Galatians is a famous Epistle of Paul to the church in Galatia, in central Asia Minor (now modern Turkey). He deals particularly with the issue of whether the Christians there (and elsewhere) should live as if under Jewish Law (e.g. should be circumcised), as people had been preaching this message amongst them, or should live by faith. He clearly says the latter.
Date and Destination of the Epistle
There are two theories of where and when the Epistle was composed.
- The North Galatian Theory -- This is the older view and assumes that Paul wrote the epistle to the churches in North Galatia, which he founded on his second missionary journey. Based upon this view, the letter was composed between 53 and 57 A.D. in Ephesus or Macedonia.
- The South Galatian Theory -- In this view, Paul wrote the epistle to the churches in South Galatia, which he founded on his first missionary journey. Thus, he would have wrote the letter in Syrian Antioch or Corinth between 51 and 53 A.D.
Origin of the Galatian People
The Galatians were Celts who had migrated to Asia Minor from Europe, and originally belonged to three tribes, the Tectosages, Tolistoboii and Trocmi. Their Celtic language almost certainly was still spoken when Paul wrote to them in Greek, though city-dwellers would know and use Greek.
- The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan Press, 1985, Pg. 1779