02: Galatians, sit up and take notice! – Discussion Questions
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“Hey, look at this,” Fred said. “The Mormons are getting energized to preach their message around the world.”

It was the first day of the General Conference session of the Church of
Latter-day Saints, also known as Mormons, in October of 2011.

“They’re building six new temples,” Fred continued. “Look at this.” He held up a sheet of paper. “Kinshasha in the Congo, Durban in South Africa, Paris in France, Baranquilla in Colombia and, here’s the best of them all, in “Star Valley, […]

Thursday: The Origin of Paul’s Gospel
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The Origin of Paul’s Gospel

The troublemakers in Galatia were claiming that Paul’s gospel was really driven by his desire to obtain the approval of others. What might Paul have done differently in his letter if he were merely seeking human approval? Consider Gal. 1:6–9, 11–24. 

Why did Paul not require Gentile converts to be circumcised? Paul’s opponents claimed it was because Paul wanted conversions at any cost. Maybe they thought that because Paul knew Gentiles would have reservations about circumcision, he didn’t require it. […]

02: Paul’s Authority and Gospel – Teaching Plan
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Key Thought: Paul opens his letter to the Galatians with an authoritative and succinct reference to God’s gifts of grace and a denunciation of any contrary doctrine.

[Teaching Helps for Lesson 2: Paul’s Authority and Gospel, Oct 8, 2011]

1. Have a volunteer read Galatians 1:1-5

A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.

B. Are the words grace and peace just words of greeting here or do they have […]

Wednesday: No Other Gospel
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What normally follows the opening greeting in Paul’s letters? How is Galatians different? Compare Gal. 1:6 with Rom. 1:8, 1 Cor. 1:4, Phil. 1:3, and 1 Thess. 1:2. 

Although Paul addresses all kinds of local challenges and problems in his letters to the churches, he still made it a practice to follow his opening greeting with a word of prayer or thanksgiving to God for the faith of his readers. He even does this in his letters to the Corinthians, who were struggling with all kinds of questionable behavior (compare 1 […]

Tuesday: Paul’s Gospel
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In addition to defending his apostleship, what else does Paul emphasize in his opening greeting to the Galatians? Compare Gal. 1:3–5 with Eph. 1:2, Phil. 1:2, and Col. 1:2.

One of the unique features of Paul’s letters is the way he links the words grace and peace in the greetings. The combination of these two words is a modification of the most characteristic greetings in the Greek and Jewish world. Where a Greek author would write “Greetings” (chairein), Paul writes “Grace,” a similar-sounding word in Greek (charis). To […]

Monday: Paul’s Calling
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Though Paul’s epistles generally follow the basic format of ancient letters, Galatians contains a number of unique features not found in Paul’s other epistles. When recognized, these differences can help us better understand the situation Paul was addressing.

Compare Paul’s opening salutation in Galatians 1:1, 2 with what he writes in Ephesians 1:1, Philippians 1:1, and 2 Thessalonians 1:1. In what ways is Paul’s salutation in Galatians similar to and different from the others?

Paul’s opening salutation in Galatians is not only a bit longer than in his […]

Sunday: Paul, the Letter Writer
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Read 2 Peter 3:15, 16. What do these verses tell us about how the early church viewed Paul’s writing? What does this teach us about how inspiration works? 

When Paul wrote to the Galatians, he was not trying to produce a literary masterpiece. Instead, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Paul was addressing specific situations that involved him and the believers in Galatia.

Letters like Galatians played an essential role in Paul’s apostolic ministry. As the missionary to the Gentile world, Paul […]

Sabbath: Paul’s Authority and Gospel
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Read for This Week’s Study:
2 Pet. 3:15, 16; Galatians 1; Phil. 1:1; Gal. 5:12.

Memory Text:

“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10, NKJV).

Students at a university built a center on their campus where everyone—regardless of race, gender, social status, or religious beliefs—would be welcome. Imagine if years later these students returned to the campus only to discover that other students had […]

Further Study: Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles
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For the relationship between personal conversion and the church, read Ellen G. White, “Individual Independence,” pp. 430–434, in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3. For a helpful map of the early life of Paul and commentary on his conversion, see The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, pp. 226–234.

“Paul had formerly been known as a zealous defender of the Jewish religion and an untiring persecutor of the followers of Jesus. Courageous, independent, persevering, his talents and training would have enabled him to serve in almost any […]

Paul learns to love the Gentiles – Discussion Points
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Imagine it. Lights and a voice, and you’ve been knocked to the ground blinded by the flash. And then you hear this voice, powerful and deep: “Why have you been persecuting Me?”

Bewildered, frightened and not a little bit worried, you look up. You can’t see.

You muster the courage to speak. “Who are you?” you call into the depth of darkness.

“I am Jesus…”

“Jesus,” you’re thinking. “You’re Jesus!” Your knees are trembling.

The voice continues, “I am Jesus whom you […]