September 21, 2020
In the first words from Paul, the author of Galatians, we get an idea of what he is up against. Paul is establishing who he is, where his message comes from, and the authority he has to preach.
There were some who believed Paul should not be considered an apostle because he did not walk with Jesus during his earthly ministry. He did, however, receive his message from God. As we read Galatians, we can see who Paul was and what was important to him.
Paul tells us in these first few verses that:
He is an apostle
His message is from God and not from man
His work is not his own, but the resurrected Jesus working through him.
He has fellowship and support from the Apostles.
It’s important to know a little about the author of Galatians and also about the initial intended audience. Scripture is intended for us to read. It also had an intended audience it was initial written for and to with a specific culture, background, and daily life. It’s helpful to be aware of those things so we do not make applications to our current time that do not apply.
We know from Paul’s introduction he was needing to justify who he was and the message he was preaching to them. He declared he was an apostle who was from Christ not just someone who had heard the story secondhand. We will see later he addresses these people who are undermining the message of being “forgiven therefore free” that he brought to the Galatians.
As we study don’t let the framework of taking the Bible in context cripple you. The Bible is a big book. As Christians, we will spend our whole lives studying it. It’s been around a long time, and people have been studying it for a long time. We can consult their words about the text. We also have pastors and mature Christians around us who we can ask questions of. The Holy Spirit is at work while we read scriptures, while we talk about it with others and when we read insights from those who came before us.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more you study the more questions you will have.
While reading this study and others remember the Bible is about God. It’s about the work Christ has done on our behalf. Paul tells us that is what his message is all about to us and to the Galatians. He extends grace and peace to the hearer, not from himself, from Jesus. Jesus who gave himself up for us. Jesus who did the will of God the Father.
The whole Bible, including the book of Galatians, is for God’s glory to shine. Not Paul’s glory, not our glory.
As we study Galatians together and as you go on with different Bible studies, always remember that this giant book is all about Christ and His work on your behalf. From the lives of Adam and Eve to the book of Revelation, the Bible is all about what Christ has done, is doing, and will do on our behalf.