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with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Galatians 1

The apostle Paul asserts his apostolic character against such as lessened it. (1-5) He reproves the Galatians for revolting from the gospel of Christ under the influence of evil teachers. (6-9) He proves the Divine authority of his doctrine and mission; and declares what he was before his conversion and calling. (10-14) And how he proceeded after it. (15-24)

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The apostle Paul asserts his apostolic character against such as lessened it

1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:

3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

He reproves the Galatians for revolting from the gospel of Christ under the influence of evil teachers

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

7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

He proves the Divine authority of his doctrine and mission; and declares what he was before his conversion and calling

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.

11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

And how he proceeded after it

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,

16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.

20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.

21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;

22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:

23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

24 And they glorified God in me.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. &c. The apostle begins by asserting his apostleship which the false teachers had called in question. He was called to it by Christ himself, in his miraculous conversion, being changed “into a vessel of election to carry his name before kings and nations, and the children of Israel.” Thus chosen, we see him immediately after his conversion, preaching in Damascus and Arabia. Calmet. — Let us beware of self-appointed teachers, who are neither called by God nor rightly ordained by men, and yet are observed to intrude themselves into the ministry. — Not from man, neither by man.[1] The apostle here expressly says, all the brethren who are with me; to shew that he advanced nothing which was not conformable to the belief of all the faithful. S. Jerom. — And again he says, (v. 12.) neither did I receive it from man, nor did I learn it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. That is, not from him, who was a man only, but from Jesus Christ, who was both God and man. S. Jerom, who has left us a commentary on this epistle, (tom. iv. p. 222. Ed. Ben. as also S. Chrys. tom. iii. p. 709. Ed. Sav.) takes notice, that Christ’s divinity is proved from these expressions, that S. Paul was not an apostle, nor had his mission from man only, but from Jesus Christ, who therefore was not a man only. — By Jesus Christ and God the Father. A second argument to shew the equality of the Son with the Father. And thirdly, it destroys another objection of the Arians, who used to pretend that the Father, being always first named, he only, and not the Son, was properly God. Fourthly, another of their arguments to prove only the Father truly God, was that he was called the God, with the Greek article; and here the Father is called God, without the said Greek article. Fifthly, they also pretended that the Son was not God, because the Father was said to deliver him to death: and here (v. 3.) the Son is said to give and deliver himself. Wi.

Ver. 6-7. This was about three or four years after their conversion. The apostle knowing very well how to suit his discourse to his auditors, in this epistle makes use of a more severe and harsh address than is observable in his other epistles. The reason is, the Galatians were a less civilized people, and had already shewn the little attachment they had to their spiritual father. Calmet. — To another gospel: which is not[2] another. That is, it is not properly another, because they pretended to be Christians, and teach the faith: and yet it was in some measure another, because changed by such teachers with a mixture of errors, particularly that all converted Gentiles were to observe the Jewish law: and in this sense, they are said to subvert, or destroy the gospel of Christ: so that the apostle hesitates not to pronounce and repeat an anathema, a curse upon all that preach any thing besides, that is, in point of religion, not agreeing with what he had taught. I cannot omit here a reflection, which S. Chrys. makes on the 7th verse. Where are they, saith he, who condemn us (Catholics) for the differences we have with heretics? and who pretend there is no such essential difference betwixt us and them, so as to judge them excluded from the communion of the Catholic Church, out of which there is no salvation, unless perhaps through ignorance. — Let them hear what S. Paul says, that they destroyed the gospel who made any such innovations: to wit, by introducing again as necessary some of the Jewish ceremonies, even at a time when the Christians, who had been Jews, might lawfully use them, and even they who had been Gentiles. S. Paul says, this is to change and destroy the gospel; he repeats anathema against them. Let them hear, and take notice of this, who pretend that the unity of the one Catholic faith is sufficiently maintained by all Christian societies, that agreeing, as they say, in fundamentals, their faith is a saving faith: that the council of Trent, without reason, pronounced such anathemas against them: that all Catholics are uncharitable for denying them to be in the way to salvation, when they make Scripture alone, as interpreted by their private judgment, the only rule of their faith. They may as well accuse not only S. Chrys. but also S. Paul, of uncharitableness, &c. Wi.

Ver. 9. The terrible sentence awarded by S. Paul, bears equally strong against modern as against ancient innovators in religion.

Ver. 10. If I did yet please men, I should not be the servant of Christ. I should not have embraced the Christian faith, I who was so zealous against it, and who by changing have exposed himself to persecutions, &c. Wi.

Ver. 14. He here alludes to his being a Pharisee, as he himself mentions more openly in Acts xxiii. 6. A Pharisee, and son of Pharisees. This sect always distinguished itself by its zeal for ancient traditions, which shews evidently that he was very far from being instructed in a religion of which he was the sworn enemy; nor since his conversion did he apply for instruction. What he delivered, he learned not of man, but of God. See below.

Ver. 16. I condescended not to flesh and blood. Lit. I did not acquiesce to flesh and blood. I had no regard to temporal friends or advantages. Some expound it, I did not think it necessary to consult the other apostles, men who were my countrymen: and so it follows, I came not to Jerusalem to the apostles, to be instructed by them, having been instructed by Christ himself. Wi.

Ver. 17. So far from receiving his apostleship from the other apostles, he saw none of them, till he had spent three years in announcing the word of God. Calmet. — In this epistle to the Galatians, S. Paul treats the same matter as in his epistle to the Romans; to the former he writes less exactly and more briefly, as very rude and uncivilized; to the latter, with more precision, and with greater copiousness, as replenished with all knowledge: repleti omni scientia. Rom. xv. 14.

Ver. 18. Then three years after, I came to Jerusalem to see (and as S. Chrys. says, out of respect to make a visit to) Peter, but staid only at Jerusalem fifteen days, and saw none of the apostles except him, and James, the brother, or cousin of our Lord; so that I was yet unknown by face to the Christian churches in Judea. Wi.

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[1] V. 1. and 12. Non ab homine, on which words S. Jerom, ergo non homo tantum est Christus. See S. Chrys. in his commentary, or ermeneia, on this epistle, p. 713, where he takes notice against the Arians, that here God the Father is called Theos, not o Theos; so that their argument from the Greek article is of no force; choris arthrou . . . ouk apo tou, alla apo theou patros, &c.

[2] V. 7. In aliud Evangelium, quod non est aliud; eis eteron euaggelion, o ouk estin allo. Volunt convertere, metastrepsai, invertere, evertere, pervertere. S. Chrys. Lat. edit. p. 812. E. ubi sunt igitur, qui nos ut contentiosos damnant, eo quod cum hæreticis habemus dissidium, dictitantque nullum esse discrimen inter nos & illos . . . Audiant Paulum (p. 813. A.) illos subvertisse Evangelium, qui paululum quiddam rerum novarum invexerant. And in the Greek edition of Savil, p. 717, linea 3, pou nun eisin, &c. . . . akouetosan ti phesin o Paulos, &c.