Galatians 4: Purpose of the Law

How does childhood differ from adulthood?

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Matthew 18:3 “I tell you for sure, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
1 Corinthians 3:1–2 When I was with you, my friends, I could not speak to you as spiritually mature adults, but I had to address you as baby Christians, feeding you milk instead of meat. You could not handle what I wanted to tell you, and you’re still not ready,
Galatians 4:1–2 We need to understand that as children, heirs have no more authority than servants, although they are destined to become lords over all. Children sit under teachers and coaches until the day their fathers say they are ready to assume responsibilities.
Hebrews 5:14 As mature adults can chew tough meat, those who have been through a lot have their spiritual senses exercised to distinguish between good and evil.
King James
Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
1 Corinthians 3:1–2 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
Galatians 4:1–2 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

What impact does our culture typically have upon children?

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Galatians 4:3 Likewise, we have been subject to the teachings and expectations of our cultures.
King James
Galatians 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

Prior to Jesus’ birth, what expectations did people have for the promised Messiah?

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Matthew 3:1–3 The word of God came to John the Baptizer in the Judean wilderness. “Repent,” he said, “for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” Long ago, the prophet Isaiah referred to John when he wrote: Listen! Someone is shouting, “Clear a path in the wilderness, for the Lord our God is coming. Fill the valleys and flatten the mountains. Straighten the curves and smooth the rough places.”
Galatians 4:4 But the day finally arrived when God sent his Son Jesus, born of a woman, subject to the Law.
King James
Matthew 3:1–3 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

How could being a part of God’s family bring us out from under the Law?

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Matthew 17:24–27 When Jesus and the disciples arrived in Capernaum, collectors of the Temple tax said to Simon Peter, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?”
“Yes, of course he does.”
When Peter arrived at the house, Jesus spoke to him before he could ask if he had answered correctly. “Tell me what you think. When kings collect taxes, who pays, their sons or strangers?”
“The strangers.”
“Then the sons are exempt. “However, there is no need to offend the tax collectors. Go to the lakeshore and drop a baited hook. As soon as you catch a fish, open its mouth. There you will find a coin. Take it and pay the taxes for both of us.”
John 8:34–36 “I tell you the absolute truth: everyone who sins is a slave to sin. A slave has no rights as part of the family, but a son belongs forever. So if the Son makes you free, you really are free.”
Galatians 4:5 He came to bring us out from under the Law so we might be adopted into his family.
King James
Matthew 17:24–27 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
John 8:34–36 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Galatians 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

How does our relationship with God affect our communication with him?

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Galatians 4:6 Because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, prompting our cry: “God, you are my Father.”
King James
Galatians 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

What is the difference between claiming to be a child of God and actually being his child?

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Luke 3:8 “The way you live proves whether you have left your sins and turned to God. Do not say to one another, ‘We are all right because we are Abraham’s descendants.’ That does not mean anything. God can make these stones into children of Abraham.”
John 8:44 “You come from your father, the devil, and your desires are like his. From the beginning, he was a murderer and opposed the truth, because truth was not in his nature. When he lies, he speaks from his heart, because he is a liar and the father of lies.
Galatians 4:7 Now you are his child and no longer a servant. You an heir of God through Christ.
King James
Luke 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Galatians 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

How does the behavior of a servant compare with what a family member would do in a household?

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Galatians 4:7 Now you are his child and no longer a servant. You an heir of God through Christ.
King James
Galatians 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

If we don’t know God, who or what do we serve?

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Romans 6:16–17 Don’t you know that you are a slave to whatever you obey? Either you serve sin and will die, or you serve God in complete obedience, choosing to do what is, to the best of your knowledge, most pleasing to him. Be thankful to God, accepting the fact that you were at one time a slave to sin, but now you are free, following different desires according to Christ’s teaching that has been made clear to you.
Galatians 4:8 Before you knew God, you were servants to gods that weren’t real.
King James
Romans 6:16–17 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Galatians 4:8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.

In what way might following religious practices be regarded as “bondage”?

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Galatians 4:9 But now that you know God and you’re aware that he knows you, how can you go back to your old religious practices? Surely you don’t want to live under that bondage again.
King James
Galatians 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

What value should we place on holidays and religious festivals?

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Galatians 4:10 You celebrate holidays, the new moon, religious festivals, and other times of the year.
King James
Galatians 4:10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

Why made Paul wonder if his effort in Galatia had been wasted?

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Galatians 4:10–11 You celebrate holidays, the new moon, religious festivals, and other times of the year. I am concerned for you, wondering if my work among you had any value at all.
King James
Galatians 4:10–11 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

What do you think happened to move Galatians away from the experience they had with the Lord while Paul was with them?

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Galatians 4:12 My friends, I beg you to enjoy the freedom I have, for my needs are no different from yours. You did not oppose me before, so hear me now.
King James
Galatians 4:12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.

What might Paul’s affliction have been when he was with the Galatians?

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2 Corinthians 12:7–9 To protect me from thinking too highly of myself in the abundance of revelations, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan sent to keep me humble. I prayed at three different times for the Lord to remove my affliction. But God said no. “My grace is sufficient,” he said. “In your weakness, your dependence upon me makes you strong.” Therefore, I will boast of this affliction if it makes the power of Jesus Christ alive in me.
Galatians 4:13–15 You know how I was suffering when I brought the message of Jesus to you. Instead of despising me because of my affliction, you welcomed me as God’s messenger, as if I were Jesus himself. What happened to the joy you had back then? If it had been possible, I know you would have given your eyes to me, sacrificing your own ability to see.
King James
2 Corinthians 12:7–9 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Galatians 4:13–15 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.

Why do you think Paul’s affliction did not have a negative effect on his ministry?

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2 Corinthians 12:7–9 To protect me from thinking too highly of myself in the abundance of revelations, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan sent to keep me humble. I prayed at three different times for the Lord to remove my affliction. But God said no. “My grace is sufficient,” he said. “In your weakness, your dependence upon me makes you strong.” Therefore, I will boast of this affliction if it makes the power of Jesus Christ alive in me.
Galatians 4:13–15 You know how I was suffering when I brought the message of Jesus to you. Instead of despising me because of my affliction, you welcomed me as God’s messenger, as if I were Jesus himself. What happened to the joy you had back then? If it had been possible, I know you would have given your eyes to me, sacrificing your own ability to see.
King James
2 Corinthians 12:7–9 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Galatians 4:13–15 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.

What made Paul think his writing the truth could make him the enemy of the Galatians?

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Galatians 4:16–17 Have I now become your enemy because I tell you the truth? Those teachers act like they are eager to help you, but don’t be deceived. Actually, they want to cut me off from you so you will support them.
King James
Galatians 4:16–17 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.

People who appear eager to help can be either servants or seducers. How does one tell which one they are?

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John 10:12–13 “When the hired hand sees a wolf coming, he will abandon the sheep, because he is not their shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him. So the wolf will attack and scatter the flock. The man will flee because he works for the money and cares nothing for the sheep.”
1 Corinthians 11:11–14 The truth is, men need women and women need men. Yes, the first woman was created out of the first man, but since then, every man has been born of a woman. Both come under God’s authority. What difference does it make, whether a woman prays with or without a head covering? Does nature teach that long hair is a disgrace for a man? Of course not. Nature lets it grow until it is cut.
Galatians 4:17 Those teachers act like they are eager to help you, but don’t be deceived. Actually, they want to cut me off from you so you will support them.
King James
John 10:12–13 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
1 Corinthians 11:11–14 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
Galatians 4:17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.

It is sometimes said, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” When is that not the case?

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Galatians 4:18 Your concern for my wellbeing was good, but it needs to go beyond the time when I was present with you.
King James
Galatians 4:18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

Why might Paul’s childbirth analogy be an understandable likeness to his care for the Galatians?

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Galatians 4:19 Dear children, I feel like I’m going through labor pains to see you born again in Christ.
King James
Galatians 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

Why do you think Paul thought his attitude toward the Galatians might change if he were with them?

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Galatians 4:20 I wish I could be with you in person. Then I might change my tone, speaking confidently about you rather than doubt.
King James
Galatians 4:20 I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.

If non-Jews became followers of Jesus and were told they needed to follow the Law given by Moses, how extensive would their knowledge of its requirements have been?

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Galatians 4:21 You who want to be under the Law, tell me, do you know what it really says?
King James
Galatians 4:21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?

Why might Paul have used the story of Abraham’s two sons instead of a non-Jewish analogy?

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Galatians 4:22–26 Scripture says Abraham had two sons, one by a slave, the other by a free woman. The son of the slave came as a result of human effort, but the free woman brought the son of promise. This illustrates what we have in the two agreements. The Law given at Mount Sinai takes us to bondage, as with Hagar, who represents what was given at Mount Sinai in the desert and is now coming out of Jerusalem—slaves made of its children. But the free woman represents what is coming out of the heavenly Jerusalem, giving birth to children who are free.
King James
Galatians 4:22–26 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

In what ways can our human effort work against God’s plan?

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Galatians 4:22–26 Scripture says Abraham had two sons, one by a slave, the other by a free woman. The son of the slave came as a result of human effort, but the free woman brought the son of promise. This illustrates what we have in the two agreements. The Law given at Mount Sinai takes us to bondage, as with Hagar, who represents what was given at Mount Sinai in the desert and is now coming out of Jerusalem—slaves made of its children. But the free woman represents what is coming out of the heavenly Jerusalem, giving birth to children who are free.
King James
Galatians 4:22–26 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

How much appreciation would non-Jewish believers have had for Isaiah’s words?

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Galatians 4:27 The prophet Isaiah said, Sing, O barren woman, you who have no children. Break forth in song. You who have never cried from giving birth, cry out in victory. For I will give you more children than the servant wife has.
King James
Galatians 4:27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.

What does it mean to be a “child of promise”?

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Galatians 4:28 Understand, my friends, that we are like Isaac, children of promise.
King James
Galatians 4:28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

Why do you think Christians are persecuted?

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Matthew 5:10–12 “Blessed are the persecuted, those who suffer because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are the hated, those who are rejected, insulted, and falsely accused because of me. In their day of abuse, they will rejoice because their reward in Heaven is great. The ancient prophets were treated the same way.”
Luke 21:12–13 “Before the end, people will arrest you and have you flogged because you follow me. They will deliver you to their synagogues and prisons. You will stand before kings and magistrates, but this will be an opportunity for you to testify about me.”
John 15:20 “Remember what I said before. The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you. If they had listened to me, they would listen to you.”
Galatians 4:29 Just as it was before, so it is now. Those who want you to keep the Law are children born of human effort. They are persecuting the children of freedom, who live in the power of the Holy Spirit.
King James
Matthew 5:10–12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Luke 21:12–13 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
John 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
Galatians 4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

What does freedom from the Law give us freedom to do?

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Galatians 4:30–31 What does Scripture say should be done? Get rid of the slave woman and her son. The child of a slave cannot be an heir with the free woman’s son. You see, my friends, we are children of freedom, not slavery.
King James
Galatians 4:30–31 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.