Galatians 1:1-2 Bible Lesson and Commentary
Today we start in the book of Galatians. So let me give you a little background. Galatia is in modern day Turkey. Some people think the church was established on Paul’s first missionary trip but most believe it was his second trip. Paul is writing to straighten this church out on a few things. What had happened is that after Paul established the church people came in behind him and starting teaching the church the wrong thing or false doctrine. The people teaching the false doctrine were called Judiazers. They taught that in order to be a Christian you needed to take part in certain Jewish teachings. Most of Galatia would be made up of gentiles or people that were not Jewish or familiar with Jewish law or customs.
Where do you look for truth?
Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
Paul begins this letter differently than most. He starts off by establishing who he is, and why he is different than most. He says I am an apostle. So the question is …what is an apostle.
The word apostle means what that has been sent. In the New Testament the Greek word interpreted apostle is used in two different senses. One it is used in a general since of a messenger sent by the church to do something. Like in 2 Corinthians 8:23
Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
Most of the time the word is used to indicate one who is sent personally by Jesus and has personally seen Jesus.
This is how Paul is using this term. He is explaining that he is different than the people who came to teach the false doctrine. He wasn’t sent by man or a church but by the Lord himself. He wasn’t made an apostle by men or by a church, he was made and apostle by Jesus. You can read more about the case Paul makes about being an apostle and the qualifications in 1 Corinthians 9 and 1 Corinthians 15.
Another place you can look is Acts 1:21-26.
We can also look at Acts 26 to see Paul’s marching orders from the Lord and how he was commissioned by the Lord himself.
In verse 2 you see that Paul says that those that are with him are in agreement with him. In other words others are sharing his message and are in agreement with him and his authority.
In verse 2 we also see how wide spread the problem is. Paul is sending this to the churches in Galatia. That’s plural. There were several churches that we know of in Galatia, and probably many that we don’t know about. Apparently those spreading the wrong teachings were very busy.
The bottom line is Paul is establishing his authority to speak and write what is true. Paul also wants people to question the authority of others who come to teach in the church. Keep in mind the Bible hadn’t been written at this point. You and I should rely on what is written in God’s word, but at this time the churches that started up needed to rely on Paul and the other apostles, as well as those sent personally by the apostles for their doctrine.
There is a simple practical application here. The word of God is true and right for our lives. The words come from God. Do we look at our traditions in the church, our teachings in the church, our own ideas and thoughts in the light of His word? Do we look at what others tell us and just follow, or do we actually search the scriptures and confirm what is being said. I hope all of us want to know exactly what God has said about a matter and not what our opinion is. I would rather have the maker of all, the one that holds it all in his hands, the one that keeps everything together telling me what is right and true. Always look to His word for truth.
The second application is on the same lines but a little more personal. When you study God’s word do you think of Him speaking directly to you? I don’t mean in an audible voice, but instead do you believe he gave you the Bible so you can know him better? Do you read and take the scriptures personally or do the words and stories seem distant? When you read God’s word, read it knowing that God is speaking to you.
The third application is more direct. If we believe God’s word is true, and is personal, why don’t we live it? It is one thing to say that God’s word is true, and that it is best for my life. It is entirely different thing to actually use God’s word in our life to direct us in our daily life. I always strive to take God’s word and apply it to my life. That is one goal of this ministry. I always want to help people make life changing applications from God’s word. Today we looked at one verse. Hopefully you learned something, but now it is time to apply it.