REVIEW OF CHAPTER ONE.
August 4, 1900.
FOUR weeks have now been spent in the study of the first chapter of Galatians. Surely that is long enough to allow of its having been thoroughly learned. One verse every weekday is not too much to fix in the mind. No one need plead lack of time to learn one verse each day. Determine to carry along with you everything that you learn. Don't worry about what the text means; study what it says, and you will know what it means. If you get nothing else, even if you do not read the suggestive notes in the lesson pamphlet, get the words of the apostle Paul to the Galatians. Get the text so thoroughly that if you should hear a single expression quoted, you could instantly recall the full connection, and its relation to the given text.
Supposing that you have the text well in mind, a review of the chapter as a whole will be very profitable. If you have not the text well learned, then you have the more need to review, but will not derive so much good from it. But stick to the text. It will reveal its secrets to you as well as to anybody, if you are diligent and faithful. The suggestive notes that are given are simply for the purpose of making your work a little easier, by opening up the soil, as it were. You are not to study them, and to conclude that the text teaches such and such things because the LESSON QUARTERLY says so; but you are to study the text until you can see for yourself that the things noted are there, and see them forever afterward, without any reference to the lesson notes. It is all in the text; of that you may be assured; if you study sufficiently in the right way, and with the right motive, you will need no assurance of the fact.
Let us in the first place analyze the chapter, so as to get a general view of it. To begin with, we have the comprehensive greeting, covering the first five verses. Next, the expression of surprise at the disaffection of the Galatians, which at the same time reveals the nature and the cause of their disaffection. Verses 6, 7. Then comes the anathema against the preachers of any other professed gospel. Verses 8, 9. Verses 10-12 tell us the source of the Gospel that Paul preached, and show whose servant he was. The remainder of the chapter (verses 13-24) contains a short narrative of Paul’s personal experience, covering his manner of life before his conversion (verses 13, 14), the conversion itself (verses 14, 15), and how he was occupied for three years afterward (verses 17-24), special stress being laid on the fact that he had no personal acquaintance with the other apostles and brethren, so that he did not learn the Gospel that he preached from them. This will serve as a general outline of the chapter, and will help to bind the details together.
Note that this first chapter shows that the question at issue was the Gospel. It was the crisis for the churches in Galatia. The question was, Should they continue the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, or should they be perverted by accepting a false gospel, which could be only the power of men, and therefore lead to destruction? Shall God have the glory, or men?
Many questions may be asked from the text, without turning to any other portion of the Bible, but only a few by way of suggestion will be given here. Besides these, let questions be asked to bring out every item in each verse.