|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-5 St. Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ; he was expressly appointed by him, consequently by God the Father, who is one with him in respect of his Divine nature, and who appointed Christ as Mediator. Grace, includes God's good-will towards us, and his good work upon us; and peace, all that inward comfort, or outward prosperity, which is really needful for us. They come from God the Father, as the Fountain, through Jesus Christ. But observe, first grace, and then peace; there can be no true peace without grace. Christ gave himself for our sins, to make atonement for us: this the justice of God required, and to this he freely submitted. Here is to be observed the infinite greatness of the price bestowed, and then it will appear plainly, that the power of sin is so great, that it could by no means be put away except the Son of God be given for it. He that considers these things well, understands that sin is a thing the most horrible that can be expressed; which ought to move us, and make us afraid indeed. Especially mark well the words, for our sins. For here our weak nature starts back, and would first be made worthy by her own works. It would bring him that is whole, and not him that has need of a physician. Not only to redeem us from the wrath of God, and the curse of the law; but also to recover us from wicked practices and customs, to which we are naturally enslaved. But it is in vain for those who are not delivered from this present evil world by the sanctification of the Spirit, to expect that they are freed from its condemnation by the blood of Jesus.
Verse 2. - and all the brethren which are with me (καὶ οἱ αὺν ἐμοὶ πάντες ἀδελφοί); and the brethren which are with me, one and all. The ordinary unaccentuated collocation of πάντες would be, πάντες οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ ἀδελφοί. Its position here, where, perhaps, it was thrust in by a kind of after-thought, marks it as emphatic; there is not one of those about him who does not feel the like grief and indignation as himself in reference to the news just now received. We have a similar collocation in Romans 16:15. Πάντες would be marked as emphatic also if placed last, as in 1 Corinthians 7:17; 1 Corinthians 13:2; 1 Corinthians 15:7; Titus 3:15. Our attention is arrested by the absence of any name. A number of persons are named by St. Luke in the Acts (Acts 18:18-20:5), and by the apostle himself in his Epistles to the Corinthians and to the Romans, as about his person at different times during the latter part of his third journey; and it does not seem very likely that not one was now with him of those who had accompanied him, either in the first or in the second of his two visits in Galatia. The most probable way of explaining the entire suppression of names is by reference to the present mood of the writer; he is too indignant at the behaviour of the Galatian Churchmen to weave into his greeting any such thread of mutual personal interest. It is enough to intimate that all about him felt as he did. Unto the Churches of Galatia (ταῖς ἐκκλησίας τῆς Γαλατίας). The dry coldness of tone with which this is written will be best understood by the reader upon his comparing the apostle's manner in his other letters, in all of which he is found adding some words marking the high dignity which attached to the communities he is addressing. He is too much displeased to do this now. The plurality of the Galatian Churches, each of them apparently forming a distinct organization, is expressed again in 1 Corinthians 16:1, "As I gave order to the Churches of Galatia;" and agrees very well with what we read in Acts 18:23, "Went through the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order (καθεξῆς), stablishing all the disciples." The leaven of Judaizing, whether imported by visitants from other regions or originating within these Churches themselves, appears to have been working very extensively among these communities, and not in one or two of them only. If the latter had been the case, the apostle would not have involved the collective Churches in the like censure, but, as in the case of Colossae, compared with the "Ephesians," have singled out for warning those actually peccant. This fact, of the general diffusion among them of one particular taint, warrants the belief that certain persons had been at the pains of going about among these Churches to propagate it. Who these persons were, or where they came from, there is nothing to show. It has, indeed, been assumed by many that, like those disturbers of the Antiochian Church mentioned in Acts 15:1 and Galatians 2:12, they had come from Judaea, or rather Jerusalem. But the Epistle gives no hint of this in respect to the Galatian Churches. What the apostle writes in Galatians 6:12, 13 points rather to the surmise that this particular distraction was caused by some Churchmen of their own, who had given themselves to this heretical proselytizing in order to truckle to non-Christian Jews living in their neighbourhood. Compare the apostle's foreboding respecting the future of the Ephesian Church, in Acts 20:30. (See note on Galatians 6:12, 13.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And all the brethren which are with me,.... Meaning either the brethren of the church where he was when he wrote this epistle, who were children of the same Father, regenerated by the same grace, belonged to the same family and household of God, and were heirs together of the grace of life; or else his fellow ministers, who were assisting to him in his work, and were companions with him in his travels, and whom he sometimes mentions by name and joins with him in his epistles, as Sosthenes, Silvanus, and Timothy; and the rather he takes notice of the brethren here, whoever are meant, to show that they agreed with him in the doctrines of grace he defends, and in the charges he brought against this church, and in the reproofs and advice he gave them; which he might suppose, and hope, would have the greater weight and influence upon them;
unto the churches of Galatia; Galatia was a country in the lesser Asia, inhabited by the Gauls, who coming thither out of Europe, mixed with the Grecians; whence it was first called Gallo Graecia, and afterwards Galatia; See Gill on Acts 16:6. The metropolis of it, as Pliny (b) says, was formerly Gordium, and the chief towns or cities, according to him, were Ancyra, Tavium, and Pessinus; and in some, or all of these places, it is very probable, were the churches here mentioned; See Gill on Acts 18:23. It seems there were more than one in this country; for the primitive churches were not national nor provincial, but congregational, consisting of persons called out of the world, and joined together in holy fellowship and who walked in the commandments and ordinances of the Lord: and though these churches had many among them that were disorderly, and were swerving from the faith of the Gospel, yet were not unchurched, but honoured still with the name of churches, there being no perfection to be expected in this state of things; as not in particular persons, so not in congregated bodies and societies; though it is observed by some, that they are barely called churches, without any additional epithets, as churches of God, beloved of God, called to be saints, faithful and sanctified in Christ, which are bestowed on other churches; whereby the apostle is thought to show his indignation and resentment at their principles and practices. For quickly after the Gospel was preached unto them, false teachers crept in among them, endeavouring to subvert it, by mixing it with the law, and joining Moses and Christ; and in which they very much succeeded; and is the reason of the apostle's writing this epistle.
(b) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 32.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. all the brethren—I am not alone in my doctrine; all my colleagues in the Gospel work, travelling with me (Ac 19:29, Gaius and Aristarchus at Ephesus: Ac 20:4, Sopater, Secundus, Timotheus, Tychicus, Trophimus, some, or all of these), join with me. Not that these were joint authors with Paul of the Epistle: but joined him in the sentiments and salutations. The phrase, "all the brethren," accords with a date when he had many travelling companions, he and they having to bear jointly the collection to Jerusalem [Conybeare and Howson].
the churches—Pessinus and Ancyra were the principal cities; but doubtless there were many other churches in Galatia (Ac 18:23; 1Co 16:1). He does not attach any honorable title to the churches here, as elsewhere, being displeased at their Judaizing. See First Corinthians; First Thessalonians, &c. The first Epistle of Peter is addressed to Jewish Christians sojourning in Galatia (1Pe 1:1), among other places mentioned. It is interesting thus to find the apostle of the circumcision, as well as the apostle of the uncircumcision, once at issue (Ga 2:7-15), co-operating to build up the same churches.
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