Galatians 1:8
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be under a curse!
The Duty of IntoleranceW.F. Adeney Galatians 1:8
Occasion of the EpistleR. Finlayson Galatians 1:6-10
Paul's Intolerance of Any Other GospelR.M. Edgar Galatians 1:6-10
A Curse Upon Him Who Preaches a False DoctrineJ. P. Lange, D. D.Galatians 1:8-9
An Angelic EvangelH. Melvill, B. D.Galatians 1:8-9
Change of GospelD. Thomas.Galatians 1:8-9
Christ the Preacher's Great ThemeEvangelical MagazineGalatians 1:8-9
False Teachers CursedT. Boston.Galatians 1:8-9
False Teachers UselessGalatians 1:8-9
False Teaching Ruinous to SoulsPercy.Galatians 1:8-9
Only One GospelEmilius Bayley, B. D.Galatians 1:8-9
Orthodoxy Relates to the Matter of Preaching More than to the MannerT. Horton, D. D.Galatians 1:8-9
PreachingJ. Baldwin Brown, B. A.Galatians 1:8-9
Religious Teaching to be Tested by the BibleN. Rogers.Galatians 1:8-9
St. Paul's Curse on Teachers of False DoctrineH. Melvill, B. D.Galatians 1:8-9
St. Paul's Protestation Against SeducersT. Horton, D. D.Galatians 1:8-9
The AnathemaD. Thomas.Galatians 1:8-9
The AnathemaS. Pearson, M. A.Galatians 1:8-9
The Complete GospelJohn Brown, D. D.Galatians 1:8-9
The Curse of the Apostle Against the False ApostlesLisco.Galatians 1:8-9
The Danger of Adding to the Doctrine of the GospelJ. Tillotson, D. D.Galatians 1:8-9
The Desert of TraitorsFoster.Galatians 1:8-9
The Else GospelW. Cadman, M. A.Galatians 1:8-9
The Gospel According to PaulCharles Simeon, M. A.Galatians 1:8-9
The Gospel UnchangeableT. Horton, D. D.Galatians 1:8-9
The Intolerance of the GospelS. Pearson, M. A.Galatians 1:8-9
The Old Gospel and the NewW. H. M. H. Aitken.Galatians 1:8-9
The Preaching of a False Gospel a Great EvilRichard Nicholls.Galatians 1:8-9
The Receiver of False Doctrine as Bad as the Preacher of ItT. Horton, D. D.Galatians 1:8-9
The Sentence on False TeachersJohn Venn, M. A.Galatians 1:8-9

The frightful excesses of unchristian intolerance that disgrace the history of the Church have led to a revulsion of feeling in which indifference is honoured with the name of charity. The advocate of any kind of intolerance is regarded with aversion as a bigot and a persecutor. But the duty of intolerance at the right and necessary time needs to be more clearly discerned.


1. The exclusive claims of the gospel. There is but one gospel; a rival is a counterfeit. There is room for but one; a rival is a usurper. For:

(1) The gospel of Christ is a declaration of facts, and facts once accomplished cannot vary; it is a revelation of truth, and truth is intolerant of error; the highest truth, too, is one.

(2) The gospel of Christ is the most perfect satisfaction of our needs. Another gospel could not be a better one, for this is all we want. Nothing can be better than forgiveness and eternal life through faith in Christ.

(3) The gospel of Christ is the only possible gospel. God would not sacrifice his Son to death if redemption were to be obtained at a less cost. The gospel is the expression of the love and will of God. As such it is the eternal voice of an immutable Being.

2. The honour of Christ. He who proposes another gospel than that of Christ crucified and Christ risen, directly insults the Name of our Lord. Loyalty to Christ compels intolerance for all enmity to him. That is no true Christian charity which has no regard for the rights of the Lord, who should have the first claim upon our love.

3. The good of men. The gospel offers the highest blessings to men in the greatest need. It is the one anchor of hope to the despairing, the one comfort to the miserable, the one salvation for the test. If it be true, we cannot permit so precious a boon to be lost through the usurpation of a false gospel. The charity that would do this is like that which would allow multitudes of sick people to perish through the maltreatment of a quack, rather than be so unkind to him as to show the least intolerance of his delusions.


1. The rights of the gospel, not the claims of the preacher. St. Paul has just been asserting his claims. Here, however, he entirely subordinates them to iris message. Intolerance commonly springs from personal jealousy or party spirit, and therefore it is generally so evil a thing. We are not to be intolerant for ourselves, only for the truth. The truth is infinitely more important than the teacher. The rank, the character, the ability of the man should count for nothing if he is unfaithful to the Christian truth.

2. The gospel itself, not minor accessories.

(1) Great liberty must be left in regard to details, both because these often lie on debatable gourd and because they are less important than charity. There is a point beyond which more harm will be done in disturbing the peace of the Church and wounding our fellow-Christians than good in establishing minor truths against all opposition.

(2) Account also must be taken of varying views of the gospel. Even the apostles did not state it in the same words; Peter and Paul, John and James thus vary, though with unbroken loyalty to the central truth as it is in Jesus. Language, habits of thought, aspects of truth from different standpoints necessarily present great variety. Let us see that we do not condemn a man for his clothes.

3. Spiritual intolerance, not physical persecution. St. Paul pronounces a curse on the enemy of the gospel. But he does not draw the sword upon him. He leaves him with God. There if he have erred, he will be rightly judged. We have no excuse, then, for the exercise of violence against those whom we regard as the enemies of Christ, but only for bold testimony against their errors - leaving all else in the hands of God. In conclusion, see that

(1) we receive the one true gospel, and

(2) faithfully declare it, and

(3) firmly resist manifest perversions of it. - W. F. A.

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you.
I. THE MISCARRIAGE SUPPOSED — "Though we, or an angel," etc.

1. Not persons of the greatest interest. "We," who have this relation to you as Pastors and Teachers; "we," whom at present you esteem; let neither our relation to you, nor your affection to us, prevail in this particular. Friends are no friends when they go about to divide us from the great Friend of all. "We" — for our number — "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil"; nor to think evil. In which good counsel of the apostle take notice of his sincerity and ingenuity of disposition, in that he would not have so much as himself to be taken into consideration to the prejudice or disadvantage of the gospel.

2. Not persons of the greatest perfections — "Or an angel from heaven."Three kinds of perfection are here expressed.

1. The perfection of parts and understanding, and natural abilities. The greatest learning is not to be heard to the disparagement of truth.

2. The perfection of grace and spiritual endowments. The greatest holiness is not to be made a patron of error. Satan takes advantage of reputed goodness to wind others into labyrinths of opinion and practice.

3. The perfection of employment or manner of dispensation. An angel from heaven. The highest revelations are not to be heard against Scripture.And for these cases in which some indulgence and freedom is to be granted, as in smaller matters, yet respect is to be had to the principles whereupon this is granted.

1. That it be not out of an indifferency and neutrality in religion.

2. That it proceed not from corruption and carnal policy. "Bear with me; let alone my errors; I will pardon yours"; which people cry up charity in such matters that they may better hide their own unsoundness.In this passage there are divers gradations.

1. That the apostle lays this grievous and heavy censure not so much upon the opinion simply considered, or privately enjoyed, but upon the vent and communication of it in preaching (1 Timothy 6:3; Titus 1:10, 11; Matthew 5:19).

2. It is not preaching at large, but to you; there is an emphasis upon his hearers. Of all false teachers there are none like seducers.

3. There is an emphasis also upon the doctrine. There is a caution against false doctrine; also against new doctrine.

II. THE CAUTION OR DENUNCIATION OF PUNISHMENT INFERRED UPON IT — "Let him be accursed." There are two things which require to be unfolded.

1. The apostle's authority.

2. The apostle's charity. This does not give allowance to others lightly and from a private spirit to be full of imprecations. Observe in this emphasis his confidence and firm persuasion of the truth which he had taught and delivered.Preachers have need to be well assured of the truth of that which they teach.

1. Because they deal in matters of great importance. They speak on matters of life and death.

2. There are many more whose judgments do depend upon it.

3. For the better enforcing of the truth itself. The confidence of the preacher stirs up belief in the hearer. But sometimes the more confident are the most ignorant.It is not a confidence of presumption but of well-grounded knowledge; not of fancy but of assurance.

1. The apostle's zeal in the cause of Christ. There is great earnestness expressed in this simple proposition of the text.

2. His impartiality.

3. His constancy. "As we said before" (ver. 9). How far this was not the same in the ninth verse which he said in the eighth. To take notice of the difference, how far it was not the same; for this there is a double alteration, the one in the expression of the preacher, and the other in the expression of the doctrine: for the preacher, that is signified in the eighth verse — "We, or an angel from heaven;" but in the ninth indefinitely — "If any one." Then as to the doctrine in the eighth verse it is laid down under this phrase — "which we have preached." That "which ye have received" is more than what we have preached.

1. His constancy as to his doctrine.

(1)The same for matter.

(2)The same as to the quality of it.

2. The constancy to the censure which he imposed. This threefold.

(1)The inflexibility and unvariableness of the gospel and doctrine of Christ.

(2)The duties of the hearers of it. Not to receive all we hear without consideration.

(3)The heresy of false teachers.

(T. Horton, D. D.)

There are divers improvements and modifications of the same truth, according to the various gifts and abilities which God communicates to His servants, some in one kind, and some in another. Ye shall have some kind of persons who would confine all kind of preachers to one and the same kind of way and method of preaching. This is a business which is not to be expected, neither does the apostle urge it in this Scripture, but in the allowing to every one that gift and manner of preaching which is most agreeable to himself (so it be grave and sober, and proper, and becoming the majesty of the gospel), he does limit them only for matter to the doctrine of the Scripture; that there be nothing delivered but 'what does consist with that, and which either directly or by consequent is to be found in it.

(T. Horton, D. D.)

First, we have here set before us the inflexibility and unvariableness of the gospel and doctrine of Christ; that it is a thing which does not change with times, or persons, or conditions, but is still one and the same, otherwise the apostle could not have been thus absolute and peremptory about it. What was religion formerly, is religion still; and what is now religion, was religion many years ago in the genera-lions which are past, and will be, and must be likewise to the end of the world. We speak now in regard of the things themselves in their own nature. Indeed men's opinions alter and vary about them, but the points themselves are still the same: we can have no new gospel, nor new Jesus, nor new Spirit of God, as the apostle seems to imply in the Scripture before alleged. All these things are unalterable, and inviolable, and indispensable; there's no changing, nor bartering of them. Look as the principles of nature are immutable, so likewise the principles of grace. That the principles of nature are so is very clear; reason is the same in all men, and in all nations, and in all ages, and the same common principles of it are scattered and dispersed, and communicated to the whole world. This holds also (by a proportion) as to the principles of religion and Christianity; though so many have not these principles in them, as have the principles of nature: yet so many as have them, they have them as immutably and unchangeably, one as the other; and ye may as soon rase out these, as ye may rase out them. The ground hereof is this: Because these things are laid in the nature of God Himself, who alters not; as God Himself is unchangeable, so is His truth which issues and proceeds from Himself. And such a kind of thing is the gospel, it is an extract and emanation from God; it was hid in Him, and it does spring out, and flow forth from Him.

(T. Horton, D. D.)

And therefore ye may again take notice of it, that it is not only said, "Besides what we have preached," but "What ye have received." The receiver is as bad as the thief in this particular: and as it is a cursed thing to scatter error, so it is as cursed a thing to take it up, and carry it home, and keep it by us, or nourish it with us; which therefore we should now all be persuaded (in the fear of God) to avoid and shun what we can.

(T. Horton, D. D.)

The occasion of these words. The Sadducees urged the necessity of circumcision, and keeping the law of Moses; thus altering the terms and conditions of religion they made it quite another thing from what our Saviour intended.

I. That the addition of anything to the Christian religion as necessary to be believed or practised in order to salvation, is a perverting of the gospel of Christ, and preaching another gospel.

II. No pretence of infallibility is sufficient to authorize and warrant the addition of anything to the Christian doctrine, as necessary to be believed or practised, in order to salvation.

III. Christians may judge and discern when another gospel is preached, when new articles of faith, or points of practice not enjoined by the gospel, are imposed upon Christians.

IV. I proceed to the fourth observation, which is plainly consequent from those laid down before; namely, that since the declaration of the gospel, and the confirmation given to it, there is no authority in the Christian Church to impose upon Christians anything, as of necessity to salvation, which the gospel hath not made so.

V. It follows likewise from the foregoing observations, that there is no visible judge (how much soever he may pretend to infallibility), to whose determination and decision, in matters of faith and practice necessary to salvation, Christians are bound to submit, without examination, whether those things be agreeable to the doctrine of the gospel, or not.

VI. and last observation from the text; that whosoever teacheth anything, as of necessity to salvation to be believed or practised, besides what the gospel of Christ hath made necessary, does fall under the anathema here in the text; because they that do so, do, according to the mind of St. Paul, pervert the gospel of Christ, and preach another gospel.

(J. Tillotson, D. D.)


1. He was convinced of the truth of the gospel, because it had been made known to him by Divine revelation.

2. He was convinced of the truth of the gospel, because of the change if had wrought in him.

3. He was assured of the truth of the gospel by the manifestations of its power in others.


1. It was a false gospel to teach that there was any other plan by which a sinner could be justified than by believing upon Jesus Christ.

2. It was a false gospel to teach that believers ought to obey the ceremonial law.


1. The publication of a false gospel is ruinous to man.

2. The publication of a false gospel is dishonouring to God.Lessons:

1. Amid the various methods by which the truth of the gospel is established, there is some one in particular that suits the condition of every man.

2. On the part of those who labour in the gospel, there should be the deepest and most solemn conviction concerning the truth they declare.

3. Faith in the true gospel is essential to salvation; without it, the soul is accursed.

(Richard Nicholls.)

As he is a traitor to his prince who taketh upon him to coin money out of a base metal, yea, although in the stamp he putteth for a show the image of the prince, so he that shall broach any doctrine that cometh not from God, whatsoever he say for it, or whatsoever gloss he set on it, he is a traitor unto God, yea, in truth, a cursed traitor, though he were an angel from heaven.

(T. Boston.)

In the war on the Rhine, in 1794, the French got possession of the village of Rhinthal by a very curious ruse de guerre of one Joseph Werck, a trumpeter. This village was maintained by an Austrian party of six hundred hussars. Two companies of foot were ordered to make an attack on it at ten o'clock at night. The Austrians had been apprised of the intended attack, and were drawn up ready to charge on the assailing party. On perceiving this, Werck detached himself from his own party, and contrived, by favour of the darkness, to slip into the midst of the enemy; when, taking his trumpet, he first sounded the rally in the Austrian manner, and, next moment, the retreat. The Austrians, deceived by the signal, were off in an instant at fall gallop; and the French became masters of the village without striking a blow.


A Universalist preached to a chance audience, and, at its close, offered to preach again at a future day; when an old Friend arose, and said, "If thou hast told the truth this time, we do not need thee any more; and, if thou hast told us a lie, we do not want thee any more."

To exercise candour and forbearance towards those who differ from us, is a Christian duty. Yet there are bounds beyond which candour is indifference, and forbearance treason. In things nonessential various opinions may be tolerated; in essentials we must be firm and unwavering. St. Paul sees that in Galatia the very foundations of Christianity are shaking. He therefore reasserts with great force the gospel he had preached there.

I. WHAT WAS THE GOSPEL PAUL PREACHED? The great doctrine he insisted on, was justification by faith without the works of the law. Now consider —

1. His line of argument. The law curses and condemns. By faith alone are we justified, and made partakers of the benefits of the gospel. The prophets preached. this. The covenant with Abraham was one of promise.

2. The objections he anticipates. No ground for saying the gospel tends to licentiousness. Works are needful, though not to be taken into account.

3. The .perversions of which he complains. The addition of legal observance to performance of duties enjoined by the gospel, under the impression that thus they could render themselves more acceptable to God. This was mongrel — neither law nor gospel; so practically a rejection of the gospel.


1. To maintain the purity of the gospel, the fountain of life to the world.

2. To maintain the importance of the gospel, the only source of salvation.

3. To maintain the sufficiency of the gospel to justify and sanctify.Application — If this gospel be true, it is of importance

(a)to be received by you, and

(b)to be diffused by you over the world. There was nothing that Paul would not do and suffer, in order to propagate the gospel of God. Shall not we emulate his zeal?

(Charles Simeon, M. A.)

The gospel must be preached in its






(W. Cadman, M. A.)

Strong words; to many, offensive words. The doctrine of "only one gospel" is not popular. Men are impatient of dogma, opposed to all exclusiveness in religion; they like to think there are many gospels, many avenues leading to salvation. The question, however, is, not whether the doctrine of "only one gospel" is popular, but whether it is true. There are various considerations which serve to prove its truth.

I. THE NATURE AND CONDITION OF MAN. The nature of man is one Varying greatly in outward form and expression, but still essentially one. And as his nature is one, so is the moral disease under which it labours. Sin, although manifold in its modes of action, is essentially one in principle, it is the assertion of independence, rebellion against God's authority, the setting up of the human will in opposition to the Divine; and being thus one and the same disease, one and only one remedy is required to heal it.

II. THE NATURE AND CHARACTER OF GOD. Oneness His essential attribute, and we should expect a manifestation of that quality in any scheme for the salvation of man emanating from God.

III. THE EXPRESS TEACHING OF THE WORD OF GOD. One, and only one, plan of salvation is revealed in the Bible (Acts 4:12).

1. The terms of the one salvation are broad, in that they propose to us the entire Person and work of Christ as the basis upon which we may build.

2. They are narrow, in that they rigorously exclude every other scheme and means of salvation. It is really a question of supremacy. One must reign, either God or man. In claiming supremacy, God claims His right; man must submit, or perish.

(Emilius Bayley, B. D.)

The apostle obviously means to state, not only that his gospel was true, but complete — nothing needed to be added to it. The Jewish teachers might have said: "We do not contradict, we only modify, add to, and so improve the gospel as preached by Paul." The grand subject of the gospel of Christ is the way in which a sinner may be restored to the Divine favour, and obtain the pardon of his sin and the salvation of his soul. It is. because the gospel of Christ contains the only true account of the only way of justification, and that a way exactly suited to our wretched circumstances, that it receives its name of "gospel" — glad tidings of great joy. "Another gospel" means, then, a system of doctrine teaching a way of obtaining the Divine favour different from that laid down in Christ's gospel. The leading principles of Christ's gospel are two:

(a)that men are restored to the Divine favour entirely on account of the doings and sufferings of Jesus Christ; and

(b)that men are interested in these doings and sufferings entirely by believing.Every plan of restoring men to God's favour, which does not embrace these two principles, or which embraces what is inconsistent with either of them, is another gospel. Every plan, for example, which, like that of the Judaising teachers, leads men to depend on their own obedience to any law to any extent; in any degree, either as the ground of their justification or the means of their justification, is another gospel. It is a most momentous consideration, that "the avowed atheist does not more effectually reject the record of God concerning His Son, than the nominal Christian who believes something else than this under the name of a gospel, and trusts in some other Christ than this Christ under the name of a Saviour."

(John Brown, D. D.)

Too much to blame are our over-credulous multitude, who, hand over head, admit and receive for orthodox whatsoever is propounded unto them by their teachers; and think this a sufficient warrant for any point they hold. Our ministers said it, or such a preacher delivered it in a pulpit, — as if there were not some who run before they are sent, and publish the visions of their own brain, prophesying that which God never spake. In matters civil we are more cautious and wary; no gold, almost, do we take before we have tried it by the touch, or weighed it in the balance; and what is the reason? because there is much of it light and naught; yea, hardly we will take a groat without bowing, bending, rubbing it, and the like, being therein oftentimes over-curious; but in religious matters, which concern our faith and soul's salvation, we are over-careless, albeit we are forewarned of many false prophets that are gone into the world, and therefore willed not to believe every spirit, but to try the spirits whether they be of God. This is a great yet common fault among us. Were he an angel from heaven that preaches to thee, yet art thou bound to look into his doctrine, and examine it, and not to take it upon credit without he bring sufficient proof and warrant for it. Like good Bereans, see you search the Scriptures, whether these things be so.

(N. Rogers.)

I. It seems to have been ordered by Divine wisdom that the gospel should, as much as possible, AVAIL ITSELF OF THE ORDINARY CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION AND INFLUENCE IN SPREADING THROUGH THE WORLD.


1. It conveys far better than any other vehicle the affirmation of the whole man — his whole nature, his whole experience — to the matter which he desires to communicate.

2. It brings into play all the affinities, sympathies, and affections of the being, and is therefore a most powerful instrument in arriving at the truth.

3. So much is true of all preaching. But in the preaching of the gospel there is a source of special power — the principle of representation — the power and right to Speak to men in the name of God.


(J. Baldwin Brown, B. A.)

King James II. sat for his portrait to Verelst, the great flower painter. So completely was the canvas filled with elegant garlands of flowers, that the king himself was quite hidden out of sight. May we not in preaching and teaching attract so much attention to human wisdom, words and flowers, that Christ shall take quite an unimportant part in our instruction? And what is that but bringing in a different gospel, which yet is not another? The true gospel: —

I. THE TRUE GOSPEL EXISTS. Paul got his assurance of this —

1. By the manner in which it came to him.

(1)Not by intuition, learning, or traditions,

(2)but by direct revelation from heaven (Acts 26:14-27).

2. By its revolutionary influence over him.


1. In apostolic times (see almost all the Epistles), which exposes the folly of going to antiquity for a standard in theology or morals.

2. In modern times, by rationalism, sectarianism, and intolerance.

III. THE PERVERSION OF THE TRUE GOSPEL IS A TREMENDOUS EVIL; greater than the anathema of angels or apostles. Why? Because —

1. It misrepresents the Divine character.

2. Neutralizes the Divine power to save.Conclusion:

1. A lesson to preachers. How great their responsibility.

2. A lesson to hearers. "Take heed how ye hear."

(D. Thomas.)


1. It is founded on the Divine unity, and can never make a truce with Polytheism, Pantheism, or Materialism.

2. It displays the atonement of Christ, and consequently antagonizes every system which places salvation in any other.

3. It is revealed by one Spirit through inspired men, and therefore opposes




1. The heart craves for one allsufficient Redeemer.

2. The intellect, for an infallible revelation of Divine love.

3. The moral nature, for an authoritative lawgiver in the midst of the tangled perplexities of life.

III. THIS INTOLERANCE is compatible with diversity in the manifestations of spiritual life.

(S. Pearson, M. A.)


1. It would carry a weight and conviction which no human ministry can impart.

2. But

(1)then our probation would be at an end, for there would be no choice between believing and disbelieving.

(2)We should lose the equality and sympathy between preacher and hearer based on a common nature and experience.

II. ITS CRITERION. Supposing such to be possible, how are we to test its truth?

1. Not by the rank, genius, and holiness of the preacher.

2. But by comparing it with revealed truth.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

The most dreaded Jewish punishment. Three degrees.

I. NIDUI. Casting out of the synagogue and separation from society, which might last thirty days.

II. CHEREM. The sentence of devotion to death.

III. SHAMMATHA or MARANATHA, which purported that the criminal had nothing to expect but the final infliction of the Day of Judgment. He was loaded with execrations, excluded from temple and synagogue, his goods were confiscated, his sons debarred from circumcision and his daughters from marriage, and he solemnly remitted to the judgment of heaven. This was the curse the apostle invoked on himself or any one who preached another gospel.

(D. Thomas.)

Plenty of people come to a mission to hear a new gospel. I have seen the old gospel do many wonderful things. I have seen it transform character. I have seen it raise men from the lowest dregs of society and make them earnest and useful members of it. But I have never seen a new gospel do anything for any man.

(W. H. M. H. Aitken.)

Evangelical Magazine.
There was a shield in which the maker wrought his name, so that it could be effaced only by the destruction of his work; and so should the name of our glorious Immanuel be inwrought through the texture of our instructions, that their very consistency shall be dependent on the diffusion of that one blessed name throughout their length and breadth. On entering the cathedral-towns of England, the towers, or the spire, of the mother-church, or minster, are seen shooting up into the sky, far above all the other buildings, public or private, secular or sacred, and so let Jesus, the Church's Lord, King, and Saviour, have the pre-eminence above "the whole city of topics and themes, Divine and human, which may be meetly grouped around His name; He casting His sanctifying shadow over all.

(Evangelical Magazine.)

Benedict Arnold once asked a loyal captain what the Americans would do with him if they caught him. He replied, "I believe they would first cut off your lame leg, which was wounded in the cause of freedom and virtue at Quebec, and bury it with the honours of war, and afterwards hang the remainder of your body on a gibbet."


What did the apostle mean by this strong asseveration? They are scathing words, and if true for his time, are true for ours also. What could he mean but this, that if any misunderstood and misrepresented the gospel — God's grandest and simplest revelation of Himself — it would show such a perverted mind, heart, and conscience, that he could be no other than accursed. He might conceivably be an angel coming from the undenied splendours of heaven; and if he failed to see God's glory in Bethlehem, or could not feel God's love at Calvary, or could not behold Divine hope for man at the resurrection, then, though his mind was angelic in its powers, it would be darker than the midnight sky, when the clouds return after the rain. Such moral gloom has fallen on many men; such callousness to the Cross; such indifference to the splendours of the Ascension; such utter scepticism about the completeness of Christ's work, and the Divinity of Christ's person. And if they have thus wilfully rejected the revelation of the first century, if they are not moved by love to a living Christ, God is their judge, and the gospel itself has become their accuser. In such a case this inspired sentence is a warning sent beforehand, that they may, shaking off their delusion, find blessing and life for evermore.

(S. Pearson, M. A.)

1. A fearfully earnest utterance.

2. Yet pressingly needful.

3. Instructive for all who are wavering.

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)


1. Necessarily every one, without exception, who changes the blessing of the gospel into mischief, and so out of good prepares for himself death.

2. Those also who have deep insight, or other high qualifications for serving the kingdom of God, and yet do nut preach it purely.

3. Even an angel himself, if he could preach another gospel.


1. He who preaches the gospel must have a will to serve, not men, but God.

2. Through a false gospel men may indeed be attracted, but God views it as blasphemy.

3. Therefore he is placed under the curse, who will serve the gospel, and yet doing so as a man-pleaser, is found an unfruitful servant of Christ.


How weak is that reason which would argue from the holiness of a teacher to the truth of what is taught. It must never be taken for granted that the doctrine is sound, because the preacher seems righteous. There are certain standards to which doctrines must be referred, and by their agreement with these — not by the character of their supporters — are we bound to decide upon their truth or falseness.

I. REVELATION MUST IN ALL ITS PARTS BE CONSISTENT WITH ITSELF. Fresh disclosures of His will God may make from time to time, but they must always be in harmony with what has gone before. In reading the Bible we always look, as it were, on the same landscape; the only difference being, as we take in more of its statements, that more and more of the mist is rolled away from the horizon, so that the eye can include a broader sweep of beauty. The later writers turn towards us a larger portion of the illuminated hemisphere than the earlier; but as the mighty globe turns majestically on its axis, we feel that the oceans and lands which come successively into view, are but constituent parts of the same glorious world. There is the discovery of now territories, but as fast as discovered the territories combine to make up one planet. In like manner, it is no fresh system of religion, which is made known to succeeding generations of men, as the brief notices given to patriarchs expand in the institutions of the law, under the teachings of prophecy, till at length in the days of Christ and His apostles they burst into magnificence and fill a world with redemption. From beginning to end it is the same system — a system for the rescue of men through the interference of a Surety; and revelation has been only the gradual development of this system — the drawing up another fold of the veil from the landscape, the adding another stripe of light to the crescent; so that the early fathers of the race, and ourselves, on whom have fallen the ends of the world, look on the same arrangements for human deliverance, though to them there was nothing but a cloudy expanse, with here and there a prominent landmark, while to us, though the horizon loses itself in the far-off eternity, every object of personal interest is exhibited in beauty and distinctness. Nothing, therefore, is to be believed, .which contradicts any portion of what is thus revealed. No matter what other credentials a teacher brings, if there be not this evidence in his favour his doctrine is to be rejected.


1. The duty of determining why you believe. The hope of believers is in no sense a baseless or indefinite thing, but rests upon grounds capable of demonstration. It is of paramount importance that you know thoroughly the claims of that gospel which is to expel every other.

2. The duty of examining what you believe. God has furnished the Christian with a rule by which to try doctrines, and commanded him to reject, without regard to the authority of the teacher, whatever that rule determines to be error.

3. The duty of thorough acquaintance with the Scriptures. What can be the worth of your decision, if you know but little of the criterion?

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Let him be accursed.—
The Greek word is "anathema," which properly means "a person or thing which has been devoted to God; and especially something which he who devoted it has solemnly pledged himself to God to destroy" (Leviticus 27:28, 29; Numbers 21:2, 3; John 6:16, 17, 21). But it is also used without any reference to an offerer or to a vow, and signifies "a person or thing which is accursed" (Deuteronomy 7:26). What did St. Paul mean by the expression, "let him be accursed," as applied to the false teachers? He cannot mean that he would have them wish for the curse of God to come down on them. He would rather have prayed that these unhappy men might be converted and saved; as he himself, once a persecutor and blasphemer, and as the Galatians, once gross and wicked idolaters, had been. His meaning appears to be simply this, "let him be regarded by you as one accursed of God." There is only one other place in which we find this expression in this exact form, viz., 1 Corinthians 16:22 — "If any man love not the Lord, let him be anathema, maranatha." Can we imagine that Paul wished all professing Christians who did not love the Lord to be accursed? It is impossible to suppose such a thing. He can only mean, surely, that if any one proved that he had no real love for Christ, then — whatever his profession and his knowledge and his gifts might be — the Corinthians were to regard him as an unconverted man, and therefore as one who had no personal interest in the salvation of Christ, but was still under the curse of the law. And if this be his meaning, then there will be nothing in it but what will be in perfect harmony with all Paul's teaching and with all Paul's love for souls.

(John Venn, M. A.)

Cephas, Galatians, James, Paul, Peter
Cilicia, Damascus, Galatia, Jerusalem, Judea, Syria
Accursed, Already, Anathema, Angel, Announce, Announced, Anything, Besides, Bring, Condemned, Contrary, Curse, Cursed, Different, Eternally, Glad, Gospel, Heaven, Messenger, News, Preach, Preached, Preacher, Proclaim, Though, Tidings
1. Paul's greeting to the Galatians;
6. He wonders why they have so soon left him and the gospel;
8. and accurses those who preach any other gospel than he did.
11. He learned the gospel not from men, but from God;
14. and shows what he was before his calling;
17. and what he did immediately after it.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Galatians 1:8

     4111   angels, servants
     5408   messenger

Galatians 1:6-9

     1615   Scripture, sufficiency
     7025   church, unity
     8749   false teachers

Galatians 1:7-8

     5978   warning

Galatians 1:8-9

     1651   numbers, 1-2
     5496   revenge, examples
     6124   condemnation
     9023   death, unbelievers

Our Manifesto
TO ME it is a pitiful sight to see Paul defending himself as an apostle; and doing this, not against the gainsaying world, but against cold-hearted members of the church. They said that he was not truly an apostle, for he had not seen the Lord; and they uttered a great many other things derogatory to him. To maintain his claim to the apostleship, he was driven to commence his epistles with "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ," though his work was a self-evident proof of his call. If, after God has
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 37: 1891

Answer to Mr. W's Fifth Objection.
5. The consideration that none of these raised persons did or could, after the return to their bodies, tell any tales of their separate existence; otherwise the Evangelists had not been silent in this main point, &c. p. 32. None of these persons, Mr. W. says, told any tales of their separate existence. So I suppose with him. As for the two first: How should they? being only, as Mr. W. says, an insignificant boy and girl, of twelve years of age, or thereabouts. Or if they did, the Evangelists were
Nathaniel Lardner—A Vindication of Three of Our Blessed Saviour's Miracles

The Epistles of St. Paul
WHEN we pass from primitive Christian preaching to the epistles of St. Paul, we are embarrassed not by the scantiness but by the abundance of our materials. It is not possible to argue that the death of Christ has less than a central, or rather than the central and fundamental place, in the apostle's gospel. But before proceeding to investigate more closely the significance he assigns to it, there are some preliminary considerations to which it is necessary to attend. Attempts have often been made,
James Denney—The Death of Christ

Institutions of Jesus.
That Jesus was never entirely absorbed in his apocalyptic ideas is proved, moreover, by the fact that at the very time he was most preoccupied with them, he laid with rare forethought the foundation of a church destined to endure. It is scarcely possible to doubt that he himself chose from among his disciples those who were pre-eminently called the "apostles," or the "twelve," since on the day after his death we find them forming a distinct body, and filling up by election the vacancies that had
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus

Fourth Conversation
The manner of going to God. * Hearty renunciation. * Prayer and praise prevent discouragement. * Sanctification in common business. * Prayer and the presence of God. * The whole substance of religion. * Self-estimation * Further personal experience. He discoursed with me very frequently, and with great openness of heart, concerning his manner of going to GOD, whereof some part is related already. He told me, that all consists in one hearty renunciation of everything which we are sensible does not
Brother Lawrence—The Practice of the Presence of God

Exposition of St. Paul's Words, Gal. I. 8.
Exposition of St. Paul's Words, Gal. i. 8. [21.] When therefore certain of this sort wandering about provinces and cities, and carrying with them their venal errors, had found their way to Galatia, and when the Galatians, on hearing them, nauseating the truth, and vomiting up the manna of Apostolic and Catholic doctrine, were delighted with the garbage of heretical novelty, the apostle putting in exercise the authority of his office, delivered his sentence with the utmost severity, "Though we," he
Vincent of Lérins—The COMMONITORY OF Vincent of Lérins

A Reasonable Service
TEXT: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."--Romans 12:1. There is perhaps no chapter in the New Testament, certainly none in this epistle, with which we are more familiar than this one which is introduced by the text; and yet, however familiar we may be with the statements, if we read them carefully and study them honestly they must always come to us not only in the
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot

The Praise of Men.
"They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."--John xii. 43. This is spoken of the chief rulers of the Jews, who, though they believed in Christ's Divine mission, were afraid to confess Him, lest they should incur temporal loss and shame from the Pharisees. The censure passed by St. John on these persons is too often applicable to Christians at the present day; perhaps, indeed, there is no one among us who has not at some time or other fallen under it. We love the good opinion
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII

Sudden Conversions.
"By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain."--1 Cor. xv. 10. We can hardly conceive that grace, such as that given to the great Apostle who speaks in the text, would have been given in vain; that is, we should not expect that it would have been given, had it been foreseen and designed by the Almighty Giver that it would have been in vain. By which I do not mean, of course, to deny that God's gifts are oftentimes abused and wasted by man, which
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VIII

So Great Blindness, Moreover, Hath Occupied Men's Minds...
43. So great blindness, moreover, hath occupied men's minds, that to them it is too little if we pronounce some lies not to be sins; but they must needs pronounce it to be sin in some things if we refuse to lie: and to such a pass have they been brought by defending lying, that even that first kind which is of all the most abominably wicked they pronounce to have been used by the Apostle Paul. For in the Epistle to the Galatians, written as it was, like the rest, for doctrine of religion and piety,
St. Augustine—On Lying

Travelling in Palestine --Roads, Inns, Hospitality, Custom-House Officers, Taxation, Publicans
It was the very busiest road in Palestine, on which the publican Levi Matthew sat at the receipt of "custom," when our Lord called him to the fellowship of the Gospel, and he then made that great feast to which he invited his fellow-publicans, that they also might see and hear Him in Whom he had found life and peace (Luke 5:29). For, it was the only truly international road of all those which passed through Palestine; indeed, it formed one of the great highways of the world's commerce. At the time
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

The Early History of Particular Churches.
A.D. 67-A.D. 500 Section 1. The Church of England. [Sidenote: St. Paul's visit to England.] The CHURCH OF ENGLAND is believed, with good reason, to owe its foundation to the Apostle St. Paul, who probably came to this country after his first imprisonment at Rome. The writings of Tertullian, and others in the second and third centuries speak of Christianity as having spread as far as the islands of Britain, and a British king named Lucius is known to have embraced the Faith about the middle of
John Henry Blunt—A Key to the Knowledge of Church History

It is Also Written, "But I Say unto You...
28. It is also written, "But I say unto you, Swear not at all." But the Apostle himself has used oaths in his Epistles. [2342] And so he shows how that is to be taken which is said, "I say unto you, Swear not at all:" that is, lest by swearing one come to a facility in swearing, from facility to a custom, and so from a custom there be a downfall into perjury. And therefore he is not found to have sworn except in writing, where there is more wary forethought, and no precipitate tongue withal. And
St. Augustine—On Lying

Easter Monday
Text: Acts 10, 34-43. 34 And Peter opened his mouth, and said: Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him. 36 The word which he sent unto the children of Israel, preaching good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all)--37 that saying ye yourselves know, which was published throughout all Judaea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 even Jesus of Nazareth,
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
Text: Colossians 3, 12-17. 12 Put on therefore, as God's elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering; 13 forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, if any man have a complaint against any; even as the Lord forgave you, so also do ye: 14 and above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to the which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the Word
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

Extracts No. vii.
[In this number the objector gives the whole ground of his objections, and the reasons for his doubts: which he states as follows, viz. "1. Mankind, in all ages of the world, have been, and still are prone to superstition. "2. It cannot be denied, but that a part of mankind at least, have believed, and still are believing in miracles and revelation, which are spurious. "3. The facts on which religion is predicated are unlike every thing of which we have any positive knowledge." Under the first
Hosea Ballou—A Series of Letters In Defence of Divine Revelation

Chrysostom Evades Election to a Bishopric, and Writes his Work on the Priesthood.
About this time several bishoprics were vacant in Syria, and frequent depositions took place with the changing fortunes of orthodoxy and Arianism, and the interference of the court. The attention of the clergy and the people turned to Chrysostom and his friend Basil as suitable candidates for the episcopal office, although they had not the canonical age of thirty. Chrysostom shrunk from the responsibilities and avoided an election by a pious fraud. He apparently assented to an agreement with Basil
St. Chrysostom—On the Priesthood

The Apostle's Position and Circumstances
PHILIPPIANS i. 12-20 Disloyal "brethren"--Interest of the paragraph--The victory of patience--The Praetorian sentinel--Separatism, and how it was met--St Paul's secret--His "earnest expectation"--"Christ magnified"--"In my body" St Paul has spoken his affectionate greeting to the Philippians, and has opened to them the warm depths of his friendship with them in the Lord. What he feels towards them "in the heart of Christ Jesus," what he prays for them in regard of the growth and fruit of their
Handley C. G. Moule—Philippian Studies

Epistle Xlv. To Theoctista, Patrician .
To Theoctista, Patrician [153] . Gregory to Theoctista, &c. We ought to give great thanks to Almighty God, that our most pious and most benignant Emperors have near them kinsfolk of their race, whose life and conversation is such as to give us all great joy. Hence too we should continually pray for these our lords, that their life, with that of all who belong to them, may by the protection of heavenly grace be preserved through long and tranquil times. I have to inform you, however, that I have
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Jesus' First Residence at Capernaum.
^D John II. 12. ^d 12 After this he went down to Capernaum [The site of Capernaum is generally conceded to be marked by the ruins now called Tel-Hum. Jesus is said to have gone "down" because Cana is among the hills, and Capernaum was by the Lake of Galilee, about six hundred feet below sea level], he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples [There is much dispute as to what the New Testament writers mean by the phrase the "brethren of the Lord." This phrase, found in any other than a
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Indeed in all Spiritual Delights, which Unmarried Women Enjoy...
27. Indeed in all spiritual delights, which unmarried women enjoy, their holy conversation ought also to be with caution; lest haply, though their life be not evil through haughtiness, their report be evil through negligence. Nor are they to be listened to, whether they be holy men or women, when (upon occasion of their neglect in some matter being blamed, through which it comes to pass that they fall into evil suspicion, from which they know that their life is far removed) they say that it is enough
St. Augustine—On the Good of Widowhood.

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