9: Paul’s Pastoral Appeal – Discussion Starters

  1. The heart of Paul. In the nine verses starting with Galatians 4:12, why does Paul say at the end of his discourse, “I have doubts about you”? How could it be that the members of the early Christian church in Galatia have already lost their first love? Does the church you attend show the character Paul wanted in his church members in Galatia? What are the elements of that character?
  2. The challenge to become. In Galatians 4:12 Paul tells the Galatians to become as he is, not to act like him. What is the difference? Do today’s Christian believers ever have problems trying too hard to imitate Jesus? Is there a better approach? Paul wanted more than anything else for the Galatian Christians to have the experience he enjoyed as a follower of Jesus. What was the basic difference between their belief system and Paul’s?
  3. I have become as you are.  Fill in the blanks: Paul wanted the Galatians to be ____ him, in his complete ____ and in the all-sufficiency of Jesus for their ______. Your lesson states that Paul excelled in the skill of contextualization. What is that? and how far can we go before it leads to trouble? Are you ever swept away by the desire to compromise? Just a little? Just enough to avoid trouble? What are some ways we express our impulse to compromise? And some ways we can resist that impulse?  
  4. Then and now. Try to imagine what sort of illness or handicap was plaguing Paul during his stay in Galatia. Couldn’t God have healed him to avoid any problems he might have in ministering to these Christians? When his church members realized he was suffering, what thought seemed to come to their minds? Why didn’t they just    pack up his things and send him back home? Think about the last time you were sick or for some other reason were suffering. Were you able to keep witnessing of God’s love like Paul did? How can that happen? 
  5. Speaking the truth. “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” Paul asks his church members. Can you think of a time when you felt that God wanted you to correct another person but that person didn’t want to hear from you? What did you do? Or of a time when someone decided to set you straight and you didn’t want to hear about it? Can we develop an attitude that welcomes the truth even if it may hurt? How? 
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons