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What's a Galatian?
What's a Galatian?
God, by his grace through Christ, called you to become his people. So I am amazed that you are turning away so quickly and believing something different than the Good News. Really, there is no other Good News. But some people are confusing you; they want to change the Good News of Christ. We preached to you the Good News. So if we ourselves, or even an angel from heaven, should preach to you something different, we should be judged guilty! I said this before, and now I say it again: You have already accepted the Good News. If anyone is preaching something different to you, let that person be judged guilty!
As we enter into this series on Galatians, we are going to add a new component that will allow your groups to dive deeper into the Scriptures. If you're group enjoys our current format of discussion around the Sunday message, don't fear because that element will remain. However, if you're group is interested in doing a more traditional "Bible Study" format, we have added that option at the bottom of the page. Please enjoy whichever (or both) option(s) your group is comfortable with.
And as always, please remember that this outline is just a tool for your group. Use the things that are useful and skip the rest.
Never feel like you have to "get through" all the material!
I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ.
You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all.
You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.
1. Because of the problems in the Galatian churches – people adding more regulations to the believers – Paul is forced to establish the source of his apostleship.
2. The greeting is from Paul and his entourage and is directed to the churches of Galatia which are likely: Antioch (Acts 13:14-52), Iconium (Acts 14:1-7), Lystra (Acts 14:8-20), Derbe (Acts 14:20-21).
3. "Grace" is the standard Greek greeting, while "peace" is the standard Jewish greeting. (This shows the diverse makeup of the church.)
4. “Gave himself” literally means that Jesus “exposed” himself to our “sins” – to our “destructive choices” – in order to “expose” the futility of living in this “evil world” – or, living by the standards and wisdom of the dominant culture. Jesus’s sacrifice was a means of severing our connection with that mindset.
6. The epistle to the Galatians, like that to the Romans and Hebrews, instructs believers to refrain from allowing a resurgence of the “old law” – or covenant – with the new. This hybrid gospel constitutes "another" gospel, “no Gospel”.
8-9. Paul warns about adding things to the Gospel message and pronounces a curse (anathema) on those who would teach or preach any variation (anathema means they have become separated). Paul knows that grace is a very difficult concept for humans to accept, that our minds are attuned to transaction relationships: where we have to do something, or we owe someone something – this is where guilt and shame come in, which have no place in love.
10. In the final analysis, are we interested in doing what’s right – loving people – or are we interested in pleasing people?
11. Paul constantly had to defend his apostleship as well as the origin of the gospel because he, unlike the other apostles, had never met Jesus and was not of the original group – Paul’s conversion was later and by way of “revelation.”
12. Unlike when he sat at the "feet of Gamaliel" (Acts 22:3) and was "taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers," Paul asserts he was not taught the gospel but received it by revelation.
13. The Galatians were familiar with Paul's past life - as were his detractors. The most notable example of his cruelty is described in Acts 7:58 - 8:3; 9:1-2. Though Paul saw this conversion as an avenue for giving God “praising” (see verse 24).
14. Paul was a part of the strict sect of the Pharisee’s which upheld the Law as the most important thing.
15. Paul was "set apart" which probably refers to his natural birth the timing of which he attributes to God – which means he was probably younger than most of the apostles and didn’t come onto the scene until after them, as God “has planned.” Then Paul speaks of his "calling" which is similar to his statement in Rom. 1:1 where he indicates he was "called" as an apostle. To understand the nature of Paul's and any believer's "calling," see Paul's explanation in 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15.
16. God revealed His divine plan and Paul's part in the plan. Paul had no contact with anyone about what to preach. See 2 Cor. 12:1-7.
17. Paul did not confer with the other apostles but instead went into Arabia. That he preached the same message without consultation lends credibility to the message and to Paul's claim to apostleship.
18-19. Paul goes at length to lay out his credentials as coming from God to lend legitimacy to his call to go to the Gentiles instead of to the Jews, which was a point of contention.
1 From Paul, an apostle. I was not chosen to be an apostle by human beings, nor was I sent from human beings. I was made an apostle through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Jesus from the dead. 2 This letter is also from all those of God’s family who are with me.
To the churches in Galatia:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 Jesus gave himself for our sins to free us from this evil world we live in, as God the Father planned. 5 The glory belongs to God forever and ever. Amen.
6 God, by his grace through Christ, called you to become his people. So I am amazed that you are turning away so quickly and believing something different than the Good News. 7 Really, there is no other Good News. But some people are confusing you; they want to change the Good News of Christ. 8 We preached to you the Good News. So if we ourselves, or even an angel from heaven, should preach to you something different, we should be judged guilty! 9 I said this before, and now I say it again: You have already accepted the Good News. If anyone is preaching something different to you, let that person be judged guilty!
10 Do you think I am trying to make people accept me? No, God is the One I am trying to please. Am I trying to please people? If I still wanted to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
11 Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that the Good News I preached to you was not made up by human beings. 12 I did not get it from humans, nor did anyone teach it to me, but Jesus Christ showed it to me.
13 You have heard about my past life in the Jewish religion. I attacked the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was becoming a leader in the Jewish religion, doing better than most other Jews of my age. I tried harder than anyone else to follow the teachings handed down by our ancestors.
15 But God had special plans for me and set me apart for his work even before I was born. He called me through his grace 16 and showed his son to me so that I might tell the Good News about him to those who are not Jewish. When God called me, I did not get advice or help from any person. 17 I did not go to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was. But, without waiting, I went away to Arabia and later went back to Damascus.
18 After three years I went to Jerusalem to meet Peter and stayed with him for fifteen days. 19 I met no other apostles, except James, the brother of the Lord. 20 God knows that these things I write are not lies. 21 Later, I went to the areas of Syria and Cilicia.
22 In Judea the churches in Christ had never met me. 23 They had only heard it said, “This man who was attacking us is now preaching the same faith that he once tried to destroy.” 24 And these believers praised God because of me.
Apostle (apostolos) “one who is sent,” a delegate; an ambassador of the Gospel; a commissioner of Christ with miraculous powers.
Family (adelphos) a brother (lit. or fig.) near or remote.
Churches (ekklesia) called out ones, i.e. a popular meeting, a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both).
Grace (charis) goodwill, graciousness, of manner or act, the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude.
Peace (eirene) peace (lit. or fig.); by implication prosperity, fullness of life.
Amazed (thaumazo) astonished, shocked, taken aback.
Sin (hamartia) error; self-destructive choices; guilt.
Free us (exaireo) to tear out; to select; to release.
Evil World (aion) an age; by extension perpetuity (also past).
Planned (thelema) a determination (prop. the thing), i.e. (act.) choice (spec. purpose, decree).
Turning Away (metatithemi) to transfer, (lit.) transport, (by impl.) exchange, (reflex.) change sides, or (fig.) pervert.
Good News (euaggelion) a good message; Gospel.
Confusing (metastrepho) to turn across, i.e. transmute or corrupt or pervert.
Guilty (anathema) a (religious) ban or excommunicated (thing or person).
Servant (doulos) a slave, in a qualified sense of subjection or subservience).
Made up (gnorizo) to make known; subj. to know.
Showed (apokalupsis) disclosure of the truth, revelation (revealed), laying bare or making plain.
Doing Better (huperbole) a throwing beyond others, i.e. (fig.) super-eminence; adv. preeminently.
Tried Harder (zelotes) one burning with zeal, a sect within Judaism known for radical action and defense of the law (Torah); a "zealot."
Teachings (parádosis) transmission, i.e. (concretely) a precept; specially, the Jewish traditionary law:—ordinance, tradition.
Set me apart (aphorizo) to set off by boundary, i.e. (fig.) limit, exclude, appoint, etc.
Called (kaleo) to "call" (prop. aloud, but used in a variety of applications, dir. or otherwise); to invite; to be called i.e. to bear a name or title (among people).
Not Jewish (ethnos) a race (as of the same habit), i.e. a tribe; spec. a foreign (non-Jewish) person (usually by implication pagan), Gentile.
Get advice (prosanatithemi) to impart or (by impl.) to consult.
Syria and Cilicia: areas to the East and South of Galatia – Tarsus, Antioch
As we continue through this series on Galatians, we are going to continue to offer elements to help you and your groups dive deeper into the Scriptures. If you're group enjoys our current format of discussion around the Sunday message, don't fear because that element will remain. However, if you're group is interested in doing a more traditional "Bible Study" format, we have added that option at the bottom of the page. Please enjoy whichever (or both) option(s) your group is comfortable with.
And as always, please remember that this outline is just a tool for your group. Use the things that are useful and skip the rest.
Never feel like you have to "get through" all the material!
***There is no video for this week's lesson as we had some technical difficulties***
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant... Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended.
But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?
“You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.
1. Fourteen years elapses before Paul, Barnabas, and Titus return to Judea – once again Paul uses this timeline to legitimize God as his source of receiving the Gospel message. Some suggest that this meeting in Jerusalem is the one mentioned in Acts 15:2f. A careful reading, suggests the Gal. 2 meeting was private (vs. 2), which seems to fit with the privacy of the Acts 15 meeting. A reasonable conclusion is that the letter to the Galatians was written soon after the Jerusalem "council" of Acts 15.
2. Paul wants to ensure that the gospel he preaches (without circumcision) is in unity with the rest of the church. His fear is that he has "run in vain," if the Global church does not receiving his message also.
3. Titus is not required to be circumcised - hence Paul's preaching has not been in vain.
4. Once again false brethren have tried to reinstate aspects of the old law - namely circumcision. Any return to the law for justification is a return to bondage.
5. There was no compromise, no yielding of the truth for the lies of the false brethren.
6-7. Paul says that those whom everyone regards as “authoritative” within the church had nothing to change in Paul’s message – again legitimizing his message as God-given. Instead, they saw that Paul had been entrusted with preaching to the Gentiles (uncircumcision) in much the same way Peter had been entrusted with preaching to the Jews (circumcision).
8. Paul and Peter were each given similar responsibilities by God.
9. The leaders of the Jerusalem church acknowledge Paul’s mission and agree that God’s message has been opened to even non-Jews.
10. Those in the Jerusalem church reemphasized the mission of Jesus which was not only to preach, but act out God’s love in this world, specifically by taking care of those who were outcasts in society – which was an original part of the covenant God made with Israel, though the Israelites are often chastised by their prophets for neglecting this charge.
11. After Peter's part in the conversion of Cornelius and his household (Acts 10) and his directive that the gospel should go also to the Gentiles (Acts 11: 15-18), we see him giving into the prejudices of the Jews. Paul boldly confronted Peter for his "respect of persons" (Rom 2:11).
12. In the Mosaic law, Jews would be unclean if they ate with non-Jews. Peter’s flip-flop here is an act of open hypocrisy.
13. Other Jewish Christians followed Peter's lead and distanced themselves for the non-Jewish Christians. Even Barnabas was influenced by Peter to avoid the Gentiles. This caused a great division in the church – a place where unity is the foundation.
14. Paul points out with compelling logic that if Peter had given up Judiasm for Christianity, why then did he require Gentiles to live as Jews?
15. Now comes the compelling argument of the dangers of relapsing into Judiasm. Paul begins by differentiating between the Jews and Gentiles.
16. Of all people, the Jews generally–and Peter specifically–should know the folly of trying to be justified by the works of the old law. Only faith in Christ leads to justification. Returning to the old law is a dead-end spiritually.
17. Paul is saying that by following Christ, the shortcomings of each individual are exposed. This doesn’t mean that following Christ caused sin, but rather that through Christ our mistakes are made plain.
18. If one (or in this case, Paul, himself) restores or rebuilds Judiasm, then he sins. Christ is not the source of that or any sin.
19. Through the agency of the law itself, death resulted. By putting aside the law of death, one might live in Christ.
20. The old life of sin (guilty under the law) dies. How? It is put away through faith. The result? Life in Christ. Note here that "loved" and "gave" are linked. The true expression of love is in giving.
21. Paul says that to return to the old method he would void God's grace. Because righteousness is not found there. If it were, then Christ died for nothing.
1 After fourteen years I went to Jerusalem again, this time with Barnabas. I also took Titus with me. 2 I went because God showed me I should go. I met with the believers there, and in private I told their leaders the Good News that I preach to the non-Jewish people. I did not want my past work and the work I am now doing to be wasted. 3 Titus was with me, but he was not forced to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4 We talked about this problem because some false believers had come into our group secretly. They came in like spies to overturn the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to make us slaves. 5 But we did not give in to those false believers for a minute. We wanted the truth of the Good News to continue for you.
6 Those leaders who seemed to be important did not change the Good News that I preach. (It doesn’t matter to me if they were “important” or not. To God everyone is the same.) 7 But these leaders saw that I had been given the work of telling the Good News to those who are not Jewish, just as Peter had the work of telling the Jews. 8 God gave Peter the power to work as an apostle for the Jewish people. But he also gave me the power to work as an apostle for those who are not Jews.
9 James, Peter, and John, who seemed to be the leaders, understood that God had given me this special grace, so they accepted Barnabas and me. They agreed that they would go to the Jewish people and that we should go to those who are not Jewish. 10 The only thing they asked us was to remember to help the poor—something I really wanted to do.
11 When Peter came to Antioch, I challenged him to his face, because he was wrong. 12 Peter ate with the non-Jewish people until some Jewish people sent from James came to Antioch. When they arrived, Peter stopped eating with those who weren’t Jewish, and he separated himself from them. He was afraid of the Jews. 13 So Peter was a hypocrite, as were the other Jewish believers who joined with him. Even Barnabas was influenced by what these Jewish believers did. 14 When I saw they were not following the truth of the Good News, I spoke to Peter in front of them all. I said, “Peter, you are a Jew, but you are not living like a Jew. You are living like those who are not Jewish. So why do you now try to force those who are not Jewish to live like Jews?”
15 We were not born as non-Jewish “sinners,” but as Jews. 16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God not by following the law, but by trusting in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus, that we might be made right with God because we trusted in Christ. It is not because we followed the law, because no one can be made right with God by following the law.
17 We Jews came to Christ, trying to be made right with God, and it became clear that we are sinners, too. Does this mean that Christ encourages sin? No! 18 But I would really be wrong to begin teaching again those things that I gave up. 19 It was the law that put me to death, and I died to the law so that I can now live for God. 20 I was put to death on the cross with Christ, and I do not live anymore—it is Christ who lives in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself to save me. 21 By saying these things I am not going against God’s grace. Just the opposite, if the law could make us right with God, then Christ’s death would be useless.
Showed (apokálypsis), disclosure:—appearing, coming, lighten, manifestation, be revealed, revelation.
Wasted (kenos) of endeavors, labors, acts, which result in nothing, vain, fruitless, without effect
Forced (anagkazo) to necessitate—compel, constrain.
False Believers (pseudadelphos) one who ostentatiously professes to be a Christian, but is destitute of Christian knowledge and piety
Secretly (pareiserchomai) to come in alongside, i.e. supervene additionally or stealthily.
Spies (kataskopeo) to be a sentinel, i.e. inspect insidiously.
Freedom (eleutheria) freedom (legitimate or licentious, chiefly moral or ceremonial):—liberty.
Slaves (katadouloo) to enslave utterly—bring into bondage..
Truth (aletheia) of a truth, in reality, in fact, certainly
Work (pisteúō) to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one's spiritual well-being to Christ):—believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.
Power (energéō) to be active, efficient:—do, (be) effectual (fervent), be mighty in, shew forth self, work (effectually in).
Leaders (stulos) a column supporting the weight of a building, used metaphorically of those who bear responsibility in the churches.
Special Grace (cháris) the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude
Accepted (koinonia) communion, sharing in common.
Remember (mnemoneuo) to think of and feel for a person or thing
Poor (ptochos) reduced to beggary, begging, asking alms
Challenged (anthistemi) to stand against, i.e. oppose:—resist, withstand.
Wrong (kataginosko) to note against, i.e. find fault with:—blame, condemn.
Spearated (aphorizo) to set off by boundary, limit, exclude.
Hypocrite (synypokrínomai) to act hypocritically in concert with:—dissemble with.
Influenced (sunapago) seduce, yield.
Sinners (hamartōlós) devoted to sin, a sinner
Made right (dikaioo) to render, show or regard as just or innocent.
Works (ergon) toil (as an effort, or occupation); an act.
Trusting (pisteúō) to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing); by implication, to entrust (especially one's spiritual well-being to Christ):—believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.
Faith (pistis) persuasion, moral conviction, assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.
No (me ginomai) let it not become, let it not be.
Teaching (oikodoméō) to be a house-builder, construct or build, edify, embolden.
Loved (agapao). A love characterized by the exercise of the Divine will in deliberate choice. A love independent of the character of the person being loved.
Gave (paradidomi) to surrender, i.e yield up, entrust, transmit.
Useless (dorean) uselessly, for naught, needlessly.