Episode #163. Today we’ll read Galatians chapter 1 together. After greeting the saints at churches of Galatia, Paul dives right in by saying there is no other Gospel.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #163. Today we’ll read Galatians chapter 1 together: After greeting the saints at churches of Galatia, Paul dives right in by saying there is no other Gospel.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
We start a new book today! It’s the book of Galatians and it is Paul’s letter to the churches in the area of Galatia or modern-day Turkey. (I hope you kept that Bible map handy!)
As I was reading the introduction of this book in the ESV, I noticed that it sounded a lot like the letters to the Corinthians; primarily the parts where he was warning them to keep those false teachers at bay. In this particular letter though, it wasn’t so much false teachers as it was old Covenant Jews, who insisted that Christians must be circumcised in order to be accepted by God. Galatians begins with Paul having to defend his apostleship (sound familiar?) and then goes on to explain what they already know: that salvation comes through Christ alone.
At first glance, the tone of this letter feels a little like that of the letters to the Corinthians, which led me to chase a rabbit. I started wondering when Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians vs those to the church at Corinth. I found a great Paul timeline on Blue Letter Bible.com and guess what? Galatians was the first letter Paul wrote! I found this timeline to be really helpful. Take a look at this timeline the next you’re waiting in line or enjoying an afternoon pick-me-up of iced tea. Let me know your impressions at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
As I said before, the New Testament is going to start speeding by. It’s a hopscotch from one small letter to another until we get to Hebrews. Then we’ll do a little more hopscotching and finally take a long slide into home when we end with the Book of Revelation. So, put on your thinking cap and your tennis shoes ‘cuz you don’t want to miss a thing.
Galatians Chapter 1
Paul, an apostle — not from men or by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead — and all the brothers who are with me:
To the churches of Galatia.
Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
No Other Gospel
I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, a curse be on him! As we have said before, I now say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!
For am I now trying to persuade people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
The Origin of Paul’s Gospel
For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin. For I did not receive it from a human source and I was not taught it, but it came by a revelation of Jesus Christ.
For you have heard about my former way of life in Judaism: I intensely persecuted God’s church and tried to destroy it. I advanced in Judaism beyond many contemporaries among my people, because I was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. But when God, who from my mother’s womb set me apart and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me, so that I could preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone. I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who had become apostles before me; instead I went to Arabia and came back to Damascus.
Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas, and I stayed with him fifteen days. But I didn’t see any of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. I declare in the sight of God: I am not lying in what I write to you.
Afterward, I went to the regions of Syria and Cilicia. I remained personally unknown to the Judean churches that are in Christ. They simply kept hearing, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me.
We get a few more details of Paul’s own personal testimony in this first chapter of Galatians. He first states in no uncertain terms that his was a divinely appointed apostleship. This is important because of the contrast to the Jews’ adherence to rabbinic traditions, in other words pleasing men. In an hilarious outburst, Paul says that if he was out to please men he would not be a servant of Christ. His statement may have been somewhat caustic, but you have to admit, true. His stature in the world as a Pharisee was certainly a lot more glamorous than after his becoming a bond servant of Christ. Most of us learn quickly that when we are going in opposition to the world, we must be on the right track.
I’m always intrigued by the three years referenced here. Between his conversion and his first trek to Jerusalem, Paul was being taught by the Lord; persuaded and equipped with everything he would need for this incredible calling from God. I always wonder what that looked like. I’m reminded of Jesus’ forty days in the desert and the forty days He spent with the apostles after He rose from the dead. There was some serious teaching going on during both those times.
Was Paul’s time the same? Did he pour over the Scriptures following one prediction of Christ after the other until he was thoroughly convinced and wondering how he didn’t see it before? Did he chide himself for being so focused on the traditions of men that He missed the true message of God? Will we get to ask him these questions in heaven or will it automatically become clear to us when we shed this flesh? Let’s pray.
Father God, I thank You that You chose Paul. I thank You that You equipped him for this task. Had it not been for this scholarly, head strong, confident, single-minded man, how would we have learned of Your plan of redemption that included us Gentiles? Paul is hard to understand sometimes, Lord, but I pray that you would tune our ears and prepare our hearts for what you want us to learn from him in this short letter to the Galatians. In Your name we ask this, Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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