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Galatians 1:1-10


1:1 From Paul, 1  an apostle (not from men, nor by human agency, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead) 1:2 and all the brothers with me, to the churches of Galatia. 1:3 Grace and peace to you 2  from God the Father and our 3  Lord Jesus Christ, 1:4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age according to the will of our God and Father, 1:5 to whom be glory forever and ever! Amen.

Occasion of the Letter

1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one 4  who called you by the grace of Christ 5  and are following 6  a different 7  gospel – 1:7 not that there really is another gospel, 8  but 9  there are some who are disturbing you and wanting 10  to distort the gospel of Christ. 1:8 But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach 11  a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, 12  let him be condemned to hell! 13  1:9 As we have said before, and now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let him be condemned to hell! 14  1:10 Am I now trying to gain the approval of people, 15  or of God? Or am I trying to please people? 16  If I were still trying to please 17  people, 18  I would not be a slave 19  of Christ!

1 tn Grk “Paul.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.

2 tn Grk “Grace to you and peace.”

3 tc ‡ The unusual order καὶ κυρίου ἡμῶν (kai kuriou Jhmwn), which produces the reading “our Lord Jesus Christ” instead of “God our Father,” is read by Ì46,51vid B D F G H 1739 1881 Ï sy sa, while the more normal ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου (Jhmwn kai kuriou) is found in א A P Ψ 33 81 326 365 2464 pc. Thus, the reading adopted in the translation is more widespread geographically and is found in the two earliest witnesses, along with several good representatives of the Alexandrian, Western, and Byzantine texttypes. Internally, there would be a strong motivation for scribes to change the order: “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” is Paul’s normal greeting; here alone is the pronoun attached to “Jesus Christ” (except in the pastorals, though the greeting in these letters is nevertheless unlike the rest of the corpus Paulinum). Intrinsically, the chosen reading is superior as well: Scribes would be prone to emulate Paul’s regular style, while in an early letter such as this one his regular style was yet to be established (for a similar situation, cf. the text-critical discussion at 1 Thess 1:1). Hence, there is a strong probability that the reading in the translation is authentic. Although B. M. Metzger argues that “the apostle’s stereotyped formula was altered by copyists who, apparently in the interest of Christian piety, transferred the possessive pronoun so it would be more closely associated with ‘Lord Jesus Christ’” (TCGNT 520), one might expect to see the same alterations in other Pauline letters. That this is not the case argues for “our Lord Jesus Christ” as the authentic reading here.

4 sn The one who called you is a reference to God the Father (note the mention of Christ in the following prepositional phrase and the mention of God the Father in 1:1).

5 tc Although the majority of witnesses, including some of the most important ones (Ì51 א A B Fc Ψ 33 1739 1881 Ï f vg syp bo), read “by the grace of Christ” (χάριτι Χριστοῦ, cariti Cristou) here, this reading is not without variables. Besides alternate readings such as χάριτι ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (cariti Ihsou Cristou, “by the grace of Jesus Christ”; D 326 1241s pc syh**) and χάριτι θεοῦ (cariti qeou, “by the grace of God”; 327 pc Thretlem), a few mss (Ì46vid F* G Hvid ar b Tert Cyp Ambst Pel) have simply χάριτι with no modifier. Internally, the reading that seems best to explain the rise of the others is the shortest reading, χάριτι. Indeed, the fact that three different adjuncts are found in the mss seems to be a natural expansion on the simple “grace.” At the same time, the witnesses for the shortest reading are not particularly impressive, being that they largely represent one textual strand (Western), and a less-than-reliable one at that. Further, nowhere else in the corpus Paulinum do we see the construction χάρις (cari", “grace”) followed by Χριστοῦ without some other name (such as κυρίου [kuriou, “Lord”] or ᾿Ιησοῦ). The construction χάρις θεοῦ is likewise frequent in Paul. Thus, upon closer inspection it seems that the original wording here was χάριτι Χριστοῦ (for it is difficult to explain how this particular reading could have arisen from the simple χάριτι, in light of Paul’s normal idioms), with the other readings intentionally or accidentally arising from it.

6 tn Grk “deserting [turning away] to” a different gospel, implying the idea of “following.”

7 tn Grk “another.”

8 tn Grk “which is not another,” but this could be misunderstood to mean “which is not really different.” In fact, as Paul goes on to make clear, there is no other gospel than the one he preaches.

9 tn Grk “except.”

10 tn Or “trying.”

11 tc ‡ Most witnesses have ὑμῖν (Jumin, “to you”) either after (א2 A [D* ὑμᾶς] 6 33 326 614 945 1881 Ï Tertpt Ambst) or before (Ì51vid B H 0278 630 1175 [1739* ἡμῖν]) εὐαγγελίζηται (euaggelizhtai, “should preach” [or some variation on the form of this verb]). But the fact that it floats suggests its inauthenticity, especially since it appears to be a motivated reading for purposes of clarification. The following witnesses lack the pronoun: א* F G Ψ ar b g Cyp McionT Tertpt Lcf. The external evidence admittedly is not as weighty as evidence for the pronoun, but coupled with strong internal evidence the shorter reading should be considered original. Although it is possible that scribes may have deleted the pronoun to make Paul’s statement seem more universal, the fact that the pronoun floats suggests otherwise. NA27 has the pronoun in brackets, indicating doubt as to its authenticity.

12 tn Or “other than the one we preached to you.”

13 tn Grk “let him be accursed” (ἀνάθεμα, anaqema). The translation gives the outcome which is implied by this dreadful curse.

14 tn See the note on this phrase in the previous verse.

15 tn Grk “of men”; but here ἀνθρώπους (anqrwpou") is used in a generic sense of both men and women.

16 tn Grk “men”; but here ἀνθρώποις (anqrwpoi") is used in a generic sense of both men and women.

17 tn The imperfect verb has been translated conatively (ExSyn 550).

18 tn Grk “men”; but here ἀνθρώποις (anqrwpoi") is used in a generic sense of both men and women.

19 tn Traditionally, “servant” or “bondservant.” Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

sn Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord’s slave or servant is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For a Jew this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It was used of national Israel at times (Isa 43:10), but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses (Josh 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2 Sam 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kgs 10:10); all these men were “servants (or slaves) of the Lord.”

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