Galatians – An Introduction

Please remember that we are NOT gathering this evening. It’s Myrtle Beach High’s graduation for Anna Grace (the valedictorian).  For our study this summer, we will be reading through Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  Please consider joining us for this season.  All you need is a Bible, preferably a Study Bible, and if you don’t have a Bible, we have plenty to share. Throughout our study, I’ll share various commentaries or other secondary materials, but these are simply to provide you with some different perspectives and generally won’t be discussed on Tuesday nights.  I encourage you to read through Galatians at least once before our discussions in order to have an overall vision of this letter.

This letter concerns the question of whether a Gentile must become a Jew before he can become a Christian.  Paul founded the church in Galatia based upon his Gospel message that salvation was by faith in Jesus Christ and not in obedience to the Biblical laws.  After Paul left, Jewish Christians from Jerusalem came to the church and told them that since God was the Jewish God and Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, a real Christian had to first become a good Jew through circumcision and maintain the law of Moses as found in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Paul’s letter acerbically refutes these teachings. Paul strongly affirms that we are made right with God through the faith of and in Jesus and that there are to be no divisions in the church based upon whether a person obeys the black-letter biblical laws.

As part of the background secondary materials, I have attached Luke Timothy Johnson’s brief summary and outline of Galatians. If you have the opportunity, please read through the attached to have a better understanding of the organization and themes of this letter.  If you want to go a little deeper into the letter, a very good and very accessible commentary is N.T. Wright’s Paul for Everyone – Galatians and Thessalonians. (I used the latter portions of this book two summers ago.)  And during our study, I’ll be sharing portions of Martin Luther’s Commentary (the online version is here). It is in his reading of Galatians that Luther developed the Protestant idea of justification by faith and thereby it is within this commentary that we will find the clearest articulation of this idea.

We would love for everyone to join us.  Amy prepares dinner for us at 6.  We’ll start our discussions around 6:45 and we will conclude with Compline at 8.   Everyone is welcome including your friends and neighbors. All you need to bring is a Bible and an open heart to receive God’s word.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Galatians 1:3-5

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