Quartz Hill School of Theology


       Paul's letter to the Galatians is one of his most forceful, and one might even say, one of his most hostile. In this letter, which like 1-2 Corinthians and Romans, is not seriously disputed by NT scholars, Paul directs scathing criticism at those who are undermining his efforts at Galatia.
       In the mid to late 40s of the first century, Paul passed through Galatia and evangelized there. The churches he planted were doing well until a certain faction arrived from Jerusalem. These interlopers insisted that before one could really become a Christian, one first had to become a Jew. Thus, to be a Christian, one must be circumcised (if a male, of course). The interlopers preached this message to the Galatian churches which Paul had established, and it made Paul unspeakably angry when he found out about it. This is the historical situation which gave rise to the writing of Galatians. This epistle was written to combat these "false brothers" as Paul called them.
       Paul wrote Galatians in the mid 50s of the first century, nearly a decade after the churches there had been established (n.b. Galatia is a region in Asia Minor and not a city). This letter is crammed full of hostile language regarding the people in Galatia who have fallen for the false teachers as well as the false teachers themselves. At one point Paul says "if they think circumcision avails anything, let them go all the way and castrate themselves!" Paul's outrage stems from the fact that these false brothers were telling the Galatians that they must add circumcision to grace in order to be saved. Paul taught that grace was added to nothing for salvation. As far as he was concerned, the false brethren were heretics and liars!
       An outline of the text will show Paul s purpose:

1- Opening Salvo (1:1-5)
2- Anathema! (1:6-10)
3- What I (Paul) Taught you (Galatians) (1:11-2:14)
4- My Opponents' Lies (2:15-21)
5- Why My Gospel is True and My Opponents is False (3:1-4:31)
6- Ethical Exhortation (5:1-6:10)
7- Conclusion (6:11-18)

       As the reader can tell from the outline, this letter is unlike any of Paul s other writings. His whole tone is combative and the structure of the text demonstrates this combativeness.

ASSIGNMENT: Read Ephesians, and Brown's Introduction, chapters 25 and 28.

Contact Details

Telephone: (661) 722-0891
Email: info@theology.edu
Website: www.theology.edu

Quartz Hill School of Theology
43543 51st Street West
Quartz Hill, CA 93536

Join our Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter for all the
latest news and information