The Galatian Letter – a Great Read

I was introduced to Galatians in Bible class many years ago. “Pauline Epsitles” was the name of the teaching unit. The lecturer was a theological academic and the students were a bunch of third and fourth-year undergraduate science students studying for London BSc Part 2 examinations. It was an interesting time. Anybody who has studied for finals for an English University knows the time and concentration it takes. So the fact that we had to take a Bible subject was an irritation to most of us. It transpired that it was one of the most memorable Bible classes that I took. I enjoyed it, and the four weeks that we spent studying Galatians sandwiched in between molecular orbital theory, thermodynamics, aromatic chemistry and the like has been etched deep in the little gray cells.

Our Bible lecturer told us to read the whole book through – preferably in one sitting. I did that on a Sabbath afternoon, and it was probably the best thing that I did that year. (OK, I was not going to give up my secular study time for Bible study. Those who need to forgive me for this transgression can do so now.) I read it though like I would read a letter from home. We were used to reading letters in those days. Galatians, the letter, made sense – a lot of sense. And it set the scene for the discussions that we had in the coming weeks.

I would urge all Sabbath School Net readers to do the same preparation. We are going to do the analytical thing and find out what each bit of Galatians means. But before we do that, do yourself a favour: Read the whole letter right though in the same way that you read a letter (or email) from a good friend whose friendship and advice you value. Get the big picture, and the detail will make sense.

Happy studying.


Posted in 2011d Gospel in Galatians, Aids for Teachers, Feature Tagged , permalink

About Maurice Ashton

Maurice Ashton is a retired lecturer who lives in Australia. He taught Science and Mathematics at high school level before taking a research interest in Computer Science. He lectured at Avondale College for nearly 30 years before retiring in 2012. He is married to Carmel and they have two adult children and two grand children. Currently Maurice is pursuing a keen interest in bird photography and spends much of his time sitting in swamps observing and photographing birds. He has been involved with Sabbath School Net since about 1997.


The Galatian Letter – a Great Read — 15 Comments

  1. Hey Maurice, I will actually take you up on this challenge. Will do that this Friday. I will let you know if I had the same effect or else I would ask for my money back 😉

  2. Maurice, This is a great idea. As a matter of fact I had started to read Galatians yesterday. I will set the time apart and read the whole letter as you suggested. God Bless

  3. I highly recommend what Maurice does -- to read the whole letter through in one sitting, if possible. If not in one sitting, at least read the whole letter through in as many portions as needed.

    And to really understand what Paul is saying in the letter, I suggest making an outline, noting his main points in each section of the letter. (I'm doing that now.) Then ask yourself, why did Paul write the letter? Yes, we know that the Galatians were being deceived into believing that law-keeping would save them. But what were they doing?

    I ask that questions because both legalists and true followers of Jesus keep the Law of God. After all, in the new covenant, God promised to write His Law in our hearts. (Jeremiah 31:33) And the prophecy of Jesus indicates that He had the Law of God within His heart (Psalm 40:8). So it follows that true disciples of Jesus will have the Law in their hearts.

    So, what were the Galatians actually starting to do that indicated to Paul that they were on the wrong track?

    If you could share your findings here, I'd appreciate it. I'm wondering if others see what I see ...

    P.S. In making an outline, it's best to ignore the chapter and verse divisions that were originally inserted by a printer as a convenience in printing.

  4. Maurice, great idea ! I take up the challege and read through the book of Galatians, praying, that the truth of God's inspired word will be revealed to me and be written on the tablets of my heart , and leave me at a higher spiritual notch.
    Blessed study.

  5. The book of Galatians is such a book pregnant with lessons, may the Lord take us thru this piece of treasure and help us to understand and especially to live according to the way that He wants us to. Happy sabbath friends!!!

  6. I totally agree with the approach of reading the entire book through. It helps well with studying and sermon preparation. This study I hope will move the world church. I am praying.

  7. It's amazing that Paul had his own agenda, but God can always dream a bigger dream for you, than you can ever imagine. The I AM that I AM has everything under control. Happy Sabbath to you all.

  8. Inge, thanks for your comments. I will not answer your question rather hope you will find the answer as to what was wrong with the "law" Galatians were being asked to keep. In fact it's more like which "law" to keep which not to

  9. And now! For all those readers who have read the epistle to the Galatians right through, here is the next challenge: Write a short summary of what you think is the big idea in this letter. I will give mine later, but I want to hear yours first.

  10. Hey Maurice,
    thank you for your advice. I have already read Galatians through in one sitting. It was amazing. I would like to ask you if you know some kind of web accessible ebook about Galatians that could help me improve my knowledge about Galatians book.
    Best regards
    Campo Grande BR


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