Lesson 1

The Epistle to the Galatians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

1:1 Paul, an apostle (not from men, neither through man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead), 1:2 and all the brothers who are with me, to the assemblies of Galatia: 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, 1:4 who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father -- 1:5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Today's Lesson 

The first five verses of the epistle to the Galatians begin as any other. But these five verses are all that is typical of this letter. There is an abbreviated standard opening: the author, the recipients and a prayer. In this case the author is the Apostle Paul and the recipients are the churches of Galatia. The introductory prayer in this letter is particularly short, though no less eloquent. Yet, the brevity of this introduction does not mean that what is presented is unimportant.


The first verse is particularly important in this instance. The problem that Paul is addressing is a direct attack on his credentials as an apostle of Christ. He has delivered to the Galatians the gospel that he received as a revelation from Christ. The Judaizers have followed Paul and attempted to convince the Galatians that the gospel that was delivered to them was insufficient. They were being told, in effect, that what Paul had delivered to them was only an introduction to Christ. The Judaizers were seeking to lead these Galatians to what they considered to be a fuller experience with God.


In order to counter this thought, Paul reminds the Galatians that his apostleship was granted to him through Jesus Christ and God the Father. No man or group of men made Paul an apostle. Christ chose him on the road to Damascus. Paul had heard the gospel from other Christians, but those conversations had only gone to confirm what Christ had already revealed to him.


Moreover, Paul understands that if these Galatians accept him as an apostle, they cannot help but to accept the message that God has sent him to deliver. This is the very definition of an apostle, one who is sent as a messenger. If they accept that God has sent him to deliver his message, then he can convince them that the message that he had originally delivered to them was genuine.


And he wanted to remind them that it was Christ who gave Himself as a sacrifice for their sins. It was Christ who delivered them from the present evil age. All of these things were accomplished through the will of God the Father. God was the one that had offered them grace and peace while they were yet enemies of His, living in their sin. But Christ had sent Paul to them as His messenger in order to deliver to them the gospel of God's reconciliation.


All of these things were accomplished in order that glory and honor would be given to God forever. The salvation of His people brings praise to God because it reveals to man that God is full of grace and mercy. This is the gospel that Paul delivered to the Galatians. This is the gospel of grace and truth.


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