Free to Serve

The book of Galatians was written by a man named Paul around 50 AD (20 years after Jesus was crucified). Paul had once been a Jewish leader who killed Christians as heretics, until he encountered Jesus in a vision and was remarkably converted. From that moment on he gave up his life as a Jewish leader, and spent the rest of his life until he was killed telling everyone he could about Jesus and how he was the saviour the Jews were waiting for.

Paul wrote this book as a letter to the Galatian church because they were being convinced by some Jewish Christians that as well as believing in Jesus they had to follow the Jewish law, in particular that of circumcision, if they wanted to be saved. Paul wondered how they could have forgotten what he had taught them, and spells out clearly how we are made right with God, and exactly what Jesus dying on the cross meant. The book of Galatians is sometimes referred to as "Luther's book" because Martin Luther relied heavily on it when combating the prevailing theology of his day.

I've decided to present what I learned under four sub-headings, as that is how the book seems to be presented. Firstly, Paul explains again the gospel to the Galatians. Then he shows what authority he has to explain these things to them. Third, he talks about how the gospel of Jesus Christ affects us; then at the end he talks about what this means for us in practice. Quite a lot of the content of these pages is in the words of Geoff Lin, who was speaking the the conference where we studied this.

The Gospel of Christ
1:1 - 10 There is only one gospel
Preached by the Apostle of Christ
1:11 - 2:21 Paul's divine authority
Concerning the Work of Christ
3:1 - 25 Under Spirit, not law
3:26 - 4:31 Sons, not slaves
Leading us in the Service of Christ
5:1 - 25 Free to Serve
5:26 - 6:18 Bearing each other's