Galatians Study 1: Who can you trust?

Thought I would post the handouts for the Bible Study I am running on Wed lunchtimes with the students, here is part 1

Discuss:

These days there is much dodgy stuff going around claiming to be Christian.  How can you tell a true pastor/teacher from a false one?

This is one of the crucial questions that are facing the churches in Galatia:

Explore more:

Read Acts 13:13-14:23

How would you describe this trip, as a success or a failure?  Do you think the churches were effectively planted?

Paul and Barnabas visited Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe (all cities in the Roman province of Galatia).

Whilst there:

  • the gospel was preached (13:16f; 14:2, 7, 15-17, 21),
  • people were converted (13:48-49; 14:1, 20, 21)
  • churches were established (14:23), strengthened and encouraged (14:22)
  • and elders were appointed (14:23).

Sometime between this journey and the Council of Jerusalem (see Date of Galatians post), false teachers (known as the Judaizers) came to the Galatian churches and began teaching that in order to be truly saved (justified) they must not only follow Jesus but obey the Jewish law.

In fact they must become what in the OT would have been referred to as God-fearers – those who were circumcised and lived as Jews but who were not Jews.  It is probably the same situation as that which we find described in Antioch in Acts 15:1

“Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”

Getting Started:

You can often tell a great deal about what a biblical book is all about – if you read the end and the beginning of the book.

Read 1:1-5

What key issues is Paul highlighting?

Read 6:11-18

What key issues is Paul making sure they heard/understood?

How would you begin to describe the important issues in this letter?  (Sometimes it is helpful to put them down as questions to be answered.)

Investigate

Paul talks a lot about the law, what law is he talking about?

What is this circumcision Paul talks about in 6v13?

Paul seems to be placing the law and his message as opposites.  If this is the law that God gave in the Old Testament, what right does Paul have to do this?

Why does Paul oppose the law?

Think About it:

Does it really matter if either Paul or these other teachers have got thing a little bit wrong? After all they are both talking about Jesus right?

Getting Personal:

What criteria do you use to evaluate Christian preachers, magazine articles, books etc.?

Are you sufficient equipped in order to discern between a false and a true teacher?

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~ by John on February 4, 2009.

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