Forty interactive readings for children ages 8–12 unpack Paul’s teachings in Galatians about God’s saving work and the gospel. Great for children to read alone or with parents or teachers.
About the Author
Starr Meade served as the director of children’s ministries for ten years at her local church and taught Latin and Bible for eight years at a Christian school. She is a graduate of Arizona College of the Bible and has authored a number of books. Starr lives in Arizona with her husband, where she currently teaches homeschool students and is mother to three grown children and six grandchildren.
Read an Excerpt
From Whom, to Whom, and Why?
"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel."
Bible" means "books." The Bible is one big book, made up of sixty-six smaller books. One group in the sixty-six books is the group of "epistles," or letters. Some New Testament epistles were written to one person, but most of them were written to whole churches. This book will help you look at several big ideas from one of those epistles, the epistle to the Galatians. "Galatians" were people who lived in Galatia, like Americans are people who live in America or Russians are people who live in Russia.
If you want to understand any book of the Bible, there are three things you need to find out about that book. First, who wrote it? Second, to whom did he write it? And third, why did he write it?
The first verse of the book tells us who wrote it: the apostle Paul. The second verse tells us to whom he wrote it: the churches at Galatia. Paul was the one who had taken the gospel to the Galatians in the first place. He had come to Galatia and told people there that they were sinners in danger of God's anger because of their sin. He had told them that God had provided a Savior in Jesus Christ. Paul had urged the Galatians to repent of their sin and put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, so they would no longer be under God's wrath and could enjoy his love. Many of the Galatians had believed the gospel and had become Christians. Paul had gone on his way, and now he was writing the Galatian Christians a letter.
Our key verse shows us why Paul was writing. Some people had come to the Galatians preaching a "gospel" different from the one Paul preached. These people taught that there were things Christians must do in addition to trusting in Christ to be sure they were right with God.
This made Paul angry. Paul knew that if the Galatians believed this lie, they would not be right with God at all. So Paul wrote this letter, the letter we now know as the epistle to the Galatians.
The message of Galatians is just as important today as it was when it was written. Today, too, some people try to say that what Jesus has done to save us is not enough. They say that, if we want to be completely acceptable to God, we must keep certain rules or do certain things to add to what Jesus did for us. This part of God's Word warns us very sternly against listening to such ideas. The gospel tells us that Jesus' life of obedience to God and his death on the cross were in the place of his people. Jesus completely met every requirement God has, and no one can add anything to the perfect work of Christ.
As for me and my house ...
Look at the opening verses of all the epistles, Romans through Jude. Notice the way they almost all begin by telling who the letter's from and to whom it's being written. Notice how they end. These are like the "Dear So-and-so" and the "Sincerely yours" of our modern letters.
As you look at the opening verses of these epistles, notice who wrote each one and to whom.
To see why other epistles were written, look at: Philippians 1:12–13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13; 1 Timothy 3:14–15; 2 Peter 1:12–13; 1 John 5:13.CHAPTER 2
The Authority of the Messenger
"Paul, an apostle — not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead."
The Galatians had mail! They had received a letter from the apostle Paul. Getting a letter from Paul was not like getting a letter from just anyone; Paul was an apostle.
The New Testament was written in the Greek language. In Greek, the word "apostolos" means a messenger. Someone sent from someone else with a message was an "apostolos." The person carrying the message, the apostle, had all the authority of the message sender behind him. If a king sent his "apostle" to your house with the message, "Go to the palace right now," you would go. You might not have done it just for the messenger, but you would know that all of the king's authority was behind this message. So you would obey it.
Imagine that you're sitting in your living room, watching television. Your little sister comes in, sees what you're doing, and thinks you shouldn't be doing it. She thinks you should do your homework instead. So she says to you, "Turn off the television." Will you do it? Probably not. She's just your sister; she's not your boss. But suppose your sister leaves and goes to the room where your father is reading the newspaper. You hear your dad and your sister talking, then your sister returns. "Dad says, 'Turn off the TV and go do your homework,'" she tells you. Now will you do it? Probably so, because now it isn't just your sister telling you. She's giving you a message from your dad, and her message carries all of your father's authority behind it.
Sometimes the New Testament uses the word "apostle" to mean any messenger with the gospel. But "apostle" is also used in a one-of-a-kind way. Jesus appointed twelve one-of-a-kind apostles; Judas did not continue as an apostle, and later Jesus also called Saul — or Paul — to be an apostle. To be this kind of unique apostle, a man had to have been chosen for it by Jesus; he had to have been an eyewitness of the resurrected Jesus; and he had to have been taught by Jesus himself. Jesus gave these apostles the task of writing the New Testament. God himself spoke through these apostles in a way he does not speak through other people.
Since Paul was an apostle, his message to the Galatians was a message from God himself. It carried all the authority of God. Whatever the Galatians read in this epistle, they were required to do.
For us too, the book of Galatians is more than just a letter written by Paul. Because Paul was the Lord's apostle and this letter is in the Bible, Galatians is a message to us from God. As we read it, we must be prepared to change our thinking to agree with its message. We must be ready to obey whatever it says, because it is God who is speaking to us in it.
As for me and my house ...
Look at the first verses of other epistles to find the other apostles who wrote New Testament books.
Some New Testament authors were not apostles themselves, but they had worked closely with apostles. Mark worked with Peter and with Paul. Luke traveled with Paul. James and Jude worked with the apostles, and they were both Jesus' half brothers.
Some false teachers today claim to be apostles. Why can that not be true? (Think of the three things that had to be true of an apostle.)CHAPTER 3
"[The Lord Jesus Christ], who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father."
One of the most exciting parts of an adventure story is the escape. A prisoner is being held in a place from which escape seems impossible. One of the best escape stories in all literature is in The Count of Monte Cristo, where Edmond Dantes is locked in a dungeon that sits high on a rock in the middle of the sea. His situation seems hopeless. I won't tell you how he does it, in case you ever read the book, but Edmond manages to escape even from that place.
The escape may involve a rescue, where the prisoner's friends come after him to help him escape. How exciting the rescue is will depend on how desperate the prisoner's situation is. The most exciting rescue attempts are the ones where there seems to be no possible way of escape.
A prisoner might be tied up to make escape more difficult, but friends could untie him. Or he might be held somewhere where no one can get in or out, like Edmond. The most desperate situation of all from which to try to rescue someone is when the prisoner has decided to join the side of his enemies. Imagine a man who has been taken as a prisoner of war in a battle. His friends come to rescue him, and he tells them, "I've changed my mind about which side in this war is the right one. I like this side better, and I'm going to be on this side now." There is nothing the prisoner's friends can do. The man does not want to be rescued.
Our key verse mentions a rescue when it uses the words "deliver us." Before Jesus delivers, or rescues, any of his people, their situation is the most hopeless of all. They have joined the other side. They are a part of "the present evil age." They have rebelled against the good God who made them, and they have joined the side of their enemies, who only want to see them destroyed. Still, Jesus rescues all who are his people.
Any rescue attempt is dangerous. The person trying to rescue the prisoner may get hurt or even killed. But he attempts the rescue anyway, hoping everything will turn out fine. Jesus knew he would die if he rescued his people. He knew that the only way to rescue them was by giving his own life for their sins. And he loved his people enough to rescue them anyway. Our key verse says that Jesus "gave himself for our sins to deliver us."
Paul wrote this letter to the Galatians because he was afraid they were going to become prisoners again. The false teachers who had come to the Galatians wanted to take them back to the side of the enemy. Paul wrote to say, "No! You've been rescued! Don't let yourselves be taken prisoner again!" Those of us who are God's people have been rescued from this present evil age. We should be so thankful to Jesus for dying to free us, and we should be very careful not to let ourselves be taken prisoner again.
As for me and my house ...
Think of true or fiction stories of heroes who gave their lives to save others. Did the heroes give their lives for people they knew, or for strangers? Did any of the heroes you thought of give his life for an enemy? Or for an evil criminal? Praise Jesus for his amazing love that caused him to give himself to save wicked rebels who hated him.CHAPTER 4
Using the Proper Tool
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."
Imagine a young man who finds a summer job with a handyman. On his first day on the job, the young man has an area of the house he's supposed to tidy up, after the handyman's last project. At one point, the helper realizes he needs to hang a picture on the wall. To do that, he needs a hammer. He asks the handyman where to find a hammer, and the handyman tells him exactly where in his truck to find just the right hammer for the job. The young man finds the hammer, but it's old and stained. And it's heavy! Next to the hammer lies a small, new, bright green screwdriver. It's so much more attractive, and light as a feather! The helper leaves the hammer behind, and trots off to pound a nail into the wall — with a tiny screwdriver! How foolish! Everyone knows you pound nails with a hammer, not with a screwdriver. And even if the helper doesn't know that, he should use what his boss tells him, because the boss is the handyman. He knows which tool will get the job done.
God has given his church a job to do. He has given us the job of calling people to repent of their sin and believe in Jesus. We can't change their hearts so that they will accept what we say; only God can do that. But our job is to call them to repent and believe. Along with the job God has given us, he has given us the exact tool he wants us to use to get the job done. What is that tool? The preaching of the gospel, as we find it in the Bible.
Unfortunately, some Christians are like our handyman helper. They don't want to use what they should use to do the job. They want to get the job done — they want people to become Christians — but they don't want to use the preaching of the gospel to accomplish it. For instance, part of proclaiming the gospel is telling people that God is angry because of their sin. But people may not like that; it may make them angry. So sometimes Christians skip that part of the gospel. Instead, they may say that Jesus makes people happier or less lonely or more satisfied with life. But Jesus came to save sinners. If people don't realize they are sinners, they will never turn to Jesus to save them.
Or some churches may worry that people won't come to hear a sermon about the gospel, so they replace the sermon with things that are more entertaining: a movie, or a talk by a famous sports figure, or a play. How foolish! As if anyone knew better than God what to use to get the job done! The faithful church is the one who says, "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. ... We preach Christ crucified ..." (1 Cor. 1:18, 23).
As for me and my house ...
If you attend a church where the gospel is faithfully preached every week, thank God for it — even if it may not seem as much "fun" as some of the things other people do at their churches on Sunday.
Pray for your pastor and elders to resist the temptation to give people what they might enjoy, and to faithfully preach the gospel every Sunday instead.CHAPTER 5
The Angry Letter
"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed."
Today you're going to learn a new word, and it's not a very nice one. You won't see it in your Bible, because your Bible doesn't use Greek; it uses English. Paul wrote in Greek, and he used the word anathema. Early in his letter to the Galatians, Paul wrote the words: "let him be anathema." "Let him be anathema" means "let him be under the curse of God, cut off from God forever." That's not very nice, is it, and it's not the kind of thing you would want to say about just anybody!
A person would have to be feeling very angry to say "let him be anathema" about someone. Normally, it would be wrong to be so angry with another person that you would say, "Let him be under God's curse, and cut off from God forever." But there is one time when it is right to be angry. It is always right to be angry at the things that make God angry. Paul was writing this letter as an apostle, so this letter was a message from God. These words were God's words. God was angry.
Now why were God and Paul so angry? Paul said, "If anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed (anathema)." The gospel is the all-important good news of how God makes peace with his enemies, sinners who then become God's beloved children. The gospel tells us that God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, did everything necessary to earn God's favor toward us. He lived a life of perfect obedience to God in our place, because we couldn't do it ourselves. He died to pay for our sins, because we couldn't pay for them ourselves. All we can do to be right with God is to trust Jesus to have done everything for us. That's the true gospel, taught by the Bible.
But false teachers had come to the Galatians, telling them a different "gospel." These teachers said that trusting in Christ was not enough; God would not accept the Galatians unless they also obeyed rules from the Old Testament. This made God angry because it was a lie, and because it took the glory away from his Son. Jesus Christ has perfectly made peace between God and his people, and no one can add to what he has done.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "God's Mighty Acts in Salvation"
Copyright © 2010 Educational Publishing Concepts, Inc..
Excerpted by permission of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 Introduction: From Whom, to Whom, and Why? (Gal. 1:1-6) 8
2 The Authority of the Messenger (Gal. 1:1) 10
3 Rescue! (Gal. 1:3-5) 12
4 The Gospel: Using the Proper Tool (Gal. 1:6) 14
5 Galatians: The Angry Letter (Gal. 1:6-10) 16
6 Love Tells the Truth (Gal. 1:6-24) 18
7 What Can You Add to Perfect? (Gal. 2:1-16) 20
8 Rules for Hurting Someone's Feelings (Gal. 2:1-16) 22
9 Before the Judge: Condemned or Justified? (Gal. 2:15-16) 24
10 A Substitute (Gal. 2:15-21) 26
11 Grace Given or Merit Earned? (Gal. 2:15-21) 28
12 A Portrait of Christ (Gal. 3:1) 30
13 Faith Is God's Gift (Gal 3:2-5) 32
14 The Gospel Is for Christians Too! (Gal. 3:2-5) 34
15 How to Read a Book (Gal. 3:2-6 with Gen. 15:1-6) 36
16 Blessed with Abraham (Gal. 3:7-9) 38
17 All We Can Earn: A Curse, Not a Blessing (Gal. 3:10-14) 40
18 The Right Use of a Mirror (Gal. 3:15-22) 42
19 Unacceptable! (Gal. 3:21-22) 44
20 Grown-ups Don't Need a Babysitter! (Gal. 3:23-29) 46
21 Adopted by God (Gal. 4:1-7) 48
22 Return to Slavery? (Gal 4:8-11) 50
23 Choose Wounds, Not Kisses (Gal. 4:12-20) 52
24 What We Do, or What God Does? (Gal. 4:21-31) 54
25 Legalism (Gal. 5:1-12) 56
26 Freedom From Is Freedom To (Gal. 5:13-15) 58
27 Hope for the Fight (Gal. 5:16-18) 60
28 Faith Produces Fruit (Gal. 5:16-23) 62
29 Different Trees, Different Fruit (Gal. 5:16-23) 64
30 Fake Fruit (Gal. 5:22-23) 66
31 Cultivating Fruit (Gal. 5:16-26) 68
32 Good Soil Required (Gal 5:16-26) 70
33 Kill It! Mortifying Sin (Gal. 5:24) 72
34 A Deadly Enemy (Gal. 5:24) 74
35 When to Exercise and When to Avoid Exercise (Gal. 5:16-26) 76
36 Keep in Step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25-26) 78
37 Love Bears Burdens (Gal. 6:1-10) 80
38 Sowing and Reaping: The Consequences of Wrong Ideas (Gal. 6:6-10) 82
39 What Do You Boast About? (Gal. 6:11-18) 84
40 Things Worth Boasting About (Gal. 6:11-18) 86