Galatians 1

The Epistle of Galatians "has been called both the Magna Charta of Christian Liberty and the Christian Declaration of Independence. Out of its pages grew the Protestant Reformation, for it was by the study in Galatians that Luther's heart was opened to the truth of justification by faith alone" (Gromacki). The opening chapter is introductory laying the foundation for the rest of the epistle. Galatians 1 may be divided into three major parts as follows:

  1. The Commencement of Paul (Galatians 1:1-5)
  2. The Concern of Paul (Galatians 1:6-12)
  3. The Change in Paul (Galatians 1:13-24)

A. THE COMMENCEMENT OF PAUL

Galatians 1:1-5

The opening salutation of the epistle commences the epistle in typical Pauline style. The opening salutation of letters in those days was longer and more involved than our short openings today. In Paul's opening greetings and also in the closing of his epistles will be found much spiritual instruction.

1. The Greeter (Galatians 1:1, 2)

Unlike our letters, this epistle began with the greeter, the writer of the epistle. Our letters traditionally end by identifying the writer.

The identity of the greeter. "Paul, an apostle" (Galatians 1:1). First, his designation. "Paul." This was not his original name. This became his designated name early on his first missionary journey (Acts 13:9). His original name was Saul. Being of the tribe of Benjamin had much to do with his original name of Saul, for Saul, the first king of Israel, was of the tribe of Benjamin as was Paul the Apostle. What a difference in these to men. One (King Saul) had a good start and bad ending, the other (Apostle Paul) had a bad start but a good ending. Second, his duty. "An apostle." The term "apostle" was used in two different ways. It was used to denote the high Divinely appointed office which only twelve men had—the eleven disciples of Christ plus Paul who was Christ's replacement of Judas Iscariot. The term was also used in a generic sense to denote those who were proclaiming the Gospel. The term "apostle" means one sent with a message. When the term "apostle" is used with Paul it refers to the high Divinely appointed authoritative office. That is why Paul adds "by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead" (Galatians 1:1). Paul was Divinely called to his office of "apostle."

The individuals with the greeter. "All the brethren which are with me" (Galatians 2:1, 2). As with many of his other epistles, Paul also gave the greeting of his associates. First, the conversion of the individuals. "Brethren." To be called "brethren" as in this text means