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Inductive Bible Study: Discussion of Galatians 1

February 12, 2010

I hope you’ve had some time this past week to study the first chapter in Galatians.  Hopefully you’ve also had a chance to read through the book in one sitting.  I’m curious to see how well our observations of this chapter will match up.  For those who might be visiting today for the first time, please review the previous post on the inductive study method we are using. Specifically, the inductive method initially restricts the use of outside sources to force a personal, in-depth analysis of the text.

I will post a few questions I came up with to open up the discussion.  Feel free to answer one or all of the questions or to share a different observation that you had.  Any observation should be based solely on clues found within the text of scripture (including cross references to other passages outside the book of Galatians).

1.  Who is the original audience and what can we learn about them from the text?

2.  What are the repeated words and/or phrases in this chapter?

3.  Does the chapter provide a summary of the gospel?  If so, which verse(s)?

4.  Which verses convey the theme of the letter?

5.  Can you summarize the reason for the letter in 15 words or less?

6.  Why does Paul need to make the point that he did not receive the gospel by colluding with the other apostles (v. 1, 10-24)?  What would have made the Galatians think that he had?

Oh yes… I almost forgot!  Help yourself to some milk and cookies, compliments of The Kitchen Commando


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33 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2010 5:43 pm

    Interesting questions, Jessica! Your thoughts have prompted me to notice things I’ve never noticed in Galatians 1. I read through the book in one sitting last week and have mulled over chapter 1 yesterday and today. I notice a couple of major contrasts in the chapter, which I guess is sort of an answer to question 2.

    First, there is a contrast between “receiving” the gospel and the “revelation” of the gospel. The Galatians “received” it from Paul (v. 9), but Paul did not “receive” it from man (v. 12) but rather by the “revelation” of Jesus Christ (v. 12). Indeed, he proves he could not have received it from men, because he didn’t even have contact with other apostles or the Judean churches until long after he started preaching (vv. 16-22). But then–inexplicably–the gospel he had been preaching matched the message of the other apostles and churches (1:23-24, 2:6-9) without “collusion,” as Jessica terms it.

    I notice another contrast between Paul’s personal advancement previously in Judaism (1:14) and his lack thereof in preaching Christ (1:10). So he has no “dog in the race,” so to speak. In fact, at the end of the book he appeals to his sufferings for what he preached (6:17).

  2. shematwater permalink
    February 13, 2010 8:08 pm

    1. As to the audience, itis difficult to know. Galatia is not a city, but a region. As such the audience could have been several cities within the Roman Province of Galatia, but the exact cities would be unknown. All we really learn about them in this chapter is that they had begun to stray from the true gospel as the result of false teachers coming among them.

    2. In this particular chapter the only repetition is that of his statement that things of of God and not men. He applies this to the gospel, to how he received the gospel, and to his calling in the gospel.

    3. I do not think there is a true summary of the Gospel in this chapter, but I think verse 4 is pretty close. “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father”

    4. I do not think any verse really gives the theme of the letter, as there are two main themes. Verse 8 gives the theme of false teachers, but this is secondary to the theme of “Faith gaining Salvation and not the works of the Law.” This is shown partly in verse 10, but not very clearly, as verse ten speaks more to the catering to man instead of pleasing God, not quite the same thing.

    5. The people needed to be corrected on false ideas spread by false teachers.

    6. He repeated this because no man truly has the power to give the gospel to another. He can teach it, but he cannot give it. A man must receive the gospel through revelation, and no other way. Until they receive it in this way they will always be weak. Once they receive it this way they have all the power of God behind them (shown in his later coming himself to Peter).

    Just two other observations. In introducing the letter he makes a very purposeful distinction between the Father and the Son. This is interesting.
    Also, before he went out into the ministry he reported to Peter. He states in verse 18 that this was his express purpose. It was after this that he went into the ministry to preach to the Heathen. It seems as though he was seeking out the leaders for instruction on what he was to do in the church.

  3. February 13, 2010 11:39 pm

    Jessica,

    Thanks so much for the venue to do this. I absolutely love the Book of Galations.

    Here are some of my thoughts on your questions.

    1) The audience appears to be professing believers in the province of Galatia. Paul addresses them specifically in vs. 2. We learn from the letter that many of them are falling into grave error and are deserting the simple message of the Gospel by bringing works into it.

    2) vvs. 8 & 9 repeat a warning about someone preaching “another Gospel.” Given the fact that it is shared twice and a warning is even given about it possibly coming directly from angel, I think this is something very important.

    3) I don’t see any areas where the chapter summarizes the whole gospel; however, I do believe it provides insight into how simple the gospel is and how we as humans have a tendancy to complicate it.

    4) vvs. 6 -8

    5) The gospel is simple and is encompassed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

    6) This one of the most amazing parts of the chapter and entire book of Galations (to me). Paul did not check in with the other apostles for 3 entire years! After being called directly by Jesus Christ, he went and preached the gospel without reporting to Peter, whom Mormons and Catholics consider to be the Prophet during this time. It is interesting to note that Paul did not feel the need or obligation to check in with anyone. Being called by Christ was enough!!! In fact, in Ch. 2 we find out that Paul openly challenged Peter… interesting!

    Why would the Galations have thought Paul checked in with the other Apostles? One possibility is because his message was so similar to the other Aposltes. He wanted to make sure that they knew his calling and message came directly from Christ and not from the other Apostles.

    Apostles are special witnesses of Christ Himself, and Paul wanted to support his position as an Apostle by noting that his calling and authority did not come through Peter or anyone else. It came from Christ.

    Jessica, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on these as well.

    Take care, and God Bless!!

    Darrell

  4. February 14, 2010 9:34 pm

    1. Who is the original audience and what can we learn about them from the text?
    The original audience is the “churches” of Galatia. They were originally believers in the gospel of grace, but were quickly persuaded to believe “another gospel.” Twice Paul tells the believers that they should not accept any other gospel than that which was preached to them by the apostles.

    2. What are the repeated words and/or phrases in this chapter?
    Gospel (5), grace (3), preach* (6), God (8), Christ (7)

    3. Does the chapter provide a summary of the gospel? If so, which verse(s)?
    Verses 1 and 4 give a brief summary of the gospel; Jesus died and was raised from the dead (v1) for our sins (v 4). The gospel is the “grace of Christ” (v 6).

    4. Which verses convey the theme of the letter?
    Verses 6-9 give the theme of the letter.

    5. Can you summarize the reason for the letter in 15 words or less?
    Don’t accept a new teaching–even from an angel–that perverts the gospel of grace!

    6. Why does Paul need to make the point that he did not receive the gospel by colluding with the other apostles (v. 1, 10-24)? What would have made the Galatians think that he had?Paul’s gospel was the same as that of the apostles. The Galatians might have thought that they must have all gotten together and figured it out as a group. Paul denies this claim, saying that he received revelation directly from God. This revelation didn’t contradict the gospel of the disciples, but it was the exact same teaching.

  5. February 15, 2010 7:11 am

    Focusing only on the first chapter we can (1.) learn that this letter is intended to be received by those in the Galatia region of Rome who have begun to be pulled away from the gospel of Jesus Christ and instead rely upon the gospels of men.
    Paul uses several words repeatedly (2.), but the most powerful and obvious is “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Paul focuses on the concept of being taught by men (including him) and being taught the gospel of Christ.
    Paul summarizes the gospel of Christ in verses 11 and 12. (3.) The gospel I preach unto you comes not from Man, but through the direct revelation of Jesus Christ.
    The theme of the letter overall isn’t fully expressed until Galatians 2:16 (4.) where Paul exerts his passion and devotion to the value of Faith in Christ over the repetition of the law. That the reason you do something is more important than doing the act itself.
    Faith in Christ is to be the supreme and only reason for action. (5.)
    Paul had to so succinctly demonstrate that he wasn’t colluding with the other apostles because he needed to create a clear distinction that he received the gospel from Christ and not from Man.(6.) That the gospel he spread was not from man and therefore they were not allowed/okay to/justified in following the the gospels of other men.

    I just discovered your blog today through a series of links that originated with my writings on Paul’s writings in Romans 9. Not until this week have I discovered the poetry of Paul and the beauty of his writings. Galatians has always eluded me and i thank you for giving me a chance to read it again in a better light.

  6. shematwater permalink
    February 15, 2010 4:40 pm

    Everyone seems a little too hung up pn the idea that Paul did not “collude” with the Apostles. This is not the idea I get from this Epistle. Yes he emphasizes that it was not man you first brought the gospel to him. His emphasis seems more intended to motivate the Galatians into seeking out such a testimony more than to prove he didn’t get it from men. This is just me.

    He says that he did not “Immediately” confer with with others, but went out to do his own work. Yes he preached the gospel, but he did n ot go to the Heathen Nations in these years, which is what he said his calling was (v 16). In these three years he remained in the general area of the Jews, and preached in the Synogogues, or to the Jews. (See Acts chapter 9). He then went to Jeruselem “To see Peter” (v 18).
    We read in chapter two that he has the approval of Peter, kind of a recommendation, in his calling to the Heathen.

    From all this it really seems that, while his testimony and witness came from Christ, as did his calling, he still sought out the first Apostles approval before he went began his ministry to the Heathen. It would seem to indicate that even with his vision he still defered to the authority of Peter, and waited for his approval before he did anything new. I think that this is a great allusion to a very organized Heirarchy within the church, which Paul respected and used to his advantage. Thus he did “collude” with the other apostles, just not on his personal testimony.

  7. February 15, 2010 6:04 pm

    Hi Shem,

    I really appreciated your observations on this passage and agreed with a lot of them. Question #6 is starting to move out of the realm of observations to interpretation which is where we are going to have some disagreements I am sure. The inductive method insists that any interpretations be drawn directly from the observations. I have to confess I don’t see how you are inductively arriving at the interpretation you have drawn that Paul is seeking “to motivate the Galatians into seeking out such a testimony more than to prove he didn’t get it from men.” I honestly do not see how this can be read into Paul’s argument. Can you explain where you are deriving this interpretation from the text? Paul is not one to hold back what he thinks and believes. Where does he make the argument that they should seek personal revelation?

    Paul’s argument throughout this chapter, but especially verses 10-24 is that he received the gospel he is preaching directly from Jesus Christ.  He emphasizes that he “conferred not with flesh and blood” (v. 16) and did not go up to Jerusalem (v. 17), but went out immediately to preach the gospel.  After three years he met with Peter for 15 days and saw James (v. 18-19), but he saw none of the other apostles (v. 19) and he was unknown by face to the churches of Judea (v. 22) except for the fact that they had heard that he was preaching the same gospel as the one he had previously sought to destroy (v. 23).  We see in the next chapter that he continued preaching this same gospel for another fourteen years before going to Jerusalem where it was confirmed that he and all the other apostles were all preaching the same message.

    The reason the Galatians think he received the gospel from the other apostles is obvious: he’s saying the same thing they are.  His argument to the Galatians is that he is an independent eyewitness of the risen Lord and received his gospel directly from the risen Lord.  Yes, it’s the same gospel as the other apostles – there is only one gospel – and it’s imperative that this gospel does not become corrupted.

    Why does he have to persuade the Galatians that he is an independent witness of the gospel? Because the Galatians have rejected the true gospel and they are dismissing Paul as merely peddling “the traditions of men” (i.e. the gospel of the other apostles).

  8. February 15, 2010 6:11 pm

    Shem,

    Here is a very rough synthetic outline of this chapter that I made to chart Paul’s main points:

    1. Greeting (1:1-5)

    The greeting includes an implicit defense of Paul’s calling as an apostle (v. 1) and a brief summary of the contents of the gospel (v. 1-4)

    2. Theme of the letter (1:6-9)

    Paul is deeply concerned that the Galatians have removed themselves from the gospel of the grace of Christ (v. 6) and are following a perverted form of the gospel (v. 7). He warns them not to accept any other gospel than the one that he and the apostles preached, even if an angel from heaven were to reveal it to them (v. 8). He repeats his warning a second time, using strong language both times – “let him be accursed” who would preach any other form of the gospel (v. 9).

    3. Paul’s defense of the gospel (1:10-24)

    Paul urges the Galatians that his gospel was not received from men, nor motivated by a desire to please men, but that he received his gospel directly by the revelation of Jesus Christ (v. 10-12). He reminds them of his past record in persecuting the church of God and clinging to the Jewish tradition of his fathers (v. 13-14). He then recounts to them how God called him by His grace to preach the gospel (v. 15). He emphasizes that he did not go to Jerusalem to meet with the other apostles, but that he went out immediately to preach the gospel that God had revealed to him, the churches later confirming that he was preaching the same gospel that he had at one time sought to destroy (v. 16-24).

  9. shematwater permalink
    February 15, 2010 8:36 pm

    JESSICA

    I would be glad to elaborate on my last post, and I apologyze for not doing so earlier. I am pushed for time.

    I take that he was trying to motivate them to gain a testimony from Christ from verses 8-12. As I say, this is just me, but I have always loved psycology, and so I try to see the psycology of statements, taking hints from various words. I will show you:
    verse 8: “But though we, or an angel from heaven.” What is implied from this? What is he saying? He is imploring them to not listen to those who would change the gospel. What is significant is that he includes himself in it. Don’t listen to Paul if what he says contradicts the gospel that has been preached.
    Now the question must be asked “If they are receiving the Gospel from Paul, how can they know if he is changing it?” He gives the answer in verse 11: “that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.” So he is not preaching the gospel of man. Where did he get it from than? IN verse twelve he tells us “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” So, it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    So, Paul is telling them to accept the gospel of Christ and be faithful, but he is also saying to not put your faith in man, to not stray from the faith no matter who is telling you to (including himself). He has basically killed his own credibility of bringing the truth in verse 8, but he builds up the credibility of personal revelation in verse 12.
    The only real conclusion that can be reached is that if you are to have the knowledge of the gospel necessary to remain faithful you must have the testimony of Christ revealed to you, and not be trusting on the words of men.

    This is why I said it seems that he is trying to push them to this. He does not want them relying on him, for anyone who would change the gospel is cursed. He wants them relying on the revelation of Christ, which is what he relies on.

    Now, as to other things you state, most of it I agree with, I just think that you are missing his intentions. Yes, he emphasized that he “conferred not with flesh and blood,” but he specificly states this was not an immediate reation. He does not say that he never conferred with flesh and blood, but that he did not do this at the beginning. He waited until he was ready. Which I why I said he did “collude,” just not on his testimony of Christ.

    As to the rest: I did point out that Paul stated his specific purpose in going to Jeruselem the first time was to meet with Peter. This seems to show a deferment of authority, for the reasons I stated earlier. In the following chapter it is confirmed that he taught the same gospel, but why di it need to be so confirmed? Also, notice that this was done first with the men of Reputation (which seems to be a reference to Peter and the Apostles). This whole account in chapter one seems an official meeting of the leaders of the Church.
    Since you wanted only an analysis of chapter one I will not get into detail here. I will refer back to Acts chapter nine where we read about Peter’s hesitation in accepting Paul. In Chapter two of Galatians I think we are seeing another such meeting in which Peter is ackowledging that Paul did indeed posses the Spirit of Christ. It still seems to be an indication of the Heirarchy of the church.

    As to your outline, I like it all except the defense of the Gospel part. I don’t see this as a defense of the gospel. It seem more to me a recounting of how he came to know the truth, and a little extra shove for them to do likewise.

  10. February 15, 2010 9:28 pm

    Hi Shem,

    You said: verse 8: “But though we, or an angel from heaven.” What is implied from this? What is he saying? He is imploring them to not listen to those who would change the gospel. What is significant is that he includes himself in it. Don’t listen to Paul if what he says contradicts the gospel that has been preached.

    Excellent! I love your observations of this drawn directly from the text! Paul has the humility to recognize he is not above self-deception.

    You said: He wants them relying on the revelation of Christ, which is what he relies on….I don’t see this as a defense of the gospel. It seem more to me a recounting of how he came to know the truth, and a little extra shove for them to do likewise

    I agree this is a recounting of how Paul came to know and to preach the truth of the gospel. I simply fail to see how there is any “shove” going on for the Galatians to seek personal revelation. Paul is not one to mince words. He tells them exactly what to do in verses 8-9 and uses strong language to state his points. If his point in this argument was to urge them to seek personal revelation of the gospel why didn’t he come right out and state as much? Further, if he believed personal revelation would correct the Galatians’ errors why does he need to use argumentation and reasoning at all? Why doesn’t he just tell them to seek personal revelation?

    As for Paul deferring to Peter, we can discuss that in the next chapter where I personally don’t see much “deferring” going on… 🙂 His statement in v. 18 that he went to see Peter does not give any indication that he was seeking approval. This can be “read into” the text, but it’s not something that can be drawn inductively from it. He simply states that he went to “see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.”

    He then states (defensively): “but other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother” (v. 19).

    Why does he need to defend the point that he did not see any of the other apostles? What are the Galatians accusing him of (implicitly or explicitly) that he has to defend himself against?

  11. shematwater permalink
    February 16, 2010 2:10 pm

    Jessica, it is alway nice to have a very polite discussion, and you are one that it is easy to have one with.

    I do not think Paul is mincing words at all. What he is saying is very direct. I will not quote again, but I will put his words in a more modern style to show you what I see him saying (and when I read it it does not seem hidden).

    Paul is saying “Do not trust men who would teach you contrary to the Gospel. Learn the Gospel and stay faithful to it. This is what I did. When I was first called I did not seek out men to learn the gospel, but was taught by Christ. For three years I studied and worked until I was sure of the truth, and then I sought out other men.”

    Now, this is a simplified version, and he does say other things. But I think this gives the gist of what I am saying. He is admonishing them to seek revelation, and using himself as an example of one who did just that.

    As to his visit to Peter, using only the words of Galatians I would agree that there is no indication of the purpose of his visit, only his intention of visiting Peter. But, as I said, it is not from this text that I draw this conclusion. It is through cross referencing the history of Paul in the book of Acts. I referenced chapter nine of that book in which Barnabus speaks in Pauls favor before the Apostles. It was in this meeting that approval was given to him to join the ministry. My inferance of Galatians chapter one comes from this account. It seems that Barnabus went ahead of Paul to argue his case before the Apostles. After it was decided that he would enter the ministry Paul went and confered with Peter for fifteen days before heading North into Syria and Cilicia. To me this is an indication that Paul went to Peter to receive his assignment and learn from him.
    On this issue I also pointed out that during this three years before Paul went to Jeruselem the book of Acts only records him going to the Jews, teaching in the Synagogues. He had not yet begun to preach to the Heathens, which is what his calling was, as stated by him. It is interesting that he did not go to the Heathan nations until after he had met with Peter.
    There are other subtle clues in chapter two that I will point out when we get there.

  12. Cindy permalink
    February 16, 2010 4:46 pm

    I am enjoying this discussion very much, and I hope it’s okay to jump in…

    I am interested in your last posting shem, where you stated:

    “Paul is saying “Do not trust men who would teach you contrary to the Gospel. Learn the Gospel and stay faithful to it. This is what I did. When I was first called I did not seek out men to learn the gospel, but was taught by Christ. For three years I studied and worked until I was sure of the truth, and then I sought out other men.”

    “Now, this is a simplified version, and he does say other things. But I think this gives the gist of what I am saying. He is admonishing them to seek revelation, and using himself as an example of one who did just that.”

    It seems as though Paul is responding to two things here…one is the perverted gospel which is being presented to these people (and his concern that they will be swayed) and the other is the question of his authority to preach. To the new converts it seems as though Paul is calling them to rely on the basics that they were taught (by Paul and the other disciples) and question the authority of any others whose gospel deviates from the original. And maybe because these new teachers were attempting to promote their doctrine by minimizing Paul’s authority, he reiterates the direct revelation he had with Christ as the means through which He learned the gospel.

    But I don’t think Paul is saying that all men must have a direct revelation from God, otherwise, why would Paul spend his time teaching? I think he is saying that some are called to be apostles because of their direct experiences (himself included) and that experience qualifies him as a teacher to others. Since the gospel was taught through the oral tradition of the day, it was vitally important that listeners became skilled in discerning the truth for themselves, so Paul was admonishing them to compare anything they heard with the original.

  13. shematwater permalink
    February 16, 2010 6:43 pm

    Cindy, it is good of you to join us.

    What you say is possible. However, the fact that he includes himself in his warning tells me that he is not asking them to rely on his testimony. He said that even if he was to teach a different Gospel, and thus he has said to not trust his words.

    Think about it. If they are to trust what Paul is teaching them and not worry about personal revelation why would he have included himself in this statement? Why did he not say “If anyone else?” What was the purpose of the wording that he chose?
    To me it seems clear that these people had had a revelation of some kind, just like the thousands on the day of Pentacost. But they were now listening to men rather than relying on this revelation. Paul is simply telling them that this is wrong. “Do not rely on others, including me, but on your own revelations.” If they relied on what Paul taught, then if Paul was to fall he would bring them with him. This seems to be his purpose.
    As to his reasserting his authority, I really don’t see it. I understand where you are coming from, form it doesn’t seem like he is asserting his authority. Again, he discredits his authority by including himself in the possible false teachers. It seems more that he is using his personal experience as an example for them. “This is what I did to gain my testimony, and because of my testimony (going a little into chapter two) I was not afraid to challenge Peter (who he states was a man of authority). He is using himself as an example to admonish them to be willing to challenge any man who would contradict what the Spirit has declared true.

    Again, this is just me. I do see what you are saying. But the wording does not logically follow that idea (not in my mind anyway).

  14. February 16, 2010 6:59 pm

    Hey Shem!

    Welcome Cindy!!

    Shem, one of the problems I see with you take is that Paul specifically told them to beware of any Gospel other than they one he had preached. Verse 8 says:

    But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! [emphasis mine]

    Thus Paul is not referencing something the people received by revelation as much as he is referencing what has already been taught by the apostles. His warning is about them departing from what the apostles had taught.

    In fact, he even warned them about trusting “revelation”, noting that it could come from angels. The test he cites is whether or not it is consistent with what the apostles had already taught.

    Darrell

  15. shematwater permalink
    February 16, 2010 9:45 pm

    DARREL

    I can certainly see your point. However, I would say that if this was his point he has at once made it and destroyed it. If this was true he is basically telling them to not listen to anything else that he is saying. Follow what “we preached to you” not what we will teach you in the future.

    I do think it is all a very confusing wording in these verses. By including himself in the possible false teaches he has, as I said, killed his own personal credibility.

    Now, I would say that he does not warn against revelation. I would say that in including Angels he is speaking of an actual vision, or the visitation of a heaven being. Thus he would not be refering to the prompting and revealed truth that come through the Holy Ghost, or the Spirit of God, and thus what I have said would still be a logical conclusion.

    It is all in the wording and the defining of words, isn’t it.

  16. February 16, 2010 10:12 pm

    However, I would say that if this was his point he has at once made it and destroyed it.

    I can see where you are coming from; however, consider this… he did not say don’t trust anything else he or anyone else says. Rather, he said don’t trust any gospel “other than the one we preached to you.”

    Consequently, he was not undercutting himself. Instead, he was emphasising that the Gospel does not change. People will try to change it, add to it, distort it, and fill it full of legalistic stuff. But we shouldn’t trust such changes as they contradict the pure truth that was originally taught.

    Now, I would say that he does not warn against revelation. I would say that in including Angels he is speaking of an actual vision, or the visitation of a heaven being.

    You and I are in total agreement here. He was not warning about revelation in general. Rather, he was warning that any revelation that one thinks is from the Holy Spirit or visitations from angels/beings claiming to be divine that contradicts the pure message of the Gospel as originally preached is a lie. It is not be trusted.

    As a result, we should always compare what is taught or revealed to the Bible before trusting it. We cannot trust our feelings or emotions as they will fool us. Instead, we have to trust what is written in the Bible. It is the standard by which all newly revealed information is judged.

    Darrell

  17. February 16, 2010 11:01 pm

    Popping in quickly, Jessica (haven’t read any of the thread) . . .

    1. tais ekklesias teis Galatias (1:2)
    *you are removing (metatithesthe) from the one having called you (1:6)
    this is a grievous burden

    2. *God – Jesus Christ, God the Father, God the Father, Lord Jesus Christ, God and our Father, grace of Christ, gospel of Christ, God, servant of Christ, revelation of Jesus Christ, God, God, Son, Lord’s brother, God, Christ, God,
    *Gospel
    *Paul – I marvel (thaumazo), I say (lego), I now persuade (peitho)?, I seek (zeito)?, I pleased (eireskon)?, I certify (gnorizo), I was taught, I persecuted (ediokon), I wasted (eporthoun), I profited (proekopton), I conferred not, I went up, I went into, I saw none (save), I write, I lie not, I came,

    3. I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel . . . if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (anathema)

    5. Anything or anyone steering you away from sole dependence on Jesus Christ for salvation (justification, sanctification, glorification) is false. (19 words, oops)

    6. This gospel is not the cultural group think of sinful men. It came from one Man alone – The God-Man, Jesus Christ.

  18. shematwater permalink
    February 17, 2010 1:48 pm

    DARREL

    From what you said it must come down to what you define as the gospel. This would be key.
    However, he is still not helping himself even in regards tothe gospel. After all, if he can pervert the gospel, the greatest truth, what is to stop him from perverting other, lesser truths. These things would be easier to pervert than the gospel.
    I still cannot see any reconsiliation in his words.

    As to the Angels and visitations, I have to point out that we are not in complete agree ment. You said he is warning against “any revelation that one thinks is from the Holy Spirit or visitations from angels/beings claiming to be divine.” This is not what I said, as I specificly stated that he is not including the Holy Spirit in this warning, only actual visions and visitations. Angels and the Holy Spirit are two separate things, and since the Holy Spirit is not included in his statement I do not think he was refering to it.

    Also, the reference to the Bible that you make is illogical, as at this time the Bible, as such, did not exist. These people had no set cannon of scriptures except what the Jews had used in the past, and any letters sent directly to them. They could not go to the Epistle to the Corinthians, or the one to the Ephesians. They had only the anciant scriptures, this letter that they were now receiving, and the spoken would of Paul from his previous visits. Now, there may have been a few other letters, but we have no record of them.
    With this limited access to the written would of the Prophets Paul telling them to only rely on the written word would seem a little unfair.

  19. February 17, 2010 4:06 pm

    Oops, Jessica

    #3 in my comment goes to your question #4.

    And what about #3 that I missed?

    The good news/gospel (euangelion) is of the Father and through the Son (and by the Holy Spirit) – the work of the Triune God. The gospel originated in the will (theleima) of the Father (patros)and is mediated through Christ, who gave himself for (huper – on behalf of) our sins (hamartion) (v. 4). But the Savior is not dead. He is alive! God the Father raised him from the dead (v. 1).

    So we see a brief snapshot of the sovereign will of the Father, a reference to harmatiology – man’s problem, the beauty of the Savior’s substitutionary sacrifice, and the powerful resurrection. This is why Christians can greet one another in this fashion: “Grace (charis) be to you and peace (eireinei) from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    Grace to you (this is our banner), Jessica. It is all grace that floods us with peace.

    Charis and Eireinei,
    et

  20. February 17, 2010 4:07 pm

    Shem,

    As to the Angels and visitations, I have to point out that we are not in complete agree ment. You said he is warning against “any revelation that one thinks is from the Holy Spirit or visitations from angels/beings claiming to be divine.”

    I don’t think you are understanding me. Sorry, I may not be making myself clear. You left part of my statement off. Here is what I said earlier.

    “…he was warning that any revelation that one thinks is from the Holy Spirit or visitations from angels/beings claiming to be divine that contradicts the pure message of the Gospel as originally preached is a lie. It is not be trusted.” [emphasis added]

    I believe Paul is telling us that the Gospel as originally preached is true and its message will not change. Thus, if you receive a revelation from any source, i.e., burning in the bosom, warm feeling, vision, visitation from angel or heavenly being, etc., but the message contradicts the gospel as originally preached, then the messanger is not from God.

    Also, the reference to the Bible that you make is illogical, as at this time the Bible, as such, did not exist.

    There is no contradiction in my statement, so it is not illogical. My claim was not that the Bible existed during this time – please notice I never said that.

    My claim was that Paul is telling us that if we receive any message or revelation that contradicts the original gospel message than the new message and messanger are in error. In addition, I believe there is ample proof and evidence that the Bible as we have it today contains the original Gospel message as originally delivered. Thus, the Bible should be the standard by which we judge any new message or messenger.

    Hope that helps you understand my points.

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  21. shematwater permalink
    February 17, 2010 5:18 pm

    DARREL

    I understand your point, but we are still not in agreement. You are saying he is warning against any source, and I am saying that he is warning against all sources, except the Holy Spirit. As such he is saying to seek out the confirmation of the Holy Spirit.

    The great example of Abraham comes to mind (and since it is in the Bible, I don’t think I am breaking any rules here). It was commanded at the time of Noah that any man who kills another shall be killed himself. Yet, when God himself commanded Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice he did not hesitate, as it was God speaking, and not a man or an angel.
    I believe Paul is going of this same idea. Whatever God commands you do, for his word is law. However, if the command comes through man, or even an Angel, and is in opposition to the Gospel, do not follow after it. Thus seek out the commands of God to be given to you by him, and not by others.

    As to the Bible, I understand what you are saying. My point is that you are now using what we have now to interpret the meaning of Pauls words, which is why I said it is illogical. Yes, we have the Bible, and it may cantain the original Gospel. However, the Galatians of this time did not have the Bible, and thus this could not be what Paul was admonishing them to fall back on. Thus, if his words were not speaking of the Bible when given to the Galatians, why should we apply them to the Bible today? This is my point, and why I say your statement was illogical.

  22. February 17, 2010 5:54 pm

    You are saying he is warning against any source, and I am saying that he is warning against all sources, except the Holy Spirit.

    The question then becomes, “Well, why didn’t he say that?” He said nothing about judging the truthfulness of a message by the Holy Spirit. Instead, he said to judge it by how it lines up with the original gospel message that he and the other apostles preached. As such, I believe you are unwittingly reading into the text.

    This also leads to the question about how one can know if the message they are receiving is from the Holy Spirit. How does one know they are not being deceived by a false spirit claiming to be the Holy Spirit?

    Yes, we have the Bible, and it may cantain the original Gospel. However, the Galatians of this time did not have the Bible, and thus this could not be what Paul was admonishing them to fall back on.

    The Galations had Paul’s words and the words of the other Apostles. They heard them spoken, and they had the letters that circulated amongst the different churches. Many of these letters are what we have today in our Bible. As such, it is a bifurcation to say that what Paul is referencing is somehow different from what we have in the Bible.

    1) Paul taught to judge the truthfulness of a message by how it compares to the original gospel message.

    2) The original gospel message was taught by the apostles.

    3) What the apostles taught was canonized into what we now know as the Bible.

    4) Thus, we are to use the Bible as the standard by which we judge messages.

    This is a perfectly sound argument.

    The great example of Abraham comes to mind (and since it is in the Bible, I don’t think I am breaking any rules here). It was commanded at the time of Noah that any man who kills another shall be killed himself. Yet, when God himself commanded Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice he did not hesitate, as it was God speaking, and not a man or an angel

    I have to answer very quickly as I need to get back to work. The short answer to this is that God’s commandment was not against “killing”. His commandment was against “murder” as this is the correct wording of the original Hebrew. As a result, God’s instruction to Abraham was not a violation of the orignal commandment.

    This falls right in line with what Paul was saying… that God does not and will not contradict Himself. The authenticity of new revelation should always be judged based upon previous revelation.

    Take care!

    Darrell

  23. February 17, 2010 7:06 pm

    Beautiful observations, Todd. Thank you. The Word has been washing me like water today. One of the personal applications I have been drawing from this lesson is my own need to immerse myself in the Word so I am not swayed by every wind of doctrine and, as you put it – “the cultural group think of sinful men.”

  24. February 18, 2010 3:01 am

    I gave my thoughts on #6 in my comments above; these were my answers to questions 1-5:

    1. The original audience is the churches of Galatia (v. 2). We learn in this chapter that they were followers of Christ who had initially received the gospel of the grace of Christ, but they are now following a perverted form of the gospel being peddled by false teachers. Based on the nature of Paul’s argument in this chapter, it appears the Galatians had come to believe that the gospel Paul and the other apostles were preaching was merely the traditions of men.

    2. gospel (5x), grace (3x), preach (6x), the phrase “not of men, but by Jesus Christ” or the equivalent idea (3x), the warning in v. 8 against anyone preaching “another gospel” is repeated in v. 9

    3. Paul defines “the gospel” in I Cor. 15 as “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” – he also includes that Christ was buried and rose again the third day and that he was seen by eyewitnesses after his resurrection. I see all of the essential elements of this same gospel summarized in Galatians 1:1-4 (Christ died for our sins – v. 4 and rose again – v. 1). Verse 6 also refers to the gospel as “the grace of Christ” in contrast with “another gospel” that the Galatians were following.

    4. Verses 6-9

    5. Paul is concerned that the Galatians are following a perverted form of the gospel.

    Ready to discuss chapter 2?

    I’ll post soon… still studying…

  25. shematwater permalink
    February 18, 2010 4:30 pm

    DARREL

    What letters did they have? Where is the proof that all these letters were cerculated among all the churches?

    The time it took to write a letter and send it to one town was an enormous task. to make copies of them for each church would have been even greater.
    The letters that were canonized were not as common as you make them out to be, as making them this common would not have been financially feasalbe.

    Add to this that the majority of the Epistles we have now were most likely written after the Epistle to the Galatians, and you have another problem. Also, many of the letters were written to individuals, not churchs, and so very likely were not had by the general church.

    I do not doubt that some letters were passed around, but to say that all of them were is slightly rediculous. Also, even if they had read all the letters, the odds are that they didn’t have copies of them readily available to individual members, but only to leaders. As it was the leaders that seem to be the problem in Galatia this wouldn’t help a whole lot.

    Besides this, the false teachers he was talking about no doubt used the letters and scriptures to support their teachings. If they are to fall back onto the written word, then these false teachers would still be able to deceive by telling them “This is what Paul meant in this paragraph.” Since it is the written word, and that is what we are to trust, what do we do now?

    Now, as to the Holy Spirit, I believe he did say it, and I explained this earlier.
    To put his words into my words: “Do not trust man or angels to reveal truth, for they may alter the true gospel. “Who do you trust?” you may ask. Remember that I received the truth through revelation from Christ himself. Remember my history and how I came to a knowledge of the truth. And remember that once I had received this revelation from Christ I was firm enough in my faith that I had no problem challenging my superiors (meaning Peter in chapter 2). This is what you should be seeking. Don’t trust men, but seek out your own revelation from God himself.”

    Simply put, he advocated revelation by giving himself as an example of one who had done just that.

  26. February 18, 2010 6:58 pm

    Shem,

    I find your logic a little interesting. Using that kind of logic on this passage, I could make the case that I believe Paul was actually trying to get the Galatians to become persecutors of the Church. After all, that is the example Paul gives from his personal testimony. He persecuted the church and then God revealed Himself to Paul and gave him the true gospel. If he was making the point that the Galatians should seek personal revelation, he would have given an example in his own life of how he sought and gained personal revelation.

  27. February 18, 2010 7:02 pm

    Shem,

    I don’ t think you are understanding my point. The number, availability, and time of writing of the letters is truly irrelevant to the fact that they contain the ORIGINAL Gospel message as shared by the Apostles. Thus, while it might be fun to delve into a discussion on Bibliology, it really is meaningless to my point. The fact is that what we have today in our current Bible is what was originally preached. Because of this, Paul’s warning about comparing any and all new preaching, teaching, revelation, and spiritual witnesses to the original Gospel message (which we have IN THE BIBLE) stands.

    Now, as to the Holy Spirit, I believe he did say it, and I explained this earlier.

    Unfortunately, you appear to be conflating Paul’s warning against false gospels with Paul’s case for his Apostleship. These are two separate points.

    Paul references his personal encounter with Christ in order to validate his calling as an Apostle. In addition, please notice that he never told the Galations to seek a personal spiritual witness. Can you point me to the verse(s) in which he does?

    However, he does tell them to use the Gospel they received from him and the other Apostles as a benchmark for judging future messages, revelation, etc. (vvs. 6 -9).

    Also, you may not have noticed my previous question. If ones benchmark is a spiritual witness which claims to be the Holy Spirit, how does one KNOW that the spirit which is bearing witness IS actually the Holy Spirit and not a false spirit?

    Darrell

  28. February 18, 2010 7:36 pm

    The scripture preached the gospel (Galatians 3:8). Back then. And today.

  29. shematwater permalink
    February 19, 2010 3:52 pm

    JESSICA

    His mentioning to them of his former persecution of the church is a strength to his argument. After all, it is nothing new when a person who is completely faithful receives revelation and a vision, but it is something else when one who had been so violently opposed to the church does. In showing this Paul is saying “I was so against the church, and yet I was given this gospel by revelation. So don’t think that you are not able to receive the same.”
    It is the idea that if a person that bad good receive it, so can you.

    DARREL

    You are still not getting my point. You are interpreting the words as they might apply to us, not as they would have applied to the Galatians. Paul was not writing to us. He did not have us in mind when he penned these words. As such we should not consider what they mean to us, but what they meant to the Galatians. This is my point, which means that your point is pointless.
    If the Galatians did not have all these letters that we do than Paul was not referencing these letters when he wrote this one. If he was not referencing them then, why should we suddenly think he was now.

    As to the Holy Spirit, this is evidenced through many things. First is that idea that he never includes it in the group of possible false teachers. Second is his account of his own personal revelations.
    You can call this a “validation” of his authority, but personally, I don’t see it. The transition is not appropriate for it. He is not saying “these are my qualifications as an apostle.” He is saying “This is how I know it is true.” I do not think anyone was challenging his authority. He does not seem to be teaching this in any way. He is simply recounting his experiences to show how he started, how he changed, and how he is now firm in the faith.

    I will be quite honest, I have never delved deeply into Galatians before, nor have I read any commentaries on it. This is truly what I see. I see no indication of validating himself or his authority, but a admonishion to be firm in the faith. Since he has told them to not trust man nor angels there is only one logical way to gain that faith which makes us firm, and that is through the Holy Spirit. I am not reading into the text, but simply letting various phrases and words guide my understanding of the chapter as a whole.

    On a final note, the idea of falling back on the Spirit would generally indicate that the Galatians had received at least some form of a witness from the Spirit in the past. I think this is shown in Galatians 3: 3 when Paul says “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” They had had this revelation at the beginning (or of the Gospel that was before taught) but had abbandoned it in favor of the logic of the Law. So Paul is admonishing them to return to this bass which they had had before.

  30. shematwater permalink
    February 19, 2010 6:49 pm

    Oh, yeah, as to spiritual witness. If one truly has a witness from the spirit the power of it is overwelming. It is pure light, to the point that any other source would appear dark in comparrison. Once it is fealt there is no doubt left, for the Spirit driveth doubt away.

    Now, once the spirit has left doubt mey return, which is what happens to many. But no one who feels that prick in their heart (Acts 2: 37) can deny it. Paul understands they have had this initial witness, and he is admonishing them to fall back on it, to seek out more of it, to gain a continual witness, as he did. This is what I see this chapter saying.

    Now, I will also say that the sstrength and power if a true witness is so great that denying it, or blaspheming the Holy Spirit, is declared by Christ to be the only sin that will receive no Forgiveness (Matt 12: 31; Mark 3: 29; Luke 12: 10).

    For further comments, please post on the discussion to chapter 2, as that is where I will be posting form now on.

Trackbacks

  1. Inductive Bible Study: Discussion of Galatians 2 « I Love Mormons
  2. Hebrews Inductive Study (chapter 1) « Heart Issues for LDS
  3. Inductive Bible Study: Discussion of Galatians 3 « I Love Mormons

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