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Inductive Bible Study: Discussion of Galatians 3

March 8, 2010

I haven’t been sure of the best method for conducting this online Bible study and recently got some ideas from Todd Wood’s blog for a better format for the questions. So I will try that here.  If you missed our discussion of chapter 1 and chapter 2 don’t worry, feel free to jump in.

Observations:

1. Circle or underline all the uses of the words law, faith, and Spirit. How many times are each of these words used in this chapter?

2. In verses 2-5 we see “the works of the law” contrasted with “the hearing of faith.” How is a Christian sanctified (“made perfect”) according to v. 3?

3. In verses 6-9 what was the gospel that was preached to Abraham?

4. In verses 10-13 what has Christ redeemed the Christian from?

Interpretation:

1.  In verses 19-25 what was the purpose for the law? Why was it given? (compare with Ps. 19:7, Rom. 3:19-20, Rom. 7:7, and I Tim. 1:9).

2.  Does Paul’s use of the word “law” include the ten commandments?  (compare with Rom. 2:21-23, 7:7, and 2 Cor. 3:6-18).

Application:

1.  What does it mean to you personally that Christ took the curse of the law for you? (v. 10-14)

2.  What does it mean to you personally that a Christian is sanctified (“made perfect”) by faith and not by the works of the law? (v. 2-5, 10-12)

3. How should you live in light of so great and gracious a salvation?

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. shematwater permalink
    March 8, 2010 5:21 pm

    Personally, I prefered the old method. It was set up to allow actual interpretation of the words. These new questions seem more geared to getting a particular interpretation more than what people see.

    However, I will read the chapter and post again, for I do enjoy these threads.

  2. shematwater permalink
    March 8, 2010 5:41 pm

    O1. LAW – 15; Faith – 15; Spirit – 4

    O2. From the wording it would seem that it is through the Spirit, which worketh through faith.

    O3. It does not specify, and so I would assume it is the same Gospel that Paul is teaching, and that Christ taught.

    O4. The Curse of the Law, but this seems to be a vague title given to a much broader concept.

    I1. The law was added to the Gospel to prepare Israel for the coming of Christ, to set them up for belief in the Son of God (a schoolmaster who leads us to the teacher).

    I2. I do not think it does. We read in verse 17 that the law came 430 years after the Gospel was preached to Abraham. We also read in verse 19 that the law was added because of transgression. Taking these two peaces of information we can see that it was added at the Time of Moses, after the Israelites ahd transgressed. Thus, it would most logically be after they turned to idolitry on Mt. Sinai and Moses broke the first tablets of stones, which contained the Ten Commandments. As such, while they were still given later, they were part of the gospel before the “Law” was added. This also tells us that the “law” as used in this chapter is a reference to the “Law of Moses” and not the general commands of God, which he has given from the time of Adam (like death to murderers in Genesis 9: 6).

    A1. He took the penalty of sin, as well as the pain of death, on himself if I continue in faith.

    A2. That the Law of Moses was an imperfect law which could not bring a man to perfection. However, through Faith in Christ we can rise above the Law of Moses to a higher law in which we can be made perfect (litterally, being equal to Christ and God in perfection).

  3. March 9, 2010 11:16 pm

    Observations:

    1. Circle or underline all the uses of the words law, faith, and Spirit. How many times are each of these words used in this chapter?
    law–15; faith–15; spirit 4

    2. In verses 2-5 we see “the works of the law” contrasted with “the hearing of faith.” How is a Christian sanctified (“made perfect”) according to v. 3?
    By the Spirit. Paul is making the point that their justification and sanctification are both by faith.

    3. In verses 6-9 what was the gospel that was preached to Abraham?
    Justification by faith. God made Abraham righteous based upon Abraham’s belief (v. 6)

    4. In verses 10-13 what has Christ redeemed the Christian from?
    He has redeemed us from the curse of the law. No one was able to keep the law and the penalty for sin is death (Rom. 6:23)

    Interpretation:

    1. In verses 19-25 what was the purpose for the law? Why was it given? (compare with Ps. 19:7, Rom. 3:19-20, Rom. 7:7, and I Tim. 1:9).
    I think that this is the climax of the book. The law was given to show that mankind could never reach the standard of God’s righteousness. Like a schoolmaster instructs children, the law taught us that we were unable to achieve righteousness through works. There had to be a different way. We can come to Christ as broken people who have been unable to achieve our own justification. We receive justification by faith and can step away from the burden of the law.

    2. Does Paul’s use of the word “law” include the ten commandments? (compare with Rom. 2:21-23, 7:7, and 2 Cor. 3:6-18).
    Yes. Paul’s use of “law” in Romans and II Cor. indicates that he absolutely meant the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments include stealing, adultery, idolatry, and covetousness–all referenced by Paul as “the law.”

    Application:

    1. What does it mean to you personally that Christ took the curse of the law for you? (v. 10-14)
    It means that I no longer have to strive to fulfill the law. God has provided a way to be justified through faith in Christ and apart from the works of the law.

    2. What does it mean to you personally that a Christian is sanctified (“made perfect”) by faith and not by the works of the law? (v. 2-5, 10-12)
    I think some people view the Christian life as a series of tasks that must be accomplished. But the Christian life is so much more than this–it is a relationship with God. He works in our lives, changing us and molding us. We don’t achieve sanctification through works just like we don’t achieve justification by works. It is through faith that we can become more and more like Christ.

    3. How should you live in light of so great and gracious a salvation?
    Rejoicing and thankful! Praise God that He took the penalty for sin and made a way for us to live together forever with Him.

  4. March 9, 2010 11:17 pm

    By the way, Jessie, I noticed that you didn’t provide us with brownies or cookies at this Bible study. Do you think that we are on a diet? Where’s the food?

  5. shematwater permalink
    March 10, 2010 3:49 pm

    After reading the references to Romans and II Corinthians, I still say that Paul is not including the Ten Commandments in his reference to the “Law” here in Galatians. This is for a simple reason. In Romans and Corinthians I do not think he is refering to the Law of Moses, but he is very clearly refering to the Law of Moses in Galatians.

    In Romans and II Corinthians I think he is refering to the High Law, or Gospel of Christ, which the Law of Moses was Added to after the 430 years because of Transgression. For this I would refer you back to Romans 2: 13 in which he says “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” Yet he says in Galatians 3: 11 he says “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” How can this be refering to the same law if we are justified by one but not by the other?

  6. March 10, 2010 8:21 pm

    I am behind, but I will be back.

  7. March 11, 2010 4:05 am

    In Romans and II Corinthians I think he is refering to the High Law, or Gospel of Christ, which the Law of Moses was Added to after the 430 years because of Transgression.

    Shem, do you mind elaborating on this thought a little? I think that you are referring to the LDS concept that the gospel of Christ was known of throughout all the OT dispensations. Is this correct?

    I do want to address the apparent contradiction between Romans 2:13 and Galatians 3:11. The first three chapters of Romans show that the entire world is lost. Paul begins by saying that the pagan world is lost, then he shows how the moral Gentile world is lost and finally he shows that self-righteous Jews are lost. The condition of all mankind without Christ is seen in 3:9-18. The takeaway verse is 3:10 There is none righteous, no, not one. Was Paul offering the Roman Christians a way to be justified that was different than his teaching to the Galatians? No! No one is capable of being a “doer of the law” except for Christ! We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. The substitutionary atonement of Christ was necessary because we are not doers of the law. Look at the concluding words of Romans 3:

    Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law (3:27-28)

    Steph

  8. shematwater permalink
    March 11, 2010 9:26 pm

    Stephanie

    Yes, it is part of the LDS doctrine, but the concept of a higher law is seen, at least to me, in the third chapter of Galatians.

    verse 8 “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.”
    What is this gospel that was preached to Abraham? I believe you asked this same question.

    Verse 17 “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. ”
    What was the Covenant, and what was the Law? We know the Law was added to the Covenant 430 years laters. We read in Exodus 12: 40-41 that the Israelites were in Egypt 430 years. Following the account in Genesis we see the Lord establishing a covenant with Abraham (Gen. 17) and renewing it again with Isaac (Gen. 26: 1-4) and again with Jacob (Gen. 28: 13-14). Jacob went down into Egypt, and 430 years later the Israelites came out with Moses.

    Thus we see that in Galatians 3 Paul is making direct reference to the Law of Moses as being added to the Covenant of Abraham. What was the Covenant? It is what verse 8 calls the Gospel that was preached to Abraham.
    But what exactly is a covenant? Excuse me for this, but I am going to reference Dictionary.com for a diffinition: Under the fifth listing, definition A it says “The conditional promises made to humanity by God, as revealed in Scripture.” Thus, what the Covenant was, or what the Gospel that was revealed to Abraham was, was an agreement that Abraham would receive certain blessings if he was faithful. One of the conditions was that it would be through his lineage that the Gospel (that same law by which he covenanted with God) would be taken to all the families of the world. This was done through the atonement, making it possible for all people to enjoy the blessings of this covenant, if they abided by the conditions, or the Law of this covenant.

    And thus, it is not by the Law of Moses, or as it is sometimes called, “The Law of Carnal Commandments” (see Hebrews 7: 16, and 9: 10) that we are justified. It is in doing those things contained in the higher law (or covenant), walking in faith that we are justified.

    As to your reconciliation of Romans 2:13 and Galatians 3: 11, it doesn’t really work. If there is only one law, and we have to be doers of it to be justified, how can we be justified any other way? If there is then Paul has contradicted himself. Notice also that verse 13 of chapter two is in perrentheses. I think this is important as it indicates that it is not Paul’s main point. He is advocating faith, for without faith we cannot be saved, but he is interjecting a side note so that no one feels inclined to discard the law.

    With Galatians and Romans refering to separate laws all contradictions are erased. We are not saved by the Law of Moses, but by walking in faith to become a doer of the Higher Law. As to the verses you quote at teh end of Romans 3, they are also reconciled. The Just shall live by faith. Notice that it is not in, but by, indicating some work in needed. We must become doers of the law to be justified, but it is through Christ and his atonement that we accomplish this, and so what have we to boast. Regardless of our works we could not make it without the grace of God. But even with the grace of God we cannot make it unless we are doers of the word as well.

  9. shematwater permalink
    March 11, 2010 9:28 pm

    Sorry about the length of my last post.

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