Galatians 1
Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

Chap. 1:1-5.] Address and greeting. πολλοῦ τὸ προοίμιον γέμει θυμοῦ κ. μεγάλου φρονήματος· οὐ τὸ προοίμιον δὲ μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ πᾶσα, ὡς εἰπεῖν, ἡ ἐπιστολή. Chrys. In the very opening sentence of the Epistle, we see the fervour of the Apostle’s mind and the weightiness of his subject betraying themselves. The vindication of his own apostolic calling,—and the description of the work and purpose of Christ towards us, shew him to be writing to those who had disparaged that apostleship, and were falling from their Saviour.

1.] It is better not to join ἀπόστολος (here of course used in its strict and highest sense: see Ellicott, and an interesting note in Jowett) with ἀπʼ, but to let it stand by itself, and take the two prepositions as indicating, ἀπό the remote originating cause, διὰ the nearer instrumental one. In St. Paul’s case, neither of these was merely human; the Lord Jesus was both the original Sender, and Himself the Announcer of the mission. Perhaps however the prepositions must not be so strictly pressed,—see ref. 1 Cor.,—and observe that the following διὰ belongs to θεοῦ πατρός as well as to Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ.—ἀνθρώπου is perhaps (as Mey., De W., Ellic., al.) singular, for the sake of contrast to Ἰησ. χρ. following; but more probably for solemnity’s sake, the singular making even a more marked exclusion of human agency than the plural. Luther’s view of the sentence is: “The Judaizing teachers could shew their credentials as disciples of Apostles or messengers of churches, and despised Paul as having none such. To this he answers that he had not indeed any commission from men, but derived his authority from a higher source.” But (1) this was not the fact, for he had a regular mission from the church at Antioch: (2) the words do not express it.

κ. θεοῦ πατρός] If by Jesus Christ then also by God the Father, in and by whose appointment all the mediatorial acts of Christ in the Headship of His Church are done. The inferences of Chrys. al. as to the equality of the Father and the Son from this juxtaposition, appear far-fetched, and according to “the mind, not of the apostolic, but of the Nicene age,” as Jowett: but we may say at least this, that the strongest possible contrast is here drawn between man, in the ordinary sense, on the one side, and Jesus Christ, and God the Father, on the other. Had not the Apostle regarded Jesus Christ as one with the Father in the Godhead, he never could have written thus. On the use of διὰ here where ἀπό might be expected, see Ellicott’s note. He refers it to the brevity with which St. Paul expresses himself: I should rather say that he states our Lord Jesus and God the Father to have been the causa medians, in bringing down divine agency even to the actual fact of his mission—and leaving it therefore to be inferred à fortiori that the causa principalis was the will of God.

It is important to remember that the mission of Paul to the actual work of the ministry was by the command of the Holy Spirit, Acts 13:2,—proceeding from, and expressing the will of, the Father and the Son.

πατρός is better taken generally, as in reff., the Father, than supplied with ἡμῶν (as De W. al.) or αὐτοῦ (as Meyer al.).

τοῦ ἐγ. αὐτ.] Why specified here? Not, I think, because (Meyer) Paul was called to be an Apostle by the risen Saviour,—nor merely (De W.) to identify the Father as the Originator of the Son’s work of Redemption (which is so in Romans 4:24,—but here would not immediately concern Paul’s calling to be an Apostle),—nor (Calvin, al.) to meet the objection that he had never seen Christ, and turn it into an advantage, in that (Aug. (but cf. his Retractations), Erasm., Beza, al.) he alone was commissioned by the already risen and ascended Jesus,—for in this case we should not find τοῦ ἐγείραντος κ.τ.λ. stated as a predicate of the Father, but τοῦ ἐγερθέντος κ.τ.λ. as one of the Son,—nor as asserting the Resurrection against the Jews and Judaizing Galatians (Chrys., Luther), which is far-fetched,—nor again (Jowett) as expressing an attribute of the Father, without which He can hardly be thought of by the believer,—for this is too loose a relevancy for a sentence so pointed as the present: but because the Resurrection, including and implying the Ascension, was the Father’s bestowal on Christ of gifts for men, by virtue of which (ἔδωκεν τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, κ.τ.λ. Ephesians 4:11) Paul’s Apostleship had been received. Cf. a similar sentiment in Romans 1:4, Romans 1:5.

ἐκ νεκρῶν = ἐκ τῶν ν.,—see note on Romans 4:24. In Matthew 14:2; Matthew 27:64; Matthew 28:7; Ephesians 5:14; Colossians 1:18 (2:12?); 1Thessalonians 1:10, the article is expressed: otherwise it is always omitted.

2. ἀδελφοί] Who these were, may best be inferred by the Apostle’s usage in the addresses of other Epistles, where we have Σωσθένης ὁ ἀδελφός (1Corinthians 1:1), Τιμόθεος ὁ ἀδ. (1Chronicles 1:11.Phm 1:1Phm 1:1). They were his colleagues in the work of the Gospel, his companions in travel, and the like (not all the members of the church where he was, as Erasm., Grot., Jowett, al., who would hardly be specified as being σὺν αὐτῷ,—besides that such an address would be unprecedented): and their unanimity (παντες) is here stated, as Chrys., Luther, al., to shew that he was not alone in his doctrine, but joined by all the brethren who were present. At the same time πάντες would seem to imply that just now he had many of these ἀδελφοί with him. But we cannot draw any inference from this as to the date of our Epistle: for we do not know who were his companions on many occasions. At Ephesus, where probably it was written, we hear only of Gaius and Aristarchus (Acts 19:29), but we cannot say that there were not others: in all likelihood, several more of those mentioned Acts 20:4, were with him.

ταῖς ἐκκλ.] πανταχοῦ γὰρ εἷρψεν ἡ νόσος. Thdrt. The principal cities of Galatia were Pessinus and Ancyra: but this plural seems to imply more than two such churches. See 1Corinthians 16:1, and Acts 16:6; Acts 18:23. That we have here barely ταῖς ἐκκλ., without any honourable adjunct (as in 1 Cor., 2 Cor., 1 Thess., 2 Thess., &c.), must he explained as Chrys. al.: θέα δέ μοι καὶ ἐνταῦθα τ. πολλὴν ἀγανάκτησιν. οὐ γὰρ εἶπε Τοῖς ἀγαπητοῖς οὐδὲ Τοῖς ἡγιασμένοις, ἀλλὰ Τ. ἐκκλ. τ. Γαλ. Meyer denies this, alleging (carelessly, which is not usual with him) 1 Thess. and 2 Thess. as addressed barely τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, whereas in both we have added ἐν θεῷ πατρὶ κ. κυρίῳ Ἰησ. χρ.

3.] See introductory note on Romans 1:1-7.

4.] He thus obiter reminds the Galatians, who wished to return to the bondage of the law, of the great object of the Atonement, which they had forgotten. Ch. 3:13 is but a restatement, in more precise terms, of this.

δόντος ἑαυ.] viz. as an offering, unto death: an expression only found (in N. T.) here and in the Pastoral Epistles. Several such will occur; see the inference, in Prolegomena to Past. Epistles, § i. 32, note.

περί, in this connexion, has much the same sense as ὑπέρ: see reff., and note on Ephesians 6:19; also Ellic.’s note here.

ὅπ. ἐξέληται] ἐξαιρεῖσθαι is the very word used by the Lord of St. Paul’s own great deliverance, see reff.

τ. αἰῶνος τ. ἐνεστ. πονηροῦ] the present (not, as Mey., ‘coming.’ The word will not bear this meaning in 1Corinthians 7:26, nor apparently (see note) in 2Thessalonians 2:2, much less in Romans 8:38) evil age (state of things; i.e. the course of this present evil world;—and, as understood, make us citizens and inheritors of a better αἰῶνος, τοῦ μέλλοντος. So Luther: “vocat hunc totum mundum, qui fuit, est et erit, præsens seculum, ad differentiam futuri et æterni sæculi.” The allusion (Jowett) to the Jewish expressions, “the present age,” “the age to come,” as applying to the periods before and after the Messiah’s coming, is very faint,—indeed hardly traceable, in the change which the terms had undergone as used in a spiritual sense by Christians. See however the rest of his note, which is full of interest).

κατὰ τὸ θέλημα …] And this, (1) not according to our own plan, in proportion to our legal obedience or any quality in us, but according to the Father’s sovereign will, the prime standard of all the process of redemption: and (2) not so that we may trifle with such rescuing purpose of Christ by mixing it with other schemes and fancies, seeing that it is according to a procedure prescribed by Him, who doeth all things after the counsel of His own will. And this, not as the lord merely of His works, but as πατρὸς ἡμῶν, bound to us in the ties of closest love—for our good, as well as to fulfil His own eternal purpose. On the question, whether the genitive ἡμῶν depends on both, or only on the latter of the two nouns θεοῦ κ. πατρός, I agree in Ellicott’s conclusion, that as πατρός is regularly anarthrous, and thus purely grammatical considerations are confounded,—as θεός conveys one absolute idea, while πατήρ might convey many relative ones, it is natural to believe that the Apostle may have added a defining genitive to πατήρ, which he did not intend to be referred to θεός. Render therefore, God and our Father, not ‘our God and Father.’

5. ᾧ ἡ δόξα] So (reff.) on other occasions, when speaking of the wonderful things of God, St. Paul adds a doxology. “In politeia, quando regum aut principum nomina appellamus, id honesto quodam gestu, reverentia, et genuflexione facere solemus. Multo magis cum de Deo loquimur, genu cordis flectere debemus.” Luther. In ἡ δόξα,—the glory κατʼ ἐξοχήν, or ‘the glory which is His,’—the article is probably inserted for solemnity. “In this and similar forms of doxology,—excepting the angelic doxology, Luke 2:14, and that of the multitude, Luke 19:38,—δόξα regularly takes the article when used alone: see Romans 11:36; Romans 16:27; Ephesians 3:21; Philippians 4:20; 2Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 13:21; 2Peter 3:18. When joined with one or more substantives, it appears sometimes with the article (1Peter 4:11; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 7:12): sometimes without it (Romans 2:10; 1Timothy 1:17; Jude 1:25).” Ellicott.

τοὺς αἰῶν. τ. αἰών.] See note on Ephesians 3:21.

6-10.] Announcement of the occasion of the Epistle, in his amazement at their speedy falling away from the Gospel. Assertion of that Gospel’s exclusive claim to their adhesion, as preached by him, who served God in Christ, and not popularity among men. We have none of the usual expressions of thankfulness for their faith, &c.; but he hurries vehemently into his subject, and, as Chrys. says, σφοδρότερον τῷ μετὰ ταῦτα κέχρηται λόγῳ, καθάπερ πυρωθεὶς σφοδρῶς ὑπὸ τῆς ἐννοίας τῶν εὐεργεσιῶν τοῦ θεοῦ.

6.] θαυμάζω in this sense (see reff.) is a word of mildness, inasmuch as it imports that better things were expected of them,—and of condescension, as letting down the writer to the level of his readers and even challenging explanation from them. Still, like many other such mild words, it carries to the guilty conscience even sharper rebuke than a harsher one would.

οὕτως ταχέως] either (1) ‘so soon after your conversion’ (Calv., Olsh., Meyer, &c.), or (2) ‘so quickly,’—‘after so little persuasion,’ when the false teachers once came among you (Chr., De W., &c.), or (3) ‘so soon after my recent visit among you’ (Bengel, &c.). Of these I prefer (1), as more suiting the dignity of the passage, and as the more general and comprehensive reason. But it does not exclude (2) and (3): ‘so soon,’ might be, and might be intended to be, variously supplied. See Prolegomena, on the time and place of writing this Epistle.

μετατίθ.] are passing over, pres.: not as E. V. ‘are removed,’ which is doubly wrong, for μετ. is not passive but middle, in the common usage of the word, according to which the Galatians would understand it. So Plato, Theog. 122 c, σμικρὸν γάρ τι μετατίθεμαι, ‘I am beginning somewhat to change my opinion:’ see also Gorg. 493 c: Demosth. 379. 10: Ἴβηρες, ὅσοι … ἐς Ῥωμαίους μετέθεντο, Appian, Hisp. c. 17; &c. See also examples in Wetst. Chrys. says well, οὐκ εἶπε Μετέθεσθε, ἀλλὰ Μετατίθεσθε· τουτέστιν, οὐδέπω πιστεύω, οὐδὲ ἡγοῦμαι ἀπηρτισμένην εἶναι τὴν ἀπάτην· δ καὶ αὐτὸ πάλιν ἐστὶν ἀνακτωμένου.

It is interesting to notice, in connexion with οὕτως ταχέως μετατίθεσθε, the character given by Cæsar of the Gauls: “ut ad bella suscipienda Gallorum alacer ac promtus est animus: sic mollis ac minime resistens ad calamitates mens ipsorum est.” B. G. iii. 19:—“Cæsar … infirmitatem Gallorum veritus, quod sint in consiliis capiendis mobiles, et novis plerumque rebus student:” ib. iv. 5: see also ib. ii. 8; iii. 10.

τοῦ καλέσ. ὑμ.] not to be taken with χριστοῦ, as Syr., Jer., Luth. (gives both constructions, but prefers this), Calv., Grot., Bengel, &c., nor understood of Paul, as al. and recently by Bagge,—but, as almost always with the Apostle (see note on Romans 1:6), of God the Father see ver. 15; and cf. Romans 8:30; Romans 9:24, Romans 9:25: 1Corinthians 1:9; 1Corinthians 7:15, 1Corinthians 7:17: 1Thessalonians 2:12: 2Thessalonians 2:14: 2Timothy 1:9. Also 1Peter 5:10).

ἐν χάρ. χρ.] in (as the element, and hence the medium; not into, as E. V.; see for construction 1Corinthians 7:15. In the secondary transferred sense of local prepositions, so often found in later Greek, it is extremely difficult to assign the precise shade of meaning: see Jowett’s and Ellic.’s notes here. But we may safely lay down two strongly marked regions of prepositional force, which must never be confounded, that of motion, and that of rest. ἐν, for example, can never be strictly rendered ‘into,’ nor εἰς, ‘in.’ Where such appears to be the case, some logical consideration has been overlooked, which if introduced would right the meaning) the grace of Christ. Christ’s grace is the elementary medium of our ‘calling of God,’ as is set forth in full, Romans 5:15, ἡ δωρεὰ (τοῦ θεοῦ) ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἀνθρ. Ἰησ. χρ.:—see also Acts 15:11. And ‘Christ’s grace’ is the sum of all that He has suffered and done for us to bring us to God;—whereby we come to the Father,—in which, as its element, the Father’s calling of us has place.

εἰς ἕτερ. εὐαγγ.] to a different (in kind: not ἄλλο, another of the same kind, which title he denies it, see below) gospel (so called by its preachers; or said by way of at once instituting a comparison unfavourable to the new teachers, by the very etymology of εὐαγγέλιον).

7.] Meyer’s note appears to me well to express the sense: “the preceding εἰς ἕτερον εὐαγγέλιον was a paradoxical expression, there being in reality but one Gospel. Paul appeared by it to admit the existence of many Gospels, and he therefore now explains himself more accurately, how he wishes to be understood—ὃ οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλο, εἰ μή &c.,” i.e. which “different Gospel,” whereto you are falling away, is not another, not a second, besides the one Gospel (ἄλλο, not ἕτερον again; see above), except that there are some who trouble yon &c. That is: ‘This ἕτερον εὐαγγ. is only in so far another, that there are certain, who &c.’ Notice that the stress is on οὐκ; so that Paul, though he had before said εἰς ἕτερον εὐαγγ., yet guards the unity of the Gospel, and explains what he meant by ἕτερον εὐαγγέλιον to be nothing but a corruption and perversion of the one Gospel of Christ. Others, as Chrys., Œc., Thdrt., Luther, De Wette, &c., take ὃ οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλο as all referring to εὐαγγέλιον, “which is (admits of being) no other” (= μὴ ὄντος ἄλλου): and then εἰ μή is merely adversative, ‘but,’ or ‘only,’ a meaning which it will hardly bear, but which, as De W. remarks, is not necessarily involved in his interpretation: ‘except that’ answering for it quite as well. The objection to his view is (1) that the meaning assigned to ὃ οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλο is very harsh, taking the relative from its application to the concrete (ἕτερον εὐαγγ.), and enlarging it to the abstract (τὸ εὺαγγ. in general) (2) that the juxtaposition of ἕτερον and ἄλλο in one sentence seems to require, as in 1Corinthians 15:40, 1Corinthians 15:41, that the strict meaning of each should he observed. Others again (Winer, Olsh., &c.) refer the ὅ to the whole sentence from ὅτι &c. to εὐαγγέλιον—‘which (viz. your falling away) is nothing else but (has no other cause, but that) &c.’ To this the objection (2) above applies, and it is besides very unlikely that St. Paul would thus have shifted all blame from the Galatians to their false teachers (‘hanc culpam non tam vobis imputo quam perturbatoribus illis,’ &c. Luther), and, as it were, wiped out the effect of his rebuke just after uttering it. Lastly, Schött., and Cornel.-a-Lapide, take ὃ οὐκ ἔστ. ἄλλο as a parenthesis, and refer εἰ μή to θαυμάζω, which should thus have been ἐθαύμαζον (ἄν). This would besides make the sentence a very harsh and unnatural one. The nature of this ‘different Gospel,’ as gathered from the data in our Epistle, was (1), though recognizing Jesus as the Christ, it insisted on circumcision and the observance of the Mosaic ordinances as to times, &c.: (2) it professed to rest on the authority of some of the other Apostles see Chrys. quoted below.

οἱ ταρ.] The article points out in a more marked manner the (notorious) occupation of these men, q. d. ‘certain your disturbers, &c.’ Add to reff., Herodot. ix. 70, τὴν σκηνὴν τ. Μαρδονίου οὗτοι ἔσαν οἱ διαρπάσαντες. Xen. An. ii. 4. 5, ὁ ἡγησόμενος οὐδεὶς ἔσται: and compare the common expression εἰσὶν οἱ λέγοντες.

τὸ εὐαγγ. τ. χρ.] perhaps here not ‘Christ’s Gospel,’ but the Gospel of (i.e. relating to, preaching) Christ. The context only can determine in such expressions whether the genitive is subjective or objective.

8.] But (no matter who they are οἱ ταρ. &c.) even though (in καὶ εἰ, καὶ ἐάν, &c., the force of the καί is distributed over the whole supposition following, see Hartung, Partikell. i. 139; and ἐάν is distinguished from εἰ, in supposing a case which has never occurred, see 1Corinthians 13:1, and a full explanation in Herm. on Viger, p. 832) we (i.e. usually, ‘I, Paul:’ but perhaps used here on account of οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ πάντες ἀδελφοί, ver. 2) or an angel from heaven (ἄγγ. ἐξ οὐρ. to be taken together, not ἐξ οὐρ. εὐαγγ.: introduced here as the highest possible authority, next to a divine Person: even were this possible, were the highest rank of created beings to furnish the preacher, &c. See 1Corinthians 13:1. Perhaps also, as Chrys., there is a reference to the new teachers having sheltered themselves under the names of the great Apostles: μὴ γάρ μοι Ἰάκωβον εἴπῃς, φησί, καὶ Ἰωάννην· κἂν γὰρ τῶν πρώτων ἀγγέλων ᾖ τις τῶν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ διαφθειρόντων τὸ κήρυγμα κ.τ.λ. Then he adds: ταῦτα δὲ οὐχ ὡς καταγινώσκων τ. ἀποστόλων φησίν, οὐδὲ ὡς παραβαινόντων τὸ κήρυγμα, ἄπαγε· εἴτε γὰρ ἡμεῖς, εἴτε ἐκεῖνοι, φησίν, οὕτω κηρύσσομεν· ἀλλὰ δεῖξα. βουλόμενος ὅτι ἀξίωμα προσώπων οὐ προσίεται, ὅταν περὶ ἀληθείας ὁ λόγος ᾖ), preach (evangelize: it is impossible to preserve in English the εὐαγγέλιον, and in it the reference back to vv. 6, 7) to you other than what (παρά (reff.) as in παρὰ δόξαν, παρὰ τοὺς ὅρκους, παραβαίνειν, &c. not merely ‘against,’ nor merely ‘besides,’ but indicating ‘beyond,’ in the sense of overstepping the limit into a new region, i.e. it points out specific difference. The preposition is important here, as it has been pressed by Protestants in the sense of ‘besides,’ against Roman Catholic tradition, and in consequence maintained by the latter in the sense of ‘against.’ It in fact includes both) we preached (evangelized) to you, let him be accursed (of God: no reference to ecclesiastical excommunication: for an angel is here included. See note, Romans 9:3, and compare ch. 5:10: also Ellic.’s and Bagge’s notes here).

9.] As we said before (referring, not to ver. 8 as most Commentators; for the word more naturally, as in 2Corinthians 13:2 (so προείπαμεν, 1Thessalonians 4:6), relates to something said on a former occasion,—and the plural seems here to bind it to εὐηγγελισάμεθα,—but to what he had said during his presence with them: see a similar reference, ch. 5:3, 21), I also now say again,—If any one is (no longer now a supposition, but an assumption of the fact: see Hermann, ut supra; and Ellic.’s note) evangelizing you (reff.) other (with another gospel) than that which ye received (from us), let him be accursed (see above).

10.] For (accounting for, and by so doing, softening, the seeming harshness of the last saying, by the fact which follows) am I now (ἄρτι takes up the ἄρτι of the last verse, having here the principal emphasis on it,—q. d. ‘in saying this,’—‘in what I have just said;’ ‘is this like an example of men-pleasing?’) persuading (seeking to win over to me, ζητῶν ἀρέσκειν nearly; see reff.) men (see 1Corinthians 4:3; 2Corinthians 5:11: not, as Erasm. (al. not Luther), ‘num res humanas suadeo, an divinas?’—nor as Calvin, ‘suadeone secundum homines an secundum Deum?’) or (am I conciliating) (πείθω losing its more proper meaning, as of course, when thus applied) God? or am I seeking to please men (a somewhat wider expression than the other, embracing his whole course of procedure)? (Nay) if I any longer (implying that such is the course of the world before conversion to Christ; not necessarily referring back to the time before his own conversion, any more than that is contained by implication in the words, but rather perhaps to the accumulated enormity of his being, after all he had gone through, a man-pleaser) were pleasing men (either (1) imperf., = ‘seeking to please:’ so that the fact, of being well-pleasing to men, does not come into question; or (2) as Mey., ‘the fact of pleasing, result of seeking to please:’ ‘if I were popular with men:’ the construction will bear both), I were not (ἤμην is a late form, found however in Xen. Cyr. vi. 1. 9: see Ellic. here) the (or a, but better ‘the’) servant of Christ. Some interpret χρ. δοῦ. οὐκ ἂν ἤμην as Chr., ἔτι μετὰ Ἰουδαίων ἤμην, ἔτι τὴν ἐκκλησίαν ἐδίωκον. But this would more naturally be expressed by οὐκ ἂν ἐγενόμην, and, as Mey. remarks, would give a very flat and poor sense: it is better therefore to take δοῦλος in its ethical, not its historical meaning.

11-Chap. 2:21.] First, or Apologetic part of the Epistle; consisting in an historical defence of his own teaching, as not being from men, but revealed to him by the Lord,—nor influenced even by the chief Apostles, but of independent authority.

11, 12.] Enunciation of this subject.

γν. γάρ] The γάρ seems to have been corrected to δέ, as not applying immediately to the foregoing,—or perhaps in reminiscence of 1Corinthians 15:1; 2Corinthians 8:1. It refers back to vv. 8, 9. On γνωρ., see note, 1Corinthians 15:1.

κατὰ ἄνθρωπον] according to man, as E. V. (see reff.): i.e. measured by merely human rules and considerations, as it would be were it of human origin: so βελτίονος ἢ κατʼ ἄνθρωπον νομοθέτου, Xen. Mem. iv. 4. 24, κατά cannot itself express the origin (as Aug., a-Lapide, Est., al.), though it is included by implication: see note ver. 4, on κατὰ τὸ θέλημα.

12.] proof of this. For neither (οὐδὲ γάρ in negative sentences, answers to καὶ γάρ in positive; e.g. in Herod. i. 3, ἐπιστάμενον πάντως ὅτι οὐ δώσει δίκας· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐκείνους διδόναι:—omit the οὐ, and substitute καί for οὐδέ, and the sentence becomes affirmative. So that οὐδέ has nothing to do, except in ruling the negative form of the clause, with οὔτε following, but belongs to this clause only. See on the whole, Ellic.’s note) did I (ἐγώ strongly emphatic,—see example from Herodot. above: ‘neither did I, any more than the other Apostles.’ Thus this clause stands alone; the ‘neither’ is exhausted and does not extend to the next clause) receive it (historically) from man (i.e. ‘any man;’ not ‘a man,’ but generic, the article being omitted after the preposition as in ver. 1), nor was taught it (dogmatically); but through revelation of (i.e. from, genitive subjective: see reff. Thdrt. (but not altogether: for he subjoins, αὐτὸς αὐτὸν ἔσχε διδάσκαλον) al. take the genitive as objective, ‘revelation of,’ i.e. revealing) Jesus Christ.

When did this revelation take place?—clearly, soon after his conversion, imparting to him as it did the knowledge of the Gospel which he afterwards preached; and therefore in all probability it is to be placed during that sojourn in Arabia referred to in ver. 17. It cannot be identical with the visions spoken of 2Corinthians 12:1 ff.,—for 2 Cor. was written in a.d. 57, and fourteen years before that would bring us to a.d. 43, whereas his conversion was in 37 (see Chron. Table in Prolegomena, Vol. II.), and his subsequent silence, during which we may conceive him to have been under preparation by this apocalyptic imparting of the Gospel, lasted but three years, ver. 18.

Nor can it be the same as that appearance of the Lord to him related Acts 22:18,—for that was not the occasion of any revelation, but simply of warning and command.

He appears to refer to this special revelation in 1Corinthians 11:23 (where see on the supposed distinction between ἀπό and παρά); 15:3. 1Thessalonians 4:15; see notes in those places.

13-2:21.] Historical working out of this proof: and first (vv. 13, 14) by reminding them of his former life in Judaism, during which he certainly received no instruction in the Gospel from men.

13. ἠκούσ.] ye heard, viz. when I was among you: from myself: not as E. V., ‘ye have heard.’ γάρ binds the narrative to the former verses, as in the opening of a mathematical proof.

ἀναστρ.] Wetst. cites Polyb. iv. 82. 1, κατά τε τὴν λοιπὴν ἀναστροφὴν καὶ τὰς πράξεις τεθαυμασμένος ὑπὲρ τὴν ἡλικίαν. This meaning of the word seems (Mey.) to belong to post-classical Greek. There is no article before nor after ποτε, perhaps because the whole, ἀναστ.-ποτε-ἐν-τῷ-Ἰουδ., is taken as one, q.d. τὸν ἐμόν ποτε Ἰουδαϊσμόν: or better, as Donaldson in Ellicott, “the position of ποτε is due to the verb included in ἀναστροφήν. As St. Paul would have said ἀνεστρεφόμην ποτε, he allows himself to write τὴν ἐμ. ἀναστροφήν ποτε.” Mey. cites as a parallel construction, ἡ τῆς Τροίας ἅλωσις τὸ δεύτερον, Plato, Legg. iii. 685 d.

τ. ἐκκλ. τ. θεοῦ] for solemnity, to set himself in contrast to the Gospel, and shew how alien he then was from it (1Corinthians 15:9).

ἐπόρθ.] τουτέστι, σβέσαι ἐπεχείρει τ. ἐκκλησίαν, καταστρέψαι κ. καθελεῖν, ἀφανίσαι· τοῦτο γὰρ πορθοῦντος ἔργον. Chrys. But more than the mere attempt is to be understood: he was verily destroying the Church of God, as far as in him lay. Nor must we think of merely laying waste; the verb applies to men, not only to cities and lands, cf. Acts 9:21,—κεῖνος γὰρ ἔπερσεν ἀνθρώπους, Soph. Aj. 1177, and σὲ παρακαλῶ, μὴ ἡμῖν ὁ Πρωταγόρας τὸν Σιμωνίδην ἐκπέρσῃ, Plato, Protag., p. 340.

14. συνηλικιώτας] “The compound form (compare συμμέτοχος, Ephesians 3:6; Ephesians 5:7: συγκοινωνός, 1Corinthians 9:23 al,) is condemned by the Atticists: Attic writers using only the simple form.” Ellicott.

ἐν τῷ γένει μ., in my nation, see reff.

περισσ.] viz. than they.

ζηλ. τ. πῷ μ. παρ.] a zealous assertor (or defender) of my ancestral traditions (i.e. those handed down in the sect of the Pharisees, Paul being Φαρισαῖος, υἱὸς Φαρισαίων, Acts 23:6,—not, the law of Moses. This meaning is given by the μου: without it the παραδόσεις of the whole Jewish nation handed down from οἱ πατέρες, might be meant: cf. Acts 26:5).

15-17.] After his conversion also, he did not take counsel with men.

15.] It was God’s act, determined at his very birth (cf. especially Acts 13:2), and effected by a special calling: viz., that on the road to Damascus, carried out by the instrumentality of Ananias, To understand καλέσας of an act in the divine Mind, as Rückert, is contrary to our Apostle’s usage of the word, cf. ver. 6; Romans 8:30 al. This calling first took place, then the revelation, as here.

16.] ἀποκαλ. belongs to εὐδόκησεν, not to καλ. (Erasm.), nor to ἀφορ. and καλ. (Est., al.),—to reveal his Son (viz. by that subsequent revelation, of which before, ver. 12: not by his conversion, which, as above, answers to καλέσας) in me (strictly: ‘within me,’ τῆς ἀποκαλύψεως καταλαμπούσης αὐτοῦ τὴν ψυχήν, Chrys.: not ‘through me’ (Jer., Erasm., Grot., &c), which follows in ἵνα εὐαγγ. κ.τ.λ., nor in my case (Rückert, al.), as manifested by me as an example to myself or to others, as in 1John 4:9: the context here requires that his own personal illumination should be the point brought out;—nor ‘to me’ (Calv., al.), which though nearly equivalent to ‘in me,’ weakens the sense), &c. Notice the present εὐαγγελίζωμαι, the ministry being not a single act, but a lasting occupation.

ἐν τ. ἔθν.] the main object of his Apostleship: see ch. 2:7, 9. ‘εὐθέως is really connected with ἀπῆλθον: but the Apostle, whose thoughts outrun his words, has interposed the negative clause, to anticipate his purpose in going away.’ Jowett.

προσανεθ.] See reff. The classical sense is, ‘to lay on an additional burden:’ and in middle voice, ‘on oneself:’ cf. Xen. Mem. ii. 1. 8. The later sense, ‘to impart to,’ τινί τι, either, as here, with the view of getting, or as in ch. 2:6, with that of conferring. The πρός in composition does not signify addition, but direction: see Acts 27:7, note.

σαρκὶ κ. αἵμ.] i.e. with mankind, “generally with the idea of weakness and frailty,” Ellic. whose note see, and also reff.

17.] ἀπῆλθον both times refers to his departure from Damascus: q.d. ‘when I left Damascus, I did not go … but when I left Damascus, I went.’ The repetition of ἀπῆλθον is quite in the Apostle’s manner; Meyer adduces as examples Romans 8:15 (Hebrews 12:18, Hebrews 12:22. We may add Hebrews 2:16).

εἰς Ἀραβ.] On the place which this journey holds in the narrative of Act_9, see notes on vv. 19, 22 there. Its object does not seem to have been (as Chrys., al., Meyer, al.) the preaching of the gospel,—nor are the words ἵνα εὐαγγελ. κ.τ.λ. necessarily to be connected with it,—but preparation for the apostolic work; though of course we cannot say, that he did not preach during the time, as before and after it (Acts 9:20, Acts 9:22) in the synagogues at Damascus. Into what part of Arabia he went, we have no means of determining. The name was a very vague one, sometimes including Damascus (‘Damascus Arabiæ retro deputabatur, antequam transcripta erat in Syrophœnicem ex distinctione Syriarum.’ Tert. adv. Marcion., iii. 13, vol. ii. p. 339: so also (verbatim) adv. Judæos 9, p. 619. ὅτι δὲ Δάμασκος τῆς Ἀραβικῆς γῆς ἦ κ. ἔστιν, εἰ καὶ νῦν προσνενέμηται τῇ Συροφοινίκῃ λεγομένῃ, οὐδ ̓ ὑμῶν τινες ἀρνήσασθαι δὐνανται, Justin Mart. c. Trypho, 78, p. 176),—sometimes extending even to Lebanon and the borders of Cilicia (Pliny, Hist. Nat. vi. 32). It was however more usually restricted to that peninsula now thus called, between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Here we must apparently take it in the wider sense, and understand that part of the Arabian desert which nearly bordered on Damascus. (From C. and H. edn. 2, i. p. 117, f.) How long he remained there we are equally at a loss to say. Hardly for any considerable portion of the three years: Acts 9:23 will scarcely admit of this: for those ἡμέραι ἱκαναί were manifestly passed at Damascus. The journey is mentioned here, to account for the time, and to shew that he did not spend it in conferring with men, or with the other Apostles.

καὶ πάλ. ὑπέστρ.] cf. Acts 9:22, Acts 9:25.

18-24.] But after a very short visit to Peter at Jerusalem, he retired to Syria and Cilicia.

18.] At first sight, it would appear as if the three years were to be reckoned from his return to Damascus: but on closer examination we see that μετὰ ἔτη τρ. stands in opposition to εὐθέως above, and the ἀνῆλθον κ.τ.λ. here answers to ἀπῆλθον κ.τ.λ. there. So that we must reckon them from his conversion: ὅτε δὲ εὐδόκησεν κ.τ.λ. ruling the whole narrative. See also on ch. 2:1.

This is the journey of Acts 9:26,—where see note. There is no real discrepancy between that account and this. The incident which led to his leaving Damascus (Acts 9:25. 2Corinthians 11:32, 2Corinthians 11:33) has not necessarily any connexion with his purpose in going to Jerusalem: a purpose which may have been entertained before, or determined on after, that incident. To this visit must be referred the vision of Acts 22:17, Acts 22:18.

ἱστορ. Κηφ.] to make the acquaintance of Cephas—not to get information or instruction from him: see reff., and Ellic. here. Peter was at this early period the prominent person among the Apostles; see note on Matthew 16:18.

ἐπέμ. πρός] originally a pregnant construction, but from usage become idiomatic. See reff.

ἡμέρ. δεκαπ.] mentioned to shew how little of his institution as an Apostle he could have owed to Peter. Why no longer, see in Acts 9:29; Acts 22:17-21. [On the form δεκαπέντε see Moulton’s Winer, p. 313, note 5.]

19.] This verse admits of two interpretations, between which other considerations must decide. (1) That James, the Lord’s brother, was one of the Twelve, and the only one besides Peter whom Paul saw at this visit: (2) that he was one τῶν ὰποστόλων, but not necessarily of the Twelve. Of these, (1) apparently cannot be: for after the choosing of the Twelve (John 6:70), the ἀδελφοί of our Lord did not believe on Him (John 7:5): an expression (see note there) which will not admit of any of His brethren having then been His disciples. We must then adopt (2): which is besides in consonance with other notices respecting the term ἀπόστολος, and the person heve mentioned. I reserve the subject for full discussion in the prolegomena to the Ep. of James. See also notes, Matthew 10:3; Matthew 13:55; John 7:5.

20.] This asseveration (cf. 2Corinthians 11:31) applies most naturally to the important fact just asserted—his short visit to Jerusalem, and his having seen only Peter and James, rather than to the whole subject of the chapter. If a report had been spread in Galatia that after his conversion he spent years at Jerusalem and received regular institution in Christianity at the hands of the Apostles, this last fact would naturally cause amazement, and need a strong confirmatory asseveration.

As regards the construction, ἃ … ὑμῖν stands alone, (with regard to) the things which I am writing to you,—and the word necessary to be supplied to carry on the sense from ἰδοὺ ἐνώπ. τ. θεοῦ to ὅτι, lies under the ἰδού, which here answers to such words as διαμαρτύρομαι, 1Timothy 5:21; 2Timothy 2:14; 2Timothy 4:1,—παραγγέλλω, 1Timothy 6:13. Meyer would supply γράφω, which seems harsh: others take ὅτι as ‘for,’ which is worse still (cf. 2Corinthians 11:21, ὁ θεὸς οἶδεν … ὅτι οὐ ψεύδομαι),—and this too, understanding ἐστίν after θεοῦ (Bengel).

21.] The beginning only of this journey is related in Acts 9:30, where see note. Dean Howson suggests (edn. 2, i. p. 129, f.) that he may have gone at once from Cæsarea to Tarsus by sea, and Syria and Cilicia may afterwards have been the field of his activity,—these provinces being very generally mentioned together, from their geographical affinity, Cilicia being separated from Asia Minor by Mount Taurus. (See also note on Luke 2:1, Luke 2:2.) Winer, al. have understood by Syria here, Phœnicia: but as Meyer has shewn, inconsistently with usage. In Acts 15:23, Acts 15:41, we find churches in Syria and Cilicia, which may have been founded by Paul on this journey. The supposition is confirmed by our ver. 23: see below.

22, 23.] ‘So far was I from being a disciple of the Apostles, or tarrying in their company, that the churches of Judæa, where they principally laboured, did not even know me by sight.’

τῷ προσώπῳ, the referential, or adverbial dative: Donalds., Gramm. § 457.

τῆς Ἰουδαίας excludes Jerusalem, where he was known. Jowett doubts this: but it seems to be required by Acts 9:26-29. Chrys. seems to mistake the Apostle’s purpose, when he says, ἵνα μάθη̣ς, ὅτι τοσοῦτον ἀπεῖχε τοῦ κηρύξαι αὐτοῖς περιτομήν, ὅτι οὐδὲ ἀπὸ ὄψεως γνώριμος ἦν αὐτοῖς: and Olshausen, in supposing him to be refuting the idea that he had learned the Gospel from other Christians in Palestine.

23. ἀκ. ἦσαν] They (the members of the churches: cf. Eurip. Hec. 39, πᾶν στράτενμʼ Ἑλληνικόν, πρὸς οἶκον εὐθύνοντας ἐναλίαν πλάτην) heard reports (not ‘had heard,’ as Luth.: the resolved imperfect gives the sense of duration: see reff. and passim) that (not the recitative ὅτι, but the explicative, following ἀκ. ἦσαν. Mey. remarks that no example is found of the former use of ὅτι by St. Paul, except in O. T. citations, as ch. 3:8) our (better taken as a change of person into the oratio directa, than with Mey. to understand ἡμᾶς as ‘us Christians,’ the Apostle including himself as he writes) former persecutor (not, as Grot., for διώξας, but as ὁ πειράζων, taken as a substantive: see reff.) is preaching the faith (objective, as in reff., and 1Timothy 1:19 b; 1Timothy 3:9; 1Timothy 4:1, &c.; but not = the doctrine of the Gospel) which he once was destroying (see on ver. 13). And they glorified God in me (‘in my case:’ i.e. my example was the cause of their glorifying God:—not, ‘on account of me,’see reff., and cf. ἐν ἀρεταῖς γέγαθε, Pind. Nem. iii. 56,—ἐν σοὶ πᾶσʼ ἔγωγε σώζομαι, Soph. Aj. 519. Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 210). By thus shewing the spirit with which the churches of Judæa were actuated towards him, he marks more strongly the contrast between them and the Galatian Judaizers. Thdrt. says strikingly: μανθάνοντες γὰρ τὴν ἀθρόαν μεταβολήν, κ. ὅτι ὁ λύκος τὰ ποιμένων ἐργάζεται, τῆς εἰς τὸν θεὸν ὑμνῳδίας τὰ κατʼ ἐμὲ πρόφασιν ἐλάμβανον.

Henry Alford - Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

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