Sermons on a Messianic Jewish Approach to the Book of Galatians
Peter says that Paul’s letters contain things that are hard to understand which lawless people twist as they do the rest of the Scriptures.
Bible readers generally understand Galatians as Paul’s dissertation against the Torah and against Judaism. More than any other book of the New Testament, Galatians defines the line between Messianic Judaism and greater Christianity.
Paul was a prodigy educated in the most elite schools of Pharisaism. He wrote and thought from that Jewish background, rendering several key passages of his work incomprehensible to readers unfamiliar with rabbinic literature. This collection of sermons on a Messianic Jewish approach to Galatians opens Paul’s world and provides the historical Jewish context necessary to decipher the epistle.
In an easy-to read, narrative style, Torah Club author D. Thomas Lancaster, takes his readers from one end of the epistle to the other, challenging conventional interpretations and offering new insights to reveal the Jewish Paul.
Table of Contents
- The Writings of Our Beloved Brother Paul
- Sermon 1: Letter to the God-Fearers (Galatians 1:1–5)
An introduction of Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, identifying the author, the addressees, and the situation that occasioned its composition.
- Sermon 2: The King of Adiabene (Galatians 1:6–10)
An introduction to the “influencers” through a retelling of the conversion of Izates, King of Adiabene.
- Sermon 3: Paul’s Gospel (Galatians 1:11–24)
A summary of Paul’s autobiography, in which he describes his revelation from Heaven and his divine commission to preach the gospel to the Gentiles.
- Sermon 4: Famine Relief for Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1–2)
After an absence of more than a decade, Paul journeys to Jerusalem in the company of Barnabas and Titus with a collection for famine relief.
- Sermon 5: Running the Race in Vain (Galatians 2:2)
Paul goes up to Jerusalem to submit his gospel of Gentile inclusion to the authority of the apostles.
- Sermon 6: The Big Meeting (Galatians 2:3–5)
Paul brings Titus to a meeting with the apostles to seek an apostolic endorsement for his gospel to the Gentiles.
- Sermon 7: Remember the Poor (Galatians 2:6–10)
The apostles in Jerusalem endorse Paul as an apostle to the Gentiles, and they endorse his gospel to the Gentiles with one caveat: that he remember the “poor ones.”
- Sermon 8: The Antioch Incident (Galatians 2:11–14)
Paul recounts how Peter, on his visit to Antioch, separated from the God-fearing Gentile believers and earned Paul’s sound rebuke.
- Sermon 9: Works of the Law (Galatians 2:15–16)
An exploration of the terms “justification,” “works of the law,” and “faith in Jesus Christ.”
- Sermon 10: Through the Law I Died to the Law (Galatians 2:19–20)
A look at the mystical implications of Paul’s death to the law as a death to relying on Jewish identity for salvation.
- Sermon 11: Bewitched (Galatians 3:1–6)
A look at how Paul seemingly contrasts the Spirit with the Torah in the first verses of Galatians 3.
- Sermon 12: Faith Versus Works (Galatians 3:6–7)
A resolution of the classic faith-versus-works debate through exploring Paul’s theology of justification for the circumcised and the uncircumcised.
- Sermon 13: Abraham’s Gospel (Galatians 3:8–9)
Understanding the textual basis for the gospel preached beforehand to Abraham as identical with Paul’s gospel.
- Sermon 14: Curse of the Law (Galatians 3:10)
Paul invokes the Torah’s curses for covenant infidelity to dissuade the Galatian God-Fearers from becoming Jewish.
- Sermon 15: The Torah is not of Faith (Galatians 3:11–12)
Paul quotes Leviticus 18:5 and Habakkuk 2:4 in a manner consistent with rabbinic interpretation to establish that it is not the hearers of the Torah who will be declared righteous but the doers of the Torah.
- Sermon 16: Talui (Galatians 3:13–14)
Paul reinvents a popular anti-Yeshua taunt derived from Deuteronomy 21:22–23 to argue that the Messiah’s suffering and death releases those who rely upon him from the curse of the law.
- Sermon 17: Passover and the Seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:13–14)
Paul employs a rabbinic tradition about the duration of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt, interprets the “seed of Abraham” as a reference to the Messiah, and compares the Torah to a competing inheritance document.
- Sermon 18: The Pedagogue (Galatians 3:19–26)
Paul compares the Torah and Jewish status to a paidagogos, a guardian-slave entrusted with the care and supervision of a child.
- Sermon 19: Neither Jew nor Greek (Galatians 3:26–29)
When Paul declares that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile in Messiah, he does not mean to imply that Jews and Gentiles forfeit their unique identities and roles.
- Sermon 20: Elementary Principles (Galatians 4:1–12)
Paul warns the God-Fearers not to be enslaved again by the pagan elementary principles of the world through observing days, months, seasons, and years.
- Sermon 21: All Things to All People (Galatians 4:12–20)
What does Paul mean when he claims to become all things to all people, that by all means he might save some? Does this imply hypocrisy or a disingenuous type of evangelism?
- Sermon 22: Sarah, Hagar, Isaac, and Ishmael (Galatians 4:21–31)
Paul develops a parable (midrash) based upon the story of Hagar and Sarah, Ishmael and Isaac, to point out the difference between God-Fearers and proselytes.
- Sermon 23: Circumcision and Uncircumcision (Galatians 5:1–6)
Paul warns Gentiles about relying on Jewish status for salvation and declares circumcision irrelevant with regard to salvation.
- Sermon 24: Led by the Spirit (Galatians 5:7–26)
Paul argues that Gentile believers are not “under the Torah,” but neither are they free from obligation to the Torah. They are to walk according to the Spirit by keeping the Torah’s commandments.
- Sermon 25: Torah of Messiah (Galatians 6:1–10)
God-fearing Gentile believers are not lawless free agents, but rather they are held to a standard of Torah under the Torah of Messiah: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
- Sermon 26: The Autograph (Galatians 6:11–18)
Paul closes the letter with a subscription in his own hand, in which he addresses the underlying motivations of the influencers and establishes a halachic ruling for his disciples.