Unit 24: Day 3

Galatians

“Unit 24, Day 3: Galatians,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)


Introduction

The Apostle Paul rebuked the Galatian Saints for following after false teachings, and he rebuked the false teachers who were leading them astray. He also taught that just as Abraham became an heir of God, the Galatian Saints could become heirs of God by having faith in and following Jesus Christ rather than by obeying the ritual requirements of the law of Moses.

Galatians 1–2

Paul rebukes the Saints for following false teachers and encourages them to return to the gospel

Imagine that one of your siblings or friends told you that he or she is no longer sure that the teachings of the Church are true. As a result, this person has stopped attending Church and is no longer living the gospel.

  1. journal iconWrite in your scripture study journal what you would say to your sibling or friend to help him or her return to believing in the Church’s teachings.

As you study Galatians 1 and learn why the Saints in Galatia were falling away from the true gospel, look for a truth that can help your sibling or friend regain his or her faith.

Galatia was a region in north-central Asia Minor that included many cities the Apostle Paul visited during his second and third missionary journeys (see Acts 16:6; 18:23; see also Bible Maps, no. 13, “The Missionary Journeys of the Apostle Paul”). Read Galatians 1:6–7, looking for a problem that existed among the Church members in Galatia.

Those who were troubling the Galatian Saints and corrupting gospel teachings were raising doubts (see Galatians 1:7, footnote a) about Paul’s teachings that salvation comes only through Jesus Christ. These false teachers were Jewish Christians known as Judaizers. They claimed that the Galatians Saints needed to be circumcised and observe the rituals of the law of Moses in order to be saved.

Read Galatians 1:8–9, looking for what Paul said about those who preached a different gospel than the one he preached as an Apostle of the Lord.

Read Galatians 1:10–12, looking for the source of Paul’s teachings. You may want to mark or note in your scriptures what you find.

From Paul’s teachings we learn that Jesus Christ reveals true doctrine to His prophets.

  1. journal iconAnswer two or all of the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. How can remembering that God is the source of true doctrine help us when we have questions about the prophets’ teachings?

    2. What can we do to receive revelation from God so that we can know for ourselves that the prophets’ teachings are true?

    3. How could this truth help someone who is struggling with believing the prophets’ teachings?

As recorded in Galatians 1:13–2:21, Paul told the Saints about his conversion and first missionary journeys. He also explained why gentile Christians did not need to rely on the tradition that salvation was in the law of Moses, but rather it is through faith in Jesus Christ that we are forgiven (or justified). Paul testified that he lived “by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Galatians 3–4

Paul invites the Galatians to obtain all of the blessings promised to Abraham through Jesus Christ

Why might the following individuals feel at a disadvantage in receiving all of the Lord’s blessings, compared to others in the Church who knew of and were faithful to the gospel from an early age?

  • A young man grew up in a less-active family and was not taught the gospel when he was young. His family is now returning to activity in the Church and is beginning to learn and live the gospel.

  • A woman ridiculed and criticized the Church for many years. She recently experienced a change of heart and was baptized.

As you study Galatians 3–4, look for a truth that can help you understand what blessings are available to everyone, regardless of his or her circumstances or previous choices.

Because many of the Galatian Saints were gentile converts to Christianity, they were not literal descendants of Abraham, to whom all of the blessings of God were promised.

Read Galatians 3:7–9, looking for what Paul taught about those who “are of faith” (Galatians 3:7), or who believe in Jesus Christ.

According to verse 8, what did the Lord promise Abraham?

According to verse 9, what will happen to those who have faith in Jesus Christ?

Abraham on the Plains of Mamre

To be “blessed with faithful Abraham” (Galatians 3:9) refers to being able to receive the blessings of the covenant God made with Abraham that through him all people could enjoy the blessings of the higher priesthood, celestial marriage, and exaltation (see Guide to the Scriptures, “Abrahamic Covenant,” scriptures.lds.org).

We read in Galatians 3:10–25 that the law of Moses was never intended to be the means whereby people could be “justified” (Galatians 3:11), meaning they were pardoned from sin and pronounced innocent. It was intended to be a guide or “schoolmaster” (Galatians 3:24) to help the Israelites come unto Jesus Christ and be justified by their faith in Him. Note that to be justified means “to be pardoned from punishment for sin and declared guiltless” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Justification, Justify,” scriptures.lds.org).

Complete the following chart by reading the scripture passages and answering the questions:

Galatians 3:26–27. What do we need to do to receive the blessings promised to Abraham?

Galatians 3:28–29; 4:7. No matter who or what we were before, what do we become when we enter the gospel covenant through baptism?

   

From Galatians 3:26–29; 4:7 we learn that all those who exercise faith in Jesus Christ and enter the gospel covenant will become one in Christ and heirs of God.

Why is it important to know that God promises these blessings to everyone who enters the covenant, regardless of his or her circumstances or previous choices?

We read in Galatians 4:8–31 that Paul invited the Galatian Saints to return to Jesus Christ and to escape the bondage that comes from attempting to keep the many traditions of the law of Moses.

Galatians 5–6

Paul encourages the Galatian Saints to restore their faith in Jesus Christ

What are some of the most difficult temptations you face? How can you overcome these temptations?

As you study Galatians 5–6, look for principles that can help you overcome temptations.

Read Galatians 5:16–17, looking for two competing forces Paul described.

To “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16) means to live worthy of and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. To “fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16) means to give in to temptations to sin.

Complete the following principle based on what you learn from Galatians 5:16: As we walk in the Spirit, we will overcome .

Consider how walking in the Spirit can help you overcome temptations.

Read Galatians 5:22–23, looking for other results of walking in the Spirit. (Note that Galatians 5:22–23 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark it in a distinctive way so you can locate it in the future.)

scripture mastery iconScripture Mastery—Galatians 5:22–23

drawing, tree with fruit
  1. journal iconTo help you memorize Galatians 5:22–23, in your scripture study journal draw a tree that has nine pieces of fruit—three rows with three pieces of fruit each. Above the tree, write But the fruit of the Spirit is … Below the tree, write against such there is no law. Starting with the top row of fruit, write the first letter of each fruit Paul listed. Practice reciting the scripture mastery by looking at this image and referring to the scripture passage as needed. Continue reciting it until you can repeat the scripture mastery without looking at the picture or your scriptures. Recite the scripture to a member of your family or seminary class.

  2. journal iconAnswer the following question in your scripture study journal: How could acquiring these gifts increase your ability to help people?

Read Galatians 6:1–2, looking for what the Apostle Paul taught about how members of the Church should respond to someone who has sinned. To be “overtaken in a fault” (Galatians 6:1) means to sin.

Why is it important to have “the spirit of meekness” (Galatians 6:1) as we try to help someone return to the gospel path?

As recorded in Galatians 6:3–5, Paul taught that we should not be arrogant and self-righteous and that every person will “bear his [or her] own burden” (Galatians 6:5), or be accountable for his or her choices.

What will grow when you plant each of the following kinds of seeds? Write your guesses in the corresponding blank spaces. (The answers are at the end of this lesson.)

a.

sunflower seeds

b.

pumpkin seeds

c.

beans

Paul used the idea of seeds to teach spiritual truths. Read Galatians 6:7–8, looking for what Paul taught about what we can expect when we sow, or plant, seeds. Paul’s teachings in these verses are often called the law of the harvest.

Read Galatians 6:9–10, looking for why Paul taught the law of the harvest after he invited the Galatians to help each other stay on or return to the gospel path.

From these verses we learn that if we are diligent in well doing, we will reap the blessings of our actions.

  1. journal iconRespond to at least two of the following assignments in your scripture study journal:

    1. How can the promise that we will reap “in due season” help us to not “faint” (Galatians 6:9), or give up in our efforts to serve others and to live the gospel in our own lives?

    2. When have you or someone you know been diligent in well doing even though the blessings did not come immediately?

    3. Prayerfully consider who you can help return to the gospel path. As you consider this person, write a goal about how you will be diligent in well doing as you seek to help him or her, even though you might not see immediate results from your efforts.

As recorded in Galatians 6:11–18, Paul concluded his epistle to the Galatian Saints by testifying that the peace and mercy of Jesus Christ are upon all those who become new creatures through faith on His name.

  1. journal iconWrite the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Galatians 1–6 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: