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Sabbath School Lessons on Galatians
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 40 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 9: Paul's Pastoral Appeal *
Introduction: Have you ever had someone say that you should be more
like someone else? For example, did your parents say, "Why can't
you be more like your brother [or sister]?" "Why can't you be more
like the child next door?" "Why can't you be more like me?" How did
you react to those suggestions? My guess is that you did not reply,
"Right, I'll be more like [the other person] and less like me!" This
week our lesson starts out with Paul inviting the Galatians to be
more like him. Let's dive into our Bibles and try to better
understand Paul's invitation!
- Grow Up To Be Like Me?
- Read Galatians 4:12. Paul says "Become like me." We just
agreed that was not an attractive invitation. Why not?
(You might think that person thinks too highly of
himself! You might think that you don't need to change.)
- Why does Paul say the Galatians need to become more
like him? (Because he became like them.)
- Wait a minute. How does that make any sense? "Become
more like me because I became like you." If Paul
became like the Galatians, they would not need to
become more like him!
- Read 1 Corinthians 9:20-22. In what way does Paul become
like others in order to save them? (He tries to minimize
the differences between himself and other cultural and
other theological viewpoints.)
- What is Paul's motive for becoming "like" his
audience? (To save them.)
- So, let's go back and answer the question: Why does Paul
say the Galatians need to become more like him? (He
showed how much he cared about them when he became "like"
them. He showed how much he wanted them to understand the
- If you were a Galatian, what, as a practical matter,
would you do to become "like" Paul? (I would
determine to take very seriously the importance of
- Grow Up To Be More Like Them?
- Read Galatians 4:17. What motivates the legalists in
their efforts to make the Galatians more like them? (Paul
says that they are up to no good, because they want to
separate the Galatians from Paul.)
- What do you think about the logic of Paul's
argument? Can't the legalists make the same
argument about Paul? They could say: "Paul wants you
to follow him because he wants you to leave us!" (Of
course! Paul's logic, on its own, does not work.
Paul needs an independent reason why the Galatians
should follow him and not the legalists.)
- Appeal From the Heart
- Let's revisit a discussion we had last week. Read
Galatians 4:13-14. Last week, I suggested Paul's point
was that he did not have pride of ownership over the
Galatians - he had stopped by their town only because he
was sick. Assuming I have this at least partially right,
what else can we read into Paul's argument here? (Paul
says, "You adored me - when I was no prize." Paul, the
logician, is making an emotional appeal! "You were kind.
We were friends. We had joy together. What has happened?
Come back to me!)
- Read Galatians 4:18-19. How important are the Galatians
to Paul? (He says he is so anxious about them, that it
feels like childbirth.)
- Is this a logical argument? (No. Again, Paul is
making an emotional argument. We were friends. You
are breaking my heart (actually, breaking me
somewhere lower) by separating from me.)
- In these lessons I like to discuss the logic and
reason found in the Bible. When I pointed out that
Paul's logic this week was no better than the
legalists' logic, I thought that was unfortunate.
What lesson does this teach us about leading others
to the gospel? (It is not all (or even mainly)
logic. The emotional part of the argument and
relationships should be carefully considered. The
gospel is much more than sterile, bloodless logic!)
- Read Galatians 4:20. What kind of tone does Paul have?
We decided that he is making an emotional appeal, is he
also being harsh?
- Why would Paul's presence make any difference? (Have
you ever noticed that it is harder to be harsh with
someone when you are speaking with them face to
face? You can write a letter (or worse) post a
comment on the Internet that would be far harder to
say in the presence of the person you are
- Is it a sin for Paul to use the tone he is using
with the Galatians? (Read Galatians 4:16. I think
Paul is not being harsh, he is being honest. He
realizes that his Galatian friends might not be
taking his words that well, for he asks "have I now
become your enemy?" Sometimes saying the things that
need to be said is difficult.)
- A Worthwhile Life
- We discussed that Paul's main point in telling the
Galatians they should be "more like him" was to encourage
them to be zealous for the gospel. Let's drill down into
this topic by reading Philippians 3:17. This time
becoming more like Paul involves living "according to the
pattern." Paul told us in Galatians 3:25 that we "are no
longer under the supervision of the law." Are we now
under the supervision of a "pattern?" Is Paul a closet
- Read Philippians 3:18-19. Are the people described here
saved? (No! Their destiny is destruction.)
- What is wrong with their faith? Have they tossed
aside the promise of salvation by faith made to
- "Their god is their stomach" helps me to better
understand Buddha and other guys I see walking
around! (This is a joke.) What does this statement
mean? (They are focused on themselves. Their
appetites determine their course of action.)
- What does it mean that their "glory is in their
shame?" (They take pride in evil thinking.)
- I've said this before: When I was a child, it
seemed that the "bad" people just "enjoyed"
being bad. They did not argue that they were
good. Is this what Paul means by taking "glory"
- Today, there is a "morality" among people who
are enemies of the gospel. Take for example,
the American singer Madonna. Why would she
choose that for a stage name? I've seen a
video of her "praying" with her performance
troupe before going on stage. While I've heard
some very strange prayers in church and other
religious gatherings, Madonna's prayer was not
religious. Why would she do such a thing? Is
this what Paul means by taking "glory" in
- Read Philippians 3:20-21. How is the Christian different
than the world? How is this difference consistent with
righteousness by faith? (Faith is an attitude. Our mind
is not set on earthly things or our stomachs. Our minds
are set on Jesus' return, our heavenly citizenship, on
becoming more like our God.)
- Friend, will you determine to become more like Paul?
Will you take the gospel and the salvation of others
seriously? Will you make heaven your goal? Will you turn
the attention of your life away from yourself, and
towards a relationship with God?
- Next week: The Two Covenants.
* Copr. 2011, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.