Galatians IV:8-V:1 Questions for Students (Tuesday, July 24, 2012 — Saturday, July 28, 2012)

Seventh Week

Tuesday

July 24, 2012

(Gal 4:8 ESV)  8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.

Who or what is Paul referring to as “those that by nature are not gods”?

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2. In what sense were the Galatians “enslaved” to these “not gods”?

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(Gal 4:9 ESV)  9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

3. It’s easy enough, it would seem, to understand “come to know God,” but what does Paul mean by “come … to be known by God”? There are very few passages that speak of being known by God. Here’s one –

(Amo 3:1-2 ESV) Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt:  2 “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”

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4. We considered the meaning of “elementary principles” in the last lesson. How could someone be “enslaved” to them?

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(Gal 4:10 ESV) 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years!

5. We celebrate all sorts of holidays! Why is Paul upset that the Galatians celebrate “days and months and seasons and years”? (Recall that Galatians was written to deal with tensions between Jews and Gentiles.)

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(Gal 4:11 ESV) 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

6. What about celebrating holy days might cause Paul’s labors to have been in vain? Does he mean they might actually lose their souls for this reason?

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Wednesday

July 25, 2012

(Gal 4:12-15 ESV) 12 Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong. 13 You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, 14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. 15 What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me.

7. What does “I also have become as you are” refer to?

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8. Then what does “become as I am” refer to?

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9. Paul speaks of his illness in 2 Corinthians 12:7 as a “thorn in the flesh.” Here we see his health condition hurt his eyes. At the end of Galatians, Paul refers to writing with very large letters, perhaps due to his poor eyesight. He further says his condition was a trial to the Galatians, so bad that they might have scorned him.

As it turns out, Paul only preached in Galatia because his health failed. What can we learn about how to deal with our own health issues from this?

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10. What do you suppose happened to the Galatians’ generous spirit toward Paul?

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Thursday

July 26, 2012

(Gal 4:16-19 ESV) 16 Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. 18 It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, 19 my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!

11. Who is “they”?

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12. What does Paul mean by “until Christ is formed in you”?

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(Gal 4:20-21 ESV) 20 I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you. 21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?

13. Paul is quite serious in saying that the Galatians “desire to be under the law.” Why would anyone feel that way? What would motivate someone to prefer being under law?

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(Gal 4:22-23 ESV) 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise.

14. Paul introduces his allegory about Sarah and Hagar by saying “do you not listen to the law”? Moses came hundreds of years after Abraham. In what sense is Paul speaking of the “law” here?

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15. Why was Ishmael born “according to the flesh” whereas Isaac was born “through promise”?

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Friday

July 27, 2012

(Gal 4:24 ESV) 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar.

16. Why would Paul refer to Hagar as “bearing children for slavery”?

(Gen 21:10 ESV) 10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.”

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17. It’s astonishing that Paul would associate Hagar, the slave, with Mt. Sinai. In what sense does the Law of Moses bring slavery?

(Gal 4:25 ESV) 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.

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18. It sounds odd to our ears for Paul to compare Mt. Sinai with Jerusalem. What do those two locations have in common?

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(Gal 4:26 ESV) 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.

19. What on earth is “the Jerusalem above”? (Exo 25:8-9, 40; 26:30;Heb 12:22; Rev 21:2-10).

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20. Why would Paul refer to the heavenly Jerusalem as the “mother” of Christians? ( Isa 66:10-14).

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(Gal 4:27 ESV)  27 For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.”

21. Paul quotes Isaiah 54:1. Paul, like anyone trained as a Jewish rabbi, often used a teaching method called remez — literally meaning “hint.” He often refers to an Old Testament passage expecting his readers to know and apply the entire context to his argument. Read all of Isaiah 54 and consider what point Paul is making about the Galatian Christians in light of Hagar and Sarah.

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Saturday

July 28, 2012

(Gal 4:28 ESV)  28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.

22. How are Christians and Isaac similar?

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(Gal 4:29-31 ESV)  29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.  30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.”  31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

23. In v. 29, which of Abraham’s sons was born according to the flesh and which “according to the Spirit”?

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24. In what sense was Isaac born according to the Spirit?

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25. In what sense are the Judaizing teachers children of Hagar rather than Sarah? What makes them slaves?

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26. Does it really make sense to refer to Christians as children of Sarah?

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(Gal 5:1 ESV)  For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

27. What’s a “yoke”?

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28. What is the “yoke of slavery”?

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29. In what sense is Christianity “freedom”? Is it just freedom from damnation?

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About Jay Guin

I am an elder, a Sunday school teacher, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a lawyer. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. I’m a member of the University Church of Christ. I grew up in Russellville, Alabama and graduated from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University). I received my law degree from the University of Alabama. I met my wife Denise at Lipscomb, and we have four sons, two of whom are married, and I have a grandson and granddaughter.
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