"THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS" To The Churches Of Galatia (1:1-2) INTRODUCTION 1. We live in troubling times... a. Sin is ever present, depravity seemingly on the rise b. There are many religions seeking to address the problem, but their solutions are amiss 2. Christians in the first century A.D. found themselves facing similar circumstances... a. Immorality was rampant, moral virtue was scarce b. Religions were many, yet ineffective in saving and sanctifying souls 3. In his letter to the churches of Galatia, Paul addressed such concerns... a. Dealing with false gospels and false hopes b. Providing guidance for salvation and godly living [Paul's epistle to the Galatians remains a powerful and relevant guide for Christians today. In this lesson, we shall consider some background information on the book of Galatians...] I. THE AUTHOR OF THE EPISTLE (1:1-2) A. PAUL... 1. Mentions himself by name twice - Ga 1:1; 5:2 2. Known formerly as Saul of Tarsus, persecutor of the church
- Ac 9:1-2 3. Who became known as the "apostle to the Gentiles" - Ac 9:15 4. Author of half of the books of the New Testament 5. Regarding his authorship of Galatians a. This was the unanimous view of the early church b. Even modern critics who challenge the authorship of many of the New Testament books concede that Galatians is truly Pauline B. AN APOSTLE... 1. He immediately identifies as an apostle a. "not from men nor through man" b. "but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead" 2. His gospel and apostleship were questioned by some, this epistle offers an aggressive defense beginning with this opening statement C. THE BRETHREN WITH HIM... 1. "and all the brethren who are with me" 2. Other Christians send their greetings along with Paul 3. Though not named, their inclusion implies support of Paul and the gospel he preached [Having identified himself as the author of this epistle, Paul then addresses...] II. THE RECIPIENTS OF THE EPISTLE (1:2) A. THE REGION OF GALATIA... 1. Galatia was a name used both geographically and politically in the first century - ISBE 2. Geographically, it was used to describe the northern part of central Asia minor 3. Politically, it included parts of Pontus, Phrygia and Lycaonia, i.e., more southern regions of central Asia Minor 4. I believe Paul like had reference to the latter (the Roman province of Galatia) B. THE CHURCHES OF GALATIA... 1. During their first missionary journey (45-47 A.D.), Paul and Barnabas had the opportunity to establish several churches in the Roman province of Galatia - Ac 13:14-14:23 2. On Paul's second trip (51-54 A.D.), he and Silas visited them again - Ac 16:1-5 3. On Paul's third trip (54-58 A.D.), he visited them yet again - Ac 18:23 4. It is quite likely that the churches of Galatia included those established on his first journey a. E.g., Antioch, Lystra, Derbe b. The home of Timothy - Ac 16:1-6 5. Paul and Peter would later make mention of these brethren in other epistles a. Paul in reference to the collection for the saints
- 1Co 16:1 b. Peter in writing his first epistle - 1Pe 1:1 [The time and place of writing is uncertain (perhaps from Ephesus, sometime around 55 A.D.). What is more certain because of what was written is...] III. THE PURPOSE AND CONTENT OF THE EPISTLE A. THE PURPOSE... 1. The churches in Galatia were being influenced by those who would "pervert the gospel of Christ" - Ga 1:6-7; cf. 3:1 2. Known as 'Judaizing teachers', these individuals taught that Gentile Christians needed to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses - cf. Ac 15:1 3. Paul recognized this doctrine would jeopardize the salvation of those souls who accepted it - cf. Ga 5:4 4. Because the enemies of the true gospel were trying to support their case by undermining Paul's authority as an apostle of Christ, it was necessary to verify that he was truly an apostle "not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father" - Ga 1:1 5. Therefore, Paul writes to verify His apostleship and the gospel of justification by faith in Christ B. THE CONTENT... 1. Because of his outstanding defense of the gospel of Christ in which we have freedom from sin and the Law, this epistle has been called "The Magna Carta Of Christian Liberty" 2. Here is a brief outline of the epistle: a. Paul's defense of his apostleship - Ga 1-2 1) Introduction - Ga 1:1-10 2) Divine origin of his gospel - Ga 1:11-17 3) Relationship to the other apostles - Ga 1:18-2:21 b. Paul's defense of the gospel of justification by faith - Ga 3-4 1) Personal argument - Ga 3:1-5 2) Scriptural argument - Ga 3:6-25 3) Practical argument - Ga 3:26-4:7 4) Sentimental argument - Ga 4:8-20 5) Allegorical argument - Ga 4:21-31 c. Call to stand fast in the liberty of the gospel - Ga 5-6 1) Liberty that excludes the necessity of circumcision
- Ga 5:1-6 2) Liberty that fulfills the Law - Ga 5:7-15 3) Liberty in which one is led by the Spirit - Ga 5:16-26 4) Liberty with a sense of responsibility - Ga 6:1-10 5) Conclusion - Ga 6:11-18 CONCLUSION 1. A passage that expresses the theme of this epistle is Ga 5:1... "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." 2. The liberty of which Paul writes about in this epistle pertains to... a. Freedom from the bondage of sin - cf. Ga 2:16 b. Freedom from the Law of Moses - cf. Ga 4:4-5 c. Freedom to serve one another in love - cf. Ga 5:13 d. Freedom from the works of the flesh - cf. Ga 5:16,19-21 e. Freedom to produce the fruit of the Spirit - cf. Ga 5:22-25 3. Do you desire to learn more about the freedom that Christ provides...? a. Jesus spoke of it during His earthly ministry - Jn 8:34-36 b. Then He chose Paul to write about it in this epistle! If you want to learn more about true freedom, then give special attention to the epistle written "To The Churches Of Galatia"...