Galatians Bible Study – Week 1 – Part 2 – Chapters 1-2

Note: If you are looking for any posts you have missed, or a FREE copy of the study guide, you can find the table of contents by clicking here.

Below are my thoughts for each of the chapters we studied this week along with the answers to the questions I posted in the study guide.

Also, make sure that you get a copy of the coloring page I have pasted below. Have a great weekend!

Galatians 1

Questions and Answers…

When did Paul establish the church at Galatia?

During Paul’s first missionary journey, we see that he sailed to Antioch, which is one of the cities in Galatia:

“From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.” – Acts 14:26-28

According to Biblestudy.org this was late Spring 44 A.D. to Fall 46 A.D.

What is the main theme of this epistle?

Paul was writing to the Galatians to set the record straight regarding the works of the law, and justification through faith in Jesus Christ.

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” – Galatians 2:16

Describe the two main reasons Paul wrote this letter.

Some Jewish believers were questioning Paul’s authority while preaching a false doctrine that Gentiles should be keeping the law.

Paul writes to both establish his authority and get the church back on track regarding justification by faith.

“Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)” – Galatians 1:1

Who were these individuals trying to pervert the gospel and sway the Galatians? What were they saying about him? Look up Martin Luther’s Commentary on the epistle of Galatians for background on this question.

In Martin Luther’s commentary on the Epistle of the Galatians, he writes, “These Jewish-Christian fanatics who pushed themselves into the Galatian churches after Paul’s departure, boasted that they were the descendants of Abraham, true ministers of Christ, having been trained by the apostles themselves, that they were able to perform miracles. In every way they sought to undermine the authority of St. Paul. They said to the Galatians: “You have no right to think highly of Paul. He was the last to turn to Christ. But we have seen Christ. We heard Him preach. Paul came later and is beneath us. It is possible for us to be in error–we who have received the Holy Ghost? Paul stands alone. He has not seen Christ, nor has he had much contact with the other apostles. Indeed, he persecuted the Church of Christ for a long time.”

Why was Paul so upset that they were believing these lies?

Paul had a passion to preach the gospel of Christ, and nothing but the truth of that gospel. He was invested in the lives of his converts as a father is to his children. In fact in Galatians 4:19, he refers to them as dear children, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.”

Explain verse 8. Define accursed – or, Greek ἀνάθεμα anathēma (anathema)

Anathema is to be banned or excommunicated. It can also mean a person or a thing that is doomed to destruction.

What Paul is saying here is that when someone is perverting the gospel of Christ, we shouldn’t be entertaining that person as a brother in Christ.

It’s important to note however that believers will have differing opinions when it comes to understanding the gospel. We have believers that are Baptist, others that are Pentecostal, and some that are Mennonite, etc. You can put them in a room with a chapter of the Bible and get three different opinions, and yet if they are God fearing men and women, you will find unity in the Spirit and a bond of peace. The important thing is that they are agreeing on the fundamental truths found in the Bible, some of them being that there is one God, who is infinitely perfect, existing eternally in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, that He died on the cross and rose again on the third day, and that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.

These men that Paul mentions were clearly trying to sew discord. They were bad mouthing God’s anointed apostle and perverting the gospel of grace through faith in Christ.

What do we learn about Paul’s past from both this chapter and Acts 9:1-2?

Paul (Saul) was a Pharisee of the tribe of Benjamin. He excelled above his peers, exceedingly zealous of Jewish tradition. He opposed the birth of the church and the gospel of Christ. Seeking to destroy the work of God, it was his mission to seize and punish the disciples. In fact, Saul was present at the stoning of Stephen as we see in Acts 7:58.

Describe Paul’s conversion. (See Act 9:3-30)

Paul was on the road to Damascus, in fact, he was on his way to the synagogues there. His mission was to arrest any followers of Christ and bring them back to Jerusalem.

Before he got there, Jesus appeared to Paul in a bright light saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” He was then instructed to go to the city where he would further be instructed.

Paul was trembling–his companions were speechless.

Paul was brought to the city of Damascus where he waited. He was blind, and didn’t eat or drink for three days.

There was a disciple in that city named Ananias who was well aware of Paul’s reputation, and God told Ananias to go speak to Paul. Of course Ananias was afraid, but obedient to the command of God.

“Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.” – Acts 9:17

Immediately Paul’s sight returned. He started eating again, and was strengthened.

Paul didn’t waste anytime. The Bible tells us that he spent time with the disciples and then immediately began to preach the gospel of Christ in the synagogues.

Explain why Paul felt the need to share his conversion.

Paul needed to establish his authority and help the Galatians understand that he was not called by man, but called by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Not only that, but we also see in chapter 2 that Paul’s apostleship was confirmed by the other apostles. They understood that the gospel of uncircumcision was committed to Paul and that the gospel of circumcision was committed to Peter.

These naysayers who spoke against Paul had no authority to do so. Paul on the other hand was given this authority by Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2

Questions and Answers…

How long had it been since Paul got saved according to verse 1?

The timing of the events in Galatians 2 would seem to take place 14 years after Paul was converted. However, if you add the three years found in chapter 1:18 then you have a total of 17 years.

What did Paul approach the church leaders about in private?

He wanted to present them with the message that he was preaching to the Gentiles, and that God had revealed this mission to him.

How did Paul’s ministry differ from that of Peter’s? 

Paul was called to preach the gospel to the Gentiles and Peter was ministering to the Jews.

What does Paul mean in verse 4 when he says, “that they might bring us into bondage?” What were these spies trying to achieve?

They were trying to hold the disciples accountable to the Mosaic law, when they had already been freed from that law of ceremonial cleansings, and sacrifices, and all of it’s traditions. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law to all who believe. You can’t serve two masters. Either you believe that you are justified by the works of the law, or you are justified by faith in Christ. One leads to death, while the other leads to life.

“Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” – Acts 15:10

What made Peter revert back to the legalistic attitude/actions he once forsook?

In Acts chapter 10, God gave Peter a vision through which He taught Peter that the Gentiles were not unpure or unclean. Immediately Peter understood that Jews were not forbidden to associate with Gentiles. In fact, Peter said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” (Acts 10:34)

Peter understood that the Gentiles were called to salvation, in fact he was instrumental in ushering the first Gentile converts into Christianity. (Acts 11)

The reason that Peter reverted back to his old ways when the Jews came to visit the church is because it was easier to avoid conflict than to deal with it.

What was the result of this?

He separated himself from the Gentiles, joined in the hypocrisy of his fellow Jews, and in the process he led Barnabas astray.

Why did Paul confront Peter?

Because they weren’t acting in line with the truth of the gospel.

What is the ONLY thing that saves?

The only thing that saves us is faith in Jesus Christ.

Explain “justification.”

“The act of God whereby humankind is made or accounted just, or free from guilt or penalty of sin.” (www.dictionary.com)


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You are loved by an almighty God,

Darlene Schacht
The Time-Warp Wife