Galatians 1:1–6:18 (ESV)

1 Paul, an apostle not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead

Galatians is a public letter. Such letters were an established and popular method of communication in the Greek and Roman world of the New Testament1. They were generally dictated by the author and written down by an amanuensis.2 Most letters from the time included an address, a greeting, a body (containing the main argument) and a conclusion. In the New Testament letters, we find that Christians changed a greeting into a grace wish, and also substituted a customary heath wish with thanksgiving and prayer3.

Unique to Galatians is the greeting used by Paul, which is longer than the greetings we find in his other letters (cf.1 Corinthians 1:1–3; 2 Corinthians 1:1–2; Ephesians 1:1–2; Philippians 1:1–2; Colossians 1:1–2 etc.).4 He uses this greeting to anticipate the content of the letter in a summary fashion.5

The letter to the Galatians can broadly be divided as follows:

  • Paul’s defence of his apostleship (Galatians 1:1 – 2:21)

  • Paul’s defence of the gospel (Galatians 3:1–5)

  • Application of the gospel to Christian living (Galatians 5:13 – 6:18)