Galatians Introduction

by | Aug 16, 2023 | 01 Podcasts, 02 Library, Galatians, Introductions

Galatians Introduction: Paul wrote Galatians around 49 AD, about 15 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus to churches he founded during his first missionary journey. After Paul left, the Judaizers began teaching the Galatians they must keep the law to be fully Christian. Paul wrote this letter in response.

Author: Paul

More: Who was Paul?

Map: Paul’s 1st Journey

Chronology of Paul

Paul & Galatia

The Antioch church rapidly grew as large numbers of Gentiles converted. It quickly surpassed the Jerusalem church in size and influence. 

Acts 11

Barnabas was serving in Antioch and decided he needs help. He went to Tarsus to recruit Paul. Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch for a year teaching “considerable numbers.” Then one day while the leaders of the Antioch church were praying, God told them to set apart Barnabas and Saul because He has work for them to do (Acts 13:1-3).

Acts 13-14

Paul went 1st missionary journey with Barnabas and John Mark. First, they sailed to Cyprus. From there, they crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Perga in the territory of Galatia. At Perga, John Mark left them and Paul & Barnabas traveled on alone.

Paul founded churches in the southern Galatian cities of Antioch in Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe (Acts 13:14–14:23). In each city, Paul spoke first in the synagogue. Several Jews and Greeks responded positively, but most rejected him. When the Jews banished Paul from the synagogue, he spoke to the Gentiles. Eventually, the unbelieving Jews drove Paul out of town. He goes to the next city and repeats the pattern.

On his return journey, Paul backtracked the way he came, revisiting the Christian communities he founded before returning to Antioch. Paul reported on his journey and stayed in Antioch for a long time.

During this long stay in Antioch, three crisis events occured:

  1. Jews from Jerusalem arrived, teaching that Gentile believers must keep the law.
  2. Paul rebuked Peter (Gal. 2:11-14).
  3. Paul received troubling news from the recently formed churches of Galatia and writes this letter in response.

The Judaizers

The Judaizers traveled both to Antioch and to the churches in Galatia where they taught that all followers of the Messiah must keep the law and live like Jews. Perhaps they accused Paul of downplaying the need to keep the law to win more converts. To Jewish believers, it was unthinkable for Gentile converts not to live like Jews.

More: Who were the Judaizers?

Please listen to the podcast for more detail and explanation.

Next: 02 Galatians 1:1-10 No Other Gospel

Series: Galatians: Living by Faith

Study: Galatians Resources

Photo by Cassidy Dickens on Unsplash

Season 23, episode 01