Called by the Grace of Christ:
Paul’s Letter to the GALATIANS
August 23, 2015
1. Read Galatians 1:11-24. In verse 1, what did Paul say was “not from men, nor through the agency of man”?
In verse 11, Paul says that the gospel he preached is “not according to man.” How are those two assertions (verse 1 and verse 11) connected?
Consider all the ways in which the gospel of Jesus Christ is “not according to man.” Think about how that description of the gospel would apply to the ORIGIN of the gospel, the CONTENT of the gospel, the POWER of the gospel and men’s RESPONSE to the gospel. Prayerfully consider the ramifications of each of those.
Are you willing to declare these things to be true of the gospel of Jesus Christ, even if people don’t respond well to such claims? Or do you speak to unbelievers about the gospel as if it’s just one of many competing truth claims to be “tried”? Read Romans 1:16-17. Does that match up with the level of confidence that you have in the Good News of Jesus Christ?
2. What lines of evidence does Paul present in verses 12-24 to demonstrate the validity of his claim that the gospel he preached was “not according to man”?
How does Paul say he “received” (heard and accepted) the gospel? [See 1:12.]
What approach toward the gospel of Christ and toward the followers of Christ had Paul actually learned from MEN (from his “countrymen”)? [See 1:13-14.]
How does Paul explain the dramatic “about-face” that he experienced in his attitude toward the gospel of Christ and toward the followers of Christ? [See 1:15-16.] WHEN did God determine that Paul would be His ambassador to the Gentiles?
Why does Paul take pains to point out that it wasn’t until three years AFTER Christ’s appearance to him – three years AFTER God “called” Paul “by His grace” and “revealed His Son in” him – that Paul “went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas (Peter), and that during that brief, 15-day visit, he “did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother”? [See 1:18-20.] How does all of that tie back to Paul’s assertion in 1:11-12?
How did the believers in Judea (the region of Palestine in which Jerusalem is situated) respond when they learned about the radical transformation that had occurred in Paul’s heart and life? [See 1:21-24.]
3. Think about what made Paul’s personal testimony in verses 11-24 so compelling.
Consider how useful Paul’s testimony would have been to God if the only observable change that had occurred after his conversion had been that he stopped persecuting Christians. What if he had never spoken of Jesus? What if he had never put his own life at risk to proclaim Jesus to both Jews and Gentiles?
Have you ever known a professing Christian whose speech and lifestyle made you think he or she would do well to keep quiet about his profession of faith in Jesus? How compelling is YOUR testimony – your account of how God brought you from death to life in Jesus Christ?
4. Read Peter’s “confession” in Matthew 16:13-17 and then read the account of Paul’s conversion in Acts 9:1-19. Does a right RESPONSE to the gospel EVER come about because of the persuasiveness of MEN?
Copyright © 2015 by Tom Wright. This is the edited Study Guide of the series, “Called by the Grace of Christ: Paul’s Letter to the GALATIANS,” prepared by Tom Wright for August 23, 2015. Anyone is at liberty to use this lesson for educational purposes only, with attribution to the source.