BibleProject New Testament Series - Lesson 15

Galatians - BibleProject

This lesson on Galatians explores the book's background, context, and content. The letter was written by Paul to the churches in Galatia to combat the false teaching that claimed circumcision was necessary for salvation. In the first two chapters, Paul defends his gospel and authority as an apostle. In chapters 3 and 4, he explains the role of the law in God's promise to Abraham and how faith in Christ fulfills that promise. In chapters 5 and 6, Paul urges the Galatians to live by the Spirit and not the flesh, bearing the fruit of the Spirit and doing good to all.

Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject New Testament Series
Lesson 15
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Galatians - BibleProject

I. Introduction to Galatians

A. Author and Date

B. Recipients and Location

C. Occasion and Purpose

II. Galatians 1-2: Paul's Defense of His Gospel

A. Paul's Authority as an Apostle

B. Paul's Gospel is from God, not Humans

C. Paul's Gospel is Based on Christ's Revelation

III. Galatians 3-4: The Promise and Faith

A. The Promise Given to Abraham

B. The Role of the Law

C. The Purpose of the Law

D. The Fulfillment of the Promise through Faith in Christ

IV. Galatians 5-6: Living by the Spirit

A. Freedom in Christ

B. Walking by the Spirit

C. Bearing the Fruit of the Spirit

D. Doing Good to All

  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the literary design, purpose, themes, and messages of each book in the New Testament, including the four Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, epistles of Paul, general epistles, and the book of Revelation.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the book of Matthew 1-13 through this lesson, including the literary design of the book, the flow of thought in each chapter, and the key themes and events. The lesson highlights the importance of Jesus' role in bringing God's kingdom to earth and inviting his disciples into a new way of life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the Gospel book of Matthew through an overview of the first 13 chapters. You will learn how Matthew presents Jesus as the king who brings God's kingdom to earth, and how his disciples are invited to participate in this new way of life through his death and resurrection. You will also discover the central theme of the kingdom of God in Matthew, its relationship with the Church, and the call to discipleship and obedience.
  • Gain insight into the book of Mark's literary design and flow of thought, as well as Jesus' role as Israel's Messiah, inaugurating God's kingdom through his suffering, death, and resurrection.
  • By studying the Gospel of Luke, you will gain knowledge of the authorship, purpose, themes, and literary features of the Gospel, as well as a deep understanding of Luke 1-2, which narrates the miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus and provides models of faith and obedience. You will discover how Luke emphasizes the universality of God's love and the role of the Holy Spirit in empowering Jesus and his followers.
  • Luke's Gospel portrays Jesus as the fulfillment of God's promises told in the Old Testament, bringing the good news of God's kingdom to the poor, teaching his disciples about prayer, trust, and generosity, continuing his mission to the poor and social outsiders, celebrating God's mercy for the lost and the tragic resistance of Israel's leaders, and ultimately dying on the cross as an embodiment of God's love and mercy.
  • In the Gospel of John, the first half of the book tells stories of Jesus performing miraculous signs that lead to controversy, culminating in the raising of Lazarus and his rejection by Israel's leaders, all of which prepare us to understand Jesus as the Messiah, teacher of Israel, and Son of God who offers a new quality of life through belief in Him.
  • You will gain insights into Jesus' ministry and teachings, including the seven signs of Jesus' public ministry and his private ministry, which include the washing of the disciples' feet, farewell discourse, and high priestly prayer.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insight into the introduction and context of the book of Acts, the early church in Jerusalem, and the gospel going to the Gentiles.
  • You will learn about the book of Acts, covering chapters 13-28, which includes Paul's missionary journeys, the Jerusalem Council, and his journey to Rome, and learn about the debates and decisions made by the apostles and elders, as well as gain insights into Paul's ministry and travels.
  • In Paul's Letter to the Romans, he explains how the gospel reveals God's righteousness, creates a new humanity fulfilling God's promise to Israel, and unifies the church, with chapters one through four laying the foundation for understanding the rest of the letter, which emphasizes that all humanity is hopelessly trapped in sin and needs to be rescued through faith in Jesus.
  • In Paul's letter to the Romans, he explores the idea that all humanity is trapped in sin and needs to be rescued through Jesus' death and resurrection, and that being in the family of Abraham means being a part of a new humanity that God is creating through Jesus and the Spirit, with the purpose of rescuing and renewing all of creation.
  • Explore 1 Corinthians to gain insights into complex problems faced by the church and how Paul responds through the gospel. Learn about unity, sexual integrity, love, worship order, and the resurrection as the foundation of hope in the future. Understand the gospel's application to all aspects of life.
  • In 2 Corinthians, you will learn about Paul's efforts to reconcile with the Corinthians, address their forgotten generosity, and confront the "super apostles" who undermine his authority, revealing the paradox of the cross and its implications for a transformed life.
  • You will gain an understanding of the background, context, and content of Galatians, including the false teaching that prompted Paul's letter, his defense of his gospel and authority, the role of the law in God's promise to Abraham, and the importance of living by the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Gain insights into the book of Ephesians, which emphasizes the creation of unified, ethnically diverse communities through devotion to Jesus and each other.
  • This lesson on Philippians will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of its background, authorship, themes, literary features, detailed analysis of each chapter, and significance in Christian theology and impact on the church.
  • By studying Colossians, you will gain understanding of the book's authorship, background, and theological themes such as Christology, spiritual maturity, and the new humanity in Christ and how to practically apply the teachings of Colossians to the church and daily life.
  • By studying this lesson on the book of 1 Thessalonians, you will gain understanding of its background, themes, purpose, literary features, and application. You will learn about the historical and cultural relevance of the book and its personal and spiritual significance for us today.
  • You will gain an understanding of the background, purpose, and themes of 2 Thessalonians, as well as an in-depth exegesis of the text. The application of the book to historical and cultural contexts, as well as its relevance for today, is also explored.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insights into the book of 1 Timothy, including its background, themes, and significance in the New Testament, such as its contribution to understanding church leadership and worship, the historical context of the early church, and its application for modern church life.
  • In 2 Timothy, Paul writes to Timothy from prison, urging him to stay strong in the face of persecution and to confront corrupt teachers who are causing problems in the church in Ephesus.
  • This lesson on the book of Titus provides a comprehensive understanding of its background, authorship, purpose, structure, themes, and significance, enabling you to appreciate its contributions to the New Testament, its impact on the original audience, and its relevance to the Church today.
  • Gain insights into Paul's letter to Philemon about forgiveness and reconciliation with his runaway slave, challenging assumptions about social justice and inequality, and highlighting Paul's commitment to pastoral care and reconciliation.
  • This lesson on Hebrews covers the authorship, purpose, literary genre, Christology, eschatology, and theology of the book, providing insights into Jesus as the Son of God, High Priest, and Perfect Sacrifice, the concept of Rest, Warning Passages, and the Superiority of Christ and the New Covenant, the Importance of Faith and Obedience, and the Perseverance of the Saints.
  • In the Book of James, you will explore the wisdom of Jesus' teachings and the Book of Proverbs, examining themes such as faith and works, the power of words, wealth, poverty, and wisdom, ultimately learning to live according to the "Perfect Torah of Freedom."
  • Through participating in this lesson, you will learn about 1 Peter, including information on its authorship and date, recipients and purpose, theological themes, literary features, and application. The lesson covers the book's historical and cultural context, as well as its contemporary relevance, and provides insights into how it speaks to topics such as suffering and glory, holiness and ethics, and Christology and salvation.
  • You will gain understanding of the book of 2 Peter, including its authorship, date, and literary context, as well as its theological themes, interpretation, and application. By studying 2 Peter, you will learn about false teachers and their destruction, the day of the Lord, the second coming of Christ, the certainty of God's promises, and the importance of godly living in contemporary Christian life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the letters of John, including their historical and cultural context, authorship, purpose, literary features, themes, and messages, as well as their significance in the New Testament.
  • The book of Jude emphasizes the importance of contending for the Christian faith and exposes corrupt teachers, using both biblical and non-biblical Jewish texts as examples, ultimately highlighting that obedience to Jesus is the true indicator of genuine belief.
  • You will gain a deeper understanding of the book of Revelation, including its historical and literary context, authorship, purpose, and genre, as well as its structure, themes, and images. Additionally, you will be introduced to different interpretive approaches and learn how to apply the book to your personal life, the church, and culture.
  • This lesson provides an understanding of the book of Revelation, including its structure, content, symbolism, interpretive approaches, message, and relevance, helping you to gain insight into the nature of God, the victory of Christ, the role of the church, and the end of history.

BP150-15 - Galatians

Paul's letter to the Galatians. It was written to a number of churches in the region of Galatia, where Paul had traveled on one of his missionary journeys. You can read the stories in the Book of Acts. He wrote this important letter from a place of deep passion and frustration. Here's the backstory. Christianity began as a Jewish messianic movement in Jerusalem, but its message was for all humanity, and so it quickly spread beyond Israel. By Paul's time as a missionary. There were as many non-Jews as there were Jewish people in the Jesus movement. And this sparked a huge debate that we know about from the Book of Acts, Chapter 15. Historically, the Covenant people of God were focused on one ethnic group, Israel, and they were set apart by the practices commanded in the Torah, like circumcision of males eating kosher, observing the Sabbath. And there were many Jewish Christians who believed that for all of these non-Jews to truly become a part of God's family, they needed to obey the laws of the Torah. And so some of these Jewish Christians ended up coming to the Galatians churches. They were undermining Paul and demanding circumcision of all these male non-Jewish Christians. And so many of them were. And when Paul found out he was brokenhearted and angry and this letter is the result, he first challenges the Galatians with his summary of the gospel message about the crucified Messiah. He then argues that this gospel is what creates the new multiethnic family of Jesus and Abraham, and then he shows how this gospel is what truly transforms people by the presence and power of the Spirit. He opens by expressing his bewilderment that the Galatians have embraced a different gospel. It's the one promoted by these Christians who bad mouth Paul and demand circumcision. So Paul first defends the authenticity of his message and authority as an apostle. He was commissioned by the risen Jesus himself to go to the non-Jewish world. Remember the story from the Book of Acts? Paul says it was only later that he went to Jerusalem to consult the other apostles like Peter or James, and when he told them he wasn't requiring non-Jewish Christians to be circumcised or eat kosher, they were in full support. But this tension ran deeper. Peter had come to Antioch to visit and see all of these non-Jewish Christians, and he was eating and mingling with them. But when some of this Jerusalem opposition group showed up in Antioch, Peter caved under their pressure. He stopped eating with these uncircumcised Christians and he was avoiding them. And so Paul confronted and accused Peter of hypocrisy, of not staying true to the gospel, for Paul, demanding these new Christians to become circumcised and more observant. It's wrong headed for all kinds of reasons. First of all, because it's a betrayal of the gospel. Or in his words, people are not justified by the works of the Torah, but rather by the faith of Jesus the Messiah. And we have faith in the Messiah Jesus to be justified, literally to be declared righteous. It's a rich Old Testament term for Paul. It's when God declares that someone is in a right relationship with him. They're forgiven. They're given a place in God's family, and they are being transformed by God's grace. And it's Paul's conviction that no one can be justified by observing the commands of the Torah, but only by the faith of Jesus. This is a dense phrase, and it could refer to Jesus's own faithfulness in living and dying on our behalf. Or it could refer to our own trust and devotion to Jesus. Either way, the point is clear People are justified only through trusting in what God did for them through Jesus, not by what they do for themselves. At the heart of Paul's gospel is this claim that when people trust in the Messiah Jesus, what's true of him becomes true of them. His life, death and resurrection become theirs. Or in his words, I've been crucified with the Messiah. And it's not I who come back to life. It's the Messiah living in me and the life I now live. I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. And so the reason anyone can say that they are right with God or belong to Jesus is covenant family. It's not because they obeyed the laws of the Torah. It's only because of what Jesus did for them that they could never do for themselves. Now, this profound understanding of what Jesus accomplished, it has huge implications for who can now be included in God's covenant family and for what it means to live as a member of that family. So Paul first turns to the stories about Abraham in Genesis, how he was justified or declared righteous before God, by simply having faith, by trusting in God's promise that one day all nations would find God's blessing through Him and His offspring. God's purpose was always to have one large, multi-ethnic family of people who relate to him on the basis of faith, not on the laws of the Torah. But that raises an important question Why did God give the laws of the Torah to Israel then? Here, Paul offers a very brief and dense explanation that he will lay. To fill out. In his letter to the Romans, he observes that the laws of the Torah were given to Israel at Mount Sinai long after God's promise to Abraham. And if you read the Torah carefully, he says, you'll see that God always intended the laws to be a temporary measure. He says the laws had both a negative and a positive role. Negatively, the laws acted like a magnifying glass on Israel's sin. They exposed how Israel shared in the sinful human condition, constantly rebelling against God's law. And so the law, which is good. Ended up pronouncing Israel guilty and all humanity with them. Or, in his words, the laws imprisoned everyone under the power of sin. But the laws also had a positive role. They acted like a strict school teacher that kept Israel in line until the coming of the promised offspring of Abraham the Messiah. And once the Messiah came, he fulfilled the purpose of the laws on Israel's behalf. Jesus was the faithful Israelite who truly loved God and neighbor, and as Israel's king, he died to take the curse and consequence of Israel's failure into himself and bring redemption. And so now, through Jesus, the offspring of Abraham, God's blessing can come to all people, regardless of their ethnicity, social status or gender. For Paul requiring Torah observance from non-Jewish Christians, it makes no sense. It's acting as if Jesus didn't fulfill God's promise or deal with our sins. It neglects the new freedom gained for us through Jesus and the gift of the Spirit. And it limits God's promise and blessing to one ethnic family. But Paul's opponents might argue the laws of the Torah. They're a proven guide to living according to God's will. How will non-Jewish Christians learn this? Paul responds in chapters five and six by describing how Jesus is transforming presents through the Spirit is the key. The laws of the Torah are good. They're wise, Paul says. In fact, they can all be summarized as Jesus did in the command to love your neighbor as yourself. But the laws good as they are, they did not give Israel the power to obey them. In contrast, the good news is that Jesus did fulfill the laws on our behalf, and now He lives in us through the Spirit, making His people into new humans who fulfill the law by loving others. So Paul goes on to contrast this old and new humanity. The habits of the old humanity are obvious. These are behaviors that dehumanize people. They destroy relationships and whole communities. And while the laws of the Torah prohibited these behaviors, Jesus actually put them to death on the cross. So when a person trust in Jesus and lives in dependance on the Spirit, his life becomes theirs and produces what Paul calls the fruit of the Spirit. This is Jesus's way of life that he wants to reproduce in his family so that they become people of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. But this fruit isn't automatic, Paul says. It requires cultivation, just like real fruit. Or, in his words, If we live by the spirit, we have to keep in step with the spirit. This requires intentionality. We have to learn how to prune off our old habits and cultivate new ones. And as we do so, we find ourselves carried along by the Spirit as Jesus reshapes our minds and hearts and makes us into people who love God and others. And in this way, Jesus people fulfill what Paul calls the Torah of the Messiah. In the end, Paul concludes this requirement for Christians to become Torah, observant or be circumcised. It's an adventure and missing the point. What really matters is God's new creation, this new multi-ethnic family of the Messiah, people full of faith in Jesus who are learning to love God and others in the power of the Spirit. And that's what the letter to the Galatians is all about.