In His Letter to the Galatians
We now pass into the Letter to the Galatians, where we actually have the phrase which is basic to the consideration - "the gospel which I preach". The phrase is found in the second chapter and the second verse, and in another form in chapter one, verse eleven - "the gospel which was preached by me". We have noted how many times this word "gospel" occurs in the Letters of Paul. The word is sprinkled through his letters, indicating by the frequency of its occurrence that that, after all, is what he is really writing about. The same thing is true in this brief Letter to the Galatians. In the noun form - that is, where the whole body of Christian truth is called "the gospel" - it occurs in this letter eight times; and then in the verb form - which cannot be translated into English correctly, that is, 'to gospel' or 'to good news', translated for our convenience into English as "preach", "preach the gospel", "bring good tidings", and so on, but just one word in the original - in the verb form it is found in this letter six times: so that we have here fourteen occurrences in a very brief letter.
The Situation Among the Galatian Christians
Now, if we could reconstruct the situation presented by this letter, or come upon it in actual reality, what should we find? Supposing that the situation represented here existed in some place today, and we visited that place where this thing was going on, what should we come upon? Well, we should find a tremendous controversy in progress, with three parties involved. On the one hand, we should find a group of men who are extremely and bitterly anti-Paul. On the other hand, we should find Paul roused and stirred to the very depths of his being, as we never find him in any other place in his writings or in his journeys. And, in between these two parties, there would be the Christians who are the immediate occasion of this tremendous battle that is going on. Very much bigger issues than the local and the occasional are involved, because it is a matter of the far-reaching and abiding nature of the gospel. Now Paul, in the battle, is committing himself to a re-statement of 'the gospel which he preached', over against these who were seeking to undermine, neutralize and destroy his ministry altogether. What was it all about?
(continued with # 15)
[sorry for the shortness of this article this morning. I have an extremely busy day ahead of me. God bless you all and I will, with God's amazing grace, type more tomorrow.]