Galatians 1:1-5 A Tale of Two Parties

Galatians 1 1-5 The Tale of Two Parties


(1)  Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

  • Paul an Apostle, cf. Acts 9:15ff
    • Someone called Paul’s apostolic authority into question
    • The reason was to super-cede Paul’s teachings
      • 1:8-9
    • Two Parties reject Paul in order to assert themselves
      • Party of the Circumcision
      • Party of License
  • Occasion: Paul fights against three problems and the book outline
    • 1-2 Paul Defends his Apostolic Authority
    • 3-4 Paul Defends Justification by Faith from Scripture
    • 5-6 Paul Defends Against those who turn grace into license
  • Apostleship:
    • ἀπόστολος … meaning “one sent as official representative”
    • Secular meaning= sent by man to represent and speak on behalf
    • Mission’s Meaning= sent by church. Barnabas as missionary
    • Specific Sense= Sent by God. For example The 12 and Paul.
      • Qualifications: Acts 1:21-23
      • Need: Matt16:18, Eph 2:20
  • V. 1- Paul’s Qualifications as Apostle
    • Not by man.. not in the non-technical sense as we saw above
    • Sent from God, through Jesus…
    • And he saw the risen Jesus, so he mentioned it.


(2a)  And all the brethren which are with me,

Paul has many brethren with him. This does not mean that they address them in simple or friendly greetings. They greet Galatia as with their voices united with Paul. Paul has his own party, group, etc. That is the true orthodox apostolic church of Jesus.

It also means that Paul is writing with his own hand. Usually he used an amanuensis a hand-writter. See verse 6:11. Paul’s handwriting was less polished and larger. Which is why he rarely wrote longhand.

This detail shows how Paul wanted to guard the one true Gospel and not let any have any breathing room in the church. Thus he asserts his own unquestionable truth as a Prophet an Apostle. He also asserts it with the urgency of his own handwriting. He took no chances.


(2b) unto the churches of Galatia


Where? South Galatian Region-

There is an area called Galatia in the north, but when the Romans took over the south-east section of Asia minor they renamed it Galatia. Paul here uses this Roman designation of Galatia for that area in the south he had just evangelized in his first missionary journey (Acts 13-14)

This detail matters for the timing, not so much the interpretation. Paul may have gone through the northern region called Galatia later in his ministry. But we have no record.


Here are some basics about the logic and timing of the Logic & Timing of the South Galatian view.

  • Logic: The Group he Fights against had just risen up in that area (Acts 15:1)
    • The disturbing ones were the “party of the circumcision.” (Phil 3:2,)
      • “Party” = within the Christian church (Gal 2:4, Rev 2:9, 3:9)
      • “Circumcision” = the old testament rite of entrance into the visible church
    • They were a hold-over from the Pharisees who taught justification procured by circumcision and kept by subsequent law-keeping
      • Terms: Covenant nomism, Judaizers, party of the circumcision
  • Timing: in 1:11-2:21 in his timeline he does not mention the Jerusalem Council, which was directly after the first missionary journey. see Acts 15:1-33


(3)  Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,


Grace and Peace: summarize the whole content of the Gospel of God. God brings about peace with himself through the grace he showed in Jesus.


This “greeting” is actually a prayer. Paul prays to God with the implicit words, “[May] grace and peace [be granted] to you.” The word may and be granted work in the logic of the original language. It’s a shorthand.


The fact that Paul prays this shows that what we are about in this book is having peace and grace in the gospel of Jesus.



(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:


Key:“That”- the purpose of the death of Jesus, in other words- the end it should bring about is “deliverance.

ἐξέληται, root word… ἐξαιρέω = exaireō;  to take out, to deliver: – pluck (1), rescue (2), rescued (3), rescuing (1), tear (1).

This Word Occurs 6 times in the NT with this meaning of Rescue all in Acts

7:10, 34, God rescued Israel from Egypt = the deliverance

12:11= Peter Rescued from Jail..

23:27, 26:17, Paul delivered/recued from physical peril.

The two other Parties (Circumcision and License) both would enslave us again. Circumcision would enslave s to the Law of Sacrifices, and license would enslave us to sin again!

So, Paul Combats both – Not only did we die in Christ, but we live in him!

Gal 2:20-21

***This should be our answer


(5)  To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


Note: ἐξέληται Never used of man! It always points to God’s deliverance!

**Thus, Paul’s Gospel points glory to God alone

**The party of the circumcision would boast in their own merits, thus rob God of glory

**The party of license would rob God of glory by hypocritically calling themselves by his name!