Lesson 12--Paul's Letter to the Galatians, Part I

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Paul's Letter to the Galatians, Part I

Why did Paul write his letter to the Galatians?

Galatians 1:6-9; 5:2-6—


What is Paul’s theme in writing?

Galatians 5:1


When did Paul write this letter?

Acts 15:1-5


The exact time of the writing of the letter to the Galatians is never stated by Paul and is therefore the subject of a good deal of debate among Bible scholars. In order to make a judgment as to the time of writing, the statements Paul makes in the book must be compared to the history of the period as revealed by Luke in Acts. For our purposes we will assume that Paul wrote his letter after his first missionary journey and just prior to or on the way to the Jerusalem Council recorded in Acts 15. This would mean that Paul wrote his letter to those congregations in Southern Galatia, which he and Barnabas had established during the first missionary journey. The time of writing would then be 49 AD. The letter to the Galatians would have been Paul’s first letter.

Briefly overview the letter.

The following outline was taken from The Open Bible—Expanded Edition—NKJV:

The Gospel of Grace Defended (1:1-2:21)


Introduction (1:1-9)


Salutation: The Ground of Grace (1:1-5)


Situation: The Departure from Grace (1:6-9)


Gospel of Grace is Given by Divine Revelation (1:10-24)


Gospel of Grace is Approved by Jerusalem Leadership (2:1-10)


Gospel of Grace is Vindicated by Rebuking Peter (2:11-21)


The Gospel of Grace Explained (3:1-4:31)


Holy Spirit is Given by Faith, Not by the Law (3:1-5)


Abraham was Justified by Faith, Not by Works (3:6-9)


Justification is by Faith, Not by the Law (3:10-4:11)


Christ Redeems Us from the Curse of the Law (3:10-14)


Abrahamic Covenant is Not Voided by the Law (3:15-18)


Law Given to Drive Us to Faith (3:19-22)


Believers are Free from the Law (3:23-4:11)


Galatians Receive Blessings by Faith, Not by the Law (4:12-20)


Law and Grace Cannot Coexist (4:21-31)


The Gospel of Grace Applied (5:1-6:18)


Position of Liberty: "Stand Fast" (5:1-12)


Practice of Liberty: "Love One Another" (5:13-15)


Power for Liberty: "Walk in the Spirit" (5:16-26)


Conflict Between the Spirit and the Flesh (5:16-18)


"Works of the Flesh" (5:19-21)


"Fruits of the Spirit" (5:22-26)


Performance in Liberty: "Do Good to All Men" (6:1-10)


"Bear One Another’s Burdens" (6:1-5)


"Do Not Be Weary While Doing Good" (6:6-10)


Conclusion (6:11-18)


Motives of the Circumcised (6:11-13)


Motives of the Apostle Paul (6:14-18


What key words does Paul emphasize? What problem does he identify?


Galatians 1:1-9


How does Paul defend the gospel of grace?


Galatians 1:10-24


Whose approval does Paul cite for the gospel of peace?


Galatians 2:1-10


What incident vindicated the gospel of grace?


Galatians 2:11-21


Discussion Topics:


Reread Galatians 2:16,21. What principle does Paul establish? What is the conse-quence of denying that principle?


Paul’s letter to the Galatians has at times been called the Christian’s Declaration of Independence. What does that mean?


Of all of the books of the Bible Luther loved Galatians the most. From what you know of Luther’s life why do you suppose that was the case?


List and discuss some modern day "Judaizers" who pedal a "different" gospel and thereby endanger the gospel of grace: