Galatians or the Epistle to the Galatians is the 9th book of New Testament. Written by Paul the Apostle, it is addressed to numerous Early Christian communities living in Galatia, a Roman province in central Anatolia. The letter mainly expresses Paul’s concerns over the Gentile Christians as well as following of Mosaic Law during Apostolic Age.
The text was believed to have been written sometime around 50 AD to 60 AD, although some historians propose an earlier date, i.e. between late 40s and the early 50s. There are no surviving copies of the original document. The earliest version that we currently have was documented approximately in the year 200 AD, around 150 years after it was originally written. Although this second copy is fragmented on some parts, scholars have been able to reconstruct what the missing parts of the original text might have said.
Most biblical scholars agree about the fact that the Epistle to the Galatians bears a true testament to Paul’s writing. The principal arguments presented to prove the authenticity of this text include the style of the writing and the various themes discussed in it, which are also the same as the ones present in core letters of Pauline corpus. Differences can be noticed in Paul’s description of Council of Jerusalem from what has been stated in Book of Acts.
The central dispute discussed in the letter focuses on how the Gentiles could be converted to the Christian faith. This shows that the text of Epistle to the Galatians was composed at a quite early stage in the church’s history, when majority of the Christians were either Jewish or Jew proselytes, who were collectively referred to as Jewish Christians by the historians. Another important indication that this letter was written at an earlier period in Christian history is that it lacks any hint of developed organizational body within Christian community. This also puts the text during the time of Paul himself. Differences in opinion exist as to when it was written; Northern Galatian view states that Paul wrote the letter soon after his second visit to the city of Galatia, whereas South Galatian view states that he wrote it shortly before or after First Jerusalem Council.
The Epistle to the Galatians addresses the controversy of whether the Christians were bound to observe the Mosaic Law. The book starts with an introductory address, after which Paul directly addresses the central theme of the book. In the first chapter, Paul speaks of his apostolic authority. In the next three chapters, he shows how Judaizers are responsible for destroying the essence of the Gospels’ teachings. Chapter three urges Galatian believers to be strong in their faith as they have their faith in Jesus as well as to experience abundance in Fruit of the Holy Spirit. Chapter four concludes by presenting a comprehensive summary of the various themes discussed in the Epistle to the Galatians and puts forth a benediction. This is followed by a teaching that focuses on the appropriate use of Christian freedom. The book ends with a concluding paragraph that stresses on the fact that the letter was truly written by Paul the Apostle. Sing up now to receive daily bible quotes from Galatians.