This week's Small Group Guide is composed of questions from this week's GPS Guide. The questions relate to the Scripture for that particular day. You can download the full week's GPS as a printable document for the context of each question below (in the printable version, the recommended small group questions are marked with a special bullet point.)
When he was trained as a rabbi, Paul no doubt learned and used a traditional morning prayer that included the words, “Lord, I thank you that I was not born a Gentile, a slave or a woman.” Scholar John Stott wrote, “Every person belongs to a certain race and nation, has been nurtured in a particular culture, and is either male or female. When we say Christ abolished these distinctions, we mean not that they do not exist, but that they do not matter.”* What inner changes does it take to truly make those distinctions not matter?
Once I realize that I am a sinner God accepts through sheer grace, Paul said, that throws out any bragging. But most of us are polite people—we’d never “brag,” right? Have you ever seen a (quiet, carefully hidden) sense of superiority lead one person to set himself/herself apart from (and a bit above) others? How can you keep that kind of thinking from creeping into your attitudes, and so avoid those divisions?
At the end of this passage, Paul made an intriguing reference to the story of the Israelites receiving manna to feed them in the wilderness (cf. Exodus 16:15-18). Every Israelite, Exodus said, gathered only as much manna (food) as needed. No one tried to “corner the market.” Is there a principle in that story that applies to life today? Do you believe Paul’s goal of equality is out of date in the 21st century, or worth seeking to seriously live out?
In your family, your church, your workplace, when can you see the differences between people bringing depth, richness and strength rather than conflict or division? How can celebrating the strength that grows from our differences help to keep us from building walls of separation?
* Stott, J. R. W. The message of Galatians: Only one way. Leicester, England, Downer's Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1986, p. 100.
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