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Galatians derives its title from the region in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) where the churches addressed were located. This is Paul’s only epistle specifically addressed to churches in more than one city
and from all the brothers and sisters with me. To the churches in Galatia.
Galatians 1:2 CEB
Paul founded the churches in the southern Galatian cities of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe.
Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos to Perga in Pamphylia. John deserted them there and returned to Jerusalem. They went on from Perga and arrived at Antioch in Pisidia. On the Sabbath, they entered and found seats in the synagogue there. After the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue leaders invited them, “Brothers, if one of you has a sermon for the people, please speak.”
Acts of the Apostles 13:13-15 CEB
The same thing happened in Iconium. Paul and Barnabas entered the Jewish synagogue and spoke as they had before. As a result, a huge number of Jews and Greeks believed.
Acts of the Apostles 14:1 CEB
In Lystra there was a certain man who lacked strength in his legs. He had been crippled since birth and had never walked. Sitting there, he heard Paul speaking. Paul stared at him and saw that he believed he could be healed.
Acts of the Apostles 14:8-9 CEB
Paul and Barnabas proclaimed the good news to the people in Derbe and made many disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, where
Acts of the Apostles 14:21 CEB
Galatians gives us some historical information about Paul's background that we don't find in other biblical documents, including his three-year stay in Arabia his fifteen-day visit with Peter after his stay in Arabia
Galatians 1:15-19 CEB But God had set me apart from birth and called me through his grace. He was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might preach about him to the Gentiles. I didn’t immediately consult with any human being. I didn’t go up to Jerusalem to see the men who were apostles before me either, but I went away into Arabia and I returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. But I didn’t see any other of the apostles except James the brother of the Lord.
We learn about his trip to the Jerusalem Council,
Then after fourteen years I went up to Jerusalem again with Barnabas, and I took Titus along also.
Galatians 2:1 CEB
and his confrontation of Peter.
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was wrong.
Galatians 2:11 CEB
We'll talk about these things later in our study.
Most scholars date the letter at sometime shortly after 49 AD because Paul mentions a visit to the Jerusalem Council
Then after fourteen years I went up to Jerusalem again with Barnabas, and I took Titus along also.
Galatians 2:1 CEB
That council is described in Acts 15 took place in 49 AD
Some people came down from Judea teaching the family of believers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom we’ve received from Moses, you can’t be saved.” Paul and Barnabas took sides against these Judeans and argued strongly against their position. The church at Antioch appointed Paul, Barnabas, and several others from Antioch to go up to Jerusalem to set this question before the apostles and the elders.
Acts of the Apostles 15:1-2 CEB
At that Council there was something important that happened that Paul addressed in his letter to the Galatians.
Some believers from among the Pharisees stood up and claimed, “The Gentiles must be circumcised. They must be required to keep the Law from Moses.”
Acts of the Apostles 15:5 CEB
The apostles and the elders, along with the entire church, agreed to send some delegates chosen from among themselves to Antioch, together with Paul and Barnabas. They selected Judas Barsabbas and Silas, who were leaders among the brothers and sisters. They were to carry this letter: The apostles and the elders, to the Gentile brothers and sisters in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Greetings! We’ve heard that some of our number have disturbed you with unsettling words we didn’t authorize. We reached a united decision to select some delegates and send them to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul. These people have devoted their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are sending Judas and Silas. They will confirm what we have written. The Holy Spirit has led us to the decision that no burden should be placed on you other than these essentials: refuse food offered to idols, blood, the meat from strangled animals, and sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid such things. Farewell.
Acts of the Apostles 15:22-29 CEB
Paul wrote Galatians to counter Judaizing false teachers who were undermining the central New Testament doctrine of justification by faith.
All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, but all are treated as righteous freely by his grace because of a ransom that was paid by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:23-24 CEB
Ignoring the express decree of the Jerusalem Council, they were spreading a dangerous teaching that Gentiles must first become Jewish proselytes and submit to all the Mosaic Law before they could become Christians.
It’s not really another gospel, but certain people are confusing you and they want to change the gospel of Christ.
Galatians 1:7 CEB
They are so concerned about you, though not with good intentions. Rather, they want to shut you out so that you would run after them. Tell me—those of you who want to be under the Law—don’t you listen to the Law?
Galatians 4:17, 21 CEB
Look, I, Paul, am telling you that if you have yourselves circumcised, having Christ won’t help you. Again I swear to every man who has himself circumcised that he is required to do the whole Law. You people who are trying to be made righteous by the Law have been estranged from Christ. You have fallen away from grace! We eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness through the Spirit by faith. Being circumcised or not being circumcised doesn’t matter in Christ Jesus, but faith working through love does matter. You were running well—who stopped you from obeying the truth? This line of reasoning doesn’t come from the one who calls you. A little yeast works through the whole lump of dough. I’m convinced about you in the Lord that you won’t think any other way. But the one who is confusing you will pay the penalty, whoever that may be. Brothers and sisters, if I’m still preaching circumcision, why am I still being harassed? In that case, the offense of the cross would be canceled. I wish that the ones who are upsetting you would castrate themselves!
Galatians 5:2-12 CEB
Galatians 6:12-13 CEB
Shocked by the Galatians’ openness to that damning heresy, Paul wrote this letter to defend justification by faith and warn these churches of the dire consequences of abandoning that essential doctrine.
I’m amazed that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ to follow another gospel.
Galatians 1:6 CEB
Galatians is Paul’s only epistle that does not contain a commendation of its readers. This obvious omission reflects how urgently he felt about confronting the defection and defending the essential doctrine of justification.
The central theme of Galatians, much like his letter to the Roman's which we may study later, is justification by faith. Paul defends that doctrine (which is the heart of the gospel) both in its theological and practical ramifications. For example;
the inability of the law to justify
However, we know that a person isn’t made righteous by the works of the Law but rather through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. We ourselves believed in Christ Jesus so that we could be made righteous by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the Law—because no one will be made righteous by the works of the Law.
Galatians 2:16 CEB
the believer’s deadness to the law
I died to the Law through the Law, so that I could live for God.
Galatians 2:19 CEB
the believer’s crucifixion with Christ
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 CEB
The example of Abraham’s justification by faith
Understand that in the same way that Abraham “ believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness, ”
Galatians 3:6 CEB
believers are Abraham’s spiritual children and therefore blessed
Understand that in the same way that Abraham “ believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness, ” But when it saw ahead of time that God would make the Gentiles righteous on the basis of faith, scripture preached the gospel in advance to Abraham: “ All the Gentiles will be blessed in you ”. Therefore, those who believe are blessed together with Abraham who believed.
Galatians 3:6, 8-9 CEB
the law doesn’t bring salvation but it brings God’s wrath
All those who rely on the works of the Law are under a curse, because it is written, “ Everyone is cursed who does not keep on doing all the things that have been written in the Law scroll ”.
Galatians 3:10 CEB
the just living by faith
But since no one is made righteous by the Law as far as God is concerned, it is clear that “ the righteous one will live on the basis of faith ”.
Galatians 3:11 CEB
Sin is universal
But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.
Galatians 3:22 NLT
believers as spiritually baptized into Christ
All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Galatians 3:27 CEB
believers adopted as God’s spiritual children
This was so he could redeem those under the Law so that we could be adopted. Because you are sons and daughters, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” Therefore, you are no longer a slave but a son or daughter, and if you are his child, then you are also an heir through God.
Galatians 4:5-7 CEB
love fulfilling the law
All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: “ Love your neighbor as yourself ”.
Galatians 5:14 CEB
the importance of walking in the Spirit
I say be guided by the Spirit and you won’t carry out your selfish desires.
Galatians 5:16 CEB
the warfare of the flesh against the Spirit
A person’s selfish desires are set against the Spirit, and the Spirit is set against one’s selfish desires. They are opposed to each other, so you shouldn’t do whatever you want to do.
Galatians 5:17 CEB
the importance of believers bearing one another’s burdens
Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 CEB
Departing From The Gospel
On his first missionary journey, Paul journeyed through Galatia (modern-day Turkey) preaching and establishing churches. Within a very short time, however, a number of prominent Jewish legalists (called Judaizers) infiltrated the grace communities and began teaching that faith in Christ alone was not enough to make a person right with God. Salvation, according to their convincing arguments, also required strict adherence to the Mosaic Law. The result was confused congregations and, ultimately, an angry apostle. Paul’s deep concern over the churches’ defection from the gospel is evident from the opening paragraphs of this letter, which lacks his customary commendations and courtesies and is, instead, brief and impersonal, with a sharp tone.
Question; Is the purity of the gospel important?
Is it alright to mix elements of radically different faith traditions with the message of grace in Christ?
Paul answers with a resounding “No!”
Jesus summed up the spirit of His ministry in;
The synagogue assistant gave him the scroll from the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me . He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Luke 4:17-19 CEB
The gospel does not reveal a new plan of salvation; it proclaims the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation that was begun in Israel, was completed in Jesus Christ, and is made known by the church. The gospel is the saving work of God in His Son Jesus Christ and a call to faith in Him. Jesus is more than a messenger of the gospel; He is the gospel. His life, teaching, and atoning death declared the good news of God. In turning from grace to a legalistic system of salvation by works, the Galatians had ignored the significance of the death of Christ.