Paul and the Galatians

Discuss the issues regarding the location of the churches to which Paul wrote Galatians.  Give your view of whether the region referred to as “Galatia” represents a Northern or Southern Galatia.  Defend your view.  Why is the location of the church important?
            The destination is obvious right all we have to do is look at who it was written to. At least that is how most people process things. However, when it comes to the letter to the Galatians, “the term Galatiacould be used in the first century in either an ethnic sense or a provincial sense.”[1]The confusion comes because around the time of the church fathers all that was left was the northern portion of the territory. According to Carson and Moo, “Toward the end of the third century, the southern area was detached, and the province was reduced to the northern sector. Tradionally, “Galatia” has thus been understood as the northern area.”[2]
In my point of view Paul was writing to the church in the south. Kostenberger proclaims that, “Galatia’ was the only word that would have encompassed Antioch, Lystra, Iconium, and Derbe. Antioch was in the region of Pisidia; Lystra and Iconium were in Lycaonia. Moreover, Paul normally used Roman imperal names for provinces.”[3] Carson and Moo suggest that, “because of an illness’ (Gal 4:13), it is unlikely that Paul preached in this difficult mountainous country. A convalescent would look for a place much easier of access.”[4]And Lea makes several very valid points when he says that is likely Paul was writing to places that he had visited and makes reference to Barnabas being with him and Barnabas only visited the churches in southern Galatia with Paul.[5]The location of the church is important because if it is in the north it becomes much harder to synthesize materials from the epistles and Luke’s account in Acts.
Discuss the occasion and purpose for the writing of Galatians.  Who were the opponents of Paul in Galatia?  What was the nature of the opponents’ doctrine, and how did Paul respond to it?
            Paul was writing to the Galatian church because after he and Barnabas had left the scene a group of Jewish Christians began trying to force Gentile Christians to follow the Law.[6]Kostenberger points to the fact that,
Paul wrote Galatians to defend the gospel of justification by faith alone against the false gospel of the Judaizers. In the process he had to defend his apostolic authority against the Judaizers attack. Finally, since some readers might interpret Paul’s defense of the gospel of grace as justification for immoral or unethical behavior, Paul wrote to defend the consistency of the Spirit-led life with the law’s righteous demands.[7]

While the Judaizers attempted to push a legalistic mind set, Paul wrote this letter, without observing all the niceties of correct letter writing, but an impassioned appeal to the Galatians for them to return to the faith they first accepted when Paul and Barnabas preached the Gospel to them.[8]


[1] Andreas J.Kostenberger, and L. Scott Kellum and Charles L. Quarles. The Craddle, The Cross, and the Crown. (Nashville: B&H Publishing , 2009)412.
[2] D.A.Carson, and and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament 2nd edition.(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992)458.
[3]Kostenberger, Craddle., 414.
[4]Carson., Introduction.459.
[5] Thomas D. Lea, and David Alan Black. The New Testament: Its Background and Message. (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2003)367-68.
[6] D.A.Carson, and and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament 2nd edition.(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992)465.
[7] Andreas J.Kostenberger, and L. Scott Kellum and Charles L. Quarles. The Craddle, The Cross, and the Crown. (Nashville: B&H Publishing , 2009)420.
[8]Carson, Introduction., 468.
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