Introduction to the Book of Galatians

The Book of Galatians

"The Message"


   The Book of Galatians

King James Version

Chapter 1

I, Paul, and my companions in faith here, send greetings to the Galatian churches. [1]My authority for writing to you does not come from any popular vote of the people, nor does it come through the appointment of some human higher-up. It comes directly from Jesus the Messiah and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. I'm God-commissioned. So I greet you with the great words, grace and peace!
[2] We know the meaning of those words because Jesus Christ rescued us from this evil world we're in by offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins.
God's plan is that we all experience that rescue. Glory to God forever! Oh, yes!


[3] I can't believe your fickleness-how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God. Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head. Let me be blunt: If one of us-even if an angel from heaven!-were to preach something other than what we preached originally, let him be cursed. I said it once; I'll say it again: If anyone, regardless of reputation or credentials, preaches something other than what you received originally, let him be cursed.

Do you think I speak this strongly in order to manipulate crowds? Or curry favor with God? Or get popular applause? If my goal was popularity, I wouldn't bother being Christ's slave. Know this-I am most emphatic here, friends-this great Message I delivered to you is not mere human optimism. I didn't receive it through the traditions and I wasn't taught it in some school. I got it straight from God, received the Message straight from Jesus Christ.

I'm sure that you've beard the story my earlier life when I lived in the Jewish way. In those days I went all out in persecuting God's church. I was systematically destroying it. I was so enthusiastic about the traditions of my ancestors that I advanced head and shoulders above my peers in my career. Even then God had designs on me. Why, when I was still in my mother's womb he chose and called me out of sheer generosity! Now he has intervened and revealed his Son to me so that I might joyfully tell non-Jews about him.

Immediately after my calling-without consulting anyone around me and without going up to Jerusalem to confer with those who were apostles long before I was-I got away to Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus, but it was three years before I went up to Jerusalem to compare stories with Peter. I was there only fifteen days-but what days they were! Except for our Master's brother James, I saw no other apostles. (I'm telling you the absolute truth in this.)

Then I began my ministry in the regions of Syria and Cilicia. After all that time and activity I was still unknown by face among the Christian churches in Judea. There was only this report: "That man who once persecuted us is now preaching the very message he used to try to destroy." Their response was to recognize and worship God because of me!

   [1] Who has authority to write, speak, or act for God? Only someone commissioned by God. Authority does not come from man or men. Priesthood is not some magical "power" that is imparted through the laying on of hands. When men lay their hands on the heads of other men they are saying they have reason to believe God has lain hands on the heart; if He has not, their hands are empty.
grphChurch government has the right and responsibility to recognice or "license" its ministers, but it is only God who empowers. Paul thought it was important to note that his right to preach the gospel stemmed not from the other Apostles (which he clarifies further in chapter 2). Paul always recognized the danger that lies in ascibing power and authority to fallible humans. Great danger arises when we are discipled to men, rather than by men, to God.

[2] Always ready to preach the essential message of the gospel, Paul announces it especially early in this epistle because the very reason for this letter lies in the fact that the Galatians were "perverting" that message.

[3.] This is the message: Somebody is perverting the gospel and it is very serious. Paul will go on to describe who these "perverters" are, what their motives are, and the exact nature of the perversion. However, Paul does not see the Galatians as victims. He suggests that they are foolish and fickle. Worse than that--they are traitors!
grphWhoever gives himself over to this perverted message and in turn preaches it is under a divine curse. They are not simply mistaken, the are God-cursed. They are--if they do not repent--in the gravest danger.

Chapter 1

[1 ] 1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
[2] 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
[3] 6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
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 accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
l6 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
18 Then after three years ~I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.
20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.
21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria, and Cilicia;
22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
24 And they glorified God in me.