Thursday: Ishmael and Isaac Today
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Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

Paul’s brief sketch of Israel’s history was designed to counter the arguments made by his opponents who claimed that they were the true descendants of Abraham and that Jerusalem—the center of Jewish Christianity and the law—was their mother. The Gentiles, they charged, were illegitimate; if they wanted to become true followers of Christ, they must … [Click to read more …]

10: Laws and Promises – Thought Starters
Joyce Griffith

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Madeline and Melvin were in love. No question about it. At every opportunity they would steal glances at each other and talk with nudges and grins. Everybody knew.1 They would soon be married. Then Melvin dropped a bombshell. Both Madeline and Melvin had been married before, and Melvin wasn’t ready to risk a repeat performance of … [Click to read more …]

Sarah’s Covenant or Hagar’s?
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“…the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves…” Galatians 4:24, NIV So much has been written and said about two covenants in Christendom that it has become trite. However, this week’s lesson compels us to revisit the dichotomy, albeit with oft repeated assumptions and … [Click to read more …]

Wednesday: Hagar and Mount Sinai
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Israel Assembled at Mt Sinai

What type of covenant relationship did God want to establish with His people at Sinai? What similarities does it share with God’s promise to Abraham? Exod. 6:2–8, 19:3–6, Deut. 32:10–12. 1 God desired to share the same covenant relationship with the children of Israel at Sinai that He shared with Abraham. In fact, similarities exist between God’s words to … [Click to read more …]

10: The Two Covenants – Teaching Plan
Michael Fracker

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Key Thought: Self-righteousness is referred to as the old covenant. The new covenant is the everlasting covenant of grace ultimately fulfilled in Christ. [Teaching Plan for “The Two Covenants” November 30, 2011] 1. Have a volunteer read Galatians 4:21-23. A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this … [Click to read more …]

Tuesday: Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar
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Why does Paul have such a disparaging view of the incident with Hagar? Gal. 4:21–31, Genesis 16. What crucial point about salvation is Paul making through his use of this Old Testament story?  1 Hagar’s place in the Genesis story is directly related to Abram’s failure to believe God’s promise. As an Egyptian slave in Abram’s household, Hagar likely … [Click to read more …]

Monday: The Abrahamic Covenant
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What covenant promises did God make to Abram in Genesis 12:1–5? What was Abram’s response? 1 God’s initial promises to Abram make up one of the more powerful passages in the Old Testament. These verses all are about God’s grace. It is God, not Abram, who makes the promises. Abram had done nothing to earn or merit … [Click to read more …]

Sunday: Covenant Basics
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Covenant of the Rainbow

Many regard Paul’s interpretation of the history of Israel in Galatians 4:21–31 as the most difficult passage in his letter. That’s because it is a highly complex argument that requires a broad knowledge of Old Testament persons and events. The first step in making sense of this passage is to have a basic understanding of an Old … [Click to read more …]

Sabbath: The Two Covenants
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Read for This Week’s Study: Gal. 4:21–31; Gen. 1:28; 2:2, 3; 3:15; 15:1–6; Exod. 6:2–8; 19:3–6. Memory Text: “But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother” (Galatians 4:26) Christians who reject the authority of the Old Testament often see the giving of the law on Sinai as inconsistent with the gospel. They conclude that the covenant given … [Click to read more …]

Further Study: Paul’s Pastoral Appeal
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“In the Galatian churches, open, unmasked error was supplanting the gospel message. Christ, the true foundation of the faith, was virtually renounced for the obsolete ceremonies of Judaism. The apostle saw that if the believers in Galatia were saved from the dangerous influences which threatened them, the most decisive measures must be taken, the sharpest … [Click to read more …]