Galatians, Epistle to the
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The Epistle to the Galatians is a book of the New Testament. It is a letter from Paul of Tarsus to a number of early Christian communities in the Roman province of Galatia in central Anatolia. It is principally concerned with the controversy surrounding Gentile Christians and the Mosaic Law within Early Christianity.
|“||You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?—Gal. 3:1||”|
The letter indicates that some of the Galatians had been influenced to believe that they needed to be circumcised in order to be true Christians. Paul expressed extreme dismay at those among the Galatians who had accepted this teaching.
He angrily condemned those who taught it as «false brethren,» saying, «I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!» (Galatians 5:12) He argued forcefully for Christian freedom from the Jewish ceremonial law, insisting that Christians are «justified by faith» and are «no longer under the supervision of the law.
» (3:24-25) The letter is also famous for its universalism, especially its saying: «There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.» (3:28)Along with the Epistle to the Romans, Galatians is the most theologically significant of the Pauline epistles, and has been particularly influential in Protestant thought.
Ironically, although it was intended to unite Jews and Christians, it later became the basis for Christians separating themselves from Jews, and even persecuting Jewish Christians who continued the practice of circumcision.
Paul preaches to the Gentiles.
The churches of Galatia were founded by Paul himself, together with Timothy and Silas.
(Acts 16:6) These communities seem to have been composed at least partly of converts from paganism, although both Jews and «God-fearers»—Gentiles who accepted the One God and associated with Jewish synagogues, but not as full members—were also involved.
After Paul's departure, the churches were visited by individuals whom Paul regarded as troublemakers preaching a «different gospel» from that preached by Paul. (1:6–9) The Galatians were receptive to the teaching of these newcomers, and the epistle is Paul's angry response to what he sees as their willingness to turn from his teaching.
The opponents against whom Paul battles are known today as Judaizers, teachers who insisted that in order for Gentiles to be accepted into the Christian community, they must become Jews. This meant not only accepting the moral laws of Judaism, such as the Ten Commandments, but also being circumcised.
Prior to Paul and Barnabas' mission to the Gentiles, nearly all members of the Christian movement had been Jews.
Thus, many in the Judean churches—who saw Jesus as the resurrected Jewish Messiah—understood that belief in Jesus and his teachings could only be practiced by people willing to live as Jews, just as Jesus did.
The letter indicates a particularly heated controversy concerning circumcision, Sabbath observance, fellowship between Gentiles and Jews within the Christian community, and the Mosaic Law.
Galatians addresses the basic question «Was the Mosaic Law binding on Gentile Christians?» The epistle is designed to counter the position that acceptance of Jewish ceremonial law—especially circumcision—was an essential part of following Jesus.
Icon of Saint Paul
In chapter 1 Paul defends his apostolic authority. (1:11–19; 2:1–14) He insists that his words are just as binding as any other apostle's, even though Paul himself did not follow the living Jesus in his earthly life.
Paul also admits that he personally opposed the early Christian movement. Paul's gospel was not taught to him by men, but by a «revelation from Jesus Christ.
» Thus, he declares: «Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!»
In chapter 2, Paul explains that he was at first distrusted by the Judean church. However, three years after his conversion, he went to Jerusalem. There he met none of the other apostles except «James, the Lord's brother.
» Then, after 14 years he returned to Jerusalem to meet with a larger group to discuss how the gospel should be properly preached among the Gentiles. Paul may be describing the so-called Council of Jerusalem of Acts 15, although the accounts are not easy to reconcile.There, Paul was opposed by certain «false brothers»—probably the members of the Jerusalem church from a strict branch of the Pharisees, as reported in Acts 15:5, who insisted that Gentile believers be circumcised. Paul sees himself as the apostle to the Gentiles, while Peter had been sent to the Jews.
 Paul names James, Peter, and John—in that order—as the «pillars» of the church and declares that they agreed entirely with him.
However, at Antioch, where Paul and Barnabas had established a sizable community, certain «men from James» came from Jerusalem and stirred up a major controversy. The issue was no longer whether Gentiles had to be circumcised, for that question had already been settled.
Rather, it was whether Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians could share table fellowship with one another. The «men from James» insisted that Jews were not allowed to eat with Gentiles, while Paul insisted that Jews and Gentiles were one family in Christ.
The other Jews in the congregation—including both Peter and Paul's companion Barnabas—ended up siding with the «men from James,» with the result that Paul publicly opposed Peter «to his face.»
The exile of Hagar: In equating believers in Jesus with Sarah, and Judaism with the rejected Hagar, Paul laid the foundation for Christianity as a distinct religion which viewed Jewish tradition with disdain.
In chapter 3, Paul gives the theological basis for his stance: «The law was put in charge to lead us to Christ,» he explains, «that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
» Instead, we become children of God through faith in Jesus. He concludes with a famous passage: «There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.»
In chapter 4, Paul again takes up his diatribe against the Judaizers, saying that «Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good.
» He uses the analogy of the biblical women Sarah and Hagar and their sons, Isaac and Ishmael, as figures of Christian freedom versus Jewish enslavement to the Law of Moses.
In a passage declaring Christianity's ultimate estrangement from the Jewish religion from which it sprang, he invokes Genesis' order to «get rid of the slave woman and her son» (Genesis 21:10) and declares: «We are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.»Finally, in chapter 5, Paul throws down the gauntlet and absolutely forbids the circumcision of Gentile Christians. «If you let yourselves be circumcised,» he declares, «Christ will be of no value to you at all… you have fallen away from grace.
» At the same time, he cautions against taking Christian freedom too far, for one must indeed struggle against the «sinful nature» by following Judaism' basic moral commandments, if not its ceremonial law.
Among the sinful acts Paul lists to be avoided are: «sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, and orgies.»
Paul concludes his letter by encouraging his readers to be vigilant against evil and «do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
» He ends with a note written in his own hand—as opposed to the rest of the letter, which was apparently dictated to a scribe—reminding the Galatians that: «Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.»
Virtually all scholars agree that Galatians is one of the most certain examples of Paul's own writing.
The main arguments in favor of the authenticity of Galatians include its style and themes, which are common to the core letters of the Pauline corpus, and the historical connection to Acts of the Apostles.
Moreover, Paul's description of the Council of Jerusalem (Gal 2:1–10) gives a different point of view than the description in Acts 15:2–29, whereas a forger writing in later decades would most ly have stuck close to the account in Acts to convince his audience that this was an authentic writing by Paul.
The central dispute in the letter concerns the question of how Gentiles could convert to Christianity, which shows that this letter was written at a very early stage in church history, when the vast majority of Christians were Jewish or Jewish proselytes. There is no hint in the letter of a developed organization within the Christian community at large. This puts it during the lifetime of Paul himself.
Date and audience
Galatia was a Roman province in today's Turkey. On this map, the Mare Internum is the Mediterranean Sea.
The Acts of the Apostles records Paul traveling to the «region of Galatia and Phrygia,» the latter lying immediately west of Galatia. It is probably to these churches that the Epistle to the Galatians was addressed.
There are two main theories about when Galatians was written and to whom. The North Galatian view holds that it was written soon after Paul's second visit to Galatia (Acts 18:23), during his «second missionary journey.
» The visit to Jerusalem, mentioned in Gal 2:1–10, seems identical with that of Acts 15, and it is spoken of as a thing of the past. In this view the epistle must have been written after the Council of Jerusalem.
Also the similarity between this epistle and that to the Romans has led some to the conclusion that they were both written around the same time, namely, in the winter of 57-58 C.E., during Paul's stay in Corinth (Acts 20:2–3).The letter to the Galatians, however, was written urgently in harsh language with little systematic thinking, while the letter to the Romans is a more deliberate and systematic treatise, in exposition of the same fundamental doctrines. This argues for Galatians being written before Romans.
The South Galatian view holds that Paul wrote it during his first missionary journey, when he traveled throughout southern Galatia. This theory makes the letter quite early, perhaps 48 or 49 C.E. In this view Galatians may be the first of Paul's extant letters, even predating Thessalonians.
With the exception of Romans, the Epistle to the Galatians is probably the most significant of Paul's surviving letters, in terms of historical impact.
Indeed, many of its «shoot-from-the-hip» arguments make for better short quotations even than Romans, although Galatians is far less theologically sophisticated. As far as the controversy with the Judaizers is concerned, ultimately, Paul's attitude on the circumcision issue carried the day.
Christianity would not be a Jewish sect that believed Jesus was the Messiah, but would become a separate religion in the Roman Empire, appealing mainly to Gentiles.
Later, Paul's letter was used effectively by those in the Christian church who believed that Christianity should have little or nothing to do with the Jewish religion and people from which it sprang. During the Spanish Inquisition, this attitude led inquisitors to consider the circumcision of children of Jewish converts to be evidence of insincerity and heresy, a crime punishable by death.
During the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther and other reformers used Galatians to emphasize the principle of sola gracia—salvation by grace alone rather than Catholic «legalism» and «works» of penance.
For Luther, there could be no compromise of Galatians' assertion that we are «justified by faith» alone, even if the Epistle of James had insisted on the exact opposite, that man is justified by works, not faith.
Finally, to church historians, Galatians provides some of the New Testament's most useful information regarding the early church. Since it covers some of the same material as the Book of Acts—sometimes confirming it, other times seeming to contradict it—Galatians serves as a means of establishing confirmed facts about early Christian history.On the other hand, it also exposes fascinating differences of perspective and opinion between Paul—who sees himself as absolutely right and people such as the «men from James» and even the Apostle Peter as dead wrong on the issue of table fellowship—and Acts, which many critics believes tends to smooth over the differences between James, Peter, and Paul.
- ↑ This account, too, does not entirely square with Acts' version, where Peter, not Paul, is the first to have preached to the Gentiles.
- ↑ Acts, however, indicates that James insisted that Gentile Christians must not eat meat that had been strangled and must refrain from «blood»—two kosher dietary rules that hardly square with Paul's insistence that Jewish ceremonial laws do not apply to Gentiles.
Acts also indicates a stipulation that Gentile Christians must not eat food sacrificed to idols, an issue which Paul deals with in chapter 8 of 1 Corinthians.
- Boers, Hendrikus. The Justification of the Gentiles: Paul's Letters to the Galatians and Romans. Hendrickson Publishers, 1994. ISBN 978-1565630116
- Dunn, James D. G. The Epistle to the Galatians. Black's New Testament commentaries. Hendrickson Publishers, 1993. ISBN 9781565630369
- Galambush, Julie. The Reluctant Parting: How the New Testament's Jewish Writers Created a Christian Book. HarperSanFrancisco, 2005. ISBN 9780060596361
- Howard, George. Paul: Crisis in Galatia: a Study in Early Christian Theology. Cambridge University Press, 1979. ISBN 9780521217095
All links retrieved May 18, 2017.
Online translations of the Epistle to Galatians:
Epistle to the Galatians — Read the Bible Online
This summary of the book of Galatians provides information about the title, author(s), date of writing, chronology, theme, theology, outline, a brief overview, and the chapters of the Book of Galatians.
The opening verse identifies the author of Galatians as the apostle Paul. Apart from a few 19th-century interpreters, no one has seriously questioned his authorship.
Date and Destination
The date of Galatians depends to a great extent on the destination of the letter. There are two main views:
- The North Galatian theory. This older view holds that the letter was addressed to churches located in north-central Asia Minor (Pessinus, Ancyra and Tavium), where the Gauls had settled when they invaded the area in the third century b.c. It is held that Paul visited this area on his second missionary journey, though Acts contains no reference to such a visit. Galatians, it is maintained, was written between a.d. 53 and 57 from Ephesus or Macedonia.
- The South Galatian theory. According to this view, Galatians was written to churches in the southern area of the Roman province of Galatia (Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe) that Paul had founded on his first missionary journey. Some believe that Galatians was written from Syrian Antioch in 48-49 after Paul's first journey and before the Jerusalem council meeting (Ac 15). Others say that Galatians was written in Syrian Antioch or Corinth between 51 and 53.
Occasion and Purpose
Judaizers were Jewish Christians who believed, among other things, that a number of the ceremonial practices of the OT were still binding on the NT church. Following Paul's successful campaign in Galatia, they insisted that Gentile converts to Christianity abide by certain OT rites, especially circumcision.
They may have been motivated by a desire to avoid the persecution of Zealot Jews who objected to their fraternizing with Gentiles (see 6:12). The Judaizers argued that Paul was not an authentic apostle and that a desire to make the message more appealing to Gentiles he had removed from the gospel certain legal requirements.
Paul responded by clearly establishing his apostolic authority and thereby substantiating the gospel he preached. By introducing additional requirements for justification (e.g.
, works of the law) his adversaries had perverted the gospel of grace and, unless prevented, would bring Paul's converts into the bondage of legalism.
It is by grace through faith alone that people are justified, and it is by faith alone that they are to live out their new life in the freedom of the Spirit.
Galatians stands as an eloquent and vigorous apologetic for the essential NT truth that people are justified by faith in Jesus Christ — by nothing less and nothing more — and that they are sanctified not by legalistic works but by the obedience that comes from faith in God's work for them, in them and through them by the grace and power of Christ and the Holy Spirit. It was the rediscovery of the basic message of Galatians (and Romans) that brought about the Protestant Reformation. Galatians is often referred to as «Luther's book,» because Martin Luther relied so strongly on this letter in all his preaching, teaching and writing against the prevailing theology of his day. It is also referred to as the «Magna Carta of Christian Liberty.» A key verse is 2:16 (see note there).
- Introduction (1:1-10)
- Greetings (1:1-5)
- Denunciation (1:6-10)
- Personal: Authentication of the Apostle of Liberty and Faith (1:11;2:21)
- Paul's Gospel Was Received by Special Revelation (1:11-12)
- Paul's Gospel Was Independent of the Jerusalem Apostles and the Judean Churches (1:13;2:21)
- Evidenced by his early activities as a Christian (1:13-17)
- Evidenced by his first post-Christian visit to Jerusalem (1:18-24)
- Evidenced by his second post-Christian visit to Jerusalem (2:1-10)
- Evidenced by his rebuke of Peter at Antioch (2:11-21)
- Doctrinal: Justification of the Doctrine of Liberty and Faith (chs. 3-4)
- The Galatians' Experience of the Gospel (3:1-5)
- The Experience of Abraham (3:6-9)
- The Curse of the Law (3:10-14)
- The Priority of the Promise (3:15-18)
- The Purpose of the Law (3:19-25)
- Sons, Not Slaves (3:26;4:7)
- The Danger of Turning Back (4:8-11)
- Appeal to Embrace the Freedom of God's Children (4:12-20)
- God's Children Are Children of the Free Woman (4:21-31)
- Practical: Practice of the Life of Liberty and Faith (5:1;6:10)
- Exhortation to Freedom (5:1-12)
- Life by the Spirit, Not by the Flesh (5:13-26)
- Call for Mutual Help (6:1-10)
- Conclusion and Benediction (6:11-18)
From the NIV Study Bible, Introductions to the Books of the Bible, Galatians
Copyright 2002 © Zondervan. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Epistle to the Galatians Послание к Галатам
General InformationОбщая информация
The Epistle to the Galatians is one of the books of the New Testament. Послание к Галатам является одной из книг Нового Завета. It was written by Saint Paul in answer to opponents who were trying to convince the Galatian Christians that circumcision was necessary for salvation.
The letter, written about AD 54 — 55, is the fourth epistle in the collection of Pauline letters in the Bible. Она была написана Сент-Пол в ответ на оппонентов, которые пытались убедить Galatian христиан о том, что обрезание необходимо для спасения.
Это письмо, написанное по поводу АД 54 — 55, занимает четвертое письмо в сборе Полин письма в Библии.
The Galatians lived in north central Anatolia. Галатам жил в северо-центральной Анатолии. Their faith evidently had been disturbed by the insistence of some Jewish Christians on close ties to Judaism even for gentile converts to Christianity.
Их вера, очевидно, была озабочена настоянию некоторых еврейских христиан о тесных связей с иудаизмом, даже для язычников преобразует в христианство. Paul replied by developing the theme of the efficacy of salvation in Jesus Christ. Пол ответил, развивая тему эффективности спасении в Иисусе Христе.
In the first two chapters, he defends his apostleship and authority. He then presents arguments from Scripture for the primacy of faith in Jesus as alone essential for salvation (chapters 3 — 4) and continues with an exhortation to true Christian life and freedom (chapters 5 — 6).
This epistle and the Epistle to the Romans served as prime sources for the Reformation teaching on justification by faith. В первых двух главах, он отстаивает свое апостольство и авторитет.
Затем он представляет аргументы от Писания о примате веры в Иисуса как в одиночку необходимо для спасения (главы 3 — 4) и продолжает наставления к подлинной христианской жизни и свободы (главы 5 — 6). Это послание, и Послание к Римлянам служил в качестве основных источников для Реформации преподавания на оправдание по вере.
Anthony J Salsarini Энтони J Salsarini
J Bligh, Galatians (1969); JD Dunn, Jesus, Paul, and the Law (1990). J Bligh, Галатам (1969); доктор Dunn, Иисус, Павел, и закон (1990).
Brief Outline Краткое изложение
Introduction (1:1-10) Введение (1:1-10)
Paul attempted to vindicate his apostolic authority (1:11-2:21) Пол пытался доказывать свою апостольскую власть (1:11-2:21)
Explanation of the meaning of Justification by Faith (3:1-4:31) Объяснение смысла оправдания верой (3:1-4:31)
Nature of the Christian life of liberty (5:1-6:10) Характер христианской жизни свободы (5:1-6:10)
Conclusion, appeal to Galatians to return to their initial Faith (6:11-17) Вывод, обращаюсь к Галатам вернуться к своей первоначальной вере (6:11-17)
Benediction (6:18) Благословения (6:18)
Epistle to the Gala'tians Послание к Gala'tians
Advanced InformationAdvanced Информация
The genuineness of this epistle is not called in question. Подлинность этого Послания, не ставят под сомнение. Its Pauline origin is universally acknowledged. Ее Полин происхождения является общепризнанным. Occasion of. Случае. The churches of Galatia were founded by Paul himself (Acts 16:6; Gal. 1:8; 4:13, 19).
They seem to have been composed mainly of converts from heathenism (4:8), but partly also of Jewish converts, who probably, under the influence of Judaizing teachers, sought to incorporate the rites of Judaism with Christianity, and by their active zeal had succeeded in inducing the majority of the churches to adopt their views (1:6; 3:1).
This epistle was written for the purpose of counteracting this Judaizing tendency, and of recalling the Galatians to the simplicity of the gospel, and at the same time also of vindicating Paul's claim to be a divinely-commissioned apostle. Церквам Галатии была основана самим Павлом (Деян. 16:6; Гал. 1:8; 4:13, 19).Они, как представляется, были состоят в основном из конвертирует из язычества (4:8), а также частично еврейского конвертации, который, вероятно, под влиянием иудаизации учителя, стремились включить обряды иудаизма с христианством, а также их активное рвение удалось заставить большинство церквей принять свою точку зрения (1:6; 3:1).
Это Послание было написано в целях противодействия этой тенденции иудаизации, и напомнив о Галатам к простоте Евангелия, и в то же время также подтверждало Павла утверждают, что божественно-поручило Апостол.
Time and place of writing. Время и место написания. The epistle was probably written very soon after Paul's second visit to Galatia (Acts 18:23). Послание было, вероятно, написан вскоре после Павла второго визита в Галатии (Деяния 18:23). The references of the epistle appear to agree with this conclusion. Документы о послании, как согласиться с этим выводом.
The visit to Jerusalem, mentioned in Gal. Поездка в Иерусалим, о котором говорится в Гал. 2:1-10, was identical with that of Acts 15, and it is spoken of as a thing of the past, and consequently the epistle was written subsequently to the council of Jerusalem.
2:1-10, был идентичен, что в актах, 15, и он говорил, как канула в прошлое, и, следовательно, письмо было написано после совета Иерусалима. The similarity between this epistle and that to the Romans has led to the conclusion that they were both written at the same time, namely, in the winter of AD 57-8, during Paul's stay in Corinth (Acts 20:2, 3).
Сходство между этим посланием и что для римлян привело к выводу, что оба они были написаны в то же время, а именно в зимний АД 57-8, во время пребывания Павла в Коринф (Деян. 20:2, 3).
This to the Galatians is written on the urgency of the occasion, tidings having reached him of the state of matters; and that to the Romans in a more deliberate and systematic way, in exposition of the same great doctrines of the gospel.
Это к Галатам написано о неотложности случая, весть достигла его состояние вопросов, а также, что для римлян в более целенаправленным и систематическим образом, в экспозиции одного и того же великого доктрины Евангелия. Contents of. .The great question discussed is, Was the Jewish law binding on Christians? The epistle is designed to prove against the Jews that men are justified by faith without the works of the law of Moses.
Большой вопрос обсуждали это был еврейский закон обязательным для христиан? Письмо предназначено для доказательства против евреев, что мужчины оправдывается верою, не делами закона Моисея. After an introductory address (Gal. 1:1-10) the apostle discusses the subjects which had occasioned the epistle. После вступительного адрес (гал.
1:1-10) апостол обсуждаются вопросы, которые в связи послании.
(1) He defends his apostolic authority (1:11-19; 2:1-14); (2) shows the evil influence of the Judaizers in destroying the very essence of the gospel (3 and 4); (3) exhorts the Galatian believers to stand fast in the faith as it is in Jesus, and to abound in the fruits of the Spirit, and in a right use of their Christian freedom (5-6:1-10); (4) and then concludes with a summary of the topics discussed, and with the benediction. (1) он защищает свою апостольскую власть (1:11-19; 2:1-14); (2) показывает, зло влияние Judaizers уничтожить саму суть Евангелия (3 и 4); (3) призывает Galatian верующих стойте в вере, как это Иисус, и в изобилии плодов Духа, и в праве использовать их христианской свободы (5-6:1-10); (4), а затем делает вывод с кратким изложением темы обсуждались и с благословения.
The Epistle to the Galatians and that to the Romans taken together «form a complete proof that justification is not to be obtained meritoriously either by works of morality or by rites and ceremonies, though of divine appointment; but that it is a free gift, proceeding entirely from the mercy of God, to those who receive it by faith in Jesus our Lord.» Послание к Галатам, и что для римлян вместе взятые «форма полное доказательство, что это не оправдание для получения meritoriously либо работ морали или обрядах и церемониях, хотя и божественной Назначение, но что это дар, исходя исключительно из милости Божией, для тех, кто получит его по вере в Иисуса, Господа нашего «. In the conclusion of the epistle (6:11) Paul says, «Ye see how large a letter I have written with mine own hand.» В заключение послании (6:11) Павел говорит, «вы видите, как большое письмо я написал с моей собственной рукой». It is implied that this was different from his ordinary usage, which was simply to write the concluding salutation with his own hand, indicating that the rest of the epistle was written by another hand. Это подразумевает, что это отличается от своих обычных пользования, которое было просто написать заключительные приветствие со своей стороны, свидетельствующие о том, что остальная часть Послания были написаны другой рукой.
Galatians: our new freedom in Christ
Paul is angry.
Some false teacher has pressured the churches in Galatia (a region in the Roman Empire) to follow the Jewish Law. They’re teaching that salvation comes through the Law of Moses, and not through Christ—the exact opposite of what Paul had taught them. So Paul writes a letter to bring them back to the truth.
This letter isn’t about Paul’s ego or preferences: it’s about understanding why Jesus had to die and how it affects us.
The Jews had been living under the Law since the days of Moses. The Law was a set of expectations for God’s people: commands that, when followed, would distinguish Israel from all other nations as a people that belonged to God. However, Israel couldn’t keep the Law. Nobody could: everyone was a sinner.
So God sent Jesus. Jesus lived the Law, died for our sins, and rose again—He fulfilled the Law.
The Galatians’ new teacher completely disregards and disrespects God’s grace, Christ’s sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit’s work. That’s why Paul is so upset.
This book explains the believer’s new relationship with God. We’re freed from sin. We’re freed from the Law. We’re adopted as children of God. We’re counted as spiritual children of Abraham, whether we’re Jews or non-Jews. And we’re all empowered by the Holy Spirit to do good works, something sin prevented us from doing and the Law never enabled us to do.
Christ’s death is important, and Paul won’t let anyone forget it.
Theme verse of Galatians
The verse that demonstrates the theme of this book is Galatians 5:1, which reads:
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Check out the verse art for all the other books.
Galatians’ role in the Bible
Galatians is the fourth of Paul’s letters. Of the 27 New Testament books, Paul wrote 13. Nine of these book are letters to local churches ( the ones in Galatia).
The Galatians felt pressured to seek salvation from the Law of Moses, even though they had already accepted the grace of Christ. The book of Galatians succinctly outlines the relationship between the Law of Moses and God’s New Covenant with the Church.
Paul defends the true gospel, and deals with a few questions that would naturally arise in an argument of Law vs. grace:
What about God’s promises to Abraham?
God made an everlasting covenant (a pact or agreement) with Abraham in the book of Genesis. This was a promise to bless Abraham, his descendants, and the world (Gn 15).
Abraham’s descendants, the Hebrews, were considered God’s special people, and God set them apart from the world with the Law at Mount Sinai (this happened in Exodus).
Paul teaches that faith in Christ does not cancel out God’s promises to Abraham; rather, it extends the blessings of that covenant beyond Israel. Now, anyone who believes in Christ is a spiritual son of Abraham (Ga 3:29).
What is my relationship with God?
Paul teaches that faith in Jesus makes us not only children of Abraham, but also children of God. It’s a radical shift in identity: we are adopted into God’s family (Ga 4:5–6).
Why make the Law in the first place?
The Law is a tutor that taught us two things: (1) God is holy and expects His people to be holy, and (2) we cannot live up to His standards. The Law makes it clear that we need a savior.
What about sin?
We’re being changed, but we still sin. Paul explains how the Holy Spirit works in us to battle our sinful desires. It’s in Galatians that we find the fruit of the Spirit (Ga 5:22–23).
If we’re free from the Law, are we free to sin?
No way. “God is not mocked,” and we all reap what we sow (Ga 6:7). Paul finishes his letter with a strong call to do what’s right and not lose heart as a community of believers: “Let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Ga 6:9–10).
Paul acknowledges that those who advocate the Law may still try to refute his letter, but urges the church to lean on the true gospel of grace in Jesus.
Quick outline of Galatians
- The gospel under attack in Galatia (Ga 1:1–10)
- History of the Law vs. grace debate (Ga 1:11–2:21)
- Salvation via faith vs. salvation via works (Ga 3)
- Slavery vs. sons and heirs of God (Ga 4)
- The sinful flesh vs. the Holy Spirit (Ga 5)
- How to do good in Christian community (Ga 6)
Galatians Chapter 1 Summary, Audio & Text (KJV)
Galatians is an epistle written by Paul the apostle. He began Galatians Chapter 1 by asserting that he is an apostle who was appointed by Christ. Paul claimed that this fact alone made him un the other apostles.
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Paul’s Reason for Writing
Paul was writing this letter to the churches of Galatia because there was a huge problem about men claiming to be teachers for the Lord.
Their true intention, however, was to steer the people away from the Scripture and insert alternate other books and teachings.
These false teachers wanted to discredit Paul’s word in order to continue their selfish mission of corrupting the church of Christ.
Paul Speaks against False Teachers
In Galatians Chapter 1, Paul mentioned that he was disappointed in how easily false teachers were able to sway people away from the Scripture. He claimed to curse any man, whether he was a priest or not, that spoke of any other word than the Word of the Lord. As an obedient servant of God, he saw it as his duty to please Him and not man.
Paul Defends His Message
Paul’s Gospel was being put on trial by those that questioned his power as an apostle. Paul continued to defend his gospel by saying that its words were sent to him by the Lord and not by man. He wrote how God’s grace saved his soul by calling him to preach the Scripture to the Gentiles. He claimed that he had very little interaction with the other apostles.
Paul Tells of His Travels
After his conversion he did not consult with man, but traveled to Arabia. Then after three years he traveled to see Peter in Jerusalem, but only stayed for 15 days. The only other apostle he spoke with was James, the brother of Christ.
Paul then moved to Syria and Cilicia, remaining sight to the churches of Judea. The people of Judea had only heard of Paul’s teachings, which was enough to make believers most.
Galatians 1 (King James Version)
1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.
20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.
21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;
22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
24 And they glorified God in me.