THE BOOK OF GALATIANS
THE BOOK OF GALATIANS
Author , Agri
STUDY ON - THE BOOK OF GALATIANS
T R E A S U R E... S E E K E R S ... I N ... T H E ... O L D ... T E S T A M E N T - LUKE
'Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path......Where your treasure is
there is your heart also'
THE BOOK OF GALATIANS
The author of Galatians is not disputed, as it is very clear from the opening verse that it is indeed no other than Paul.
Gal 1v1 Paul and apostle- sent not from men nor by man but by Jesus Christ and God and Father who raised him from the dead – and all the brothers with me.
However, when and where this letter was written is another matter entirely, with two different theories put forward with valid points as to the dates. But before we look at that, lets have a little history lesson.
Galatia was an ancient nation which now makes up part of modern day Turkey, whos capital , Ankara, was known as Ancyra which was also the capital of Galatia.
Galatia was ruled early on by the Hittites and from 3rd century BC by the Celtic Gauls. In 189 BC Rome launched a serious campaign against Galatia which ended in victory for Rome. Galatia never recovered and declined in importance , strength and wealth.
In 64BC, Galatia became a client state of Rome, a popular method the Romans introduced for expanding the Empire. A nation on the border would be left alone in peace until the current King or ruler died, upon which the lands would then be incorporated into the Empire.
Three chiefs, one from each Celtic tribe, were put in charge of ruling Galatia, but this soon fell apart. Galatia eventually became a province of the Roman Empire in 25BC after the death of the third king, Amyntas. Galatia was also one of the few provinces who were actually loyal to Rome.
On his first Missionary trip, Paul set up the churches in Southern Galatia, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe.
Paul also went to visit Galatia on his second missionary journey accompanied by Silas and Timothy Acts 16:6 during which he was taken ill Gal 4:13, which left him more time to preach the gospel. Churches set up on this trip were Pessinus Ancyra and Tavium.
Paul visited Galatia a third time on his 3rd missionary journey, this time going all over the region, Acts 18:23 where his message was enthusiastically accepted. While visiting Lystra with Barnabas, Paul healed a lame man, the crowds then started worshiping Paul and Barnabas saying they were the gods Hermes and Zeus , when Paul told them to stop, they stoned him and left him for dead. Acts 14:8-20. Despite this a good number of Galatians accepted Paul and accepted the Gospel, which saw growth of many churches in Galatia.
So when was the book of Galatians written? There are two theories, the North Galatian and South Galatian.
The oldest theory is the North Galatian theory, which claims the letter is to the Northern churches founded on his second trip, which would have meant the letter was written between 53 and 57 from either Ephesus or Macedonia.
The Southern theory is that the letter was written to, yes you guessed it, the southern churches which means that the letter had to be written from 49-53 in either Antioch or Corinth
SO what was the purpose of the letter to the Galatians? A group of Jewish Christians known as Judaisers believed that many Old Testament laws, practices and traditions were still binding to Gentile Christians. This group pursued this matter strongly and insisted that any new Christian should, for example, be circumcised. This may have been down to the persecution of Jews who objected to their association and mixing with Gentiles. Gal 6:12
The Judaisers also claimed that Paul was not an authentic apostle and that in order to make the Gospel more appealing, he had removed many legal requirements in order to be a Christian.
This resulted in many Galatians becoming confused, it hindered their spiritual growth, freedom and relationship with Christ, even to the point of many taking up Mosaic law and becoming bogged down in legalism, which Christ quite clearly said was not necessary, as Christs death made all this obsolete and unnecessary to have a relationship with and under the grace of God
Gal 1:6, 4:9 4:10 5:7
Pauls letter to the Galatians clearly established his apostolic authority and authenticated his teaching of the Gospel. He clearly shows that the it was the Judaisers, and not him, who had perverted the Gospel and that anyone falling for this heresy would end up in bondage of legalism. Paul reinforces that it is by grace through faith alone that everyone is justified and it is only by faith that all people can live rest of their lives on freedom of the Spirit. Read chapters 1 and 2.
This message in Galatians that we are justified by having only to have faith in Jesus Christ and just live in obedience that comes through faith in Gods work, and the Grace and Power of Christ and the Holy Spirit sparked the Reformation. Martin Luther relied so much on this letter to the Galatians, that it became known as Luther’s Book. One key verse he used was 2:16
When you read through Galatians you can get the sense of urgency, passion and indeed anger that Paul was feeling, that he was indeed fighting against the odds and the battle he faced to bring the Galatians back to the correct path and reject the false teaching of the Judaisers.
Now we look at a few “soundbites” and other thought provoking verses.
1:6 “I am Astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and turning to a different Gospel.
1:10 Am I now trying to win approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men I would not be a servant of Christ
2:11 When Peter came to Antioch I opposed him to his face because he was clearly wrong.
3:1 YOU FOOLISH GALATIANS!! Who has bewitched you?
3:3 Are you so Foolish? After beginning with the Spirit are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
3:10 All who rely on observing the law are cursed.
3:26-28 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, For all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ, There is neither Jew nor Greek slave nor free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus
4:9 But now that you know God or rather known by God, how is it you are turning your back to those weak and miserable principles? DO you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?
4:11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
4:17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so you will be zealous for them.
5:1 It is for Freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
5:2 Mark my Words! I Paul tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised Christ will be of no value to you at all.
5:22-23 The fruits of the spirit is love, joy, peace patience kindness goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law.
6:7 Do not be deceived : God can not be mocked A man reaps what he sows.
6:11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
6:17 Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
The key parts of Galatians, which will also make good studies are
1. 1:1-10 No Other Gospel, The True Message.
2. 1:11-24 Paul Called by God
3. 2: 1-10 Paul Accepted by the Apostles
4. 2:11-21 Justified by faith Alone
5. 3:1-14 Faith or Observance Of The Law?
6. 3:15-26 The Law and the Promise
7. 3:26 – 4:20 Sons of God and Known by God
8. 4:21- 5:15 Hagar and Sarah – Freedom In Christ
9. 5:24-6:18 Doing Good To All. Reaping What You Sow.