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  1. Galatians The Standard in Studying Paul’s Life and Ideas

  2. Galatians • Written by Paul (and “others”)…“Paul …and all the other members of God’s family who are with me” (1:1) • To “the churches of Galatia” (1:1) • Some debate as to what geographic location is being designated by “Galatia” • North? • South?

  3. Galatians

  4. Galatians • When all the evidence is in, it would seem to make the most sense that Paul is writing back to the “Galatian” churches in the areas Paul is said to have visited in Acts 13-14 (i.e., “South Galatia”) • Date? • It all depends on how one correlates Paul’s visit to Jerusalem which he reports in Galatians 2:1-10 in which there is a discussion and agreement between Paul and Jerusalem apostles over Paul’s method of converting Gentiles

  5. Galatians • Date • Paul claims only two visits to Jerusalem in Galatians • Gal 1:18—three years after conversion, Arabia, and Damascus, returns to Jerusalem (see as = Acts 9:26-30) • Gal 2:1-10—“after 14 years” goes back to Jerusalem and has meeting regarding his mission to Gentiles and generates an agreement on his mission to Gentiles versus Peter’s mission to Jews • Acts offers us a series of visits by Paul to Jerusalem • Acts 9:26-30—after conversion in Damascus, returns to Jerusalem (usually seen as equivalent to Gal 1:18 visit) • Acts 11:27-30—Barnabas and Paul bring famine relief from Antioch church to Jerusalem • Acts 15:1-35—“Jerusalem council”, portrays a meeting of Paul and Jerusalem apostles after interference in Antioch by “certain individuals from Judea”; outcome is an agreement that Paul can carry on with his mission to Gentiles but Gentiles asked to conform to some minimal food laws • Key question • Does Gal 2 visit = Acts 11 visit? (in which case Galatians likely written before Acts 15 “Jerusalem council”; circa 49 CE) • Does Gal 2 visit = Acts 15 visit? (in which case Galatians could be written anytime between 50-57 CE)

  6. Galatians • Reason for writing letter… • There have been other visitors to the churches Paul established in Galatia who offer what he regards as “another gospel” instead of Paul’s version of the gospel • Scholars typically refer to these opponents of Paul who visit Christian communities in his wake as “Judaizers”, i.e., Christian figures who insist on adherence to Jewish practices as necessary for followers of Jesus • They seem to have gained a strong hearing in the Pauline churches of Galatia: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting…and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ…proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you…” (1:6-8); “You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years.” (4:10); “…if you let yourselves be circumcised…” (5:2);“…those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised” (6:12)

  7. Galatians • 1:1-5 Opening Greeting • 1:6-4:11 On the offensive against “another gospel” • 1:6-10 Setting the argument: Opening rebuke for turning to “another gospel” • 1:11-2:14 Paul’s Autobiography to defend his version of the gospel • 2:15-3:5 Paul and the Galatians’ experience of the Law, Christ, and the Spirit • 3:6-4:6 Argument for Paul’s gospel from Scripture • 3:6-18 Argument based on Abrahamic Promise versus Mosaic Law • 3:19-4:11 Explanation of the reason for and effects of the Law • 4:12-6:10 Pleading for the Galatians to follow Paul’s Gospel rather than the “other gospel” • 4:12-20 Paul’s Autobiography to remind them of his original self-giving ministry to them • 4:21-5:1 Argument from Scripture: Allegory of the Free (Sarah) versus Slave (Hagar) Woman • 5:2-12 Plea that they not give up freedom by becoming circumcised • 5:13-26 Christian Freedom to be used to love as directed by Spirit • 6:1-10 Concluding exhortations: care for the fallen, beware of falling • 6:11-18 Concluding Postscript in Paul’s personal handwriting reiterates main argument