by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1 June 20, 2010 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
Introduction:Every legitimate "Bible" study has some underwritten assumptions behind it. In regard to "man", his unending existence undergirds everything. The author of our current book wrote in another letter, "if existence does not go on without end, the actions of life are reduced to simply attempting to make the most of the moment" (1 Corinthians 15:32). The "Bible" stands against this fluid flexibility with both strong encouragement to those who refuse to compromise true principle in the face of opposition even to the point of death and with strong denunciation of those who can never be counted upon to hold fast in the crunch.
Given this fundamental issue, there are a few other issues involved.
I. Involved Issues.
A. Unending existence puts a premium upon established "finalities".
1. For "man" there is nothing more critical than the nature of "the gradually hardening reality" in terms of how it is going to affect him.
a. The Bible does not present the future as a "static state" of experience for man.
b. The Bible does present the future as the consequence of gradually hardening immutabilities that will determine, to some extent, what man's experience will be.
2. The biblical concept for this issue of "finalities" is the concept of "eternal".
B. Unending existence puts a premium upon man's identity as a "soul".
1. For "man" the "bottom line" of this gradually hardening reality is how it is going to affect him.
a. The biblical term for this bottom line in a positive sense is "Life".
b. The biblical term for this bottom line in a negative sense is "Death".
c. The sharpest line of distinction between "Life" and "Death" is drawn by the biblical concept of "joy" as the "soul's" most fundamental reaction to what is deemed desirable and "wrath" as the "soul's" most fundamental reaction to what is deemed totally unacceptable.
2. The biblical concept of "man" as a participant in this gradually hardening reality is that of the "soul".
a. Man is most fundamentally a "creature" that will invariably be "acted upon" by others and be, thus, a "responder" to those actions.
b. This means that the issues of "response" are going to be most crucial.
C. Unending existence, thus, puts a premium also upon the established factors of "response".
1. The first of these established factors is what the Bible calls "Love" as a term that addresses the soul's determinations of what is valuable.
2. The second of these established factors is what the Bible calls "Faith" as a term that addresses the soul's determinations of how what is valuable will be pursued.
3. The third of these established factors is what the Bible calls "Hope" as a term that sits between "Love" (as an unacquired valuable ultimate) and "Faith" (as the root of the processes that view that acquirable ultimate) as the intermediate expectation that "Faith" will bring "Love".
4. Clearly, then, any error in Faith, Hope, or Love will eventually produce Death and every accuracy in Faith, Hope, and Love will eventually produce Life.
II. The Letter to the Galatians.
A. In terms of the contribution of Galatians to the body of revealed Truth, the key issue of the letter is "Methodology".
B. As a revelation of "methodology", the contribution of Galatians is a focused presentation of the three most crucial issues of "Faith".
1. Has "Truth" been revealed?
2. What is the focal issue of such revealed truth?
3. How does that focal issue empower our daily decisions?