Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT


1 - 5. The usual form of salutation is expanded by additions which answer to the occasion of the letter, and foreshadow its principal thoughts.

vers 1.
An apostle. This title is prefixed to Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians. Here with special emphasis, because Paul's apostleship had been challenged.

Of men - by man (ap anqrwpwn - di anqrwpou). Better, from men - through man or a man. In contradiction of the assertion that he was not directly commissioned by Jesus Christ, like the twelve, but only by human authority. From men, as authorising the office; through man, as issuing the call to the person. He thus distinguishes himself from false apostles who did not derive their commissions from God, and ranks himself with the twelve. Man does not point to any individual, but is in antithesis to Jesus Christ, or may be taken as = any man.

By Jesus Christ. See Acts xi. 4-6; 1 Cor. xi. 1.

And God the Father. The genitive, governed by the preceding dia by or through. The idea is the same as an apostle by the will of God: 1 Corinthians i. 1; 2 Cor. i. 1; Eph. i. 1. Dia is used of secondary agency, as Matt. i. 22; xi. 2; Luke i. 70; Acts i. 16; Hebrew i. 2. But we find dia qelhmatov qeou by the will of God, Rom. xv. 32; 1 Cor. i. 1; 2 Cor. i. 1, etc., and dia qeou by God, Galatians iv. 7. Also dij ou= (God), 1 Cor. i. 9; Hebrew ii. 10.

Who raised him from the dead (tou egeirantov auton ek nekrwn). It was the risen Christ who made Paul an apostle. For resurrection the N.T. uses ejgeirein to raise up; ejxegeirein to raise out of; egersiv raising or rising; ajnistanai to raise up; ajnastasiv and ejxanastasiv raising up and raising up out of. With nekrov dead are the following combinations: ejgeirein ajpo twn nekrwn (never apo nekrwn) to raise from the dead; ejg. ejk nek. or twn nek. to raise out of the dead; ajnasthsai to raise, ajnasthnai to be raised or to rise ejk. nek. (never apo); ajnast. ejk. nek.; or twn nek. resurrection of the dead; ajnast. ejk. nek.; ejxanastasiv ejk. nek rising or resurrection out of the dead or from among. It is impossible to draw nice distinctions between these phrases. 41

vers 2.
Brethren - with me. The circle of Paul's colleagues or more intimate friends. Comp. Philip. iv. 21, 22, where the brethren with me are distinguished from all the saints - the church members generally.

Unto the churches of Galatia. See Introduction. This is a circular letter to several congregations. Note the omission of the commendatory words added to the addresses in the two Thessalonian and first Corinthian letters.

vers 3.
Grace to you, etc. See on 1 Thess. i. 1. He will not withhold the wish for the divine grace and peace even from those whom he is about to upbraid.

vers 4.
Gave himself for our sins. Comp. Matt. xx. 28; Eph. v. 25; 1 Timothy ii. 6; Tit. ii. 14. Purposely added with reference to the Galatians' falling back on the works of the law as the ground of acceptance with God. For or with reference to sins (peri) expresses the general relation of Christ's mission to sin. The special relation, to atone for, to destroy, to save and sanctify its victims, is expressed by uJper on behalf of. The general preposition, however, may include the special Out of this present evil world (ek tou aiwnov tou enestwtov ponhrou). Lit. out of the world, the present (world which is) evil. For aijwn age or period, see John i. 9, and additional note on 2 Thessalonians i. 9. Here it has an ethical sense, the course and current of this world's affairs as corrupted by sin. Comp. 2 Cor. iv. 4. Enestwtov, present, as contrasted with the world to come. Elsewhere we have oJ nun aijwn the now world (1 Tim. vi. 17); oJ aijwn toukosmou the period of this world (Eph. ii. 2); oJ aijwn outov= this world or age (Rom. vii. 2). Enestwtov, not impending, as some expositors, - the period of wickedness and suffering preceding the parousia (2 Thess. ii. 3), which would imply a limitation of Christ's atoning work to that period. Comp. 2 Thess. ii. 2; 2 Tim. iii. 1; 1 Cor. vii. 26. The sense of present as related to future is clear in Rom. viii. 38; 1 Cor. iii. 22; Hebrew ix. 9. For the evil character of the present world as conceived by Paul, see Rom. xii. 2; 1 Cor. ii. 6; 2 Cor. iv. 4; Ephesians ii. 2.

vers 5.
To whom be glory, etc. For similar doxologies see Rom. ix. 5; xi. 36; xvi. 27; Eph. iii. 21; 1 Tim. i. 17.

Forever and ever (eiv touv aiwnav twn aiwnwn). Lit. unto the ages of the ages. See additional note on 2 Thess. i. 9, and comp. Romans xvi. 27; Philip. iv. 20; 1 Tim. i. 17; 2 Tim. iv. 18. Often in Revelation. In LXX. habitually in the singular: see Psalm lxxxviii. 29; cx. 3, 30. In the doxology the whole period of duration is conceived as a succession of cycles.

vers 6.
I marvel (qaumazw). Often by Greek orators of surprise as something reprehensible. So in New Testament Mark vi. 6; John vii. 21; Luke xi. 38; John iv. 27.

So soon (outwv tacewv). 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; tacewv being used absolutely as always.

Removed (metatiqesqe). 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 vii. 16; Hebrew vii. 12; xi. 5. Comp. LXX, Deut. xxvii. 17; Prov. xxiii. 10; Isa. xxix. 17. Lightfoot renders are turning renegades.

Him that called (tou kalesantov). God. Not neuter and referring to the gospel. Calling, in the writings of the apostles, is habitually represented as God's work. See Rom. viii. 30; ix. 11; 1 Cor. i. 9; Gal. i. 15; 1 Thessalonians ii. 12; 1 Pet. i. 15; ii. 9; 2 Pet. i. 3.

Into the grace (en cariti). Into is wrong. It should be by.

Another gospel (eteron). Rather a different, another sort of gospel. See Matt. vi. 24; Luke xvi. 7; xviii. 10. In illustration of the differences between allov another and eterov different, see 1 Cor. xii. 8-10; xv. 40; 2 Corinthians xi. 4; Rom. viii. 23.

vers 7.
Another (allo). A different gospel is not another gospel. There is but one gospel.

But (ei mh). Rev. only. As if he had said, "there is no other gospel, but there are some who trouble you with a different kind of teaching which they offer as a gospel."

Some that trouble (oi tarassontev). The article with the participle marks these persons as characteristically troublesome - the troublers. Comp. Luke xviii. 9, of those who were characteristically self-righteous. For trouble in the sense of disturbing faith and unsettling principle, see Gal. v. 10; Acts xv. 24. Not necessarily, as Lightfoot, raising seditions.

vers 8.
We. See on 1 Thess. i. 2.

Angel from heaven (aggelov ex ouranou). The phrase only here.

"Angels in heaven or the heavens," Matt. xxii. 30; Mark xii. 25; xiii. 32. "Angels of the heavens," Matt. xxiv. 36.

Other than that (par o). Roman Catholic interpreters insist that par' should be rendered contrary to, though the Vulg. gives praeterquam besides. Some Protestant interpreters insist on besides as being against supplementing the gospel with traditions. The explanation is found in the previous words, a different gospel. Any gospel which is different from the one gospel, is both beside and contrary to.

Accursed (anaqema). See on Rom. ix. 3, and offerings, Luke xxi. 5. Comp. katara, curse and ejpikataratov cursed, Gal. iii. 13. In LXX. always curse, except Lev. xxvii. 28, and the apocryphal books, where it is always gift or offering. By Paul always curse: see Rom. ix. 3; 1 Cor. xii. 3; xvi. 22. The sense of excommunication, introduces by patristic writers, does not appear in New Testament.

vers 9.
As we said before (wv proeirhkamen). Comp. 2 Cor. xiii. 2; Philip. iii. 18. Not to be referred to the preceding verse, since the compound verb would be too strong, and now in the following clause points to an earlier time, a previous visit. Comp. Gal. v. 21; 2 Corinthians viii. 2; 1 Thess. iv. 6.

vers 10.
For do I now persuade (arti gar - peiqw). For introduces a justification of the severe language just used. The emphasis is on now, which answers to now in verse 9. I have been charged with conciliating men. Does this anathema of mine look like it? Is it a time for conciliatory words now, when Judaising emissaries are troubling you (verse 7) and persuading you to forsake the true gospel? Persuade signifies conciliate, seek to win over.

Or God. Persuade or conciliate God is an awkward phrase; but the expression is condensed, and persuade is carried forward from the previous clause. This is not uncommon in Paul's style: See Philemon 5; Eph. i. 15; Philip. ii. 6, where morfh form, applied to God, is probably the result of morfhn doulou form of a servant (verse 7) on which the main stress of the thought lies.

vers 11.
I certify (gnwrizw). Or, I make known. Certify, even in older English, is to assure or attest, which is too strong for gnwrizein to make known or declare. This, which in the New Testament is the universal meaning of gnwrizein, and the prevailing sense in LXX, is extremely rare in Class., where the usual sense is to become acquainted with. For the formula see on 1 Thess. iv. 13.

After man (kata anqrwpon). According to any human standard. The phrase only in Paul. See Rom. iii. 5; 1 Cor. iii. 3; ix. 8; xv. 32. Kata ajnqrwpouv according to men, 1 Pet. iv. 6.

vers 12.
Of man (para anqrwpou). Better, from man. Para from emphasises the idea of transmission, and marks the connection between giver and receiver. Comp. 1 Thess. ii. 13; iv. 1; 2 Tim. iii. 14; Acts x. 22. In the Gospels and Acts paralambanein usually means to take, in the sense of causing to accompany, as Matt. iv. 5; xvii. 1; Mark iv. 36, etc. Scarcely ever in the sense of receive: see Mark vii. 4. In Paul only in the sense of receive, and only with para, with the single exception of 1 Corinthians xi. 23 (apo). The simple lambanw usually with para, but with ajpo, 1 John ii. 27; iii. 22.

By the revelation of Jesus Christ (di apokaluyewv Ihsou Cristou). Not, by Jesus Christ being revealed to me, but, I received the gospel by Jesus Christ's revealing it to me. The subject of the revelation is the gospel, not Christ. Christ was the revealer. Rev. (it came to me) through revelation of Jesus Christ.

vers 13.
Conversation (anastrofhn). Better, manner of life. See on 1 Peter i. 15.

In the Jews' religion (en tw Ioudaismw). Only here and verse 14. Lit. in Judaism. It signifies his national religious condition. In LXX, 2 Macc. ii. 21; viii. 2; xiv. 38; 4 Macc. iv. 26.

Beyond measure (kaq uperbolhn). P?. Lit. according to excess. The noun primarily means a casting beyond, thence superiority, excellency. See 2 Cor. iv. 7, 17. It is transliterated in hyperbole. For similar phrases comp. 1 Cor. ii. 1; Acts xix. 20; iii. 17; xxv. 23.

Wasted (eporqoun). Better, laid waste. In Class. applied not only to things - cities, walls, fields, etc. - but also to persons. So Acts ix. 21.

vers 14.
Profited (proekopton). Better, advanced. See on is far spent, Rom. xiii. 12. Paul means that he outstripped his Jewish contemporaries in distinctively Jewish culture, zeal, and activity. Comp. Philippians iii. 4-6.

Equals (sunhlikiwtav). N.T.o . The A.V. is indefinite. The meaning is equals in age. So Rev., of mine own age.

Nation (genei). Race. Not sect of the Pharisees. Comp. Philip. iii. 5; 2 Corinthians xi. 26; Rom. ix. 3.

Zealous (zhlwthv). Lit. a zealot. The extreme party of the Pharisees called themselves "zealots of the law"; "zealots of God." See on Simon the Canaanite, Mark iii. 18. Paul describes himself under this name in his speech on the stairs, Acts xxii. 3. Comp. Philip. iii. 5, 6.

Traditions (paradosewn). The Pharisaic traditions which had been engrafted on the law. See Matt. xv. 2, 6; Mark vii. 3, 13, and on 2 Thessalonians ii. 15.

vers 15.
It pleased (eudokhsen). See on eujdokia good pleasure, 1 Thessalonians i. 11.

Separated (aforisav). Set apart: designated. See on Rom. i. 1, and declared, Rom. i. 4. The A.V. wrongly lends itself to the sense of the physical separation of the child from the mother.

From my mother's womb (ek koiliav mhtrov mou). Before I was born. Others, from the time of my birth. A few passages in LXX. go to sustain the former view: Judg. xvi. 17; Isa. lxiv. 2, 24; lxvi. 1, 5. That view is also favored by those instances in which a child's destiny is clearly fixed by God before birth, as Samson, Judg. xvi. 17; comp. xiii. 5, 7; John the Baptist, Luke i. 15. See also Matt. xix. 12. The usage of ejk as marking a temporal starting point is familiar. See John vi. 66; ix. 1; Acts ix. 33; xxiv. 10. Called (kalesav). See on Rom. iv. 17. Referring to Paul's call into the kingdom and service of Christ. It need not be limited to his experience at Damascus, but may include the entire chain of divine influences which led to his conversion and apostleship. He calls himself klhtov ajpostolov an apostle by call, Rom. i. 1; 1 Cor. i. 1.

vers 16.
To reveal his Son in me (apokaluyai ton uion autou en emoi). In N.T. ajpokaluptein to reveal is habitually used with the simple dative of the subject of the revelation, as Luke x. 21. Once with eijv unto, Rom. viii. 18: with ejn in of the sphere in which the revelation takes place, only here, unless Rom. i. 17 be so explained; but there ejn is probably instrumental. Render ejn here by the simple in: in my spirit, according to the familiar N.T. idea of God revealing himself, living and working in man's inner personality. See, for instance, Rom. i. 19; verse 5; viii. 10, 11; 1 Cor. iii. 16; xiv. 25; 2 Cor. iv. 6; 1 John ii. 5, 14, etc. Lightfoot explains, to reveal his Son by or through me to others. But apart from the doubtful use of ejn, this introduces prematurely the thought of Paul's influence in his subsequent ministry. He is speaking of the initial stages of his experience.

Immediately (euqewv). Connect only with I conferred not, etc. Not with the whole sentence down to Arabia. Paul is emphasising the fact that he did not receive his commission from men. As soon as God revealed his Son in me, I threw aside all human counsel.

Conferred (prosaneqemhn). P o . and only in Galatians. Rare in Class. The verb ajnatiqenai means to lay upon; hence intrust to. Middle voice, to intrust one's self to; to impart or communicate to another. The compounded preposition prov implies more than direction; rather communication or relation with, according to a frequent use of prov. The whole compound then, is to put one's self into communication with. Wetstein gives an example from Diodorus, De Alexandro, xvii. 116, where the word is used of consulting soothsayers.

Flesh and blood. Always in N.T. with a suggestion of human weakness or ignorance. See Matt. xvi. 17; 1 Cor. xv. 50; Eph. vi. 12.

vers 17.
Went I up (anhlqon). Comp. verse 18. Only in this chapter, and John vi. 3. More commonly ajnabainein, often of the journey to Jerusalem, probably in the conventional sense in which Englishmen speak of going up to London, no matter from what point. See Matt. xx. 17; Mark x. 32; John ii. 13; Acts xi. 2. In Acts xviii. 22 the verb is used absolutely of going to Jerusalem. The reading ajphlqon I went away had strong support, and is adopted by Weiss. In that case the meaning would be went away to Jerusalem from where I then was.

Apostles before me. In point of seniority. Comp. Rom. xvi. 7.

Arabia. It is entirely impossible to decide what Paul means by this term, since the word was so loosely used and so variously applied. Many think the Sinaitic peninsula is meant (Stanley, Farrar, Matheson, Lightfoot). Others, the district of Auranitis near Damascus (Lipsius, Conybeare and Howson, Lewin, McGiffert). Others again the district of Arabia Petraea.

vers 18.
To see (istorhsai). N.T.o .

  1. To inquire into:
  2. to find out by inquiring:
  3. to gain knowledge by visiting; to become personally acquainted with. In LXX, only 1 Esd. i. 33, 42, to relate, to record. Often in Class. The word here indicates that Paul went, not to obtain instruction, but to form acquaintance with Peter.

Cephas. See on Matt. xvi. 18; John i. 42; 1 Cor. i. 12.

vers 19.
Save James (ei mh). With the usual exceptive sense. I saw none save James. Not, I saw none other of the apostles, but I saw James. Jas. is counted as an apostle, though not reckoned among the twelve. For Paul's use of "apostle," see on 1 Thess. i. 1, and comp. 1 Corinthians xv. 4-7.

The Lord's brother. Added in order to distinguish him from James the son of Zebedee (Matt. iv. 21; x. 2; Mark x. 35), who was still living, and from James the son of Alphaeus (Matt. x. 3). 42 The Lord's brother means that James was a son of Joseph and Mary. This view is known as the Helvidian theory, from Helvidius, a layman of Rome, who wrote, about 380, a book against mariolatry and ascetic celibacy. The explanations which differ from that of Helvidius have grown, largely, out of the desire to maintain the perpetual virginity of Mary. Jerome has given his name to a theory known as the Hieronymian put forth in reply to Helvidius, about 383, according to which the brethren of the Lord were the sons of his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Alphaeus or Clopas, and therefore Jesus' cousins. A third view bears the name of Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis in Cyprus (ob. 404), and is that the Lord's brothers were sons of Joseph by a former wife. 43

vers 20.
I lie not. Comp. Rom. ix. 1; 2 Cor. xi. 31; 1 Tim. ii. 7.

vers 21.
Regions (klimata). P o . Comp. Rom. xv. 23; 2 Cor. xi. 10. Klima, originally an inclination or slope of ground: the supposed slope of the earth from the equator to the pole. The ancient geographers ran imaginary parallel lines from the equator toward the pole, and the spaces or zones or regions between these lines, viewed in their slope or inclination toward the pole, were klimata. The word came to signify the temperature of these zones, hence our climate. In Chaucer's treatise on the Astrolabe, chapter 39 is headed "Description of the Meridional Lyne, of Longitudes and Latitudes of Cities and Towns from on to another of Clymatz." He says: "The longitude of a clymat is a lyne imagined fro est to west, y-lyke distant by-twene them alle. The latitude of a clymat is a lyne imagined fro north to south the space of the erthe, fro the byginning of the firste clymat unto the verrey ende of the same clymat, even directe agayns the pole artik." In poetical language, "climes" is used for regions of the earth, as Milton:

"Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms."

Syria and Cilicia. Syria, in the narrower sense, of the district of which Antioch was the capital: not the whole Roman province of Syria, including Galilee and Judaea. Matt. iv. 24; Luke ii. 2; Acts xx. 3. This district was the scene of Paul's first apostolic work among the Gentiles. Cilicia was the southeasterly province of Asia Minor, directly adjoining Syria, from which it was separated by Mt. Pierius and the range of Amanus. It was bordered by the Mediterranean on the south. It was Paul's native province, and its capital was Tarsus, Paul's birthplace.

vers 22.
Was unknown (hmhn agnooumenov). Better, was still unknown, the imperfect denoting that he remained unknown during his stay in Syria and Cilicia.

Of Judaea. The province, as distinguished from Jerusalem, where he must have been known as the persecutor of the church. See Acts ix. 1, 2.

Which were in Christ. See on 1 Thess. ii. 14.

vers 23.
They had heard (akouontev hsan). Correlative with I was unknown, verse 22. Note the periphrasis of the participle with the substantive verb, expressing duration. They were hearing all the time that I was thus unknown to them in person.

The faith. See on Acts vi. 7, and comp. 2 Thess. iii. 2. The subjective conception of faith as trustful and assured acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior, tends to become objective, so that the subjective principle is sometimes regarded objectively. This is very striking in the Pastoral Epistles.

vers 24.
In me. The sense is different from that in verse 16, see note. Here the meaning is that they glorified God as the author and source of what they saw in me.

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