Is Galatians 1:9 Misunderstood?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Van, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. Van

    Van
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    9,516
    Likes Received:
    49
    Although some of the word choices are different, pretty much every English translation of Galatians 1:9 reads the same. Here are a few examples:

    “As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (NIV)

    “As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” (ESV)

    “as we have said before, and now say again, If any one to you may proclaim good news different from what ye did receive -- anathema let him be!” (YLT)

    “As we have said before, I now say again: if anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!” (HCSB)

    “As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” (NKJV)

    “As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (NASB)


    Collectively then, hundreds of well studied scholars with considerable knowledge both of Greek words/grammar and biblical knowledge to provide insight on the probable meaning based on the principle of contextual consistency, have all come to a similar conclusion as to what Paul was saying in Galatians 1:9.

    However, James 3:1-2 indicates it is possible that well-meaning and well-studied teachers can stumble, so it seems biblical to me that they might be wrong, not in their translation but in their understanding of the passage. Of course, it is far more likely that I am wrong, so read what comes next critically.

    If you look at the Greek text from the Nestle/Aland, here is how the transliterated Greek reads:

    hos proeirEkamen kai arti palin lego ei tis humas euaggelizetai par ho parelabete anathema esto.

    If you do a word/meaning in English direct substitution, here is how the text reads in English:

    As we said before and now again say if any to you preach beside that you received anathema let him be.

    When I look at this, and remember I am clueless as to Greek grammar construction, I do not see the idea of someone else preaching to the Galatians, all I see is Paul addressing the behavior of those to whom he is speaking. The doers of the preaching do not seem like outsiders; rather they are folks who have knowledge from Paul of the gospel of grace. Is the “different gospel” different from the one those preaching received, or different from the one those being preached to received or different from what both received? In other words should it be understood to mean, “beside that they received” or “beside that you received” or “beside that you and they received?” The question is not based on attacking the translation, you received is what it says; the question is based on contextual consistency.

    I believe “if any among you preach to you beside that you and they received, anathema let him be” is a more contextually consistent understanding of the verse than "if anybody preach to you beside that you received.” This alternate understanding of the verse is based on what the passage and other passages imply. Here is the NASB version of the passage, Galatians 1:6-9.

    “6I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
    7which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
    8But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!
    9As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”

    In verse 6, Paul is amazed because the Galatians are deserting God for a message from men. In verse 7, we see that whoever is disturbing them wants to distort the gospel, so they had to have received the gospel of grace, and now are knowingly distorting it. Whoever they are - they are trying to distort it, they are not distorting it unwittingly. In verse 8 Paul says truth is superior to personality, it is the message and not the messenger that is important. Using hyperbole, Paul says that even a messenger from heaven, who would definitely know God’s gospel of grace, should be damned if the Angel presents another gospel. Thus, I believe in verse 9, Paul is addressing the same thing (distorting the gospel on purpose) and applying it to the audience - if any of you who know the gospel of grace because you were called by the gospel of grace (verse 6) preach another gospel, let him be anathema. To point the curse at people who did not receive the true gospel and therefore are unwittingly passing on a distortion misses the point of the passage in my opinion.

    Popular understanding also misses the mark when it holds that “another gospel” only refers to legalism, rather than anything different from the pure gospel of grace. Anything “beside that you received” - the pure gospel of grace – is what Paul is saying is a different or another gospel in my opinion. So based on internal evidence from the passage, the verse should be understood to say, “As we said before and now again say if any (among you) preach to you beside that you (and they) received, let him be anathema!” The curse is reserved for only those who have received the pure gospel of grace and knowingly preach a distortion to others. Thus if an Arminian or a Calvinist or a Catholic or anybody else preaches a distortion they received, or mistakenly derived from scripture, the curse is not applicable to them.

    In addition, I think this understanding is more consistent with other passages such as James 3:1-2; Acts 20:28-30; and 2 Thessalonians 3:6. James did not say teachers who stumble and thus present a message that is off target in some respect should be anathema. They will be judged by God, but as Jesus told Peter, if you love Me, feed my sheep, so we are to teach even though we have not reached maturity (John 21). In Acts 20:28-30 we see that Paul addresses two threats to the flock of believers, savage wolves that come in from outside the flock, and “from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.” So the second threat – perversion from within – had been addressed before and so in Galatians 1:9, Paul says it again. If you received the pure gospel and you knowingly turn it into something else, you have a corrupt perversion and then if you present what you know is a perversion to others, you should be condemned according to Paul.

    In 2 Thessalonians 3:6 Paul addresses another deviation from the message received, this time loose living instead of preaching, but the parallel provides insight.

    “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which they received from us.”

    In summary, the accepted understanding of Galatians 1:9 seems to me to be in error because Paul directed the curse that those who knowingly pervert the gospel rather than at anyone who preaches a gospel that misses the mark in some respect. Acts 18:24-26 demonstrates the proper response to someone who unwittingly preaches a message that misses the mark. No curse is mentioned in this account of Apollos preaching a “different gospel.”
     
    #1 Van, Apr 5, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2011
  2. revmwc

    revmwc
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Messages:
    4,037
    Likes Received:
    69
    So what was the Gospel that the Galatians received from Paul? That Jesus died for their sins, that he was buried and Rose again to give them eternal life.
    So if any other gospel besides this is preached let them be accursed.
    Fairly straight forward if you add to the gospel a part that says, belief plus is perverting the gospel.
    Belief on the Lord Jesus plus works perverts the Gospel. Belief on the Lord Jesus and following a set of manmade rules perverts the Gospel. The person that adds to salvation anything is to be accursed. Here is the Gospel that Paul preached and the Galatians received Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

    9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    So works added to faith means another gospel is preached. That is what Galatians 1:9 is about.
     
  3. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Messages:
    5,701
    Likes Received:
    0

    Hello Brother Van,

    Let me see if I understand what you are saying here. In 529AD the early church fathers meet at the Council of Orange to address the heresy of Pelagianism. Pelagius denied Original Sin so the good Godly men of the early church wrote these words...

    Are you saying that we...the Church should withdraw from such people as did the early church? That is, those that do not hold to Original Sin? Is that what you are saying brother?
     
  4. Van

    Van
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    9,516
    Likes Received:
    49
    Hi RevMWC, an apt observation, the specific context would be the legalism of the Old Covenant where salvation was sustained by works of the Law, but as my post pointed out, the problem is not a specific deviation, it is any intentional deviation.
     
  5. Van

    Van
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    9,516
    Likes Received:
    49
    Jarthur001, why not discuss what I posted, rather than your strawman?
     
  6. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Messages:
    5,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello brother Van

    I felt like maybe your verse..
    “As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (NIV)
    .....was talking about people preaching another gospel.
    If thy do this...if I understand the verse right...that person is .. eternally condemned accursed.....anathema let him be! ..... curse be on him!”
    The Council of Orange addressing the heresy of Pelagianism said that all that deny original Sin is another gospel. In fact the council of Carthage said those that deny OS anathema let him be...just as your verse Van.

    I feel it is the same point. Are you saying that we...the Church should withdraw from such people as did the early church? That is, those that do not hold to Original Sin? are anathema?

    Do you feel to deny OS is anathema as the early church?
     
  7. revmwc

    revmwc
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Messages:
    4,037
    Likes Received:
    69
    These Judaizers were doing just that intentionally adding too salvation the works of the Law.
     
  8. Greektim

    Greektim
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    118
    What is the Gospel in Galatians???

    Gal 3:8 ISV: Because the Scripture saw ahead of time that God would justify the gentiles by faith, it announced the gospel to Abraham beforehand when it said, "Through you all nations will be blessed."
     
  9. Van

    Van
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    9,516
    Likes Received:
    49
    Jarthur001, unless you address the topic of the thread, why post. My OP answers your question, just quote my answer and then ask for clarification if something seems unclear.
     
  10. Van

    Van
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    9,516
    Likes Received:
    49
    These Judaizers were doing just that intentionally adding too salvation the works of the Law. Yes, that is why Paul said it again. But the problem is not legalism, it is intentionally altering the pure gospel with distortions.

    Some claim that no one should be treated as anathema now because no one has received the pure gospel from an inspired and authenticated with miracles source such as Paul.

    But would not someone intentionally misrepresenting scripture, knowingly using a verse out of context to make a point the author did not make, come very close to qualifying for Paul's condemnation?
     

Share This Page

Loading...