Galatians | 1:1-12 | 1:13-24 | 2:1-10 | 2:11-21 | 3:1-9 | 3:10-29 | 4:1-11 | 4:12-20 | 4 :21-31 | 5:1-15 | 5:16-26 | 6 | PDF |


These small group studies of Galatians contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Galatians 3:10-29 Inductive Bible Study Lesson Plan – With Discussion Questions For Small Groups

Outline

I. Christ replaced our curse with a blessing (10-14)
II. The Law and the covenant (15-20)
III. The Law is our tutor (21-30)

I. Christ replaced our curse with a blessing (10-14)

Discussion Questions

  • Who is under a curse? Why? What kind of curse is this?
  • What does verse 12 mean that the law is not of faith? How about “He who practices them shall live by them?”So where does Christ fit into this picture?
  • Why does Paul use so many quotations from Scripture here? How does this strengthen his argument? What can we learn from this about the importance of Scripture?

Cross-References

James 2:10 – For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

Romans 3:20 – Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Habakkuk 2:4 – See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright— but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness

Verse by Verse Commentary

1.Under a curse –

Deuteronomy 27:26 Bible Verse

When the law was given by Moses, the people of Israel swore to uphold it. And they willingly agreed to the terms which included a curse if they failed to uphold it.

Therefore according to this verse in Deuteronomy, those who put themselves under the law and fail to keep it are cursed. Notice not everyone is doomed to this cursed fate, only those who rely on the law. If you rely on Jesus, He takes your curse. But if you choose to try to follow the law, then you bear it by yourself.

2. No one who relies on the law is justified before God – Our works cannot save us. If they could Jesus would not have come. Here Paul again shows that true righteousness comes by faith.

3. The law is not based on faith – The law is basically a set of written rules. In Israel’s history a lot of people followed many of these rules externally even though they didn’t have a true faith in God. Why? It was a habit, a tradition. Still many people in the US and some other Western countries go to church (on Easter or Christmas Eve) or pray before meals even though they don’t have a sincere faith in God. Some do out of tradition and habit. People may obey the rules of the law from many different motivations, but that doesn’t tell us what their heart is like. Obeying the law is external. Real faith in God is internal.

Application: Why do you go to church on Sunday? Why do you read the Bible? Pray before meals? Give to the needy? These are good things which we should do. But we should ask what is our motivation? If we just do these things externally for insincere motivations then we too are trying to live by works rather than by faith. To God it is not only important what we do, but also why we do it. Share a good reason why we should do the above. And share a bad reason.

4. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – What does this mean? Those who rely on the law are cursed. That means that they will be judged and punished for their sins. They are separated from God and their fate is sealed. Jesus figuratively became a curse so that we wouldn’t have to face that curse. Jesus became a curse in two ways.

Firstly, He was hung on a tree, which is a shameful, cursed thing. Secondly, he took our sin onto Himself even becoming sin for us. Think of that from Jesus’ perspective for a minute. He is the Holy Lamb of God. He had never sinned in any way. He had never experienced the horrible feeling of guilt. He had never so much as tasted sin. But for our sake he became that horrible, despicable thing. He did the unimaginable. When I experience guilt, it doesn’t feel good. Neither does sin. I don’t want to say that we are used to sin and guilt, but in some ways we are because we sin often. Jesus, being perfectly holy, had never felt this. But he felt it for us.

5. He redeemed us – He did it so that we could receive that blessing that God promised to Abraham in Genesis 12.

II. The Law and the covenant (15-20)

Discussion Questions

  • What does Paul mean in verse 15?
  • What covenant is he referencing?
  • How did this covenant change (or not change) over time? What point is Paul making from this?
  • What promise was made? About who?
  • So what is Paul is saying (verse 17)? How does this relate to his theme of the law and justification by faith?
  • What comparison is Paul making in verse 18?
  • How was the law ordained through angels?
  • Who are the two parties the mediator is mediating for?
  • Who then would the mediator be?

Cross-References

Psalm 105:8-11 – He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance.”

Jeremiah 31:31-34 – “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Brothers and sisters – Paul reminds them of the familial relationship they share. He is not speaking to them as an outsider. He is not rebuking them as a stranger. He is appealing to them as his family members. We need to have the same attitude when it becomes necessary to correct brothers or sisters around us.

2. Verses 15-18 – The covenant Paul refers to is the one between Abraham and God. In that covenant God promised that all the nations of the world would be blessed through Abraham’s seed. When a contract is written out and signed, neither party can go back and change the deal. It has been confirmed and nothing should be added or deleted. Paul is making the point that salvation to the Gentiles cannot be deleted from the covenant. The promise that God made would not be changed even by subsequent events.

Why does Paul mention this?

Well, some proponents of the law would argue that the Mosaic law was given by God to the Jews after the Abrahamic covenant. They might argue that the Mosaic law therefore replaced the Abrahamic covenant. In verse 17, Paul declares that is not the case.

Galatians 3:17 – This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.

The Mosaic covenant does not replace or change or supersede the Abrahamic covenant. The Abrahamic covenant is based on faith and it God promises to reach all of the world through his offspring.

Genesis 12:3 Bible Verse

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God’s Word will stand. His promises are sure. Between the promise to Abraham, and the fulfillment at the time of Christ around 2000 years passed. But God did not forget His promise. Now it has been almost 2000 years since Christ ascended into heaven, but all of His promises are just as sure today as they were when He first made them. His second coming is just as sure now as it was then. Time and future events do not alter God’s plans.

Application: We can therefore be confident in Him. We must believe Him and never forget the promises He makes to us. Neither should we become complacent and ill-prepared for His second coming. We must remain vigilant and diligent.

3. Why was the law given? – It prepared people for the Seed of Abraham, that is the Messiah. It showed more clearly people’s sins. It showed them that they were lost and helpless and needed a Savior.

Dwight Moody once said, “you need to preach a person into hell before you can preach them into heaven.”

That means a person must know that he is lost before he can get help. People must realize they are sinners before they can repent of their sin and embrace God’s solution to sin. And that is the purpose of the Old Testament. The Old Testament shows us very clearly that humans have a problem. It shows us that the problem is serious. And it shows us that there is nothing we can do on our own to solve the problem. The only answer is divine help.

It prepares people to receive Christ because it shows them that they are completely lost without Him.

The law was so important that God gave it through angels (who were involved in the passing of the law to Moses on Mt. Sinai, Acts 7:38, 53, Hebrews 2:2) and He entrusted it to a mediator. In this case, it seems that God Himself was the mediator. In most cases a mediator would intercede between two parties, but in this case God could perform the roll of mediator Himself. He is certainly well qualified!

III. The Law is our tutor (21-30)

Discussion Questions

  • Is the law contrary to God’s promises?
  • Could it impart life?
  • Then why did God establish it?
  • How has the Scripture shut us up to sin?
  • What is the faith that was later to be revealed?
  • What can we see is the key purpose of the law in verse 24?
  • How does the law tutor us?
  • What can we learn from it?
  • How can the law lead people to Christ?
  • We often recite Galatians 3:28. What additional insights can we get into this verse based on the context of what we have just studied?
  • What applications can we make from this verse?

Cross-References

Romans 7:7 – What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

Romans 10:4 – For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Romans 3:20 – For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Romans 8:3 – For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Is the law opposed to God’s promises? – Nope. In a perfect world a perfect law would inspire perfection. But this world is not perfect and neither are we. Righteousness could not come from the law because nobody could obey the law all the time.

The law itself is not wrong. It is good. It is just. It is upright. It clearly defines God’s standards. At the same time, it was not meant to be a final solution. The standard shown in the law is out of reach. And that is the whole point. God is showing us the truth in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

The law reveals to us that we cannot reach God’s perfect standard.

Application: No matter how good you are, know that you are a sinner. You can not achieve righteousness through will power or self-determination. We are wretched sinners. We can’t (and don’t) follow all of God’s commands in the Bible. How does this make you feel? What does this make you want to do?

2. Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin (verses 22-23) – The Old Testament law showed very clearly that people were slaves of sin, that there was no way out. It showed people were helpless to solve this problem. It showed people were lost so that they would recognize they needed to be found. It showed that people could not be saved by believing in themselves and therefore they must believe in Christ as their only hope.

3. The law was our guardian (or tutor) – The law kept people closer to the right path. It reminded people of God’s expectations. The law teaches us about two things. It teaches us about God and man. Through the law, we can see that God is perfectly holy in all He does. And through the law, we can see that people are not. These two facts are fundamental to the gospel message.

Since God is holy and we are not the only way we can be restored to a relationship with God is if sin is dealt with. And Jesus dealt with it on the cross.

4. You are all children of God through faith…you are all one in Christ Jesus –

Galatians 3:28 Bible Verse

The verses here are a very important. They teach us the truth that God values all people equally.

Genesis 1:27 – So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Every person is created in the image of God. Every ethnicity is included. Male and female are included. Poor people have equal value in God’s sight to the rich. Geniuses and mentally disabled have equal worth. We are part of one human race made in the image of God with only cosmetic differences of appearance. And all people are descended from the same ancestors, namely Noah and his wife.

Why is this important? It is important because in God’s kingdom there is no room for discrimination or bias (James 2). Every life is important. Every life is valuable. Every person is created by God. Every person is loved by God. Every person in the church is saved the same way, through God’s grace. We are to treat every person equally.

Many of the worst atrocities in human history are committed because some lives are devalued as less important than others. This was true when the Nazis killed nearly seven million Jews plus euthanizing the disabled. It was true in Rwanda when nearly 800,000 Tutsi were slaughtered by the Hutu. It was true when Western Colonial powers kidnapped and enslaved people based on skin color. It is true when unborn babies are murdered because they cannot stand up for themselves.

These verses do not mean that every person is the same or that all people have the same role. While we are equal in value, God assigns different roles and different gifts to different people. But the person on the stage preaching and the person setting up chairs are both of exactly equal value in God sight.

Application: We should not have prejudice or bias in our interactions with others. We should not treat rich people better or on the other hand favor the poor in his dispute (Exodus 23:3). There is no room for racism of any kind in the church. You are not better than others because you have a more prominent role and you are not worse than others just because your role may be less prominent. Therefore you should be humble and treat others as more important than you.

Galatians E-Book Bible Study – You can access the complete online study of Galatians by downloading our e-book here.

Galatians Paperback Study Guide – You can also order a paperback version of the study from Amazon.

Study Galatians 4:1-11
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