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Galatians 5:16-26 Study Guide

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Galatians 5:16-26

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Main Idea: Walking by the Spirit frees us from the burden of the law’s demands, whereas the flesh is under the judgment of the law.

Overview: In this section, Paul says the Spirit and the flesh are at war with one another, but the person who has the Spirit will look less and less like the person who is in the flesh.

Observation and Interpretation:


  • What has characterized the Galatian church’s relationships? (See Galatians 5:13-15. Paul has been speaking of law and faith. Why does operating by law lead to these kinds of relational struggles?
  • Paul states that the flesh and the Spirit are opposed to one another. Read Romans 7:1-25. How does that passage complement Galatians 5:16-26?
  • Galatians 5:19-21 describes life according to the flesh and ends with a sobering statement. Galatians 5:24 says that those who are in Christ have crucified these things. How can Paul have such confidence? (Hint: See Galatians 2:15-16, Galatians 5:20 and Galatians 3:10-14).

Application: 


  • Contrast the fruit of the Spirit and the works of the flesh. What are fruits of the Spirit you are praying the Lord to grow you in? Are there any works of the flesh you need to repent of? Read 1 John 1:8-2:2.
  • This passage describes patterns of the flesh and patterns of the Spirit. How would you counsel someone to address sin patterns they recognize in their own life?
  • Those who believe in Christ are united in the Spirit as the family of God. What about being conceited, provoking one another, and envying one another is uncharacteristic about God’s people?

Prayer Point: Spend some time praying for the areas you want to grow in. Pray for your group and the church, that we would grow to demonstrate the unity of the Spirit.