The Book of Galatians:

 Conflict of the 2 Torahs

Paul's Defense of Faith in Messiah

(the Living, Written Torah Of Mosheh)

and His Attack on Man-Made Law

(the Oral Torah)


The Book of Galatians has scandalously been used by Christian ministers to teach their congregations that the Law of the Old Testament has been done away with.  Paul the apostle, whose given Hebrew name is Sha'ul, is the author of the letter to the Galatians.  Many of Sha'ul's statements in this book, as they are translated (interpreted) by English scholars, give the impression that anyone who endeavors to obey the Law as given by Moses (Hebrew "Mosheh") has "fallen from grace," and has rejected Messiah.  Moreover, they say, whoever pursues the Law to live by its instructions is suggesting that Messiah died for nothing!

This is due to the unfortunate misunderstanding of Sha'ul's life and upbringing, his times and his ongoing battle against the Pharisees and their human traditions.  When we read the letter to the Galatians through Sha'ul's eyes, that is, from the perspective of this 1st century scholar who was trained in the traditions, customs and instructions of the Pharisees, what will emerge from Sha'ul's letter is quite the opposite of the traditional interpretation.  Paul is actually teaching that faith in Messiah means fidelity to the written Torah (Law) of Mosheh, but that man-made (oral) law made up of customs and traditions, such as the Pharisees taught, are of no value at all.

In the end, Sha'ul affirms the validity of written Torah as the proper "walk of faith" for all who cling to Messiah as Lord and Savior, while certifying that all man-made customs, practices, traditions, ordinances, teachings, rules and laws, especially emphasizing the Oral Law of the Pharisees, are worthless and do not count toward salvation or righteousness.  Such laws of men lead those who follow them away from the intended lifestyle and walk which Elohim has instructed, ultimately leading to rejection of Messiah and forfeiture of eternal life.

This commentary on the Book of Galatians will explore the life background and training of Sha'ul to show that his religion as a Pharisee was in stark contrast with the walk of faithfulness to the written Instructions of Scripture which Yahuwah has given.  We will endeavor to show that the proper interpretation of Galatians from a 1st century Hebraic mindset and context will turn out to show that Sha'ul does not at any point contradict the teaching of the Tanach, and particularly the Instructions in the books of Mosheh.  At the end of the study, it will be clear that Paul is teaching the Galatians not to be absorbed into the teachings and lifestyles of the Pharisees (which Messiah warned his disciples to beware of!), but to walk and live in obedience to the commands of Elohim as given by Messiah (!) to Mosheh at Mt. Sinai.

(Note: my thanks to Avi ben Mordechai, whose research and insight led to his clear explanation of the meaning of the book of Galatians which has made possible the following analysis of Galatians.  He has cleared up the confusion about Sha'ul's criticism of law, explaining that Sha'ul is actually describing 2 different laws.  Avi's commentary on Galatians, Galatians: A Torah-Based Commentary in First-Century Hebraic Context, is a brilliant expose of the thinking of the Pharisees and modern day Orthodox Rabbis, and clarifies Sha'ul's defense of faith in Messiah as expressed by obedience to the written Torah.  One can purchase this book from Avi's website, www.m7000.com ).


Outline of the Book of Galatians

 

The Authority of the One Sent From Elohim: 1:1-5

The Authority of Sha'ul

The Message of a Shaliach

What is the Assembly?

Galatia

The Blessing

A Different Gospel?: 1:6-12

The True Gospel

Warnings Against False Prophets

The Source of Sha'ul's Gospel

Sha'ul's Training in Judaism: 1:13-24

Sha'ul's Former Life

The Way of the Pharisees

Halacha

Minhag

Takanah and Gezerah

Ma'aseh

Sha'ul's Training in Messiah

Fear of Sha'ul in the Assembly

The Circumcision Controversy: 2:1-10

The Yerushalayim Counsel

The Elders Acceptance of Sha'ul

Justification By Faith or By Works of the Law?: 2:11-21

The Hypocrisy of Cephas

The "Works of the Law"

Justification Through Works?

The Hearing of Faith: 3:1-5

Wise v. Foolish

Hearing of Faith

How Does Elohim Work in the Believer?

Righteousness By Faith and the Curse of the Law: 3:6-14

Avraham Believed

Relying on the law

The Curse of the Law

The Inheritance Through the Promise: 3:15-22

The Seed

Why the Torah was "Added"

The Tutor: 3:23-29

The Guardian and Trainer

Heirs of the Promise

Slavery v. Freedom: 4:1-20

Formerly Being a Slave

Weak and Poor Elementary Matters

The Example of Sha'ul

The Hagar Allegory: 4:21-31

The Female Slave

Mount Sinai

Children of the Free Woman

Freedom in Messiah: 5:1-15

Is Circumcision Necessary?

Fallen From Grace

The Call to Freedom

Walking in the Spirit: 5:16-26

The Promise of the Spirit in the New Covenant

"Walking in the Spirit"

Works of the Flesh

The Fruit of the Spirit

Impaled With Messiah

Exhortations and Concluding Remarks: 6:1-18

Boasting in the Flesh

What Value - Circumcision?

The Blessing