Ch 1 Correcting the belief in Jesus plus anything else
The gospel had been preached and received in Galatia, which region today would be found in modern Turkey. The apostle Paul wrote this letter to the churches of Galatia. The main thrust of the letter is to bring correction to the churches because Judaizing teachers had arisen, saying, that faith in Christ alone was not enough for salvation but that the Christians had also to keep the mosaic law (including circumcision).
These legalistic teachers had also tried to discredit Paul, by unfavourably comparing him with the other apostles. They tried to discredit Paul so that they could also discredit his teaching. The message of Galatians is still important today as there are still people around trying to add things (believe in Jesus and …something else) onto the gospel and bringing men into bondage.
Paul then emphasises the great teaching of justification by faith alone without the works of the law and exhorts them to walk in the wonderful liberty given to them and us by Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle--sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead--
2 and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
A true apostle and a true message.
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel--
7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 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! Not just life or death, but eternal.
9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
There is only one true message.
10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
What about you, are you a man-pleaser?
11 I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up.
How Paul became an apostle.
12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it.
14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased
16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man,
17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.
18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days.
19 I saw none of the other apostles--only James, the Lord's brother.
20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.
21 Later I went to Syria and Cilicia.
22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.
23 They only heard the report: "The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy."
24 And they praised God because of me.
Paul did not go to the other apostles or bible school, nor a seminary, he was in no way inferior to them or dependent upon them. His calling was direct from the Lord.
Summary of key learning points
1. Paul is a true apostle. He was not called, commissioned nor taught by any man; he was directly called by Our Lord.
2. There is one true gospel, that we are justified by faith alone without the works of the law.
3. The one true gospel is believed in Jesus, not believe and Jesus and anything else.
4. It is crucial we know and understand the basis of the gospel, so that no one can take away our wonderful liberty Christ has purchased by his blood and death for us.