Intro to Galatians & Chapter 1-Elder Tom Goddard
Overview & Chapter 1 1
Introduction – Why Galatians?
Basics – Who, What, When, Where, Why
Overview – Be familiar with Galatians from an overall perspective
Themes – Identify key themes and ideas to guide us as we go into the chapters
Applications – Begin thinking about how Galatians applies to us today
Purpose – To defend the true gospel of grace against the counterfeit gospel of works.
Who? Written by Paul to churches in Galatia: New believers, mixed Jews & Gentiles
Judaizers – Said Gentile must become Jewish to be Christians Acts 15:1
What? Letter for churches in an area to counter error and a counterfeit gospel
When? Among Paul’s earliest letters, after 1st missionary journey, likely before the Jerusalem council in Acts 15, so about 48-49 AD.
Where? South Asia Minor, most likely. Roman province of Galatia.
Mentioned in Acts, but as a region, not a city; “to the churches of Galatia”
South – mentioned in Acts as cities of Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Phyrgia
Why? Paul is troubled about what he’s hearing so soon after leaving them
“Another gospel” – a counterfeit gospel, is harming the churches.
Introduction 1:1-10 – Paul Astonished
Source- The Gospel is Authentic 1:11 – 2:21
Defenses of the Gospel against perversion and of Paul’s apostolic authority
Defense – The Gospel is Superior 3:1 – 4:31
Bondage vs. Freedom, Legalism vs. Justification, Works vs. Faith
Impact – The Gospel is Liberating 5:1 – 6:10
Do good; Bear each other’s burdens; Walk in the Spirit; Serve through love
Conclusion 6:11-18 Boasting in the Cross of Christ
Key Phrases, Repeated Words, Themes
Legalism, “another gospel”
Freedom – How does a slave live when liberated?
Legalism & works vs. Faith & grace
Warnings against leaving the gospel
Place and right use of the Law
What is the Gospel?
82 ref. in NT; more with the word, not the phrase
I Cor 15:1-4, Luke 4:18, Rom 1:16
We’re all tempted to desert the gospel – how?
We’re all tempted to add to the gospel – how?
We’re all tempted to trade our freedom for bondage – how?
Overview & Chapter 1 2
1:1-5 – Greetings
Paul’s claim of apostolic authority
Clear statement of the gospel at the outset
1:6-9 – Rebuke
Compare greetings from some of Paul’s other epistles:
Eph 1:3ff, 1:15-16, Phil 1:3-6, Col 1:3ff
Why does Paul begin as he does?
What is being deserted?
Accursed, anathema – Why repeated?
1:10-24 – Paul’s Apostolic Authority
10-12 – Gospel from Christ
Approval of men vs Approval of God
“I received it through the revelation of Christ” – Why stated here?
13-17 – Paul’s Conversion
Previous life as a persecutor of the church
Set apart before birth, called by grace
Why does Paul include his conversion story here?
18-24 – Paul’s Ministry
Three years in Arabia
Visits Peter in Jerusalem
Unknown to the churches in Judea
Why dos Paul state all of this? And protest the doesn’t lie?
Why does Paul spend so much effort defending himself?
(Note that discrediting Paul is still a tactic of Christ’s foes.)
If any person thinks that we are thus straining the matter too far, let him attend to the two following reasons. First, the question could not be settled without assuming the general principle, that we are justified by the free grace of God; and this principle sets aside not only ceremonies, but every other kind of works. Secondly, Paul did not attach so much importance to Ceremonies as to the wicked doctrine of obtaining Salvation by Works. Let it be observed, therefore, that Paul had good reasons for recurring to first principles. It was necessary to go to the fountain, and to warn his readers that the controversy related, not to some insignificant trifle, but to the most important of all matters — the method of obtaining salvation. – Calvin
Next Week: Chapter 2
Header Image digitally reproduced with the permission of the Papyrology Collection, University of Michigan Library.