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 6 Inductive Bible Study
- Our relationship with other believers (1-6)
- Do good to all (7-10)
- Jesus and the cross are central to our faith (11-18)
I. Our relationship with other believers (1-5)
- What does Paul mean in verse one when he says, “you who are spiritual?”
- What attitude should they have when correcting others?
- What is the goal of confronting brothers and sisters in their sin?
- What must we be careful of when we do it?
- How can you bear others’ burdens?
- What law is this fulfilling?
- What does verse 3 mean? Are we something or nothing? Explain your answer.
- Do we have a reason for boasting? What does Paul mean in verse 4?
- How can we bear our own load?
The main theme of the book of Galatians is that we are justified by faith, not by the works of the law. But many opponents of Paul and proponents of the law would argue that those not under the Old Testament law would then give in to the impulses of sin so that “grace could abound.” In the last chapter and a half of Galatians Paul emphasizes the type of life Christians under grace are to live. Being under grace does not mean that we can sin as we like. Instead it means that the Spirit leads us. He transforms us from the inside out. In this chapter he continues to answer the implied question, “what should a Christian do if he is not under the law?”
Restore the sinner – Paul makes it clear that though we are under grace, this does not mean we should tolerate sin. It is not only Paul’s responsibility, but it is each believer’s responsibility to confront the sin they see in other believers. In this verse we see several principles for confronting others with their sin:
If anyone is caught in any trespass – This book is written to believers so it would seem natural to interpret “anyone” as “any believer.” When unbelievers are sinning we preach the gospel to them. When a believer sins, we confront that sin. The word “caught” also indicates that the person is “stuck” in the sin. It may not be just a passing one time mistake, but a habit or temptation that has ensnared them.
You who are spiritual – Firstly, this means it is not just the responsibility of leaders. Each believer intent on obeying God has this responsibility. If you see a sin problem, talk to that person directly. Don’t just passively wait for a leader to notice or do something about it. What does it mean the one who is spiritual? It would seem that there is some qualification for the person doing the correcting. Spiritual could have a broad understanding of someone who is a believer who seeks to obey God. Note that spiritual does not equal perfect. A spiritual person is a believer who has the Spirit of God and can therefore understand and evaluate spiritual things.
Restore – Pay careful attention to this word! The goal of the confrontation is not to make the person feel bad. It is not to make yourself feel good. It is not to show off your knowledge. It is not to vent your anger or frustration. It is not to express your annoyance. The goal is to restore the person to a good relationship with God. See James 5:19-20. This should be your one and guiding motivation.
A spirit of gentleness – This is a key reminder that the attitude, tone of words, volume of speech, facial expressions, and gestures are all important. You are not to yell. You are not to lose your temper. You are not to use a “black face.” Your goal is not to shame the person, but to restore them. You should feel compassion for the person. Use tender, kind words.
Each of you looking to yourself, so that you will not be tempted – When you are called to correct/restore others, make sure you do so in a spirit of humility. Evaluate yourself and your attitude to make sure you have the right motivations and to make sure you are not acting as a hypocrite. Do not be like a police officer who goes around forcing other people to follow the traffic laws while disregarding them yourself.
In the next few minutes we are going to do something a little different. I hope to let everyone have a visible picture in their minds of the difference between correcting someone in gentleness and correcting them with anger/annoyance/frustration. Split into two groups. Give each group 5-10 minutes. Group 1 needs to come up with and enact a simple skit. Come up with a scenario where one of you has done some sin. One or more of you need to confront this person about his sin. Do it, but with anger/frustration/annoyance, incorrect motives. Group 2 needs to do the same thing, but this time correct the person with gentleness. Correct them biblically. Compare the difference in the two methods.
Do you correct others or just let it be? If do you correct others, do you so gently? Or do you show annoyance and exasperation?
Bear one another burdens – This verse ties in with verse 1. We are not a group of individuals following after God completely by ourselves. We are part of a group, part of a family. A family should help each other. What kind of burdens might this refer to? How specifically can you bear them for each other?
Based on the context one way of bearing others burdens is to gently restore those caught in sin. Beyond that it means helping and supporting each other. The word “bear” means to carry the weight or the load. Stresses, worries, health problems, spiritual struggles are all types of weights that we carry. By listening to others with attentive and compassionate ears we can help to release the weight of the load. Besides listening, we can pray, counsel, or serve. If someone is sick, we can make a meal for them. If someone is sad, we can take them out to eat. If someone is stressed, we can invite them over for prayer, dessert, and games. If someone is lonely, we can give them a gift. To do these things we need to have relationships with other believers. We also need to be observant and sensitive. We can remind them that Jesus’ yoke is light. Matthew 11:28-30. Also 1 Corinthians 1:3-5. This is fulfilling the law of Christ, which is to love your neighbor as yourself.
Application: Do you notice when others are stressed or discouraged? Do you take initiative to help? What is a specific way you can bear one another’s burdens this week?
Verse 3- We should understand this verse within the context of the theme of Galatians. I believer we can take this verse to represent the person who pridefully tries to follow the law and fulfill its requirements himself. Paul himself was like this (Philippians 3:3-7) prior to coming to Christ. The person who thinks he is something is the person who is circumcised and trusts in his own good works. But this person has no standing before God and even his good deeds are like filthy rags in God’s sight. Therefore he is nothing. He has no relationship with God. He has no salvation or eternal life. He is not a child of God. Every person is created by God and has inherent value. But spiritually we have nothing and can offer nothing unless Christ has regenerated us.
Application: Don’t be prideful. Do not put trust in your good works.
5. Verses 4-5 – We should understand verse 4 combined with verse 14. See Ephesians 2:8-9. Obviously we can’t earn salvation ourselves or boast that we have fulfilled God’s requirements. Neither should you go around telling other people how good you are or the great things you have done for God. In that case, what does it mean? The main point of verse 4 seems to be evaluating properly the work that you have done for God and not taking credit for what other’s have done. Jesus told the disciples that others planted the seeds and they reaped the harvest. See John 4:38. The disciples should look at what they did for God in an accurate way and appropriately appreciate what others have done.
It seems that Paul’s main point in these verse is that each person has personal responsibility before God. We are responsible for own actions and not the actions of others. We are not responsible for what others do to do us, but for how we respond to them. We are responsible to take advantage of the opportunities we have to serve God well. See Ephesians 2:10. Then when we do it, we should still realize it is only because of Christ’s work in our heart that we can do it. It is God’s grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Application – Are you wasting your life or making good use of it? If you were to face God today and He asked you to show the work you have done for Him on this earth, what would you have to show for it? How much time have you spent building God’s kingdom and how much time have you spent building your own. On that day you will not be able to point to others and either blame them or take credit for what you did. In some respects, you will be alone standing before the judgment seat. Will you be able to stand with confidence or will you feel ashamed? What work does God want you to do for Him that is still unfinished? What work will you do for Him this week?
6. Verse 6 – Take care of your Christian leaders – See 1 Timothy 5:18 and Luke 10:7. This principle is found throughout the Bible. It is God’s model for taking care of those who spend their time and resources to share the gospel. It is also good for those who are being taught to learn how to serve. We all need to learn not just to let others do things for us and always receive, receive, receive, but to do things for others. From another perspective, the ones sharing the gospel and God’s Word to us are giving us the most valuable gift possible. They are being good stewards of what God has entrusted to them. We in turn should be good stewards of whatever God has entrusted to us.
II. Do good to all (6-10)
- What principle can we learn from verse 6?
- In what other Bible passages can we see this principle being taught or modeled?
- How do verses 7-10 fit in with the context of this passage and the overall context of the whole book?
- What can we learn about God in verse 7?
- What do we learn about people in verse 8?
- What do we learn about ministry in verse 9-10?
- What kinds of things may cause us to lose heart when serving or ministering to others?
III. Jesus and the cross are central to our faith (11-18)
- Why might Paul make the comment about his handwriting style here in verse 12?
- What shift does this show us in his letter? (He is reaching the conclusion/ending.)
- What is the motivation of those trying to make the Galatians be circumcised (12-13)?
- In what way does the cross of Christ represent the fact that the world had been crucified to Paul? How about that Paul had been crucified to the world?
- Would Paul win if he convinced everyone not to be circumcised? Why or why not?
- What brand-marks did Paul bear?
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