This is part two of a six post series showing how to study a book of the Bible, using Galatians as a model. To make it easier, here are the links for the other parts in the series: part 1: How to study the Bible – using Galatians as an example. part 3: Galatians Outline – first pass, part 4: Galatians Outline – second pass, part 5: Galatians Outline – third pass, part 6: Study of Galatians. Be sure to pray before and during each step. I hope you have read Galatians (preferably at least three times). I use the NASB for the text. What follows is the beginning of the study process: an example of a summary of Galatians. Please understand – this is what I came to understand from what I read when I read it. Each person will likely come up with their own ideas and summary – and indeed it might be different based on what was going on in your life and how God is working on you when you wrote it. The idea is to write your understanding of what is happening and being taught and perhaps the iisues being addressed by the author. This may or may not match up with what your final study details, as you may change your mind about what to stress or what you think the author intended to do by the time the entire study is complete. Before writing the summary, pray.
Summary of Galatians
Paul wrote the book of Galatians to rebuke people he had taught about the grace of God for turning to something other than faith in Christ alone. Paul reminded the Galatians that he had once persecuted Christians but when he received the Gospel by special revelation from Christ Jesus Himself, he began to preach it. He preached the Gospel for at least three years before seeing any of the Apostles, and it was not until fourteen years after that when the Gospel he taught was presented to, and confirmed by, the Apostles. It was confirmed to such a degree that not even Titus, a Greek, was made to follow the Law by becoming circumcised. Paul pointed out that that he had rebuked Peter for forcing Gentiles to follow the Law and Peter had accepted the rebuke, which showed that following the Law was not necessary for believers. He points out that even Abraham believed God and had that belief credited to him as righteousness. Paul tells the Galatians that the Law was only intended to lead us to Christ. Faith in Christ is what is needed to be considered righteous by God. God sent the Spirit of His son into believers’ hearts, and that believers are full children of God, and as such, heirs to the Kingdom of God. Trying to be righteous by following rules, religious holidays, or any way other than faith in Christ is done in vain. The only thing that matters is the expression of faith in love. That faith is why God set believers free and they should not become slaves again. Although free, believers should live not in sinful ways, but by the Spirit. He tells the Galatians to not bicker among themselves, but to love one another. That is the sum of the entire Law: love your neighbor as yourself. One aspect of this love is to gently restore a believer who is in sin. If one lives to please his own sinful nature, destruction will follow. But if one lives for the Spirit, eternal life will follow.
The next step in the process of studying a book of the Bible is to outline the book. This outline will tell what was said, without main points, subordinate points, or even indentation. It simply describes the text. I prefer to start by finding a Bible version I trust with paragrph divisions and using those divisions as my starting point, and then adjusting as I continue to work the outline later. I tend to use the paragraph divisions of the NIV as my starting point. Again, pray before beginning.