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Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent, [1886], at

Galatians Chapter 1

Galatians 1:1

gal 1:1

An apostle

This title is prefixed to Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians. Here with special emphasis, because Paul's apostleship had been challenged.

Of men - by man (ἀπ' ἀνθρώπων - δἰ ἀνθρώπου)

Better, from men - through man or a man. In contradiction of the assertion that he was not directly commissioned by Jesus Christ, like the twelve, but only by human authority. From men, as authorising the office; through man, as issuing the call to the person. He thus distinguishes himself from false apostles who did not derive their commissions from God, and ranks himself with the twelve. Man does not point to any individual, but is in antithesis to Jesus Christ, or may be taken as = any man.

By Jesus Christ

See Act 11:4-6; Co1 11:1.

And God the Father

The genitive, governed by the preceding διὰ by or through. The idea is the same as an apostle by the will of God: Co1 1:1; Co2 1:1; Eph 1:1. Διὰ is used of secondary agency, as Mat 1:22; Mat 11:2; Luk 1:70; Act 1:16; Heb 1:2. But we find διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ by the will of God, Rom 15:32; Co1 1:1; Co2 1:1, etc., and διὰ θεοῦ by God, Gal 4:7. Also δἰ οὗ (God), Co1 1:9; Heb 2:10.

Who raised him from the dead (τοῦ ἐγείραντος αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν)

It was the risen Christ who made Paul an apostle. For resurrection the N.T. uses ἐγείρειν to raise up; ἐξεγείρειν to raise out of; ἔγερσις raising or rising; ἀνιστάναι to raise up; ἀνάστασις and ἐξανάστασις raising up and raising up out of. With νεκρὸς dead are the following combinations: ἐγείρειν ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν (never ἀπὸ νεκρῶν) to raise from the dead; ἐγ. ἐκ νεκ. or τῶν νεκ. to raise out of the dead; ἀναστήσαι to raise, ἀναστῆναι to be raised or to rise ἐκ. νεκ. (never ἀπὸ); ἀνάστ. ἐκ. νεκ.; or τῶν νεκ. resurrection of the dead; ἀνάστ. ἐκ. νεκ.; ἐξανάστασις ἐκ. νεκ rising or resurrection out of the dead or from among. It is impossible to draw nice distinctions between these phrases.

Galatians 1:2

gal 1:2

Brethren - with me

The circle of Paul's colleagues or more intimate friends. Comp. Phi 4:21, Phi 4:22, where the brethren with me are distinguished from all the saints - the church members generally.

Unto the churches of Galatia

See Introduction. This is a circular letter to several congregations. Note the omission of the commendatory words added to the addresses in the two Thessalonian and first Corinthian letters.

Galatians 1:3

gal 1:3

Grace to you, etc.

See on Th1 1:1. He will not withhold the wish for the divine grace and peace even from those whom he is about to upbraid.

Galatians 1:4

gal 1:4

Gave himself for our sins

Comp. Mat 20:28; Eph 5:25; Ti1 2:6; Tit 2:14. Purposely added with reference to the Galatians' falling back on the works of the law as the ground of acceptance with God. For or with reference to sins (περὶ) expresses the general relation of Christ's mission to sin. The special relation, to atone for, to destroy, to save and sanctify its victims, is expressed by ὑπὲρ on behalf of. The general preposition, however, may include the special.

Out of this present evil world (ἐκ τοῦ αἰῶνος τοῦ ἐνεστῶτος πονηροῦ)

Lit. out of the world, the present (world which is) evil. For αἰών age or period, see Joh 1:9, and additional note on Th2 1:9. Here it has an ethical sense, the course and current of this world's affairs as corrupted by sin. Comp. Co2 4:4. Ἑνεστῶτος, present, as contrasted with the world to come. Elsewhere we have ὁ νῦν αἰών the now world (Ti1 6:17); ὁ αἰὼν τοῦκοσμοῦ the period of this world (Eph 2:2); ὁ αἰὼν οὗτος this world or age (Rom 7:2). Ἑνεστῶτος, not impending, as some expositors, - the period of wickedness and suffering preceding the parousia (Th2 2:3), which would imply a limitation of Christ's atoning work to that period. Comp. Th2 2:2; Ti2 3:1; Co1 7:26. The sense of present as related to future is clear in Rom 8:38; Co1 3:22; Heb 9:9. For the evil character of the present world as conceived by Paul, see Rom 12:2; Co1 2:6; Co2 4:4; Eph 2:2.

Galatians 1:5

gal 1:5

To whom be glory, etc.

For similar doxologies see Rom 9:5; Rom 11:36; Rom 16:27; Eph 3:21; Ti1 1:17.

Forever and ever (εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων)

Lit. unto the ages of the ages. See additional note on Th2 1:9, and comp. Rom 16:27; Phi 4:20; Ti1 1:17; Ti2 4:18. Often in Revelation. In lxx. habitually in the singular: see Psa 89:29; 110:3, 30. In the doxology the whole period of duration is conceived as a succession of cycles.

Galatians 1:6

gal 1:6

I marvel (θαυμάζω)

Often by Greek orators of surprise as something reprehensible. So in New Testament Mar 6:6; Joh 7:21; Luk 11:38; Joh 4:27.

So soon (οὕτως ταχέως)

Better, so quickly. Paul does not mean so soon after a particular event, as their conversion, or his last visit, or the entry of the false teachers, - but refers to the rapidity of their apostasy; ταχέως being used absolutely as always.

Removed (μετατίθεσθε)

A.V. misses the sense of the middle voice, removing or transferring yourselves, and also the force of the continuous present, are removing or going over, indicating an apostasy not consummated but in progress. The verb is used in Class. of altering a treaty, changing an opinion, desertion from an army. For other applications see Act 7:16; Heb 7:12; Heb 11:5. Comp. lxx, Deu 27:17; Pro 23:10; Isa 29:17. Lightfoot renders are turning renegades.

Him that called (τοῦ καλέσαντος)

God. Not neuter and referring to the gospel. Calling, in the writings of the apostles, is habitually represented as God's work. See Rom 8:30; Rom 9:11; Co1 1:9; Gal 1:15; Th1 2:12; Pe1 1:15; Pe1 2:9; Pe2 1:3.

Into the grace (ἐν χάριτι)

Into is wrong. It should be by.

Another gospel (ἕτερον)

Rather a different, another sort of gospel. See Mat 6:24; Luk 16:7; Luk 18:10. In illustration of the differences between ἄλλος another and ἕτερος different, see Co1 12:8-10; Co1 15:40; Co2 11:4; Rom 8:23.

Galatians 1:7

gal 1:7

Another (ἄλλο)

A different gospel is not another gospel. There is but one gospel.

But (εἰ μὴ)

Rev. only. As if he had said, "there is no other gospel, but there are some who trouble you with a different kind of teaching which they offer as a gospel."

Some that trouble (οἱ ταράσσοντες)

The article with the participle marks these persons as characteristically troublesome - the troublers. Comp. Luk 18:9, of those who were characteristically self-righteous. For trouble in the sense of disturbing faith and unsettling principle, see Gal 5:10; Act 15:24. Not necessarily, as Lightfoot, raising seditions.

Galatians 1:8

gal 1:8


See on Th1 1:2.

Angel from heaven (ἄγγελος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ)

The phrase only here. "Angels in heaven or the heavens," Mat 22:30; Mar 12:25; Mar 13:32. "Angels of the heavens," Mat 24:36.

Other than that (παρ' ὃ)

Roman Catholic interpreters insist that παρ' should be rendered contrary to, though the Vulg. gives praeterquam besides. Some Protestant interpreters insist on besides as being against supplementing the gospel with traditions. The explanation is found in the previous words, a different gospel. Any gospel which is different from the one gospel, is both beside and contrary to.

Accursed (ἀνάθεμα)

See on Rom 9:3, and see on offerings, Luk 21:5. Comp. κατάρα, curse and see on ἐπικατάρατος cursed, Gal 3:13. In lxx. always curse, except Lev 27:28, and the apocryphal books, where it is always gift or offering. By Paul always curse: see Rom 9:3; Co1 12:3; Co1 16:22. The sense of excommunication, introduced by patristic writers, does not appear in New Testament.

Galatians 1:9

gal 1:9

As we said before (ὡς προειρήκαμεν)

Comp. Co2 13:2; Phi 3:18. Not to be referred to the preceding verse, since the compound verb would be too strong, and now in the following clause points to an earlier time, a previous visit. Comp. Gal 5:21; Co2 8:2; Th1 4:6.

Galatians 1:10

gal 1:10

For do I now persuade (ἄρτι γὰρ - πείθω)

For introduces a justification of the severe language just used. The emphasis is on now, which answers to now in Gal 1:9. I have been charged with conciliating men. Does this anathema of mine look like it? Is it a time for conciliatory words now, when Judaising emissaries are troubling you (Gal 1:7) and persuading you to forsake the true gospel? Persuade signifies conciliate, seek to win over.

Or God

Persuade or conciliate God is an awkward phrase; but the expression is condensed, and persuade is carried forward from the previous clause. This is not uncommon in Paul's style: See Plm 1:5; Eph 1:15; Phi 2:6, where μορφὴ form, applied to God, is probably the result of μορφὴν δούλου form of a servant (Gal 1:7) on which the main stress of the thought lies.

Galatians 1:11

gal 1:11

I certify (γνωρίζω)

Or, I make known. Certify, even in older English, is to assure or attest, which is too strong for γνωρίζειν to make known or declare. This, which in the New Testament is the universal meaning of γνωρίζειν, and the prevailing sense in lxx, is extremely rare in Class., where the usual sense is to become acquainted with. For the formula see on Th1 4:13.

After man (κατὰ ἄνθρωπον)

According to any human standard. The phrase only in Paul. See Rom 3:5; Co1 3:3; Co1 9:8; Co1 15:32. Κατὰ ἀνθρώπους according to men, Pe1 4:6.

Galatians 1:12

gal 1:12

Of man (παρὰ ἀνθρώπου)

Better, from man. Παρὰ from emphasizes the idea of transmission, and marks the connection between giver and receiver. Comp. Th1 2:13; Th1 4:1; Ti2 3:14; Act 10:22. In the Gospels and Acts παραλαμβάνειν usually means to take, in the sense of causing to accompany, as Mat 4:5; Mat 17:1; Mar 4:36, etc. Scarcely ever in the sense of receive: see Mar 7:4. In Paul only in the sense of receive, and only with παρὰ, with the single exception of Co1 11:23 (ἀπὸ). The simple λαμβάνω usually with παρὰ, but with ἀπὸ, Jo1 2:27; Jo1 3:22.

By the revelation of Jesus Christ (δἰ ἀποκαλύψεως Ἱησοῦ Χριστοῦ)

Not, by Jesus Christ being revealed to me, but, I received the gospel by Jesus Christ's revealing it to me. The subject of the revelation is the gospel, not Christ. Christ was the revealer. Rev. (it came to me) through revelation of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 1:13

gal 1:13

Conversation (ἀναστροφήν)

Better, manner of life. See on Pe1 1:15.

In the Jews' religion (ἐν τῷ Ἱουδαΐσμῷ)

Only here and Gal 1:14. Lit. in Judaism. It signifies his national religious condition. In lxx, 2 Macc. 2:21; 8:2; 14:38; 4 Macc. 4:26.

Beyond measure (καθ' ὑπερβολὴν)

P. Lit. according to excess. The noun primarily means a casting beyond, thence superiority, excellency. See Co2 4:7, Co2 4:17. It is transliterated in hyperbole. For similar phrases comp. Co1 2:1; Act 19:20; Act 3:17; Act 25:23.

Wasted (ἐπόρθουν)

Better, laid waste. In Class. applied not only to things - cities, walls, fields, etc. - but also to persons. So Act 9:21.

Galatians 1:14

gal 1:14

Profited (προέκοπτον)

Better, advanced. See on is far spent, Rom 13:12. Paul means that he outstripped his Jewish contemporaries in distinctively Jewish culture, zeal, and activity. Comp. Phi 3:4-6.

Equals (συνηλικιώτας)

N.T.o. The A.V. is indefinite. The meaning is equals in age. So Rev., of mine own age.

Nation (γένει)

Race. Not sect of the Pharisees. Comp. Phi 3:5; Co2 11:26; Rom 9:3.

Zealous (ζηλωτὴς)

Lit. a zealot. The extreme party of the Pharisees called themselves "zealots of the law"; "zealots of God." See on Simon the Canaanite, Mar 3:18. Paul describes himself under this name in his speech on the stairs, Act 22:3. Comp. Phi 3:5, Phi 3:6.

Traditions (παραδόσεων)

The Pharisaic traditions which had been engrafted on the law. See Mat 15:2, Mat 15:6; Mar 7:3, Mar 7:13, and on Th2 2:15.

Galatians 1:15

gal 1:15

It pleased (εὐδόκησεν)

See on εὐδοκία good pleasure, Th2 1:11.

Separated (ἀφορίσας)

Set apart: designated. See on Rom 1:1, and see on declared, Rom 1:4. The A.V. wrongly lends itself to the sense of the physical separation of the child from the mother.

From my mother's womb (ἐκ κοιλίας μητρός μου)

Before I was born. Others, from the time of my birth. A few passages in lxx. go to sustain the former view: Judges 16:17; Isaiah 64:2, 24; 66:1, 5. That view is also favored by those instances in which a child's destiny is clearly fixed by God before birth, as Samson, Jdg 16:17; comp. Jdg 13:5, Jdg 13:7; John the Baptist, Luk 1:15. See also Mat 19:12. The usage of ἐκ as marking a temporal starting point is familiar. See Joh 6:66; Joh 9:1; Act 9:33; Act 24:10.

Called (καλέσας)

See on Rom 4:17. Referring to Paul's call into the kingdom and service of Christ. It need not be limited to his experience at Damascus, but may include the entire chain of divine influences which led to his conversion and apostleship. He calls himself κλητὸς ἀπόστολος an apostle by call, Rom 1:1; Co1 1:1.

Galatians 1:16

gal 1:16

To reveal his Son in me (ἀποκαλύψαι τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ ἐν ἐμοὶ)

In N.T. ἀποκαλύπτειν to reveal is habitually used with the simple dative of the subject of the revelation, as Luk 10:21. Once with εἰς unto, Rom 8:18 : with ἐν in of the sphere in which the revelation takes place, only here, unless Rom 1:17 be so explained; but there ἐν is probably instrumental. Render ἐν here by the simple in: in my spirit, according to the familiar N.T. idea of God revealing himself, living and working in man's inner personality. See, for instance, Rom 1:19; Rom 5:5; Rom 8:10, Rom 8:11; Co1 3:16; Co1 14:25; Co2 4:6; Jo1 2:5, Jo1 2:14, etc. Lightfoot explains, to reveal his Son by or through me to others. But apart from the doubtful use of ἐν, this introduces prematurely the thought of Paul's influence in his subsequent ministry. He is speaking of the initial stages of his experience.

Immediately (εὐθέως)

Connect only with I conferred not, etc. Not with the whole sentence down to Arabia. Paul is emphasizing the fact that he did not receive his commission from men. As soon as God revealed his Son in me, I threw aside all human counsel.

Conferred (προσανέθεμην)

Po. and only in Galatians. Rare in Class. The verb ἀνατιθέναι means to lay upon; hence intrust to. Middle voice, to intrust one's self to; to impart or communicate to another. The compounded preposition πρὸς implies more than direction; rather communication or relation with, according to a frequent use of πρὸς. The whole compound then, is to put one's self into communication with. Wetstein gives an example from Diodorus, De Alexandro, xvii. 116, where the word is used of consulting soothsayers.

Flesh and blood

Always in N.T. with a suggestion of human weakness or ignorance. See Mat 16:17; Co1 15:50; Eph 6:12.

Galatians 1:17

gal 1:17

Went I up (ἀνῆλθον)

Comp. Gal 1:18. Only in this chapter, and Joh 6:3. More commonly ἀναβαίνειν, often of the journey to Jerusalem, probably in the conventional sense in which Englishmen speak of going up to London, no matter from what point. See Mat 20:17; Mar 10:32; Joh 2:13; Act 11:2. In Act 18:22 the verb is used absolutely of going to Jerusalem. The reading ἀπῆλθον I went away had strong support, and is adopted by Weiss. In that case the meaning would be went away to Jerusalem from where I then was.

Apostles before me

In point of seniority. Comp. Rom 16:7.


It is entirely impossible to decide what Paul means by this term, since the word was so loosely used and so variously applied. Many think the Sinaitic peninsula is meant (Stanley, Farrar, Matheson, Lightfoot). Others, the district of Auranitis near Damascus (Lipsius, Conybeare and Howson, Lewin, McGiffert). Others again the district of Arabia Petraea.

Galatians 1:18

gal 1:18

To see (ἱστορῆσαι)

N.T.o. 1. To inquire into: 2. to find out by inquiring: 3. to gain knowledge by visiting; to become personally acquainted with. In lxx, only 1 Esd. 1:33, 42, to relate, to record. Often in Class. The word here indicates that Paul went, not to obtain instruction, but to form acquaintance with Peter.


See on Mat 16:18; see on Joh 1:42; see on Co1 1:12.

Galatians 1:19

gal 1:19

Save James (εἰ μὴ)

With the usual exceptive sense. I saw none save James. Not, I saw none other of the apostles, but I saw James. James is counted as an apostle, though not reckoned among the twelve. For Paul's use of "apostle," see on Th1 1:1, and comp. Co1 15:4-7.

The Lord's brother

Added in order to distinguish him from James the son of Zebedee (Mat 4:21; Mat 10:2; Mar 10:35), who was still living, and from James the son of Alphaeus (Mat 10:3). The Lord's brother means that James was a son of Joseph and Mary. This view is known as the Helvidian theory, from Helvidius, a layman of Rome, who wrote, about 380, a book against mariolatry and ascetic celibacy. The explanations which differ from that of Helvidius have grown, largely, out of the desire to maintain the perpetual virginity of Mary. Jerome has given his name to a theory known as the Hieronymian put forth in reply to Helvidius, about 383, according to which the brethren of the Lord were the sons of his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Alphaeus or Clopas, and therefore Jesus' cousins. A third view bears the name of Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis in Cyprus (ob. 404), and is that the Lord's brothers were sons of Joseph by a former wife.

Galatians 1:20

gal 1:20

I lie not

Comp. Rom 9:1; Co2 11:31; Ti1 2:7.

Galatians 1:21

gal 1:21

Regions (κλίματα)

Po. Comp. Rom 15:23; Co2 11:10. Κλΐμα, originally an inclination or slope of ground: the supposed slope of the earth from the equator to the pole. The ancient geographers ran imaginary parallel lines from the equator toward the pole, and the spaces or zones or regions between these lines, viewed in their slope or inclination toward the pole, were κλίματα. The word came to signify the temperature of these zones, hence our climate. In Chaucer's treatise on the Astrolabe, chapter 39 is headed "Description of the Meridional Lyne, of Longitudes and Latitudes of Cities and Towns from on to another of Clymatz." He says: "The longitude of a clymat is a lyne imagined fro est to west, y-lyke distant by-twene them alle. The latitude of a clymat is a lyne imagined fro north to south the space of the erthe, fro the byginning of the firste clymat unto the verrey ende of the same clymat, even directe agayns the pole artik." In poetical language, "climes" is used for regions of the earth, as Milton:

"Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms."

Syria and Cilicia

Syria, in the narrower sense, of the district of which Antioch was the capital: not the whole Roman province of Syria, including Galilee and Judaea. Mat 4:24; Luk 2:2; Act 20:3. This district was the scene of Paul's first apostolic work among the Gentiles. Cilicia was the southeasterly province of Asia Minor, directly adjoining Syria, from which it was separated by Mt. Pierius and the range of Amanus. It was bordered by the Mediterranean on the south. It was Paul's native province, and its capital was Tarsus, Paul's birthplace.

Galatians 1:22

gal 1:22

Was unknown (ἤμην ἀγνοούμενος)

Better, was still unknown, the imperfect denoting that he remained unknown during his stay in Syria and Cilicia.

Of Judaea

The province, as distinguished from Jerusalem, where he must have been known as the persecutor of the church. See Act 9:1, Act 9:2.

Which were in Christ

See on Th1 2:14.

Galatians 1:23

gal 1:23

They had heard (ἀκούοντες ἧσαν)

Correlative with I was unknown, Gal 1:22. Note the periphrasis of the participle with the substantive verb, expressing duration. They were hearing all the time that I was thus unknown to them in person.

The faith

See on Act 6:7, and comp. Th2 3:2. The subjective conception of faith as trustful and assured acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior, tends to become objective, so that the subjective principle is sometimes regarded objectively. This is very striking in the Pastoral Epistles.

Galatians 1:24

gal 1:24

In me

The sense is different from that in Gal 1:16, see note. Here the meaning is that they glorified God as the author and source of what they saw in me.

Next: Galatians Chapter 2