J. Vernon McGee has an interesting way of looking at the Bible. He seems to take a standpoint on Galations that is very refreshing. I have never heard a biblical scalar use the word cool before. I just really enjoyed reading his commentary.
He divides the book into five parts, the first being the introduction. He talks about how in the first five verses Paul tells that he is an apostle by God not by man. In verse two he describes that Paul is writing to the churches of Galatia and not the church body that is composed of all that are saved. In verse four he gives a very inspiring view of how Jesus gave himself. As well as talking about how God will deliver us from present evil. From verse five he talks about how wonderful God is and how we need to praise his name.
McGee then goes on to talk about Paul’s subject in Galations. Paul is writing this letter to warn about Judaizers. After Paul had gone threw an area these Judaizers would come right behind him and add to what Paul said. They would tell them that they had to obey the Mosaic Law as well as have faith. The main idea for verses 1:6-10 holds the same main idea. God has provided us with the one and only true gospel and this is what Paul was preaching. If anyone should ever come up to and tell you that your belief is right up to a point we should tell them to leave us alone.
In the next part he talks about Paul’s experiences in Arabia. In verses eleven and twelve Paul states one again about how the gospel he preaches came from no man but from God. In verses 18-24 we read about Paul going to meet with the other apostles and their reaction to him. The church as well as the apostles in Jerusalem was slightly reluctant to accept Paul when he first arrived. In fact McGee says “without the help of Barnabas, Paul would probably have waited for a long time before the church in Jerusalem would have received him”. Paul never did meet up with all the apostles. He only met two the brothers of Jesus, James and Peter.
Now we come to chapter two of Galations. This is the point were things really start to get interesting. This is when Paul comes back to Jerusalem with Titus. It was a very powerful message that Paul stated by bringing one who was uncircumcised to the church of Jerusalem. The real meat of verses 2:1-10 is when Paul meets with the apostles. In this meeting they both presented their version of the gospel and came to find out that they had nothing to add to Paul’s version. They had come to the agreement that both gospels were true and accurate.
Now we move to Paul’s experiences in Antioch with Peter. It was well know that Jews did not feel that they should eat meat. Well at the church in Antioch there was a mixture of both Jews and Gentiles. They also had a great meal called a love feast in this church. Well this lead to some problems having Jews that didn’t eat meat and Gentiles that did. The solution was to have two separate tables, one with meat and one without. When Paul came he saw no problem in eating meat so he went to sit at the gentiles table. When Simon Peter arrived he saw Paul sitting at the table and sat at the Jews table anyway. Later after the meal Peter ask Paul about eating meat and Paul explained to Peter that eating meat cannot separate you from God if you are saved by grace. Peter then ate meat the next morning and enjoyed it. That evening when friends from the church in Jerusalem came Peter went from the Gentile table back to the kosher table. “By his actions he was saying that the gentile table was wrong and the kosher table was right.
Now we come to chapter three in Galatians were Paul now goes back to the experiences of the Galatians. McGee says that he believes in experience. He says that you have to be very careful when dealing with experience. “What experience dose is corroborate the gospel”. There are many people today that reason from experience to truth. McGee believes that the Word of God reasons from truth to experience. If we try to make scriptural truth out of our experiences we can do nothing but falsify the Word of God. Paul ask the Galatians six questions about there experience. These questions were asked for one simple purpose and that is to make sure that the Galatians knew good and well of their salvation and that they should not back step once they had been saved.
Now we come to what McGee calls the high water mark, the illustration of Abraham. Paul uses Abraham because he is just a great example of justification by faith. Paul uses Abraham as an example in both Roman and Galatians. It can not be said that Abraham was justified by the law because the Mosaic Law didn’t appear till another 400 years later.