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assign to it a still later date, somewhere between 2 Corinthians and Romans, as we are now doing.
For when we compare it with the epistles just mentioned, we find a strong resemblance to both of these to the former in the writer's tone of feeling regarding his apostleship and the attacks made upon him ; to the latter, in language, reasoning, and general cast of doctrine. It was manifestly written previous to Romans, being to it as “the rough model to the finished statue"; and it appears also to have been
1 The following are among the most striking coincidences between this epistle and that to the Romans. On the whole the resemblance is greater than we find between any other of Paul's epistles, except Colossians and Ephesians, which were certainly contemporaneous. For other instances see Lightfoot, pp. 45-49.
iii. 6: “ Even as Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness," cf. Rom. iv. 3 : what saith the scripture? And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. iii. II: “Now that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, is evident: for, The righteous shall live by faith,” cf. Rom. i. 17: “For therein is revealed a righteousness of God by faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith.
iii. 12: " And the law is not of faith; but, He that doeth them shall live in them,” cf. Rom. x. 5: “For Moses writeth that the man that doeth the righteousness which is of the law shall live thereby.” iii. 22 : “Howbeit the scripture hath shut up all things under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe," of. Rom. xi. 32 :
“For God hath shut up all unto disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all." iii. 27 : “.For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ,” cf. Rom. vi. 3: “Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” and Rom. xiii. 14: on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." iv. 5, 6: “That he might redeem them which were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father,” cf. Rom. viii. 14, 15:
the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” ii. 16: “Yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, save through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed on Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law: because by the works of the law shall no fesh be justified,” of: Rom. iii. 20: “ Because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for through the law cometh the knowledge of sin.” (In both cases there is a similar modification and application of Psalm cxliii. 2: “In thy sight shall no man living be justified.") ii. 20: “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live; and yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me. cf. Rom. vi. 6, 8: “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin ; ... But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” v. 14: “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even in this ; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," cf. Rom. xiii. 8-10 : For hé that loveth his neighbour hath fulAlled the law," &c. V. 16: “But I say, Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh,” cf. Rom. viii. 4:
"That the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.
V. 17: “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other ; that ye may not do the things that ye would,' cf. Rom. vii. 23, 25: “... So then I myself with the mind serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."
But put ye
written when the tension of the apostle's feelings was less severe than when he wrote 2 Corinthians. With great probability, therefore, we may place its composition in the period of transition between these two epistles, towards the close of the year 57 A.D. It may have been written in the apostle's journey from Macedonia to Greece, for the expression “all the brethren which are with me," 2 in the opening salutation, would be more likely to be used by the apostle while he was the centre of a travelling party, than if he had been residing at the seat of a congregation.3
4. Character and Contents. From first to last the epistle is marked by a conspicuous unity of purpose—its main object being to counteract the Judaising process that had been going on for some time in the Galatian Church. An important factor in that process had been the denial of Paul's apostolic authority on the ground that he had never seen the Lord, and that he owed his knowledge of the Gospel to the apostles who had their headquarters at Jerusalem. On the question of circumcision and the observance of the law it was alleged that he was particularly to be distrusted, as a renegade from the religion of his fathers.
Without a word of his usual praise and thanksgiving, the apostle begins with a bold assertion of his apostolic office as directly conferred upon him by the Lord. This is followed by an account of his intercourse and relations with the other apostles after his conversion, showing that he owed his conception of the Gospel not to them, but to influence exerted on him from above.5 His ministry had
1 Acts xx. 1, 2. 2 i. 2.
3 The subject is not one for dogmatising, for there is great truth in Professor Warfield's remark: “The plain fact is that this epistle is unique among Paul's letters its entire lack of any allusion capable of easy interpretation, to the apostle's circumstances and surroundings at the time when he wrote it." But in such a case an argument from the
general character of the epistle, such as that indicated above, is our safest guide.
4 i. 1: "Paul, an apostle (not from men, neither through man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead)."
e.g. in the solitudes of Arabia, i.
"Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me: but I went away into Arabia ; and again I returned unto Damascus.”
been acknowledged by the reputed pillars of the Church (James and Cephas and John) as having the same divine sanction for the Gentiles, as their preaching had for the Jews. Since that time he had persistently maintained the freedom of his converts from the bondage of the Law, and had even gone so far on one occasion as to rebuke Peter for his dissimulation, when he would have withdrawn from fellowship with the Gentile Christians at Antioch.1
Having thus disposed of the personal aspect of the question, he passes to its more doctrinal aspect by appealing to the spiritual blessing which the Galatians had experienced under his ministry when he preached the Gospel to them without any mixture of Jewish ritual. that the Law has been superseded by the Gospel, the latter being the full assertion of that principle of faith that had always lain at the foundation of men's acceptance with God, even in the time of Abraham. He shows that the Law given by Moses could only create a sense of sin without providing a remedy. It was but a temporary means of training God's people for the enjoyment of their privileges as His children-standing in the same relation to the Gospel, as the children of Hagar the bondwoman did to Isaac the child of promise.
In chapters v.-vi. the apostle warns them against the abuse of their spiritual freedom, setting before them the true principles of Christian morality, and exhorting them to several duties of which they had need to be reminded. He concludes with a postscript in his own handwriting, 3 in which he sums up the argument with an emphasis and decision that contrast strongly with the hesitation apparent Jesus.”3
1i. 18—i. 2 iii.-iv.
3 vi. 11-18: “ See with how large letters I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not
be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For not even they who receive circumcision do themselves keep the law; but they desire to have you
circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But'far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God," &c.
in some of the earlier passages, where he is trying to vindicate his conduct without casting any unnecessary reflections on the other apostles. He exposes the unworthy motives of his opponents, reaffirms the supreme importance of the Cross of Christ and of regeneration in Him as essential to the true Israel of God, declaring circumcision or uncircumcision to be a matter of indifference, 2 and appeals to the marks which he bears of recent persecution, as the seal of his apostleship and the token of his renewed devotion to the Saviour. “From henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear branded on my body the marks of
Finally he invokes the divine blessing on his converts in terms specially fitted to lift them above the thought of carnal ordinances—“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren.”4
The whole epistle is marked by a force and vehemence that strain the apostle's power of expression to the utmost. It has done more than any other book of the New Testament for the emancipation of Christians, not only from the yoke of Judaism, but from every other form of externalism that has ever threatened the freedom and spirituality of the Gospel. It was Luther's favourite epistle, to which he was "wedded,” as he said ; and from it he largely drew his inspiration in his conflict with the Church of Rome.
1 The name of Christ occurs fortythree times in this short epistle.
2 “ The Jewish teachers put it in the forefront. They said that "but for circumcision heaven and earth could not exist.' ... St. Paul did his work so completely that thenceforth in the Christian Church the question as to the need of circumcision for Gentiles was at an end. In the epistle of Barnabas circumcision is even treated with contempt; and its institution attributed to the deception of an evil angel. In the Ignatian letter to Philadelphia we read of 'the false Jew of the earthly circumcision. Even in the Ebionite PseudoClementine Homilies, they who desire to be de-Hellenised (åpelinuloomvai, "to be un-Greeked') must be so not by
circumcision, but by baptism and the new birth. Of circumcision not a word is said, even by these extreme Judaists." -Farrar, Messages of the Books, p. 250.
3 vi. 17 (τα στίγματα). With this we may connect the fact that in his very next epistle (if the order we have adopted be correct) Paul styles himself “a bondservant of Jesus Christ” (Rom. i. 1, R.V. margin), being the first time, so far as is known, that he ever so designated himself.
4 vi. 18. This form of benediction is only found elsewhere in Philippians (iv. 23, R.V.) and in Philemon (ver. 25).
5 The words “free,”. freedom," “make free” (ελευθερός, ελευθερία, Élevdepów), occur eleven times in the epistle.
Note A (p. 129).
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENTS for South Galatian theory. Nos. (3), (4),
and (5), are those on which Professor Ramsay lays most stress. (1) The cities referred to (Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe) can be proved to have formed part of the Roman province of Galatia in the time of the apostle. They were important centres of Roman civilization; and the Roman name
Galatians” was the only acceptable title by which they could be addressed in common.
It was a mode of address congenial to the mind of the apostle, who followed the Roman lines of communication in his mission work, and regarded the Roman empire as the appointed field of his labours.
(2) If it was not to these Churches that this epistle was addressed, they are left without any share in the apostle's correspondence (so far as it has been preserved to us) although they were the first-fruits of his labours among the Gentiles, had been repeatedly visited by him, and were counted worthy of a prominent place in the history of the Church by the writer of the Book of Acts. On the other hand, how are we to explain the almost entire absence of information in that book regarding the planting of the Churches in North Galatia (if they were the recipients of the apostle's letter)--considering the fulness with which the apostle's work in other parts of Asia Minor during the same period is narrated ?
(3) In Acts xvi. 6 and xviii. 23--the only two passages in which Galatia is named in the Book of Acts—a close examination does away with the impression that there is any reference to North Galatia. (a) In the former passage, the expression “the region of Phrygia and Galatia” (Thu Mpuylav kai Talatıkny xớpav, R.V.) is equivalent to the Phrygo-Galatic country, and denotes the district in which Antioch and Iconium were situated, both of these cities being of Phrygian origin, and their inhabitants priding themselves on their superiority to the neighbouring tribes (the Pisidians and the Lycaonians respectively), who were still comparatively barbarous and little imbued with the Græco-Roman civilization of which Antioch and Iconium were becoming centres. Moreover, the statement “when they were come over against Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia” does not harmonise, geographically, with the supposition that their route had lain through North Galatia ; and even if it were in that sense that we are to interpret ver. 6 “they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia" (diñador), we should still be without any record of Paul's having preached there. (6) In the other passage (xviii. 23), “the region of Galatia and Phrygia” (την Γαλατικήν χώραν και Φρυγίαν) is to be taken in