2: Paul’s Authority and Gospel – Discussion Starters

  1. Do I please men? What puzzling question does Paul pose to the Galatians in the first chapter of his epistle to them? Do you agree with Paul that it is indeed a puzzle to determine whether to seek to please God or men? How did that puzzle fit into the apostle’s ministry to the believers in Galatia?
  2. Paul, the letter writer. Are you amazed, as I am, by the way Paul showed his dedication to God’s people by writing them letter after letter after letter? How were many of those letters preserved through the thousands of years since they were written? Why was it important for our Christian forefathers to believe that Paul chose a special format and vocabulary for his letters? Instead of that, what did later researchers find concerning Paul’s letter-writing style? What style do you think God would choose if the Bible were being written now?
  3. Paul’s calling.  What does Paul establish in his opening words to the Galatians? In this part of Galatians, what makes us think that some of the people of Galatia were trying to delete or even eliminate his authority? What was the basic argument that separated early believers into two groups? Do we ever hear about conflict in our church today about how certain verses in the Bible should be interpreted? How should you and I relate to such conflict?
  4. Two words. What two words identified and described Paul’s greeting to the Galatians? What is the source of the grace and peace that Paul lifts up to the believers in Galatia? Can you describe the essence of the gospel in just a few of your own words? What elements will you include? What marvelous miracle did Jesus accomplish by His gospel?
  5. No other gospel. Why is it that Paul does not follow his usual custom with Galatians by expressing thanksgiving to those he is addressing? Imagine being in the group of Galatians receiving Paul’s special message to them. How would you feel being called “turncoats” by a visiting pastor to your church? In what way (or ways) were the members of the church of Galatia misrepresenting the gospel God intended for them to embrace?     
  6. The trouble starts here. What insulting comments did some of the Galatians use to describe Paul’s goal for the Christians in that church? Is it possible to spend too much attention trying to be pleasing and accepted by others? What is the consequence of such an attitude? True or False: As long as you and I are convicted of the truth of our calling, we don’t need to listen to anyone else tell us what we should believe or do. Discuss.  
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons