Thursday, May 10, 2012

Introduction to Galatians

Below is the introduction to Galatians that I wrote for my Uganda friends:


Galatians is called by some the “epistle of freedom.” At issue is the question of whether Christians should observe the Jewish law in order to be saved. Galatia was a huge Roman province that occupied much of what is modern day Turkey. Paul founded churches in the southern cities of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. Shortly after Paul’s first visit in this region, other Jewish teachers arrived and taught that non-Jewish converts to Christ must be circumcised and fully observe the Jewish law (virtually become Jews) in order to be saved. Paul argues that no human being can earn God’s gift by trying to live a perfect life. Repentance and faith are all that is needed in order to receive God’s forgiveness and the gift of new life. Galatians is the most passionate and strongly worded of all of Paul’s letters. It was written about AD 57 shortly before the Jerusalem council (Acts 15) that resolved the issue of how much of the Jewish law Christ’s followers must obey. Paul’s passionate plea defines this critical issue for the early Christian movement.  Key Learning: We are free from the requirements of trying to earn our salvation and favor with God. Do not allow the bondage of empty religion to enslave us again.

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