Galatians 5 Reading Guide
v1-12 - Remember the context of Galatians: they were being persuaded that Old Testament religious rituals such as circumcision were a requirement for Christians. The word 'religion' comes from the Latin word religare, meaning "to bind." In this sense then, Christianity is the un-religion. Christians are the only truly free people in the world: freed from slavery to sin and no longer "burdened again by a yoke of [religious] slavery." In fact, v7 gives the one and only requirement you have as a Christian: "Obey the truth." But truth is a very limited commodity these days, and you need to work hard to find it. These ancient Galatians were being pulled away from the truth by those who insisted that their identity as God's chosen people was marked by external rites such as circumcision. Today Christians are bombarded with propaganda that if they don't display the marks of various social/political movements (both on the left and the right) then they're not really Christians. Don't fall for it. You are obligated to pursue truth. Paul doesn't pull any punches here. In v12 he writes that he wishes those who advocated circumcision would just go all the way and emasculate themselves. Mic. Drop. Moment.
v13-18 - Christian freedom does not mean 'Christian do or be-whatever-you-feel-like-ism.' Again, this passage has reminded us that our primary obligation is obedience to the truth, and v14 indicates that the law (God's truth) is fulfilled in keeping this one command: Love your neighbor as yourself. Your first question will likely be, 'how can I possibly fulfill this truth in every part of my life?' As He so often does, the Holy Spirit anticipates your question and answers it in v16: "walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.'
v19-26 - Notice the often overlooked word that begins the famous Fruit of the Spirit verse: The simple word but (v22). The Fruit is set in contrast to the sinful desires described in v19-21. Your Christian duty is to strip away the untruth in your life, described in these opening verses, and strengthen and develop truth. Notice the 'fruit' are examples of the ultimate truth: the attributes of God. Obedience to truth = looking like God.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Leviticus 19 contains all sorts of truths God's people must abide by, which are summarized in v18 with the familiar words that Jesus quoted: Love your neighbor as yourself.
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: In verse 14, Paul sums up the law in a single command. What is this command?
If this chapter was a good answer to a question that began with the word How … then what would the rest of the question say?
How would you describe the freedom God wants us to have in our lives, as you see it expressed in this letter?
What can keep us from experiencing the freedom in life that this letter talks about?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle, faithful and mighty. He not only is like these attributes, He defines them. He is them (v22).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify sinful desires (v16).
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...
TUESDAY: Second, let everyone examine their heart to see whether they also believe the sure promise of God that all their sins are forgiven...
WEDNESDAY: Third, let everyone carefully examine their own conscience to see if they are fully determined to show true thankfulness to God in every area of life and to walk sincerely before His face, and whether they, with full sincerity, strive to lay aside all enmity, hatred, and envy, and earnestly resolve from this day forward to live with their neighbor in true love and unity.