So, what are we supposed to believe in and what does it look like?

Why don’t these preachers agree with one another?

How are we supposed to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong?

Churches in the province of Galatia (modern-day Turkey) were dealing with quite a turmoil. They literally had their skin in the game when they received a letter from Paul. In just six brief pages Paul directly speaks to the conflict in the church and establishes his authority over other teachers who brought controversial teachings to the churches. Paul relies on the Old Testament, his own experience with Christ, and common sense to bring clarity back to these churches.

And he gets emotional about it:

“Oh, you foolish Galatians!” (3:1)

When I read this letter, I see authentic Paul — passionate about his ministry to the people in Galatia. He loves them and deeply cares for them, and he is devastated that they are turning away from the Good News of salvation they found in Jesus Christ.

Paul compares himself to a mother suffering in labor, when he speaks about what is happening in Galatian churches. When was the last time you heard a guy comparing himself to a woman pushing a baby out? Yes, Paul could be very graphic with his words.

In this letter, Paul describes his encounter with resurrected Christ. After meeting the living Christ and answering God’s call, Paul changed his career path and his view of the Christian gospel. He was the only apostle who did not know Jesus during his life on earth, and that is why Paul’s authority was constantly challenged by others. No matter how many churches he started and how many people he brought to Christ, some continued to question his claim to be an apostle as well as his way of teaching the gospel. This was part of the problem in Galatia.

In the next six weeks on Tuesday evenings we will carefully read the letter to Galatians. We’ll look at the context of the churches in Galatia to understand who were the people that Paul cared so much for.

We will compare Paul’s account of events with what we read in the book of Acts. We will discuss the complicated questions about the tension between the Law and the Grace of God.

We will wonder together what effect Paul’s letter had in Galatian churches and look through other writings of Paul for any glimpses of information about these believers and what consequently happened to them. As we read Paul’s letter, we will reconstruct the other side of the story and imagine listening to the voices of people in Galatia as they respond to the apostle.

I invite you to join our conversation. This Bible Study gives us a perfect opportunity to think about conflicts that happen in the church and how we respond to them.

Honestly, I also sometimes find myself wondering:

So, what are we supposed to believe in and what does it look like?

Why don’t we, preachers, agree with one another?

How are we supposed to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong?

Let’s work through these questions together!

Dr. Zhenya Gurina-Rodriguez
Associate Pastor of Grace Groups & Discipleship

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