Introduction—Getting Primed to Dig Into GALATIANS (Galatians 1:1-5)

Introduction—Getting Primed to Dig Into GALATIANS (Galatians 1:1-5)

Message 1
August 9, 2015

1. Read Galatians 1:1-5.

What does Paul emphasize right up front about his ministry and apostleship in verse 1? What does he mean by “not sent from men, nor through the agency of man”? What’s the difference between those two? There’s a major clue here regarding one of the key issues Paul will address in the first two chapters of this letter.

How did Paul become an apostle in the first place? [See Acts 9 and Romans 15:15-16.] Did other men have anything to do with Paul’s conversion to Christ or with his calling to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles?

2. Even in his introduction to this letter, Paul begins talking about important doctrinal truths about God the Father and Jesus Christ. What important truths does he mention in the first 5 verses? Note the purpose clause in verse 4. WHY – for what purpose or goal – did Jesus do what this verse says He did? Is this goal realized only in the future, or does this apply even now? This straightforward point will prove to be critical to the rest of the epistle.

3. Paul’s salutation of blessing in verse 3 is by far his most common salutation to the churches under his charge (see 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3). “Grace” is God’s undeserved favor toward us. “Peace” is the New Testament equivalent of the Hebrew word shalom – it means pervasive well-being in all aspects of life based on well-being in our relationship with God. Which of those two comes FIRST every single time Paul includes them together? Any thoughts on why that might be and how the two are connected?

4. Read Galatians 1:6-10. Paul doesn’t waste any time launching into a harsh rebuke of the Galatian believers! Could he be any more forceful in making his point here?

Based on what he says in verse 6, what distinguishes the TRUE gospel from the false ones? In verses 7-9, how does Paul view a gospel message that is “really not another,” but is actually a distortion of “the gospel of Christ”?

Can you think of any “gospels” being proclaimed today that claim to be about Jesus Christ, but that somehow distort the gospel that Paul is talking about? Once again, if you look at the contrast Paul presents in verse 6, what is it about all these “different” gospels that fundamentally marks them as false?

5. Paul’s questions in verse 10 serve not only as a defense of his own ministry, but as a harsh indictment of other believers who were supposed to be taking the same approach to these matters as Paul. We’ll see that in living color in chapter 2.

Why is it so critically important that we hold fast to “Him who called you {us} BY THE GRACE OF CHRIST”? Is there something about us that makes us prone to move away from grace?

Copyright © 2015 by Tom Wright. This is the edited Study Guide of the series, “Galatians,” prepared by Tom Wright for August 9, 2015. Anyone is at liberty to use this lesson for educational purposes only, with attribution to the source.