Resources

Contained on this page you will find links to our Bible study resources, past and present. We are always looking for good resources to study in our group, so please let us know if you have any recommendations for our studies.

We as graduate students are not just scholars, but Christian scholars, and our faith is important to the work we are doing. Here are some InterVarsity resources that might be interesting to the grad student who wants to learn more about marrying their faith with their work.
 
"To put it in a nutshell, I think the project of being a Christian scholar is the project of thinking with a Christian mind and speaking with a Christian voice within your chosen discipline and within the academy more generally."
 
This blog includes short articles and announcements about events (webinars, etc) which Christian graduate students/scholars may be interested in.
 
Book: "The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship” by George Marsden
"Marsden argues forcefully that mainstream American higher education needs to be more open to explicit expressions of faith and to accept what faith means in an intellectual context…"
 
There are also several Christian societies in many different disciplines, and we would encourage you to look into one in your discipline!

We have frequently referenced Desiring God by John Piper in our Bible Study discussions. If you are interested in reading this book, it is free to download in PDF format at this link.

John Piper also has other books available for free. You can view them and download them at this link. One timely book you might consider reading is called Coronavirus and Christ.

Galatians:

Summary

The book of Galatians was written by Paul when he was frustrated that Jewish Christians were teaching Non-Jewish Christians that they had to follow the laws of the Torah in order to be part of God's covenant family. Paul wants to preserve the message of the true Gospel – that we are saved by the blood of Jesus, the new covenant, and not by the laws of the Torah. Because Jesus has fulfilled the laws of the Torah, we are united as a large, multi-ethnic family and transformed by the Holy Spirit.

 

Overview

Bible Project Overview on Galatians

 

Themes

In our study we will be breaking Galatians into 3 main themes, studying a new theme each month.

  • Theme 1 (Chapters 1-2): The True Gospel and Justification by Faith
  • Theme 2 (Chapters 3-4): Jesus fulfills the laws of the Torah and unites us as one family
  • Theme 3 (Chapters 5-6): Members of God's family are transformed by the Holy Spirit

These are the resources from Bible Studies of Galatians chapters 1 and 2 (put together by Rachel). Here you will find the questions we discussed together as a group and very brief answers to these questions. Please keep in mind that these answers do not cover all possible answers, and we discussed each of these questions in much more detail as a group.

Week 1: Monday, March 1, 2021 – Chapter 1

  • Background Context: Read Acts 15:1-11
    • What is the cause of the feud we read about in the passage?
      • Jewish Christians think that Non-Jewish Christians should adopt their laws (circumcision)
    • Why did Jewish Christians think it was so important that Non-Jewish Christians become circumcised?
      • In order to become part of God's covenant family, they must adopt Jewish laws.
    • What is Paul's reaction to these men? Why does he react this way? (we will talk more about this after reading chapter 1).
      • He dissents. He doesn't believe this is in accordance with the Gospel message.
    • What do the Jewish and Non-Jewish Christians have in common according to Peter?
      • Given the Holy Spirit
      • Aren't capable of living up to the high standards of the old testament laws due to their sinful nature
      • Saved through grace of the Lord Jesus
  • Scripture Reading: Chapter 1
    • Spend several minutes reflecting on this passage. What is something that stood out to you from the passage? What is something you have a question about?
    • We read in Acts 15 that Paul was upset, but here is where we really get to see that. Why is Paul so angry?
      • People are not listening to the Gospel message of Christ that he delivered and are instead adopting a distorted gospel.
    • How can the people be sure that Paul's account of the gospel is the true account?
      • He gives his credentials in verses 11-24 – he was commissioned himself by Jesus to go to the Gentiles. He was not commissioned by man because he didn't even meet any other apostles until he was already well into his ministry.

 

Week 2: Monday, March 8, 2021 – Reading New Testament Letters

This week we viewed the Bible Project's resources on the Historical Context and Literary Context of New Testament Letters. 

Historical Context:

  • Consider how they all fit into the larger story line of the Bible.
    • Notes from Video:
      • Apostles were heralds talking about the arrival of God's kingdom and Jesus.
      • It was bold thing to say in Rome because peoples allegiance was supposed to be to Rome.
    • Questions:
      • In what ways is Paul trying to announce the arrival of God's kingdom and Jesus to the Galatians?
        • We are justified through what Jesus has done for us, not by the works of the Torah.
      • What is bold about what he is saying?
        • It went against the ancient Jewish customs and definitely was not a popular opinion.
  • Consider the culture of the Roman empire.
    • Notes from Video:
      • Rome conquered and enslaved and required heavy taxes
      • In Rome there was a hierarchy where men rose to the top but women and slaves were worth nothing
      • But the Christian communities were different; everyone was treated with equal dignity
      • Through Jesus, God gives His love to everyone without regard to their status
    • Questions:
      • In what ways is what Paul saying counter-cultural?
        • Paul wants the body of Christ to be a united family through our shared salvation through Jesus.
      • Do we see a hierarchy in Galatians?
        • Jewish Christians placing themselves above Non-Jewish Christians
      • How does Paul want the Christian community to live differently than those around them?
        • He encourages us to break bread with those who are different than us.
  • Consider the situational context of the letter.
    • Notes from Video:
      •  Division in the church between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians
  • How are the New Testament letters applicable to us today?
    • Notes from Video:
      • These letters led to transformations in ancient culture with the good news of Jesus, and we can see how that same good news can transform our culture as well.
    • Questions:
      • Even though this letter was made for the Galatians, what can we glean from it years later and in a different culture?
        • Lessons about valuing others that are disadvantaged in our current culture, transforming our current culture with the good news shared in the letters.

Literary Context

  • Creating the Letter
    • Notes from Video:
      • Writing letters cost a lot of money, so they were all crafted very carefully
      • Written as a whole literary work – meant to be read beginning to end so we can know how each part contributes to the whole 
      • Paul didn't work or write alone – he was always a part of a missionary team.
      • Letters were read aloud because most people didn't read. They often sound like written speeches
    • Questions:
      • How does knowing the way in which these letters were crafted (intentional thought and delivery, meant to be read beginning to end) impact the way we look at this literary work?
        • These letters weren't just brief personal correspondence, they were well thought out masterpieces.
    • Action Items:
      • We encourage you to read through the book of Galatians on your own, all in one sitting. Even better, listen to Galatians being read aloud to you; this was how the message was designed to be heard.
  • Format (sections of a New Testament letter)
    • Notes from Video: 
      • opening
      • prayer of thanks/greeting (Main idea introduced the prayer)
      • body of letter (Body repeats and unpacks the idea introduced in the prayer)
      • conclusion (greetings, travel plans, a final request, or a prayer)
    • Questions:
      • When we consider the opening and prayer for this letter, are we able to identify what Paul might foresee as the main point of the letter?
        • This is one of the shortest openings in all the NT letters – Paul is really trying to get to the point due to his frustration and the urgency of his message.
        • "God gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age." – Paul saw the evils of distorted gospels and wants to redirect us to what Jesus has done on the cross first and foremost, because that is what is most important.
  • How to read New Testament Letters
    • Notes from Video:
      • transition words are clues to the progression of the letter
      • Each paragraph has its own main idea
      • To make the most of reading New Testament letters, break it down into smaller parts and find the message of each paragraph, trace repeated ideas and transition words to see how it all fits back together, and then see how the apostles brilliantly combined the pieces into a literary whole.
    • Questions:
      • If we break apart the paragraphs from Chapter 1, can we identify the main themes of the paragraph? Can we identify any transition words? Repeated ideas?
    • Action Items:
      • Apply what you have learned about how to read the New Testament letters as we continue this study on Galatians each week.

Week 3: Monday, March 15, 2021 – Chapter 2

  • Review:
    • During Week 1 we….
      • Read background on the feud between Jewish Christians and non-Jewish Christians in Acts. Jewish Christians thought that new Gentile Christians had to follow the laws of the Torah to be true members of God's covenant family.
      • Read the first chapter of Galatians where Paul expresses his frustration that they have adopted a gospel other than the one he taught them, and he gives his credentials to show them the credibility of his message.
    • During Week 2 we…..
      • Looked at the historical context of New Testament Letters
        • We talked about the overall storyline of the bible and how Paul is spreading the good news of Jesus's fulfillment of the old testament in the letter
        • We talked about the Roman empire and the culture of the time
        • We talked more about the situational context of feud between Jews and Gentiles
      • Looked at the literary context of New Testament Letters
        • What went into writing the letter
        • The organizational format of the letter
        • How to read the letter paragraph by paragraph and find transition words to trace the message through the whole letter and see how all the pieces fit together.
    • Now we will be reading chapter 2, which is broken into three sections:
      • The other apostles accept Paul's teaching to the gentiles.
      • Paul calls Peter out for being hypocritical toward gentiles in Antioch.
      • Paul says we are justified by faith through Jesus and not works of the old testament law.
    • Re-watch Bible Project Video for background
  • Read Sections 1 and 2 (verses 1-14) of Chapter 2 and discuss as a group
    • A couple minutes for reflection on these sections (think about the main ideas of the paragraphs, what stands out, and any questions)
    • Section 1 (verses 1-10): Paul interacting with the other apostles
      • Notes:
        • Paul meets the apostles and tells them what he has been teaching the Gentiles
        • He continues to assure us that they didn't add or take anything away from the gospel he was teaching (showing that it was God's true gospel)
        • The apostles accepted him and his teachings to the Gentiles.
      • Questions:
        • Why does Paul want to talk with the apostles?
          • "to make sure that I was not running or had not run in vain"
          • He was seeking the opinions of other godly men to see if they thought his teachings had gone astray of God's true gospel – accountability
        • How did Paul handle those whom he perceived were not preaching the true gospel?
          • He makes sure we know that he did not let those people influence him or lead him astray
        • How do the true apostles react to Paul's teachings?
          • They approve of them and change nothing about what he was teaching the Gentiles. They believe his was commissioned by God to teach to the gentiles the same way that Peter was commissioned by God to teach the Jews. They ask him to remember the poor.
    • Section 2 (verses 11-14): Paul calls Peter out for being hypocritical in Antioch.
      • Notes:
        • Peter used to eat with the gentiles, but when Jewish Christians came and demanded circumcision, he stopped eating with them to please those Jewish Christians.
        • The rest of the Jews and even Paul's  travel companion Barnabas were led astray by the hypocrisy.
        • Paul calls them out and asks them if they can't live like they ought to as Jews, then how can they make the Gentiles live like Jews?
      • Questions:
        • What does Peter do that makes Paul call him out?
          • He stopped eating with gentiles because of pressure from the "Circumcision party"
        • Why does Paul find Peter's actions so hypocritical?
          • It is against Jesus's teachings (and therefore inherently not Jewish/Christian) to treat the gentiles this way. It is hypocritical to require them to live like a Jew when they themselves cannot reach that standard.
        • Why do you think it was so easy for everyone, even Barnabas, to get caught up in this, too?
          • reluctance to let go of custom, crowd mentality, etc.
  • Read Section 3 (verses 15-21) of the chapter and discuss
    • A couple minutes for reflection on these sections (ask everyone to think about what stood out to them, and what they might have questions on)
    • Section 3 (verses 15-21): Justification by Faith alone, not works
      • Notes:
        • No one can be justified by the works of the law – we are justified through Christ alone
        • We sin and cannot upkeep the law, but Christ is not a servant to sin – he died to conquer it. It is a good thing we are not justified by the law, but through Christ.
        • If we insist keeping the law for our justification, we are undermining what Christ did for us. He would have died for no purpose.
      • Questions:
        • What does it mean to be justified?
          • from the Bible Project Video: to be justified is to be declared righteous, meaning you are in right relationship with God, forgiven and given a place in God's family
        • What message does Paul think this "circumcision party" is sending to the growing Christian community?
          • They are promoting justification by works instead of justification by faith and making less of what Jesus has done for us on the cross.
        • How does insisting on circumcision for Gentile Christians undermine what Jesus did for us on the cross?
          • We sin and cannot upkeep the law, but Christ is not a servant to sin – he died to conquer it. If we insist on keeping the law for our justification, we are undermining what Christ did for us. He would have died for no purpose.

Week 4: Monday, March 22, 2021

  • Review from previous weeks
    • Week 1: Chapter 1 of Galatians
      • Paul is appalled that the Galatians have adopted a different gospel and think they have to make non-Jewish Christians be circumcised.
      • Paul gives his credentials to make sure we understand his gospel message was the true gospel message.
    • Week 2: Historical and Literary Context of New Testament Letters
      • Historical Context: context in the Bible, context in the culture, context of the argument
      • Literary Context: importance of letters, how the letter is structured, how to read the letter
    • Week 3: Chapter 2 of Galatians (Part 1)
      • Paul tells us that the other apostles agreed that what he was teaching to the Gentiles was the true message of the gospel.
      • Paul calls Peter out for being hypocritical and not eating with non-Jewish Christians
    • Week 4 (this week): Chapter 2 of Galatians (Part 2) and Reflections
      • Justification by Faith
      • Thoughts on Chapters 1 and 2
  • Read Galatians Chapter 2, Verses 15-21
    • Reflect on what you read. What is the main point of this passage? What stands out to you? What do you have questions about?
    • Discussion based on personal reflection
  • Listen to the Bible Project Podcast Episode "Family Once More" (9:38 – 23:10)
    • This provides a good summary of what we discussed in the first two chapters
    • Wrap up the first major theme "The True Gospel and Justification by Faith"

These are the resources from Bible Studies of Galatians chapters 3 and 4 (put together by Kaleb). Here you will find the questions we discussed together as a group and very brief answers to these questions. Please keep in mind that these answers do not cover all possible answers, and we discussed each of these questions in much more detail as a group.

Week 1: Monday, April 5, 2021

Focus: Galatians 3:1-14
 
Bible Project Content:

Scripture references:

Discussion Questions:

  • Reconstruct the Galatians' spiritual biography (1-5); how did they act foolishly?
  • What does the example of Abraham say about being justified/righteous before God? (6-9)
  • How does Abraham's example compare to the Galatians' viewpoints? (10-12)
  • What does seeking righteousness through the law not succeed? (Gal 3:10; refers to Deut 27:26)
  • What verses do you want to keep with you from this reading?

Week 2: Monday, April 12, 2021

Focus: Galatians 3:15-29

Bible Project Content:

Scripture References:

Discussion Questions:

  • What does Paul say about the relationship between the law and the promises God gave to Abraham (and so all people)? How does he make his case?
  • Why was the Law given? What functions did the law serve?
  • What major conclusion does Paul make to tie wrap up this chapter?
  • What points from this chapter support this conclusion?
  • What ideas do Paul confront in order to prevent beliefs that oppose this conclusion?
  • How are we like the Galatians?
    • Are we foolish?
    • Do we put up barriers that divide God's family?

Week 3: Monday, April 19, 2021

Focus: Galatians 4:1-20

Resources:

Discussion Questions:
  • Explain the analogy Paul introduces at the start of this chapter (1-7)
  • How does this analogy compare to the analogies from the previous chapter?
  • Why is this analogy necessary?
  • How and why did the Galatians' attitude towards Paul change?
  • Why does Paul urge the Galatians to "become like [him]" (v12)? In what way does he want them to become like him, and why?
  • Can you say to others, "become like me"?
  • In what ways do you act like a "spiritual slave"? How can you begin acting more like God's spiritual son or daughter?

Week 4: Monday, April 26, 2021

Focus: Galatians 4:21-31
Resources
Scripture References:
Discussion Questions:
  • Paul introduces another analogy here. Let's break it down:
    • Who/what does Hagar represent?
    • Who/what does Sarah represent?
  • What does Paul mean when he says Hagar's son was born "the ordinary way" but Sarah's son was "the result of a promise"?
  • Why are we "children of promise"?
  • Why are children of Hagar not free?

These are the resources from Bible Studies of Galatians chapters 5 and 6 (put together by Vaughn). Here you will find the questions we discussed together as a group and very brief answers to these questions. Please keep in mind that these answers do not cover all possible answers, and we discussed each of these questions in much more detail as a group.

Week 1: Monday, May 3, 2021

Focus: Galatians 5: 1-15

Resources:
https://bibleproject.com/learn/galatians/ (video from 6:40 to the end)

Discussion questions:

Verses 1-6
- What about trying to satisfy the laws of the old testament “severed us Christ”?
- How were we slaves prior to coming to Christ? How is life different now?
- It certainly isn’t circumcision, but what do you think culture today wrongly assumes as the way Christians are saved?

Verses 7-12
- What does verse 9 mean?
- How can we protect ourselves, our family and our church from false teachings?

Verses 13-15
- How does Jesus simplify life for us?

Week 2: Monday, May 10, 2021

Resources: This week we studied the Bible Project's Bible Study on the Holy Spirit.

 

Week 3: Monday, May 17, 2021

Focus: Galatians 5:16-26

Introduction: 

  • The power of the Holy Spirit: John 16:5-15
  • Jesus said that it would be better for us to have the Spirit in us, than for us to have Jesus himself beside us.  This shows the absolute power of the Holy Spirit, and we need to be careful to not overlook or forgot this.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are your overall thoughts on this passage? Does anything new or interesting stand out?
  2. This passage seems like it strays away from most of what Galatians has been about (Paul doesn’t talk about circumcision for a whole 11 verses!!!). How does this passage still relate to what we have been discussing (the law, Jesus putting an end to the law, etc.)?
  3. What do you think about verse 18? What do you think it means? “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
  4. Practically, what should we do if we find ourselves falling into one of the sins listed in the passage?
  5. Can someone put the end of verse 23 in their own words? What does is mean that “against such things there is no law”?
  6. If you feel comfortable sharing, what are some ways God is producing fruit of the Spirit in you recently? (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control)

Week 4: Monday, May 24, 2021

Focus: Galatians 6:1-18

Discussion Questions:
  1. What do you think Paul means when he says “you who are spiritual”?
  2. What do you think verse 4 & 5 means?
  3. What do you think verse 6 means?
  4. What do you think verse 14 means?
Close with Bible Project Video to bring everything back full-circle: https://bibleproject.com/learn/galatians/

As we are reading the book of Galatians, it is helpful to learn more about how to read New Testament Letters. Please view the videos below and consider how you can apply what you learn from the video to Paul's letter to the Galatians. You can find our discussion on these videos under Chapters 1-2, March 8th meeting.

Historical Context of New Testament Letters: Video by the Bible Project

Literary Context of New Testament Letters: Video by the Bible Project

Graduate School Bible Studies:

Here are some helpful resources from our study on Stress and Stress Management prepared by Trevor:

Reference Material: Bible Project Limits of Labor Podcast

Bible Readings: 

  • The Vanity of Toil: Ecclesiastes 2:17-26
  • Joy in Trials: James 1:2-4

Benediction: John 14:17

Takeaway: Think about your work and research as a graduate student. How does your work serve the Kingdom of God? What are some ways you can lay your stressors on God this week?

Further Reading: Ecclesiastes 7, which talks about wisdom.