Galatians 3–6

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 195–97


Introduction

The lessons we learn in elementary school prepare us to understand the greater truths of an advanced education. While these lessons are useful, serious students are not satisfied to remain at the basic level. Paul likened the law of Moses to a schoolmaster who prepared Israel to come to Christ and the higher gospel law. As you read Galatians 3–6, look for the superior blessings of the gospel law.

Prayerfully study Galatians 3–6and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 310–13.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Galatians 3–6.

New Testament Video presentation 17, “The Law of the Harvest” (3:24), can be used in teaching Galatians 6(see New Testament Video Guide for teaching suggestions).

Galatians 3:17–25. The law of Moses was given to prepare Israel for Christ.

(30–35 minutes)
bike with training wheels

Bring a bicycle with training wheels to class or draw a picture of one on the board. Prepare two posters, one with the words Law of Moses and the other with Gospel of Jesus Christ. Explain to students that many children learn to ride a bicycle with the use of additional, temporary wheels called training wheels. Ask:

  • Why would these wheels be helpful when learning to ride a bicycle?

  • How long would you leave them on the bicycle?

  • How would removing the training wheels change your bicycling ability?

Have students read Moses 5:58–59and Galatians 3:8looking for how long the gospel has been on the earth. Have them read Mosiah 3:14and Galatians 3:19looking for why the children of Israel were given the law of Moses instead of the higher gospel law. Explain that the Apostle Paul wanted the Galatian Saints to understand that the blessings of the gospel are superior to what the law of Moses offered.

Write the following chart on the board, leaving the “Yes/No” column blank (except for the heading). Ask students to read each verse and decide if the statement reflects what the verse teaches. Write the answer in the “Yes/No” column.

Verse

Statement

Yes/No

Galatians 3:19

The law of Moses was given to a righteous people.

(No)

Galatians 3:19

The law of Moses was intended to last forever.

(No)

JST, Galatians 3:20

Abraham knew that Jesus Christ would come.

(Yes)

Galatians 3:21

The law of Moses removed the need for the promised Savior.

(No)

Galatians 3:22

Everyone sins; everyone needs Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

(Yes)

Galatians 3:23

The law of Moses, by itself, limited spiritual growth.

(Yes)

Have students read Galatians 3:24–25and the definition of schoolmaster in footnote 24b. Discuss Paul’s analogy, using questions like the following:

  • What is the schoolmaster in this analogy? (The law of Moses.)

  • Who are the students? (The house of Israel.)

  • What sorts of burdens do schoolmasters place on students? (Tests, homework.)

  • How could those burdens be compared to the law of Moses? (The law included dietary restrictions; ceremonial, sacrificial, and ritual requirements; and so on.)

  • How long do students need a schoolmaster?

  • How is that like the law of Moses? (When the Savior came, He fulfilled the law and replaced portions with the higher gospel law.)

Have students turn their attention back to the bicycle with training wheels. Show them the two posters and ask them to identify which part of the bike best represents the law of Moses (training wheels) and which best represents the gospel of Jesus Christ (the bicycle without the training wheels).

Emphasize that the law of Moses was a good law. It was given by the Savior (see 3 Nephi 15:5). As far as the law of Moses was understood and obeyed, it prepared the people for the Savior’s coming (see 2 Nephi 25:24–25). Read Mosiah 13:32and ask: What did the Jews fail to understand and learn from the law? (Redemption comes through Jesus Christ.)

Discuss how we might make the same error as the ancient Jews if we fail to see the importance of Jesus Christ in our lives. Read Jacob 7:10–11; Mosiah 13:33and ask: According to these verses, how can we learn about Jesus Christ? Encourage students to continue to follow the Savior by searching the scriptures and heeding the words of the modern prophets.

Galatians 5:16–25. Living in tune with the Holy Ghost brings the fruits of the Spirit into our lives.

(10–15 minutes)
trees

Display two different fruits that grow on trees. Ask students what trees they come from. Draw on the board the trees from the accompanying illustration, but do not label the fruit or the trees. Read Galatians 5:19–23. Ask two students to come to the board. Have a student label the first tree with the fruits listed in verses 19–21. Have the other student label the second tree with the fruits from verses 22–23. While the two students are labeling the fruit, give two other students dictionaries and ask them to look up any difficult words from the board. Discuss these fruits as a class, calling on the students with the dictionaries as needed.

Ask:

  • What should each tree be labeled? (Works of the Flesh and Fruits of the Spirit.)

  • Why do so many people choose works of the flesh when these works can do them so much harm?

  • Read Galatians 5:16. How can we enjoy the fruits of the Spirit and shun the works of the flesh?

Emphasize that the promptings of the Holy Ghost direct us to do those things that bring the fruits of the Spirit into our lives. Read Galatians 5:25and ask students what it means. President Joseph Fielding Smith, who was then President of the Quorum of the Twelve, gave further insight when he said:

“There is nothing more important in the lives of members of the Church than to have the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 2:114).

Testify that as baptized members we have the gift of the Holy Ghost. By keeping our baptismal covenants, we can reject the works of the flesh and become worthy of the Spirit. This will bring the joy of the fruits of the Holy Ghost into our lives.

Galatians 6:7–10. The law of the harvest applies to all that we do.

(15–20 minutes)

Write planting and harvesting on the board and have students explain these two basic steps of gardening. You may want to show students some seeds they are familiar with and ask them to identify which plant would grow from each seed. Ask: How likely is it, if we plant one kind of seed, that a different kind of plant will grow? Why?

Divide the class into four groups. Write each verse of Galatians 6:7–10on its own piece of paper and give one to each group. Invite each group to compose a sentence that summarizes their verse. Then have one person from each group write their sentence on the board, leaving out key words. As a class, read Galatians 6:7–10and fill in the missing words.

Read Galatians 6:7, and then discuss the law of the harvest and how it applies to life. (The law of the harvest is that we reap what we sow.) Have students read verse 8, and ask: What do you think it means to sow to the flesh and to sow to the Spirit? Invite students to share blessings they have harvested by sowing to the Spirit. These might include experiences reading scriptures, giving service, fasting, or showing patience.

In life we sometimes observe situations that appear to be exceptions to the law of the harvest. Have students read Galatians 6:9and 3 Nephi 27:11, and then discuss how the phrases “in due season“ and “for a season” reveal that there are no exceptions to this law. Even though the law may seem to be delayed, it will be fulfilled according to the Lord’s timetable. Give your students the following case studies and have them discuss how the law applies in each situation:

  • Clark pays a full tithe and never seems to get ahead financially. Tom has the same salary as Clark but does not pay tithing. He has significantly more material possessions.

  • Jill is honest, studies diligently, and gets average grades in high school. Diane cheats in her classes and gets top grades. Because of her grades Diane has received a scholarship to college.

Share the following statement by Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“The wicked may prosper for a time, the rebellious may seem to profit by their transgressions, but the time is coming when, at the bar of justice, all men will be judged, ‘every man according to their works.’ (Rev. 20:13.) No one will ‘get by’ with anything. On that day no one will escape the penalty of his deeds, no one will fail to receive the blessings he has earned. … There will be total justice. (See Matt. 25:31–46.)” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, 305).