Beginning the Journey (for new Christians)
1, 2, and 3 John
1 & 2 Thessalonians
1 & 2 Timothy
2 Peter, Jude
7 Last Words of Christ
Christ Powered Life (Rom 5-8)
David, Life of
Jesus and the Kingdom
Lamb of God
Names of God
Sermon on the Mount
Galatians: Discipleship Lessonsby Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
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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.
- No Other Gospel (1:1-10)
- The Independence of Paul's Gospel (1:11-2:10)
- Justified by Faith in Christ (2:11-21)
- Faith Is the Key, Not Law (3:1-3:25)
- By the Spirit We Cry, 'Abba, Father' (3:26-4:7)
- Freedom from the Law by the Spirit (4:8-5:12)
- The Spirit and the Flesh (5:13-21)
- The Spirit and Character (5:22-26)
- Sowing to the Spirit (6:1-18)
- Chronology of Paul's Ministry as it relates to the Galatians
- Participant lesson handouts can be downloaded and printed for your group or class at no charge.
- Paintings and art regarding the Apostle Paul
- Songs and Hymns from Galatians
- Reprint Guidelines
Here's how we'll study together.
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.
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Copyright © 1985-2014, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastorjoyfulheart.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.
In-depth Bible study books
You can purchase one of Dr. Wilson's complete Bible studies in PDF, Kindle, or paperback format.
- 1, 2, and 3 John
- 1 Peter
- 2 Peter & Jude
- 1 & 2 Thessalonians
- 1 & 2 Timothy
- 1 Corinthians
- 2 Corinthians
- Abraham, Faith of
- Christ Powered Life (Romans 5-8)
- Christmas Incarnation
- Colossians and Philemon
- Great Prayers of the Bible
- Jacob, Life of
- Jesus and the Kingdom of God
- JesusWalk: Beginning the Journey
- John's Gospel
- Lamb of God
- Lord's Supper
- Luke's Gospel
- Moses the Reluctant Leader
- Names and Titles of God
- Resurrection and Easter Faith
- Sermon on the Mount
- Seven Last Words of Christ