Most of Paul’s epistles were written to specific churches (ie. “the church of God which is at Corinth,” 1 Corinthians 1:2; “to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi,” Philippians 1:1), but this letter was addressed “to the churches of Galatia” (Galatians 1:2). Galatia was not a city, but a geographical region which had churches in the cities of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, among others.
Paul wrote to the churches in this region to combat false doctrines and false teachers who had infiltrated the churches. In Galatians 1:6-7, he wrote,
“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.”
Paul was particularly concerned about the influence of the Judaizing teachers in Galatia (3:1-5; 4:21; 5:1-4; cf. Acts 15:1).
There are several verses which may stand out in the book. We’ll point out just a few.
- Galatians 1:8 states, “…even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” No one has the authority to change God’s word; not the apostles, not an angel, not you and I—no one.
- Galatians 5:4 reads, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” No one can be saved by keeping Moses’ law. Salvation is only available in Christ Jesus.
There is a 15-verse section of text (3:15-29) which supplies a quick summary of the entire Bible. The apostle speaks about God’s purpose to save man, links the seed promise to Abraham with its fulfillment in Christ; and shows the proper place of Moses’ law in God’s plan.
Here is a summary of the book of Galatians:
DEFENCE OF PAUL’S APOSTLESHIP (CH. 1)
- Paul’s Greetings (1:1-5)
- One True Gospel (1:6-10)
- Paul’s Call and Conversion (1:11-19)
- Paul’s Work and Reputation (1:20-24)
NO JUSTIFICATION BY THE LAW (CH. 2)
- Defending the Gospel in Jerusalem (2:1-10)
- Defending the Gospel in Antioch (2:11-21)
THE JUST LIVE BY FAITH (CH. 3)
- The Folly of Turning to the Law (Galatians 3:1-4)
- Sons of Abraham by Faith (Galatians 3:5-9)
- The Curse of the Law (Galatians 3:10-14)
- The Promise and the Law (Galatians 3:15-18)
- The Purpose of the Law (Galatians 3:19-23)
- Abraham’s Seed and the Faith (Galatians 3:24-29)
OF THE BONDWOMAN OR THE FREE (CH. 4)
- Sons and Heirs of God (Galatians 4:1-7)
- Be Freed from Bondage (Galatians 4:8-20)
- The Two Covenants (Galatians 4:21-31)
WALK IN THE SPIRIT, NOT THE FLESH (CH. 5)
- Made Free in Christ (Galatians 5:1-15)
- Walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26)
CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILITIES (CH. 6)
- Christian Responsibilities (Galatians 6:1-10)
- Final Exhortations (Galatians 6:11-18)
Next time, we’ll look at Ephesians.