I. IMPORTANCE OF THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS
A. One of the greatest and most important letters of Paul.
· Contains the core of Paul’s teaching (Ga 1:12)
B. Galatians is a short Romans
1. Both are similar in theme and content.
2. Both teach justification that results in ethical imperatives.
3. The relationship of Galatians to Romans.
o Galatians is not a rough outline of Romans
o There is a different argument in the two books:
Romans—treatise on Christianity
Galatians—polemic against legalism
C. Great men of history have esteemed the epistle of Galatians highly.
1. The battle cry of the Reformation – the manifesto of freedom in Christ.
2. The book of Galatians is called the “cornerstone” of the Reformation.
3. A favorite of Luther – “The pebble from the brook with which the Reformers smote the papal giant of the Middle Ages.”
o Luther referred to Galatians has his “wife” — “The epistle to the Galatians is my epistle. To it I am as it were in wedlock. It is my Catherine.”
D. Galatians embodies the crucial credo on Christian freedom.
E. It is the Magna Carta of Christian liberty.
F. It is an unassailable citadel against an attack on the gospel.
G. It guards against salvation by works, spirituality by works and assaults on Christian liberty.
H. Galatians is one of the most influential of Paul epistles.
I. Galatians proclaims the power of the gospel over the penalty and power of sin.
A. The church generally accepted the book of Galatians from Paul’s hand.
B. Church fathers accepted Galatians as from Paul
Clement of Rome, 96;
The writer of the epistle to Diognetus, 117, shows his dependence on it.
Marcion, 130, included it in his catalogue, omitting, however, two passages in it that contradicted his peculiar teachings [Marcion excluded great sections of NT writings from his early canon].
Justin Martyr, 145, quotes it, and so does Tatian the Syrian, 150-170. It is found in the Muratori Canon, 170, as well as in the Syriac, 160, and Old Latin, 170 Versions.
Certainly early heretics, including the Ophites and others, used it.
Clement of Alexander, 195, repeatedly quote it by name and ascribe it to Paul.
C. Internal evidence is strong for Paul’s authorship
· calls himself Paul, 1:1; 5:2
· all of the historical references in the first two chapters fit flawlessly into the missionary expeditions of Paul recorded in Acts.
· the letter exhibits the intelligence, passion, logic and style of Paul in every detail.
· the doctrine of freedom in Christ is characteristic of Paul’s teaching, 5:1
A. Galatians written to counteract Judaistic legalism.
B. Who were the Judaizers?
1. The term “Judaizer” is a religious designation, not a description of a national people.
2. Judaizers believed that Christians should live under legalistic principles.
3. They viewed Paul’s view of grace as “cheap grace.”
4. They were circumcised and expected others to be as well.
C. They attacked Paul in three areas:
1. His authority
2. His gospel of grace – must be saved by faith plus works
3. They claimed his view of sanctification leads to license – they believed in spirituality by faith plus works
D. This was the old pharisaism that Jesus challenged in His day.
IV. SEQUENCE OF EVENTS BEHIND GALATIANS
A. Gentile Church formed in Antioch and send out their first missionaries (Paul, Barnabas and Mark) a.d. 46, Acts 11:19-15:35. Acts 13:2
B. Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch in Syria, Acts 14:28
C. Peter comes to Antioch and hypocritically enters into legalism (Ga 2:11f).
D. Legalists from Jerusalem subvert the first missionary expedition, Acts 13:1-14:28.
E. First Church Council corrects legalism and substantiates grace, Acts 15.
F. Writing of Galatians: a.d. 49.
A. The term “Galatia” began with the immigration of a large body of Gauls from Europe into Asia Minor (Turkey today), 278-27 b.c.
B. Their boundaries were set after 232 b.c. and their kingdom became known as Galatia. In 121 b.c., Galatia fell subject to the Roman empire and became a province of Rome in 25 b.c..
VI. DATE AND DESTINATION OF WRITING
· Destination: northern Galatia
· Date: a.d. 49
VII. PURPOSE: To prove that the law could not save a sinner nor sanctify a saint.
A. To defend the true gospel
B. To expose and condemn this false teaching
C. To show the true purpose of the law
D. To show how the believer is to be completed in the Christian life by walking in the Spirit, 5:16
A. Exceptionally high doctrinal content.
B. Apologetic in nature
C. No praise in the introduction.
D. Not a word of commendation in the entire epistle.
E. No salutation to individuals.
F. Only epistle written completely by Paul’s own hand.
G. Galatians and 2 Corinthians most autobiographical of all New Testament epistles.
H. Most caustic of all the epistles, Ga 1:6,8; 2:6,11; 3:1; 4:11; 5:4,10,12.
I. Contrast between law and grace.
(the most important thing that law does is to drive man to the grace of God because of his inability to keep the law)
J. Similar to Romans:
Gal. = negative: what truth is not
Rom. = positive: what truth is
Gal. = not calm and ordered
Rom. = calm and ordered
Gal. = Gospel defended
Rom. = Gospel defined
K. Hebrews, Romans and Galatians are all based on Habakkuk 2:4.
L. Few books in history have had greater effect on man than this tract
M. 3,098 words in the KJV, 149 verses, 6 chapters.
N. Only New Testament book written to a group of churches, Ga 1:2.
2. Crackles with indignation, Ga 1:8
3. Abrupt and stern style
4. A sharp defense of the faith
P. Highly doctrinal and extremely personal.
Q. Almost a third of the book is biography (most autobiographical of Paul’s epistles)
R. Highly emotional with pathos and abrupt.
S. Unique ending in Ga 6:11
A. Legalists (saved and sanctified by works) dogged Paul’s missionary expedition to Galatia.
B. Twofold attack on Paul:
1. Discredits Paul’s person
2. Discredits Paul’s message
C. The Galatians were gullible toward legalism
X. KEY VERSE – Ga 5:1
XI. KEY WORDS:
Law = 32 times
Faith = 21 times
XII. THEME: The glory of grace over law especially in sanctification
Man cannot obey God’s law by his own power. Only grace through faith can give him liberty to live the Christian life.
A. Salutation, 1:1-5
B. Occasion for Galatians, 1:6-10
I. Proof of Paul’s apostleship in history, 1:11-2:21
A. Paul’s gospel of grace not from men but by revelation, 1:11-12
B. Paul defends the nature of his gospel of grace by two arguments:
1. Paul received his message by direct revelation and apart from any human source, 1:13-17
2. Paul’s confirmed his message in three ways, 1:18-2:21.
1st confirmation, 1:18-24
2nd confirmation, 2:1-10
3rd confirmation, 2:11-21
II. Paul’s doctrinal vindication of justification by faith alone, 3:1-4:31
A. Grace comes by faith, not works, 3:1-5
B. Abraham’s justified by faith, 3:6-14
C. Justification comes by faith in the promise, 3:15-16
D. Justification comes by faith, not by the Mosaic law, 3:17-29
E. Our position in Christ is by grace, 4:1-11
F. The Galatians themselves accepted Christ by grace through faith, 4:12-20
G. Works and faith are mutually exclusive, 4:21-31
III. Paul’s practical appeal, 5:1-6:10
A. Life under the legalism, 5:1-12
1. Legalism enslaves the believer, 5:1-2
2. Legalism puts believers in debt, 5:3
3. Legalism alienates the believer from Christ, 5:4-6
4. Legalism hinders orientation to grace, 5:7-10
5. Legalism removes the necessity of the stigma of the cross because man does the doing rather than Christ doing the doing, 5:11-12
B. License is no justification for falling into legalism, 5:13-15
C. Life by the Spirit is a life lived under God’s provisions (grace), it is the liberty to live for the Lord, not the liberty to sin, 5:16-21
D. The Holy Spirit, as over against the law, empowers the believer to live for God, 5:22-26
E. Grace serves people, 6:1-10.
1. Grace serves the sinner, 6:1
2. Grace servers those the burdened person, 6:2-5
3. Grace serves the leader, 6:6-9
4. Grace serves all, 6:10
A. Authenticity of the epistle, 6:11
B. True motives of legalists, 6:12-13
C. Paul’s motives, 6:14-17
D. Benediction, 6:18