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Epistle to the Galatians

(guh - lay' - shuhnz)

General Information

The Epistle to the Galatians is one of the books of the New Testament. It was written by Saint Paul in answer to opponents who were trying to convince the Galatian Christians that circumcision was necessary for salvation. The letter, written about AD 54 - 55, is the fourth epistle in the collection of Pauline letters in the Bible.

The Galatians lived in north central Anatolia. Their faith evidently had been disturbed by the insistence of some Jewish Christians on close ties to Judaism even for gentile converts to Christianity. Paul replied by developing the theme of the efficacy of salvation in Jesus Christ. In the first two chapters, he defends his apostleship and authority. He then presents arguments from Scripture for the primacy of faith in Jesus as alone essential for salvation (chapters 3 - 4) and continues with an exhortation to true Christian life and freedom (chapters 5 - 6). This epistle and the Epistle to the Romans served as prime sources for the Reformation teaching on justification by faith.

Anthony J Salsarini

J Bligh, Galatians (1969); J D Dunn, Jesus, Paul, and the Law (1990).

Epistle to the Galatians

Brief Outline

  1. Introduction (1:1-10)
  2. Paul attempted to vindicate his apostolic authority (1:11-2:21)
  3. Explanation of the meaning of Justification by Faith (3:1-4:31)
  4. Nature of the Christian life of liberty (5:1-6:10)
  5. Conclusion, appeal to Galatians to return to their initial Faith (6:11-17)
  6. Benediction (6:18)


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