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 Testament concept central to Paul’s argument: the concept of the covenant. 1
The Hebrew word translated “covenant” is berit. It occurs nearly three hundred times in the […]
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.
“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 on Sinai represents an era, a dispensation, from a time in human history when salvation was based on obedience to the law. But because the people failed to live […]
“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 warnings given.
“An important lesson for every minister of Christ to learn is that of adapting his labors to the condition of those whom he seeks […]
I was a religious and political leader in my village in western India. The people in the village looked up to me. I had a good-paying job selling alcohol, and I tasted plenty of alcohol myself. But in spite of my standing in the village, I felt spiritually unfulfilled.
Then one day an Adventist pastor visited the village. I’d never heard of Adventists before, but this pastor went from home to home sharing God’s love with us. I listened with […]
Read Galatians 4:16. What powerful point is Paul making there? In what ways might you yourself have experienced something similar? (See also John 3:19; Matt. 26:64, 65; Jer. 36:17–23.)
The expression “speaking the truth” often has negative connotations, especially in our day and age, when it can be viewed as a hard-hitting, no-holds-barred, spare-no-enemies tactic of telling someone the facts, no matter how unpleasant or unwanted they may be. If it were not for Paul’s comments in Galatians 4:12–20 and […]
Most of us have an animal of some sort as a pet. I think I’ve always chosen a cat as a pet because a cat doesn’t require a lot of care. In the day it just finds a little place, curls up and goes to sleep. When it gets hungry it tells me, when it wants to go outside again, it lets me know. It is sort of a nuisance at times but somehow one just puts up with the […]
Carol knew the nausea would go away, but it was too much to endure sitting in the pews. At home she slept a while and then turned on the computer and within a couple of hours she was listening to Pastor Randy Roberts preaching at the Loma Linda University church.1
What was that he was saying? What?
Pastor Roberts was speaking with urgency. He was saying that no doctrine, no teaching, no lifestyle issue, no Scriptural interpretation—nothing—was as important […]
Key Thought: After strong spiritual argument, Paul made an emotional appeal to the Galatians to remain in the gospel of grace.
[Teaching plan for “Paul’s Pastoral Appeal” November 23, 2011]
1. Have a volunteer read Galatians 4:12.
A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. What did Paul mean when he told the Galatians that he was like they are, but encouraged them to be like him?
C. Personal Application: Is there […]
Paul’s relationship with the Galatian believers was not always as difficult and frigid as it has now become. In fact, as Paul reflects on the time when he first preached the gospel in Galatia, he speaks in glowing terms of how well they treated him. What happened? 1
What event seems to have led to Paul’s decision to preach the gospel in Galatia? Gal. 4:13.
Apparently it had not been Paul’s original intention to preach the gospel in Galatia. Some sort […]
Read 1 Corinthians 9:19–23. What does Paul say in these verses that can help us understand better his point in the latter part of Galatians 4:12? (See also Acts 17:16–34, 1 Cor. 8:8–13, Gal. 2:11–14.)
Galatians 4:12 can seem a little confusing. Why should the Galatians become like Paul, if he had already become like them? 1
As we saw in yesterday’s lesson, Paul wanted them to become like him in his complete faith and confidence in the all-sufficiency of Christ […]
Read 1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:7–9; and Acts 26:28, 29. What is Paul saying there that is reflected in Galatians 4:12? How are we to understand his point?1
Several times throughout Paul’s letters, he encourages Christians to imitate his behavior. In each situation, Paul presents himself as an authoritative example that believers should follow. In 2 Thessalonians 3:7–9, Paul offers himself as an example of how the believers in Thessalonica should work to earn their own living and […]
Read Galatians 4:12–20. What is the thrust of Paul’s message in these verses?
The initial indication of the concern that weighs heavily on Paul’s heart is his personal appeal in verse 12. The appeal follows immediately after Paul’s insistence that the Galatians “become as I am.” The significance of the word entreat or beseech is, unfortunately, not fully conveyed in some translations. The word in Greek is deomai. Although it can be translated “to urge” (NKJV) or “to entreat” (ESV), […]