Do Not Pervert the Gospel

The gospel introduced the Jews to a new way of life – that of grace rather than law. The old covenant, with all of its regulations, was made obsolete by the new covenant (Hebrews 8:13). This transition was difficult for some Jewish  believers to handle, and a group called the Judaizers sprang up. The Judaizers embraced Christianity but said that some of the old covenant rites, including circumcision, still must be observed. Paul addresses this way of thinking to the Galatians church.

As we study the book of Galatians as a church family, we will use the Inductive Bible Study method. The Inductive Bible Study method “draws out” the meaning of the Bible by taking three steps: Observation (what does the passage say), Interpretation (what does the passage mean), and Application (how you apply it to your life). Today we will take the first step in observing Galatians 1:1-9. When you observe the Bible As you study any passage of Scripture, train yourself to constantly ask: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? These questions are the building blocks of precise observation, which is essential for accurate interpretation.

One observation we get from reading Galatians 1:1-9 is Paul’s (author) tone, and the frame of mind that lies behind it. He is surprised. And he also seems angry. His language, almost from the outset, is remarkably strong. Notice that right after his greeting he says “I am astonished”!

Why was Paul so emotional? First, Paul is astonished because these young Christians are taking hold of a gospel that is not a gospel (v7). Second, he is directly angry at the ones who are misleading the new Christians of the church- those who are “trying to pervert the gospel” (v7). He calls down condemnation on them (v9). More indirectly, he is also angry at the Galatian Christians themselves, warning them that they are deserting the God who called them (v 6)- a serious charge.

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