Getting Started with Galatians 3:1-4:7
Begin with prayer: Ask God to make your heart pure, soft, and undivided. Confess your sins so you can receive his mercy and grace. Humble yourself so you can hear his voice. Release your worries so you can rest in his presence.
First read: Read without pausing, to get an overall sense of the chapter.
Second read: Make a note of any words, phrases, or verses that are personally encouraging, convicting, and/or confusing. It is a good thing to approach Scripture with questions!
This chapter can be tedious! My encouragement is that you wade through the details slowly, soaking up what you can. Read this passage several times. Allow the text to speak for itself, do your best to identify your assumptions — and don’t let them cloud the meaning of the text. At the end of the journey, this passage teaches some of the most important, essential, foundational truths about the life of faith. Engaging this chapter may feel like a marathon, but the finish line is worth it!
[ ] Why does Paul call the Galatians foolish?
[ ] How would you describe Paul’s tone? Do you think it is too harsh? Why or why not?
[ ] Survey the basic structure of 3:1-14, noting the following:
[a] How many questions does Paul ask?
[b] How many times does Paul mention works of the law (or works)?
[c] How many times does Paul mention believe (or faith)?
[ ] Why does it matter that Christ was portrayed as crucified? How does that support the point that Paul is making?
[ ] Why does Paul bring up Abraham? Isn’t Abraham “old news,” without much relevance for a life of faith in Christ?
[ ] Re-read 3:10-14. In your opinion, what does it look like, practically, when a person relies on the law? In chapter 2, what did it look like when Peter “relied on the law?”
[ ] Which came first, God’s promises to Abraham or the Law? Why is the order significant?
[ ] Why was the law given? Why wasn’t the promise to Abraham enough for God to have a relationship with his people?
[ ] Since the Law reveals God’s will for his people, why doesn’t the Law “impart life?” Since the law doesn’t give life, why did God give his people the Law?
“The law was our guardian” — A guardian was a specific role in ancient times. Wealthy families would hire a tutor to prepare their children for adulthood. Paul uses this imagery to teach the primary role of the Law, which was to prepare us for what’s next: faith in Jesus.
[ ] Given the context of everything you’ve read so far in Galatians, how is 3:28 significant? Why is the unity of the church so important?
[ ] In 4:7, Paul tells us that we are no longer a slave. Based on this passage, what were we once a slave to? How does the text support your answer?
[ ] Take a moment to step back and look at the bigger picture. What does this passage teach about the following:
Works / Works of the Law:
Believing / Faith: