1 Paul, an apostle (not commissioned and sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ—the Messiah—and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), 2 and all the brothers who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself [as a sacrifice to atone] for our sins [to save and sanctify us] so that He might rescue us from this present evil [a]age, in accordance with the will and purpose and plan of our God and Father— 5 to Him be [ascribed all] the glory through the ages of the ages. Amen.
Perversion of the Gospel
6 I am astonished and extremely irritated that you are so quickly shifting your allegiance and deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different [even contrary] gospel; 7 which is really not another [gospel]; but there are [obviously] [b]some [people masquerading as teachers] who are disturbing and confusing you [with a misleading, counterfeit teaching] and want to distort the gospel of Christ [twisting it into something which it absolutely is not]. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we [originally] preached to you, let him be condemned to destruction! 9 As we have said before, so I now say again, if anyone is preaching to you a gospel different from that which you received [from us], let him be condemned to destruction!
10 Am I now [c]trying to win the favor and approval of men, or of God? Or am I seeking to please someone? If I were still trying to be popular with men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
Paul Defends His Ministry
11 For I want you to know, [d]believers, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel [it is not a human invention, patterned after any human concept]. 12 For indeed I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a [direct] revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 You have heard of my career and former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to hunt down and persecute the church of God extensively and [with fanatical zeal] tried [my best] to destroy it. 14 And [you have heard how] I surpassed many of my contemporaries among my countrymen in [my advanced study of the laws of] Judaism, as I was extremely loyal to the traditions of my ancestors. 15 But when God, who had chosen me and set me apart before I was born, and called me through His grace, was pleased(A) 16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles [as the good news—the way of salvation], I did not immediately consult with [e]anyone [for guidance regarding God’s call and His revelation to me]. 17 Nor did I [even] go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia and stayed awhile, and afterward returned once more to Damascus.
18 Then three years later I did go up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas (Peter), and I stayed with him fifteen days. 19 But I did not see any other apostle except James, the [half] brother of the Lord. 20 (Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you as if I were standing before God that I am not lying.) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown by sight to the churches which were in Christ in Judea (Jerusalem and the surrounding region); 23 they only kept hearing, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the [good news of the] faith which he once was trying to destroy.” 24 And they were glorifying God [as the Author and Source of what had taken place and all that had been accomplished] in me.
- Galatians 1:4 Or world.
- Galatians 1:7 These people are often called “Judaizers;” they were Jews professing to be believers, who taught that Gentile Christians had to conform to certain OT laws and rituals (especially circumcision) in order to be saved. They denied the saving power of God’s grace alone and also sought to discredit Paul’s apostleship and undermine his ministry. Some scholars question the validity of some or all of the Judaizers’ true faith in Christ and His message of salvation.
- Galatians 1:10 Paul’s question indicates that his opponents were accusing him of preaching only to gain a following.
- Galatians 1:11 Lit brethren.
- Galatians 1:16 Lit flesh and blood.