ESV - 1 Paul, an apostle - not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead -
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SUMMARY OF GALATIANS ► Author: Apostle Paul (Gal. 1:1) wrote 14 epistles from Roman to Hebrews which includes Galatians. ► Date and place: Written from Rome about 68 A.D., along with Hebrews. ► Galatians is summarized into 2 points as follows: 1. To correct the fickle Galatians from further backsliding and following the legalizing, Judaizing teachers from Judea 2. To set them straight regarding the relation of Christians of the new covenant with the Jews of the old covenant. ► Statistics: 48th book of the Bible; 6 chapters; 149 verses; 144 verses of history; 3,098 words; 4 unfulfilled and 1 fulfilled prophecy; 19 questions. ► About Galatia: The epistle Galatians was addressed to all the churches of Galatia, a province of Asia Minor. There was no city by this name. How many churches were in Galatia at this time is not known. Galatia is a province in Asia Minor west of Cappadocia and south of the Black Sea (Acts 2:9). Asia Minor is located in the western coast of modern Turkey
In my historical research into this book by Paul, I have discovered that much of the social fabric of the 1st Century Judaisms that we read about suffered from a sickness I like to call Ethnocentric Jewish Exclusivism. I have written about this concept in another paper that dealt with studies on group prejudice. I believe the paper nicely summarizes our study on Galatians and helps to form the necessary social background required to properly understand the book in its original historical and religious context, and therefore have decided to include a quote from that work here: The New Testament writer Paul of Tarsus had much to say about the Judaisms of his day and the ethnocentric cultural requirements they were imposing on the non-Jews. A proper understanding of 2nd Temple Judaism will uncover many of the true motives driving the ethnic competition between Jews and non-Jews. Group-level stereotyping of Gentiles by Jews as pejorative pagans, with no viable and positive contribution possible for the Jewish community, can clearly be seen in this research. Negative attitudes by the Jewish community turned into prejudice against non-Jews, which lead to discrimination against non-Jews as an ethnicity, and eventually provided the Jewish leaders with a mechanism for installing anti-Gentile group policies that were racially driven. Indeed, the power to enforce group prejudice and discrimination is what gives racism its social advantage over subjugated minorities. The book of Galatians obviously includes an ongoing drama involving two social groups (Jews and Gentiles) not so much over the identity of Jesus, but perhaps more over who has the right to join Isra'el (who is a Jew?) and subsequently follow after the Torah of Moshe (Law of Moses). Recall that the Torah was historically given to Isra'el nearly 3500 years ago, but realize that Isra'el’s post- Egypt beginnings included both native-born sons of Jacob, as well as those mixed racial multitudes that God delivered out of Egypt at Passover. These two groups came to Mount Sinai, received the Words of God, and were collectively called “Isra'el” by the text (read the Exodus 19 carefully again). Paul later reveals that the “mystery of the Gospel” is that according to Rom. 11 and Eph. 2, 3 and specifically Eph. 6:19, Gentiles are “grafted into the commonwealth of Isra'el via Messiah, and become fellow heirs sharing in the richness of the root of the Olive Tree and inheriting the blessings spelled out in the Torah for all of obedient Isra'el.” Therefore, since Isra'el is actually a multi-ethnic entity, Torah actually applies to all who name the name of the LORD as their one and Only God. This naturally includes Gentile believers in Yeshua. So, those of us who claim membership in an existing Torah community confidently affirm and teach obligation to Torah commands for both Jews and Gentiles in Messiah. And yet Paul says in Rom 6:14 that we are not under Law but under grace. The difficulty is in understanding that his uses of the word Law in many of his letters applies the definition from the context, which means the root Greek word used (nomos=law) can apply to a variety of definitions. Paul’s “not under Law” phrase is preceded by “For sin shall not have dominion over you...” In this verse, Law does not mean we are not under obligation to Torah commands. Rather, it most naturally functions in this verse as shorthand for “not under the bondage of sin and therefore under the condemnation of the Law,” a just condemnation reserved for unrepentant sinners. The reason we are not under [the] condemnation [of the Law] is because we are not under bondage, and the reason we are not under bondage is because we have been set free and are under [the] grace [of Yeshua’s blood].
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