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 THE EPISTLE TO GALATIANS BY PAUL

Author: Paul, the Apostle
Date Written: early Autumn A.D. 49
Written to: The Galatian Churches from
Antioch before the First Church Council

Key Verse: 2:16
Key Word: "Spirit" (18x)
Content: The Law and The Gospel
Theme: Liberty in Christ

  The writer of Galatians was also the Apostle Paul, whom God chose to replace Judas Eeskahreeōtays and to be the Apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; Gal. 1:1,15; 2:7-9; 1 Cor. 9:1,2; 15:9; 2 Cor. 1:1; 12:12; Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:1; 1 Tim. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:1,11). He was a fellow laborer and companion of Bahrnáhbahs, who befriended and testified for him upon his return to Jerusalem from Arabia (Gal. 1:17,18) and Dahmahskóhs (Acts 9:27,28). On the first missionary journey, they established churches in Galatia. Galatians is the first of Paul's 14 N.T. Epistles. It is the first of a trilogy (with Romans and Hebrews) on Habakkuk 2:4b (cf. 3:11). Galatians emphasizes the "live" aspect (2:19,20).
  The readers were chiefly Gauls, a cantankerous, impulsive, changeable, novelty-loving people in central Asia Minor. Historical mention describes them as repulsive liars and cheaters. Lovers of novelty are an easy prey for false teachers (4:17 cf. 1:6).
  Internal evidence to Paul's authorship of Galatians includes his identification of himself in his opening salutation (1:1), his own personal testimony (1:11-24), his comparison to the Apostle Peter (2:7,8) and the evidence of the letter written in his own large handwriting (6:11). The evidence of Paul's authorship is so strong that it is not under attack by the critics.
  However the destination of this Epistle is under debate: Were the churches of Galatia in the north or the south of that province? Explanation supporting the North Galatian view is weak, inconclusive, and unconvincing. On the one hand there is no Scriptural account of Paul's visit to the northern region. On the other hand Scripture does attest that he did visit cities and establish churches in the south on both his first and second missionary journeys. Acts names the southern and not the northern churches. Galatians is in harmony with Acts (Gal. 4:14 cf. Acts 14:12; Gal. 6:17 cf. Acts 14:19).
  Dating of Galatians is more than fourteen years (1:16 cf. 2:1) after Paul's conversion (A.D. 33) and prior to five events which are not mentioned:
           1. the first church council in Jerusalem (late A.D. 49);
           2. the martyrdom of James, the brother of our Lord (A.D. 62-63) because
                 James is mentioned as alive (2:9);
           3. the burning of Rome and the first Imperial persecution (A.D. 64-66);
           4. the Jewish rebellion (A.D. 66) and particularly the destruction of Jerusalem
                  (A.D. 70); and
           5. the martyrdoms of Peter (A.D. 66) and Paul (A.D. 67).
  The occasion for writing Galatians was, while ministering in Antioch (early Autumn, A.D. 49) after his first missionary journey, news of evil workers who were Judaizers in Galatia were claiming, "Except one keep the law and be circumcised, he cannot be saved." Paul insisted that his apostleship be recognized. Otherwise he did not have authority to teach new doctrine and thus both his person and his ministry should be rejected.
  The purpose of Paul in Galatians is to correct the false doctrine of salvation by works; to stress salvation by grace through faith; and to demonstrate that The Lord Jesus Christ committed to him a ministry as an apostle, whose message and authority were divine (1:1,17; 2:8).
  The Book may be outlined as follows:
     I. Personal - The Apostle of Freedom (1:1-2:21).
    II. Doctrinal - The Gospel of Freedom (3:1-4:29).
   III. Practical - The Life of Freedom (5:1-6:18).


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