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1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
Unlike his other epistles, when he has a warm personal greeting, and words of commendation, even when he has a message of censure, Paul here starts right out with the burden of his reproof.
He was in no sense a messenger from the other apostles, nor even had he obtained any of his instruction and understanding through them. Both his "call" and his "doctrine" were direct from Christ himself and God. It is vital that he establish this, for clearly the Judaizers who pretended to represent the Jerusalem apostles, were endeavoring to undermine it. *
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
The whole teaching of this epistle was to show the superiority of the Law of Christ over the ritual of the Mosaic Code, and the condemnation of the apostle to those who would frustrate this, was very plain. - GEM
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
The Galatians had turned from God, from the grace of Christ, and from the Gospel of salvation. They would not, of course, "recognize" or "admit" this, but Paul leaves no middle ground. He cuts the issue sharp and clear from the very beginning: it's this or that: they are opposite extremes: it can't be both.
This is what we must do in our presentation of the Truth. There are those who want to emphasize all points of agreement first, and then work up to the differences. This is confusing. The scriptural way is to point out the great, broad dividing line between Truth and error -- the "major," "basic" differences that one must choose between at the outset -- then fill in the details.
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.
What vehemence! Where is the "gentle," "diplomatic," "conciliatory," "brotherly" Paul? He shows up later in the epistle, in the proper place, after he has lifted up the fallen banner of Truth among them, "high" and "bright" and "uncompromising"; but this is the time for "very," "very" plain speaking. *
13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the ecclesia 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.
He had a thorough knowledge of the scriptures from his youth. He was exceeding zealous, and "profited" or "advanced" (Revised Version) beyond his contemporaries (v. 14). He must have pondered many things.
Then Christ struck him down with a personal appearance on the way to Damascus, and the announcement that he whom Paul was persecuting was the one who fulfilled the whole Old Testament revelation.
Paul had three days of darkness and fasting for intense self-searching and meditation, rearranging his entire mental picture.
There is an indication that Ananias gave him only pre-baptismal instruction.
It was simply a reception of his sight, and a filling with the Holy Spirit, and immediately he arose and was baptized (Acts 9:18).
"And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues" (Acts 9:20). *
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.
The "immediately" would indicate that this directly followed his public announcing in the synagogues of Damascus his new found belief in Christ.
Where he went in "Arabia"; or how long he stayed, or under what conditions he lived, we are not told. The whole impression we get is that it was for a "direct," "detailed," "personal revelation from Christ, and his mental adjustment to this tremendous revolution in his life. It could have been in the desert near Damascus, or it could well have been at Sinai where other wonderful revelations had been received.
Then he returned to Damascus (v. 17) and preached so energetically that the disciples had to suddenly and secretly send him away to save his life from the aroused antagonism of the orthodox Jews (Acts 9:23-25). *
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
This was three years after his conversion, and it was not until now that he had any contact with the apostles, and then only for fifteen days.
His purpose in going to Jerusalem was to make the personal acquaintance of Peter. That's what the word translated "see," historeo (history) means information. This would be very fitting, both from a personal point of view of interest and friendship, and also for the unity of the Truth. Paul was obviously becoming more prominent, and he was prophetically and announcedly destined to become much more prominent still, as the specific "apostle to the Gentiles."
Jerusalem was the headquarters of the work of the Truth, and the headquarters of the apostles whom Christ had previously appointed to preside over the dissemination of that Truth. It was virtually essential that he and they meet in fellowship to symbolize and cement this unity.
Again, Paul on this visit preached at Jerusalem so energetically that he aroused bitter and violent opposition, and had, as at Damascus, to be sent away to save his life (Acts 9:26-30).
For eleven more years he preached independently, first in the region around his home of Tarsus, and later -- after Barnabas had fetched him from there (Acts 11:21-26) -- at Antioch, which was growing into the major center of the Truth after Jerusalem. *Bro Growcott - By Love Serve One Another