Introduction: We come to the end of our 2017 study of Paul’s letter
to the Galatians. If you have been with us through the entire series,
I hope that you have a better understanding of Paul’s message of
righteousness by faith, and his concern that through the power and
leading of the Holy Spirit faith changes our attitude. That change
causes us to want to live a life that brings glory to God and makes
our journey here easier. Paul has a few important truths to share in
his closing, so let’s plunge into our final study of Galatians and
see what we can learn!

  1. Large Letters

    1. Read Galatians 6:11. What does Paul’s statement about
      writing with his own hand suggest about the rest of the
      letter to the Galatians? (Read Romans 16:22. Paul used a
      scribe to write his letters. He did not hold the pen
      himself – except for the part we are about to study.)

    2. Look again at Galatians 6:11. Why does Paul tell us that
      he is writing in “large letters?” (This is proof that Paul
      himself wrote these last few verses.)

      1. Why would Paul write in large letters? (Read
        Galatians 4:15. The most simple and obvious answer is
        that Paul has vision problems. It is nothing new for
        readers over forty years of age to understand that
        writing and reading in small print is a challenge.
        However, scholars suggest other reasons for the large
        letters. These are that Paul is not very skilled in
        writing Greek, or he has bad handwriting, or that the
        letter to the Galatians is long. The last suggestion
        turns on understanding “large letters” to mean “long
        letter.” I think the eyesight issue is the most
        obvious answer.)

  2. Closing Remarks

    1. Read Galatians 6:12-13. Before we get into a discussion of
      the meaning of this, what impact does Paul’s “large
      letters” comment have on the importance of this section of
      the document? (Paul did not just sign his letter to the
      Galatians, he actually wrote by hand the section we are
      studying this week. That suggests that this concluding
      section is very important to him, and thus should be
      important to us.)

      1. Let’s focus on Galatians 6:12. What is the motivation
        of the pro-circumcision people? (They want to make a
        good impression and they want to avoid persecution.)

        1. What is wrong with that? If a young person
          asked me if first impressions are important, I
          would absolutely answer, “Yes.” However, as we
          will see later in this study, Paul teaches us
          not to focus on externals.)

        2. What does Paul mean when he talks about the
          pro-circumcision group wanting to “avoid being
          persecuted for the cross of Christ?”
          (Apparently the Jews from Jerusalem were
          persecuting Christians. We started our study of
          Paul’s letter by reading Paul’s (Saul’s) role
          in the killing of Stephen because of his
          Christian testimony. See Acts 7:57-60. Thus,
          the pro-circumcision Galatians were motivated
          to stay out of trouble with the Jerusalem

          1. What do you think about a motivation like
            that? (Paul argues that it is selfishness,
            rather than a principled understanding of
            God’s will, that is behind their pro-circumcision position. They want to appear
            to go along with the Jerusalem

          2. Do you compromise your religious beliefs
            to avoid being attacked by others?

    2. Read Galatians 6:13. What is Paul’s point here? That those
      who argue for circumcision are hypocrites? (I don’t think
      that is the main problem. If a person argues that keeping
      the law is key to salvation and that person cannot keep
      the law, then attempting to keep the law is not a
      practical solution to sin.)

      1. Notice his language about “boasting about the flesh.”
        When you convince someone of your point of view, do
        you feel like boasting? (Yes, we all feel a sense of
        accomplishment when we are able to convince others of
        our point of view.)

        1. So, what is the problem here? (They have
          convinced someone of a worthless point of

        2. How should this direct our evangelism efforts?
          (We need to focus our efforts on what matters
          most – faith in Jesus and His provision of
          righteousness by faith.)

    3. Read Galatians 6:14. What do you boast about? When someone
      asks you about yourself, what do you say first?

      1. When Paul writes that the “world” has been
        “crucified” to him, what do you think he means?
        (Crucifying something is to kill it. He seems to say
        that he is dead to the world and the world is dead to

        1. Why would Paul use the term “crucified” if he
          just means “dead?” (The point is that Jesus
          overcame the world through His crucifixion.
          Jesus overcame the law of sin bringing death
          for those who place their faith in Jesus. That
          is why Paul says that his goal is to boast only
          in the cross.)

      2. When I was growing up, and even now, I hear people
        talk about standing apart from the world. That is
        consistent with what Paul writes here. What do you
        think that means?

    4. Read Galatians 6:15. Is this what Paul means by being dead
      to the world? (When I was growing up, standing apart from
      the world meant to be plain. To be a “peculiar people.”
      You could spot a female church member in a crowd because
      she did not wear make-up, jewelry, or fancy clothes. This
      was true for other denominations at that time as well.)

      1. Isn’t the idea that you can see the difference the
        modern equivalent of circumcision? The difference is
        external, we look different than the world? (Paul
        tells us that what makes us different from the world
        is that we are proud of the cross. The world is
        selfishness, and the cross is the symbol of ultimate
        unselfishness. That may well have an impact on what
        we wear, what we drive and how we live. But, the
        point is not the externals, it is the attitude. “What
        counts is a new creation.”)

    5. Read Galatians 6:16. Paul mentions following “this rule.”
      What rule does he mean? (The rule of a new creation. The
      rule of that externals are not important. The rule of

      1. Will we have peace if we follow this new rule? (Paul
        says that the circumcision group is taking its
        position in part to avoid persecution.)

      2. Let me ask you a practical question. If your heart
        were converted to an attitude of unselfishness, would
        you have more or less peace in your life? If your
        heart were converted so that externals did not make a
        difference, would you have more or less peace?

      3. Would you experience more or less mercy if you
        focused less on externals?

    6. Read Romans 2:28-29. What does Paul write about externals

    7. Read Galatians 6:17. Why should people not cause trouble
      for Paul? He has a Jesus tattoo on him? (Read 2
      Corinthians 6:4-5 and 2 Corinthians 11:24-25. Paul
      literally bore the marks of his suffering as a result of
      his witness for Jesus. He does not need any more beatings.
      And, he has physical proof of his commitment to Jesus.)

    8. Read Galatians 6:18. What is “your spirit?” (Paul has been
      encouraging us to live by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
      Thus, he ends by saying let your spirit listen to the Holy
      Spirit. Accept this message of grace given us by Jesus.)

    9. Friend, will you accept grace today? Will you constantly
      seek to live by the leading of the Holy Spirit? Will you
      focus on matters of the heart and not externals? Why not
      make that decision right now?

  3. Next week: We begin a new series of studies on Paul’s letter to
    the Romans.