But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
The Greek word is "anathema," which properly means "a person or thing which has been devoted to God; and especially something which he who devoted it has solemnly pledged himself to God to destroy" (Leviticus 27:28, 29; Numbers 21:2, 3; John 6:16, 17, 21). But it is also used without any reference to an offerer or to a vow, and signifies "a person or thing which is accursed" (Deuteronomy 7:26). What did St. Paul mean by the expression, "let him be accursed," as applied to the false teachers? He cannot mean that he would have them wish for the curse of God to come down on them. He would rather have prayed that these unhappy men might be converted and saved; as he himself, once a persecutor and blasphemer, and as the Galatians, once gross and wicked idolaters, had been. His meaning appears to be simply this, "let him be regarded by you as one accursed of God." There is only one other place in which we find this expression in this exact form, viz., 1 Corinthians 16:22 — "If any man love not the Lord, let him be anathema, maranatha." Can we imagine that Paul wished all professing Christians who did not love the Lord to be accursed? It is impossible to suppose such a thing. He can only mean, surely, that if any one proved that he had no real love for Christ, then — whatever his profession and his knowledge and his gifts might be — the Corinthians were to regard him as an unconverted man, and therefore as one who had no personal interest in the salvation of Christ, but was still under the curse of the law. And if this be his meaning, then there will be nothing in it but what will be in perfect harmony with all Paul's teaching and with all Paul's love for souls.
(John Venn, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.