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Bible Commentaries

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

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Book Overview - Galatians

by John & Jacob Abbott


GALATIA was one of the interior provinces of Asia Minor. Paul, probably, planted the gospel there during the journey which he took through that region, an account of which is given in Acts 13:4-14:26. It is true that Galatia is not particularly mentioned in this account, though it might very probably be included in the general expression used in Acts 14:6, at the close of the verse. We find that, on the second journey of the apostle into Asia Minor, made for the purpose of visiting those churches which had been planted before, (Acts 15:36,) Galatia is specified as a region included in the tour. (Acts 16:6.)

There is no direct evidence in respect to the condition of the Galatian churches, when this letter was written,--nor of the occasion which particularly called for it. It is evident, however, from the Epistle itself that the same difficulty found its way to these churches, which seems, in a greater or less degree, to have affected nearly all the others,--namely, the difficulty arising from the attempts of the Jewish Christians to bring the Jewish law into the church, by compelling the Gentile converts to conform to the Mosaic ritual. These Jewish converts very naturally were prone to regard Christianity as the consummation and fulfilment of Judaism. At first they were very unwilling that the gospel should be offered to the Gentiles at all, and afterwards were disposed to insist that, if any Gentiles received it, they must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses, as well as obey the precepts of Christ. Paul was often called to combat this error; and circumstances seem to have occurred, in the history of the Galatian churches, rendering some decided testimony against this perversion necessary for them; for the subject constitutes the chief topic of discussion in this Epistle.

Very various opinions, or rather conjectures, have been advanced in regard to the place where this Epistle was written but there is no sufficient evidence on which to found a rational judgment. The statement at the end that it was written at Rome, is not to be considered as decisive authority.

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Friday, May 29th, 2020
the Seventh Week after Easter
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