The good folks at Bible Study Magazine provided me an opportunity to talk about studying the book of Galatians in their upcoming Sept/Oct issue. If you’ve not seen Bible Study Magazine, I would encourage you to check out the publication. It’s produced by the folks who developed Logos Bible Software. They’re attempting to be serious, joyful, and rigorous about the study of God’s word and equipping Christians to do the same.
Below is an excerpt from the interview:
Bible Study Magazine: What would you want readers to take away from the book of Galatians?
Anyabwile: First … the priority and centrality of the gospel. We should accept no other gospel other than the one the Lord and the apostles taught that is set down for us in the Scripture (Gal 1:6–10). We must not add anything to the gospel; nor take anything away. All of the benefits of Christ come to us by grace through faith alone apart from any works. And we continue in those benefits of Christ by faith (Gal 3:1-5).
Second, this life we now have through faith in Christ involves Christ living in us (Gal 2:20), freedom in Christ (Gal 5:1), fruitfulness in the Spirit (Gal 5:16–26), and loving concern for our brethren in the church (Gal 6:1–2). These are staggering things we ought to meditate on again and again.
Bible Study Magazine: How should we understand Paul’s intensity in this letter? Is it righteous anger? Is it justified?
Anyabwile: I think Paul’s intensity grows out of [three things]: First, is fervent desire to see people saved from God’s wrath and saved for God’s love. Second, the personal attacks he apparently suffered at the hands of these false teachers in Galatia. And third, Paul’s total and life-long commitment to giving all, for the glory of Christ. When you’re dealing with an issue that imperils souls, a mission you’re totally dedicated to, and a situation wherein you’re being personally attacked, you tend to respond with intensity. And that intensity is righteous when it’s in defense of the gospel.
Bible Study Magazine: Paul warns the Galatians against being seduced by other gospels (Gal 1:6–10). Why was Paul so adamant that they be careful about where they place their faith and which teacher they follow? What struggles have you faced in encountering other gospels that lead people astray, and how have you encouraged your congregation?
Anyabwile: If the Galatians were to misplace their faith, Christ would be of no value to them. If they were to fall from grace, they would perish and prove never to have genuinely known Christ. The main protection for a congregation against false gospels is constant preaching of the gospel. … As a congregation regularly hears the good news, they are inoculated against imposters and helped to defend the faith. So, we want all of our teaching to either explore the beauty of the gospel or extend the application of the gospel from all of Scripture. That way, when we encounter false “prosperity gospels” or “social gospels,” … we’re not easily swayed. Galatians is an excellent book for getting the gospel correct and warding off falsehoods