This is actually a one-sentence salutation including the usual elements of a letter: the writer's name and names of his companions, the intended readers, and a note of divine authority. As most commentators have observed, Paul generally included as well a prayer on behalf of his readers and a commendation for their witness. This salutation is different in that respect, and in omitting the commendation, it seems to reflect Paul's disturbance at the word he has received concerning the churches of Galatia.
To prepare for a strong defense of his own preaching, the opening paragraph includes a clear affirmation of Paul's commission as an apostle from Jesus Christ and from God the Father. Perhaps the readers had been told that Paul's apostolic claim lacked authenticity since it did not come from the original apostles in Jerusalem. Paul implies, however, that he holds ministerial equality with the Twelve, as he too was commissioned by God just as they had been commissioned by Christ (Burton, 363).
The salutation closes with a doxology of praise to God whose redemptive plan was revealed in Jesus Christ. It is the only epistle with such a designation of Christ in the introduction. This may indicate, as the Wesleyan Bible Commentary suggests, that the Galatians had “ignored the atoning death of Jesus in their emphasis on fulfillment through works” (p. 386).
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Try Bible Gateway Plus, a brand-new service that lets you experience Bible Gateway free of banner ads! It also gives you instant access to over 40 Bible study and inspirational devotional books, including the NIV Study Bible. With Bible Gateway Plus, you can experience and understand God's Word in life-changing new ways, without the distraction of ads. Try it free for 30 days—you can cancel at any time. Following your 30-day free trial, Bible Gateway Plus is only $3.99/month.