Notes on the Book of Galatians

I here present notes from my study of the Book of Galatians, in which Paul writes to encourage the Galatians not to abandon the gospel that has been preached to them for heresies such as the keeping of the law.

Notes on the Book of Galatians

  • I think we, like the Galatians, can expect to encounter various people along our walks who will attempt to lead us astray (Galatians 1:7) but it doesn’t matter what the stature is of such a person, even if he be an angel, “let him be accursed” if such a person should lead you away from Christ (Galatians 1:8-9 English Standard Version).
  • If we are still trying to please men than we are not servants of Christ (Galatians 1:10).
  • We, like Paul, cannot yield to false brothers who try and come into our places of worship and pervert and subvert the gospel (Galatians 2:4-5).
  • No matter how highly esteemed any man is God is partial to no man (Galatians 2:6).
  • Paul does not automatically ascribe esteem even to some of those most esteemed in the Church of his day, Peter, James and John, describing them as persons “who seemed to be pillars.” (Galatians 2:9 ESV, emphasis mine). Previous to this he states that they did not add anything to him (Galatians 2:6). I do not think he means to denigrate these apostles but rather to affirm that all glory and honor belongs to God, he is the one who “adds” unto us.
  • Paul is not deterred by Peter’s status but opposes him to his face and stands for what he believes is the truth of the gospel (Galatians 2:11).
  • I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 ESV). When Christ was crucified we too were crucified with him and so we also died with him, and yet we are partakers in his resurrection and have been born again, but this life we now have is Christ living in and through us, as our old man is dead.
  • O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” (Galatians 3:1 ESV). Truly it seems at times as if someone puts a spell on us when we are turned away from the truth.
  • Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain….Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith…” (Galatians 3:3-5 ESV). I confess that I must often struggle (sometimes daily) against the temptations of legalism, putting myself in danger of coming under the law (“all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse” (Galatians 3:10 ESV)). But it is by faith that we are justified and if we enslave ourselves to the law we are separated from Christ (Galatians 5:4).
  • But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world….You observe days and months and seasons and years!” (Galatians 4:9-10 ESV).
  • They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.” (Galatians 4:17 ESV). Paul wisely ascertains the motives of these false shepherds (and I believe false shepherds in general); they cajole and flatter to gain your trust so that they may turn you to them so that you become their servants and ultimately idolize them instead. This is actually one of the character traits of narcissists (and cult leaders), they will pretend interest but their end goal is to capture and enslave you.
  • Those of the flesh will persecute those of the Spirit (Galatians 4:29).
  • [D]o not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13 ESV). We must watch ourselves lest we fall, and we can test ourselves by seeing whether we have love for our neighbor and our brother (Galatians 5:14, 1 John 4:20).
  • [W]alk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things that you want to do. But if you are lead by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Galatians 5:16-18 ESV). As Christians we can expect to war against the flesh until our dying day, but if we submit to the Holy Spirit and are led by it we will not stumble. “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24 ESV).
  • [T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV).
  • We should restore our brothers who have transgressed with gentleness and also keep watch over ourselves (Galatians 6:1).
  • We all have to carry out own burdens, but we should also seek to bear the burdens of our brothers (Galatians 6:2, 5).
  • We should provide for those who are our teachers (Galatians 6:6).
  • If you sow deeds to the flesh you will reap death but if you sow deeds to the spirit you will reap immortality (Galatians 6:8).
  • Do not grow tired of doing what is right because you will be rewarded if you continue to the end (Galatians 6:9). Therefore, do good as you are provided opportunities to do so, in particular to the saints (Galatians 6:10).

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