Friday, July 7, 2017

The Apostle by Chapter | Galatians Chapter 1

Submitted by Sam Nobles

Many scholars believe that Galatians was written in the late 40’s or the early 50’s AD. It seems that Paul wrote this letter before the Jerusalem Council mentioned in Acts15:1-41, because although he mentions several trips to Jerusalem, he makes no mention of the council.  Since the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15:1-41 dealt with the exact issues Paul writes about, it would seem strange if it had already happened, yet he made no mention of it.[i]

The churches that the Apostle Paul planted in the Roman province of Galatia were infiltrated by false teachers, called “Judaizers”, whose aim it was to bring Christians under the bondage of the law that God gave to Moses. The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Galatians in order to magnify the aspect of God’s grace in salvation, and to explain the freedom that God’s people could experience in light of that grace.

To Paul, the gospel wasn’t just a message that he preached, it was a miracle that he had personally experienced (v.1-5).
Paul begins his letter by immediately addressing his authority. Paul states that he is an apostle "not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ..." (v.1). Paul then goes on to make reference to the deliverance from this evil age made possible by the death of Jesus for our sins (v.2-5). The poison of false doctrine had served to rob God of the glory due to Him.  So, by emphasizing the rightly recognized glory of God and his plan of sending his Son, Jesus, Paul hopes to put the churches back on the right track.

To Paul, the gospel wasn’t an invaluable trinket, it was a treasure that he guarded (v.6-17).
Paul expresses shock and chagrin that the Galatian believers were turning to a different gospel so quickly after being saved (6-7). Paul pronounces condemnation on anyone, even an apostle or angel, who would preach a different gospel than they had already received (8-10). The Apostle Paul then proceeds to defend both the gospel and his apostleship by stressing that the gospel he received was by revelation from God, and not from any man (11-12).  As evidence of this fact, Paul talks about his life before knowing Christ, and how it was by the grace of God that he was called to preach the gospel to the Gentiles (13-17).

To Paul, the gospel wasn’t a catch-phrase for Christians, it was a tie that binds God’s people together (v.18-24).
Saul the enemy became Paul the brother, and he was able to fellowship with those he had once persecuted.[ii] In his early years, most of Paul’s time was spent in Syria and Cilicia, with the churches knowing of Paul only by what they heard from others. The awesome thing is that what they heard led them to glorify God (v.18-24)!

Scripture to Claim:
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.(Galatians 1:8 ESV)

[i] David Guzik, Galatians and Ephesians (Enduring Word Media, 2012).
[ii] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: Galatians: Exchange Legalism for True Spirituality, New edition (David C. Cook, 2010).

Devotional Archive