After Paul left Galatia, false apostles arrived. They discredited Paul and proclaimed a false gospel that Gentile Galatians must follow the Law of Moses. Now Paul writes the community to defends his apostleship AND the gospel of Jesus Christ.
AUTHOR. The Pauline authorship of Galatians has, except for a few radical critics, been generally acknowledged.
RECIPIENTS. This letter was addressed to the churches in Galatia. However, in those days, there were two Galatias.
- “Northern” Galatia. This was an area in Asia Minor where the Gauls had settled after migrating from western Europe through Italy and Greece.
- “Southern” Galatia. In 25 BC, “Northern” Galatia was converted into a Roman province. Territory was added to the south, including the cities of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe.
So a debate has raged for centuries over whether Paul wrote this letter to “Northern” Galatia or to “Southern” Galatia.
PLACE AND DATE. Paul probably write this letter while he was in Antioch of Syria in about 48 AD.
PURPOSE. The false apostles in Galatia both discredited Paul and proclaimed a false gospel. It was necessary that Paul defend his apostolic authority and his message of justification by faith. And it was necessary that Paul call Christians back from legalism to grace.
EFFECT: This Letter has exerted enormous influence on the history of Christianity, the development of Christian theology, and the study of the apostle Paul.
After Paul had left Galatia, other evangelists arrived. They discredited Paul and proclaimed a false gospel.
A DEFENSE OF PAUL’S AUTHORITY
Paul defends his apostleship. He meets the leaders in Jerusalem. They approve of his gospel message. Paul publicly rebukes Peter. We are justified by faith. Jesus Christ is all we need.
A DEFENSE OF JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH
The Galatians had rejected justification by faith, for their own religious works. Righteous people live by faith and are God’s children by faith. All are equal.
Paul says the Galatians have been set free. They should not throw it away. He appeals to their former loyalty. He shares an allegory of Christian freedom.
A DEFENSE OF CHRISTIAN FREEDOM
The Lord Jesus Christ has set us free! We are to walk with the Holy Spirit. From each believer, nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit are meant to arise naturally.
Like the Good Samaritan, we are to bear one another’s burdens. We will reap what we sow. What matters is being a new creation in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Galatians 2:20. I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.
Galatians 3:26. For you are all children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 4:9. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, why do you turn back again to the weak and miserable elemental principles, to which you desire to be in bondage all over again?
Galatians 5:1. Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don’t be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
Galatians 5:16. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Galatians 5:22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,
Galatians 5:23. gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 6:2. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:7. Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
Galatians 6:9. Let’s not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up.
Galatians 6:10. So then, as we have opportunity, let’s do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household of the faith.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.