An Introduction to the Book of Galatians
As we continue our chronological journey through the epistles of the Apostle Paul, we now turn our attention to his letter to the Galatians.
Most scholars and historians believe this letter was written around 50 AD. It bears much similarity to the letter Paul wrote several years later to the Romans. It discusses the relationship of Mosaic Law to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in response to local Judaizers (Jewish Christians) in Galatia. They professed that to be saved, Christians must continue to live by the Old Law and its rites and ceremonial practices (including circumcision).
Paul contends that the law was temporary and that it was replaced (through Jesus Christ) by a new way to relate to God through the Holy Spirit. One can only imagine what courage and conviction it took to express such beliefs in the face of skepticism, opposition and likely persecution.
Also, as in the letter to the Romans, Paul’s emphasis is on how God’s people can experience holiness through a righteous life. The letter to the Galatians is widely considered an eloquent reaffirmation of the New Testament truth that people are justified “by faith in Christ Jesus and not by the works of the Law” (Gal. 2:16).
Martin Luther relied heavily on the message of Galatians in his preaching, teaching and writing, and the letters to the Galatians and Romans played a significant role in the Protestant Reformation.