Galatians: An Introduction

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Welcome to the beginning of our Galatians study. If you need a copy of the study click here.

Before beginning a study of any kind, it’s important to know who the author is and to whom the book it written. I like how Jen Wilkin explains it as “reading the envelope.” When you receive a card in the mail, you look at the envelope to see who it’s addressed to and who it’s from. We will start our study of Galatians by “reading the envelope.”


Scripture to Read

Read in order: Acts 22:1-21, Acts 9:1-31, Acts 15:1-21


Who wrote Galatians? … The Apostle Paul

Paul was a Jew, born in Tarus of Cicilia. (Fun Fact about Tarus: this was the first meeting place of Mark Antony and Cleopatra) Although born in Tarus, Paul was educated in Jerusalem by Gamaliel, a Pharisee and teacher of the law who was greatly respected (Acts 5:34).

Paul, first known as Saul, was a Pharisee, thoroughly trained in the law, who persecuted followers of Jesus. He was even present at the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr of Christianity (Acts 7:54-8:1). After Stephen was killed, we see Saul again when he is on his way to arrest more believers in Damascus. Along the way, he has an encounter with Jesus that changed his life and the world. He would go on to write 2/3 of the New Testament and spread the Gospel more than any other apostle or disciple before him. He planted churches and suffered greatly for Christ (Acts 9:16)

When was Galatians written? … No one really knows. 😉 

AD 48 or early AD 50’s … Most scholars agree that Galatians was written before the Jerusalem council in Acts 15 simply because Paul doesn’t mention it and it’s a pretty big deal. This theory would place the writing of Galatians AD 48/49, which would make this the first letter Paul wrote.

Another theory is that Paul wrote this letter in AD 51/52 after the Jerusalem council, but the problem explained in Acts 15 hadn’t reached Galatia yet.

I guess this is a question to slip in your back pocket to ask Jesus in heaven (my pocket is getting pretty full, how about yours?)

To Whom was Galatians written?… Gentile believers in Galatia (Acts 13:13-14)

Gentile believers were being told that they had to follow the Law of Moses && believe in Jesus to be saved. Jesus wasn’t enough. There had to be more to this whole “Jesus” thing. So, the Judeans in Galatia were telling the new converts that they had to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses in order to truly be saved. #ouch

In what style was it written? … a Letter, an Epistle 

The book of Galatians is a letter from Paul to the churches in Galatia.

Why was it written? … Paul wrote to encourage the believers in Galatia that Jesus set them free. 

Going back to whom the letter was written… because “Judean missionaries wanted to convince Paul’s converts to adopt ethnic and cultural Judaism and become fully righteous,” (Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible). They wanted followers of Jesus to still adhere to the Law of Moses and prove it with circumcision.

What is the main theme of Galatians? … We have freedom in Christ… shh this was supposed to be answered later in the study. So this is a freebie! woohoo for you! 

We are no longer subject to the Law of Moses and the heavy burden of earning forgiveness through blood sacrifices and following certain rules. Jesus came, bore our sins, died on the cross and redeemed us. It is by faith that we are saved. Not by the things we do or the rules we follow. Praise Jesus!!

 

Questions?? Ask away. I’m not a Bible scholar but will do my best to answer or find the answer. 🙂


Study Method

During this study we will be using the S.O.R.T. study method… check it out here.


 

Stay tuned for Week One recap next week!!

 

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