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Galatians - Introduction

Book Introduction - Galatians

Read first chapter of Galatians

WRITER: The Apostle Paul ( 1:1 )

DATE: Galatians was probably written A.D. 60, during Paul's third visit to Corinth, The occasion of the Epistle is evident. It had come to Paul's knowledge that the fickle Galatians, who were not Greeks, but Gauls, "a stream from the torrent of barbarians which poured into Greece in the third century before Christ," had become the prey of the legalizers, the Judaizing missionaries from Palestine.

THEME: The theme of Galatians is the vindication of the Gospel of the grace of God from any admixture of law-conditions, which qualify or destroy its character of pure grace.

The Galatian error had two forms, both of which are refuted. The first is the teaching that obedience to the law is mingled with faith as the ground of the sinner's justification; the second, that the justified believer is made perfect by keeping the law. Paul meets the first form of the error by a demonstration that justification is through the Abrahamic Covenant ( Genesis 15:18 ), and that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after the confirmation of that covenant, and the true purpose of which was condemnation, not justification, cannot disannul a salvation which rests upon the earlier covenant. Paul meets the second and more subtle form by vindicating the office of the Holy Spirit as Sanctifier.

The book is in seven parts:

  1. Salutation1:1-5
  2. Theme, 1:6-9.
  3. Paul's Gospel is a revelation, 1:10-2:14.
  4. Justification is by faith without law, 2:15-3:24.
  5. The rule of the believer's life is gracious, not legal, 3:25-5:15.
  6. Sanctification is through the Spirit, not the law, 5:16-24.
  7. Exhortations and conclusion, 5:25-6:18.