And all the brothers which are with me, to the churches of Galatia:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)All the brethren which are with me—i.e., all his travelling companions. We are unable to say exactly who these were, the more so as we do not know with any certainty the place from which St. Paul was writing. He may have had in his company most of those who are mentioned in Acts 20:4 as accompanying him back into Asia: Sopater, son of Pyrrhus (according to an amended reading); Aristarchus and Secundus, of Thessalonica; Gaius, of Derbe; Tychicus and Trophimus, of Asia; in any case, probably Timothy, and perhaps Titus.
It was usual with St. Paul to join with his own name that of one or other of his companions in the address of his Epistles. Thus, in the First Epistle to the Corinthians he associates with himself Sosthenes; in the Second Epistle to Corinth, and in those to the Philippians and Colossians, Timothy and Silvanus. In writing to the Galatians, St. Paul includes all his companions in his greeting, hardly with the view of fortifying himself with their authority, for he is ready enough to take the whole defence of his own cause upon himself, but, perhaps, not altogether without the idea that he is possessed of their sympathy.
The churches of Galatia.—See the Introduction to this Epistle.
This opening salutation is intentionally abrupt and bare. Usually it was the Apostle’s custom to begin with words of commendation. He praises all that he can find to praise even in a Church that had offended so seriously as the Corinthians. (See 1Corinthians 1:2; 1Corinthians 1:4-7.) But the errors of the Galatians, he feels, go more to the root of things. The Corinthians had failed in the practical application of Christian principles; the Galatians (so far as they listened to their Judaising teachers) could hardly be said to have Christian principles at all. The Apostle is angry with them with a righteous indignation, and his anger is seen in the naked severity of this address.1 Corinthians 1:1 note; Philippians 1:1 note; Colossians 1:1 note; 1 Thessalonians 1:1 note. Since we do not know where this epistle was written, of course we are ignorant who the "brethren" were, who are here referred to. They may have been ministers with Paul, or they may have been the private members of the churches. Commentators have been much divided in opinion on the subject; but all is conjecture. It is obviously impossible to determine.
Unto the churches - How many churches there were in Galatia is unknown. There were several cities in Galatia, as Ancyria, Tavia, Pessinus, etc. It is not improbable that a church had been established in each of the cities, and, since they were not far distant from each other, and the people had the same general character and habits, it is not improbable that they had fallen into the same errors. Hence, the Epistle is directed to them in common.
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.saints, or sanctified in Christ Jesus, & c., commonly used in his other Epistles, because of that apostacy for which he designed to reprove them; but it is implied in the term churches. Galatia was a large country, and had in it many famous cities; it was neither wholly Christian, nor yet such as to the major part; but there were in it several particular congregations of Christians, which he calleth churches; every congregation of Christians using to meet together to worship God, being a church, a particular church, though all such congregations make up but one universal visible church. Nor, being guilty of no idolatry, though corrupted in some particular points of doctrine, and those of moment, doth the apostle deny them the name of churches, though he sharply rebuketh them for their errors.
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.And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Galatians 1:2. Καὶ οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ πάντες ἀδελφοί] ἀδελφοί denotes nothing more than fellow-Christians; but the words σὺν ἐμοί place the persons here intended in special connection with the person of the apostle (comp. Galatians 2:3; Php 4:21): the fellow-Christians who are in my company. This is rightly understood as referring to his travelling companions, who were respectively his official assistants, at the time (comp. Pareus, Hammond, Semler, Michaelis, Morus, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Winer, Paulus, Rückert, Usteri, Wieseler, Reithmayr), just as Paul, in many other epistles, has conjoined the name of official associates with his own (1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Php 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1). Instead of mentioning their names, which were perhaps known to the Galatians at least in part—possibly from his last visit to them (Acts 18:23) or in some other way—he uses the emphatic πάντες (which, however, by no means implies any very large number, as Erasmus and others, including Olshausen, have supposed), indicating that these brethren collectively desired to address the very same instructions, warnings, exhortations, etc., to the Galatians, whereby the impressive effect of the epistle, especially as regards the apostle’s opponents, could not but be strengthened, and therefore was certainly intended to be so strengthened (comp. Chrysostom, Theodoret, Jerome, Erasmus, Calvin, and others). At the same time, there is no need to assume that his opponents had spread abroad the suggestion that some one in the personal circle of the apostle did not agree with him in his teaching (Wieseler); actual indications of this must have been found in the epistle. Others have thought of all the Christians in the place where he was then sojourning (Erasmus, Estius, Grotius, Calovius, and others; also Schott). This is quite opposed to the analogy of all the other epistles of the N.T., not one of which is composed in the name of a church along with that of the writer. It would, in that case, have been more suitable that Paul should have either omitted σὺν ἐμοί (comp. 1 Corinthians 16:20), or expressed himself in such a way as to intimate, not that the church was σὺν αὐτῷ, but that he was σὺν αὐτοῖς. To refer it (with Beza) to the office-bearers of the church, is quite arbitrary; for the readers could not recognise this in σὺν ἐμοί without further explanation.
ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τῆς Γαλατ.] consequently a circular epistle to the several independent churches. The relations of the churches were different in Achaia: see on 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1. The fact that Paul adds no epithet of honour (as κλητοῖς ἁγίοις, or the like) is considered by Chrysostom, Theophylact, Oecumenius, and by Winer, Credner, Olshausen (comp. Rückert), Hilgenfeld, Wieseler, a sign of indignation. Comp. Grotius, “quia coeperant ab evangelio declinare.” And justly so; because it is in keeping with the displeasure and chagrin which induce him afterwards to refrain from all such favourable testimony as he elsewhere usually bears to the Christian behaviour of his readers, and, on the contrary, to begin at once with blame (Galatians 1:6). In no other epistle, not even in the two earliest, 1 and 2 Thess., has he put the address so barely, and so unaccompanied by any complimentary recognition, as in this; it is not sufficient, therefore, to appeal to the earlier and later “usage of the apostle” (Hofmann).
 Which indeed he might have done, even if the epistle had been, as an exception, written by his own hand (but see on Galatians 6:11); so that Hofmann’s view is erroneous.Galatians 1:2. οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ. No name is mentioned: neither Timothy nor Silas, nor any other companion of Paul known to the Galatians can have been with him when he wrote, nor is the name mentioned of any Christian congregation; probably he was residing in some Greek city in which no Church had yet been formed. The phrase οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ seems, from its use in Php 4:21, to describe a small group of brethren immediately surrounding the Apostle; for the salutation from them is there followed by a separate salutation from the Roman Church in general. The position of the Apostle during his first few weeks at Corinth, before Silas and Timothy rejoined him, corresponds closely to the circumstances indicated by this phrase (see Introd., pp. 146–147).—ἐκκλησίαις. There were four Churches in Southern Galatia, but they formed a single group, being all bound together by the great imperial highway that ran through them, and gave facility for constant intercourse. All would, therefore, respond speedily to any religious impulse, like the wave of Pharisaic reaction which the Apostle is combating in this Epistle.2. all the brethren which are with me] It is impossible to say with certainty who these brethren were. The expression, ‘all the brethren’ and the omission of any names, render it improbable that reference is intended only to Timothy and Titus. The words are intentionally vague, and certainly do not lend support to the view that St Paul “sought safety in numbers”. He knew that truth is generally with the minority. But he never forgot that he was a member of the Church, and not an isolated individual. The truth for which he contended was the birthright of his brethren, dear to them as to himself.
unto the churches of Galatia] The abruptness of the address is remarkable. No word of praise, no mention of privilege. Comp. the opening words of the Epistles to the Thessalonians, Ephesians, &c. Even the Corinthians receive a more kindly salutation. They had not “erred concerning the faith” as had these Galatians.
The word ‘Church’ in the N. T. is used either (1) of the whole body of believers, “the whole congregation of Christian people dispersed throughout the whole world” (Canon lv.), (Matthew 16:18; Colossians 1:24), or (2) of a particular congregation, under the same ministry of the word and sacraments. Thus we read of the Church in Cenchreæ (1 Corinthians 16:1), of the Churches of Asia (1 Corinthians 16:19; Revelation 1:4, &c.), of the Church in a particular house (Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2). (3) It is also used of an assembly of believers gathered together for worship, as 1 Corinthians 14:28. The Churches of the Thessalonians and Laodiceans are exceptions to the usual form, in which the precise locality is designated. We may assume that the Churches of Galatia were bodies of converts living in the principal cities, Ancyra, Pessinus, &c. See Introduction, p. ix.Galatians 1:2. Πάντες, all) This short verse adds to this epistle the form of a creed.—ἐκκλησίαις, to the churches) He uses the plural on account of the multitude of churches and towns in Galatia. Nor does he add the epithets, which he applies to the Romans, Corinthians, etc.—Γαλατίας, of Galatia) 1 Peter 1:1.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.)
Unto the churches of Galatia
See Introduction. This is a circular letter to several congregations. Note the omission of the commendatory words added to the addresses in the two Thessalonian and first Corinthian letters.
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