Some Context for Galatians

Or: An exercise in imagination to help see the importance of Paul’s letter

Saint Paul Writing His Epistles, Valentin de Boulogne

Imagine if you will:

Paul has come your way through the region of Galatia, and you think you understood what he has taught. But he wasn’t the only one who has come talking about Jesus, and what Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection mean for us.

Some of what Paul said sounded radical, such as complete dependence on God’s grace, not on what we do. But others came along to you adding to his teaching.

Yes, God is gracious, but don’t we still need to earn grace? God has given you the law, right? Shouldn’t we then follow it? Why would he give it to you if you couldn’t follow it? And if you can uphold the law, then you must.

Should we be concerned? Did Paul just emphasize some parts of the gospel and other teachers emphasized other parts? Are they teaching the same thing? They all sound pretty smart, how can I make heads or tails of this? Are they all right in some way? How should we react?

If only Paul would write to us to help clear things up…

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