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nChrist
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« on: November 18, 2003, 09:53:47 PM »

Brief Overview of Galatians

Galatians was written by the Apostle Paul, probably between 54 and 56 a.d., to the numerous churches in Galatia that he founded. Prior to Paul's ministry, the people of Galatia were primarily descendants of Gauls and considered to be Gentiles, heathen worshipers of false gods. It is important to note there were also Jewish converts to Christianity mixed in among the congregations. The churches were spread throughout a District of the Roman Empire called Galatia in the interior of the great peninsula known as Asia Minor. Most of the people in Galatia spoke Greek and Gaulish.

It is apparent that the Apostle Paul founded these churches firmly in the Gospel of Uncircumcision. Today, we would refer to his teaching as the pure Gospel of God's Grace, a doctrine where men are justified by faith alone and not by the deeds of Mosaic Law. The history of this time clearly indicates that many taught other doctrines, some completely Jewish and others with Jewish doctrine mixed in. This was also a time of persecution of Christians, an effort to maintain many of the Jewish ceremonial customs, and a reluctance to deviate from Mosaic Law.

The churches of Galatia were corrupted by Jewish emissaries from other churches. Some claimed that Paul was not an Apostle and had no direct knowledge of Christ. Some claimed that Paul was simply a student of other men and questions of faith should be directed to the Mother Church in Jerusalem, specifically the pillars of the church, James, Peter, and John, Apostles of the Circumcision. The Bible makes it very clear that many portions of the Gospel of God's Grace were revealed only to the Apostle Paul. As a result, there was disagreement between Paul and some of the other Apostles, including James, John, and Peter. Paul was placed in the difficult position of instructing the other Apostles and even correcting some of them, specifically Peter. It is important to note that ONLY Paul was the Apostle of the Uncircumcision, and the other Apostles were of the Circumcision. Clinging to Judaism and corrupting the pure Gospel of the Grace of God eventually made necessary the Council at Jerusalem to address false teaching (See Acts 15:5-30).

The primary purpose of Galatians was to address the falling away from Grace to the former bondage of The Law. This was a corruption of the Gospel of God's Grace Paul worked so long and hard to establish in the churches of Galatia. Part of Galatians can be easily viewed as a raging conflict between Paul and Judaising Christians and Jews in drawing many people from the Churches of Galatia back to The Mosaic Law, Jewish customs, Jewish ceremonies, and away from the pure Gospel of God's Grace. The reaction of the Apostle Paul was much more than simple disappointment. It is clear that the Apostle Paul was indignant and bitter about the corruption of the Churches in Galatia.

Chapters One and Two of Galatians primarily address the Apostle Paul's independence and authority as an Apostle and the Divine origin of the Gospel he taught.

Chapters Three and Four of Galatians primarily address the truth of the Gospel taught by the Apostle Paul. Paul clearly defends and justifies the pure Gospel of the Grace of God

Chapters Five and Six primarily address moral consequences between living under the doctrine of Law as opposed to Grace.

One dominant theme throughout Galatians regards the liberty and duties of Christians under the pure Gospel of the Grace of God, the right use of Christian freedoms, and the folly of the Galatians in subjecting themselves again to the Law. Paul also gave instructions and exhortations for Christian conduct in the short six chapters of Galatians.

It is important to note that Galatians addresses many ancient conflicts between The Law and Grace that continue to this day. As an obvious result, Galatians remains a key to defining the pure Gospel of the Grace of God as it applies to God's children after the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. Galatians is viewed to be one of the most important portions of the Bible because it does so clearly and appropriately address what is the pure Gospel of the Grace of God and what is not. Galatians will always remain one of the key portions of the Bible for people who wish to fully understand what changed at the cross of Jesus.

Love In Christ,
Tom
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2003, 02:49:07 PM »

Thanks for all that.....I've often wondered what the background is about the Galatians.  I must admit that I'm actually fascinated with biblical history so reading what you've posted is very refreshing.
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nChrist
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2003, 03:40:53 PM »

Oklahoma Howdy to KiwiChristian,

You are most welcome. I also enjoy Biblical history. I think that it is fascinating, especially when you couple it with other written history and think about how people must have felt about horrendous changes in their lives. It is almost beyond comprehension to understand how difficult it had to be for the servants of God who brought the message of the GOOD NEWS.

There were basically two general categories of people who were firmly planted in their beliefs over many generations of teaching, practice, and custom. One general category of people are Jewish and follow very strict and ritual laden Mosaic Law. The other general category of people are Gentiles, typically referred to as heathens who worship every false god in existence. Now, imagine that you are a minister of that time preaching a message to either category that everything they have ever known is wrong. Forget about the obvious danger and simply think about delivering the message. God knew how difficult this task would be, so he gave his messengers special gifts, such as healing, to stay alive long enough to give the message.

I just touched on the history of the time. There is much more and it is fascinating.

In Christ,
Tom
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