1. Paul, an apostle, not sent by man, but sent by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead.
These are the cities in the area of Galatia which Paul visited in Acts Chapter 13: Lystra, Derbe, Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lyconia.
2 – 3
Myself, and all the brothers who are with me, send greetings to the churches in Galatia. Grace and peace be yours, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Paul may be reminding the readers that the ideas in this letter are not only from Paul but from other leaders in the church. Paul has said things like this before, such as in Philippians 4:21.
4 - 5
Who gave Himself for our sins in order to make us free us from this evil time in the world according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Paul never misses a chance to say that we have freedom in Christ. Paul wants to show the difference between being free and being in the chains of laws and traditions which cannot solve real-life problems.
6 – 7
I can hardly believe that you are so quick to walk away from Him who called you by his grace to follow another message which is not really the Gospel!
But is only a false message from some men who want to make trouble for you and twist the true Gospel of Christ.
We see that these men did not deny the gospel, but they twisted it.
The biggest reason why men change the simple gospel is because they want to control other men. Where do you think they get this idea? Of course from the enemy. The devil already has his drug addicts and drunken men and immoral people, but what he wants most of all is to control Christians. Here is a word for those who are wise, do not stay close to anyone who is trying to control you. When the teachings of a man are more important to you than studying the Bible for yourself - you are in danger!
8. If we, or an angel from heaven, brings a gospel to you different than the one that we told you, let a curse fall on him.
It is hard to understand how people can say they are following the Bible but are listening to a new message from an angel when the Bible says not to do this!
We have been warned to test the spirits (1 John 4:1). The Mormons do not live by the Word of God and so they have listened to the lies of the demon angel Moroni. Mohammed said that he was given his message from an angel also.
9. You have heard me say it before, and I will say it again - if any man brings a gospel to you different than the one that we gave you, let a curse fall on him.
Here is Paul's gospel:
Now I make known to you, brethren, the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:1 – 4
10. Am I saying these things because I want to please men or to please God? If I were trying to please men, then I would not be a servant of Christ.
We need to remember that some of the Jewish Christians were not happy to hear that Paul was bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles. They thought that Paul was changing the Gospel somehow so that he could please men and the Gentiles would follow him.
We know that everywhere Paul went there were men who came behind him and taught the people that they must live by Jewish laws. There is always trouble in the church when people try to mix the teachings of Jesus with something else. Why would God make life to be so hard? Why would He say that you are not a good Christian if you only believe that Jesus is the Son of God who rose from the dead to give you new life? Why would He say you have to do something else or you cannot be saved?
God made His message so easy to understand. Be careful when men tell you that you need Christ plus something else.
11 – 12
I promise you my brothers, that the Gospel I brought to you was not some idea of men. No man gave it to me, and no man taught it to me - it came to me by revelation from Jesus Christ.
We see that Paul was, not only getting a new understanding of Christ, but he was getting this understanding directly from Jesus.
Paul is saying that the message was not made by men, or given to him from men, or taught to him by men.
13 – 14
You heard about how I used to live as a Jew, how I tried to destroy God's church, a nd how I was stronger in the Jewish law than many other Jews, because I had a passion for my traditions.
Paul was a student of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3) who was one of the most famous teachers of the Pharisees. Gamaliel said that Paul was always asking for more books. There is a tradition that Paul shared Christ with Gamaliel. Gamaliel is mentioned in Acts 5:34 – 39.
See also Philippians 3:5 – 6.
15 – 16
But when God, who set me apart before I was born, called me by His grace and revealed his Son to me, without my needing wisdom from any man, so
that I might bring Jesus to the Gentiles.
God knew Paul before Paul knew him. God is the One who changes lives. Religious rules and traditions do not change lives.
17 – 21
I did not go to Jerusalem to speak to those who were apostles before me, but I went into the desert in Arabia and then I came back again to Damascus.
After three years I went up to Jerusalem to meet Peter and I stayed with him for fifteen days. I did not meet any of the other apostles except for James, the Lord's brother. Look at what I am writing to you - as God is my witness, I am not a liar!And then I went to Syria and Cilicia.
We can see that God kept Paul away from the other apostles so that no nobody could accuse Paul of getting his message from men. Also, nobody could say that this message was Paul's idea because he had been an enemy of the church, not a friend of the church.
22 – 23
And I was not known to the Christians in Judea, but only they kept hearing that he who destroyed the church is now spreading the faith which he tried to destroy.
See 2 Kings 21 To read the story of King Manasseh the most evil king in the history of Judah. The list of evil things that he did is very sad to read. In 2 Chronicles 33 we see that Manasseh asked God to forgive him and he was forgiven.
The life of Manasseh, as the life of Paul, shows us that we should never give up on anybody. Men who are caught in an evil life need to see that someone else in the same trap was able to escape. They are watching and you will hear them say, “I need to know that this really works. I need to know that somebody else found a way out."
Do not let your past stop you from understanding your new life in Christ!
24. And they were giving glory to God because of me.
Please see how Paul's testimony gave glory to God and not to Paul. Be careful when people give glory to men.