Galatians 1:10
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) You may take this vehemence of language as my answer to another charge that has been brought against me. I am accused of seeking popularity with men. Well, here at least is plainness of speech. If I seek to win favour with any one it is not with men, but God. The two things are really incompatible. If I were a. favourite with men I should be no true servant of Christ.

St. Paul naturally laid himself open to the charge of men-pleasing by the flexibility and largeness of his character. The trifles about which others quarrelled he could look upon with indifference, and his ready power of sympathy led him to enter as much as possible into the point of view of others: “To the Jews he became as a Jew,” &c. But where a question of principle was at stake he knew how to take his stand, and he let the Galatians see it in the very unequivocal language he is now using.

(10) Now.In speaking thus.

Persuade.Conciliate, seek to win favour with, or to make friends of.

For.—This word is omitted by all the best MSS. and editors. It is characteristic of the Apostle, especially in animated passages like the present, to omit the connecting particles which are so common in Greek. He has a simple answer to give to the accusation of time-serving, and he states it roundly: “If my present conduct was really that of a man-pleaser I should be something very different from what I am.”

Yet.Still; at this late period of my career. The Apostle has cut himself adrift from the current of his age too thoroughly and too long for him to be still floating with the tide.

Galatians 1:10. For — He here adds the reason why he speaks so confidently; do I now persuade, or satisfy, men — Is this what I aim at in preaching or writing? or God? — Do I endeavour, in my ministry, to ingratiate myself with men, or to approve myself to God? Or do I seek to please men — By a compliance with their prejudices or designs? For if I yet — Or still, as before my conversion; pleased men — Studied to please them; if this were my motive of action, nay, if I did in fact please the men who know not God, I should not be the servant of Christ — I should not deserve the name of a Christian, and much less that of a minister and an apostle. Hear this, all ye who vainly hope to keep in favour both with God and with the world! And let all those ministers especially observe it, who either alter or conceal the doctrines of the gospel, for fear of displeasing their hearers, or to gain popularity.1:10-14 In preaching the gospel, the apostle sought to bring persons to the obedience, not of men, but of God. But Paul would not attempt to alter the doctrine of Christ, either to gain their favour, or to avoid their fury. In so important a matter we must not fear the frowns of men, nor seek their favour, by using words of men's wisdom. Concerning the manner wherein he received the gospel, he had it by revelation from Heaven. He was not led to Christianity, as many are, merely by education.For do I now persuade men, or God? - The word "now" (ἄρτι arti) is used here, evidently, to express a contrast between his present and his former purpose of life. Before his conversion to Christianity, he impliedly admits, that it was his object to conciliate the favor of people; that he derived his authority from them Acts 9:1-2; that he endeavored to act so as to please them and gain their good esteem. But "now" he says, this was not his object. He had a higher aim. It was to please God, and to conciliate His favor. The object of this verse is obscure; but it seems to me to be connected with what follows, and to be designed to introduce that by showing that he had not now received his commission from human beings, but had received it from God. perhaps there may be an allusion to an implied allegation in regard to him. It may have been alleged (see the notes at the previous verses) that even he had changed his mind, and was now himself an observer of the laws of Moses. To this, perhaps, he replies, by this question, that such conduct would not have been inconsistent in his view, when it was his main purpose to please people, and when he derived his commission from them; but that now he had a higher aim.

His purpose was to please God; and he was not aiming in any way to gratify people. The word which is rendered "persuade" here (πείθω peithō), has been very variously interpreted. Tyndale renders it: "seek now the favor of men or of God?" Doddridge: "Do I now solicit the favor of men or of God?" This also is the interpretation of Grotius, Hammond, Elsner, Koppe, Rosenmuller, Bloomfield, etc. and is undoubtedly the true explanation. The word properly means to "persuade," or to "convince"; Acts 18:4; Acts 28:23; 2 Corinthians 5:11. But it also means, to bring over to kind feelings, to conciliate, to pacify, to quiet. Septuagint, 1 Samuel 24:8; 2 Macc. 4:25; Acts 12:20; 1 John 3:19. By the question here, Paul means to say, that his great object was now to "please God." He desired God's favor rather than the favor of man. He acted with reference to His will. He derived his authority from God, and not from the Sanhedrin or any earthly council. And the purpose of all this is to say, that he had not received his commission to preach from man, but had received it directly from God.

Or do I seek to please men? - It is not my aim or purpose to please people, and to conciliate their favor; compare 1 Thessalonians 2:4.

For if I yet pleased men - If I made it my aim to please people: if this was the regulating principle of my conduct. The word "yet" here (ἔτι eti) has reference to his former purpose. It implies that this had once been his aim. But he says if he had pursued that purpose to please people; if this had continued to be the aim of his life, he would not "now have been a servant of Christ. He had been constrained to abandon that purpose in order that he might be a servant of Christ; and the sentiment is, that in order that a man may become a Christian, it is necessary for him to abandon the purpose of pleasing people as the rule of his life. It may be implied also that if in fact a man makes it his aim to please people, or if this is the purpose for which he lives and acts, and if he shapes his conduct with reference to that, he cannot be a Christian or a servant of Christ. A Christian must act from higher motives than those, and he who aims supremely at the favor of his fellowmen has full evidence that he is not a Christian. A friend of Christ must do his duty, and must regulate his conduct by the will of God, whether people are pleased with it or not.

And it may be further implied that the life and deportment of a sincere Christian will not please people. It is not what they love. A holy, humble, spiritual life they do not love. It is true, indeed, that their consciences tell them that such a life is right; that they are often constrained to speak well of the life of Christians, and to commend it; it is true that they are constrained to respect a person who is a sincere Christian, and that they often put confidence in such a person; and it is true also that they often speak with respect of them when they are dead; but the life of an humble, devoted, and zealous Christian they do not love. It is contrary to their views of life. And especially if a Christian so lives and acts as to reprove them either by his words or by his life; or if a Christian makes his religion so prominent as to interfere with their pursuits or pleasures, they do not love it. It follows from this:

(1) That a Christian is not to expect to please people. He must not be disappointed, therefore, if he does not. His Master did not please the world; and it is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master.

(2) a professing Christian, and especially a minister, should be alarmed when the world flatters and caresses him. He should fear either:

(a) That he is not living as he ought to do, and that sinners love him because he is so much like them, and keeps them in countenance; or,

(b) That they mean to make him betray his religion and become conformed to them.

It is a great point gained for the frivolous world, when it can, by its caresses and attentions, get a Christian to forsake a prayer-meeting for a party, or surrender his deep spirituality to engage in some political project. "Woe unto you," said the Redeemer, "when all men speak well of you," Luke 6:26.

(3) one of the main differences between Christians and the world is, that others aim to please people; the Christian aims to please only God. And this is a great difference.

(4) it follows that if people would become Christians, they must cease to make it their object to please people. They must be willing to be met with contempt and a frown; they must be willing to be persecuted and despised; they must he willing to lay aside all hope of the praise and the flattery of people, and be content with an honest effort to please God.

(5) true Christians must differ from the world. Their aims, feelings, purposes must be unlike the world. They are to be a special people; and they should be willing to be esteemed such. It does not follow, however, that a true Christian should not desire the good esteem of the world, or that he should be indifferent to an honorable reputation 1 Timothy 3:7; nor does it follow logically that a consistent Christian will not often command the respect of the world. In times of trial, the world will put confidence in Christians; when any work of benevolence is to be done, the world will instinctively look to Christians; and, notwithstanding, sinners will not love religion, yet they will secretly feel assured that some of the brightest ornaments of society are Christians, and that they have a claim to the confidence and esteem of their fellow-men.

The servant of Christ - A Christian.

10. For—accounting for the strong language he has just used.

do I now—resuming the "now" of Ga 1:9. "Am I now persuading men?" [Alford], that is, conciliating. Is what I have just now said a sample of men-pleasing, of which I am accused? His adversaries accused him of being an interested flatterer of men, "becoming all things to all men," to make a party for himself, and so observing the law among the Jews (for instance, circumcising Timothy), yet persuading the Gentiles to renounce it (Ga 5:11) (in order to flatter those, really keeping them in a subordinate state, not admitted to the full privileges which the circumcised alone enjoyed). Neander explains the "now" thus: Once, when a Pharisee, I was actuated only by a regard to human authority and to please men (Lu 16:15; Joh 5:44), but NOW I teach as responsible to God alone (1Co 4:3).

or God?—Regard is to be had to God alone.

for if I yet pleased men—The oldest manuscripts omit "for." "If I were still pleasing men," &c. (Lu 6:26; Joh 15:19; 1Th 2:4; Jas 4:4; 1Jo 4:5). On "yet," compare Ga 5:11.

servant of Christ—and so pleasing Him in all things (Tit 2:9; Col 3:22).

For do I now persuade men, or God? There is an emphasis in the particle now, since I became a Christian, and was made an apostle; while I was a Pharisee I did otherwise, but since I became an apostle of Jesus Christ, do I persuade you to hear what men say, or what God saith? Or (as others) do I persuade the things of men, their notions and doctrines, or the things of God? Or do I in my preaching aim at the gratifying or the pleasing of men, or the pleasing of God? The last is plainly said in the next words,

do I seek to please men? Which must not be understood in the full latitude of the term, but restrainedly, do I seek to please and humour men in things wherein they teach and act contrary to God? It is the duty of inferiors to please their superiors, and of all good ministers and Christians, to please their brethren, so far as may tend to the advantage of their souls; or in civil things, so as to maintain a friendly and peaceable society; but they ought not to do any thing in humour to them, by which God may be displeased. In which sense it is that the apostle adds:

For if I pleased men, that is, in saying as they say, and doing as they do, without regard to pleasing or displeasing of Christ,

I should not show myself

the servant of Christ; for his servants we are whom we obey, and our Lord hath taught us, that no man can serve two masters, that is, commanding contrary things. For do I now persuade men, or God?.... To "persuade", is to teach; see Acts 18:4 the sense of which, with respect to men, is easy, but, with regard to God, difficult; and indeed cannot be applied to him, consistent with his divine perfections; and therefore something must be understood, and which may be supplied either thus, "do I now persuade", you or others, that "men or God" are to be hearkened to? not men, but God; the apostle did not teach them to hearken either to himself, or any of the other apostles, Peter, James, and John, any further than as he and they preached the pure Gospel of Christ; but should they do otherwise, they were not to be attended to, but God, who spake by his Son; or Christ, who is God as well as man; who is the great prophet in the church, a son in his own house, whose voice is to be hearkened to in all matters of doctrine, worship, and duty: or thus, "do I now persuade" you, to obey "men or God"; not men, but God; he did not teach them to regard the traditions of the elders, or to obey the commandments of men, but, on the contrary, the ordinances of Christ, who is the one Lord, and only master, whose orders are to be observed: or thus, "do I now persuade", to trust in "men or God?" to believe in the one or the other; not in men, in the wisdom, strength, riches, and righteousness of men, but in the living God; in the grace of God, and in the blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ: or thus, "do I persuade" for the sake of "men, or God?" not for the sake of gaining honour, glory, and applause from men, as the Pharisees and false apostles did, but for the glory of God, the hour of Christ, and the good of immortal souls: or else not persons, but things are meant, by men and God: and the sense is, that the apostle taught and persuaded men to believe, not things human, but divine; he did not preach himself, or seek to set up his own power and authority over men; or set forth his eloquence, learning, parts, and abilities; or to gain either applause or riches to himself; he did not teach human wisdom, the vain philosophy of the Gentiles, and opposition of science, falsely so called; nor the traditions of the elders, nor the commandments of men; nor the power and purity human nature, or the righteousness of man: but delivered things divine; he persuaded to things concerning God, and the kingdom of God; see Acts 19:8 he taught, that without the regenerating grace of the Spirit of God, no man should see, and without the justifying righteousness of Christ, no man should enter into the kingdom of heaven, as his Lord had done before him; he preached the things concerning the grace and love of God, the person and offices of Christ, and the Spirit's work of regeneration and sanctification: the word "now", refers to all the time since his conversion, to the present: before his call by grace, he persuaded persons to hearken to men, to obey the traditions of the elders, to trust in their own righteousness for justification before God; but now he saw otherwise, and taught them to lay aside everything that was human, and to believe in God, trust in and depend on his justifying righteousness; and this he did, without any regard to the favour and affection of men, as appears from what follows:

or do I seek to please men? no, he neither pleased, nor sought to please them; neither in the matter of his ministry, which was the grace of God, salvation by a crucified Christ, and the things of the Spirit of God; for these were very distasteful to, and accounted foolishness by the men of the world; nor in the manner of it, which was not with excellency of speech, or the enticing words of man's wisdom, with the flowers of rhetoric, but in a plain and simple style. There is indeed a pleasing of men, which is right, and which the apostle elsewhere recommends, and was in the practice of himself; see Romans 15:2. This proceeds from right principles, by proper ways and means, and to right ends, the glory of God, the good, profit, edification, and salvation of men; and there is a pleasing of men that is wrong, which is done by dropping, concealing, or corrupting the doctrines of the Gospel, to gain the affection and applause of men, and amass wealth to themselves, as the false apostles did, and who are here tacitly struck at; a practice the apostle could by no means come into, and assigns this reason for it:

for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ: formerly he had studied to please men, when he held the clothes of those that stoned Stephen, made havoc of the church, hating men and women to prison; and went to the high priest, and asked letters of him to go to Damascus, and persecute the followers of Christ, thereby currying favour with him; but now it was otherwise, and he suggests, that was this his present temper and conduct he should have continued a Pharisee still, and have never entered into the service of Christ; for to please men, and be a servant of Christ, are things inconsistent, incompatible, and impracticable; no man pleaser can be a true faithful servant of Christ, or deserve the name of one: the apostle here refers to his office as an apostle of Christ, and minister of the Gospel, and not to his character as a private believer, in which sense every Christian is a servant of Christ; though to men is even contrary to this; for no man can serve two masters, God and the world, Christ and men. The Septuagint version of Psalm 53:5 is, "for God hath scattered the bones", "of men pleasers", to which agree the Syriac and Arabic versions.

{5} For do I now persuade {h} men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

(5) A confirmation taken both from the nature of the doctrine itself, and also from the manner which he used in teachings. For neither, he says, did I teach those things which pleased men, as these men do who put part of salvation in external things, and works of the Law, neither went I about to procure any man's favour. And therefore the matter itself shows that that doctrine which I delivered to you is heavenly.

(h) He refers to the false apostles, who had nothing but flattery in their mouths for men, and he, though he would not detract from the apostles, preaches God, and not to please men.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Galatians 1:10. Paul feels that the curse which he had just repeated twice might strike his readers as being repulsive and stern; and in reference thereto he now gives an explanatory justification (γάρ) of the harsh language. He would not have uttered that ἀνάθεμα ἔστω, if he had been concerned at present to influence men in his favour, and not God, etc.

ἄρτι] has the chief emphasis, corresponds to the ἄρτι in Galatians 1:9, and is therefore to be understood, not, as it usually is (and by Wieseler also), in the wider sense of the period of the apostle’s Christian life generally, but (so Bengel, de Wette, Ellicott) in reference to the present moment, as in Galatians 1:9, just as ἄρτι always in the N.T., corresponding to the Greek usage of the word, expresses the narrower idea modo, nunc ipsum, but does not represent the wider sense of νῦν (Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:16; Matthew 26:53, et al.), which is not even the case in the passages in Lobeck, p. 20. Hence, often as νῦν in Paul’s writings covers the whole period from his conversion, ἄρτι is never used in this sense, not even in 1 Corinthians 13:12. The latter rather singles out from the more general compass of the νῦν the present moment specially, as in the classical combination νῦν ἄρτι (Plat. Polit. p. 291 B, Men. p. 85 C). Now, Paul would say, just now, when he is induced to write this letter by the Judaizing reaction against the very essence of the true and sole gospel which he upheld,—now, at this critical point of time—it could not possibly be his business to conciliate men, but God only. Comp. Hofmann.

ἀνθρώ πους] is quite general, and is not to be restricted either to his opponents (Hofmann) or otherwise. The category, which is pointed at, is negatived, and thus the generic ἀνθρώπ. needed no article (Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 619. 13; Sauppe, ad Xen. Mem. i. 4, 14).

πείθω] persuadeo, whether by words or otherwise. The word never has any other signification; but the more precise definition of its meaning results from the context. Here, where that which was repulsive in the preceding curse is to receive explanation, and the parallel is ζητῶ ἀρέσκειν, and where also the words ἢ τὸν Θεόν must fit in with the idea of πείθω, it denotes, as often in classical authors (Nägelsbach zur Ilias. i. 100), to win over, to conciliate and render friendly to oneself (Acts 12:20, and Kypke thereon). Comp. especially on πείθειν θεόν, Pind. Ol. ii. 144; Plat. Pol. iii. p. 390 E, ii. p. 364 C; Eur. Med. 964; also the passages from Josephus in Krebs. Lastly, the present tense expresses, I am occupied with it, I make it my business. See Bernhardy, p. 370. Our explanation of πείθω substantially agrees with that of Chrysostom, Theophylact, Flacius, Hammond, Grotius, Elsner, Cornelius a Lapide, Estius, Wolf, Zachariae, Morus, Koppe, and others; also Borger, Flatt, Winer, Rückert, Usteri, Matthies, Schott, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Ewald (who, however, restricts the reference of ἢ τὸν Θεόν, which there is nothing to limit, to the day of judgment), Wieseler, Hofmann, Reithmayr, and others. The interpretations which differ from this, such as “humana suadeo or doceo, an divina” (Erasmus, Luther, Beza, Vatablus, Gomarus, Cramer, Michaelis); or “suadeone secundum homines an secundum Deum,” thus expressing the intention and not the contents (Calvin); or “suadeone vobis, ut hominibus credatis an ut Deo” (Piscator, Pareus, Calixtus; so also in substance, Holsten, z. Evang. d. Paul. u. Petr. p. 332 ff., and Hilgenfeld), are contrary to the meaning of the word: for πείθειν τινά always means persuadere alicui, and is not to be identified with πείθειν τι (Acts 19:8; Acts 28:23), placing the personal accusative under the point of view of the thing.

ἢ ζητῶ ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκειν] or do I strive to be an object of human goodwill?—not tautological, but more general than the preceding. The stress which lies on ἀνθρώποις makes any saving clause on the part of expositors (as, for example, Schott, “de ejusmodi cogitari studio hominibus placendi, quod Deo displiceat”) appear unsuitable. Even by his winning accommodation (1 Corinthians 9:19 ff; 1 Corinthians 10:15) Paul sought not at all to please men, but rather God. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:4.

εἰ ἔτι ἀνθρώποις ἤρεσκον κ.τ.λ.] contains the negative answer to the last question. The emphasis is placed first on ἀνθρώποις, and next on Χριστοῦ: “If I still pleased men, if I were not already beyond the possession of human favour, but were still well-pleasing to men, I should not be Christ’s servant.” According to de Wette, ἔτι is intended to affirm nothing more than that, if the one existed, the other could no longer exist. But in this case ἔτι must logically have been placed after οὐκ. The truth of the proposition, εἰ ἔτι κ.τ.λ., in which ἀνθρώπ. is not any more than before to be limited to Paul’s opponents (according to Holsten, even including the apostles at Jerusalem), rests upon the principle that no one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), and corresponds to the οὐαί of the Lord Himself (Luke 6:26), and to His own precedent (John 6:41). But how decidedly, even at that period of the development of his apostolic consciousness, Paul had the full and clear conviction that he was an object, not of human goodwill, but of human hatred and calumny, is specially evident from the Epistles to the Corinthians composed soon afterwards; comp., however, even 1 Thessalonians 2:4 ff. In this he recognised a mark of the servant of God and Christ (2 Corinthians 6:4 ff; 2 Corinthians 11:23 ff.; 1 Corinthians 4:9). The ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκειν is the result of ζητεῖν ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκειν, and consequently means to please men, not to seek to please or to live to please them, as most expositors, even Rückert, Usteri, Schott, Baumgarten-Crusius,[22] quite arbitrarily assume, although apart from the context the words might have this meaning; see on 1 Corinthians 10:33; and comp. ἀνθρωπάρεσκος, Ephesians 6:6ΧΡΙΣΤΟῦ ΔΟῦΛΟς ΟὐΚ ἊΝ ἬΜΗΝ] is understood by most expositors, following Chrysostom, including Koppe, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Paulus, Schott, Rückert, “so should I now be no apostle, but I should have remained a Jew, Pharisee, and persecutor of Christians;” taking, therefore, ΧΡΙΣΤΟῦ ΔΟῦΛΟς in an historical sense. But how feeble this idea would be, and how lacking the usual depth of the apostle’s thought! No; Χριστοῦ δοῦλος is to be taken in its ethical character (Erasmus, Grotius, Bengel, Semler, Zachariae, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Ewald, Wieseler, and others): “Were I still well-pleasing to men, this would exclude the character of a servant of Christ, and I should not be such an one; whom men misunderstand, hate, persecute, revile.” As to the relation, however, of our passage to 1 Corinthians 10:32, see Calovius, who justly remarks that in the latter passage the πάντα πᾶσιν ἀρέσκω is meant secundum Deum et ad hominum aedificationem, and not secundum auram et voluntatem nudam hominum.

[22] To live to please, to render oneself pleasing, is also Wieseler’s interpretation (comp. also Romans 15:1), who consistently understands the previous ἀρέσκειν in the same way. Comp. Winer and Hofmann. But there would thus be no motive for the change from ζητῶ ἀρέσκειν to ἤρεσκον only, which according to our view involves a very significant progress. Paul seeks not to please, and pleases not.Galatians 1:10-24. REPUDIATION OF CORRUPT MOTIVES. EVIDENCE FROM PAUL’S PERSONAL HISTORY THAT HIS CONVERSION WAS DUE TO GOD, AND THAT HE WAS TAUGHT THE GOSPEL BY GOD INDEPENDENTLY OF THE TWELVE AND OF JERUSALEM.10. For do I now … men, or God?] The particle ‘for’ connects this verse with what precedes. ‘I speak thus decisively and strongly, for in the first place my motives are pure and cannot be impugned; and secondly (Galatians 1:11 foll.) the truths which I deliver are a revelation from God.’

now] ‘at this stage of my ministry.’ He could not be charged with a desire for popularity, which leads men to sinful concessions. He may be indirectly referring to the case of Peter, which is fully narrated, ch. Galatians 2:11, &c.

persuade men, or God] The one word ‘persuade’, which cannot properly be applied to God, is used with both nouns by the grammatical figure Zeugma. “Can it be said of me now, that I am courting the favour of men, or am I seeking the favour of God?” The word rendered ‘persuade’ is translated “made … their friend”, Acts 12:20. For the more common use of the verb, comp. 2 Corinthians 5:11, “we persuade men.”

if I yet … of Christ] If I any longer acted as men act by nature, before conversion to God. The ‘men-pleaser’ (Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 3:22) stands in strong contrast to the ‘servant’, the bondslave of Christ. “No man can serve (be a slave to) two masters,” Matthew 6:24. The ‘slave’ not only does the will of his master, he belongs to his master.Galatians 1:10. Ἄρτι γὰρ, for now) The reason why even now he writes with such asseverations: now is repeated from Galatians 1:9.—ἀνθρώπους, men) This word is without the article, but presently after, τὸν Θεὸν, God, with the article. Regard is to be had to God alone.—πείθω) πείθω τινὰ, is much the same as the word ἀρέσκω, which presently occurs, I seek to please any one: πείθειν τινὰ, to obtain the consent or indulgence of any one. Plato de Leg. lib. 10, at the beginning; comp. 2 Corinthians 5:11, note.—ἀνθρώποις, men) The antithesis is, of Christ.—ἔτι, yet) The meaning is, I have not heretofore sought, nor do I yet seek to please men; comp. yet, ch. Galatians 5:11. The particles of the present time, ἄρτι, now, and ἔτι, yet, refute the words of him who troubled the Galatians. They here distinguish the present from the former time, not only when he was a Pharisee, but likewise when he was an apostle. As to the time when he was a Pharisee, Paul neither denies nor affirms in this passage. Paul not long before had circumcised Timothy for example. They were wishing to turn that circumstance as a conclusive argument against him with the Galatians.—ἀνθρώποις, men) for the feelings of men are at variance with those of God and Christ; hence, the evil of this present world, Galatians 1:4.—ἠρέσκον, I pleased) ἀρέσκω, I seek to please, Romans 8:8, note. A man generally either pleases or displeases him, whom he either seeks or does not seek to please. Χριστοῦ, of Christ) whom I seek to please, as is becoming in a servant, Titus 2:9.Verse 10. - For do I now (ἄρτι γάρ); for at this hour. This "for" points back either to the fact of the apostle's having now so solemnly pronounced afresh the awful anathema which at some former time he had uttered; or which, in effect, is nearly the same thing, to the tone of feeling which he in so doing evinced, and to his method of apostolic action which he therein exemplified. The adverb ἄρτι, as used in the New Testament, is distinguished from the more common "now" (νῦν), as denoting that space of time which is most closely present. This shade of meaning is conspicuous, e.g. in the "Suffer it to be so just now" of Matthew 3:15, that is, during that brief, quickly vanishing moment in which the Messiah was by Divine appointment to appear subordinate in position to his forerunner. So Matthew 26:53, "Thinkest thou that I cannot beseech my Father, and he shall (ἄρτι) at this very moment send me more than twelve legions of angels?" John 16:12, "Ye cannot bear them (ἄρτι) just now;" in a very short while they would be enabled to bear them. 1 Corinthians 13:12, "Just now (ἄρτι) we see in a mirror, darkly;" words written under a vivid sense of how brief the interval is which separates the present state of things from that of the life to come. 1 Peter 1:8, "On whom, though just now (ἄρτι) ye see him not " - another outcome of the same feeling. Similarly, in 1 Corinthians 4:13; 1 Corinthians 8:7, ἔως ἄρτι means "until this very hour;" and, on the other side of the point of time indicated ἀπ ἄρτι is "from this very hour" in Matthew 26:64; John 4:42. Many have supposed that the apostle is speaking of certain characteristics of his present course of behaviour as a believer and a servant of Christ, viewed in contrast with the life which he had once lived when an ardent disciple of Judaism. But the narrowly restrictive form of the adverb resists this interpretation, he could hardly with this reference in view have used the phrase "just now," or "at this very hour," of a tenor of life which he had been pursuing for now more than twenty years. Some eminent critics (Alford, Ellicott, Lightfoot, Sanday) take this ἄρτι as pointing to the style of language which the apostle is "just now" adopting: "Now, when I use such uncompromising language;" or, "There! is that the language of a man-pleaser? Now do I," etc. It is an objection to this view that it gives the adverb a somewhat diverse sense to that which it bears in ver. 9; for whereas in ver. 9 ἄρτι, points to the circumstances of the present hour as prompting the apostle to the utterance of his anathema, according to the view referred to it here points to the present hour as exhibiting the apostle himself in a certain aspect. It is more obvious, and indeed gives the present use of the adverb more force, to take it in both verses with the like reference. In both the apostle refers to the present hour as a juncture in which he felt that it had become necessary to depart from his customary manner of using a winning style of address. At other times he will persuade and please; just now he cannot. Persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? (ἀνθρώπους πείθω η} τὸν Θεόν η} ζητῶ ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκειν); do I persuade men or God? or do I seek to please men? Expositors have endeavoured to establish, as one sense of the Greek verb rendered "persuade," that of "making So-and-so one's friend." No doubt it often means to prevail, or endeavour to prevail, upon others, by coaxing, persuasion, bribery, or anyhow, to go along with you in some particular course of thinking or acting indicated by the context; but it can nowhere. be shown to mean, when standing alone, "to win So-and-so's friendship." In Acts 12:20, "Having persuaded Blastus" means "Having got Blastus to concur with them." Similarly, Matthew 28:14, "We will persuade him," and 2 Macc. 4:45, "With a view to persuade the king." The verb is used here, in 2 Corinthians 5:11, "Knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men." In that passage the apostle states it to be his practice to make use of all means of persuasion in order to induce men to accept the gospel message (comp. 2 Corinthians 6:1, "Working together with him, we intreat also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain"). He was not content with merely, as an ambassador, delivering the message and there leaving the matter; but made it his anxious concern to gain for the message acceptance, by the use of arguments addressed to the reason, and appeals addressed to the feelings, by putting himself, as it were, by the side of those he was addressing as one who sympathized to a large extent with their ways of thought, for the purpose of conducting them onward to concurrence with more perfect views. Among many examples which might be cited, illustrating his skill in persuasion, it will suffice to refer to the manner in which he dealt with the Athenians, with the Jews when speaking to them from the stairs, with King Agrippa (Acts 17:22-31; Acts 22:1-21; Acts 26:2, 3, 26, 27), and to his Epistle to Philemon. Another feature, closely connected with the one now mentioned, and here likewise referred to, is the care which the apostle took to "please men;" such a care as produced a manner towards his fellow-men far exceeding the courtesy and shows of respectful consideration which the law of charity ordinarily prescribes. For example, instead of thrusting forward into notice, as the spirit of unsympathetic pride naturally prompts us to do, the points on which he differed from others, and in reference to which he knew himself to he standing on higher ground than they, he chose rather to make prominent any points of agreement which he could find already subsisting, conciliating their candid interest by thus fraternally putting himself on a level with them. If this did not suffice for the purpose of enlisting their sympathies on behalf of himself and his views, he did not hesitate, in matters morally indifferent, to mortify and snub his own tastes, and forego the dissenting judgments of his. own superior enlightenment, "to buffet his body, as he expresses himself in 1 Corinthians 9:27, "and bring it into bondage," by following, how ever distasteful to himself, such practices as should get those whose spiritual improvement he was seeking, to feel, so to speak, comfortably at home with himself. In writing to the Corinthians the apostle in one passage (1 Corinthians 9:19-23) dwells at stone length upon this feature of his ministerial conduct, not ashamed of it, but manifestly glorying in it as a triumph of Christ's grace in his soul. Presently after, at the close of the following chapter, he distinctly propounds himself, as in this respect a Christ-like pattern, for their imitation, "Even [he writes] as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved: be ye imitators of me, even as! also am of Christ." Both of these strongly marked features of his ministerial character were liable to he misunderstood, and by his detractors could be easily misconstrued as grave faults, he was, in fact, accused of speciousness and insincerity, of double faced dealings, of simulation and dissimulation. We can easily understand how readily such accusations would be set on foot, and holy colourable they could be made to appear. That they painfully affected the apostle's mind is evidenced by the frequency of the references he makes to them, and by the earnestness and deep pathos of feeling which not seldom mark those references. It is to such sinister criticism that he alludes, when in 2 Corinthians 5:11, cited above, after saying, "we persuade men," he adds, "but we are become manifest unto God," meaning that, though he did make a habit of laying himself out to persuade, yet the entire sincerity of his action, however misconstrued by men, was patent to the Divine eye (comp. 2 Corinthians 1:12). Now, we have reason to believe that the apostle had been apprised, or at least that he suspected, that in Galatia also such misrepresentation of these characteristics of his ministry was rife. The Epistle supplies at least one token of such having probably been the case, We gather from Galatians 5:11 that he had been said to be still "preaching circumcision." They who said this did so apparently in the sense that his having hitherto kept back this point of his doctrine in preaching to them was only an artifice of "persuasion;" that, in order to prevail upon them to accept the Christian faith, he had thought it expedient not at first to press upon them the observances of Judaism, while nevertheless he knew them to be necessary and was prepared by-and-by to insist upon their being attended to. St. Paul is conscious, therefore, of the existence on the part of some of the Galatian Churchmen of unfriendly suspicions with regard to his straightforwardness and uprightness. It is this stinging consciousness that occasions both the substance and the sharp abrupt tone of what he here says. The substance of the verse may be paraphrased thus: "I have written decisively and sternly; for at such a critical juncture as the present is it men that I can make it my business to 'persuade,' as they sneeringly but not un-truly say I love to do? or is it God that I care, so to speak, to persuade, to wit of my fidelity to the gospel which he has committed to my trust? They scoffingly say I love to 'please men;' and I thank God I have been wont to 'please men' to the very utmost of my power for their good; but is it my work just now to be pleasing men by ways of sweet tenderness and forbearance? If at this time I were still laying myself out to 'please men,' these men, to wit, who are making havoc of the gospel message, and you who are ignorantly listening to them, - then were I no true servant of Christ." The interrogative form into which the apostle's language suddenly breaks is apparently, here also as in 2 Corinthians 3:1, due to his that moment bethinking himself of those malicious censurers of him. We have here an example of the form of sentence which the grammarians call zeugma; that is to say, "God" is named in conjunction with "men," as an object to the action of the verb "persuade," whereas this verb, suitable enough with relation to men, can only by a strain upon its proper sense be employed with relation to God. The sentence would possibly have expressed what appears to have been the apostle's real meaning with less ruggedness, but certainly with less intensity, if its second clause had been (perhaps), "or commend myself to God's approval? (η} συνιστάνω ἐμαυτὸν τῷ Θεῷ;)." (For other instances of zeugma, see Luke 1:64; 1 Corinthians 3:2.) The addition of the article before Θεόν, while it is wanting before ἀνθρώπους, gives the noun a more grandiose tone, as if it were, "Do I persuade men or GOD?" For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ (εἰ ἔτι ἀνθρώποις ἤρεσκον Ξριστοῦ δοῦλος οὐκ ἄν ἤμην); if I still were pleasing men, I were no servant (Greek, bondserrant) of Christ's. The received text of the Greek has "For if I still (εἰ γὰρ ἔτι);" but the "for" is omitted by recent editors. It makes no difference in the sense whether we retain it or not, for, retaining the "for," we should have to understand before it, "I trow not," or the like. The word "bondservant" here expresses the official relation of a Christian minister, one especially at his Divine Owner's beck and call. So Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; 2 Timothy 2:24; Titus 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1. The apostle means, "I were no servant of Christ in spirit and reality, whatever I might call myself." A good many expositors suppose the "still" to be said with reference to the time before the apostle's conversion: "I were no apostle or Christian at all." But

(1) there is no indication either in this passage or anywhere that the apostle regarded his life before his conversion as characterized by the desire to please men;

(2) with the sense thus given to it, the thought, as Meyer observes, seems excessively tame;

(3) as thus explained, it would not harmonize with the apostle's explicit and repeated declaration that, in the discharge of his high office, he did make a point of pleasing men.

For do I now persuade (ἄρτι γὰρ - πείθω)

For introduces a justification of the severe language just used. The emphasis is on now, which answers to now in Galatians 1:9. I have been charged with conciliating men. Does this anathema of mine look like it? Is it a time for conciliatory words now, when Judaising emissaries are troubling you (Galatians 1:7) and persuading you to forsake the true gospel? Persuade signifies conciliate, seek to win over.

Or God

Persuade or conciliate God is an awkward phrase; but the expression is condensed, and persuade is carried forward from the previous clause. This is not uncommon in Paul's style: See Plm 1:5; Ephesians 1:15; Philippians 2:6, where μορφὴ form, applied to God, is probably the result of μορφὴν δούλου form of a servant (Galatians 1:7) on which the main stress of the thought lies.

Links
Galatians 1:10 Interlinear
Galatians 1:10 Parallel Texts


Galatians 1:10 NIV
Galatians 1:10 NLT
Galatians 1:10 ESV
Galatians 1:10 NASB
Galatians 1:10 KJV

Galatians 1:10 Bible Apps
Galatians 1:10 Parallel
Galatians 1:10 Biblia Paralela
Galatians 1:10 Chinese Bible
Galatians 1:10 French Bible
Galatians 1:10 German Bible

Bible Hub






Galatians 1:9
Top of Page
Top of Page