Week 4: Changed By God’s Gospel
Galatians 1:10–2:21 is often called the autobiographical section of the letter, because Paul talks here about his conversion and early Christian life. But Paul isn’t just sharing his testimony for general inspiration; he’s using it to defend the reliability of his gospel message.
Read Galatians 1:13-24
Before, during, after
As Paul talks about how he came to faith, he illustrates some aspects of what the gospel is.
When it comes to the gospel:
- who makes us able to understand it (v 15-16)?
- what is it all about (v 16)?
- who is it for (v 16)?
- How does Paul see God’s grace working in his life even before his conversion?
- How do these verses show Paul being equipped for his ministry in and after his conversion?
In what ways, as you look back, can you see how God worked in your life:
- before you were even born?
- before your conversion?
- since you’ve been a Christian?
Speak to God now, thanking Him for His work in your life, seen and unseen.
What the Christians thought
In verses 11-12, Paul said his gospel was not made up, nor was it given to him by a man. His great claim is that his message came to him straight from Jesus Himself.
How is Paul underlining this point:
- in v 18-19?
- in v 21-22?
- Re-read verses 23-24. What results do you see here of a gospel-changed life?
- How did the churches react to the news of Paul’s conversion and ministry?
The apostles and the churches didn’t meet Paul before he began preaching the gospel God had revealed to him. They didn’t teach it to him, nor did they seek to change it. Paul is at pains to prove that his message is God-given (unlike the “gospel” other teachers are peddling in Galatia); and that the apostolic, gospel-centred churches recognised this and praised God for it.
Notice that in talking about his conversion and his message, Paul has made sure to point not to himself but to God, who deserves all the praise (v 24).
What guidance is there here about:
- why to share our testimony?
- how to do so?
- Who could you point to the truth of the gospel by sharing your testimony with them?