Summary: The Great Galatian Debate

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Bible Study
Overall Series
The Great Galatian Debate
Galatians 1- On Defense (Paul’s Reason for Writing)
Galatians 2- Real Talk (Holy Conferencing)
Galatians 3- Believe or Be (Faith vs. Good Works)
Galatians 4- Freedom to Live (Slavery vs. Freedom)
Galatians 5- Lifestyle (Fruits of the Spirit)
Galatians 6- Sharing is Caring (Instructions to the Community)

Behind the Scenes This Study of Paul’s letter to the Galatians uses the style of a presidential political debate to better understand Paul’s writing. It is a six week study, each week addressing a different chapter of Galatians. The intended audience for this study is a small group of people (6-8) at the church I am appointed who are between the ages of 22 and 30. The reason I chose to
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Within our own Christian tradition we have witnessed leadership disputes over theology in the past and the present. Paul’s letter to the Galatians portrays a dispute between leaders in the early church, primarily over the issue of whether or not Gentile Christians need to be circumcised and follow Jewish Law.
Candidates: Paul verses Jewish-Christian Missionaries Paul’s letter to the Galatians is a response to the ministry of Jewish-Christian Missionaries who are pursuing ministry in the Galatian community. Even though these Missionaries appear to be promoting the Jewish lifestyle throughout this letter, it is important to remember that they were not trying to convert this community to Judaism. This is an inter-Christian conflict with two different theological opinions about living a Christian life.
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This is what Paul is doing in much of Chapter 4. He restates his point about good works verses faith by employing the story of Hagar and Sarah as an allegory for slavery to and freedom from the Law. As a refresher for what was covered last week, watch this video about the debate between faith vs. good works as the path to salvation.
Video Follow-up questions:
• What is the result of good works alone? What is the result of grace, or faith, alone?
• Which argument makes more sense, Paul’s about grace producing salvation, or the Missionaries about good works producing salvation. Why?
Activity 2: Read it and Weep Open your internet browser to Bible Gateway. Have ready three different interpretations of Galatians 4:21-5:1 (One NRSV, One CEB, and one of your choice). Have each version read out loud by a different volunteer. On the white board, write any similarities or differences between the translations that the group finds significant.
Scripture follow-up questions:
• What is significant about these similarities and differences?
• What is the argument Paul is trying to make in this passage? (If the group is having trouble with this, refer to Setting the Stage: Galatians 4) Is he convincing? Do you think he would have been convincing for the Galatian community?
• If you were Paul, would you employ a different tactic to argue your

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