Book of Galatians
Author: Galatians 1:1 clearly identifies the Apostle Paul as the writer of the Epistle to the Galatians.
Date of Writing: Depending on where exactly the Book of Galatians was sent and during which missionary journey Paul started the churches in that area - the Book of Galatians was written somewhere between 48 and 55 A.D.
Purpose of Writing:
The churches in Galatia were formed partly of converted Jews, and partly of Gentile converts, as was generally the case. Paul asserts his apostolic character and the doctrines he taught, that he might confirm the Galatian churches in the faith of Christ, especially with respect to the important point of justification by faith alone. Thus the subject is mainly the same as that which is discussed in the epistle to the Romans, that is, justification
by faith alone. In this epistle, however, attention is particularly directed to the point, that men are justified by faith without the works of the Law of Moses.
Galatians was not written as an essay in contemporary history. It was a protest against corruption of the gospel of Christ. The essential truth of justification by faith rather than by the works of the law had been obscured by the Judaizers’ insistence that believers in Christ must keep the law if they expected to be perfect before God. When Paul learned that this teaching had begun to penetrate the Galatian churches and that it had alienated
them from their heritage of liberty, he wrote the impassioned remonstrance contained in this epistle.
Key Verses: Galatians 2:16, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Galatians 3:11, “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.”
Galatians 4:5-6, “to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."
Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Brief Summary: The result of justification by grace through faith is spiritual freedom. Paul appealed to the Galatians to stand fast in their freedom, and not get "entangled again with a yoke of bondage (that is, the Mosaic law)" (Galatians 5:1). Christian freedom is not an excuse to gratify one's lower nature; rather, it is an opportunity to love one another (Galatians 5:13; 6:7-10). Such freedom does not insulate
one from life's struggles. Indeed, it may intensify the battle between the Spirit and the flesh. Nevertheless, the flesh (the lower nature) has been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20); and, as a consequence, the Spirit will bear its fruit such as love, joy, and peace in the life of the believer (Galatians 5:22-23).
The letter to the Galatians was written in a spirit of inspired agitation. For Paul, the issue was not whether a person was circumcised, but whether he had become "a new creation" (Galatians 6:15). If Paul had not been successful in his argument for justification by faith alone, Christianity would have remained a sect within Judaism, rather than becoming the universal way of salvation. Galatians, therefore, is not only Luther's epistle;
it is the epistle of every believer who confesses with Paul: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
The books of James and Galatians illustrate two aspects of Christianity that from the very beginning have seemed to be in conflict, though in reality they are supplementary. James insists on the ethic of Christ, a demand that faith prove its existence by its fruits. Nevertheless James, no less than Paul, emphasizes the need of the transformation of the individual by the grace of God (James 1:18). Galatians stresses the dynamic of the gospel
that produces ethic (Galatians 3:13-14). Nor was Paul less concerned than James about the ethical life (Galatians 5:13). Like the two sides of a coin, these two aspects of Christian truth must always accompany each other.
Practical Application: As with all books, parts, sections, and verses of the Bible, the word(s) speak of a life style, life style living that all believers should continually strive to increase. I do not say achieve because even if anyone was to memorize every word, do everything it says, without Christ in our hearts guiding every foot step we still will never be complete (done), and won’t be till Christ returns. The Bible
helps non-believers and believers change their life, live their life on a continual basis making it greater than just a guide. On Christmas when we are putting together our kids bike with the instruction guide, we follow it step by step. Once the bike is together and operating correctly, the guide gets put away.
The Bible helps change lives and start living lives as a guide, but it goes further building life styles and relationship with God. Once a life is changed, once a life is living in the word, now we consider doing something out of love for anyone (commonly referred to as works). You cannot help after changing your life to want to tell someone, do something, or help someone (works) out of love of God that is in you. Some have believed
that the work they do for God is all they need to get into heaven when Christ returns. Without Christ in their hearts, and the love of God driving their work, their living, and their life style, they won’t. That is the message of Galatians, and that is how we should mold the Galatians into our life, lifestyle.
Recommended Resources: Galatians, MacArthur New Testament Commentary by John MacArthur.
Galatians, NIV Application Commentary by Scot McKnight.
The Epistle to the Galatians, New International Commentary on the New Testament by R.Y.K. Fung.
Galatians-Colossians, Holman New Testament Commentary by Max Anders.
Book of Romans
Book of 1 Corinthians
Book of 2 Corinthians
Book of Ephesians
Book of Philippians
Book of Galatians