Wb Moore is studying the book of Galatians and I thought that I might take along. There is nothing better than a good, getting to the nitty gritty, bible study. I believe that he is using the NIV (update, WB informs me that he uses the NIV for the divisions and the NASB for the text). I will use the NKJV, with a little NLT, NET, and NRSV thrown in. He has already posted his summary, so here is mine:
There is a darkness eating away at the Gentile converts to Christianity. Although Paul never mentions this cancer by name, it involves a forced acceptance of the Law of Works, which Paul finds in particular distaste as it stands against the Law of Grace. This is only letter written by the Apostle Paul to a group of congregations, which tells us that Paul was not simply battling a false teacher reserved to one town, but to a doctrine being spread by other ‘apostles.’ In the first and second chapters, Paul puts to rest the notion that his gospel is the false gospel because it is his gospel what was approved by the Apostles that had walked with Jesus Christ.
Paul tells us that he had already faced a fetal instigation of these people, but was able to rebuff them because the pillars of the Church extended to him the right hand of fellowship, instead of the others. For Paul, the ‘return’ to a Messianic Judaism was to be rebuffed in all people, no matter the position, for he had found Peter too timid to eat with Gentiles, while preaching the grace of God was to all men.
After establishing his foundation as an Apostle and the endorsement given by the Church at Jerusalem – the center of Judaism – he moves on to cast a separation between the works of the flesh (the Law) and the works of the spirit (Grace). For Paul, these two systems are opposed to each other, and only one – the spiritual – is to be considered godly. He shows the Galatians, who by this time was steeping in Messianic Judaism, that we can understand by the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, that there is a child of slavery (the Law) and a child of the promise, of liberty (Grace), and we are the children of Grace. Because we are these children, we have no more use for the Law.
He finally gives instructions to believers, to lift each other up, and to keep their hearts towwards God.
The letter is especially important today when we have so many people demanding that we get back to our ‘Jewish roots’.