God’s Saving Word: Faith
Galatians 1:1-24: Today we begin reading the apostle Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia, a Roman province in Asia Minor. The letter was written in response to a surmounting crisis brought about by other missionaries who were misleading the Galatian Gentiles with false teachings and proclaiming a message that was contrary to what Paul had taught. In today’s reading, Paul expresses his shock that the Galatians have accepted “another gospel,” and he defends his call to be an apostle of Jesus Christ.
1 From Paul, whose call to be an apostle did not come from human beings or by human means, but from Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from death. 2 All the believers who are here join me in sending greetings to the churches of Galatia:
3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
4 In order to set us free from this present evil age, Christ gave himself for our sins, in obedience to the will of our God and Father. 5 To God be the glory forever and ever! Amen.
The One Gospel
6 I am surprised at you! In no time at all you are deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ,[a] and are accepting another gospel. 7 Actually, there is no “other gospel,” but I say this because there are some people who are upsetting you and trying to change the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel that is different from the one we preached to you, may he be condemned to hell! 9 We have said it before, and now I say it again: if anyone preaches to you a gospel that is different from the one you accepted, may he be condemned to hell!
10 Does this sound as if I am trying to win human approval? No indeed! What I want is God’s approval! Am I trying to be popular with people? If I were still trying to do so, I would not be a servant of Christ.
How Paul Became an Apostle
11 Let me tell you, my friends, that the gospel I preach is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any human being, nor did anyone teach it to me. It was Jesus Christ himself who revealed it to me.
13 You have been told how I used to live when I was devoted to the Jewish religion, how I persecuted without mercy the church of God and did my best to destroy it. 14 I was ahead of most other Jews of my age in my practice of the Jewish religion, and was much more devoted to the traditions of our ancestors.
15 But God in his grace chose me even before I was born, and called me to serve him. And when he decided 16 to reveal his Son to me, so that I might preach the Good News about him to the Gentiles, I did not go to anyone for advice, 17 nor did I go to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before me. Instead, I went at once to Arabia, and then I returned to Damascus. 18 It was three years later that I went to Jerusalem to obtain information from Peter, and I stayed with him for two weeks. 19 I did not see any other apostle except James,[b] the Lord’s brother.
20 What I write is true. God knows that I am not lying!
21 Afterward I went to places in Syria and Cilicia. 22 At that time the members of the churches in Judea did not know me personally. 23 They knew only what others were saying: “The man who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith that he once tried to destroy!” 24 And so they praised God because of me.
Today’s Key Verse: Galatians 1:4
In order to set us free from this present evil age, Christ gave himself for our sins, in obedience to the will of our God and Father.
What has caused Paul to be surprised (verse 6)? By what authority does Paul claim to be an apostle? What biographical information does Paul provide about himself? What is the mission to which he has been called (verses 15, 16)? Has anyone ever challenged your beliefs and tried to mislead you? If so, how did you respond?
Lord Jesus, you sacrificed yourself for my sake and released me from the power of sin and the sting of death. Through you I have been given the gift of eternal life. To you be glory forever and ever! Amen.
Galatians 2:1-21: Paul describes his meeting with the other apostles.