.Workers For Jesus Online Bible Study

The Book of Galatians

Timeline of the Bible

God creates the world. --- God destroys the world with the flood, but saves  Noah and his family.---
 God chooses Abraham and his descendants to His people. ---Abraham's grandson, Jacob, has 12 sons who lead the 12 tribes of Israel.--- The Israelites become slaves in Egypt.--- God helps the Israelites escape and leads them to Canaan. ---The Israelites fight in wars and take control of Canaan.---Judges lead the Israelites, but the Israelites want to have kings instead of judges. ----  David is Israel's greatest king. -- Israel divides into 2 parts: Israel and Judah.--- The people of Israel and Judah continue to sin and worship false gods.--- God allows the Assyrians and the Babylonians to take the Israelites out of Israel and Judah.---   The Israelites (Jews) live in Babylonia and then Persia. --- When Persia defeats the Babylonians, the Jews go back to Judah.--- The Jews build God's Temple in Jerusalem again.--- Greece defeats Persia, and the Greeks control Judah (also now called Israel).--- The Jews become independent for 100 years.-- The Romans take control of Israel.---Jesus is born. At age 30, Jesus begins his ministry. ---Jesus is crucified and then is resurrected. --- A Roman named Saul is converted to Christianity and becomes Paul.--- Christianity spreads. --- This book of the Bible covers this time  Paul write letters to Christians in other places.  In the year, 70 A.D., God's Temple in Jerusalem is destroyed again.

Galatians is one of Paul's Epistles. Epistles are letters Paul wrote to Christians in the early churches.

Galatians 1 - 3

Paul is angry that the Christians in Galatia are following other people's teachings about grace.
Paul tells Peter he is wrong.

Galatians was written to the church that was in Galatia.  People who study the Bible do not agree on exactly where Galatia was.  There were a couple of different places called Galatia.

After Jesus Christ died and came alive again, more people started to believe that He was the Messiah. They started to  believe in Him.  They started to be named Christians.  Most of the first Christians had been Jewish before they became Christian.  They had followed the strict Jewish laws.  They men had been circumcised.  After they became Christians, they continued following the Jewish laws even though they believed that Jesus Christ was the Messiah.

Gentiles were people who were not Jewish.  Some of them did not believe in any god -- either God or false gods.  Some of them worshiped false gods and idols. But they became Christian and followed Jesus.  They had not been Jewish so they did not follow any of the strict Jewish laws. 

There began a problem.  The Jewish Christians were not happy with the Gentile Christians.  The Jewish Christians wanted them to be more strict and follow Jewish laws. 

Paul spent a lot of time with Gentiles. He helped many of them to become Christians. He did not believe that Gentile Christians needed to start following Jewish laws.  This made the Jewish Christians mad. Many of the Jewish Christians didn't like Paul anyway. They did not trust him. In his past, Paul was very cruel to Christians. The Jewish Christians felt that he was not good enough to witness for Jesus Christ.

Paul wrote this letter to defend himself and show that he had authority and was good enough. He also wanted the Christians to remember they are saved by grace, not by works and not by following Jewish laws.

Some of the parts of Paul's letter to the Galatians:

Paul talks about his conversion and his authority to witness for Jesus.
Paul talks about faith, freedom, and being saved by grace. 
Paul talks about how Christians should live.








Galatians 1

Paul greets the people in Galatia.

This letter is from Paul. He says:

I am an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am not an apostle of men. I was not called by any man. I was called by Jesus Christ and God the Father. God made Jesus alive again. This letter is also from all the followers who are with me. We write to the churches in the area of Galatia.
[1] Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
[2] And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:

We pray for grace for you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus gave Himself for our sins.  He gave Himself to save us from the evil world we are in now. This is the will of God our Father. We give glory to God forever and ever. Amen.
[3] Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
[4] Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
[5] To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Paul is angry that the Christians in Galatia are following other people's teachings about grace.

I am surprised that you have already left God who called you into Christ's grace. You are following another message.
[6] I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

The teaching from other people is not true. But the other people are upsetting you. They are twisting Christ's words.
[7] Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.


The people who tell you different things instead of Christ's words are very wrong. It doesn't matter who it is. It could be one of us or an angel from heaven, and it would still be very wrong.
[8] But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

I will say it again. If anyone preaches different words about Christ, he should be punished.

[9] As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Do I want to please God or please people? If I just want to please people, I am not God's worker.
[10] For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

I am telling you the truth. The things I told you did not come from man.  I did not hear them from a man. A man did not teach me. I got them from Jesus Christ.
[11] But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
[12] For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.


You have heard about how I was in the past. I was a strict Jew.  I went after the Christian church of God. I tried to destroy it. I knew more about Jewish law than anyone else in my country. I followed the laws like my ancestors did.
[13] For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
[14] And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers

God had plans for me before I was born. He called me by His grace. He showed me His son so I can tell people who don't believe.   After He showed me, I didn't talk to anyone. I didn't go to Jerusalem with the other apostles. I went to Arabia and then I came back to Damascus (Syria).
[15] But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
[16] To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
[17] Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

Three years later, I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter. I stayed with him for 15 days. The only other apostle I saw was Jesus' brother, James. 
[18] Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
[19] But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.

I am telling you the truth that the things I write to you are true.
[20] Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.

Then, I went to the areas of Syria and Cilicia. They didn't know who I was. They had heard of me. They heard that I used to hurt Christians. But then they heard that I preach now. They praised God for me because of that.
[21] Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;
[22] And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
[23] But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
[24] And they glorified God in me.


Galatians 2 

Fourteen years later, God told me to go to Jerusalem.  Barnabus and Titus went with me. I told the leaders what I had been preaching to the Gentiles. I talked privately to the leaders so that I didn't go there for nothing.
[1] Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.
[2] And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.

Titus was Greek, but he didn't feel that he needed to be circumcised.
[3] But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:

People who were not really Christians were spying on us. They wanted to take away the freedom that we have when we believe in Christ. They wanted us to follow strict laws again.
[4] And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

But we wanted you to know the truth. We didn't let them defeat us for even one hour.
[5] To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

Some of them acted like they were important. But, that doesn't matter to me. God does not accept some people over others. I didn't care about them at all.
[6] But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:

They saw that I am witnessing to gentiles.  Peter witnessed to Jews. God told me to witness to the gentiles.  Peter was told to witness to Jews.
[7] But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
[8] (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

The strong leaders, James, Peter, and John understood that God had given me grace. They became friends with Barnabas and I. They agreed that we would witness to Gentiles, and they would witness to Jews.  Their only request was that we should help poor people. I also wanted to help poor people.
[9] And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
[10] Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.



The Council of Jerusalem

At this time, there were Jews and Gentiles. Gentiles were people who were not Jewish. Jewish people had very strict laws about food and circumcision.  Circumcision is surgery that is done on Jewish baby boys.

After Jesus was crucified, some Jews and some Gentiles became Christians. The Jewish Christians were still following the strict Jewish laws.  But the Gentile Christians did not.

Paul was working and witnessing to Gentiles. He did not tell the Gentile Christians they had to follow the Jewish laws.  He did not feel they needed to follow those laws.

This became a big argument.   Peter felt that the Gentile Christians should follow Jewish laws. Peter and Paul met in the town of Antioch.  Paul told Peter that he was wrong about this.

Paul went to Jerusalem and met with Peter and other Christian leaders.  They decided that Gentile Christians did not need to be circumcised. They did not need to follow the strict Jewish laws, except for 2 laws.  They were not allowed to eat food that had been sacrificed.  Also, they were not allowed to commit fornication (sexual relations with people they were not married to).

Paul tells Peter he is wrong

When Peter came to Antioch, I talked to him face-to-face. I told him he was wrong. He had been friends with Gentiles, but when some of the stricter Jewish Christians came, he wouldn't be friends with them anymore. He was afraid of the Jewish Christians who were strict about circumcision.
[11] But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
[12] For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

Some of the other Jews followed him. Even Barnabas was following them.
[13] And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

When I saw that they were not following the law of the gospel, I said to Peter, "You are a Jew, but you live like the Gentiles.  So, why do you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?"
[14] But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

We were born Jews. We are not sinners like Gentiles. We know that it is not enough to follow the Jewish laws. That is not how we become justified.  We become justified by faith in Jesus Christ
[15] We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
[16] 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.

If we try to be justified, we might see that we are sinners.  Does that mean that Christ made us sin? God forbid! If I build something that I already destroyed, that is wrong.
[17] But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
[18] For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

I am dead to the law so that I live for God. I am killed with Christ on the cross, but now I live. I don't live, but Christ lives in me. I live in the body by faith in Christ. He is the Son of God. He loved me and gave His life for me.
[19] For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
[20] I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

I do not forget the grace of God.  If we could be righteous by following the law, then Christ's death would mean nothing.
[21] I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Galatians 3

You Galatian people are foolish! Who tricked you so that you don't obey the truth? Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross. I told you this. Did you receive the Spirit by doing good work or by faith?
[1] O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
[2] This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Are you that foolish? Do you think you began in the Spirit, but are not perfect by following the Jewish law?
[3] Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Have you suffered so much for nothing?

[4] Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

Does the Spirit who cares for you work miracles with the law or with your faith?
[5] He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Abraham believed God. His belief made him righteous.
[6] Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

Everyone who has faith is a descendant of Abraham.

[7] Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

This was in the scripture. It showed what would happen in the future. God would justify people who were not Jewish if they had faith. The scripture said about Abraham, "In you, all the nations will be blessed."
[8] And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

So, people who have faith are blessed like Abraham who was faithful.
[9] So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

The scripture says that if someone does not follow every law, they are cursed. No one can follow every law. No one could be saved that way.

[10] For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

God does not accept anyone just because they follow the law. They must have faith to be accepted by God.
[11] But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

The law does not come from faith.  The law says that only people who obey the law will be saved.
[12] And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

Christ saved us from being cursed with the law. He became the curse. The scripture says, "Everyone who hangs on a tree will be cursed."
[13] Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Abraham's blessing will come to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ.  So then, we can receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
[14] That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Brothers, this is what I mean. The covenant made with Abraham was with a man. It cannot be broken.
[15] Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

The promise was made to Abraham and his descendants. He only said it to one person: Abraham. Abraham's seed is Christ.  
[16] Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

I say this: the promise was made to Abraham 430 years before the law was given to Moses. The law cannot change the promise.
[17] And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

If we are saved by the law, it doesn't come from a promise.  But God gave it to Abraham in a promise.
[18] For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

Why is there the law? It was given to show people their sins. It was only to last until Jesus came. Jesus is the seed that God made the promise about.  Angels gave the laws to Moses. Moses gave the laws to the people. But the law came from God.

[19] Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

A mediator can't mediate for just one person. But God is one.
[20] Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

Does this mean that the law goes against the promises of God? God forbid, no! If laws could give life, people would become righteous by the law.
[21] Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

The scripture shows that everyone is under sin. The promise by faith in Jesus Christ may be given to people who believe.
[22] But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Before they had faith, they had to follow the law. The faith came later. The law taught us and brought us to Christ. We were justified (made right) by faith.
[23] But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
[24] Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

After faith came, we did not need to be taught anymore.
[25] But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

You are all the children of God because you have faith in Christ Jesus.
[26] For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

All of you that have been baptized to be one with Christ have put on Christ.
[27] For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

You are all one in Christ Jesus. There is no Jew nor Greek. There is no slave nor free. There is no male nor female.  If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's descendant.  You inherit the promise that God made to Abraham.
[28] There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
[29] And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

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