Galatians III:1-IV:7 Questions for Students (Tuesday, July 10, 2012 — Saturday, July 14, 2012)

Galatians 3:1 – 4:7

Sixth Week

Tuesday

July 10, 2012

(Gal 3:1 ESV)  O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.

1. What is Paul’s mood? Why do you suppose?

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2. What does he mean “publicly portrayed as crucified”? (The NET Bible translates, “Before your eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed as crucified!”)

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3. What does this tell us about the content of Paul’s preaching? (1 Cor 1:23; 1 Cor 2:2)

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4. Why is the crucifixion so central to Paul’s preaching and gospel?

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(Gal 3:2-3 ESV) by works of the law or by hearing with faith?  3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

5. Verse 2 is a rhetorical question. What is the expected answer?

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6. Why do you suppose Paul leads his main argument by speaking of how the Spirit was received — before, for example, forgiveness and admission into the church?

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7. What would be wrong with beginning with the Spirit and “being perfected” or “trying to finish” (NET Bible and NIV) by the flesh?

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Wednesday

July 11, 2012

(Gal 3:4-5 ESV)  4 Did you suffer so many things in vain–if indeed it was in vain?  5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith —

8. Why does it matter how the Spirit comes when the question is whether circumcision is necessary to be saved? (Rom 8:9-11)

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(Gal 3:6-9 ESV)  6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?  7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.  8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”  9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

9. This passage is filled with surprises. For example, why bring up Abraham when Paul is talking about how Christians are saved?

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10. And, for example, why does Paul refer to “In you shall all the nations be blessed” as “the gospel”? That’s not the normal gospel sermon, you know.

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(Gal 3:10 ESV) 10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

11. Why does Paul say that all who rely on works of the law are cursed, when the curse he quotes only applies to those who don’t abide by the law?

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(Gal 3:11-12 ESV)  11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”  12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”

12. Why is it that no one is justified by law?

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13. But isn’t it possible to be circumcised? Obeying the entire law may be impossible, but adding circumcision is just one command. How is that a problem?

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Thursday

July 12, 2012

(Gal 3:13-14 ESV)  13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us — for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” — 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

14. Why does it matter that Jesus became a curse by being hanged on a tree?

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15. What is the “blessing of Abraham”?

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16. Why does the argument culminate with receipt of the Spirit? Why not forgiveness? Or entry into the church?

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(Gal 3:15 ESV)  15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified.

17. Modern American law is very different, in that modern contracts can be amended or rescinded for any number of reasons. However, under Roman law, certain kinds of contracts — “covenants” (the same word is used for a will or “testament”!) — were considered absolute, performable even if the other party fails to perform. How is that like God’s covenant with Abraham?

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(Gal 3:17-18 ESV)  17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.  18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

18. If the Law of Moses didn’t supersede God’s covenant with Abraham, then what is the promise on which we rely for our salvation?

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(Gal 3:21-23 ESV)  21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.  22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.  23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.

19. How did the law imprison those who had the law “under sin” and make them “captive under the law”?

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(Gal 3:24-25 ESV) 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.  25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,

20. “Guardian” translates paidogōgos, from which we get “pedagogue.” Thayer’s explains,

Among the Greeks and Romans the name was applied to trustworthy slaves who were charged with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys belonging to the better class. The boys were not allowed so much as to step out of the house without them before arriving at the age of manhood. … The name carries with it an idea of severity (as of a stern censor and enforcer of morals) … .

In what sense was the Law of Moses like a paidogōgos?

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Friday

July 13, 2012

(Gal 3:26 ESV)  26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

21. According to Paul, what is the opposite of circumcision?

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22. Why isn’t the opposite of circumcision “a new set of laws like the Law of Moses except better”?

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23. Does Paul’s position open him up to criticism as approving sin?

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24. Why would such criticism be mistaken?

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(Gal 3:27-1 ESV)  27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

25. We’re going to consider verses 27 and 28 in more detail next week. They’re important, but must be understood in the context of the overall argument, which culminates with v. 29.

Why is it that if we are Christ’s (belong to Christ), then we’re Abraham’s offspring (or “seed”)?

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26. Why does belonging to Christ make us heirs according to promise? Heirs of what? Why “heirs”? What promise?

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(Gal 4:1-2 ESV) I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything,  2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father.

27. Are we an “owner of everything”? How could that be true?

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28. “Manager” translates oikonomos, meaning, according to Thayer’s —

the manager of a household or of household affairs; especially a steward, manager, superintendent (whether free-born, or, as was usually the case, a freed-man or slave) to whom the head of the house or proprietor has intrusted the management of his affairs, the care of receipts and expenditures, and the duty of dealing out the proper portion to every servant and even to the children not yet of age

When is the date set by the father for his sons to be freed from the paidogōgos and oikonomos?

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Saturday

July 14, 2012

(Gal 4:3 ESV)  3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.

29. “Elementary principles of the world” translates stoicheion, meaning “elements” (and from which the chemists get stoichiometry — the mathematics behind chemistry). Paul uses the word again in Gal 4:9. Also in Col 2:8,20.

The word carries a pagan flavor here, because the pagans often spoke of their religions in terms of the “elements” — earth, wind, fire and water; the planets and the stars; the foundations of the earth were all called stoicheion.

Why might Paul use this term to refer to salvation by works of the law?

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(Gal 4:4-5 ESV) 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,  5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

30. Why does it matter, in the course of Paul’s argument, that Jesus was “born of a woman”?

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31. Why does it matter that Jesus was “born under law”?

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32. “Adoption as sons”! How does this contrast with what has gone before?

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(Gal 4:6-7 ESV)  6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

33. Again, Paul culminates an extended argument with the Spirit. In this case, what does the Spirit do that’s so important?

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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