This is part five of a six part series of posts showing how to study a book of the Bible, using Galatians as a model. It starts 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), made a first pass at outlining the book to describe the text (called a hermeneutical outline Galatians Outline – first pass, a second pass at outlining it to focus on the timeless theological principles found in the text (called a theological outline Galatians Outline – second pass), and now the third pass at outlining the book – creating a homiletical outline. 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. This outline will use higher level summaries than the previous two outlines and descriptions of the text, rather than the text itself. Some of it will be identical to the previous outlines, while other parts will be more summarized. We may want to remove certain summaries from a pervious outline, to make the ideas flow more, or if they were not needed. We may want to move some summaries or descriptions from one section and move them to another to ensure they go with our main ideas (do not move them out of order, but simply change which main idea they belong to, or add main ideas, or add subordinate ideas to make the outline flow). Go back over the previous days posts to see examples of the previous two outlines. Again, this outline 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. Before beginning yours, please pray, and remember to keep praying while reading and while writing.
I. Paul and the true Gospel are introduced (1:1-5).
1. (1:1-2) Paul was sent by God the Father and Christ Jesus, whom God raised from the dead.
2. (1:3-5) Christ was sent by God to give Himself for our sins to save us from the present evil age.
II. Paul warns against false teaching, defending what he taught in the process (1:6-2:10).
1. Anyone who distorts the Gospel, as among the Galatians, is accursed (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. The Gospel taught by Paul, which was given to him by special revelation, was confirmed by the leaders in Jerusalem (1:10-2:10).
A. Paul seeks to please God, who revealed the Gospel to him, rather than man (1:10-12).
a. (1:10) If Paul wanted to please men, he would not preach Christ.
b. (1:11-12) The Gospel Paul teaches did not come from men, but was a revelation from God.
B. Paul preached the Gospel to the Gentiles, instead of trying to destroy the Church, as he had once done (1:13-24).
a. (1:13-17) Paul had tried to destroy the church of God, but when God revealed His Son in Paul, he stopped.
b. (1:18-24) Believers glorified God because Paul used to persecute the Church, but now taught the Gospel.
C. The Gospel taught by Paul was confirmed by Apostles chosen by Jesus (2:1-10).
a. (2:1-5) Fourteen years later Paul privately submitted his message to leaders of the Church in Jerusalem, and nothing was added to his teaching.
b. (2:6-10) Not only was nothing added to Paul’s message, but they saw that God was at work in Paul’s teaching of the Gospel to non-Jews.
III. Enduring faith in Christ is the key to salvation and spiritual freedom (2:11-5:12).
1. Justification and righteousness come by faith in Christ (2:11-3:1).
A. (2:11-14) Paul opposed Peter for hypocrisy of appearing to live by the Law and causing others to be hypocritical.
B. (2:15-16) People are justified by faith in Christ Jesus, not by doing the things of the Law.
C. (2:17-18) Christ does not promote sin.
D. (2:19-20) Believers should live through faith in Christ, who died for them and now lives within them.
E. (2:21-3:1) If righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly
2. The promises of God are received through faith. (3:2-3:14).
A. (3:2-5) Believers receive the Spirit of God because they believe what they heard, and should not try to gain their goal of justification by their own effort.
B. (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.
C. (3:10-14) Christ redeemed us from the curse of relying on the Law so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
3. The Law works is not opposed to the promise, but was intended to lead us to faith in Christ (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) The Law can not impart life and is not opposed to God’s promises, but works to show that everyone one is a sinner so that what was promised might be given to those with faith in Christ.
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 race, status or gender.
b. (4:1-3) As children, we were slaves to the world.
c. (4:4-7) God sent His Son, born of a woman under the Law, 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. Always be zealous for the Gospel (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) The false teachers were zealous to cause the Galatians to be zealous for them, rather than have them be continually zealous for the Gospel.
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. (4:24-27) The slave woman Hagar represents the Old Covenant and bears children destined to be slaves, but the heavenly Jerusalem is free and the mother of believers.
c. (4:28-31) Believers are the free sons of promise and are persecuted by the slave sons because the slave woman’s son will never 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) Attempting to be justified by the Law causes one to fall from grace and be cut off from Christ, in whom only faith expressed through love matters.
c. (5:7-12) God does not teach trying to live by the Law, and neither does Paul, otherwise he would not be persecuted.
IV. Spiritual freedom has a responsibility (5:13-6:10).
1. Do not indulge the sinful nature (5:13-21).
A. (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.
B. (5:16-18) The sinful nature wars with the Spirit, but those who are led by the Spirit will not gratify the sinful nature.
C. (5:19-21) Those who live by the sinful nature, the signs of which are obvious, will not inherit the kingdom of God.
2. Live by the Spirit (5:22-6:10).
A. (5:22-26) Those who live by the Spirit should walk by the Spirit and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.
B. (6:1-2) The spiritual brothers should carefully and gently restore a brother who is caught in sin, and so share each others’ burdens.
C. (6:3-5) Each of us has to carry his own load and take pride in his own actions without comparing himself to others.
D. (6:6) Students of the Word should share all good things with teachers.
E. (6:7-10) Those who live to please the sinful nature will die by it, but those who live to please the Spirit will live eternally.
V. Final warning that outward signs mean nothing – only being born again matters. (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. (6:12-13) Those who want teach circumcision want to have an outward appearance of following the Law to avoid persecution for the cross.
B. (6:14-16) Outward appearances do not matter, only being born again does.
C. (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 Galatian believers.
The next step is to write the explanation as you see it of the book. We are writing up a more detailed explanation of the book (Study of Galatians). We will write about when the book was written (taking this information from commentaries or Bible handbooks), the purpose of the book (taking this information from our summary), the high level outline (taken from our third outline), followed by a more detailed outline of the text (again taken from our third outline). Yes, we can use commentaries for details of the history and culture of when and where the book was written. But be sure you have prepared the summary and outlines first. The reason is that this should be a study of what God has said, but to and through you – not someone who wrote a commentary. God is growing you through this study and preparation, preparing you, but He is also preparing the message He wants delivered to the audience He has for you. So do your own work (allowing God to work in and through you) before you examine the work of others to see if you might want to add something. Again, pray before beginning and remember to keep praying while reading and while writing.