Galatians 4:8-5:24

  1. According to this passage, what does Christian freedom imply?
  2. In what ways is Paul’s reaction to the Galatians’ condition indicative and illustrative of pastoral concern? Do we know any similar concern for the spiritual well-being of others?
  3. Verses 21-31. Paul uses Gen.16 as an allegory. In this picture, what is the position of those ‘under law’, and what, in contrast, that of believers? What is the point of Paul’s quotation of: (a) Is.4:1, and (b) Gen. 21:10-12?

Note. 4:17,18. A reference to the new teachers, who were eager to win the favour of the Galatian believers in order to cut them off from Paul and his gospel so that they would have no-one to turn to but themselves. If these teachers had really come to do good, Paul would have raised no objection (verse 18).

Spiritual freedom may be lost in two ways:
(a) by false teaching, in this case the teaching of the necessity of circumcision (verses 2-12); and
(b) by living to please self (verses 13-15).
The secret of victory is to give the Holy Spirit full sway within us by obeying his promptings.
He will subdue the flesh, and bring forth in us the fruit of Christ-living (verses 16-25).

  1. Verses 2-12. To be circumcised meant taking the way of the Law. What four results would follow if the Galatians did so? What is the way of the gospel?
  2. Verses 13-15. How should the Christian use his freedom?
  3. Verses 16-24. Seek to grasp the antithesis between ‘flesh’ and ‘spirit’. What should be the attitude of the Christian towards each? Note that the right attitude demands expression in positive action.