Galatians Into

The Wiki article  “Galatians” will cover some the basics about Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Wiki also has an article on the location of Galatia

Key background concepts
In Acts 2, the list of places whose languages are listed as being spoken at Pentecost included all of Galatia’s neighbors. Even though Galatia was not identified in this passage, if the Galatian’s spoke the same native dialect as one of the others then it might not have been mentioned even if some of its Jewish citizens were present.  When Paul, and Peter, who also ministered in this region, were there in person, there were certainly still living some eyewitnesses to Pentecost in the region. When Paul points out that the Galatians had seen a portrayal of Jesus’ crucifixion, it seems most likely to have been either a dramatic re-enactment, or a reference to Paul’s teaching.  There is a slight possibility that some Galatians were actually present at Passover.
I want to focus on what I see in Galatians that some commentators might not have room for in a more traditional study.

When Paul takes 1 1/2 chapters to discuss the basis of his apostolic authority, his reason for doing so is precisely aligned with what he intends this letter to communicate.  He is re-teaching the believers at Galatians the correct “Christian” attitude to the Laws of the Mosaic Covenant. In fact, if you have read the scriptures recorded in my file “Jesus & Moses Pt 1” you already know that Jesus focused most His teaching on this same subject. One of the things we will see in  “Jesus & Moses Pt 2” (still in progress) is how the “Sermon on the Mount” is all about understanding the Ten Commandments from the perspective of the Kingdom Of God.  The believers at Galatia had been attacked by some ‘messianic Jews’ (nothing like today’s wonderful Messianics) who did not know how dangerous their misguided enthusiasm really was. Paul makes it clear that “salvation by faith” cannot co-exist with a legalistic attitude, even when the legalism is based on the highest authority.  So what does this mean to us today?

Of the 618 (or so) laws attributed to God by Moses, most people know only the 10 which were inscribed on the two stone tablets. Let’s assume for a moment that only those 10 matter. Why then did Paul teach that no one can keep them?  It seems to me that a person who worked hard at it for a while could actually have some confidence that he was meeting God’s expectation with regard to these 10 rules. I believe that attitude is similar to what  the “Judiazers” “were thinking.  But they felt that was not enough, because Abraham’s circumcision was the sign of being incorporated into the family, and predated Moses’ Law by hundreds of years. They had a strong argument which convinced many of those taught by Paul himself. From there, it was a small step to requiring the “Gentile” converts to observe all the different kinds of holy days, and dietary laws. Paul’s teaching about this had been so specific that he was stunned to hear that they were behaving in ways clearly contradictory to the foundation he had laid for them. 


Rudyard Kiplings short story, “The Church That Was At Antioch” is now on under “Stories”.  This is a fictional account of Peter & Paul and some Romans dealing with the Judiazers at Antioch, and it relates to the some of the basic issues of Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia.  Kipling died in 1936.