This epistle—the first written—was written by Paul to churches in the region of Galatia (1:2), which he established during his first missionary journey (Acts 13:14-14:23). Galatians was most likely written before the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). Paul wrote because false teachers from outside the churches told Gentile believers to observe the OT Law to be justified (right with God). They taught that justification required good works. In this letter Paul responds to this false teaching by relaying his personal testimony (chapters 1-2), attacking the false teaching (chapters 3-4), and giving practical instruction (chapters 5-6).
Any gospel contrary to the truth—regardless of the source—is cursed by God (1:8-9). This should immediately cause the Galatians to have a right assessment of what they were falsely told (v. 7).
Paul then by his personal testimony shows that his only aim is to please Christ (v. 10), and that his authority is from Christ alone (vv. 11-17). Christ directly called him and entrusted the gospel to him (vv. 11-12). Paul’s journey to Jerusalem (vv. 18-19) was his first visit there.
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Christians can be deceived, no matter who led them to Christ. Christians who begin to accept error begin turning away from Christ (v. 6). These churches heard the gospel from Paul, an apostle! Their churches were founded and ordered by Paul, an apostle!
- There is only one true gospel; everything else is false and damned by God. The true gospel is from God himself. Those who adjust it to “make sense” do so at eternal peril. Truth matters! Know, believe, and be committed to the truth so you will be protected from Satan’s lies!
- Christians have a responsibility for warning and leading those being led astray back to the truth. Don’t just let them go their way and hope for the best. You must be involved in your brothers and sisters’ lives, not to continually scrutinize their every move, but to love and care for them.
- The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Paul persecuted Christians and hated the gospel, yet the Lord graciously and powerfully converted him! Jesus turned him from a persecutor of the faith into a preacher of the faith!