Monday, November 26, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to Isaiah 18-24

Readings for this week

Monday: Isaiah 18
Tuesday: Isaiah 19
Wednesday: Isaiah 20
Thursday: Isaiah 21
Friday: Isaiah 22
Saturday: Isaiah 23
Sunday: Isaiah 24

Introduction to Isaiah 18-24

Chapters 18-20 

Isaiah then prophecies against Cush. God will humble Cush. The Cushites will one day bring gifts to Zion. 

Isaiah then prophecies against Egypt. God will judge Egypt and her idols. “So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord... In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.’” 

Isaiah then prophecies against both Egypt and Cush. God told Isaiah to remove his clothes and his sandals and walk around naked and barefoot, preaching to the people in this way for three whole years. Just as Isaiah walks around “with buttocks bared” so will Egypt and Cush be led away “with buttocks bared” by the Assyrians. God will turn the tables on Egypt, and make them slaves instead of slave-masters. God will dry up the source of the Nile, devastating the nations of Egypt and Cush. 

Chapter 21 

Isaiah then prophecies against Babylon, Edom, and Arabia. Elam and Media will work together to bring Babylon down. Judgment will sweep away Edom and Arabia within a year. 

Chapter 22 

Isaiah then declared the day of Jerusalem’s judgment. The people had lived there in security for many years, and had come to believe God would protect them forever, no matter how they lived. Isaiah presented two pictures of leadership – Shebna and Eliakim. Shebna used his office for dishonest gain and God would bring him to nothing. Eliakim would serve his people as a father, but he was, unfortunately, one of only a very few examples of quality leadership in his generation. 

Chapter 23 

Isaiah then prophecies against Tyre. Tyre had used its strategic location on the coast to accumulate great riches. God would cause them to be destroyed because of their great pride. 

Chapter 24 

The next section of the book is known as “Isaiah’s Apocalypse.” He first speaks of the LORD’s devastation of the earth. 

“The floodgates of the heavens are opened,
the foundations of the earth shake.
The earth is broken up,
the earth is split asunder,
the earth is violently shaken.
The earth reels like a drunkard,
it sways like a hut in the wind;
so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion
that it falls—never to rise again.” 

“In that day the Lord will punish
the powers in the heavens above
and the kings on the earth below.
They will be herded together
like prisoners bound in a dungeon;
they will be shut up in prison
and be punished after many days.
The moon will be dismayed,
the sun ashamed;
for the Lord Almighty will reign
on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
and before its elders—with great glory.”

Monday, November 19, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to Isaiah 11-17

Readings for this week

Monday: Isaiah 11
Tuesday: Isaiah 12
Wednesday: Isaiah 13
Thursday: Isaiah 14
Friday: Isaiah 15
Saturday: Isaiah 16
Sunday: Isaiah 17

Introduction to Isaiah 11-17

Chapter 11 

Isaiah described a “branch” who would come up from the line of Jesse, David’s father. He says, 

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.” 

This Messiah (“anointed one”) would be empowered by the Spirit of the LORD to lead the nations. 

“He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.” 

He would bring peace to all people, and even the animals themselves would no longer destroy each other. 

“The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.” 

Chapter 12 

Chapter twelve contains songs of praise, saying, 

“I will praise you, Lord.
Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
and you have comforted me.”

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.” 

Chapters 13-14 

The next section of the book covers the themes of universal judgment and universal salvation. First, Isaiah prophecies against Babylon. God will use the Medes to judge Babylon. Babylon’s destruction will be like that of Sodom and Gomorrah. God will also destroy Assyria with Babylon. Babylon’s ruler had made godlike claims, but God would humble him. 

“How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
You said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
to the depths of the pit.” 

Christians have sometimes reinterpreted this as a description of Satan’s fall from heaven. 

Isaiah then prophecies against the Philistines. The Philistines rejoiced when King Ahaz died, thinking they could now shake off Judah’s domination, but Isaiah assures them that God will still protect His people. Isaiah warned Hezekiah not to join the Philistines and Egyptians in their rebellion against Assyria. 

Chapters 15-16 

Isaiah then prophecies against Moab. “Ar of Moab is laid waste. In the streets they wear sackcloth. The waters of Dibon are full of blood. A throne will be established from the house of David. We have heard of the pride of Moab. Within three years Moab will be despised.” Both Assyrian kings Sargon II and Sennacherib claimed victories over Moab. 

Chapter 17 

Isaiah then prophecies against Damascus. God will level Damascus of the Arameans. God will also judge Israel who allied themselves with the Arameans.

Monday, November 12, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to Isaiah 4-10

Readings for this week

Monday: Isaiah 4
Tuesday: Isaiah 5
Wednesday: Isaiah 6
Thursday: Isaiah 7
Friday: Isaiah 8
Saturday: Isaiah 9
Sunday: Isaiah 10

Introduction to Isaiah 4-10

Chapter 4 

Isaiah describes the “Branch of the LORD.” He says that a “branch” will arise from the line of David, and he will serve as God’s instrument to bring in God’s kingdom on earth. 

Chapter 5 

The next section contains the “Song of the Vineyard." God’s people are a vineyard. God took good care of his vineyard. But his vineyard produced sour grapes. The point is that despite God’s care, Judah insisted on following a destructive path. 

After this comes a pronouncement of woes and judgments. Isaiah says:

Woe to those who selfishly increase their estates at the expense of others!
God will make their estates worthless.
Woe to those who live only to get drunk!
They will be too drunk to understand the destruction surrounding them.
Woe to those who put God to the test!
They mistake God’s patience for lack of power to judge.
Woe to those who call good evil and evil good!
They do so only to justify themselves.
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes!
God will humble them.
Woe to those who take away the rights of the defenseless!
God will call another nation to consume them and carry them away. 

Chapter 6 

In chapter six we hear the story of Isaiah’s Commission. 

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the LORD, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.” 

“‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’” 

“Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.” 

“With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’” 

“Then I heard the voice of the LORD saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’” 

“And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” 

Chapter 7 

These events take place during the Assyrian threat over the nation of Judah during the reign of King Ahaz, the father of Hezekiah. The kings of Israel and Aram wanted Judah to join them in battle against Assyria. Ahaz refused and the armies of Israel and Aram surrounded Jerusalem. 

Isaiah offered a sign to Ahaz that God would protect Jerusalem. Ahaz had already planned on siding with the Assyrians, so he refused the sign. Isaiah condemned his lack of faith and offered the sign anyway. 

He says, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.”

Immanuel means “God with us.” In the New Testament, Jesus was referred as “Immanuel” because he was “born of a virgin” and was also “God with us.” 

Ahaz chose to trust in Assyria instead of God. The Assyrians conquered and destroyed Aram and Israel. Isaiah warned the people about Assyria’s incredible power. The land would experience devastation, and fertile areas would become desolate. 

Chapters 8-10 

God used Isaiah and his children as signs. Isaiah had two sons. His second-born son was named “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz,” which means “Quickly to the plunder!” He would serve as a sign to the people in that before the time would come when he was old enough to say “mommy or daddy” the Assyrians would have put an end to the threat of Israel and Aram by rushing quickly to plunder them. 

Isaiah’s first-born son was named Shear-Jashub, which means “a remnant shall return.” Later, Shear-Jashub was to be a sign to the people that even though Jerusalem would be destroyed in the future, God would bring a faithful remnant of his people back from exile to the land He had given them.

Before the time of this faithful remnant, Judah will certainly be judged. Isaiah condemned those who consulted mediums instead of consulting God. He claimed that the “insights” of the mediums only gave “lack of sight” to those who listened and they “dwelled in darkness.” However, Isaiah offers a ray of hope as well.

“The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.”

“For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.”

In these chapters Isaiah speaks of the LORD’s anger against Israel. Israel “hardened herself” to God’s judgments. God used Assyria as an instrument of punishment against his people. The Assyrians never realized the role they played in God’s plan, and instead became proud and arrogant. God says, “Does the ax raise itself above the person who swings it, or the saw boast against the one who uses it?” And so God promised to judge Assyria as well. 

After this Isaiah tells us about the remnant of Israel. He says, 

“In that day the remnant of Israel,
the survivors of Jacob,
will no longer rely on him
who struck them down
but will truly rely on the Lord,
the Holy One of Israel.
A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob
will return to the Mighty God.
Though your people be like the sand by the sea, Israel,
only a remnant will return.” 

“Shear-Jashub” = “A remnant shall return.”

Friday, November 9, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to Isaiah 1-3

Introduction to Isaiah 1-3

Isaiah is the first book in a section known as the Major Prophets. 

The first 39 chapters of Isaiah take place during the time of the events of the second half of the book of 2nd Kings. 

The book of Isaiah is not presented in chronological order. 

The book opens with the words: 

“The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.” 

The book of Isaiah can be divided into different sections according to different theories of authorship… 

1st Isaiah – Isaiah 1:1–39:8 (pre-exilic)
2nd Isaiah – Isaiah 40:1–66:24 (exilic) 

1st Isaiah – Isaiah 1:1–39:8 (pre-exilic)
2nd Isaiah– Isaiah 40:1–55:13 (exilic)
3rd Isaiah – Isaiah 56:1–66:24 (post-exilic) 

Chapters 1-2 

The opening chapters of Isaiah deal with Judah’s rebellion against the covenant they made with God. But God plans to redeem his people living on his holy mountain of Zion (Jerusalem) and through them to spread his Law to all the nations of the world. And there will be no more wars. 

We then hear about the “Day of the LORD” which is described as a “day of judgment, terror, and destruction.” 

Isaiah says:

“People will flee to caves in the rocks
and to holes in the ground
from the fearful presence of the Lord
and the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to shake the earth.” 

Chapter 3 

Isaiah then talks about the coming judgment on Jerusalem and Judah. He says that God is going to “cut off” the leaders of his people who have abused their positions of authority. Also, God is going to judge the women of Judah who trusted in their beauty and jewelry.

Monday, November 5, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to Galatians 3-6

Readings for this week

Monday: Galatians 3
Tuesday: Galatians 4
Wednesday: Galatians 5
Thursday: Galatians 6
Friday: Isaiah 1
Saturday: Isaiah 2
Sunday: Isaiah 3

Introduction to Galatians 3-6

Chapter 3 

Paul makes a defense of Justification by Faith. He talks about the experience of the Galatians, declaring them to be bewitched fools who had already been made fully aware of Christ’s crucifixion.

Paul interrogates the Galatians:

Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?
Are you so foolish to begin by means of the Spirit, but finish by means of the flesh?
Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain?
Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?

Paul then refers to the example of Abraham in making his defense of Justification by Faith. He quotes Scripture, saying that Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” He says that those who have faith are children of Abraham. He says that Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” He says that those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Paul then talks about the curse of the Law, saying that all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse. And he quotes Scripture, saying, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” He says that no one who relies on the law is justified before God… because “the righteous will live by faith.” And he says that Scripture does not say that the law is based on faith. On the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”

Paul then speaks of Christ bearing the curse of the Law. He says that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

He then speaks of the blessing of Abraham. He says that Christ redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Paul then speaks of the permanence of the promise given to “Abraham’s Seed”…Christ. He gives an example from everyday life: No one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established.

God’s promise was to Abraham’s seed – meaning one person, not many. Who is this one person? Christ!

Paul then speaks of the Law’s irrelevance for the Promise. He points out that the law that came 430 years after the Abrahamic covenant does not change that covenant. The inheritance does not come through following the law, it comes strictly through the promise God graciously made to Abraham.

Paul then addresses the purpose of the Law. First, he discussed the Law’s temporary nature.

Why was the law given at all?

It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator, even though a mediator usually implies more than one party, and God is only one.

Does this mean that the law is opposed to the promises of God?

Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin.


So that what was promised (being given through faith in Jesus Christ) might be given to those who believe.

Before the coming of this faith…

We were held in custody under the law
We were locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.
The law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.

Now that this faith has come… we are no longer under a guardian.

Paul then discussed the Law’s inferior status. First, he talks about equality in the Body of Christ, saying that in Christ Jesus...

You are all children of God through faith
All of you were baptized into Christ
You have clothed yourselves with Christ
There is neither Jew nor Gentile
There is neither slave nor free
There is no male and female
You are all one in Christ Jesus
You are Abraham’s seed
You are heirs according to the promise 

Chapter 4 

Paul then compares the Law and the Promise to slaves versus sons (heirs). Paul’s point about being an heir: If an heir is underage, he is no different than a slave . Likewise, when we were underage we were slaves to the spiritual forces of the world. But at the right time, God sent his son, a human born under the law, to redeem everyone else under the law and to make them children of God. If you are a child of God, then the Spirit of Jesus is in you. The Spirit of Jesus calls God “Daddy”. And if God is also your daddy, then you are no longer a slave, but an heir of God.

Paul then makes his appeal concerning justification by faith. Paul discusses his concern for the Galatians because of their return to bondage. He says to them, “When you didn’t know God you were slaves to things that are not gods. But now that you know God – or rather are known by God – why are you turning back?” The Galatians are observing special holidays and seasons that are contrary to the life of Christ, and Paul is worried that he has wasted his time on these people.

Paul then discusses his concern for the Galatians because of their loss of joy. Paul tells them that they should become like him since he had become like them. He remembers that previously…

They did him no wrong
He first preached the Gospel to them because he was ill
His illness was a trial to them
But they did not treat him with scorn or contempt
They treated him like an angel
They treated him like Christ himself
They would have been willing to tear out their own eyes and give them to him

But now…

They no longer bless him
They have become enemies of Paul because of the truth he spoke to them

The Judaizers…

Want to win the Galatians over
Do not have the benefit of the Galatians in mind
Want to alienate the Galatians from the Apostles
Want to win the zeal of the Galatians


Is a fine thing if the cause is good
Should be present at all times, and not just when Paul is around

Paul sees the Galatians as his children. He says he is in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in them. He wishes he could be with them. He wishes he could change his tone with them. They perplex him.

Paul then makes an allegorical appeal to them. He starts by asking, “Since you want to live under the law, do you even know what the law says?”

He says, “It is written that Abraham had two sons. One by the slave woman. The other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh. But his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.”

These things are being taken figuratively:

The women = two covenants
Hagar = The Sinai Covenant which bears children who are slaves
Hagar = the present city of Jerusalem, because Jerusalem’s children are slaves to the law
Sarah = the heavenly Jerusalem, who is our free mother
Isaac = you who are children of the promise
Ishmael persecuted Isaac = those born according to the flesh persecute those born by the power of the Spirit

But what does Scripture say?

“Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”

Paul’s conclusion: “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.” 

Chapter 5 

Paul then offers a practical defense of Christian liberty. His argument contrasts liberty versus Law. The Law enslaves the believer. He says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Don’t let yourselves become slaves again. Christ means nothing to you if you choose the way of circumcision.” He adds that the Law obligates the believer, saying that every man who lets himself be circumcised is obligated to obey the whole law. He says that the Law alienates Christ. He says that if you try to be justified by the law you have fallen away from grace. Through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.

In Christ Jesus…

Circumcision has no value
Uncircumcision has no value
Faith expressing itself through love is the only thing that counts

Paul also says that the Law hinders growth. He says to the Galatians, “You were running a good race, but someone cut you off. Whoever persuaded you was not the one who first called you. A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. The one throwing you into confusion will have to pay the penalty.”

He says that the Law removes the offense of the Cross. He poses, “If I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!”

Paul then contrasts liberty with license. First, he discussed the fruit of license saying “you were called to be free.” But your freedom…

Shouldn’t be used for fleshly indulgence
Should be used to serve one another humbly in love

Paul says that the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He says, “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Paul says that the acts of the flesh are obvious:

Sexual immorality
Fits of rage
Selfish ambition
Other such things

Paul warns that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. And he says that the fruit of the Spirit is…


And he adds that there’s no law against things like this. He says that those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. And he adds that since we live by the Spirit…

Let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. 

Chapter 6 

Paul then speaks of our liberty or freedom to love. First he discussed the responsibility we have toward the weak and sinful. If you catch someone sinning…

You who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently
You should watch yourselves, or you might also be tempted
You should carry each other’s burdens, and then you will fulfill the law of Christ
If you think you’re someone special, you’re not
Test your own actions and see if they’re worth being proud of, and don’t compare yourself to others

He then discussed responsibility toward those who are leaders. He says that “The one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction. Whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Paul then discusses the responsibility we have to do good toward all people whenever we have the opportunity, especially those who belong to the family of believers.

Paul then comes to his conclusion. First, he seeks to provide authentication of the epistle he is writing to the Galatians. He says, “See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!”

He then condemns the Judaizers. First, he discusses their motives. He says that they want the Galatians to be circumcised so that they may impress others by means of the flesh, and he adds that the only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. He says that not even those guys who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want the Galatians to be circumcised that they may boast about their circumcision in the flesh.

Paul then discusses his own motives. He says, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God. From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.”

Paul then closes with a benediction:

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.”

Saturday, November 3, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to Galatians 1-2

Introduction to Galatians 1-2

Context of Galatians 




About A.D. 56

Place of composition:

Perhaps Ephesus or Corinth 


The “churches of Galatia,” perhaps southern Galatia, a Roman province containing the towns of Lystra, Iconium, and Derbe 

Occasion or purpose: 

To refute opponents who advocated circumcision and to demonstrate that Jew and Gentile are equally saved by faith in Jesus’ redemptive power 

Themes of Galatians 

Paul is arguing: “By ‘the works of the Law’ no one is justified.”

“The works of the Law” is the strictly Jewish portion of the Law (dress, haircut, diet, circumcision, etc.); so, in other words, identifying as a Jew is not what justifies you before God, as many in the Galatian church had been claiming.

Chapter 1 

The Introduction to the letter contains a salutation which claims to be written by the Apostle Paul and the brothers and sisters with him. The letter is directed specifically to the churches in Galatia. 

Paul’s claims:

He is an apostle sent not by humans, but by Christ and by God the Father
God raised Jesus from the dead

Paul’s greeting:

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

The letter then quickly jumps into Paul’s denunciation of the Galatians.

Why is Paul in shock?

The Galatians have quickly abandoned the life lived in Christ. They have turned to a false gospel. They have been thrown into confusion by those perverting Christ’s Gospel.

Paul says all who preach false gospels be damned…

Even if an angel preaches it. Even if we apostles preach it.

Why is Paul not concerned with pleasing these people?

Because if he were still trying to please people, he would not be a servant of Christ.

Paul then gets personal and he provides a defense of his own Apostleship. The Gospel Paul preaches is not of human origin. He didn’t receive it from some guy. He wasn’t taught it. He received it by revelation from Christ Jesus.

Paul emphasizes that his ministry is independent of the Jerusalem Apostles and he demonstrates this by discussing his own conversion and his early years as a Christian. Paul was originally a Judaizer. He persecuted the church and tried to destroy it. He was advancing in Judaism well beyond his years. He was extremely zealous for the traditions of the fathers.

But God…

Set Paul apart from the time he was in his mother’s womb
Called Paul by grace
Was pleased to reveal his Son in Paul
Called Paul to preach Christ among the Gentiles

In Paul’s first response to his call, he did not consult any human being. He did not go up to Jerusalem to meet the first apostles. But he went into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.

Paul then demonstrates his independent ministry by discussing what happened during his first post-conversion visit to Jerusalem. Three years after Paul received Christ’s call he went up to Jerusalem to meet Cephas (Peter). He stayed with Cephas (Peter) for 15 days. He didn’t meet with the other apostles. He did meet with Jesus’ brother James. He then went to Syria and Cilicia. The churches didn’t really know much about Paul. But they did know that he used to persecute the church, but now supported it. So they praised God because of Paul. 

Chapter 2 

Paul was confirmed by the Jerusalem Apostles, but then he talks about how they treated his disciple Titus. Fourteen years later Paul went back to Jerusalem with Barnabas. He took Titus with him. He went in response to a revelation. He met privately with the church leaders. He presented to them the gospel that he had preached to the Gentiles. He did this to make sure he was not “running his race in vain”

But then there arose an issue of circumcision. A group of false believers had infiltrated the church in order to force the Gentiles into the rite of circumcision. Paul says that Titus, who was Greek, was not compelled by them, and that Paul and his companions did not give in for a moment.


To preserve a pure Gospel to the Galatians.

Paul says that those folks who were held in high esteem don’t matter to him because God doesn’t favor them over anyone else and they added nothing to Paul’s message. They recognized that Paul’s mission to Gentiles was as legitimate as Peter’s mission to Jews.

Paul then lists the “three pillars” of the church: They are James (Jesus’ brother), Peter, and John. He says that they extended the hand of fellowship to him and Barnabas when they saw their grace. They agreed that Paul and Barnabas should go to the uncircumcised Gentiles, and they themselves to the circumcised Jews. All they asked was that Paul and Barnabas continued to remember the poor, which was what Paul wanted in the first place.

Paul then demonstrates the independence of his ministry by illustrating his own rebuke of Peter hypocrisy. Paul says that he opposed Cephas (Peter) when he came to Antioch.


Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. Paul said to Cephas (Peter) in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?”

Paul says that "we Jews" know that…

A person is not justified by the works of the law
A person is justified by faith in Jesus Christ

And Paul asks, “Does Christ promote sin because we find ourselves living among sinful Gentiles? …Absolutely not!”

And he adds: “If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker!”

Paul contrasts death in law versus fife in Christ, saying:

“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.”
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
“The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”