Galatians 1 “So Soon Removed”
Why do some who join the LDS Church later turn away? How do you maintain your own faith and obedience? How can you help those who struggle spiritually?
Paul wrote this epistle to church members in Galatia (in today’s middle Turkey) in about 56 AD or perhaps earlier. The purpose of this epistle is to counteract spiritual backsliding and apostasy. As was his custom, in Galatians 1:1-5 Paul testifies of Jesus Christ, along with his witness of the Savior’s resurrection.
The purpose of Paul’s epistle arises abruptly:
- What does Paul say the problem is, in verses 6-7?
- Note that Paul asserted in verse 7 that there is “not another” true gospel, for there is only one. How does Paul drive home this point more forcibly, in verse 8?
- We’ve heard of apostolic blessings, but note the curses pronounced by the apostle Paul in verse 8 and 9. Paul speaks so strongly because of the seriousness of this issue—he sees that the foretold apostasy has begun, and he wants to forestall it as much as possible, and to help as many as possible to retain their faithfulness.
- Read other testimonies borne by Paul in verses 11-12, 15, 20.
Galatians 2-3 The Old Versus the New
In Galatians 2, Paul supports his testimony by reviewing some of the history of the transition from the law of Moses to the law of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, including a mention of a lively discussion he had with Peter (see especially verses 3, 11-16, 19-21).
In chapter 3, Paul more fully expresses his concern for the Galatian Saints:
- What are the six questions Paul asked in verses 1-5? (see also Galatians 5:7). By asking these questions, what do you think Paul wants them to realize? What questions would you ask of someone who has chosen to withdraw from Church activity?
- In verses 6-9, 13-16, 29, Paul appeals to the faith and works of Abraham, as an example to the Galatians and as a reminder of their inheritance of the Lord’s promises to Abraham. What does it mean to you to be “an heir according to the promise” (verse 29) and a partaker of the Abrahamic covenant?
- According to verse 19, what was the whole point and purpose of the law of Moses? Note the Joseph Smith Translation for Galatians 3:19-20, which says: “Wherefore then, the law was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made in the law given to Moses, who was ordained by the hand of angels to be a mediator of this first covenant, (the law.) Now this mediator was not a mediator of the new covenant; but there is one mediator of the new covenant, who is Christ, as it is written in the law concerning the promises made to Abraham and his seed. Now Christ is the mediator of life; for this is the promise which God made unto Abraham.
- Read verses 24-28. As always, Jesus Christ is the answer, the solution, the path, the light, and the life.
- Paul counseled church members to leave behind the law of Moses, and to move forward and upward in Christ and His gospel. Note that those in our day who have been endowed in the temple have covenanted to live the law of consecration, a yet higher level of Christlike character and behavior.
Galatians 4-5 “Christ Hath Made Us Free”
Read Paul’s continuing treatise regarding the purpose of the law of Moses, in Galatians 4:1-7.
- How does Paul describe those who seek to turn back to the law of Moses, in verses 8-10?
- Of what does Paul remind the Galatians, in verses 13-16?
- Read Galatians 5:1. In what ways do you think the law of Moses was a “yoke of bondage” to the Jews and others of the house of Israel? How did the gospel of Christ give them “liberty”?
- What key words do you see in verses 5-6, 13-14?
- In verses 10-12, what did Paul have to say regarding those who were leading the move toward apostasy?
- Read verses 16-23 and make two lists—first, the results of following the Spirit; and second, the results of following the lusts of the flesh (see also Galatians 5:7-10). Looking at your list of the blessings of the Spirit, which of these things can you say you are experiencing in your life?
- Read again Galatians 5:22-23, and write your response to the following: When I feel the Spirit, I feel …”
Galatians 6 “Bear Ye One Another’s Burdens”
Paul ends this epistle by counseling church members regarding their treatment of others who have been “overtaken in a fault” (verse 1). How would you summarize Paul’s teachings in verses 1-4? What experiences have you had in your efforts to strengthen one who has weakened in his or her faith?
Apparently, in verse 11 Paul takes over for his scribe and writes in “large letters,” to lend emphasis to his message. What teachings of our living prophet have stood out for you, as if written in large, bold letters?
Paul closes as he began—testifying of the Savior and His impact upon us all. Read and ponder verses 14-16.