Galatians Background

We are diving into Galatians this month! I hope this will help provide some context and background info to get your mind wrapped around this verse in Galatians chapter 5.

CHALLENGE: Galatians is another one of those shorter books of the Bible. Go read it in entirety to get a feel for what is being conveyed in our verse for this month, Galatians 5:22-23.

We will start from the top and take a look at who wrote Galatians, the intended audience and why it was written!

WHO & WHEN: This book was written by Paul. He identifies himself in the first verse of this book. It is not directly known which group of Galatians (there are two possibilities) it was written to, one in the north-central Asia Minor area and the other in the southern area of the Roman province of Galatia that Paul founded on his first missionary journey. The exact time frame is not agreed upon either but from my research it was likely somewhere in the A.D. 48-57 range.

WHY: Some Jewish Christians at the time were insisting upon Gentile converts to Christianity to follow the ceremonial practices of the Old Testament, claiming that Paul was not an authentic apostle and had watered down the gospel message by removing legal requirements. Paul responded by clearly establishing his apostolic authority and simply reiterated that the bondage of such legalism perverted the gospel of grace. It shows how Christ came to bring freedom, not bondage to a set of laws. The same message is in the book of Romans—Galatians is basically the short version!

Paul wished to convey the New Testament truth that it is by grace through faith alone that man is justified, and it is by faith alone that he is to live out his new life in the freedom of the Spirit.

A key verse is Galatians 2:16 NIV:

“Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Jesus Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”

My note: I love in Chapter 3 how Paul says: “You foolish Galatians!” It makes me chuckle, because I imagine how if my life had a narrator...that something similar would be said of my actions quite often!

Skipping to Chapter 5 where we find ourselves this month, the verse 9 goes like this:

“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”

That verse stopped me. I thought about how that could either be a good thing or a bad thing.

What do you think about that one verse in particular? I am so curious how every person interprets these things differently.

For me, it serves as a warning sign. That little thing that you know is wrong, but you do it anyway because, eh, it’s not a big deal? Well the ripple effects of your seemingly insignificant disobedience to the Holy Spirit’s direction in your life can work it’s way into all aspects.

I hope that this helps you better understand where Galatians is coming from, the context and why Paul wrote it. It is still as relevant today as it was back then when we consider how often the church falls trap to wanting people to follow certain paths or act certain ways.

We cannot forget the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and how we have been set free by grace through faith! The burden of rule following is a non-issue when we are following hard after Jesus, fixing our eyes on Him and rooting ourselves down into His Word. (see what I did there?!)

Happy Digging!

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