferring your allegiance) ..."

On the impulsiveness and fickleness of the Gauls, see "Caesar, B.g., 3:19" - "The infirmity of the Gauls is that they are fickle in their resolves and fond of change, and not to be trusted." Thierry, quoting Alford: "Frank, impetuous, impressible, eminently intelligent, but at the same time extremely changeable, inconstant, fond of show, perpetually quarrelling, the fruit of excessive vanity."

 

Their Destruction
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THE GRACE OF CHRIST - this is the central phrase of the passage.

Paul expresses great surprise and frustration of spirit at the fickleness of these Galatian believers who had at first so joyfully accepted the message of grace, and then had been so easily led astray by certain legalistic Judaizing teachers, who discredited the teachings of grace, and asserted that these believers were still under the Law, and were bound by the Law of Moses.

Paul had preached that they were saved by grace - plus nothing. Notice that grace excludes all human effort, works, righteousness or goodness. Grace is exclusively the work of God. Add so much as one grain of works, merit or human righteousness or effort, and it ceases to be grace (Rom. 11:6; Eph. 2:8,9).

Grace + 0 = Salvation

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VS. 6, 7 - UNTO ANOTHER ... WHICH IS NOT ANOTHER

"Unto ("heteros") another ... which is not ("allos") another."
[NIV: To a different gospel - which is really no gospel at all]

Paul uses two Greek words, both of which mean "another," but which have a further distinct meaning of their own:

1. The first (vs. 6)
The second (vs. 7)
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"heteros"
"allos"
2. "Heteros" (vs. 6)
"Allos" (vs. 7)
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another of a different kind
another of the same kind
3. "Heteros" (vs. 6)
"Allos" (vs. 7)
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qualitative difference
numerical difference
4. "Heteros" (vs. 6)
"Allos" (vs. 7)
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distinguishes one of two
adds one besides
5. "Heteros" (vs. 6)
"Allos" (vs. 7)
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every "heteros" is an "allos"
but not every "allos" is a "heteros"
6. "Heteros" (vs. 6)
"Allos" (vs. 7)
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difference of a kind
distinction of individuals

Heteros
Allos

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"Heteros" sometimes refers, not only to difference in kind but also speaks of the fact that the character of the thing is evil or bad. That is, the fact that something differs in kind from something else, makes that thing to be of an evil character. We have the word "heterodoxy," or, "false doctrine."

When Paul speaks of the Galatians turning to a "heteros" gospel, he means that they are turning to a gospel that is false in its doctrine. It is not only different in kind. It is not a gospel at all. It is not "another gospel" even when considered in a numerical way. There can be only one message of good news.

Arthur S. Way renders "heteros ": an opposition gospel
"allos": an alternative gospel

Thus, the Galatians were turning to an opposition gospel diametrically opposed to the message of grace, and this opposition gospel was not an alternative one.

(Compare vs. 6 & 7 in the Amplified Bible)

No Alternative Gospel

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GOSPEL
    (evaggelion) = "good news" or "reward for good news".

The individual who proclaims this "good news" was called "evaggelistes". Since there is "none good but God" (Mt.19:17), it naturally follows that there is no good news, but that which issues directly from Him.

It has been said that the gospel is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus. This is true - however -

The Gospel does not merely bear witness to a historical event - for what it recounts is beyond the scope of historical judgment and transcends history. It is good news to humanity in that we may share, presently and future, in the benefits of that historical event.

The Gospel is more than a mere message - it is, in reality, a living power. It involves Judgment and Joy, Repentance and Peace. It demands decision and imposes obedience.

The Gospel does not merely bear witness to salvation history - it is itself salvation history.

The "Gospel" is not an empty word - it is effective power which brings to pass what it says because God is its author.


The Gospel
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Vs. 8 - AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN

The Greek word translated "angel" (aggelos) also means a messenger.

At Lystra, the Lycaonians witness the miraculous healing of the impotent man, and thought that they recognized in Barnabas the chief of the Greek gods, Zeus. And they thought Paul was Hermes, the messenger and interpreter of the Gods (Acts 14:8-18). Paul looks back to the day when the Galatians received him as a "messenger" of the gods. Thus he says, "But though we or a messenger from heaven...".

LET HIM BE ACCURSED - "accursed" is from "anathema".    [NIV: Let him be eternally condemned!]
It is a word used in the LXX of a person or thing set apart and devoted to destruction, because hateful to God. One modern translation, "Let him be damned," is not too strong for Paul’s phrase.

At this time his character had a strong dash of controlled anger which could make him thoroughly alarming to wrongdoers. This first letter sparked and flamed with no regard to sensitive feelings - or to literary polish. He knew it would be read aloud and seem to the hearers almost as if he were there, so that the force of his writing would be doubled by memory of his speaking.


Accept No Other

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Vs. 10 - AM I NOW PERSUADING MEN?   (NIV: Am I now trying to win the approval of men)

Is what I have just now said a sample of men-pleasing, of which I am accused?

Neander explains the "now": Once, when a Pharisee, I was actuated only by a regard to human authority and to please men
(Lk16:15; Jn.5:44), but NOW I teach as responsible to God alone (I Cor. 4:3).

To Introduction      To Chapter Two

 


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