By Barnard C. Taylor
1. AUTHOR. — Paul.
2. DATE. — Probably about 55 A. D.
3. TO WHOM WRITTEN. — To the churches of Galatia, a country of Asia Minor, which were established by Paul on his second missionary journey:
4. HISTORICAL OCCASION. — Paul had visited the Galatians on his third tour, and proceeded to Ephesus, where he remained about three years. While there he heard of the attempt on the part of some who had come from Jerusalem to turn the Galatians to a Judaistic form of worship and doctrine. He was alarmed at their success, and indignant at their evil course, and wrote this letter to correct the views and practices that had found a footing among his converts.
5. LEADING TOPICS. — Paul asserts his apostolic authority as a ground for maintaining the correctness of his teachings; he shows that Christians are justified by faith alone, and that ceremonies of the law are not essential, and exhorts his readers to nurture fruitful lives.
6. CHIEF PURPOSE — To show that the Christian stands accepted of God by his faith, that he has been given spiritual life by the Holy Spirit, and that such an one should not go back to rely upon dead forms, but should show forth the life that is in him. The book presents the conflict between Judaism and Christianity.
7. GENERAL ANALYSIS.
8. SPECIAL TEACHING OF THE BOOK. — There is only one gospel; Paul received his gospel by revelation; in Christ there is no difference between Jew and Gentile; the flesh is opposed to the Spirit; the latter is the source of Christian graces.
9. RELATION TO OTHER N. T. BOOKS. — The doctrine of the book is similar to that in Romans, but it here manifests a polemical character, and dwells on the unwise course of turning back to mere forms after having received life; returning to the flesh after having begun in the Spirit.
10. TOPICS FOR SPECIAL STUDY. — History of the Galatian churches; the account of Paul's conversion. The process of religious development.
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