Columns 611-634 in PG vol. 61

Verses 1-3: Paul, an apostle— not from human beings nor through any human being [NIV: sent not from men or by man].

[1.]  The introduction is full of an intense and lofty spirit, and not only the introduction, but also, so to speak, the entire letter. It is not a teacher’s duty to always address his students with mildness, especially when they need severity. In that case they would only be serving as enemies and corrupters. Our Lord too, although he usually spoke gently to his disciples, here and there uses sterner language. At one time he pronounces a blessing, at another a rebuke. After he said to Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah!” (Matt 16:17) and promised to lay the foundation of the church upon his confession, shortly afterwards he says, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me” (Matt 16:23). And on another occasion he asked, “Are you still so dull?” (Matt 15:16). You can see what awe he inspired in them from the passage in John, when they saw him conversing with the Samaritan woman, though they reminded him to have some food, no one ventured to say, “What do you want from her?’ or, ‘What are you talking to her about?” (John 4:27). Paul was taught in this way, and walked in the steps of his Master. So he too varies his way of speaking according to the needs of his students, at one time using a hot knife to cut and sterilize, and at another applying soothing remedies. To the Corinthians he says, “What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?” (1 Cor 4:21). But to the Galatians he wrote, “You foolish Galatians!” (Gal 3:1). And not only once, but a second time he rebukes them, when towards the end of the letter he refers to them reproachfully by saying, “Let no one cause me trouble” (Gal 6:17). But then he immediately soothes them with the words, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth” (Gal 4:19). He follows this pattern many other times.

It is obvious to everyone, even at first glance, that this letter breathes an indignant spirit. But I must explain the cause of Paul’s anger against his disciples. It could not be something small and unimportant or he would not have used such intensity. Only small-minded, gloomy, and bad-tempered people are annoyed by ordinary matters, just as lazy and listless people lose heart in important matters. Paul was not that kind of person. What then was the offence which aroused him? It was serious and important, one which was separating them all from Christ, as he himself says further on, “Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all” (Gal 5:2); and again, “You who are trying to be justified by law … you have fallen away from grace” (Gal 5:4).

What was this offense? For it must be explained more clearly. Some of the believing Jews were being held captive by the old teachings of Judaism, and at the same time giddy with excessive pride, desiring to obtain the honor of being teachers. They came to the Galatians and taught them that they were required to be circumcised and observed the Sabbaths and new-moon festivals, and that Paul should not be accepted because he allowed these customs to be ended. For, they said, Peter and James and John, the leading apostles and companions of Christ, had not forbidden these things. Now it is true that the apostles did not forbid these things, but this was not because they promoted these practices as good teaching. Rather, they allowed them out of concern for the weakness of the Jewish believers. Paul also followed these customs, but only in Judea. He did not need to be concerned with such weakness when preaching to the Gentiles. But the deceivers in Galatia hid the reason for Paul’s behavior as well as that of his brothers. They misled the simpler Christians, telling them that they should not put up with Paul, who was a newcomer, while Peter and his colleagues had been around from the beginning. Paul, they alleged, was a disciple of the apostles, but they were disciples of Christ. Paul stood alone, but they were numerous, and were the pillars of the Church. They also accused Paul of playing games, saying that this same person who was now forbidding circumcision actually observed the custom elsewhere. “He preaches one way to you,” they decried, “and another way to others.”

Paul saw the whole Galatian people all riled up, a fire destroying their Church, and the structure shaking and tottering, about to fall. So filled with mixed feelings of righteous anger and gloom (which he expressed with the words, “How I wish I could be with you now and change my tone,” [Gal 4:20]), he writes this letter to answer these charges. This is his aim from the very beginning. Those who were undermining his reputation had said, “The others were disciples of Christ, but Paul only a disciple of the apostles.” So Paul begins like this: “Paul, an apostle—sent not from human beings nor through any human being.” As I was saying earlier, these deceivers had said that Paul was the last of all the apostles and had been taught by them. Peter, James, and John were called before him and were the leaders among the disciples and received their teaching directly from Christ Himself. Therefore, they claimed, it was only right to obey them rather than this man Paul. But unlike Paul, those apostles did not forbid circumcision or observing the law.

[2.]  With these and similar words they humiliated Paul, and exalted the honor of the other apostles (although they did not do this in order to praise the other apostles, but merely to deceive the Galatians). In this way they convinced the Galatians to continue to observe the law when it was not necessary. This is why he begins the way he does. Since they belittled Paul’s teaching, saying it came from men, while that of Peter came from Christ, Paul addresses himself to that point immediately, declaring himself to be an apostle “not by human beings nor through any human being.”

Ananias had baptized him, but Ananias had not saved him from the way of error and started him in the faith. Rather it was Christ himself who sent that wonderful voice from on high, which captured Paul in his net. He had called Peter and his brother, and John and his brother, when they were walking by the seaside, (Matt 4:18); but Paul was called after Christ’s ascension into heaven (Acts 9:3-4). Just as the apostles did not need a second call, but immediately left their nets and all that they had and followed him, so when Paul was first called, he moved forward energetically, and as soon as he was baptized he started a relentless battle against the Jews. In this he went beyond the other apostles, as he says, “I worked harder than all of them” (1 Cor 15:10). However, he doesn’t make that claim here. He is content to be placed on the same level with the other apostles. His goal was not to establish that he was superior to them, but only to undermine the foundation of their error.

Not being “from any human being” refers equally to all Christians, because the gospel’s root and origin is divine. Not being “through any human being” is peculiar to the apostles, for they were not called by men’s agency, but by Christ himself.

Why does he not speak of his call rather than his being an apostle, and say, “Paul, called not by human beings?” Because this was the real question. His opponents said that Paul had been entrusted with the office of a teacher by men, namely by the other apostles, and therefore he ought to obey them. But he says that he was not given that office by men. Luke declares as much with the words, “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul” (Acts 13:2).

Verse 1: but by Jesus Christ and God the Father

From this passage it is clear that the Son and Spirit share one power. When Paul was commissioned by the Spirit, he says that he was commissioned by Christ. This appears in another passage, when he attributes the things of God to the Spirit, in the words which he addresses to the elders at Miletus: “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers” (Acts 20:28). Yet in another letter he says, “And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers” (1 Cor 12:28). He makes no distinction when assigning the works of the Spirit to God, and the works of God to the Spirit.

He also silences the heretics with the words: “by Jesus Christ and God the Father.” The heretics said this word “by,” when used of the Son, means that he is inferior. But notice what Paul does here. He uses the one preposition “by” in referring to both the Son and the Father, thus teaching us not to lay down laws about the indescribable nature of God, and not to try to define the extent of divinity which belong to the Father and Son. To the phrase “by Jesus Christ” he has added the words, “and God the Father.” If he had first mentioned the Father, and then added the phrase “by whom,” they might have argued in that case that the preposition “by” was only applied to the Father in the sense that the acts of the Son are ultimately referred to him. But Paul leaves no opening for this kind of hair splitting when he mentions both the Son and the Father together, and makes his language apply to both. He does not do this in order to refer the acts of the Son to the Father, but to show that the expression “by whom” implies no difference in their being.

Furthermore, what can those people now say who have imagined some evidence of inferiority in the baptismal formula, that we are baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? For if they conclude that the Son is inferior because he is named after the Father, what will they conclude when they see that in this passage Paul mentions Christ before he mentions the Father? But let us not even utter such a blasphemy! Let us not swerve from the truth when we argue with them. Instead, even if they rave 10,000 times, let us preserve a proper measure of reverence. Since it would be the height of madness and impiety to argue that the Son was greater than the Father because Christ was named first, so we dare not hold that the Son is inferior to the Father because he is placed after him in the baptismal formula.

Verse 1: who raised him from the dead.

Why is it, Paul, that when you want to bring these Judaizers to the faith, you do not discuss any of those great and famous topics which are found in your letter to the Philippians, such as, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped” (Phil 2:6); or which you later declared in the letter to the Hebrews, “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Heb 1:3); or again what The Son of Thunder said in the opening of his Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1); or what Jesus himself often declared to the Jews, that his power and authority were equal to the Father’s? (John 5:19, 27, etc.). Are you omitting all these, and only mentioning the events of his incarnation, discussing his cross and death? “Yes,” Paul would answer.

If this discourse had been addressed to those who had false ideas about Christ, it would have been proper to mention those things. But since the disturbance in Galatia was coming from people who were afraid they would be punished by God if they abandoned the law, he mentions repeatedly those things through which all need of the law is ended, namely, the good things given to everyone through the cross and the resurrection. If Paul had said that in the beginning was the Word, and that he was in the form of God, and made himself equal with God, and such things, he would have declared the divinity of the Word, but he would not have contributed anything to the problem at hand. Yet it was highly pertinent to the problem to add, “who raised him from the dead.” In this way he reminded them of our greatest benefit. Besides, men are generally less interested in discussions about the majesty of God than in those which set forth the benefits which come to mankind. That is why he omits discussion of Christ’s divinity and such topics, choosing rather to discuss the benefits which have been given to us.

[3.]  Here the heretics insultingly exclaim, “Look, the Father raises the Son!” Once infected with heresy, they refuse to listen to the more marvelous teachings of Scripture. They consider such a phrase in isolation. On that basis they then insist on ascribing to the Son a lower nature expressed in lowlier terms. They do this, they say, out of concern for the Son’s humanity, or to honor the Father, or for some other supposed purpose. I will not say that they bring indignation to Scripture in this way, but rather they bring indignation upon themselves. I would like to ask such persons why they say these things? Do they hope to prove that the Son is weak and powerless to raise even one body? Certainly not, when faith in him enabled the mere shadows of those who believed in him to raise the dead (Acts 5:15).1 Could believers in him raise the dead by the mere shadows of their earthly bodies and by the garments which had touched these bodies, though they were mere mortals, yet somehow he could not raise himself? Is this not clearly madness, a great stretch of folly? Haven’t you heard him say “Destroy this Temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (John 2:19)? And again, “I have authority to lay down my life and authority to take it up again” (John 10:18)? Why then is the Father said to have raised him up, just as he also is said to have done other things which the Son himself did? It is in honor of the Father, and out of compassion for the weakness of the hearers.

Verse 2: And all the brothers with me.

Why has he added this phrase which he does not use in any other letter? Usually he only puts his own name or that of two or three others. Here he has mentioned the entire group, but has mentioned no one by name. Why does he do this? Because they made the slanderous charge that his preaching was his alone, and that he wanted to introduce new ideas into the Christian teaching. Therefore he wanted to remove their suspicion, and to show them that he had many to support him in his doctrine. So he has associated with himself “the brothers,” to show that they were in agreement with what he wrote.

Verse 2: To the Churches in Galatia.

It seems that the fire of error had spread not only to one or two cities, but to the whole Galatian people. Notice also the serious indignation contained in the phrase, “to the churches in Galatia.” He does not say “to the beloved” or “to the holy;” and note also the omission of all names of affection or respect. He speaks of them merely as a group, without adding “churches of God.” By simply saying “to the churches in Galatia,” he is strongly expressing deep concern and sorrow. Here at the outset, as well as elsewhere, he attacks their misdeeds, and therefore refers to them in the plural as “churches,” in order to shame them and draw them back into unity. He could not properly refer to them as “the church,” which is a name implying harmony and concord, because they were split into many parties.

Verse 3: Grace and peace to you from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

He always mentions as something indispensible, and it is especially indispensible in his letter to the Galatians. They were in danger of falling from grace, so he prays that they may recover it. Since they had come to be at war with God, he pleads with God to restore them to that same peace.

Verse 3: God our Father.

Here is a clear refutation of the heretics who say that John in the opening of his Gospel, when he says “the Word was God,” used the word Theos without the article, to imply the Son’s inferiority in the Godhead. It also refutes those who argue that Paul, when he says that the Son was “in the form of God,” did not mean the Father, because the word Theos is without the article. But what can they say about this passage, where Paul says, apo Theou Patros, and not apo tou Theou?

It is not out of gentleness towards them that he calls God Father. This term is meant as a severe rebuke, reminding them of the source through which they became sons. That honor was not graciously given to them through the law, but through the washing of regeneration. You see how everywhere, even in his introduction, he plants traces of the goodness of God, and we may envision him speaking as follows: “You who were recently slaves, enemies and foreigners, what right have you suddenly acquired to call God your Father? It was not the law that granted you this relationship. So why are you now deserting him who brought you so near to God, and instead returning to your old tutor?”

But the name of the Son, as well as that of the Father, should have been enough to declare to them these blessings. This becomes clear, if we carefully consider the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. For it is said, “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). And the name “Christ” calls to mind the anointing of the Spirit.

Verse 4: Who gave himself for our sins.

[4.]  It is clear that the ministry which Christ undertook was free and without compulsion. He was delivered up by himself, and not by another. Therefore do not let not the words of John that the Father gave his only-begotten Son for us (John 3:16), lead you to take anything away from the dignity of the only-begotten, or to infer from this that he is only human. When it is said that the Father has given us the Son, this does not imply that the Son’s ministry was that of a slave. It is meant to teach us that the Son’s mission seemed good to the Father, as Paul too has shown in the immediate context: “according to the will of our God and Father.” He does not say “by the command,” but “according to the will.” In so far as there is a unity of will in the Father and the Son, whatever the Son wills, the Father also wills.

The Apostle says “for our sins.” We pierced ourselves with ten thousand evils, and deserved the most serious punishment. The law did not deliver us; it even condemned us, making our sin more evident. Yet the law contained no power to release us from our punishment, or to stop the anger of God. But the Son of God made this impossibility possible, by forgiving us our sins. He restored us from hostility and made us friends, and he freely gave us countless other blessings.

Verse 4: to rescue us from the present evil age.

Another group of heretics seize upon these words of Paul, and twist his testimony into an accusation against the present life. They say that Paul has called this present world evil, and that the word “age” (aion) can only mean time measured by days and seasons. So, then, is the division into days and the course of the sun evil? No one would assert this, even if he was carried off by extreme unreasonableness. “But,” they say, “it is not the `time’ but the present `life’ which he called evil.” Now the words themselves do not say this. But the heretics do not rely on the words, and frame their charge from them. Instead they propose a new mode of interpretation.

So they must at least allow us to produce our interpretation, and especially since it is both pious and rational. We assert then that evil cannot be the cause of good. Yet the present life produces a thousand prizes and rewards. The blessed Paul himself praises it abundantly in the words, “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!” (Philip. 1:22). When he presents himself with the alternative of living upon earth or departing and being with Christ, he decides for the former. But were this life evil, he would not have made that decision, nor could anyone, no matter how strenuous he tries, draw evil into the service of virtue. For no one would ever use evil for good, fornication for chastity, envy for kindness. So, when he says that “the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so” (Rom. 8:7), he means that vice, as such, cannot become virtue; and the expression, “evil world,” must be understood to mean evil actions, and depraved moral standards. Again, Christ did not come to put us to death and in that way to deliver us from the present life, but to leave us in the world, and prepare us for a worthy participation in our heavenly home. Therefore he says to the Father, “they are still in the world, and I am coming to you…. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (John 17:11, 15), i.e., from sin.

Further, those people who will not believe this, but who insist that the present life is evil, should not blame those who bring destruction to themselves. For just as we do not blame someone for removing himself from evil, but consider that person worthy of a reward, so then he who ends his own life by violence, i.e. by hanging or some other way, ought not to be condemned. Yet we know that God punishes such men more than murderers, and we all regard them with horror, and justly so. For if it is evil to destroy others, it is much more evil to destroy one’s self. Moreover, if this life is evil, murderers would deserve a crown for rescuing us from evil.

In addition, these men are caught in their own words, for as they place the sun in the first rank, and the moon in the second rank of their deities, and worship them as the givers of many blessings, their statements are contradictory. For these and the other heavenly bodies are useful in contributing to our present life (which they say is evil) by nourishing and giving light to the bodies of men and animals and bringing plants to maturity. How can it be then that those who you consider to be gods contribute to the structure of this “evil life?” Indeed they are not gods, far from it, but works of God created for our use; nor is this world evil.

And if you talk to me about murderers, adulterers, and grave-robbers, these things have nothing to do with the present life; for these offences do not proceed from our life here in the flesh, but from a corrupt will. If they were intimately connected with this life, and joined in one bundle with it, no one would be clean or free from them. For no man can avoid the characteristic properties of humanity, such as, to eat and drink, to sleep and grow, to be hungry and thirsty, to be born and die, and the like. No man can ever overcome these, neither sinner nor just man, king nor peasant. We are all subject to the obligations of nature. So if vice were an essential element of this life, no one could avoid it, any more than the things just mentioned. Don’t tell me that good men are rare. Nature’s necessities are insurmountable by all. As long as one virtuous man can be found, my argument cannot be invalidated. Miserable, wretched man! What are you saying? Is this life evil, in which we have learned to know God, and meditate on the things to come, and have become angels instead of men, and take part in the choirs of the heavenly powers? What other proof do we need of an evil and depraved mind?

[5.]  “Why then,” they say, “does Paul call the present life evil?” In calling the present age evil, he has adapted himself to our usage. For we are accustomed to say, “I have had a bad day.” In that way we are complaining not about the time itself, but about the actions or circumstances. So also Paul, when complaining about the action of these evil principles has used these usual forms of speech. He shows that Christ has both delivered us from our offences, and secured our future. The first he has declared with the words, “Who gave himself for our sins;” and by adding, “that he might deliver us out from this present evil world,” he has announced that we will be safe in the future. The law could help us with neither of these, but grace was sufficient for both.

Verse 4: according to the will of our God and Father.

These people were terrified by the idea that by deserting that old law and adhering to the new, they would disobey God, who gave the Law. Paul corrects their error, and says that this seemed good to the Father also. He says not simply “the Father,” but “our Father,” which he says in order to produce an effect upon them by showing that Christ has made His Father our Father.

Verse 5: To whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

This too is new and unusual. We never find the word, “Amen” placed at the beginning of a letter, but much further on. Here, however, he uses it in his beginning, to show that what he had already said contained sufficient instruction for the Galatians, and that his argument was complete. An obvious crime does not require an elaborate prosecution. Having spoken of the cross and resurrection, of redemption from sin and security for the future, of the intention of the Father, and the will of the Son, of grace and peace and his whole gift, he concludes with an ascription of praise.

Another reason for the “Amen” is that he was completely astonished by the magnitude of the gift, the superabundance of the grace, the consideration of who we were, and what God had accomplished, and that he did this at once and in a single moment of time. Unable to express this in words, he breaks out into a song of praise. He sends up these praises for the whole world. Indeed, they are not worthy of the subject, but the best that he was able to produce. So he proceeds to use more intense language. He begins with a more severe rebuke. It is as though now that he has said, “to whom be the glory forever and ever, Amen,” his sense of the divine gifts was greatly increased, and his astonishment at the Galatians all the more increased by comparison.

Verse 6: I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.

Like the Jews who persecuted Christ, Paul’s opponents imagined their observance of the law was acceptable to the Father. So Paul shows that by keeping the law they displeased not only Christ, but also the Father. In doing this they were not only falling away from Christ, but also from the Father. Just as the old covenant was not given by the Father alone, but also by the Son, so the covenant of grace proceeded from the Father as well as the Son. Their every act is done together: “All that belongs to the Father is mine” (John 16:15).

By saying that these men had fallen away from the Father, he is bringing two charges against them – abandoning the faith, and doing it so soon. The opposite extreme, losing one’s faith after a long time, is also worthy of rebuke. He who falls away at the first opportunity and at the first struggle shows an extreme form of cowardice. That is what Paul here accuses them, saying:”How can it be that your seducers don’t need any time at all to carry out their plans, but on their very first attempt they are able to defeat and capture you? What excuse can you possibly have? If this is a crime among friends, and he who deserts his old and useful comrades ought to be condemned, consider what punishment he deserves who revolts from the God who called him.” He says, “I am amazed,” in order to scold them, that after receiving such gifts, such a forgiveness of their sins, such overflowing kindness, they had deserted and gone back to their old chains of slavery.

But Paul also says this in order to show what a very favorable and exalted opinion he had previously held of them. If he had ranked them as ordinary and easily deceived persons, he would not have been so surprised. “But since you,” he says, “are decent people and have suffered much, I am really amazed.” Surely this should have been enough to turn them around and lead them back to their first position. He alludes to this also in the middle of the letter, “Have you suffered so much for nothing– if it really was for nothing?” (Gal. 3:4). He says “You are deserting,” not “you have deserted.” In other words, “I will not believe or suppose that your seduction has completely taken place.” He speaks as one who is about to win them back, which further on he expresses yet more clearly in the words, “I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view” (Gal. 5:10).

Verse 6: The one who called you by the grace of Christ.

The calling is from the Father, but the cause of it is the Son. It is the Son who has brought about reconciliation and given it as a gift, for we were not saved by works done in our own righteousness. Or, I should rather say, these blessings proceed from both, as he says, “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine” (John 17:10). He does not say “you are moving away from the gospel,” but “from the one who called you,” a more frightening expression, and more likely to have an effect on them.

Those seducing them did not act suddenly, but gradually. Although they really did move the Galatians away from the faith, they did not change the terminology they had learned. It is Satan’s policy not to set his traps in plain view. If the seducers had urged them to fall away from Christ, they would have been shunned as deceivers and corrupters. But by allowing the Galatians to continue in the faith, and by calling their error ‘the gospel’, they could undermine the foundations of their faith without any fear of detection. They used familiar terms as a curtain to conceal the destruction they contained.

[6.]  Since they called this imitation of theirs ‘the gospel’, Paul argues against their stealing that term, and boldly says, “to a different gospel,”…

Verse 7: Which is really no gospel at all.

He says this rightly, for there is no other gospel. Yet the Marcionites are misled by this phrase, like diseased persons can be injured even by healthy food. They have grabbed onto this verse and exclaim, “Paul himself has declared that there is no other gospel.” They do not receive all the gospels, but only one [the Gospel of Luke], and they have trimmed and rearranged that gospel as they wanted. Their explanation of the words, “by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ” (Rom 16:25) is totally ridiculous. But in order to help those who are easily seduced, we must refute it.

We assert, therefore, that although a thousand gospels were written, if the contents of all were the same, they would still be only one, and their unity would not in any way be changed by the number of writers. On the other hand, if there were only one writer, and he were to contradict himself, the unity of the things written would then be destroyed. The unity of a writing does not depend on the number of its authors, but on how the content agrees or is contradictory. From this it is clear that the four gospels are one gospel. Since the four say the same thing, its unity is preserved by the harmony of the contents, and it is not weakened by a diversity of authors. Paul is not speaking here about the number but about the discrepancy of the things spoken. They could have said this justly, if the Gospels of Matthew and Luke differed in the substance of their contents and in their doctrinal accuracy. But since they are one and the same, let these men cease these senseless accusations, and stop pretending to be ignorant of these things which are plain even to children.

Verse 7: Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

That is to say, you will not accept another gospel as long as your mind is clear, and as long as your vision remains healthy and free from distortions and imaginary ghosts. For just as an eye that is not functioning properly does not properly see the objects in front of it, so the mind also can be clouded by the confusion of evil thoughts. Yet although a madman becomes totally confused, this kind of insanity is more dangerous than any physical sickness; for it does not merely injure our senses, but our very minds. It creates confusion not in the body part which gives us vision, but in the eye of understanding.

Verse 7: And are trying to pervert the Gospel of Christ.

They had, in fact, only introduced one or two commandments: circumcision and the observance of special days. But Paul says that the gospel was being undermined, in order to show that even a slight corruption can eliminate the whole thing. It is similar to when someone changes the image on a king’s coin, making it no longer valid. In the same way anyone who swerves ever a little from the pure faith soon goes from this to more serious errors, and becomes entirely corrupted.

So what about those who accuse us of being contentious for separating ourselves from heretics, and say that there is no real difference between us except what is caused by our own desires? Let them listen to Paul’s assertion, that those who have made even small changes, have undermined the gospel. It is no small matter to say that the Son of God is a created Being. Don’t you know that even under the old covenant, a man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath, and so violated just a single small commandment, was punished with death (Num 15:32, 36)? And that Uzzah, who grabbed the Ark when it started to fall was immediately struck dead, because he had intruded upon an office which did not pertain to him (2 Sam 6:6-7)? If violating the Sabbath and touching the falling Ark so obviously drew God’s wrath and denied the offenders even a momentary relief, will he be excused and pardoned who corrupts teachings so majestic that they cannot be spoken? Absolutely not.

Being careless in small matters is the cause of all our misfortunes. Because small errors are often not properly corrected, larger ones creep in. Just as in the body, not taking care of injuries results in fever, disease and death, so in the soul, small evils that are ignored open the door to more serious ones. It is viewed as a small error that one man should not fast. Nor is it anything important or weighty that another man who is well-established in the pure faith should conceal this under certain circumstances and not give his bold confession of faith. Or a third man who becomes angry and threatens to leave the true faith is excused for this when he pleads that this was the result of passion and resentment. In this way a thousand similar errors are introduced every day into the church, and we have become a laughing-stock to Jews and Greeks, seeing that the church is divided into a thousand sects. But if those who started these small errors and wandered from the divine revelation had been given a proper rebuke at the very beginning, such a plague would not have begun, nor such a storm have shaken the churches. So now you understand why Paul calls circumcision an undermining of the  gospel.

[7.]  There are many among us now, who fast on the same day as the Jews, and keep the Sabbaths in the same way as they do. And we put up with it nobly, or rather poorly and dishonorably. And I do not only speak about the Jews, for many Gentile customs are being observed by some among us: omens, auguries, prophecies, distinctions of days, an unnatural attention to the circumstances of their children’s birth, and as soon as they are born, tablets with unholy writing are placed around their unhappy heads. In this way they teach them from the very first to lay aside virtuous actions, and they draw some of them to believe falsely that they can be masters their own of fate. But if Christ does not help in any way those that are circumcised, how will faith afterwards assist the salvation of those who have introduced such corruptions?2

Although circumcision was given by God, Paul used every effort to abolish it, because its observance at this time was hurting the preaching of the gospel. If Paul was so serious about the excessive use of Jewish customs, what excuse can we have for not getting rid of Gentile ones? This is why our affairs are now in such confusion and trouble, and why our learners are filled with pride and have turned everything upside down, throwing everything into confusion. We their teachers have neglected to discipline them, so that they now disregard even our most gentle admonitions. It is not right for a disciple to disobey his superior, even if they are worthless and full of countless evils. Jesus even said of the Jewish scholars that since they sat in the place of Moses, their disciples had to obey them, even though their works were so evil that the Lord prohibited his disciples from imitating them (Matt 23:2-3). So what excuse is there for those who insult and trample on men, these rulers of the church who should, by the grace of God, be living holy lives? If it is unlawful for us to judge each other, it is much more wrong for us to judge our teachers.

Verse 8: But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!

Observe the apostle’s wisdom! To do away with the objection that he was prompted by his own pride to praise his own teaching, he includes himself also in his condemnation. As his opponents reverted to the authority of James and John, he uses the example of angels, saying, “Don’t talk to me about James and John. Even if one of the most exalted angels (αγγελος) of heaven corrupts the gospel, let him be cursed.”

The phrase “of heaven” is purposely added, because priests could also be called angels, as in: “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction– because he is the messenger (αγγελος) of the Lord Almighty” (Mal. 2:7).3 But so that no one might think that here he is talking about priests when he uses the term “angels,” he points to the celestial beings by the addition “from heaven.” And he does not say that if they preach a contrary gospel, or subvert the whole of the true teaching, then they should be condemned. Even if they only vary slightly, or incidentally tamper with my teaching, let them be condemned.

Verse 9: As we have already said, so now I say again.

He now repeats his words so that it is clear that he is not speaking these words in anger, or exaggerating, or speaking recklessly. People sometimes want to change what they have said when they spoke in anger, but by repeating it a second time they prove that they have said something on purpose, and had previously thought through what they were saying.

When Abraham was asked [by the rich man] to send Lazarus, he replied, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31). Christ pictures Abraham speaking these words to show that he wanted the Scriptures to be counted even more worthy of belief than even a person who had been raised from the dead. So also Paul (and when I say Paul, I mean Christ, who directed his thinking) prefers the Scriptures more than an angel come down from heaven. And justly so, for the angels, though mighty, are only servants and ministers, but the Scriptures were all written and sent, not by servants, but by God the Lord of all.

He says, if “anybody” preaches another gospel to you than that which we have preached,–not “if this or that man.” Here we can see his wisdom and his care not to give offence. Why would he need to mention any names, when he had used such broad terms so as to embrace everything, both in heaven and on earth? Since he condemned evangelists and angels, he included people of every rank, and by mentioning himself he included even the closest family members or friends. “Don’t tell me,” he exclaims, “that my fellow-apostles and colleagues have spoken this way; I will not even spare myself if I should preach such doctrine.” And he says this not to condemn the apostles for straying from the message they were commissioned to deliver. Far from it, for he says, “Even if we or they preach such things,” implying that they had not. By using these examples, he only wishes to show that when discussing truth, the rank or position of the persons involved must not be a consideration.

Verse 10: Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Even if I could deceive you with these teachings, Paul says, could I deceive God, he who knows my yet unspoken thoughts, and he who I never stop trying to please? Note here the true spirit of the apostle, the loftiness of his gospel-centered life! He writes this way also to the Corinthians, “We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us” (2 Cor 5:12.). Again, “I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court” (1 Cor 4:3). Since, as their teacher, he is forced to justify himself to his disciples, he does so. But he is saddened by it, not because it annoys him, but rather because the minds of those led astray are so unstable, and because his own disciples do not trust him. That is why Paul now speaks, as it were, the following: “Do I need to render my account to you? Must I be judged by men? No, it is to God that I must render my account, and everything I do is done in light of that accounting. I have not been so miserably abandoned as to corrupt my doctrine, since I will justify what I have preached before the Lord of all.”

[8.]  This is how he expressed himself, in order to stand up against their opinions as much as to defend himself. It is proper for disciples to obey, not to judge, their teacher. “But now that the order is reversed,” he says, “and you are acting as judges, you should know that I have little concern about defending myself before you. Everything I do is for the sake of my God and in order that I may answer Him for what I have taught. The man who wants to persuade other men does not act in a straightforward and sincere way, but uses trickery and falsehood to win over his hearers. But he who addresses himself to God, and desires to please Him, needs a simple and pure mind, for God cannot be deceived. From this it is clear that I have written to you in this way not because I want to be in charge, or in order to gain disciples, or to receive honor from you. I have acted to please God, not man. If it were it otherwise, I would still associate with the Jews and still persecute the Church. But I have cast off my country altogether, my companions, my friends, my kindred, and all my reputation, and taken in exchange for these, persecution, enmity, strife, and daily-impending death. I have given a signal proof that I speak not from love of human applause.”

He says this as he is about to narrate his former life, and sudden conversion, and to demonstrate clearly that it was sincere. To make sure that they would not be elevated by a notion that he did this in order to vindicate himself to them, he first says, “Am I trying to win the approval of men? Or am I trying to please men?” He knew how to correct his disciples in a grave and lofty tone when the situation warranted it. He certainly had other sources with which to demonstrate the truth of his preaching: by signs and miracles, by dangers, by prisons, by daily deaths, by hunger and thirst, by nakedness, and the like. But here he is not speaking about false apostles, but of the true, who had shared these very perils. So he employs another method. When his discourse was aimed at false apostles, he institutes a comparison by bringing forward his endurance of danger, saying, “Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again” (2 Cor 11:23). But now he speaks of his former manner of life and says,

Verses 11-12: I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

See how carefully he affirms that he was taught by Christ, who himself, without any other human intervention, took it upon himself to reveal to him all knowledge. If he were asked to prove that God himself revealed to him these lofty mysteries in this way, without the use of any mediator, he would point to his former way of life, arguing that his conversion would not have been so sudden if it had not been due to divine revelation. When men have vehemently and eagerly opposed something, it takes a long time and much ingenuity to change their minds, if this is accomplished by human means. It is clear that Paul, because his conversion was so sudden, and who has then become instantly sobered while at the very height of his madness, must have been given a divine revelation and teaching. That is the only way he could have almost instantly become completely sane.

This is why he has to tell the story of his earlier life, and to call the Galatians as witnesses of these past events. “You who were not present could not know that the only-begotten Son of God himself saw fit to call me from heaven,” he says, “but you do know that I had been a persecutor of the church. For even you heard about my violence, and the distance between Palestine and Galatia is so great that the report would never have reached you hear if my acts had not gone beyond all limits and endurance.” So he continues,

Verse 13: For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it.

Notice that he does not avoid the severity of each point. He does not simply say that he persecuted the church, but adds “beyond all limits.” Not only “persecuted” but “tried to destroy it,” which signifies an attempt to snuff out, to pull down, to destroy, and to annihilate the church.

Verse 14: I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

[9.]  In order to eliminate the notion that his persecution arose from passion, pride, or jealousness, he shows that he was motivated instead by zeal, not indeed zeal “based on knowledge” (Rom 10:2), but by a zealous admiration of the traditions of his fathers. This is his argument: “If my efforts against the church were not caused by human motives, but by religious zeal (even if it was mistaken zeal), why should I be moved by pride now when I am fighting for the church, and have embraced the truth? If this was not my motive, but rather a godly zeal which possessed me when I was in error, now that I have come to know the truth I ought to be all the more free from such suspicion. As soon as I passed over to the doctrines of the church I overcame my Jewish prejudices, showing even more zealous passion when serving the church. This is proof that my conversion is sincere, and that the zeal which possesses me is from above. What else could induce me to make such a change, and to trade honor for contempt, rest for danger, security for distress? Nothing, to be sure, except the love of truth.”

Verses 15-16: But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man.

Here Paul’s purpose is to show that it was by some secret plan of God that he was left for a time to himself. If he was set apart from his mother’s womb to be an apostle and to be called to that ministry, yet he was not actually called until that much later time, it is clear that God had some hidden reason for this delay. Perhaps you are eager to learn from me what that reason was, and especially, why he was not called as one of the twelve. But in order not to unduly lengthen this discussion by digressing from that which is more important, I must beg you not to insist that I explain everything. Rather, search for it by yourselves, and ask God to reveal it to you. Also, I had a partial discussion of this subject when I expounded to you about the changing of his name from Saul to Paul. If you have forgotten what I said, you can refresh your memory by consulting that volume. At present let us keep the thread of this discussion going, and note that Paul argues that it was not a natural event which he had experienced, but that God himself had providentially arranged for this to happen.

Verse 15: And called me by his grace.

God indeed says that he called Paul on account of his excellent capacity, as he said to Ananias, “This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings” (Acts 9:15). That is to say, he had the capacity to serve and to accomplish great deeds. God gives this as the reason for his call. But Paul himself everywhere ascribes it to grace, and to God’s inexpressible mercy, as when he says, “But for that very reason I was shown mercy”, not because I was adequate or even useful in and of myself, but “that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life” (1 Tim 1:16). Just look at his overflowing humility. “I obtained mercy,” he says, “so that no one might despair, since even the worst person has shared in his wondrous gifts.” For this is what is meant by the words, “that in me … Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him.”

Verse 16: To reveal his Son in me.

Christ says in another place, “No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Luke 10:22). Note that the Father reveals the Son, and the Son reveals the Father. It is the same way with their glory. The Son glorifies the Father, and the Father glorifies the Son: “Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you,” and, “I have brought you glory” (John 17:1, 4). But why does he say, “to reveal his Son in me,” rather than “to me”? It is to indicate that he had not only been instructed in the faith by words, but that he had been given rich gifts of the Spirit. The revelation had enlightened his whole soul, because Christ was speaking within him.

Verse 16: That I might preach him among the Gentiles.

Not only Paul’s faith, but his election to the office of an apostle came from God. “The reason God gave me this special revelation was not only so that I could see him myself, but so that I might also show him to others.” He does not merely say, “to others,” but, “that I might preach him among the Gentile.” He is already alluding to the important basis of his defense, which he will later explain more fully, that their differing practices in regard to circumcision were rooted in different types of their disciples. For it was necessary to preach differently to the Jews and to the heathen.

Verse 16: Immediately I did not consult any man [NIV moves ‘immediately’ to verse 17]

Here he alludes to the apostles, mentioning them according to their physical nature. However, I cannot deny that he may have meant to include all mankind.

Verse 17: Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was.

When these words are considered by themselves they seem to breathe a spirit of arrogance and to not to be in line with the temperament of an apostle. For to rely solely on one’s own opinion and not to seek counsel from others is a mark of stupidity. As it is said, “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Prov 26:12); and, “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight” (Isa 5:21). Paul himself writes in another place, “Do not be conceited” (Rom 12:16).

[10.]  Surely one who had learned this, and had warned others of it, would not fall into such an error, even if he were an ordinary man. Much less would Paul himself. Nevertheless, this expression when considered by itself can easily prove a stumbling-block and offensive to many hearers. But when it is kept in its context, everyone will agree with it and admire the speaker. So we shall do that.

It is not the right course to consider words alone, or to examine the language by itself, because this will cause many errors. Rather we must consider the intention of the writer. And unless we follow this methodology in our own discussions, and look into the mind of the speaker, we will make many enemies, and everything will be thrown into confusion. This is not only true in regard to words, but we have the same result if we do not follow this rule when considering the actions of people. For example, surgeons often cut and break certain bones, and so do robbers. But it would be sad if we were not able to distinguish one from the other. Again, consider murderers and martyrs. When they are tortured, they suffer the same pains, yet the difference between them is very great. Unless we observe this rule, we will not be able to discriminate in these kinds of matters. Instead, we will end up calling Elijah and Samuel and Phineas murderers, and Abraham a murderer of his son. This will be the result if we go around scrutinizing bare facts without taking into account the intention of the participants. Let us then look at Paul’s intentions when he writes this. Let us consider his outlook and general conduct towards the apostles so that we may arrive at his meaning here.

Neither here nor previously did Paul speak with the intention of disparaging the apostles or of praising himself. How could he have intended to praise himself when he included himself in his condemnation? Rather, his only intention was to guard the integrity of the Gospel. Those troubling the church had said that they were obeying the apostles, who allowed these observances, and not Paul who forbade them. In this way the Judaizing heresy had gradually crept in. Now he needed to resist them resolutely, in order to check the arrogance of those who had improperly praised themselves, not, however, in order to speak against the apostles.

That is why he says, “I did not consult with any man.” It would have been extremely absurd for one who had been taught by God, afterwards to consult men. It is proper that someone who learns from men should in turn take advice from men. But why should someone who has been granted that divine and blessed voice, and who had been fully instructed by God, who possesses all the treasures of wisdom, later ask advice from men? It would be more fitting for him to teach others, not be taught by them. So Paul was not speaking arrogantly, but only showing the distinctiveness of his own commission. “Nor did I go up to Jerusalem,” he says, “to see those who were apostles before I was.” Because his opponents were continually repeating that the apostles were before him, and were called before him, he says, “I did not go visit them.” If he had needed to communicate with them, God, who revealed to him his commission, would have given him a command to do so.

Is it true, however, that he did not go to Jerusalem at all? No, he did go there, in fact, he went in order to learn something from them. But under what circumstance? A question arose on this subject in the city of Antioch, the church which had from the beginning shown so much zeal. They discussed whether or not the Gentile believers ought to be circumcised. In response, Paul went to Jerusalem along with Silas. So how can he say that he did not go up or confer with them? First, because he did not go up of his own accord, but was sent by others. Second, because he did not go to learn, but to change the opinions of others. From the very beginning his position was that which the apostles later confirmed, that circumcision was unnecessary (Acts 15). But when these people did not accept his position, and appealed to those at Jerusalem for support, Paul went up not to be instructed or corrected, but to convince the opposition that those at Jerusalem agreed with him. From the very first he understood from the proper mode of conduct, and needed no teacher. From the first, before any discussion took place, Paul maintained without wavering what the apostles, after much discussion later confirmed.

Luke shows Paul’s purpose in this journey in his account [in Acts 15], where he relates that Paul argued at great length with them on this subject before he went to Jerusalem. But when the brothers chose to be informed on this matter by those at Jerusalem, Paul went up for their sake, not on his own. His expression, “nor did I go up,” means that he neither went at the beginning of his teaching ministry, nor in order to be instructed. Both are implied by the phrase, “I did not consult any man.” He does not merely say, “I did not consult,” but adds, “immediately” [moved to verse 17 in NIV]. And his later visit was not made to gain any additional instruction.

Verse 17: but I went into Arabia. [NIV: but I went immediately into Arabia].

What a fervent soul! He longed to go to regions not yet planted, but still lying in a wild condition. If he had remained with the apostles, since he had nothing to learn, his preaching would have been more restricted, for it was necessary for them to spread the word everywhere. Thus this blessed man, with his spiritual passion, immediately went to teach wild barbarians, choosing a life full of struggle and work.

[11.]  Having said, “I went into Arabia,” he adds, “and later returned to Damascus.” Here we see his humility. He does not speak about his successes, nor about whom or how many he taught. Yet he had such great zeal that immediately after his baptism he argued with the Jews, and infuriated them to such an extent that they and the Greeks laid in ambush for him wanting to kill him. This would not have been the case if he had not greatly increased the number of the faithful. Since they were defeated in their teaching, they turned to murder, which was a visible sign of Paul’s superiority. But Christ did not permit him to be put to death, but preserved him for his mission.

Paul says nothing, however, about these successes, and the same is true in all his letters. He is not motivated by ambition, nor seeks to be honored more highly than the apostles. He is not offended by not being highly valued, but his only fear is that something would harm his mission. For he calls himself, “abnormally born” (1 Cor 15:8), and, “the worst of sinners” (1 Tim 1:16), and “the least of the apostles” (1 Cor 15:9) and, “not deserving to be called an apostle” (1 Cor 15:9). Yet he said that he had worked harder than all of them. This is real humility. For Paul, who does not think about himself in terms of excellence but rather speaks about himself humbly, is candid but not humble. To speak this way after winning such trophies is to be practiced in self-control.

Verse 17: And later returned to Damascus.

What great things he must have achieved in this city. He tells us that the governor under King Aretas placed guards around the whole city, hoping to trap this blessed man (2 Cor 11:32). This is the strongest kind of proof that Paul was violently persecuted by the Jews. Here, however, he says nothing about this. He mentions his arrival and departure, but is silent about the events which took place there. And he would not have mentioned them when writing to the Corinthians if the circumstances had not required him to do so.

Verse 18. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter.

Who could be more humble than this? After such successes, he needed nothing from Peter, not even his approval, but was of equal dignity with him. (At present I will say no more.) Now he goes to visit him as his elder and superior. The only object of this trip was to visit Peter. In this way he pays due respect to the apostles. He does not consider himself their better, in fact he does not even consider himself their equal. This is clear from this journey, for Paul was induced to visit Peter by the same feeling which causes many of our brothers to visit holy men. Nay rather, by an even humbler feeling. Today they do so for their own benefit, but this blessed man Paul did so not for his own instruction or correction, but merely for the sake of meeting and honoring Peter by his presence. He says, “to visit Peter;” he does not say to see (idein) but to visit and survey (istoresai), a word which people use about themselves who travel to become acquainted with great and splendid cities.

He thought that just seeing Peter would be worth the trouble it took, as also becomes clear from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 21:17, 18, etc.). On another occasion he arrived in Jerusalem after having converted many Gentiles. After more labor than anyone else, he had transformed and brought to Christ Pamphylia, Lycaonia, Cilicia, and all the peoples in that part of the world. Upon his arrival, he first with great humility spoke to James, as to his elder and superior. After that he went along with James’ decision, even though it was contrary to this letter. “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, therefore shave your head, and purify yourself” (Acts 21:20-24). So Paul shaved his head, and observed all the Jewish ceremonies. Whenever it did not affect the gospel, he was the humblest of all men. But if he thought humility would injure someone, then he gave up any undue humility. In that case it was not a matter of being humble but of causing outrage and destruction among the disciples.

Verse 18: And stayed with him fifteen days.

To make a trip just to visit Peter was a mark of respect. To remain there so many days was a witness to his friendship and most sincere affection.

Verse 19: I saw none of the other apostles — only James, the Lord’s brother.

This shows what great friends Paul became with Peter in particular. Paul left his home for Peter’s sake, and lodged with him alone. I am repeating this often so that you will remember it, and so that no one, when he hears what this apostle appears to have said against Peter [in chapter 2], may get suspicious of him. He introduces him in this way, so that when he says, “I resisted Peter,” no one will think that these words implied bad feelings and conflict. Paul honored and revered this person more than all the others and undertook this journey just for his sake, not for any of the others. “I saw none of the other apostles — only James, the Lord’s brother.” He means, “I merely visited him, I didn’t learn from him.”

But notice how he speaks about James with honor. He doesn’t merely say “James,” but adds this illustrious title, showing how free he was from all envy. If he had only wished to indicate the person whom he meant, he could have done so by using another name, and called him the son of Cleopas, as the Evangelist does.4 But since he considered that he shared in the grand titles of the apostles, he exalts himself by honoring James, which he does by calling him “the Lord’s brother,” even though he was not his brother by birth, but was only reputed to be one. Yet this did not deter Paul from giving him that title. In many other instances he displays this noble outlook towards all the apostles, which was fitting.

Verse 20: I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.

Note how this holy person continually shows his obvious humility. His zeal in vindicating himself was as great as if he were accounting for his actions and pleading for his life in a court of law.

Verse 21: Later I went to Syria and Cilicia.

After his time spent with Peter, he resumed his preaching and the work which lay before him, avoiding Judea, both because his mission was to the Gentiles, and because he did not want to “build upon another man’s foundation” (Rom 15:20). As a result, there was not even a chance meeting between the two, as the following makes clear:

Verses 22-23: I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.

Paul demonstrates his humility once more by relating the facts of his persecuting and seeking to destroy the church. In this way he makes his previous life public to all, while at the same time he does not mention the noteworthy accomplishments that came afterwards! If he had wanted to, he could have described all his success stories, but he doesn’t mention any of those. With one phrase he steps across a long period of his life, merely saying, “I went to Syria and Cilicia,” and, “they only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” The words, “I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea,” are meant to show that the apostles had not preached to him about the necessity of circumcision. They did not even know what he looked like.

Verse 24: And they praised God because of me.

See here again how accurately he observes the rule of his humility. He does not say, “they admired me,” or, “they applauded or were astonished at me,” but he attributes all to divine grace by saying, “they praised God because of me.”

Please click on the footnote number to be taken back to its call number in the text.

1 The reference is not clear. Perhaps Chrysostom’s memory was conflating this Acts passage with another involving a resurrection, perhaps his text of Acts 5:15-17 contained a phrase about raising the dead (cp. αναστας and variants in 5:17), or perhaps this is a reference to some other resurrection mentioned in Scripture.

Chrysostom on Galatians – main page

Chrysostom on Galatians 2

Revised by GLT

No Responses yet