“Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:” (Galatians 1:1-2).
While the opening verses of this epistle may not seem out of the ordinary, the New Testament book of Galatians deviates from Paul the Apostle’s other Biblical letters in one important respect. To illustrate that difference, let’s consider a few of the introductory remarks found in some of Paul’s other New Testament epistles…
“To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:6-7).
“,..after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, (I) do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:15-16).
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5).
“To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you” (Colossians 1:2-3).
Even the church at Corinth (a congregation with many, many issues) received a similar kind of salutation. But in contrast to those upbeat expressions of thanksgiving, the opening verses of Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia do not contain any expressions of praise, appreciation, or commendation, This glaring omission is conspicuous by its absence and provides us with an important clue that will serve to indicate the direction of this message.
Although it may not seem obvious at first, Paul set an important tone here at the beginning of this letter. In essence, Paul told the churches at Galatia, “No mere human being appointed me to this position as an apostle. I have been called by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead. The other apostles didn’t nominate me to this work nor did anyone select me. I was appointed by Jesus Himself.” In doing so, these opening verses (and those that follow), help lay the foundation for what is to come.