Freedom in Christ

Fall 2005 SS Class Notes

Week 2: Sept 18, 2005

Jeremy Wise


Galatians Introduction (1:1-9)






2 Thessalonians

Paul – an apostle not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the father who raised him from the dead ones,

Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus,

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand… among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ:

Paul and Silvanus and Timothy,

and all the brothers with me to the churches of Galatia:

to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons:

to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: 

to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called saints:

to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

Grace to you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ

Grace to you and peace from God our father.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace to you and peace from God the father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

who gave himself for our sin in order that he might rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and father,





to whom be glory forever, amen.





I am amazed that so quickly you have turned away from the one who called you in grace into a another gospel, which is not another, except there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.

We give thanks to God, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints…

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows greater;…


Galatians begins unlike any other Pauline epistle in all of Scripture.  All epistles begin with an introduction and greeting, and Galatians is no different here, but that’s about the only similarity we can find.  The chart on the first page compared the greetings from Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, Romans, and 2 Thessalonians.  You could even take a look at 1 Corinthians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon if you wanted more to work with.  These five books should provide sufficient illustration.  Here are some of the most striking differences:


·                          Paul explains that his gospel did not come from man but from God.  This point will be fleshed out later in the chapter, but he wastes no time in establishing his authority as one sent by God himself, not on his own initiative or by zealots from a far away land.

·                          Paul never refers to the Galatians as saints or faithful ones or beloved.  The word “saints” appears sixty-seven times in the Bible, always referring to the elected, set-apart, redeemed people of God.  Sixty of those occurrences are in the New Testament, and 39 of those are Pauline uses.

·                          The word “churches” by which Paul refers to the Galatian readers is a much more generic word simply referring to the gathering-together-ones.  Paul is calling into question here the very salvation of his audience.  This will become clearer as we move into the book.

·                          The “grace to you…” portion, present in all Pauline introductions, is more of a formal greeting than a blessing or warm-hearted greeting.  This is made evident by the surrounding portion of the greeting in Galatians.

·                          There is no thanksgiving whatsoever in Galatians.  In all of the examples on the previous table, Paul expresses his thanksgiving toward God because of the faithfulness, love, devotion, and witness of his readers.  There are no such feelings here.  Instead, we find Paul astonished by the Galatians’ unacceptable and unbelievable behavior.

·                          Finally, Paul wastes absolutely no time in getting to his main point.  One can easily imagine Paul flying through his introduction out of obligation, anxious to reach his scathing comments that make up the remainder of the first chapter.


Introduction of the Problem


Immediately, we are provided with Paul’s purpose for writing this epistle.  Some, perhaps all, of the churches in Galatia are turning away from the Gospel of Christ and exchanging it for another gospel.  In the Greek, there are a couple of wordplays.  Bringing Paul’s emphases across to the English using bold, verse six may appear something like this:


I am ASTONISHED that so quickly you have turned away from the one who called you in grace to another gospel, which isn’t even another!


Greek Lessons:  Because Greek Rocks


metatithesthe: “you have changed your state”.  We get the word metastasize, where cancer changes from one part of the body to other parts.  The Galatians have changed their minds, their hearts, their gospels and their faith.


heteron: “different”.  We get the prefix hetero-.  Heterogeneous mixtures (vs. homogeneous), heterosexual (vs. homosexual).



The word play is that Paul points out that his recipients have turned away from Christ’s gospel in favor of another, but the “other” gospel isn’t really a gospel at all!


Motives Exposed


In verse seven, we discover the motives of those Judaizers who have snuck into the Galatian churches.  They are disturbing the believers and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ.


Charge Against the “Other Evangelists”


Verse eight provides a very heavy condemnation against anyone, man or angel, who presents a gospel other the one Paul presented to them to begin with.  “Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you contrary to the one which we preached to you, he be cursed [of God]!”  In other words, if anyone preaches differently than Paul, then he will pay with God’s eternal damnation.  Paul feels so strongly about this, and is so angered by the situation, that he repeats himself again in the next verse.


Greek Lessons:  Because Greek Rocks


anathema: “cursed by God”.  We get the word anathema, which is typically a curse laid upon a heretic where he is excommunicated from the Church for severe unbelief.