RETURN TO SYLLABUS
GALATIANS
LESSON #1

INTRODUCTION

v      AT THE BEGINNING OF EVERY SERIES OF LESSONS ABOUT A BOOK IN THE BIBLE, I LIKE TO CONSIDER SOME VERY BASIC QUESTIONS TO GIVE US AN INTRODUCTION.

      FOR EXAMPLE: I LIKE TO CONSIDER:  “WHO”, “WHEN”, “WHERE”, “WHAT”, AND “WHY”.

v     WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF GALATIANS?

      THE BOOK OF GALATIANS WAS WRITTEN BY PAUL, THE APOSTLE, WHO WROTE MUCH OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.

v     TO WHOM WAS THE BOOK OF GALATIANS WRITTEN?

      THE BOOK OF GALATIANS WAS WRITTEN TO SEVERAL CHURCHES IN A GEOGRAPHICAL AREA KNOWN AS GALATIA (ASIA MINOR/TURKEY).

         SOUTHERN GALATIA WAS A GEOGRAPHICAL AREA THAT INCLUDED THE CITIES OF PISIDIA, LYSTRA, ICONIUM, AND DERBE.

         GALATIA WAS A ROMAN PROVINCE INHABITED BY CELTIC PEOPLE WHO WERE GENTILES THAT ALSO INHABITED FRANCE.

        WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THESE PEOPLE?

      THEY WERE FIERCE, WARLIKE PEOPLE IN THEIR EARLY HISTORY.

      THEY WERE FICKLE IN THAT THEY LIKED CHANGE AND NEW IDEAS.

      IN ACTS THEY WANTED TO MAKE PAUL A GOD. THEN LATER THEY WANTED TO STONE HIM.

      THEY WERE INTELLIGENT PEOPLE BUT VERY IMPRESSIONABLE.

      THEY LIKED EXCESSIVE VANITY.

v     WHEN AND WHERE WAS THE BOOK OF GALATIANS WRITTEN?

      THERE ARE THREE MAJOR THEORIES AS TO WHEN THE BOOK WAS WRITTEN:

         #1. THE BOOK WAS WRITTEN FROM ANTIOCH, SYRIA IN 48 AD JUST BEFORE THE JERUSALEM COUNCIL IN ACTS 15. THIS DATE PLACES IT AFTER HIS FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY BUT BEFORE THE SECOND JOURNEY.

         #2. THE BOOK WAS WRITTEN DURING PAUL’S SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY WHILE HE WAS IN THE CITY OF CORINTH, BUT BEFORE HE WROTE THE BOOK OF ROMANS. (53 AD)

         #3. THE BOOK WAS WRITTEN DURING PAUL’S THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY. PAUL HAD BEEN LIVING IN EPHESUS FOR TWO YEARS WHEN HE WROTE THIS BOOK. (57 AD)

      IN ANY CASE, WHETHER IT WAS AFTER THE FIRST JOURNEY, DURING HIS SECOND JOURNEY, OR DURING HIS THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY, PAUL WAS A MATURE, KNOWLEDGEABLE LEADER BY THE TIME HE WROTE THIS BOOK. 

         PAUL KNEW THE GALATIAN CHURCHES VERY WELL FOR HE VISITED THIS GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION DURING EACH OF HIS 3 MISSIONARY JOURNEYS.

v     WHAT WAS GOING ON IN THE WORLD AT THE TIME THE BOOK WAS WRITTEN?

      HISTORICAL AND RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND:

         THERE WAS A GROUP OF JEWISH CHRISTIANS CALLED “THE JUDAIZERS” THAT BEGAN TO PREACH A DIFFERENT GOSPEL FROM WHAT PAUL TAUGHT. THEY TRAVELLED TO CITIES WHERE PAUL HAD ESTABLISHED NEW CHURCHES. THE NEW CHRISTIANS IN THESE CHURCHES BEGAN TO SERIOUSLY CONSIDER THIS NEW TEACHING BY THE JUDAIZERS. THESE WERE BABY CHURCHES UNPREPARED FOR FALSE DOCTRINES AND HERESY.

        INCIDENTALLY, THE WORD “JUDAIZERS” DOES NOT APPEAR IN SCRIPTURE. IT IS A TITLE EVENTUALLY GIVEN TO THEM MUCH LATER. PAUL CALLS THESE JEWISH CHRISTIANS FALSE APOSTLES IN GAL 1:6-9.

        WHAT IS HERESY?

      HERESY IS A DOCTRINE CLOSE TO THE BASIC DOCTRINES OF CHRISTIANITY BUT CROSSES THE LINE INTO A DOCTRINE THAT OPENLY ATTACKS AND CHANGES THESE BASICS INTO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

      THE SECT OF THE SADUCEES WAS A HERETICAL SECT (ACT 5:17)

      THE SECT OF THE PHARISEES WAS HERETICAL SECT (ACT 26:5)

      THE SECT OF THE NAZARENES WAS A HERETICAL SECT (ACT 24:5)

      HERETICS CAUSE DIFFERENCES, DIVISIONS, AND FACTIONS IN THE BODY OF CHRIST (1COR 11:19  GAL 5:20  TIT 3:10)

        WHAT WAS THE HERETICAL DOCTRINE OF THE JUDAIZERS?

      THE JUDAIZERS TAUGHT THAT FAITH AND WORKS SAVED A PERSON.

      FAITH + CIRCUMCISION (THE LAW OF MOSES) = SALVATION

         THEY BASED THEIR ARGUMENT ON THE DECLARATION THAT CHRIST KEPT THE LAW AND SO SHOULD ALL BELIEVERS.

         YOU WILL NOTICE THAT THERE IS ALWAYS SOME TRUTH IN A HERETICAL DOCTRINE.

        WHY WAS PAUL SO CONCERNED?

      IF THE NEW DOCTRINE BY THE JUDAIZERS SPREAD WITHOUT CORRECTION, CHRISTIANITY WOULD BE VERY DIFFERENT TODAY. IT WOULD BE A SECT OF JUDAISM INSTEAD OF A SEPARATE RELIGION.

      IF THE GALATIAN PEOPLE WERE SO SUSCEPTIBLE TO ANY WIND OF DOCTRINE, THE DANGER TO CHRISTIANITY WAS VERY GREAT.

      EVEN IN PAUL’S DAY, THIS DOCTRINE WAS BEGINNING TO DIVIDE THE CHURCH. THEREFORE, A GENERAL RELIGIOUS COUNCIL WAS HELD IN JERUSALEM TO SETTLE THE MATTER ONCE AND FOR ALL.

      READ ACT 15:1-14, 19-25 (ABOUT 50 AD)

v     WHY DID THE AUTHOR WRITE THE BOOK?

      PAUL WROTE THE BOOK OF GALATIANS TO COUNTERACT THE DIFFERENT GOSPEL PREACHED BY THE “JUDAIZERS”. HE WANTED TO MAKE SURE THAT NEW CHURCHES TAUGHT ONLY THE TRUE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.

         CHURCHES THAT WENT TOO FAR INTO LEGALISM AND CHURCHES THAT WENT TOO FAR INTO LIBERTY WERE CHURCHES OUT OF BALANCE.

         PAUL’S STYLE OF WRITING IN THIS BOOK IS A VERY STRONG ARGUMENTATIVE STYLE IN DEFENSE OF THE GOSPEL.

      FREQUENT WORDS:

         LAW, CIRCUMCISION, BONDAGE, WORKS

         GOSPEL, FAITH, JUSTIFIED, LIBERTY, FREE

      THEME FOR THE BOOK:

         LIBERTY IN CHRIST AS OPPOSED TO THE BONDAGE OF THE LAW.

        KEY VERSE:  GAL 5:1

v     OF WHAT VALUE IS THE BOOK TO US TODAY?

      THE BOOK OF GALATIANS HAS BEEN THE SOURCE OF MANY REVIVALS DOWN THROUGH HISTORY.

         MARTIN LUTHER LOVED THIS BOOK. IT IS THE BACKBONE OF THE REFORMATION WHEN THE PROTESTANT BRANCH OF CHRISTIANITY BROKE WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

         JOHN WESLEY STARTED A REVIVAL WITH IT HERE IN AMERICA AND IN ENGLAND.

      THE BOOK OF GALATIANS IS THE BEST DEFENSE OF THE DOCTRINE, “JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH”.

         IN TODAY’S ATMOSPHERE OF FALSE DOCTRINES WITHIN SUPPOSEDLY CHRISTIAN CHURCHES, THIS BOOK GIVES US A CLEAR PICTURE OF WHAT IS THE TRUE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.

      WHAT IS THE THEME FOR OUR STUDY?

         WHAT IS MEANS TO BE REALLY FREE IN JESUS CHRIST!  (JOH 8:36)

        IN ORDER TO HAVE A BALANCED CHRISTIAN LIFE, WE NEED TO KNOW THE CHARACTER OF CHRISTIAN LIBERTY AND ALL THAT IT MEANS.

v     OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF GALATIANS:

      I.   SALUTATION (1:1-5)

         PAUL’S COMMISSION

         PAUL’S REBUKE

      II.   VINDICATION OF PAUL’S AUTHORITY (1:11-2:14)

         PAUL’S GOSPEL, A REVELATION FROM GOD (1:11-21)

         PAUL’S RECOGNITION BY THE APOSTLES (2:1-10)

         PAUL’S AUTHORITY RECOGNIZED IN THE REBUKE OF PETER (2:11-21)

      III.   DOCTRINE:  JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH WITHOUT JEWISH ATTACHMENTS

         VINDICATION OF THE TRUE GOSPEL (3)

        BY THE EXPERIENCE OF THE GALATIANS (3:1-5)

        BY THE EXAMPLE OF ABRAHAM (3:6-9)

        BY THE EFFECT OF THE LAW (3:10-12)

        BY THE WORK OF CHRIST (3:13-14)

        BY THE PERMANENCE OF FAITH (3:15-18)

        BY THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW (3:19-25)

        BY THE BELIEVER’S PRESENT POSITION (3:26-29)

         ILLUSTRATION OF THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH (4)

        A LEGAL ILLUSTRATION (4:1-7)

        A PERSONAL PLEA (4:8-20)

        A BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATION (4:21-31)

      IV.   PRACTICAL APPLICATION:  A DEFENSE OF CHRISTIAN LIBERTY (5:1-6:10)

         A LIFE APART FROM LAW

         A LIFE APART FROM LICENSE (5:13-15)

         A LIFE ACCORDING TO THE HOLY SPIRIT (5:16-26)

         A LIFE OF SERVICE (6:1-10)

      V.   CONCLUSION (6:11-18)

         PAUL’S HANDWRITING

         PAUL’S TESTIMONY

v     SOURCES FOR OUR STUDY:

      THROUGH THE BIBLE COMMENTARY SERIES: GALATIANS BY J. VERNON McGEE.

      BE FREE BY WARREN W. WIERSBE.

      THE BIBLE KNOWLEDGE COMMENTARY; JOHN F. WALVOORD, ROY B. ZUCK EDITORS.

      THE REIGN OF THE SERVANT KINGS BY JOSEPH C. DILLOW

      SERMON NOTES BY PASTOR JIM LARSON

      GALATIANS; NOTES BY WILLARD C. PEIRCE

      MISC. NOTES

HOMEWORK
GALATIANS 1

THIS IS A SELF-STUDY. PLEASE DO NOT SEND HOMEWORK ANSWERS TO THE TEACHER FOR CORRECTION.

v      APPLICATION OF THE INTRODUCTION:

      THINK ABOUT SOME POSSIBLE LEGALISTIC RELIGIOUS PRACTICES THAT MAY BE HIDING IN YOUR CHRISTIAN LIFE AND WRITE THEM HERE:

v      PREPARATION FOR GAL 1

      READ GAL 1:1-24

         WHEN WE BEGIN TO READ PAUL’S BOOKS, HE ALWAYS MENTIONS EITHER FAITH, HOPE, OR LOVE, USUALLY IN THE FIRST CHAPTER. THE WORDS THAT HE MENTIONS TELL US WHAT WAS LACKING IN THE CHURCH OR CHURCHES OF HIS READERS.

      EXAMINE THIS FIRST CHAPTER OF GALATIANS, AND FROM YOUR KNOWLEDGE GAINED IN OUR INTRODUCTION, WHICH OF THESE THREE CHARACTERISTICS (FAITH, HOPE, LOVE) ARE THE CHURCHES OF GALATIA MOST NEEDFUL?

         WHY DOES PAUL GO INTO SO MUCH DETAIL ABOUT HIMSELF?

v      MEMORY VERSE:   GAL 5:1