Galatians: Discipleship Lessons


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Apostle Paul (494-495 AD), mosaic in ceiling, Archiepiscopal oratory chapel of St. Andrew, Ravenna, Italy
Apostle Paul (494-495 AD), ceiling mosaic, Archiepiscopal Chapel of St. Andrew (oratory), Ravenna, Italy

It’s amazing how many so-called Christians don’t really “get it.” They think that the basis of Christianity is living a good moral life and doing good works. And – so long as you don’t mess up your life entirely – you’ll end up in heaven. And, oh yes, Jesus died for our sins, whatever that means.

Paul’s Letter to the Galatians deals with this kind of shallow understanding head-on. He had won the Galatians to Christ on his first missionary journey, we believe, and then taught them more about Christ on his second mission.

But now Paul hears that some Jewish-Christians have come to the churches and begun to convince these Gentile believers that they can’t be saved unless they’re circumcised and keep the Mosaic Law. What’s more, these false teachers have undermined Paul’s reputation. His ministry with these churches is in shambles. But what’s even worse is that these new Christians are about to go backwards – from faith in Christ to faith in law-keeping.

As you study Galatians, you’ll begin to understand clearly what the core of the gospel is all about. Galatians, after all, helped Martin Luther come to the conviction that we are saved by faith alone. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, came into spiritual life (“my heart was strangely warmed”) as he read Luther’s preface to his commentary on Galatians.

Galatians is also known for explaining what must substitute for the law – learning to walk by the Spirit.

It is my prayer that as you study this foundational letter, you’ll be blessed and encouraged, too. Here's the outline.

  1. No Other Gospel (1:1-10)
  2. The Independence of Paul's Gospel (1:11-2:10)
  3. Justified by Faith in Christ (2:11-21)
  4. Faith Is the Key, Not Law (3:1-3:25)
  5. By the Spirit We Cry, 'Abba, Father' (3:26-4:7)
  6. Freedom from the Law by the Spirit (4:8-5:12)
  7. The Spirit and the Flesh (5:13-21)
  8. The Spirit and Character (5:22-26)
  9. Sowing to the Spirit (6:1-18)

 Here's how we'll study together.

  • Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
    This is our 36th online Bible study since 1996. If you've participated in one before, you know how God can use them in your life. If not, then you have a treat in store for you. This is an cross-denominational study designed to help you grow as a disciple of Christ. -- Dr. Ralph F. Wilson. About the leader.
    Each Saturday I'll e-mail you the lesson for the week
    . Then you'll read the Bible passage and use my notes to help you understand it better.
  • If you sign up for the daily questions version, on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday you'll receive a question from that week's lesson to think about and answer. This is designed as a "total immersion" approach to Bible study, since I believe God wants to use these lessons to work real and permanent change in your life. (You can opt out of the daily questions if you like, however, and just receive the weekly lessons.) You'll be thinking about these passages constantly over these weeks -- long enough for God to work his Word into your life and lifestyle.
  • You can respond to the questions and exercises using the Joyful Heart Bible Study Forum -- and read others' answers to reinforce your own understanding.
  • With each lesson you'll receive a link to a 20- to 30-minute audio teaching that sums up the passage you've been studying that week. Some who learn better from hearing than from reading really appreciate this.
  • Then on Saturday, I'll send you the next week's lesson.
Galatians: Discipleship Lessons, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Available in paperback and e-book formats

As of January 25, 2012, about 4,562 people had signed up from more than 107 countries around the world.

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Please don't sign up for more than one of my Bible studies at one time. There's no penalty, but each of them is pretty intensive. If you try to do too many studies at the same time without adequate reflection, you'll miss out on God speaking to you.


Copyright © 1985-2014, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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