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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

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Commentary on Galatians

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1.1–12 .

1–5 :

Greeting.

1 :

Paul's strong denial of the human origin of his apostleship ( 1.11–12 ) is a hint of the controversy that drives this letter.

4 :

Gave himself: Christ's death is understood as a sin offering for others (Eph 5.2; Lev 4–5 ).

6–12 :

Paul defends his gospel. Paul omits his normal opening prayer of thanksgiving for his readers, showing how angry he is with them (contrast 1 Cor 1.4–9 ).

6–7 :

Different gospel refers to the views Paul opposes in the letter; mainly, that God requires gentile * Christians to observe the Mosaic law ( 4.21; 5.2–4 ).

8–9 :

The use of a double curse is especially emphatic (1 Cor 16.22 ).

10 :

The perspective of Paul's critics.

11–12 :

Human origin renders “kata anthropon,” literally “according to man,” thus human. Revelation of Jesus Christ: Paul's understanding of the gospel occurred through a revelation whose content was Jesus Christ (v. 16 ).

1.13–24 :

Paul recalls his past.

13 :

His role as persecutor was a key memory informing Paul's understanding of his apostleship (1 Cor 15.9; Acts 8.3 ).

14 :

His formal training as a Pharisee * is in view (Phil 3.5–6; Acts 22.3 ).

15 :

The language recalls Old Testament prophetic calls (Isa 49.1; Jer 1.5 ).

16 :

The experience changed Paul into the apostle * to the gentiles * (Rom 15.15–16; Acts 9.15 ).

17 :

Paul's autobiographical account differs slightly from the story of his call in Acts 9 . In Acts 9.26–30; 22.17–21 , Paul returns to Jerusalem immediately after his conversion. Arabia was a nearby region. The return to Damascus locates the events of v. 15 (Acts 9; 2 Cor 11.32–33 ).

18–19 :

This visit is sometimes identified with Acts 9.26–30 , although Acts 9 mentions neither Cephas (Peter) nor James.

20 :

2 Cor 11.31 .

21 :

Syria is the region of Damascus; Cilicia is eastern Asia Minor.

22–23 :

This is difficult to harmonize with Acts 9.26–30 .

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