Friday, November 8, 2013

Galatians. .Week 1. .Discussion

Well. .It’s that time again. .
discussion time!
I’m sitting here rather speechless. .not really sure where to start. .
But I think that starting in Chapter 1 would be appropriate. .
Paul says a lot of things in this letter. .
many that I hope to shed light on throughout the month, because there were a lot of things that I felt I was missing without the knowledge of the day. .
but I think it would be a HUGE mistake to miss what he says in 1:6. .
Paul is SHOCKED, he MARVELS, he is ASTONISHED, he was AMAZED. .
that the churches in Galatia would SO QUICKLY turn from the pure gospel of Christ that they were taught. .
because someone twisted the message. .
or changed the message of Christ.

Can you imagine. .
These were people ONE generation away from Jesus the CHRIST. .
How could that happen in a single generation of people??
 Paul wrote to these churches to admonish. .to remind. .to teach. .
and to encourage them in the freedom that they received in Christ. .

Read an excerpt from John MacArthur’s study bible introducing the book of Galatians. .If you want to read the whole excerpt, click

In Paul’s day, the word Galatia had two distinct meanings. In a strict ethnic sense, Galatia was the region of central Asia Minor inhabited by the Galatians. They were a Celtic people who had migrated to that region from Gaul (modern France) in the third century B.C. The Romans conquered the Galatians in 189 B.C. but allowed them to have some measure of independence until 25 B.C. when Galatia became a Roman province, incorporating some regions not inhabited by ethnic Galatians (e.g., parts of Lycaonia, Phrygia, and Pisidia). In a political sense, Galatia came to describe the entire Roman province, not merely the region inhabited by the ethnic Galatians.

Paul founded churches in the southern Galatian cities of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe (Acts 13:14–14:23). These cities, although within the Roman province of Galatia, were not in the ethnic Galatian region. There is no record of Paul’s founding churches in that northern, less populated region.

Those two uses of the word Galatia make it more difficult to determine who the original recipients of the epistle were. Some interpret Galatia in its strict racial sense and argue that Paul addressed this epistle to churches in the northern Galatian region, inhabited by the ethnic descendants of the Gauls. Although the apostle apparently crossed the border into the fringes of ethnic Galatia on at least two occasions (Acts 16:6; 18:23), Acts does not record that he founded any churches or engaged in any evangelistic ministry there.

Because neither Acts nor Galatians mentions any cities or people from northern (ethnic) Galatia, it is reasonable to believe that Paul addressed this epistle to churches located in the southern part of the Roman province, but outside of the ethnic Galatian region. Acts records the apostle’s founding of such churches at Pisidian Antioch (13:14–50), Iconium (13:51–14:7; cf. 16:2), Lystra (14:8–19; cf. 16:2), and Derbe (14:20, 21; cf. 16:1). In addition, the churches Paul addressed had apparently been established before the Jerusalem Council (2:5), and the churches of southern Galatia fit that criterion, having been founded during Paul’s first missionary journey before the Council met. Paul did not visit northern (ethnic) Galatia until after the Jerusalem Council (Acts 16:6).

Paul wrote Galatians to counter judaizing false teachers who were undermining the central NT doctrine of justification by faith. Ignoring the express decree of the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:23–29), they spread their dangerous teaching that Gentiles must first become Jewish proselytes and submit to all the Mosaic law before they could become Christians (see 1:7; 4:17, 21; 5:2–12; 6:12, 13). Shocked by the Galatians’ openness to that damning heresy (cf. 1:6), Paul wrote this letter to defend justification by faith, and warn these churches of the dire consequences of abandoning that essential doctrine. Galatians is the only epistle Paul wrote that does not contain a commendation for its readers—that obvious omission reflects how urgently he felt about confronting the defection and defending the essential doctrine of justification.

I personally, find it pretty easy to start getting caught up in the things that I do to show my love for the Lord. .
and then use that to negatively to judge what other DON’T do as a believer in Christ. .
or do as I think they should. .
In that aspect. .I make my OWN set of laws (biblical laws of course). .
and it doesn’t take long for me to start applying those to others??
Sometimes I just have to take a step back. .and remind myself. .
that what saves me at the end of the day. .
Is CHRIST’S love for ME. .and my acceptance of that love. .and His merciful gift of salvation. .
that’s it!!
I also appreciated that Paul clarified that the laws were give to show us how guilty we are of breaking them. .
He knew we couldn’t keep the laws. .
that’s WHY He sent His Son. .
We can NOT make it any harder than God intended to make it. .
Probably one of the verses that hit home with me this week. .
started in 5:9. .when Paul uses his words to liken false teachers with yeast.
It only takes a pinch of yeast (in comparison to the volume of the other ingredients in a loaf of bread) to make the whole lump of dough rise. .
It only takes ONE wrong person, Paul says. .
to damage our thinking. .
Not sure if you all made the connection between Paul’s writing and John’s.
John also spent much of his letter teaching against false teachers/prophets.
There is a theme. .
People then. .as well as now. .
will try to lead us astray. .maliciously. .and some that don’t even know better. .
both are being used by Satan as a chess pawn in the game he is playing for his own harvest of souls.
That is another reason that leading people to be strong students of God’s words in the bible. .
is such a passion to me. .
As I frequently remind the high school kids in youth group. .
There ARE things that seem right to a man (Prov  14:12 AND 16:25). .
but they aren’t ALWAYS right to GOD. .
and He spent a lot of time telling us EXACTLY what He wants from us. .
 And if we aren’t familiar with the teachings in the bible. .
we are FAIR GAME to those who want to lead us down a road that isn’t GOD’S road!!
I also had to write in the margin of my bible. .
my observation in that same passage. .
that Paul TAUGHT the Galatians the truth. .
but he had to TRUST God to do the work. .
For the first time in my life. .
I am finally comfortable just doing what God wants me to do. .
In truth and love. .and then my job is done. .
and He will work WHEN HE SEES FIT!
I had a lot of starred scriptures this time. .
but I will only share one more that I REALLY appreciated.
Also found in Chapter 5. .16-18. .
It shows the war that we are CONSTANTLY caught up in. .
the war of OLD SELF vs NEW SELF!!
Anyone else struggle with that??
Verse 17 goes on to remind us that those two forces are CONSTANTLY fighting each other. .
and our choices will NEVER be free from this conflict (NLT version). .
And verse 18 states. .
that WHEN we are directed by the Holy Spirit, we are NO LONGER subject to the LAW. .
Praise GOD for that gift!! We can and will mess up. .
but Jesus Christ died to remove our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) and we will no longer be condemned for our mistakes!!
I could probably go on and on. .
because I found so much excellent advice. .reminders. .and encouragement. .in this book!!
But I won’t J
So. .our discussion this weekend??
How did God’s words given to us by Paul. .speak to you this week??
Share as much as you would like!!

I would also encourage you to share one particular area in Galatians that is not understood by you. .

Next week, I have some information coming on the correlation of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar. .as well as some insight to the circumcision passages. .
these were big confusions to our email study group last month. .
But I think the information will tie things together for anyone feeling a little bit lost this past week!!
There will also be some word studies again this month. .
There is a difference, at least to me. .
in knowing a word. .
and KNOWING a word!
Stay tuned. .looking forward to your input!
Enjoy your weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Galatians week 1
    I have to confess that I did not read through the book more than twice. My thoughts may not be a clear as they should be at this point.

    The Galatians were being fickle, KNOWING the truth but listening to the Jews about the laws that they had to follow…. I know there are ‘laws of Connie’ that I feel need to be followed. I am not legalistic but there are things that I believe Christian should or should not do and I can tend to try to persuade people to follow my rules. I wonder if I have offended someone along the way and caused them to walk away from the faith because of my strict views or maybe I have caused someone to stray in their beliefs.

    In looking back at some of the scriptures I underlined I came to 1:15. I backtracked and read the previous verses to get a better feel for where Paul was coming from… Paul said “so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.” He had grown up a very good, faithful, powerful Jew and he hated Christians… that passion was handed down from his fathers. What are we hanging on to that were our parents traditions, our families beliefs, that were our parents biases, our parents dislikes that are now our own. You know… you vote a certain way because your parents did,
    You go to a certain church because that’s what you did as a child, etc. Not that those things are necessarily bad but I think we need to make sure what we believe is because we have searched it out on our own. And if our family did things the wrong way… we need to break free from that!

    V9 “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.” It doesn’t take much hate for hate to become obsessive. It doesn’t take much insecurity to make insecurity become a way of life. It doesn’t take much disobedience to make it easier to disobey the next time. It doesn’t take much ice cream to make you want more ice cream! “You can’t eat just one.”
    The cure for bad leavening is to walk by the Spirit….
    V16-17 say “But I say, ‘walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flash are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you form doing the things you want to do.”

    That’s enough for now… hugs to everyone!