I. When and where Galatians was written
II. Why Galatians was written
III. Who wrote Galatians
IV. Paul's stand on his authority in the Letter to the Galatians
V. The primary themes of the book of Galatians
Paul's Letter to the Galatians
Where, when, why, and by whom Galatians was written as well as the issue, of Paul's authority, addressed by him in his letter and the primary themes are all important in order to understand this book. "The Letter of Paul to the Galatians" is the ninth book of the New Testament in the Bible. It is one of the ten Pauline books, and there are three more books that are possibly Pauline. Galatians is one the Pauline letters that has little debate of authorship attributing it to Paul. "In the long period of critical studies in the New Testament there have been very few who have questioned the Pauline authorship of this epistle" (Guthrie, 1).
Scholars of the Pauline writings have divided them into the following categories: (1) those unquestionably by Paul: Romans, I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, I Thessalonians, and Philemon; (2) a letter that was probably written by Paul, but has had serious questions raised about its' authorship: II Thessalonians; (3) letters that were not actually written by Paul but were developed from his thought: Colossians and Ephesians; (4) letters that bear Paul's name but clearly come from another time and different set of circumstances in the church: I and II Timothy and Titus (the so-called Pastoral Letters); (5) a letter not bearing Paul's name and which evidences a wholly different thought and religious vocabulary from that of Paul: the Letter to the Hebrews (Kee, 5th Ed. 224).
Galatia, ancient region of Asia Minor, whose territory received its name from Celtic Tribes out of central Europe, who came to be known as the Galatians. Galatia took its name from these Galatian inhabitants (Williams, 19). Paul had passed through Galatia during his ministry and he had preached and established churches there. The letter to the Galatians was written around C.E. 51 and later tradition will assert without certainty that Paul had written to the Galatians from Ephesus. Paul's letter to the Galatians is sometimes compared with his letter to the Romans in the respect that the Galatian letter was written to a church that Paul founded and visited where his letter to the Romans was written to a church he had never visited. The Galatian letter was also very hostile where the Roman letter was friendly and joyous (Kee, 5th Ed., 240). Paul had a great attachment to the Galatians. He makes reference to the first time he preached the gospel in Galatia and how he had fell ill and the Galatians cared for him. This marked the beginning of a tender, honest and privileged relationship with them and even in the face of their doubt in his gospel, Paul was still able to refer to them as "my dear children" (Jervis, 1).