Where the world comes to study the Bible

Galatians

A Daily Bible Study in 7-Day Sections with a Summary-Commentary, Discussion Questions, and Daily Application

Sunday (Galatians)

Salutation

1:1 From Paul, an apostle (not from men, nor by human agency, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead) 1:2 and all the brothers with me, to the churches of Galatia.

1:3 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 1:4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age according to the will of our God and Father, 1:5 to whom be glory forever and ever! Amen.

Occasion of the Letter

1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are following a different gospel—1:7 not that there really is another gospel, but there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ.

1:8 But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell!

1:9 As we have said before, and now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let him be condemned to hell!

1:10 Am I now trying to gain the approval of people, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ!

Paul’s Vindication of His Apostleship

1:11 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.

1:12 For I did not receive it or learn it from any human source; instead I received it by a revelation of Jesus Christ.

1:13 For you have heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I was savagely persecuting the church of God and trying to destroy it. 1:14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my nation, and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors.

1:15 But when the one who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace was pleased 1:16 to reveal his Son in me so that I could preach him among the Gentiles, I did not go to ask advice from any human being, 1:17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before me, but right away I departed to Arabia, and then returned to Damascus.

1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and get information from him, and I stayed with him fifteen days. 1:19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother.

1:20 I assure you that, before God, I am not lying about what I am writing to you!

1:21 Afterward I went to the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 1:22 But I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 1:23 They were only hearing, “The one who once persecuted us is now proclaiming the good news of the faith he once tried to destroy.” 1:24 So they glorified God because of me.

Prayer

Lord, Yours is the one and only Gospel, all others are frauds designed by the enemy to deceive people to block their path to truth and to salvation. May I be faithful in sharing and teaching Your Gospel that many will be saved and then also equipped to “go forth”.

Summary & Commentary

Paul greeted the fellowship of believers in Galatia emphasizing that he spoke only from God, Who “raised (him) from the dead” [dead in sin], and that it was Jesus the Christ Who sacrificed to save them from “this present evil age”

[Note: This phrase is variously understood by some to refer to the “end times”, that period of history from the ascension of Jesus to His return, and by others to the larger time-span of alienation of humankind from the Lord God - beginning with the Fall in Eden and onward to the heavenly-admission of those whose names are written in “The Lamb’s Book of Life”.

Paul chastised them for tolerating false teachings since they knew what was right from him.

He declared that any being, man or angel, who preached a gospel other than the one God had given him to give to them, should be “condemned to hell”.

Paul reminded them of his former persecution of Christians, and of the Lord God’s call that he become an ally instead.

He also explained that he was not subservient to other apostles as the Lord God had sent him to preach, and that “... they Glorified God because of me” when they heard the reports of his [Paul’s] conversion and preaching.

[Note: Paul refers to “Arabia” in 1:17. The NET translator’s Notes explain “As a geographical region Arabia included the territory west of Mesopotamia, east and south of Syria and Palestine, extending to the isthmus of Suez. During the Roman occupation, some independent kingdoms arose like that of the Nabateans south of Damascus, and these could be called simply Arabia. In light of the proximity to Damascus, this may well be the territory Paul says he visited here.”]

Interaction

Consider

Why the relative ease with which believers may be lured into a faulty gospel by a clever orator?

Discuss

Can an individual believer, or a body of believers, best defend themselves against false teaching through the knowledge of the Word?

Reflect

The anger of the Lord God at false teachers must have been great to cause Him to instruct Paul to identify them as worthy of condemnation to hell.

Share

When have you observed an effort made by a clever speaker to “preach another gospel”? How was a fellowship, or an individual, either led astray or able to stand on truth and overcome the deception?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you, from among the sources you trust for Biblical counsel and teaching, any that are providing deliberately-false and/or carelessly-faulty content.

Action:

Today I will Biblically-challenge anyone who is deliberately distorting the gospel and if they prove unteachable when shown their error, I will make their error known to others and I will flee their influence.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Monday (Galatians 2)

Confirmation from the Jerusalem Apostles

2:1 Then after fourteen years I went up to Jerusalem again with Barnabas, taking Titus along too. 2:2 I went there because of a revelation and presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did so only in a private meeting with the influential people, to make sure that I was not running—or had not run—in vain. 2:3 Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, although he was a Greek. 2:4 Now this matter arose because of the false brothers with false pretenses who slipped in unnoticed to spy on our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, to make us slaves. 2:5 But we did not surrender to them even for a moment, in order that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.

2:6 But from those who were influential (whatever they were makes no difference to me; God shows no favoritism between people)—those influential leaders added nothing to my message. 2:7 On the contrary, when they saw that I was entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised just as Peter was to the circumcised 2:8 (for he who empowered Peter for his apostleship to the circumcised also empowered me for my apostleship to the Gentiles) 2:9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who had a reputation as pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we would go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 2:10 They requested only that we remember the poor, the very thing I also was eager to do.

Paul Rebukes Peter

2:11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he had clearly done wrong.

2:12 Until certain people came from James, he had been eating with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he stopped doing this and separated himself because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision. 2:13 And the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray with them by their hypocrisy.

2:14 But when I saw that they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “If you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you try to force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

Jews and Gentiles are Justified by Faith

2:15 We are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, 2:16 yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

2:17 But if while seeking to be justified in Christ we ourselves have also been found to be sinners, is Christ then one who encourages sin? Absolutely not!

2:18 But if I build up again those things I once destroyed, I demonstrate that I am one who breaks God’s law.

2:19 For through the law I died to the law so that I may live to God.

2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

2:21 I do not set aside God’s grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing!

Prayer

Lord, You came in the form of the humankind—which You created and who rebelled against You in the Garden—in order to provide a way to reconciliation and restoration. May I remember that Your grace is offered to everyone who will repent and surrender, without regard to age, gender, national origin, race, or social status.

Summary & Commentary

Paul reported that after fourteen years of ministry he traveled to Jerusalem to deal with a threat from the “Judaisers” who were attempting to impose pre-Christian Jewish rituals upon Christians.

He observed that once the leaders there understood that he had been called to the non-Jews by the very same God Who had called Peter to the Jews they became supportive.

Paul later found it necessary to rebuke Peter in front of the other leaders for drifting into the camp of the Judaisers out of fear and the influence of James.

Paul instructed them all that one is justified in Christ alone, to add anything whatsoever to that is to question the faithfulness of Christ and makes one guilty again before the law.

Paul wrote “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside God’s grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing!”

Interaction

Consider

Peter suffered a chronic weakness, the fear of fellow man, which caused him to make bad choices as a leader. This was in contrast to the consistent strength of Paul who was steadfast in obedience to Christ no matter the cost.

Discuss

What are some attitudes, habits, and traditions in your fellowship that distract members from focus on Christ, or even worse, that directly contradict Biblical teaching? Who is promoting them and why are the leaders not intervening effectively?

Reflect

What do Paul's words "I have been crucified with Christ …" mean to you?

Share

When have you had the experience that your growth in Christ was blocked or slowed by non-Biblical attitudes, habits, and/or traditions in a family or fellowship? Once you were set free from those distractions how did the Holy Spirit bless you with growth?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to your a place where you are distracted or deceived into wrong thinking due to non-Biblical attitudes, habits, and/or traditions.

Action:

Today I will repent of any part I have had in tolerating those distractions and/or deceptions and if I cannot cause a change I will seek a more Biblically-faithful fellowship.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Tuesday (Galatians 3:1-22)

Justification by Law or by Faith?

3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed as crucified!

3:2 The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard?

3:3 Are you so foolish? Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort? 3:4 Have you suffered so many things for nothing?—if indeed it was for nothing.

3:5 Does God then give you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law or by your believing what you heard?

3:6 Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, 3:7 so then, understand that those who believe are the sons of Abraham.

3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.”

3:9 So then those who believe are blessed along with Abraham the believer.

3:10 For all who rely on doing the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not keep on doing everything written in the book of the law.

3:11 Now it is clear no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous one will live by faith.

3:12 But the law is not based on faith, but the one who does the works of the law will live by them.

3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”) 3:14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles, so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.

Inheritance Comes from Promises and not Law

3:15 Brothers and sisters, I offer an example from everyday life: When a covenant has been ratified, even though it is only a human contract, no one can set it aside or add anything to it.

3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his descendant. Scripture does not say, “and to the descendants,” referring to many, but “and to your descendant,” referring to one, who is Christ.

3:17 What I am saying is this: The law that came four hundred thirty years later does not cancel a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to invalidate the promise. 3:18 For if the inheritance is based on the law, it is no longer based on the promise, but God graciously gave it to Abraham through the promise.

3:19 Why then was the law given? It was added because of transgressions, until the arrival of the descendant to whom the promise had been made. It was administered through angels by an intermediary.

3:20 Now an intermediary is not for one party alone, but God is one.

3:21 Is the law therefore opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.

3:22 But the scripture imprisoned everything and everyone under sin so that the promise could be given—because of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ—to those who believe.

Prayer

Lord, You promised Adam and Eve a redeemer, and you promised the same to Abraham. You gave the law as a step to Your Redeemer, a convicting-tool, as You kept Your promise to Adam and Eve and Abraham.

Summary & Commentary

Paul chastised the Galatians further, challenging them to answer if they had received the Holy Spirit as a result of the law or grace.

He continued his challenge, asking “… you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort?”

Paul reminded them everyone who fails to complete every letter of the law without a single failure is condemned by the law, but Abraham was blessed because he believed, therefore all who believe are co-heirs to the blessing promised the “sons of Abraham”.

He reinforced his point by reminding them that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).

Paul gave them a history lesson, noting that the law came 430 years after God’s promise and did not apply to the One [the promise specified a singular descendant—because He would keep it perfectly as the God-Man] and Who would thereby have the right to claim the promise on behalf of those who would believe, repent, and surrender.

He did note that the purpose of the law was to separate arrogant and rebellious people from any notion that they could earn their salvation nor that they possessed any special standing before the Lord God that could empower them to bypass His unyielding qualifications for entry into Heaven.

[Note: It was for relationship that the Lord God created mankind and while it was a “law” that Adam and Eve violated - the consequence was a breach of relationship due to their failure to “believe” the Lord God over the lies of the Serpent. Therefore, felicity to the law could not be sufficient to restore the broken relationship; only a genuine-belief that includes absolute surrender to the Lordship of Christ is necessary, which is what Jesus provided via the Cross, resurrection and ascension.]

Interaction

Consider

The purpose of the law and the folly of those who, because of fear and tradition, who tried to reinstate it after Jesus had granted them the grace of their salvation. [Could this be what was intended by “Blaspheming the Holy Spirit and/or “another gospel?”]

Discuss

Humankind has a long pattern of attempting to arrogantly declare parity with the Lord God, that was at the heart of the serpent’s deception in the Garden, it was the sin of the builders of the Tower of Babel, it was in the rebellion against Moses by the Israelites, and it was the sin of the religious leaders in Jesus’ time. Setting up “works” to earn salvation was a scheme to pretend to declare himself worthy though mere human effort.

Reflect

The Lord God’s longing has been to restore a right-relationship with His creation. One Lord God, one Redeemer, one path to salvation.

Share

When have you experienced a circumstance where someone in a fellowship attempted to impose a human “law” upon believers saved by grace. What was the result?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to search my attitudes and habits for any evidence that I am living as though my salvation depends upon anything other than belief in and submission to Jesus.

Action:

Today I will ask a fellow believer to pray in agreement with me for complete repentance and to walk with me through reconciliation to a purely Biblical faith walk.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Wednesday (Galatians 3:23—4:7)

Sons of God Are Heirs of Promise

3:23 Now before faith came we were held in custody under the law, being kept as prisoners until the coming faith would be revealed.

3:24 Thus the law had become our guardian until Christ, so that we could be declared righteous by faith.

3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

3:26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith.

3:27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female—for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise.

4:1 Now I mean that the heir, as long as he is a minor, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. 4:2 But he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 4:3 So also we, when we were minors, were enslaved under the basic forces of the world.

4:4 But when the appropriate time had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights.

4:6 And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls “Abba! Father!”

4:7 So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son, then you are also an heir through God.

Prayer

Lord, You provided the 'container' of the Law to show us that we were dependent upon You and how we must live so that we could be in right-relationship with You, but Jesus the Christ came and brought us saving-grace and we are no longer law-keeping works-righteousness people but children of grace who obey in loving gratefulness. May my heart be continually-reminded that everything that has value comes from You and is a gift to me for which my right-choices are my thanks to You.

Summary & Commentary

Paul concluded Chapter 3 with a reiteration of the obliteration of worldly boundaries among believers “There is neither Jew or Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female—for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

In the first seven verses of Chapter 4 Paul used the illustration of a minor child or a slave under the authority of another to describe God-sensitive people prior to their opportunity for salvation—they awaited the Lord God’s determination of the perfect time for Jesus to come.

He then concluded that we become “sons” into whom God sent “the Spirit of his Son into our hearts” so that we became “heirs through God”.

Interaction

Consider

Paul’s teaching that the Lord God watches over those who have hearts sensitive toward Him, hearts that respond to truth.

Discuss

How is your life different from what it was prior to salvation? What it was that the Lord God touched in you to prompt your acceptance of His lordship and your surrender of everything else?

Reflect

God's multiple repetitions through Jesus, Paul, and others of His obliteration of boundaries between Jews and non-Jews, slaves and free men, males and females as applies to His family of believers.

Share

What does it mean to you to be considered a “son” [or “child”] or God?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a specific person who has been considering-Christ and whose heart He has prepared to repent of their sin, reject the things of this world, and to accept the Lordship of Christ.

Action:

Today I will pray earnestly for the one whom the Holy Spirit has identified, they will take the final step to eternity in perfection with God, and if-appropriate that He will allow me to be His instrument in leading them through a clear commitment and some of their early steps of discipleship (baptism, learning, participation).

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Thursday (Galatians 4:8-31)

Heirs of Promise Are Not to Return to Law

4:8 Formerly when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods at all.

4:9 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 basic forces? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?

4:10 You are observing religious days and months and seasons and years. 4:11 I fear for you that my work for you may have been in vain. 4:12 I beg you, brothers and sisters, become like me, because I have become like you. You have done me no wrong!

Personal Appeal of Paul

4:13 But you know it was because of a physical illness that I first proclaimed the gospel to you, 4:14 and though my physical condition put you to the test, you did not despise or reject me. Instead, you welcomed me as though I were an angel of God, as though I were Christ Jesus himself!

4:15 Where then is your sense of happiness now? For I testify about you that if it were possible, you would have pulled out your eyes and given them to me!

4:16 So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?

4:17 They court you eagerly, but for no good purpose; they want to exclude you, so that you would seek them eagerly. 4:18 However, it is good to be sought eagerly for a good purpose at all times, and not only when I am present with you.

4:19 My children—I am again undergoing birth pains until Christ is formed in you! 4:20 I wish I could be with you now and change my tone of voice, because I am perplexed about you.

An Appeal from Allegory

4:21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, do you not understand the law?

4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 4:23 But one, the son by the slave woman, was born by natural descent, while the other, the son by the free woman, was born through the promise.

4:24 These things may be treated as an allegory, for these women represent two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai bearing children for slavery; this is Hagar.

4:25 Now Hagar represents Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.

4:26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 4:27 For it is written:

Rejoice, O barren woman who does not bear children; break forth and shout, you who have no birth pains, because the children of the desolate woman are more numerous than those of the woman who has a husband.”

4:28 But you, brothers and sisters, are children of the promise like Isaac.

4:29 But just as at that time the one born by natural descent persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so it is now.

4:30 But what does the scripture say? “Throw out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the son” of the free woman.

4:31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman but of the free woman.

Prayer

Lord, You have made freedom from the enemy and the Law possible, and You have taught us all about that through Your Gospel. Only the gift of eternal spiritual salvation through Christ can save anyone. May I be faithful to Your Word and never accept anything but Your Gospel.

Summary & Commentary

Paul warned the Galatians to not drift back into the worship of, therefore slavery to, powerless idols.

He reminded them that he had become a child of the Lord God the same as they and appealed to them to not abandon the blessings of faithfulness to God.

Paul reminded them that he arrived with a physical impairment but rather than “despise or reject” him, they instead “welcomed me as though I were an angel of God”. [Verse 4:15b implies a vision problem.]

He noted that those who were trying to “recruit” the believers were doing so “for no good purpose”, that he was “again undergoing birth pains until Christ is formed” in them, and that he was “perplexed about” them.

Paul concluded with an allegory from the two women who bore Abraham children, Hagar the slave woman, and his wife, Sarah.

He asked them to view Hagar as representing those who are enslaved to the world and her naturally-conceived (she was young and fertile) and birthed son representing those who harass believers.

He asked them to view Sarah as representing those whose “son” (or children) was (were) born of a miracle of God (she was elderly and not fertile), as a promise-kept, and as the target of the persecution of the God-resistant natural world.

Interaction

Consider

The temptation for Christians to drift back into old patterns of bad choices and bad thinking is not new.

Discuss

What are some ways that believers may resist the temptation to back slide?

Reflect

Paul’s allegory is a valuable tool to help people to understand the fundamental gap between believers and non-believers.

Share

When have you experienced a situation where someone entered your fellowship and attempted to recruit believers into a non-Biblical doctrine and/or lifestyle. What happened?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a believer who needs to confessed to you, and Him, that they are struggling against the temptation to back slide in some area.

Action:

Today I will commit to pray in agreement with that believer that they will allow the Holy Spirit to be their strength.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Friday (Galatians 5)

Freedom of the Believer

5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery.

5:2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you at all! 5:3 And I testify again to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.

5:4 You who are trying to be declared righteous by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace! 5:5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait expectantly for the hope of righteousness. 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision carries any weight—the only thing that matters is faith working through love.

5:7 You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth?

5:8 This persuasion does not come from the one who calls you!

5:9 A little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise!

5:10 I am confident in the Lord that you will accept no other view. But the one who is confusing you will pay the penalty, whoever he may be.

5:11 Now, brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 5:12 I wish those agitators would go so far as to castrate themselves!

Practice Love

5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, but through love serve one another.

5:14 For the whole law can be summed up in a single commandment, namely, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.”

5:15 However, if you continually bite and devour one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.

5:16 But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

5:17 For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want.

5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

5:19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, 5:21 envying, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!

5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 5:23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

5:24 Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with the Spirit.

5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, being jealous of one another.

Prayer

Lord, You have given so much to us, yet we often look everywhere but You for value. May I be intentional in my daily pursuit of Your approval and to make myself a useful instrument of Your ministry in this lost ad dying world.

Summary & Commentary

“For freedom Christ has set us free.” In a phrase Paul defined his plea to the Galatians. He then warned those who choose the legalistic path of the Judaisers that their choice created an obligation on their part to keep the whole law and to live apart from the blessings of Christ.

Paul challenged them to recognize that those who had been trying to lead them away from the freedom of grace and back to the slavery of the law were agitators and were not sent from God.

He was so angry that he declared that those calling for the legalistic requirement of circumcision for new believers, especially applied to Gentiles, should castrate themselves [Paul was being sarcastic, since castration would have been a physiological amplification of circumcision, therefore should be what they should do as a works-righteousness gesture].

Paul calls upon the Galatians to turn instead toward loving one another and reminded them “... to live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.”

[Note: The Bible elsewhere states that it is impossible for one to have the Holy Spirit and to not show “the fruit of the Spirit.”]

He declared that “... the works of the flesh are obvious”

  • sexual immorality
  • impurity
  • depravity
  • idolatry
  • sorcery
  • hostilities
  • strife
  • jealousy
  • outbursts of anger
  • selfish rivalries
  • dissensions
  • factions
  • envying
  • murder
  • drunkenness
  • carousing
  • and similar things

He reminded them that such unrepentant sinfulness defined them prior to salvation and that those who continued to be so defined were obviously not saved and “... will not inherit the kingdom of God!”

Paul then listed for them to corollary, those things that were evidence of the truly-saved person, one in whom the Holy Spirit indwelt:

“... the fruit of the Spirit is …

  • “love”
  • “joy”
  • peace”
  • “patience”
  • “kindness”
  • “goodness”
  • “faithfulness”
  • “gentleness”
  • “self-control”

He concluded with a warning against believers becoming “... conceited, provoking one another, being jealous of one another.”

Interaction

Consider

Compare and contrast, the list of “the works of the flesh” and “the fruit of the Spirit”.

Discuss

What is the power that “living in love” gives to believers to resist the efforts of evil-doers to lead astray?

Reflect

Why is there a problem within, or between, fellowships with believers becoming “... conceited, provoking one another, being jealous of one another”?

Share

When have you experienced “the works of the flesh” causing you to struggle? How has the Holy Spirit led you instead to be a vessel of positive “fruit”?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to identify an item from "the works of the flesh" list which defines some part of your life.

Action:

Today I will ask a fellow believer to pray in agreement with me as I partner with the Holy Spirit to purge “the works of the flesh” from my life.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Saturday (Galatians 6)

Support One Another

6:1 Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness. Pay close attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too.

6:2 Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

6:3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

6:4 Let each one examine his own work. Then he can take pride in himself and not compare himself with someone else. 6:5 For each one will carry his own load.

6:6 Now the one who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with the one who teaches it.

6:7 Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows, 6:8 because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 6:9 So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up.

6:10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.

Final Instructions and Benediction

6:11 See what big letters I make as I write to you with my own hand!

6:12 Those who want to make a good showing in external matters are trying to force you to be circumcised. They do so only to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.

6:13 For those who are circumcised do not obey the law themselves, but they want you to be circumcised so that they can boast about your flesh.

6:14 But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

6:15 For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that matters is a new creation! 6:16 And all who will behave in accordance with this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on the Israel of God.

6:17 From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.

6:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.

Prayer

Lord, You call us into a believing community for accountability, discipleship, encouragement, and support—it is in our best interest in this world and for our right-relationship with You. May I invest in building a healthy community-relationship with fellow Biblical-Christians.

Summary & Commentary

Paul provided the Galatians with a Biblical philosophy to manage those “... discovered in some sin”, he provided a checklist:

  • you who are spiritual
  • Restore such a person
  • in a spirit of gentleness
  • Pay close attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too.
  • Carry one another’s burdens
  • If you think that you are something when you are nothing you are deceived
  • Examine your own work and take pride in yourself
  • Do not compare yourself with someone else
  • Each one carry his own load

Paul instructed them to “... share all good things” with the one who teaches [accurately] the Word of God.

He warned them that one who “... sows to his own flesh” is either selfish, or pretends to be a trustworthy teacher but who is more interested in money and prestige, therefore will be seen to only “... reap from the flesh”.

Paul contrasted that with one who “... sows to the Spirit receives eternal life”, then encouraged to not “grow weary” and to not “give up” doing good [as defined by the Bible, not man]

He included an odd parenthetical, not unique for Paul, where he observed that his handwriting forms “big letters”. He has made reference elsewhere to others writing for him. [Note: One may speculate that this comment may either underline the prior inference of poor vision or suggest another ailment as a result of beatings, illnesses, or age. There is nothing in the text that supports any hidden spiritual meaning.]

Paul returned to his warning against the Judaisers, noting that they demand circumcision for new believers so that they may brag about them [as a salesman brags of new sales] but that while these men are circumsized they fail to live according to the law [so how important could the law be to them after all.

Paul also observed a second motive, fear of persecution from the majority Judaisers.

Paul proclaimed again that circumcision or uncircumcision is nothing, that all that matters if the “new creation”.

He concluded his letter instructing them “no one cause me trouble, for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body”, and a prayer:

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. “Amen.”

Interaction

Consider

No matter how Consider Paul's additional signposts for a false teacher; they are focused on money and prestige and their fruit is found in the flesh.

Discuss

What are some practical implementations of Paul’s checklist for dealing with a brother or sister in sin? What is the difference between the instruction to “6:2 Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” and “6:5 For each one will carry his own load.”?

Reflect

What does Paul’s admonition that we “not grown weary in doing good” mean to a Biblical Christian?

Share

When have you observed an example of a leader within a fellowship who was more concerned about numeric growth than spiritual growth, personal profit or prestige, and/or pleasing men to avoid criticism or other threats. What was the result?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to identify an area where You are feeling weary in need prayer and words of encouragement and someone whom He has prepared to walk alongside you for a time.

Action:

Today I will humbly allow a fellow believer to pray for and to encourage me from the Word and I will later share with them how it made a real difference.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated—http://bible.org

Note 1: These Studies often rely upon the guidance of the NET Translators from their associated notes. Careful attention has been given to cite that source where it has been quoted directly or closely paraphrased. Feedback is encouraged where credit has not been sufficiently assigned.

Note 2: When NET text is quoted in commentary and discussion all pronouns referring to God are capitalized, though they are lower-case in the original NET text.

Commentary text is from David M. Colburn, D.Min. unless otherwise noted.

Copyright © 2011 by David M. Colburn. This is a BibleSeven Study—Section 2 of the series, “Acts”—prepared by David M. Colburn and edited for bible.org in October of 2011. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.