Only One Gospel – Galatians 1-2

Paul addresses the Galatians in chapter one, beginning by establishing his authority as an apostle “not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father.” We can infer, as has been the case elsewhere, that some had called his status as an apostle into question. It is clear from his writing that there were some that were teaching false doctrine, as he begins this chapter with a rebuke to them. He couldn’t have said it any plainer or stronger: “…even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”

The ancient territory of Galatia, in central Asia Minor, surrounds modern Ankara, Turkey.

The ancient territory of Galatia, in central Asia Minor, surrounds modern Ankara, Turkey.

The words are just as relevant to us today. There are still false prophets. One need only surf the television channels for a short time to find one. There are those who preach health and wealth and almost anything that the gospel does not teach, sometimes throwing in a bit of the truth for good measure. We must guard against believing what we wish to be true preached by man and coming only from man.

In defending his apostleship, he begins a narrative of his conversion from a persecutor of the very church he now served — which he  continues in chapter 2. He even speaks of his confrontation with Peter in Galatians 2:11-14 over Peter “pulling back” from the Gentiles because he feared the circumcision party.

In verses 15-21, we learn that it is members of that party that must have been causing the strife in Galatia, which is, of course, the reason for his narrative. He wanted to reassure them of the gospel, and that they were not under the old law, as those teachers were trying to make them believe.  He tells them “through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click here to read or listen to audio of this week’s chapters in Mark and Galatians

/Bob’s boy

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.






Letter From “the Elder” – 2 John

The traditional site of the tomb of John_the_A...

The traditional site of the tomb of John_the_Apostle — one of Jesus’ twelve apostles in the ancient city of Ephesus, an important religious centre of early Christianity. Ephesus is today located in Turkey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John’s second epistle is the shortest book of the New Testament, consisting of only one chapter that is composed of only 13 verses. John opens the letter this way:

“The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever…”

Here, John refers to himself as an elder, just as Peter did (1 Peter 5:1). Some speculate that he uses the term “the elder” because at the time of this writing, he is the only one of the apostles left alive. That is certainly a possibility.

John is not addressing a particular woman in this letter. The lady that he refers to is likely a particular church in the region where he is living – possibly Ephesus, and its children are other congregations that have been started in other cities as a result of the work being done there. The word “church” in Greek is feminine in gender, and John refers to it as t”the bride” elsewhere in his writings.

John’s purpose in writing the letter is to urge them to love one another, and particularly, as in all three of his epistles, to warn against false doctrines. The appearance on the scene of gnosticism has likely become a big concern for the apostle, and his pastoral role is to help guard them against such things.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at

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