Galatians 3 Reading Guide
v1-9 - In the first two chapters, Paul cements his credentials as an apostle who has God given authority over the church. Today, he gets to the point of this letter without mincing any words. He begins by calling them mindless (translated 'foolish' in the NIV), because they're not thinking. Christianity is not a religion of rote ceremonies and rituals, or even just warm fuzzy feelings. Christianity is a declaration that you've been made right with God because of the blood of Christ, and the only requirement is that you apply that knowledge to every aspect of life. In other words, Paul is pleading with the Galatians (and you) to think clearly. Here's a synopsis of this passage:
You received the Spirit
by believing what you heard,
not by performing religious rituals.
Since the Spirit has begun this work in you,
don't try and finish it yourself;
in other words, don't bend Christianity into something it isn't.
After all, Abraham
simply believed God
and this belief was credited to him as righteousness.
v10-14 - Remember, the key issue in this letter is that the Galatians had been influenced by Jewish Christians that although it was grace that brought them into salvation, it was religious works (circumcision, washing rituals, observing religious feasts, etc.) that kept them in their salvation. Paul writes this letter to remind us that we are saved by faith alone, and that we persevere in our salvation by faith alone.
v15-25 - This passage explains that the law was a good thing. Understand that in this context, the 'law' is more than just God's commandments, but that it refers to all of the Jewish religious ceremonies and requirements found in the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch). Paul calls the law a 'guardian' which preserved God's people until Christ came (v24). "The Law was humanity’s paidagōgos (“pedagogue”). A paidagōgos was a household slave who guarded a wealthy boy on his way to and from school, making sure the boy didn’t get into trouble. Paul argues that the law functioned in a similar capacity before the coming of Christ: it kept humanity in line, protecting us (from ourselves, perhaps) until Christ would come and enable our justification." (Lexham Context Commentary)
v26-29 - This final passage shows how central the concept of being in Christ is to Paul's theology:
In Christ you are children of God through faith (v26).
You are baptized into Christ, and are now clothed with Christ (v27).
All people from all places are made one in Christ (v28).
Since you are in Christ, you belong to Abraham's seed and are heirs of God (v29).
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Although we've gone back to Genesis 15 already this year, read it once again today since it is the foundation of your salvation in so many ways. Concentrate on v6, remembering that the one thing you need more than anything else is perfect righteousness.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Near the end of this chapter, Paul tells the Galatian Christians that they are “all one in Christ Jesus.” He also gives three pairs of examples of the kind of human divisions that are overcome by unity in Christ. The first pair is “Jew and Greek.” What were the other two pairs of examples?
Suppose you were discussing the gospel with a non-Christian friend, and he said to you, “What does the death of Jesus really have to do with it? Can’t God save people without having to kill someone on a cross?” In your response, how could you use what Paul teaches in this chapter?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is the God of Abraham, the God of the promise (v18), and your God (v26). God is one (v20).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Believe in Him and He will credit you righteousness (Genesis 15:6, Galatians 3:6).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
MONDAY: First, let everyone carefully consider their sins and ungodliness, that they may hate their sins and humble themselves before God, considering that the wrath of God against sin is so great that He, rather than leaving it unpunished, has punished it in his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, with the bitter and shameful death of the cross.