Galatians – An Overview
By Dennis Huebshman
Chapt. 1: 1-5 Greeting – almost the same as all Paul’s epistles. By the way, the Epistles were Paul’s letters to the churches, not the apostle’s wives – as someone in a seminary answered.
6-10: Purpose of Letter – especially Verse 8:
If we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let them be accursed.
Paul was adamant about following the word of the Lord!
11-24: Details of his apostleship. Specifically, did not receive gospel through human origin, but by a direct revelation from Jesus the Christ. Details life prior to being on the Damascus Road. He was specifically destined to preach to the gentiles. (went to Arabia for 3 years for learning before going to Jerusalem.) Met with Peter and James, then went to Syria and Cilicia for about 14 years.
Chapter 2: 1-10: Went into Jerusalem taking Barnabas and Titus (who was Greek v.3) with him. There were false people with false ideas trying to take down Paul’s ministry and pervert the Word. Seems the same is happening around the world today. It’s getting harder and harder to get the real truth out to the people.
Paul stood his ground and James, Peter and John saw that His ministry was blessed and approved by offering the “right hand of fellowship.” Didn’t have to have a signed contract for their blessing to be binding. They especially told him to remember the poor.
11-14: Paul stands up to Peter in Antioch. Peter had been there and associated with Paul and the Gentiles until representatives of James arrived. Then he stood back as if he had nothing to do with them – even influenced Barnabas. Paul called them out on their hypocrisy.
14: But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you being a Jew live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
The next section is very important to all believers as it points out we are saved by Faith in Jesus (grace) and not by any works of the law.
15-21: We are Jews by nature, and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but through Faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by Faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, since by the works of the law no flesh will be justified.
But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of Sin? May it never be!
For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God.
(20 – very important verse) I have been crucified in Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.
Chapt. 3: 1-5 Tells of receiving the Spirit by believing what they heard – Not the works of the Law.
6-14: Even so, Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham saying, All the nations will be blessed in you. So then, those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. For as many are of the works of the law are under a curse, for it is written, Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law to perform them. Now that no one is justified by the law before God is evident for the righteous man shall live by faith. However, the law is not of faith, on the contrary, He who practices them shall live by them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us – for it is written: Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree – in order that in Christ Jesus the blessings of Abraham might come to the gentiles so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through Faith. (Note, all nations blessed through Abraham because of V. 6.)
15-22: Promises spoken to Abraham and his DESCENDANT (not plural) referring to Jesus.
Law came in to being about 430 years after this covenant. This did not cancel God’s covenant.
Timeline – approx.: By Bible calculation, creation was approximately 3950 years before Jesus. Exodus was about 1250 years before Jesus. Note: Jesus birth set anywhere between 6 BC to 0 with His death between 30-33 AD. All are approximate depending how calculated – Jewish calendar is 360 days vs. 365 for us. Checked several sources, and not all agree exactly on time, but are within a few years of each other.
Law in place because of transgressions against God that were before the arrival of the DESCENDANT – Jesus the Christ. Established a temporary measure of forgiveness through sacrifice.
23: Before Christ, Law became the guardian; because faith has come, no longer under a guardian, but all sons of God through Jesus.
28-29: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female for you are all one to Jesus Christ, and if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to His promise.
(Believe it or not, there are certain movements that uses these verses to justify their sexual preferences, and say any type of preference is ok with God. Definitely twisting the Word!!)
Chapt. 4: 1-7 Speaks of minors being under guardians until they become of age. Even direct heirs. Guardianship completed when God sent His Son into our hearts who calls out “ABBA – Father!”. Now no longer a slave to the law, but an heir though God.
8-12: Now that we are heirs, don’t turn back to the things of the world. Some were going back to idol worship and trying to follow the Law of Moses rather than the word of God.
13-20 Paul’s personal appeal for them to return to the true word.
21-31: Tells of the sons of Abraham:
a. Son of slave woman born by natural descent.
b. Son by the free woman born through the Promise.
Conflict created by these 2 sons in effect today. Son of the slave woman heirs are all the Arabs.
Isaac – all the Jewish nation.
30-31: But what does the scripture say: Cast out the bondswoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman. So then brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of a freewoman.
Chapt: 5: 1-12: After Jesus, being a Jew was not a benefit of Christ. Those who want to be righteous through the law (Pharisees and Sadducees) are alienated from Jesus and Fallen away from grace. Paul even went so far as saying those who were preaching false words would “mutilate” themselves.
13-26: Repeats Jesus’ commandment to Love your neighbor as yourself. Does not mean we have to accept their lifestyles if that lifestyle is contrary to the Word of God. But have to love them for their souls.
Lists works of the Flesh: Sexual immorality; impurity; depravity; idolatry; sorcery; hostilities; strife; jealousy; outbursts of anger; selfish rivalries; dissensions; factions; envying murder; drunkenness; carousing and similar things.
Lists Fruits of the Spirit: Love; joy; peace patience; kindness; goodness; faithfulness; gentleness and self-control.
Chapt. 6: Give support to each other. Share burdens Help each other on our journey with Jesus.
All who follow this, Paul gives a blessing of peace and mercy and on the Israel of God.
This means the chosen people who accept the new covenant and turn away from the law which does not save.
Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13: ALL who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Likewise, all who reject the name of the Lord will be condemned. This is given in various verses.
Finally, I leave you with these verses from Romans 16: 17-20: Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who create dissentions and obstacles contrary to the teaching that you have learned. Avoid them.
For these are not the kind that serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By their smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the minds of the naïve.
Your obedience is known to all and this I rejoice over you. But I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.
The God of Peace will quickly crush satin under your feet. The Grace of our Lord Jesus be with You!