- The only thing worth boasting about. Can you imagine a bit of a twinkle in Paul’s eye as he proclaims: “Far be it from me to boast except in the Lord Jesus Christ”? Indeed, is there anything worth boasting about except Christ Jesus our Savior? Doesn’t Jesus deserve every word of praise we can muster, every thought of confirmation and joy? Of course He does! Although the majority of the world does not regard Jesus in the same way that the true Christian does, isn’t it wonderful that we can loudly praise the magnificence and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ?
- Paul’s own hand. These days we think nothing of getting a message within seconds from someone using a computer thousands of miles away. But a message from Paul “in his own hand”? Unlike other messages from Paul to the early Christian church, Galatians was written by Paul himself and not the scribe. What if any difference do you think that makes in the message Paul sent to the Galatians? Why do you think Paul closes his letter to the Galatians without his customary greeting to specific church members? What is your thought on Paul’s mentioning that he was writing with LARGE letters? Do you think Paul was handicapped in some way? Or was he just trying to make his message clear?
- Boasting in the Flesh. How could following the ritual of circumcision be seen as something to boast about? In general, what did the Jewish believers in Jerusalem think about Paul’s work with the Galatians? Besides the threat of physical harm, what other forms of persecution were felt by early Christians in Galatia? “He means well.” Often we use that expression to excuse the stumbling of a fellow believer. Do we also excuse our own behavior in the same way? How easy is it to feel superior to other because we believe “the truth”? Should that even be a part of our armor as Christians? Discuss.
- Boasting in the Cross. According to Paul, what are the two fundamental principles of the gospel message? How have feelings associated with the cross changed from Paul’s day to today? What must it have been like to endure full-scale ridicule of the cross? Can we go too far to the other extreme and regard the cross with a feeling approaching idolatry? How important was the cross to Paul in his ministry? What does the cross mean to you?
- A new Creation. How does Paul’s proclamation about justice by faith relate to the practice of circumcision as a Christian rite? Your lesson states that “spiritually speaking, the issue of circumcision by itself is irrelevant.” Do you agree with that? In Galatians 6:15 Paul emphasizes something more important than circumcision could ever be. What is that? How important is our new creation in Jesus? What does that involve?
- Final remarks. With this note our study of Galatians ends for now. As Paul leaves a loving “farewell” with the Galatians, what condition does he use to connect his leaving them with his call to God for blessings on them? How did Paul carry on his body the signs of his dedication to Christ and the message of salvation? Does Paul regret the suffering he has gone through while preaching the gospel of Christ?