Galatians

Context

Theme

The first four chapters Paul is arguing how Jews and Gentiles alike need to do away with the Law, and finally the hingepin verse is 5:13 where Paul says, "But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature."

Purpose

False teachers had invaded the churches in the area of Galatia and had convinced the gentile believers there that they needed to be under the Law for salvation and growth in their spiritual lives, starting with circumcision.

Paul Seemed to write this in an awful big hurry. Why was he in such a hurry? Was he making travel plans at the same time, as well? I can picture him at a mac notebook with one Window open on Expedia.com and another with an e-mail open to gro.aitalagfohcruhc|rotsap#gro.aitalagfohcruhc|rotsap.

About the Author

Quick summary with links.

Audience

The only one of Paul's letters that was addressed to multiple cities, located in what is now Turkey. The churches were in the cities of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe.

Time

Thought to be the first general epistle Paul wrote, possibly around 48 A.D.

Cultural Climate

Quick summary with links.

Political Climate

Quick summary with links.

Chapters

Outline

  1. Introduction
    1. 1:1 Unusually short greeting
    2. 1:6 Dismay at Galatian church following perverted gospel
  2. Narrative: How Paul began preaching true gospel and dealt harshly with legalism
    1. 1:11 Superiority of true gospel
    2. 1:15 Paul's conversion and subsequent preaching
    3. 2:4 First mention of false teachers of legalism
    4. 2:11 Paul confronts Peter's hypocrisy — he had thrown out Jewish Law entirely in his own life, but taught the gentiles must take on Jewish Law to please other teachers he knew were legalists.
  3. The Spirit is a gift of faith, not works (like salvation)
    1. 3:1 Example from salvation
    2. 3:6 Argument from history: Abraham
    3. 4:19 Argument by allegory: Hagar and Sarah
  4. 5:2 Acts of the law profit nothing
  5. 5:17 Characteristics of living by the Spirit or by the sinful nature
  6. 6:16 Farewell

Difficult Passages

  • 5:12 Paul here has some pretty harsh words for those that teach the Jews they need to be circumcised. He wishes they would "cut themselves off".

Points of Interest

  • 1:15 Before Paul was born, God chose him for this work. Calvinistic?
  • 2:6 "God has no favorites". Interesting… Does this mean that I am as important to God as Billy Graham? D.L. Moody? Dare I say it; as Paul?
  • 3:3 The theological error that the Galatians were drifting into was not that they were teaching that salvation came through works. This is mentioned in the preceding verses, but only as a point of reference for Paul's true argument, which is that the Galatians were teaching that you must be made perfect after salvation by following the Law, and thereby receive the Holy Spirit (v. 5). The Galatians fully understood that salvation was through faith, otherwise Paul's argument of moving from here to "receiving the Holy Spirit" through works makes no logical sense.
  • 5:19 The Spirit is always warring with our sinful nature, but this is not talking about a desire to watch TV or listen to rap music. The results of following the sinful nature are evident in the list of sins that Paul gives.

Key Verses

Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

Gal 3:3 (NKJV)

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Gal 5:1 (NKJV)

Is our Christian liberty worth protecting? Paul thinks it is. Don't give up one ounce of our freedom in Christ, for, "A little leaven leavens the whole lump."
Gal 5:9 (NKJV)

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."[

Gal 5:13-14 (NKJV)

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Gal 6:10 (NKJV)

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.