Galatia was not a city but a region, situated on the eastern side of Asia Minor.  The letter was thus addressed more broadly than the letters to Rome and Corinth.  It was intended to be read in various gatherings of disciples in various cities of Galatia.  The purpose of the letter was straightforward:  to protest and refute false teaching that had taken root in that region. . . .Although Galatians is a letter devoted entirely to the issue, most every other letter makes at least some reference to the problem.”

                        - a summary of the book of Galatians from Gantt’s book entitled

                                                “A Non-Churchgoer’s Guide to the Bible”


Location of Galatian Churches

278-277 BC    Gauls (Celtics) of Southern Europe left home and migrated to North Asia Minor

232                  The state became known as Galatia

25                    king Amyntas, the last independent ruler of Galatia gave his kingdom to Rome and Galatia became a Roman province.


During the days of Paul the term Galatia referred to

            1)  Geographically the territory in the Northern part of central Asia Minor

            2)  Politically it designated the varied extent of the Roman Province.


North Galatia included Pessinus, Ancyra, Tavium

South Galatia (so called from the Roman province) included Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe.


North and South Galatia differed greatly in language, occupation, nationality and social organization


            North – was still Gauls, shepherds, little commerce and few roads.

            South – was full of flourishing cities, constant commerce.  The main highways ran through Galatia.


Greek rulers had planted colonies of Jews and Greeks along these highways.

Caesars had continued to plant colonies to secure the roads for the legions of Rome and commerce.


Paul’s Work in Galatia


Paul established churches in the capitals of the Roman provinces:

            Ephesus           Corinth                        Pisidian Antioch


Up until Paul the church was spread by believers fleeing persecution

Paul set up organized methods of spreading the gospel


Acts 13:4-14:28

            Paul sailed to Perga

            Took highway to Pisidian Antioch

            This highway continued into Ephesus to the West

            Paul’s intention appears to be to take the road into Ephesus.

                        (He could have gone by sea but the autumn seas are too rough)

            If he had planned to go through Galatia he would have went by land up through Tarsus as he did on

                        his second trip.


Note:  Galatians 4:13


Galatian Religious Background


Religion in Southern Galatian cities was more oriental than Greek and involved degraded sensuous worship


Greek philosophy and Roman morality demanded higher expectations from human’s duty and government

Jewish synagogues had spread into these areas and gave an alternative option that included truth & holiness

Gentiles did not embrace the Jerusalem temple and its sacrifices.


Paul’s message include faith in Christ, deliverance from the corrupt world system along with Jewish ethics.

It was the salvation of the Gentile world, but the undoing of Judaism


These Galatians were not Gauls (as in N. Galatia) but Greeks and Jews of flourishing cities on the

highways of commerce and government.





            CROSS     Stephen     Paul     James      Paul’s 1st       Jerusalem  Paul’s 2nd   GALATIANS    Paul

                              Martyred    Saved  Mart.      Journey        Council      Journey     WRITTEN         in Rm


                30                33            35      44             47                 49                50             52                   60



Blood sacrifice is not salvation

Abel was saved by faith.  Cain replaced it with his own merit and good works.

Abel’s faith leaped centuries to the cross and was declared righteous


History is filled with people of :

            1)  Faith

            2)  Rituals with out Reality

            3)  Human Merit





            1)  Some sacrificed in expression of their faith

            2) Most went through a ritual with no faith to receive the grace of salvation. 

They believed they were saved by the institution of ritual.

            3)  Many developed a system of rules fro the Law to produce salvation by works.


The Galatians were inspired by Judiazers to hook up with the third one.  Salvation was for those

            who earned it.

The letter of Hebrews was an attack on those who were inspiring salvation by observation of the ritual of

the Jerusalem temple and animal sacrifices.


Ritual without reality is false doctrine aimed at the Jew

Human Merit is false doctrine aimed at the Gentile.


Judaizers in Philippians 3:2-6:

            “Dogs” – is a Greek word of reproach among Jews and Gentiles.

            “Evil Doers” – does not merely mean they do evil but come against gospel

            “Mutilators of Flesh” is the same Greek word used in LXX to refer to pagan religions

inflicting cuts, etc. in their bodies.


            Believers are said to worship in the Spirit.  Judaizers worship in the Flesh.


            “Have Confidence” is literally Greek, “have come to a settled persuasion”  meaning they

                        have settled confidence in human attainment.


Judaizers depended on these elements for divine acceptance:

            1)  Circumcision – a marking that showed a person was a member of the Chosen People of Israel.

                        This rite never had anything to do with personal salvation.

                        Judaizers made it a prerequisite for salvation

                        Acts 15:1

            2) Of the stock of Israel

                        Matthew 3:9

                        John 8:39

            3)  Ecclesiastical position in the religious system

                        (Paul, himself was a Pharisee and said it meant nothing.)

            4)  Observance of the Law

                        They were made righteous by obeying the Law

                        Romans 9:30-33

                        Romans 3:21

                        Romans 10:5

                        Phillipians 3:9


In Philippians 3:4-7 Paul is saying that he has every advantage if he would preach Judaism.  But he considers it worthless.



Romans 4:1-8             Salvation is not by works.

Romans 4:9-12            Salvation is not by ordinances (circumcision)

Romans 4:13-25          Salvation is not by obeying the Law


Galatians were observing the Jewish feast (Galatians 4:10)


The Judaizers preached Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah but in an inaccurate way.  Paul refers to this in Philippians 1:14-18.


1)The Judaizers were one group of unsaved Israel who gave mental assent to the Messiahship of   Jesus, but set up a system of legalism in the church built around the Mosaic Law.  This group moved into the church.


2)  The other group of unsaved Israel persecuted the church and rejected Jesus.


Both groups were not part of the true Israel even in the Old Testament.


Judaizers were personal enemies of Paul and of his gospel.  They attacked his apostolic ministry.

            1)  Paul was not one of the original 12

            2)  Paul had not heard Jesus voice

            3)  Paul had not seen Jesus

            4)  Paul had not attended Christ’s ministry

            5)  Paul had not been “sent out” by Christ like the others

            6)  Paul had not received his gospel by revelation


Parts of the Book of Galatians:


Chapters 1 & 2            Paul’s personal story used to defend his apostleship and so defend his message.

Chapters 3 & 4            Doctrinal attack on Judaizers and their false message

Chapters 5 & 6            Emphasizing the ministry (work) of the Holy Spirit in contrast to work of the flesh


Reason for Writing the Book
The Galatians do not appear to have written a letter to Paul (for he does not answer it in his letter.)

Paul does not appear to hear rumors or personal reports (for he does not question the truthfulness)

Paul has not recently been in Galatia to see first hand (for it appears from the letter things were OK when he left.)


Most likely Paul was approached in Ephesus by accredited representatives from the churches in Galatia that told him in detail the things that were happening and being said in Galatia.