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The first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas (Acts13-14) took place in the Galatian area. The cities of Pisidian Antioch (Acts13:13-52), Iconium (Acts14:1-7), Lystra (Acts14:8-19), Derbe (Acts14:20-21) were all cities of the Galatian region. These churches, planted by Paul and Barnabas, were later visited by Christians of a Jewish background, who told the Gentiles that they needed to become regular Christians, by allowing themselves to be circumcised, as required by the law of Moses.
In any situation in which it is insisted that people must do something to add to what God has done for us in Jesus, to make themselves right with God, Galatians is relevant.
Paul probably wrote the letter to the Galatians on his furlough after his first missionary journey in Syrian Antioch in 48AD, before the convening of the Council at Jerusalem, recorded for us in Acts 15 in 49AD.
The foundation for the letter is laid here.
What does Paul say: about himself, God, Jesus Christ, the Galatian Christians and about the false teachers?
How did Paul receive the gospel?
Why do you think Paul wants to prove his limited contact with the apostles in Jerusalem?
Why does Paul tells us about his own experience?
What do these verses tell you about Paul's gospel?
Here is the record of Paul's first visit to Jerusalem following his conversion.
Compare the reception he received from the Jews in Damascus and Jerusalem, with the reception he received from the disciples in Jerusalem.
What was the result of Paul's second visit to Jerusalem?
Why is the uncircumcised Titus a test case?
What was the outcome?
How was the church established in Antioch and why was Barnabas sent there from Jerusalem?
The vitality of this church is seen in their response to the prophet Agabus. This is the second trip to Jerusalem with the collection, that Paul makes, now with Barnabas and Titus presumably.
Why were Peter and Barnabas acting out of line?
In verses 15-18, Paul answers the accusation that he, after his justification, lives like a Gentile sinner, not keeping the Jewish purity laws, but eating with Gentiles. Does this mean Christ promotes sin? No-eating with Gentiles is not sinful, the gospel requires it! Verse 18, his past relationship with the law must not be rebuilt.
How does Paul now live in relation to the law and in relation to Christ?
Justification through faith not by law
Is proven in 3:1-4 from experience. How?
Is proven in 3:6-9 from Abraham's experience. How?
Is proven in 3:10-14 from Scripture. How?
God gave a promise to Abraham and to his seed, Jesus Christ. The law, given later, does not alter the promise in any way, it is still accepted by faith.
Why then was the law given (v23)?
How do we relate to the law now?
Make a list of the privileges of being a Christian, noted here.
Faith is superior to works,
Promise is superior to law
So being a full son is superior to being an heir under guardianship.
When did God send his son and why (v4-5)?
According to verses 6 -7 what are the implications of being a son?
Read verses 8-11, in what ways were the Galatian Christians acting like freed prisoners, wanting to go back to jail?
How does Paul's tone change in verses 12-20?
How do we see Paul's pastoral heart?
Do you have similar concern for others?
Abraham was the father to Ishmael and father to Isaac. Each of these represent two covenants, two mountains and two cities. Can you find them?
Read verse 29, which was born naturally and which born supernaturally?
The son of the free woman, Isaac, inherits the promise and represents the believer. How does this add to Paul's argument?
What is Paul's argument against law keeping as a way into a relationship with God in verses 1 -4?
What really matters to God (verses 5-6)?
How is spiritual freedom lost according to verses 2 -12?
How is spiritual freedom lost according to verses 13-15?
The Spirit and the sinful nature are contrasted.
What do you notice about the acts and the fruit?
What warning can you find?
What exhortations are here listed concerning your relationship with the Spirit?
Here are our responsibilities to our fellow believers. What are they?
Verse 2 says to carry each other's burdens and verse 5 says each one should carry his own load. How do you figure that seeming contradiction?
Paul now writes in his own hand.
What is the core of the Christian faith?
What must be given up in order to embrace it?
Why is verse 17 ironic? What are the marks on Paul's body, compared to the bodily cuts the false missionaries want to make?
Soon after Galatians was written this Council was held.
Who were the different parties involved and what were they saying?
Notice the debate is on the basis of what God has done and what God has said.
What is James' decision?
Why would this letter be such an encouragement to the Gentile churches?
All the matters in verse 29 were activities of the pagan temple, Gentile believers are to leave the pagan temple life now that they are Christians. In the end what triumphs?
A chapter about unity and lack of circumcision ends with disunity and Timothy's circumcision.
What can you learn from this?
Why would Paul have Timothy circumcised when he had just argued against the necessity of circumcision?
Gather together all the teaching in the letter about the cross of Christ and about the Holy Spirit. What are the abiding lessons of this letter.
Next Month: 2Kings1-25