December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 2 Paul, an apostle not from human beings nor through a human being but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead,
- 3 and all the brothers who are with me, to the churches of Galatia:
- grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
- 4 who gave himself for our sins that he might rescue us from the present evil age in accord with the will of our God and Father,
- to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
- 5 6 I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by (the) grace (of Christ) for a different gospel
- (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ.
- But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! 7
- As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed!
- Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ. 8
- 9 Now I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin.
- For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 10
- 11 For you heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it,
- and progressed in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my race, since I was even more a zealot for my ancestral traditions.
- But when (God), who from my mother's womb had set me apart and called me through his grace, was pleased
- to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult flesh and blood, 12
- nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; rather, I went into Arabia 13 and then returned to Damascus.
- 14 15 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas and remained with him for fifteen days.
- But I did not see any other of the apostles, only James the brother of the Lord. 16
- (As to what I am writing to you, behold, before God, I am not lying.)
- Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
- And I was unknown personally to the churches of Judea that are in Christ;
- they only kept hearing that "the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy."
- So they glorified God because of me.
Table of Contents Introduction Next Chapter
1 [1-5] See the note on Romans 1:1-7, concerning the greeting.
2  Apostle: because of attacks on his authority in Galatia, Paul defends his apostleship. He is not an apostle commissioned by a congregation (Philippians 2:25; 2 Cor 8:23) or even by prophets (1 Tim 1:18; 4:14) but through Jesus Christ and God the Father.
3  All the brothers: fellow believers in Christ, male and female; cf Gal 3:27-28. Paul usually mentions the co-sender(s) at the start of a letter, but the use of all is unique, adding weight to the letter. Galatia: central Turkey more likely than the Roman province of Galatia; see Introduction.
4  The greeting in v 3 is expanded by a christological formula that stresses deliverance through the Lord Jesus from a world dominated by Satan; cf 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2; 6:12.
5 [6-10] In place of the usual thanksgiving (see the note on Romans 1:8), Paul, with little to be thankful for in the Galatian situation, expresses amazement at the way his converts are deserting the gospel of Christ for a perverted message. He reasserts the one gospel he has preached (Gal 1:7-9) and begins to defend himself (Gal 1:10).
6  The one who called you: God or Christ, though in actuality Paul was the divine instrument to call the Galatians.
7  Accursed: in Greek, anathema; cf Romans 9:3; 1 Cor 12:3; 16:22.
8  This charge by Paul's opponents, that he sought to conciliate people with flattery and to curry favor with God, might refer to his mission practices (cf 1 Cor 9:19-23) but the word still suggests it refers to his pre-Christian days (cf Gal 1:14; Philippians 3:6). The self-description slave of Christ is one Paul often uses in a greeting (Romans 1:1).
9 [11-2:21] Paul's presentation on behalf of his message and of his apostleship reflects rhetorical forms of his day: he first narrates the facts about certain past events (Gal 1:12-2:14) and then states his contention regarding justification by faith as the gospel message (Gal 2:15-21). Further arguments follow from both experience and scripture in Gal 3; 4 before he draws out the ethical consequences (Gal 5:1-6:10). The specific facts that he takes up here to show that his gospel is not a human invention (Gal 1:11) but came through a revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal 1:12) deal with his own calling as a Christian missionary (Gal 1:13-17), his initial relations with the apostles in Jerusalem (Gal 1:18-24), a later journey to Jerusalem (Gal 2:1-10), and an incident in Antioch involving Kephas and persons from James (Gal 2:11-14). The content of Paul's revealed gospel is then set forth in the heart of the letter (Gal 2:15-21).
10  Although Paul received his gospel through a revelation from Christ, this did not exclude his use of early Christian confessional formulations. See the note on Gal 1:4.
11 [13-17] Along with Philippians 3:4-11, which also moves from autobiography to its climax in a discussion on justification by faith (cf Gal 2:15-21), this passage is Paul's chief account of the change from his former way of life (Gal 1:13) to service as a Christian missionary (Gal 1:16); cf Acts 9:1-22; 22:4-16; 26:9-18. Paul himself does not use the term "conversion" but stresses revelation (Gal 1:12, 16). In Gal 1:15 his language echoes the Old Testament prophetic call of Jeremiah. Unlike the account in Acts (cf Acts 22:4-16), the calling of Paul here includes the mission to proclaim Christ to the Gentiles (Gal 1:16).
12  Flesh and blood: human authorities (cf Matthew 16:17; 1 Cor 15:50). Paul's apostleship comes from God (Gal 1:1).
13  Arabia: probably the region of the Nabataean Arabs, east and south of Damascus.
14 [18-24] Paul's first journey to Jerusalem as a Christian, according to Galatians (cf Acts 9:23-31 and the note on Acts 12:25). He is quite explicit about contacts there, testifying under oath (Gal 1:20). On returning to Syria (perhaps specifically Damascus, cf Gal 1:17) and Cilicia (including his home town Tarsus, cf Acts 9:30; 22:3), Paul most likely engaged in missionary work. He underscores the fact that Christians in Judea knew of him only by reputation.
15  After three years: two years and more, since Paul's call. To confer with Cephas may mean simply "pay a visit" or more specifically "get information from" him about Jesus, over a two-week period. Cephas: Aramaic name of Simon (Peter); cf Matthew 16:16-18 and the notes there.
16  James the brother of the Lord: not one of the Twelve, but a brother of Jesus (see the note on Mark 6:3). He played an important role in the Jerusalem church (see the note on Gal 2:9), the leadership of which he took over from Peter (Acts 12:17). Paul may have regarded James as an apostle.
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