Galatians

by Khan Hui Neon
Overview

Like the letter to the Romans, Galatians highlights two major themes: the first is justification by faith in Christ apart from the law; and the second is that the Spirit is central to living the new life in Christ.

Disturbed by how false teachers are telling Gentile believers that they have to be circumcised to secure their salvation, Paul launches into a stout defence of the doctrine of justification by faith. In this letter, he defends his apostleship and the source of his gospel teaching, as well as the doctrine of justification by faith alone and not works or adherence to the law. He also lays out the practical side of this teaching—what being freed from the law means for our daily living as Christians in the Spirit.

The epistle of Galatians is thus a reminder that we need to have the correct understanding of the gospel and a firm foundation for our faith, because this will affect the way we live and how we relate to God and to other people.

The Structure of Galatians

1:1–10
Salutation and rebuke for believing in a false gospel

1:11–2:21
Defence of Paul’s apostleship

3:1–18
Arguments to show salvation by faith alone

3:19–4:7
The law and its purpose

4:8–31
Appeal not to return to bondage

5:1–26
True freedom in Christ

6:1–10
Responsibilities towards others

6:11–18
Final instructions

Key Verse
Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. -Galatians 2:16

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