Ladies Bible Study
A Study in Galatians
Galatians was written by the Apostle Paul, he identifies himself in verse one.
It is written to the churches in Galatia, a province of Asia Minor, which is now modern day Turkey. It was written to be circulated to the churches Paul established in Galatia on one of his missionary journeys, probably the second. (See Acts 16:6).
It was written in response to false teaching that had led the churches astray and it is a strongly worded letter, with many truths that apply to us today.
The theme of the book of Galatians is justification by faith alone, not by works. Reading and studying Galatians was the seed of the Reformation, Martin Luther referred to Galatians as "His epistle". It is the key to understanding God's grace.
The book of Galatians falls into three sections, each section 2 chapters in length.
The first section discusses Paul's authority and calling as an Apostle of the Lord. It reinforces the truth of his teachings, and also includes some limited biographical information.
The second section discusses salvation. Paul uses various means to make his point that salvation comes through receiving the grace of God through faith, not by obey man's laws.
The third section discusses the result of salvation, the effect it has on you life, the freedom it gives you as opposed to the incarceration of trying to live according to Jewish laws. It shows you are free to love, free to bear fruit etc, it also includes Paul's closing remarks.
Galatians 1:1: Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead),
Paul immediately opens the letter by identifying himself. Paul, an Apostle.
This is very important because his authority and the content of his teaching were openly challenged and nullified by Judiazers, who had come into the area after he had moved on and taught that Paul's teaching were incorrect and false, that in fact Paul had no authority or right to even call himself an Apostle. This is important because Paul had led these people to the Lord, established the churches and trained them to continue in the way, after
he departed. When Paul continued his missionary journey, these Judiazers came in and taught the Galatians that the only way to be truly saved was to be circumcised.
This has Paul very concerned, even upset and he immediately jumped into the purpose of the letter, not taking time for his regular salutation or other greetings and praise he has for some of the other churches.
Paul stresses that he is an Apostle, called of God and Jesus Christ, not man. No man choose him to be an Apostle, no man taught him the Gospel, He learned it from revelation from the Lord Himself.
Let's review some of the aspects of apostleship, much of this which you should remember from previous lessons.
1 Corinthians 12:28: And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
It is an important ministry gift today, God continues to call and appoint apostles to go to the mission fields, we call them foreign missionaries. Missionaries go into foreign countries and establish churches, convert people, baptize people and heal people. ALL over the world.
It is not something you can believe for in faith. You cannot stop one day and say I think I will believe for the Lord to make me an Apostle. It does not work that way, God decides .
In this first verse, Paul was stressing His divine ordination. He wanted to stress two things: 1) what God and God alone had done and was continuing to do in His life and in the lives of the Galatians. 2). He was stressing his role as Apostle and his authority, from God, to function in this role.
These messengers that were troubling Paul, no matter where he went, were teaching that Paul was not an Apostle, that grace was not sufficient for salvation and that works, most specifically circumstances is what gained you salvation, not receiving the gift by faith.
3. The ministry of the 12 Apostles before Christ's death and ascension was different than after because of the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 10:1-8: And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.
2. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
3. Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;
4. Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.
5. These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: "Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.
6. "But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7. "And as you go, preach, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'
Here the Bible refers to the disciples as the Apostles and they are sent only to the house of Israel, not to the Gentiles.
Acts1:8: 8. "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.''
Acts 9:15-16: 15. But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
Acts 11:1-17: 1. Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the
Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2. And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, 3. saying, "You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!'' 4. But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying: "I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me. 6. "When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 7. "And I heard a voice saying to me, `Rise, Peter; kill and eat.' 8. "But I said, `Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.' 9. "But the voice answered me again from heaven, `What God has cleansed you must not call common.' 10. "Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven. 11. "At that very moment, three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent to me from Caesarea.
12. "Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man's house. 13. "And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, `Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, 14.`who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.' 15. "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16. "Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, `John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'" If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?'' 17. "If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could
withstand God?'' 18. When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.''
Acts 13:1-4: 1. Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.''
3. Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.
Galatians 1:19: 19. But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother.
We see by these Scriptures that, now there were apostles to the Jews and to the Gentiles, and that many were called and appointed other than the original Twelve.
Ephesians 4:11-12: 11. And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
- King James
Romans 11:29: For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
- Living Bible
Romans 11:29: For God's gifts and his call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises.
Gifts and calling go hand in hand. God will not call you to something and not prepare you to handle it.
Let's continues now with verse two.
Galatians 1:2: 2. and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:
Please notice that Paul in his greeting says Paul…and all the brethren who are with me.
Paul never takes credit alone, and always identifies the other workers with him. This is a very simple but important verse. We are all members of the Body of Christ and we cannot do it alone. We each are called and equipped to a certain role and each role compliments the role of the other. No one is a one man band for God. We each do something vital and important for the body and we need to realize it. We each do something vital!
We should never be proud of what we did as an individual and we should never be jealous of someone else's success and promotion. God will reward each of us according to our obedience and willingness to serve. If you are waiting for you gifts to be recognized or God to use you, then you need to just get out there and serve. In any capacity, at any time.
You may be called to teach, well, volunteer to teach in Children's church, prove yourself worthy. Remember you start to climb at the bottom of the ladder, you don't jump on half way up and then climb. If you try that you will fall! Amen!
Next month we will be discussing God's grace.