Online Bible Commentary
False Teaching in the Church
Galatians 1: 6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 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. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. 11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. (NKJV)
Paul is writing to believers in Galatia, likely southern Galatia because he mentions in verse six of having already visited them. There is no record of Paul ministering in northern Galatia. We do know that Paul ministered in Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe in southern Galatia. He visited this area, present day Turkey, on his three missionary journeys.
It is believed that he wrote this letter in between his first and second journeys in 49 A.D. The subject of requiring circumcision was settled by the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 in 49 A.D. Since this matter had not been settled yet this letter must have been written prior to the Jerusalem Council.
Paul is writing to overcome the teaching of false teachers that have been influencing the Galatians. Judaizers are distorting the Gospel by requiring circumcision and teaching that salvation comes from a mixture of grace and law, instead of grace alone.
Paul is surprised that the Galatians have departed so soon from the gospel to which Jesus had called them, through His grace (v. 6). Paul states that these false teachers are teaching a different gospel than the gospel of Christ and are perverting the gospel, causing confusion (v. 7).
He writes that they are under God’s curse for distorting God’s word. He includes anyone, even himself or “an angel from heaven”, as those who would be under God’s curse if they preach a gospel different from what he taught and which he received from Jesus Christ (vv. 8-9).
Paul writes that those who distort the gospel are trying to please human beings, not God, and if he did that he would not consider himself to be a servant of God (v. 10). Finally, Paul writes that the gospel he preaches comes directly from Jesus Christ, and is not of human origin (vv. 11-12).
False teachers have been around since the beginning of Christianity. We saw them in Corinth and now we see them in Galatia. Paul had to spend way too much time combating false teaching, but he did it to make sure the gospel of Jesus Christ was preserved.
Today, thankfully, we all have the preserved teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Bible. Even so, remarkably, we still have false teachers. It is understandable that false teachers deceived believers before the New Testament was available, but it boggles the mind how they can deceive believers today.
An example of false teaching in our country today is that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle in the eyes of God. It is celebrated in some churches even to the point of celebrating same sex marriage. Here are just a few passages in the Bible where homosexuality is condemned: Genesis 19:5, Leviticus 18:22-23, Leviticus 20:13, Judges 19:22-24, Romans 1:24-27, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. And there are more.
As was Paul, Christians are called to point out false teaching where we find it. It is false teaching for churches to teach approval of the homosexual lifestyle. As Paul wrote, these false teachers are perverting the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are trying to please human beings and are not serving God. Because of this, they are under God’s curse.