on Galatians 1 :1
Paul, an apostle, not of men - Not commissioned by any assembly or council of the apostles.
Neither by man - Nor by any one of the apostles; neither by James, who seems to have been president of the apostolic council at Jerusalem; nor by Peter, to whom, in a particular manner, the keys of the kingdom were intrusted.
But by Jesus Christ - Having his mission immediately from Christ himself, and God the Father who raised him from the dead, see Acts 22:14, Acts 22:15, and commanded him to go both to the Jews and to the Gentiles, to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they might obtain remission of sins, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified. See Acts 9:1, etc., and the notes there.
on Galatians 1 :1
Paul an apostle - See the note at Romans 1:1. This is the usual form in which he commences his epistles; and it was of special importance to commence the Epistle in this manner, because it was one design to vindicate his apostleship, or to show that he had received his commission directly from the Lord Jesus.
Not of men - "Not from ἀπ ̓ ap' men." That is, he was not "from" any body of people, or commissioned by people. The word apostle means "sent," and Paul means to say, that he was not "sent" to execute any purpose of human beings, or commissioned by them. His was a higher calling; a calling of God, and he had been sent directly by him. Of course, he means to exclude here all classes of people as having had anything to do in sending him forth; and, especially, he means to affirm, that he had not been sent out by the body of apostles at Jerusalem. This, it will be remembered (see the introduction to Galatians) was one of the charges of those who had perverted the Galatians from the faith which Paul had preached to them.
Neither by man - "Neither by or through δι ̓ di' the instrumentality of any man." Here he designs to exclude all people from having had any agency in his appointment to the apostolic office. He was neither sent out from any body of people to execute their purposes; nor did he receive his commission, authority, or ordination through the medium of any man. A minister of the gospel now receives his call from God, but he is ordained or set apart to his office by man. Matthias, the apostle chosen in the place of Judas Acts 1:26, received his call from God, but it was by the vote of the body of the apostles. Timothy was also called of God, but he was appointed to his office by the laying on the hands of the presbytery; 1 Timothy 4:14. But Paul here says, that he received no such commission as that from the apostles. They were not the means or the medium of ordaining him to his work. He had, indeed, together with Barnabas, been set apart at Antioch, by the brethren there Acts 13:1-3, for a "special mission" in Asia Minor; but this was not an appointment to the apostleship. He had been restored to sight after the miraculous blindness produced by seeing the Lord Jesus on the way to Damascus, by the laying on of the hands of Ananias, and had received important instruction from him Acts 9:17, but his commission as an apostle had been received directly from the Lord Jesus, without any intervening medium, or any form of human authority, Acts 9:15; Acts 22:17-21; 1 Corinthians 9:1.
But by Jesus Christ - That is, directly by Christ. He had been called by him, and commissioned by him, and sent by him, to engage in the work of the gospel.
And God the Father - These words were omitted by Marcion, because, says Jerome he held that Christ raised himself from the dead. But there is no authority for omitting them. The sense is, that he had the highest possible authority for the office of an apostle; he had been called to it by God himself, who had raised up the Redeemer. It is remarkable here, that Paul associates Jesus Christ and God the Father, as having called and commissioned him. We may ask here, of one who should deny the divinity of Christ, how Paul could mention him as being equal with God in the work of commissioning him? We may ask further, how could he say that he had not received his call to this office from a man, if Jesus Christ were a mere man? That he was called by Christ, he expressly says, and strenuously maintains as a point of great importance. And yet, the very point and drift of his argument is, to show that he was not called by man. How could this be if Christ were a mere man?
Who raised him from the dead - See the notes at Acts 2:24, Acts 2:32. It is not quite clear why Paul introduces this circumstance here. It may have been:
(1) Because his mind was full of it. and he wished on all occasions to make that fact prominent;
(2) Because this was the distinguishing feature of the Christian religion, that the Lord Jesus had been raised up from the dead, and he wished, in the outset, to present the superiority of that religion which had brought life and immortality to light; and,
(3) Because he wished to show that he had received his commission from that same God who had raised up Jesus, and who was, therefore, the author of the true religion. His commission was from the Source of life and light, the God of the living and the dead; the God who was the Author of the glorious scheme which revealed life and immortality.
on Galatians 1 :1
1:1 Paul, an apostle - Here it was necessary for St. Paul to assert his authority; otherwise he is very modest in the use of this title. He seldom mentions it when he mentions others in the salutations with himself, as in the Epistles to the Philippians and Thessalonians; or when he writes about secular affairs, as in that to Philemon; nor yet in writing to the Hebrews because he was not properly their apostle. Not of men - Not commissioned from them, but from God the Father. Neither by man - Neither by any man as an instrument, but by Jesus Christ. Who raised him from the dead - Of which it was the peculiar business of an apostle to bear witness.