AT-A-GLANCE

Chapters 1-2

Paul’s Defense

Chapters 3-4

The Gospel: Justification by Faith

Chapters 5-6

Justification by Faith = Freedom in Christ

QUICK FACTS

Author: Paul the Apostle

Original Readers: New Gentile Christians in the region of Galatia

Date Written: c. AD 48

Written From: Possibly Antioch in Syria

Key Verse: 5:1

Major Themes: Faith; Justification

DISCOVER THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF GALATIANS

HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE INDUCTIVELY

OBSERVE

What does the text say?

There’s no better way to understand the literary context than carefully observing what is said.

INTERPRET

 What does the text mean?

In light of both the literary and historical context, what was the original intended meaning of this passage?

APPLY

How do I apply what the text means?

In order for us to grow and mature more into Christ’s likeness, we must apply the truths we discover in our lives.

Chapter 1 - The Authority of Paul’s Gospel

OBSERVE

  • How did Paul receive his gospel?
  • What was Paul like before he converted?

INTERPRET

  • 1:16-17 – Why would Paul mention that he didn’t consult with any human being after his conversion?
  • Why does Paul mention that he met with Cephas (Peter) & James?

* HELPFUL NOTES

  “Cephas” is Peter’s Aramaic name, meaning rock or stone.

WHAT IS AN APOSTLE?

Paul takes quite a bit of time – 2 chapters of this book – to defend his apostleship.

What is an apostle, and what was the deeper reason for his defense?

Chapter 2 - The Authority of Paul’s Apostleship

OBSERVE

  • Why did Paul go up to Jerusalem again?
  • What came out of this meeting in Jerusalem?
  • What happened in Antioch?
  • How is a person justified?
  • Compare the old life with the new life in Christ

INTERPRET

  • Why do you think Paul confronted Peter in public and not in private?
  • What was it that Paul was calling Peter out on?

  * HELPFUL NOTES

  “Circumcision Party” = The Judaizers were often known by this term, as they strongly enforced circumcision.

Chapter 3 - Justified by Faith, not the Law

OBSERVE

  • How does a person receive the Spirit?
  • How was Abraham declared righteous?
  • According to Paul, how was someone justified under the Old Covenant?
  • What does Paul say that Jesus did?
  • 3:14 — What is the blessing of Abraham that the Gentiles can receive?
  • To whom were the promises of Abraham made? How is this significant?
  • Observe the contrasts between those inheriting blessings and those inheriting curses. How does a person come under God’s blessing or God’s curse?
  • What is said about the “offspring/seed”
  • Contrast of life under the law vs. life with Christ

INTERPRET

  • 3:22 — What does it mean that Scripture has imprisoned all things under the power of sin?  See also Romans 3:20.
  • 3:22 — What was promised through faith?

  * HELPFUL NOTES

  Galatians 3:6 = Genesis 15:6   |   Galatians 3:8 = Genesis 12:3   |   Galatians 3:11 = Habakkuk 2:4                                    

  “Scripture” in 3:22 is referring to the Torah, or the Old Covenant Law.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW?

If justification never came through the Law, and if we were never able to uphold the Law in the first place, then why would God even bother to give the Law at all?

Chapter 4 - Redeemed Children of God

OBSERVE

  • How does Paul use the household analogy going back to 3:23, and continuing through chapter 4 (i.e. guardian, slaves, children, etc.)?
  • How does Paul describe his earlier relationship with the Galatians?  How does this compare to how he describes the Judaizer’s relationship with them?

INTERPRET

  • What effects do you think the Judaizers were having on the Galatian churches? How could the churches have protected themselves against these false teachers/teaching?
  • What are the main points that Paul is trying to say through this allegory?

  * HELPFUL NOTES

  Galatians 4:27 = Isaiah 54:1

  “Elemental Spirits” = Some think Paul is referring to their former pagan belief in spirits associated with the elements (such as earth, water, fire, air), while others think Paul is referring to the basic principles of their religious experience.

THE ALLEGORY OF SARAH & HAGAR

What is an allegory? An allegory is a story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning. It is a full extended metaphor in a form of a story, where every part of the story is symbolic and has a deeper meaning.

* We must be careful not to allegorize Scriptures that were never intended to be an allegory. In the Bible, the authors will specify when they are using an allegory.

Chapter 5:1-15 - Live in the Freedom in Christ

OBSERVE

  • What is freedom in Christ, and what does it look like? According to Paul, what is the yoke of slavery?
  • Look for all the contrasts in this passage.

INTERPRET

  • 5:2-6 — Why would Paul say that Christ of no value to those who let themselves be circumcized?
  • 5:9 — What does Paul mean when he says, “A little yeast levels the whole batch of dough”?

Chapter 5:16-6:18 - Freedom in Christ Bears Fruit

OBSERVE

  • What does this life of living in the Spirit look like?
  • Compare life in the Spirit vs. life in the flesh.
  • Compare the warnings that Paul gives them in how to act in 6:7-10, with the actions of those in 6:12-16.

INTERPRET

  •    5:17 — What is Paul trying to say here? See also, Romans 7:14-25.

  * HELPFUL NOTES

  In 6:13 “circumcized” are referring to the Judaizers. 

APPLY

  • Are there areas in our lives where we are like the Judaizers and compromise and conform our beliefs to the world around us?
  • Looking at 4:21, why would the Galatians churches have even wanted to be under the law vs. God’s grace?  And are there areas in our own lives that we rely on works to find approval from God instead of fully receiving His grace.
  • What does freedom in Christ look like in our lives today?
  • What are some things that you can put into action right now?
  • What’s steps can I take to live by the spirit and not by the flesh?
  • What other areas is the Holy Spirit speaking to you through this book?

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