Galatians 1:6
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
(6-10) The Apostle is surprised at their rapid defection. The doctrine to which they had at first given in their adhesion was a doctrine of salvation by grace: they now imagined that they were only hearing a different version of the same truths. A different version? How was that possible? There could not be any second gospel, nor was there really anything of the kind. It was not a new gospel, but only a factious perversion of the old. Those who do this—no matter who they be—are accursed. That, at least, is plain speaking, and no one can accuse it of time-serving.

The Apostle had ended his address to the Galatians abruptly, and now he plunges abruptly, and without more preface, into the midst of his charges against them. He cannot understand their sudden apostasy.

(6) Removed.—The Greek word is one regularly used for a “deserter,” “turn-coat,” or “apostate,” either in war, politics, or religion. The tense is strictly present: “You are now, at this moment, in the act of falling away.”

Him that called you.—The call of the Christian is attributed by St. Paul to God the Father; so even in Romans 1:6. The Christian, having been called by God, belongs to Christ. The part taken by Christ in the calling of the Christian is rather a mediate agency, such as is expressed in the next phrase.

Into the grace of Christ.—Rather, by the grace of Christ. The grace (i.e., the free love) of Christ becomes the instrument of the divine calling, inasmuch as it is through the preaching of that free love and free gift that the unbeliever is at first attracted and won over to the faith. The “grace of Christ” is His voluntary self-surrender to humiliation and death, from no other prompting than His own love for sinful men.

(6, 7) Unto another gospel: which is not another.—It is to be regretted that the English language hardly admits the fine shade of distinction which exists here in the Greek. The Greek has two words for “another:” one (the first of those which is here used) implying a difference in kind, the other implying mere numerical addition.

Another gospel do I call it? That would seem to concede its right to be called a gospel at all. It might be supposed to be some alternative theory, existing side by side with that which you originally heard; but this cannot be. This “other gospel” is not a second gospel; for there cannot be two gospels. The inference, therefore, to be drawn is that it is not a gospel in any sense of the word. This, then, may be dismissed. It is no true gospel, but only mischievous and factious meddling on the part of certain false teachers.

Galatians 1:6-9. I marvel that ye are so soon — After my leaving you; removed from him that called you into the grace — Or rather, by, or through the grace; of Christ — His gracious gospel, and his gracious power. God is generally said to call men into the grace of Christ, but the phraseology seems here to point out Paul, and not God, as the person spoken of. For as he wrote this chapter to prove himself an apostle, his success in calling the Galatians to the Christian faith was fitly mentioned as one of the proofs of his apostleship, as it implied that he was assisted in that work by God. Unto another gospel — Or pretended revelation from God, concerning the way of attaining justification and salvation, a way entirely inconsistent with the very fundamental principles of that doctrine which you were first taught. As these Galatians were descendants of the Gauls, as has been observed in the preface, it is the less to be wondered at that they were so unstable; the inhabitants of France, as M. Saurin observes, having been always reproached with taking impressions easily, and as easily suffering them to be effaced. Which is not indeed properly another gospel — For what ye have now received is no gospel at all. It is not glad, but heavy tidings, as setting your acceptance with God upon terms impossible to be performed. But there are some — Who, on pretence that their doctrine of justification by the law of Moses is authorized by God; trouble you — With doubts concerning my doctrine, and disturb the peace of the church; and would — If they were able; pervert and overthrow the gospel of Christ — This the Judaizing teachers effectually did by teaching that justification could not be obtained purely by faith in Christ, but that circumcision and the observation of the Jewish ceremonies were necessary thereto; and the better to effect their purpose, they suggested that the other apostles, yea, and Paul himself, insisted on the observance of the law. But though we — I and all the apostles; or an angel from heaven — If it were possible; should preach any other gospel unto you — Any other method of obtaining justification and salvation; than that which we have formerly preached unto you — And confirmed by such evident and uncontrolled miracles; let him, be accursed — Greek, anathema: let him be cut off from God, and Christ, and his people, and devoted to a perpetual and most dreadful curse. The apostle speaks thus, because he was absolutely certain of his own inspiration, and that the gospel which he had preached was the only true and genuine gospel of Christ. Of the word anathema, see on Romans 9:3; 1 Corinthians 16:22. As we — I and the brethren who are with me; said before — Many times in effect, if not in the same terms; or he refers to the declaration made in the preceding verse, and speaks upon mature deliberation, after pausing, it seems, between the two verses; so say I now again — I solemnly repeat it, as my deliberate judgment; if any man — Or, any one (for the word man is not in the original) whatever, whether man or angel; preach any other gospel than that ye have received — Already from our lips, and which ye have been taught by us from Christ himself; let him be accursed — Set apart for destruction, which, if he repent not, and do not receive and maintain the truth as it is in Jesus, will undoubtedly be his portion.

1:6-9 Those who would establish any other way to heaven than what the gospel of Christ reveals, will find themselves wretchedly mistaken. The apostle presses upon the Galatians a due sense of their guilt in forsaking the gospel way of justification; yet he reproves with tenderness, and represents them as drawn into it by the arts of some that troubled them. In reproving others, we should be faithful, and yet endeavour to restore them in the spirit of meekness. Some would set up the works of the law in the place of Christ's righteousness, and thus they corrupted Christianity. The apostle solemnly denounces, as accursed, every one who attempts to lay so false a foundation. All other gospels than that of the grace of Christ, whether more flattering to self-righteous pride, or more favourable to worldly lusts, are devices of Satan. And while we declare that to reject the moral law as a rule of life, tends to dishonour Christ, and destroy true religion, we must also declare, that all dependence for justification on good works, whether real or supposed, is as fatal to those who persist in it. While we are zealous for good works, let us be careful not to put them in the place of Christ's righteousness, and not to advance any thing which may betray others into so dreadful a delusion.I marvel - I wonder. It is remarked by Luther (his commentary at the place) that Paul uses as mild a word as possible here. He does not employ the language of severe reproof, but he expresses his astonishment that the thing should have occurred. He was deeply affected and amazed, that such a thing could have happened. They had cordially embraced the gospel; they had manifested the tenderest attachment for him; they had given themselves to God, and yet in a very short time they had been led wholly astray, and had embraced opinions which tended wholly to pervert and destroy the gospel. They had shown an instability and inconstancy of character, which was to him perfectly surprising.

That ye are so soon - This proves that the Epistle was written not long after the gospel was first preached to them. According to the general supposition, it could not have been more than from two to five years. Had it been a long and gradual decline; had they been destitute for years of the privileges of the gospel; or had they had time to forget him who had first preached to them, it would not have been a matter of surprise. But when it occurred in a few months; when their once ardent love for Paul, and their confidence in him had so soon vanished, or their affections become alienated, and when they had so soon embraced opinions tending to, set the whole gospel aside, it could not but excite Paul's wonder. Learn hence, that men, professedly pious, and apparently ardently attached to the gospel, may become soon perverted in their views, and alienated from those who had called them into the gospel, and whom they professed tenderly to love. The ardor of the affections becomes cool, and some artful, and zealous, and plausible teachers of error seduce the mind, corrupt the heart, and alienate the affections. Where there is the ardor of the first love to God, there is also an effort soon made by the adversary, to turn away the heart from him; and young converts are commonly soon attacked in some plausible manner, and by art and arguments adapted to turn away their minds from the truth, and to alienate the affections from God.

So soon removed - Luther remarks that this is also a mild and gentle term. It implies that foreign influence had been used to turn away their minds from the truth. The word used here (μετατίθεσθε metatithesthe) means, "to transpose; to put in another place;" and then, "to go over from one party to another." Their affections had become transferred to other doctrines than those which they had at first embraced, and they had moved off from the only true foundation, to one which would give them no support.

From him that called you - There has been great difference of opinion in regard to the sense of this passage. Some have supposed, that it refers to God; others to Christ; others to Paul himself. Either supposition makes good sense, and conveys an idea not contrary to the Scriptures in other places. Doddridge, Chandler, Clarke, Macknight, Locke, and some others refer it to Paul; Rosenmuller, Koppe, and others, suppose it refers to God; and others refer it to the Redeemer. The Syriac renders it thus: "I marvel that ye are so soon turned away from that Messiah (Christ) who has called you." etc. It is not possible, perhaps, to determine the true sense. It does not seem to me to refer to Paul, as the main object of the Epistle is, not to show that they had removed from "him," but from the "gospel" - a far more grievous offence; and it seems to me that it is to he referred to God. The reasons are:

(1) That he who had called them, is said to have called them "into the grace of Christ," which would be hardly said of Christ himself; and,

(2) That the work of calling people is usually in the Scriptures attributed to God; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Timothy 1:9.

Into the grace of Christ - Locke renders this, "into the covenant of grace which is by Christ." Doddridge understands it of the method of salvation which is by or through the grace of Christ. There is no doubt that it refers to the plan of salvation which is by Christ, or in Christ; and the main idea is, that the scheme of salvation which they had embraced under his instruction, was one which contemplated salvation only by the grace or favor of Christ; and that from that they had been removed to another scheme, essentially different, where the grace of Christ was made useless and void. It is Paul's object to show that the true plan makes Christ the great and prominent object; and that the plan which they had embraced was in this respect wholly different.

Unto another gospel - A gospel which destroys the grace of Christ; which proclaims salvation on other terms than simple dependence on the merits of the Lord Jesus; and which has introduced the Jewish rites and ceremonies as essential, in order to obtain salvation. The apostle calls that scheme the "gospel," because it pretended to be; it was preached by those who claimed to be preachers of the gospel; who alleged that they had come direct from the apostles at Jerusalem, and who pretended to declare the method of salvation. It claimed to be the gospel, and yet it was essentially unlike the plan which he had preached as constituting the gospel. That which he preached, inculcated the entire dependence of the sinner on the merits and grace of Christ; that system had introduced dependence on the observance of the rites of the Mosaic system, as necessary to salvation.

6. Without the usual expressions of thanksgiving for their faith, &c., he vehemently plunges into his subject, zealous for "the glory" of God (Ga 1:5), which was being disparaged by the Galatians falling away from the pure Gospel of the "grace" of God.

I marvel—implying that he had hoped better things from them, whence his sorrowful surprise at their turning out so different from his expectations.

so soon—after my last visit; when I hoped and thought you were untainted by the Judaizing teachers. If this Epistle was written from Corinth, the interval would be a little more than three years, which would be "soon" to have fallen away, if they were apparently sound at the time of his visit. Ga 4:18, 20 may imply that he saw no symptom of unsoundness then, such as he hears of in them now. But English Version is probably not correct there. See see on [2331]Ga 4:18; [2332]Ga 4:20; also see [2333]Introduction. If from Ephesus, the interval would be not more than one year. Birks holds the Epistle to have been written from Corinth after his FIRST visit to Galatia; for this agrees best with the "so soon" here: with Ga 4:18, "It is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you." If they had persevered in the faith during three years of his first absence, and only turned aside after his second visit, they could not be charged justly with adhering to the truth only when he was present: for his first absence was longer than both his visits, and they would have obeyed longer in his "absence" than in his "presence." But if their decline had begun immediately after he left them, and before his return to them, the reproof will be just. But see on [2334]Ga 4:13.

removed—Translate, "are being removed," that is, ye are suffering yourselves so soon (whether from the time of my last visit, or from the time of the first temptation held out to you) [Paræus] to be removed by Jewish seducers. Thus he softens the censure by implying that the Galatians were tempted by seducers from without, with whom the chief guilt lay: and the present, "ye are being removed," implies that their seduction was only in process of being effected, not that it was actually effected. Wahl, Alford, and others take the Greek as middle voice. "ye are removing" or "passing over." "Shifting your ground" [Conybeare and Howson]. But thus the point of Paul's oblique reference to their misleaders is lost; and in Heb 7:12 the Greek is used passively, justifying its being taken so here. On the impulsiveness and fickleness of the Gauls (another form of Kel-t-s, the progenitors of the Erse, Gauls, Cymri, and Belgians), whence the Galatians sprang, see [2335]Introduction and Cæsar [Commentaries on the Gallic War, 3.19].

from him that called you—God the Father (Ga 1:15; Ga 5:8; Ro 8:30; 1Co 1:9; 1Th 2:12; 5:24).

into—rather, as Greek, "IN the grace of Christ," as the element in which, and the instrument by which, God calls us to salvation. Compare Note, see on [2336]1Co 7:15; Ro 5:15, "the gift by (Greek, 'in') grace (Greek, 'the grace') of (the) one man." "The grace of Christ," is Christ's gratuitously purchased and bestowed justification, reconciliation, and eternal life.

another—rather, as Greek, "a second and different gospel," that is, into a so-called gospel, different altogether from the only true Gospel.

The apostle here beginneth the matter and substance of his Epistle, with a reprehension of this church; which in, some things is much qualified, in other things much aggravated. His expressing his reproof by the word marvel, hath in it something of mitigation, and signifieth his better hopes concerning them. The term removed, also, mollifies the reproof, the apostle thereby rather charging their apostacy upon their seducers, than upon them who were seduced; though they were not to be excused for their so yielding to the temptation, and that in so short a time, either after their first conversion, or after the first attempts upon them to seduce them; and herein was the aggravation of their guilt, that they very little resisted the temptation, but were presently overthrown by it. But it was a greater aggravation of their guilt, that they suffered themselves to be removed from him that called them. Interpreters doubt whether this be to be understood of God, or of Paul; and if of God, whether of the First or of the Second Person. That which inclineth some to think that Paul meant himself, was his instrumentality in the conversion of these Galatians; and his complaints of them in this Epistle, for their deserting his doctrine, and alienation from him; but then the substantive to the participle must be understood, and the call must be understood of the external call only, by the ministry of the word. It therefore seemeth rather to be understood of God; the apostles generally ascribing calling to God, Galatians 5:8 1 Thessalonians 5:24 2 Thessalonians 2:14 1 Peter 1:2,15 2 Peter 1:3. Nor doth it seem proper to refer the action to Christ, because the apostles ordinarily ascribe calling to the First Person in the Trinity, calling us by Christ, as Romans 8:30 2 Thessalonians 2:13,14,16 2 Timothy 1:9 1 Peter 5:10; besides, the grace of Christ is here made the term to which they are called. And though this would supply the participle with a substantive in the text, without understanding one, yet it seems both too remote, and also to alter the sense of the text; making it to run thus, from Christ that called you unto grace, instead of

him that called you into the grace of Christ. By which grace the apostle doubtless means not the doctrine of the gospel only, (though that be sometimes called grace), but all the benefits of the gospel, justification, reconciliation, adoption; which are all properly called the grace of Christ, as being the purchase of his blood.

Unto another gospel; that is, to the embracing of other doctrine, differing from the doctrine of the gospel, though it be brought to you by seducers under that notion; showing you another pretended way of salvation than by the merits of Jesus Christ, whereas God hath given no other name under heaven, neither is there salvation in any other, Acts 4:12.

I marvel that ye are so soon removed,.... The apostle now enters on the subject matter of this epistle, and opens the occasion and design of it, which were to reprove the Galatians for their instability in the Gospel; and, if possible, to reclaim them, who were removed, or removing from the simplicity of it; and which was very surprising to the apostle, who had entertained a good opinion of them, looked upon them as persons called by the grace of God, well established in the doctrines of the Gospel, and in no danger of being carried away with the error of the wicked the person from whom he says they were removed is,

from him that called you into the grace of Christ; by whom is meant, not the apostle himself, who had been an instrument in the calling of them to the knowledge of Christ, and the participation of his grace, and from whose Gospel, or the Gospel as preached by him, in its clearness and purity, they were now departing; but either Christ, and so the Syriac and Arabic versions read the words, "from Christ who called you by own grace"; or rather God the Father, and some copies read, "into", or "by the grace of God": to whom calling is most commonly ascribed in the sacred writings: and which is to be understood, not of a ministerial call, or a call to preach the Gospel of Christ; though there might be some in these churches who were called both internally and externally to that sacred office; nor a mere outward call by the ministry: for though doubtless there might be some among them who were only so called, yet as much as they were under profession of Christ, and nothing appearing to the contrary, they were all in a judgment of charity looked upon as effectually called by the grace of God; which calling is here meant: for they were called "into the grace of Christ"; some read it, "in", or "by the grace of Christ": referring it either to the moving cause of calling, which is not the works and merits of men, but the free grace and favour of God in Christ; or to the efficient cause of it, which is not the power and will of man, but the efficacious grace of Christ, through the powerful operations of his Spirit: but the words are well rendered, "into the grace of Christ"; that is, to the enjoyment of the fulness of grace which is in Christ; of all the blessings of grace he has in his hands; such as justification, peace, pardon, atonement, wisdom, strength, joy, comfort, and every supply of grace; and particularly fellowship with him, into which the saints are called, and than which nothing is more desirable: but the difficulty is, how such persons can be said to be removed from God, who has thus called them to partake of grace in Christ. They are not, nor can they be removed from the everlasting and unchangeable love of God to them in Christ, of which their calling is a fruit, effect, and evidence; nor from their covenant interest in him, which is immovable and inviolable; nor from a state of justification, in which they openly are, who in the effectual calling have passed from death to life, and so shall never enter into condemnation; nor from the family and household of God, in which they are; no, nor from the grace of calling with which they are called by God, and which has eternal salvation inseparably connected with it; but this must be understood doctrinally of their removal from the Gospel of Christ, though not of a total and final one. It is observed by some, that the word used is in the present tense, and shows that they were not gone off from the Gospel, but were upon going, so that the apostle had some hopes, yea, confidence of their being restored, Galatians 5:10. And besides, though such as are truly called by grace cannot be finally and totally deceived by false prophets and false teachers, yet they may be greatly unhinged by them, and may fall from some degree of steadfastness in the doctrine of faith, which was the case of these Galatians: but what increased the apostle's surprise, and aggravated their sin and weakness, was, that they were "so soon" removed from the simplicity of the Gospel; he having been with them but a few years before, and preached the Gospel to them, which the means of their conversion, and of planting churches among them; at least he had lately paid them a visit, when he afresh strengthened them in the faith of the Gospel, Acts 18:23. Or this may regard that easiness of mind which appeared in them, who upon the first attack of them by the false teachers, were weakly and cowardly giving up their faith, and at once giving into the notions of these men, as soon as they were proposed unto them. That which they are said to be removed

unto is

another Gospel, different from that, and very unlike to what had been preached to them, and they had received; which had nothing of the grace of Christ, of the doctrines and blessings of grace that had, by which they were called; very different from the Gospel of Christ, and his apostles, insomuch that it did not deserve the name of a Gospel; and the apostle calls it so, not that he thought it to be one, but because it was in the opinion of others, and was so styled by the false apostles; wherefore, by way of concession, he so calls it, though he immediately corrects it.

{3} I marvel that ye are so soon {e} removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

(3) The first part of the epistle, in which he witnesses that he is an apostle, nothing inferior to those chief disciples of Christ, and wholly agreeing with them, whose names the false apostles abused. And he begins with chiding, reproving them of unsteadiness, because they gave ear so easily to those who perverted them and drew them away to a new gospel.

(e) He uses the passive voice to cast the fault upon the false apostles, and he uses the present voice to show them that it was not completely done, but in the process of being done.

Galatians 1:6. Without prefixing, as in other epistles, even in those to the Corinthians, a conciliatory preamble setting forth what was commendable in his readers, Paul at once plunges in mediam rem. He probably wrote without delay, immediately on receiving the accounts which arrived as to the falling away of his readers, while his mind was still in that state of agitated feeling which prevented him from using his customary preface of thanksgiving and conciliation,—a painful irritation (πυροῦμαι, 2 Corinthians 11:29), which was the more just, that in the case of the Galatians, the very foundation and substance of his gospel threatened to fall to pieces.

θαυμάζω] often used by Greek orators in the sense of surprise at something blameworthy. Dem. 349. 3; Sturz, Lex. Xen. II. p. 511; Abresch, Diluc. Thuc. p. 309. In the N.T., comp. Mark 6:6; John 7:21; 1 John 3:13.

οὕτω ταχέως] so very quickly, so recently, may denote either the rapid development of the apostasy (comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Timothy 5:22; Wis 14:28), as Chrysostom (οὐδὲ χρόνου δέονται οἱ ἀπατῶντες ὑμᾶς κ.τ.λ.), Theophylact, Koppe, Schott, de Wette, Windischmann, Ellicott, Hofmann, Reithmayr understand it; or its early occurrence (1 Corinthians 4:19; Php 2:19, et al.), whether reckoned from the last visit of the apostle (Bengel, Flatt, Hilgenfeld, Wieseler) or from the conversion of the readers (Usteri, Olshausen). The latter is preferable, because it corresponds with ἀπὸ τοῦ καλέσαντος κ.τ.λ., whereby the time of the calling is indicated as the terminus a quo. Comp. Galatians 3:1-3. This view is not inconsistent with the fact that the epistle was written a considerable time after the conversion of the readers; for, at all events, they had been Christians for but a few years, which the οὕτω ταχέως as a relative idea still suits well enough. By their μετατίθεσθαι they showed themselves to be πρόσκαιροι (Matthew 13:21), and this surprises the apostle. As to οὕτω, comp. on Galatians 3:3.

μετατίθεσθε] μετατίθημι, to transpose, in the middle, to alter one’s opinion, to become of another mind, and generally to fall away (with εἰς, App. Hisp. 17; Sir 6:8; with πρός, Polyb. xxvi. 2. 6). See Wetstein in loc.; Kypke, II. p. 273; Ast. ad Plat. de Leg. p. 497; from the LXX., Schleusner, s.v.; and from Philo, Loesner, p. 325. It might also be understood in a passive sense (Theodoras of Mopsuestia, μετατίθ., not μετάγεσθε, is used: ὡς ἐπὶ ἀψύχων; Beza, “verbum passivum usurpavit, ut culpam in pseudo-apostolos derivet”). But the use of the middle in this sense is the common one; so that the passive sense, and the nicety which, according to Beza, is involved in it, must have been more definitely indicated to the reader in order to be recognised. The present tense denotes that the readers were still in the very act of the falling away, which began so soon after their conversion. According to Jerome, the word itself is intended to convey an allusion to the name Galatia: “Galatia enim translationem in nostra lingua sonat” (גָּלָה; hence גּו̇לָה, גָּלוּת carrying away). Although approved by Bertholdt, this idea is nevertheless an empty figment, because the thing suggested the expression, and these Hebrew words denote the μετατίθεσθαι in the sense of exile (see Gesenius, Thes. I. p. 285). But from an historical point of view, the appeals of Grotius and Wetstein to the fickleness of the Gallic character (Caes. B. Gall. iii. 19, iv. 5, ii. 1, iii. 10) are not without interest as regards the Galatians.

ἀπὸ τοῦ καλέσαντος ὑμᾶς ἐν χάριτι Χ.] On ἀπό, away from, comp. 2Ma 7:24; and see generally, Kühner, § 622 c. The τοῦ καλέσαντος is not to be taken with Χριστοῦ, as Syr., Jerome, Erasmus (in the version, not in the paraphrase and annotations), Luther, Calvin, Grotius, Bengel, and others, also Morus and Flatt, understand it; against which may be urged, not (with Matthies and Schott) the want of the article before Χριστοῦ (see on Romans 9:5; comp. also 1 Peter 1:15), but the fact that the calling into the kingdom of the Messiah is presented by Paul (and the apostles generally) so constantly as the work of God, that we must not deviate from this analogy in explaining the words (see on Romans 1:6; and Weiss, Bibl. Theol. p. 387). Thence, also, τοῦ καλέσ. is not to be taken as neuter, and referred to the gospel (Ewald); but ὁ καλέσας is God, and Χριστοῦ belongs to ἐν χάριτι, from Him who has called you through the grace of Christ. Ἐν χάριτι Χριστοῦ is instrumental; for the grace of Christ (Acts 15:11; Romans 5:15; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Titus 3:6 : comp. also Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 12:9; 2 Corinthians 13:13; Philemon 1:25), that is, the favour of Christ unmerited by sinful men, according to which He gave up His life to atone for them (comp. Galatians 1:4), is that by which, that is, by the preaching of which, the divine calling reaches the subjects of it; comp. Acts 14:3; Acts 20:24. So καλεῖν with ἐν, 1 Corinthians 7:15; Ephesians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; to which passages the interpretation “on the ground of grace” (Wieseler) is not suitable. Others take ἐν for εἰς (Vulgate, Tertullian, Cyprian, Ambrose, Beza and others, also Borger and Rückert); so that by brevity of language ἐν, indicating the result of the direction, includes within it this also; see Winer, p. 388 [E. T. 514]. This is unnecessarily forced, for such a constructio praegnans in Greek and in the N.T. is undisputed only in the case of verbs of motion (as ἔρχεσθαι, εἰσιέναι, ἐμπίπτειν, κ.τ.λ.). Comp. also Hartung, über d. Kas. p. 68 f. In point of sense, moreover, this view is liable to the objection that the κλῆσις always refers to the Messianic kingdom (1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Peter 5:10; Revelation 19:9, et al.; also 1 Corinthians 1:9, and passages such as Colossians 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:7), and the grace of Christ is that which procures the Messianic σωτηρία (Romans 5:15, et al.), and not the σωτηρία itself. On the absence of the article before χάριτι, see Winer, p. 118 f. [E. T. 147 f.]

Observe, moreover how the whole mode of setting forth the apostasy makes the readers sensible of its antagonism to God and salvation! Comp. Chrysostom and Theodoret.

εἰς ἕτερον εὐαγγ.] to a gospel of a different quality, from that, namely, which was preached to you when God called you. Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:4. The contrast is based on the previous designation of their calling as having taken place ἐν χάριτι Χριστοῦ (not somehow by the law),—a statement clearly enough indicating the specific nature of the Pauline gospel, from which the nature of the Judaistic teaching, although the Galatians had likewise received the latter as the gospel for which it had been passed off, was withal so different (ἕτερον). Comp. Galatians 1:8.

Galatians 1:6-9. THE APOSTLE EXPRESSES SURPRISE AT THE SUDDEN DEFECTION OF HIS CONVERTS FROM THE ONLY TRUE GOSPEL, AND PRONOUNCES ANATHEMAS ON ALL PERVERTERS OF THE TRUTH.—Paul is evidently startled at the tidings of a sudden revolution in Galatian feeling. His intense indignation is evinced by the vehemence of his language and the solemnity of his anathema. There could be but one true Gospel; this new doctrine was no Gospel at all, but only a heretical perversion of the truth by foreign agitators. They were probably emissaries of a Pharisaic party in the Church, which advocated circumcision and legal observances for all converts alike.

6–10. The subject and occasion of the Epistle

6. I marvel … gospel] The contrast between the form of address here adopted and that of other letters of St Paul is (as already noted) remarkable. In writing to the Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians, his opening words are expressive of thankfulness for the constancy of their faith and the fervour of their love. Even for the Corinthians, notwithstanding the party spirit which prevailed among them and the grievous sin which called for sharp rebuke, he has words of affection and even thankfulness. But the case of the Galatians was different. They had departed from the faith. Their error was fundamental, and if persisted in, fatal.

so soon removed] rather, so quickly passing over, transferring your allegiance.

‘So quickly’ is generally explained as, so soon after your conversion, or, after my recent visit. Commentators see an illustration of this expression in the fickleness of the national character, mentioned by Cæsar and Tacitus, and the intellectual restlessness noticed by Themistius, a writer of the 4th century a.d. But perhaps it only means ‘so readily’, with so little compunction, or resistance to the false teachers. Comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:2.

from him that called you … Christ] Luther renders, “From Christ who called you in grace.” If the word Christ (omitted by some authorities) is to be retained, this is the best rendering of the passage for the reasons which he assigns. “It liketh me, that even as Paul a little before made Christ the Redeemer, who by His death delivereth us from this present evil world; also the giver of grace and peace equally with God the Father; so he should here make Him equally the caller in grace; for Paul’s special purpose is to beat into our minds the benefit of Christ, by whom we come unto the Father.”

Our calling is in grace, i.e. in His free and unmerited favour and goodness; as opposed to all notion of salvation by moral or ceremonial righteousness. “If it be by grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise grace ceases to be grace any longer.” Romans 11:6.

unto another gospel] rather, ‘a different’ or ‘strange gospel’, a perverted gospel. I do not call it ‘another gospel’, for that would be to admit that there could be more than one.

This strange gospel appealed for authority to the other Apostles rather than to St Paul; and it insisted on the observance of the Jewish ceremonial law as a condition of salvation, ch. Galatians 4:10-11, &c.

Galatians 1:6. Θαυμάζω, I marvel) Paul, writing to all the other churches, begins with an expression of thanksgiving and praise to God, which, although the subject here requires something different, has however been virtually expressed, [has been represented by an equivalent] Galatians 1:5. He also delays giving them the appellation of brethren. We give this summary of the epistle. There are three divisions.

  I.  The Inscription, Galatians 1:1-5.

  II.  The Recalling of the Gentiles to the true Gospel, where

i.  He reproves them, Galatians 1:6-10.

ii.  He asserts the divine authority of the Gospel preached by himself: because he

1)  From a persecutor has become an apostle by heavenly calling, Galatians 1:11-17.

2)  Never acted as if he had not been Peter’s equal, Galatians 1:18-19; Galatians 1:21-22.

iii.  He vindicates justification by faith, anew reproaching the Galatians, Galatians 3:1-2; Galatians 3:15Galatians 4:11.

iv.  He explains the same subject to the Galatians, with the most tender affection, by the allegory of the son of the bond maid and of the son of the free woman, Galatians 4:12.

v.  He then exhorts them to maintain their liberty, Galatians 5:1-12, dissuades them from its abuse, and admonishes them not to walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit, Galatians 5:13-14; Galatians 5:16Galatians 6:5, Galatians 6:6-10.

  III.  Conclusion, Galatians 5:11-12; Galatians 5:17-18.

See also the note at Galatians 2:16.

οὕτω ταχέως, so quickly) Paul had been with the Galatians not long before. See Ordo temp. (arrangement of dates) p. 281 [Ed. ii., p. 242, No. 6.]—μετατίθεσθε, you are removed) transferred [you have changed your place from Him] A weighty expression, having an excuse blended with it. Jerome says: Galatia in our language implies transference, [removal from one place to another].—ἀπὸ τοῦ καλέσαντος ὑμᾶς, from Him, who called you) One’s calling, is therefore the channel of grace, the rule for the future; ch. Galatians 5:8; Galatians 5:13. We have here, Galatians 1:6-10, a Proposition [statement of the subject, viz. the calling] and a sort of Division of it into parts [διαίρεσις]; and the calling in [“into the”] grace [Galatians 1:6] is treated of in continuation from Galatians 1:11 : the words “there be some that trouble you” are treated of, ch. Galatians 5:7, etc.—ἐν χάριτι, in grace [Engl. Vers., into the grace] Acts 15:11.—Χριστοῦ, of Christ) The construction is with ἀπὸ from.1[1])

[1] 1 This word Χριστοῦ itself, although it is not considered as a reading fully established by the margin of both Ed., is, however, expressed in the Germ. Ver.—E. B.

Gg Cypr. Lucif. omit Χριστοῦ. But ABHD [adding Ἰησοῦ with f] Vulg. support it;—τοῦ καλέσαντος agreeing with Χριστοῦ, and both governed by ἀπο; but Engl. Vers. and Vulg. make Χριστοῦ be governed by χάριτι.—ED.

Verse 6. - It is unnecessary again to remark on the disturbance of mind indicated by the abruptness with which the apostle plunges into the language of reproof. It cannot fail to strike every careful reader. I marvel (θαυμάζω); I do marvel. The verb is used here with reference to something disappointing, something felt to be painful as well as strange. So Mark 6:6 with reference to the unbelief of the Nazarenes. It is unjust to the apostle to take this "I do marvel" of his as a mere artifice of politic address: though unquestionably, as Chrysostom and Luther have well noted, it does soften his rebuke. The apostle was genuinely surmised; for he had had so much reason for thinking well of them (comp. Galatians 3:1; Galatians 4:14, 15; Galatians 5:7). How could converts, once so cordial and affectionate, have possibly been so misled? As he reflects on the case, whatever feeling of resentment mingled with his surprise turns off upon the pseudo-evangelists misleading them; and accordingly it is upon these that his anathema is pronounced, not upon them at all (cf. Galatians 5:9, 12). They, indeed, by listening to the false teaching, were in danger of falling from grace; but this he rather compassionates than angrily denounces. That ye are so soon removed (ὅτι οὕτω ταχέως μετατίθεσθε); that ye are so quickly falling away. This "quickly" has been taken by many as meaning "so soon after ye were called," and as consequently furnishing some ground for determining the time of the writing of the Epistle. But the comparison of the use of the same adverb (ταχέως) in 2 Thessalonians 2:2, "Be not quickly shaken;" and in 1 Timothy 5:22, "Lay hands hastily on no man," suggests rather the meaning, "so quickly upon being solicited thereto." The verb μετατίθεσθαι, to transfer one's self to a different course of thinking, acting, partisanship (cf. Liddell and Scott, 'Lexicon'), is used both in an unfavourable and in a good sense. Thus 2 Macc. 7:24, Μεταθέμενον ἀπὸ τῶν πατρίων νόμων "If he would give over following the laws of his country;" Appian, 'Bell. Mithr.,' 41: "Falling away, going over, from (ἀπὸ) Archelaus to Sylla;" Jamblich, 'Protrept,' 17, "Change from (ἀπὸ) a restless and profligate mode of life to an orderly one." The verb, being in the present tense, and not in the aorist or the perfect, suggests the idea of an action in its commencing stage, and not yet fully consummated; as Chrysostom observes: "That is, 'I do not yet believe nor suppose that the delusion has got to be complete' - the language of one who will fain win them back." From him that called you into the grace of Christ (ἀπὸ τοῦ καλέσαντος ὑμᾶς ἐν χάριτι Ξριστοῦ); from him that called you w be in the grace of Christ. The phrase, "he that called you," recites the personality of "our God and Father," spoken of in vers. 3, 4. The calling of man into the kingdom of God is habitually ascribed by St. Paul to the First Person in the Trinity (cf. ver. 15; Romans 8:30; Romans 9:24, 25; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 7:15, 17; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Timothy 1:9). God's name is omitted, as in ver. 15 (where it is wanting in the more recent texts), and Galatians 2:8, "For he that wrought for Peter." The apostle impressively, even startlingly, describes their defection from the truth of the gospel as no other than a defection from God himself; similarly to the strain of language pursued in Hebrews 3:12-15. "The grace of Christ" recites the state of acceptance with God into which Christians are brought by Christ through faith in him. So Galatians 5:4. "Fallen away from grace;" Romans 5:2, "Through whom we have also had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand." The genitive, "of Christ," denotes the Author, as in" the peace of God" (Philippians 4:7); "righteousness of God" (Romans 1:17; Romans 3:21, etc.). There is a pathos in the word "grace," as referring to the sweet gentleness of Christ's yoke as contrasted with the yoke of ceremonial-ism which the Galatians were so foolishly hankering after. The construction, "Called you in the grace of Christ," is similar to "Called us in peace" (1 Corinthians 7:15); "Ye were called in one hope of your calling" (Ephesians 4:4); "Called us... in sanctification" (1 Thessalonians 4:7). The verb "call," implying as it does the bringing into a certain state, suggests the sense here given to the clause, in preference to our taking it as meaning "called you by the grace of Christ." Unto another gospel (εἰς ἐτερον εὐαγγέκιον); unto another (or, a new) sort of gospel. The adjective ἕτερον, as contrasted with ἄλλο used in the next verse, appears to intimate the changed quality of the object, its strange new-fangled character. The adjective does sometimes take this shade of meaning. Thus 1 Corinthians 14:21, Ἐν ἑτερογλώσσοις καὶ ἐν χείλεσιν ἑτέροις, "By men of strange tongues, and by lips of strangers;" 2 Corinthians 11:4, Πνεῦμα επτερον... εὐαγγέλιον ἕτερον," Different spirit... different gospel;" 1 Timothy 1:3, Ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν, "Teach a different doctrine." The reader will find a brief but instructive description of the difference at times observable between ἕτερος and ἄλλος in Bishop Lightfoot's note on the passage; who cites the Septuagint rendering in Exodus 1:8 of the Hebrew "new king," which it gives βασιλεὺς ἕτερπς: and a passage in Xenophon's 'Cyclopaedia,' 8:3, 8, "If you accuse me... another time when I serve you... you will find me (ἑτερῳ διακόνῳ) another sort of attendant." The phrase, "another sort of gospel," so far as giving the new form of doctrine the title of "gospel" at all, is paradoxical and sarcastic. The paradox is corrected in what follows. The substantive, "gospel." is borrowed, not without a tinge of irony, from the pretensions of the innovators; they, of course, would be ready to designate their mangled form of Christian doctrine as still "the gospel." The epithet which the apostle adds gives his own view of its character. Galatians 1:6I marvel (θαυμάζω)

Often by Greek orators of surprise as something reprehensible. So in New Testament Mark 6:6; John 7:21; Luke 11:38; John 4:27.

So soon (οὕτως ταχέως)

Better, so quickly. Paul does not mean so soon after a particular event, as their conversion, or his last visit, or the entry of the false teachers, - but refers to the rapidity of their apostasy; ταχέως being used absolutely as always.

Removed (μετατίθεσθε)

A.V. misses the sense of the middle voice, removing or transferring yourselves, and also the force of the continuous present, are removing or going over, indicating an apostasy not consummated but in progress. The verb is used in Class. of altering a treaty, changing an opinion, desertion from an army. For other applications see Acts 7:16; Hebrews 7:12; Hebrews 11:5. Comp. lxx, Deuteronomy 27:17; Proverbs 23:10; Isaiah 29:17. Lightfoot renders are turning renegades.

Him that called (τοῦ καλέσαντος)

God. Not neuter and referring to the gospel. Calling, in the writings of the apostles, is habitually represented as God's work. See Romans 8:30; Romans 9:11; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Galatians 1:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Peter 1:15; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3.

Into the grace (ἐν χάριτι)

Into is wrong. It should be by.

Another gospel (ἕτερον)

Rather a different, another sort of gospel. See Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:7; Luke 18:10. In illustration of the differences between ἄλλος another and ἕτερος different, see 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 1 Corinthians 15:40; 2 Corinthians 11:4; Romans 8:23.

Galatians 1:6 Interlinear
Galatians 1:6 Parallel Texts

Galatians 1:6 NIV
Galatians 1:6 NLT
Galatians 1:6 ESV
Galatians 1:6 NASB
Galatians 1:6 KJV

Galatians 1:6 Bible Apps
Galatians 1:6 Parallel
Galatians 1:6 Biblia Paralela
Galatians 1:6 Chinese Bible
Galatians 1:6 French Bible
Galatians 1:6 German Bible

Bible Hub

Galatians 1:5
Top of Page
Top of Page