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Galatians 2:1-10

Talks for Growing Christians

Paul Continues to Defend His Apostolic Authority

Galatians 2:1-10

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Lesson Number 3

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The right use of Christian liberty is important in Christian living.
  2. The right hand of fellowship is important in Christian service.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s be eager to remember the poor.

Questions

  1. When was the epistle to the Galatians written?
  2. What is the subject of the epistle to the Galatians?
  3. Was Paul inconsistent by having Timothy circumcised, but not Titus?
  4. Was circumcision necessary for salvation?
  5. Were Peter, James and John in total agreement with the gospel that Paul preached?
  6. To which group of people did the Lord send Paul? To which group did He send Peter?
  7. Explain what is meant by the term, “the right hand of fellowship.”

Answers

  1. The dating depends on which visit to Jerusalem Paul is referring. He made two visits to Jerusalem, one recorded in Acts 11, before his first missionary journey, and one in Acts 15, after his first missionary journey. Therefore, Galatians could have been written as early as 48 or 49 A.D., and would be Paul’s first written epistle. On the other hand, it could have been written in the mid-fifties A.D.
  2. Salvation is by grace through faith alone, not of works.
  3. No. There were good reasons for Timothy to be circumcised (see Acts 15:3). Paul had Timothy circumcised to emphasize his Jewishness because he did not want to offend the non-Christian Jews that they were seeking to reach with the gospel. If, on the other hand, Titus had been circumcised, it would have would have been seen as a capitulation to the demands of the Judaizers, and the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ would have been distorted and compromised.
  4. No. But there was nothing wrong with being circumcised.
  5. Yes. In fact, they gave the apostle Paul the right hand of fellowship when they realized that God raised up Paul specifically to bring the gospel to the Gentiles.
  6. Paul was chosen of the Lord to preach to the Gentiles. Peter was chosen of the Lord to preach to the Jews.
  7. It means that there is approval and agreement with a fellow believer’s message and ministry.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Review the reasons why Paul had Timothy circumcised, yet not Titus. Discuss how this illustrated the right use of Christian liberty. Consider some parallel examples on a mission field today, how missionaries make the right use of Christian liberty. Actually, these examples can apply to believers as they witness today. Are there times when you have chosen to use Christian liberty so there will be neither offense nor compromise?
  2. The Lord’s disciples in Jerusalem extended the right hand of fellowship to Paul because they were in agreement with the gospel that he preached. Have you observed this within your church setting?

Challenge

  1. Paul said, “They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.” (Galatians 2:10) The Lord Jesus said, “You have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good.” (Mark 14:7). There are people all around us who need to hear the gospel, and there are poor people all around us that need help. Do you consider this your mission, too? Do you set aside time and money to help in this type of ministry?

Key Verses

  • “False brethren tried to thwart our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage, to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue…” (Galatians 2:4-5)
  • “He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles.” (Galatians 2:8)
  • “…they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship…” (Galatians 2:9)
  • “They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager t do.” (Gal 2:10)

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