This is part four of a six part series showing how to study a book of the Bible, using Galatians as a model. The series begins here: How to study the Bible – using Galatians as an example.
By now, you should have read the book (preferably at least three times), written a summary (Summary of Galatians, and made a first pass at outlining the book (this is called a hermeneutical outline Galatians Outline – first pass), using descriptions of the text. I use the NASB for the text, and NIV for paragraph divisions. Go back over the previous days posts to see examples of these. What follows is the next step of the study process: an example of a second pass at an outline of Galatians – a theological outline. First pray (remember to keep praying while reading and while writing). This pass at the outline will summarize the ideas found in the text, and descriptions of the text, rather than the text itself. The idea is to present what was written in the text in a general idea, focusing on the theological ideas. It will present timeless principles that would apply to both the original audience then and there, as well as your intended audience here and now. Now we make more general summaries of what was written. On this pass, the summaries and descriptions will also be in actual outline format, with main ideas being presented, followed by indented subordinate ideas, followed by descriptions of the text indented still further. We may want to rearrange any sentences or ideas, ignoring paragraph divisions (they were just for a starting point). Remember that the original manuscripts had no punctuation or sentence or paragraph divisions. Again, 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. Again, pray, read through the outline and the text and ensure it saying what you want it to say.
Outline of Galatians
I. Paul and the true Gospel are introduced (1:1-5).
1. Paul’s credentials are given.
(1:1-2) Paul was sent by God the Father and Christ Jesus, whom God raised from the dead.
2. The Gospel is introduced.
(1:3-5) Paul gives a blessing of grace and peace from God the Father and Christ, telling why Christ’s peace and grace are important, in that He gave Himself for the sins of believers to rescue them from the age of evil, just as God the Father had willed.
II. The truth of the Gospel is set forth (1:6-6:10).
1. The distortion of the Gospel is introduced (1:6-9).
A. (1:6-7) The Galatians are being deceived by a false and distorted Gospel.
B. (1:8-9) Anyone who teaches a Gospel different than what Paul first taught, even Paul himself, is cursed.
2. Positive evidence of the truth of the Gospel taught by Paul is presented (1:10-2:14).
A. Paul seeks to please God, who gave him the revelation of the Gospel (1:10-12).
a. (1:10) The fact that Paul is not seeking the favor of the people, but is a servant of Christ is additional proof of the truth of the Gospel.
b. (1:11-12) The Gospel Paul teaches did not come from men, but was a revelation from God.
B. Paul evidences changed behavior in response to the Gospel (1:13-24).
a. (1:13-17) Paul had been advancing in Judaism farther than his contemporaries and had persecuted and tried to destroy the church of God, but when God revealed His Son in Paul, he went without consulting anyone into Arabia.
b. (1:18-24) Paul had once tried to destroy those who believed what he was now preaching, and the believers now glorified God because of the change.
C. The Gospel taught by Paul was confirmed by Apostles chosen physically by Jesus (2:1-14).
a. (2:1-5) Later, false brothers tried enslave those whom Paul was teaching, so Paul went to Jerusalem and privately submitted to those who seemed to be of high repute what he had been teaching to the Gentiles, and nothing was added to his teaching.
b. (2:6-10) Those who were of high repute added nothing to Paul’s message, but saw that God was at work in Paul’s preaching of the Gospel to non-Jews.
c. (2:11-13) Paul opposed Peter for hypocrisy and causing others to be hypocritical.
d. (2:14) Paul asked Peter why a Jew who lives like a Gentile should force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs, contrary to the truth of the Gospel.
3. Enduring belief in Christ is the key (2:15-3:25).
A. Justification and righteousness come by faith in Christ (2:15-3:1).
a. (2:15-16) People are justified by faith in Christ Jesus, not by doing the things of the Law.
b. (2:17-18) Righteousness does not come through the Law, but neither does Christ teach sin.
c. (2:19-20) Believers should live through faith in Christ, who died for them and now lives within them.
d. (2:21-3:1) If righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.
B. The promises of God are received through faith. (3:2-3:14).
a. (3:2-4) Believers receive the Spirit of God because they believe what they heard.
b. (3:5) The Spirit began the work because of faith, man should not try to finish it by works.
c. (3:6-9) Abraham’s belief in what God said was credited to him as righteousness, and all who are of faith as sons of Abraham.
d. (3:10-14) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
C. The Law works is not opposed to the promise (3:15-25).
a. (3:15-18) The promise made to Abraham and his seed was not made null when the Law was introduced 430 years later.
b. (3:19-20) The Law was given because of transgressions until the Seed, to whom was referred, came.
c. (3:21-22) Since no law can impart life, the Law is not opposed to the promises of God. Everyone one is a sinner so that what was promised might be given to those who believe.
d. (3:23-25) The Law was a tutor that led us to Christ, so we could be justified by faith and freed from the Law’s tutelage.
4. Spiritual freedom comes from faith in Christ (3:26-5:12).
A. Having faith in Christ frees us from slavery and makes us sons of God (3:26-4:11).
a. (3:26-29) Everyone who has faith in Christ is a son of God and an heir to the promise made to Abraham, regardless of his or her status or gender or heritage or biological ancestry.
b. (4:1-3) As children, we were slaves to the world.
c. (4:4-7) God sent His Son to redeem those under the Law to change our status from that of slaves to that of sons and heirs.
d. (4:8-11) Having come to know God and being freed from slavery, no one should return the things that had kept him or her in slavery.
B. Be zealous for the right thing (4:12-20).
a. (4:12-16) The Galatians loved the Gospel when they first heard it, but lost their joy & love for the truth.
b. (4:17-20) It is good to be zealous for the right thing, but the people who are zealous to win the Galatians over are trying to alienate them from believers.
C. Children of the New Covenant are free (4:21-4:31).
a. (4:21-23) The Law teaches that the son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise as opposed to the son by the slave woman.
b. (4:24-25) The slave woman Hagar represents the Old Covenant and corresponds to the physical Jerusalem, and as such bears children destined to be slaves.
c. (4:26-27) The heavenly Jerusalem is free and the mother of believers.
d. (4:28-31) Believers are the free sons of promise and are persecuted by the slave sons because the slave woman’s son would not share in the inheritance of the free son.
D. Those who are free should not attempt to become slaves again (5:1-5:12).
a. (5:1) Since Christ set believers free, do not return to slavery.
b. (5:2-6) If you try to keep any part of the Law to be justified, you are obligated to keep all of it. Attempting to be justified by the Law causes one to fall from grace and be cut off from Christ. In Christ, only faith expressed through love matters.
c. (5:7-12) If Paul were teaching a gospel of circumcision, he would not be persecuted; anyone who tries to convince believers circumcision is needed to be justified will pay the penalty.
E. Spiritual freedom has a responsibility (5:13-6:10).
a. Do not indulge the sinful nature (5:13-21).
1. (5:13-15) Believers, called to be free, should not indulge the sinful nature, but instead should serve one another in love – which sums up the Law.
2. (5:16-18) The sinful nature wars with the Spirit, but those who are led by the Spirit will not gratify the sinful nature.
3. (5:19-21) Those who live by the sinful nature, whose signs are obvious, will not inherit the kingdom of God.
b. Live by the Spirit (5:22-6:10).
1. (5:22-26) Those who live by the Spirit should walk by the Spirit and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.
2. (6:1-5) Those who are spiritual should carefully and gently restore a brother who is caught in sin. While we should bear each others’ burdens, each of us has to carry his own load and take pride in himself without comparing himself to others.
3. (6:6) Students of the Word should share all good things with teachers.
4. (6:7-10) Those who live to please the sinful nature will die by it. Those who live to please the Spirit will live eternally. Don’t grow tired of doing good, but do good to all when you have the opportunity, especially to those who are in the family of God.
III. Conclusion of the message (6:11-18).
1. (6:11) Pay special attention to what Paul writes here.
2. The true meaning of marks on one’s body (6:12-17).
A. (6:12-16) Those who want you to be circumcised want to have an outward appearance of following the Law to avoid persecution for the cross. Outward appearances do not matter, only being born again does.
B. (6:17) Paul carries the marks of being Christ’s on his body as proof that he believes what he teaches and so should not be troubled.
3. (6:18) Paul wishes the grace of Jesus Christ to the believers in Galatia.
The next step will be to revise the outline yet again, for the third time (Galatians Outline – third pass). Again pray before beginning and remember to keep praying while reading and while writing. We will summarize even further than the last time. But this time, we will make the outline more focused on your intended audience here and now, to address issues you know God wants you to address. Make the ideas flow and ensure they describe things completely and as a unit.