Lesson Three - Galatians Ch. 1 Part 2


Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians
Dr. Rod Rosenbladt
Chapter 1 Part 2

1. 1:13-14 “For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it; and I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people.

 A. Paul argues that he had defended Phariseeism and Judaism more vigorously and steadfastly than had the Galatians and/or all their false teachers.
 1. If the “righteousness of the law” had been worth anything, Paul would have remained a Pharisee.

B. Paul: “I was extremely zealous for the traditions of the fathers.”

1. “the traditions of the fathers”
2. “For these,” says Paul, “I was very zealous . . .”

 C. Luther: I was as zealous for the papistic law and traditions of the fathers as ever any were, maintaining and defending them as not only holy, but as necessary to salvation.

2. 1:18-24 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained there with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.

B. Luther: “All of Paul’s words are put in such a way as to prove that his Gospel was not from men.” (AE 26: 76)

C. Paul granted that he was in Jerusalem, after three years in Damascus & Arabia.
1. Paul granted as well that he had lived after the manner of the Jews – but yet only among the Jews.
2. went to Jerusalem of his own accord, but only to see Peter (Acts 9:26 ff.) – not to learn from him or the other apostles

D. Discursus by Luther: Why does Paul repeat so often that he did not learn his Gospel from men, or even from the apostles? (AE 26: 76-77)

3. Vss. 22-24 I was still not known by sight to the churches of Christ in Judea; they only heard it said: He who once persecuted us is not preaching the faith he once tried to destroy. And they glorified God because of me.

1. Paul adds this to complete the story
2. after meeting Peter, Paul went to preach in Syria & Cilicia; ended up winning the approval of all the churches in Judea
3. Paul makes an appeal to the testimony of all the churches – not only to those in Damascus, Arabia, Syria & Cilicia, but also to the church in Judea.
4. “. . . and they glorified God because of me.”
a. not that Paul had taught that circumcision and the law of Moses ought to be kept
b. but for his preaching of faith [sola as justifying before God], as well as for the edifying of the churches by his ministry in the Gospel