The letter to the Galatian churches was most probably written toward the end of Paul‘s third missionary journey from Macedonia or from Corinth in 55 or 56 AD, and was written as a message to be shared among the several regional fellowships that had been established through his ministry in Asia Minor. These fellowships were being invaded by the heretical party of conservative Jewish believers originally from Jerusalem, possibly a faction of James‘ the Elder‘s disciples, called “Judaizers” frequently in the New Testament, who were stalking Paul and teaching that the salvation in Christ could only be received if a believer first submitted to Jewish circumcision and kept the Law of Moses. Such a legalistic teaching completely undermined and discredited the Gospel of liberty that Paul had preached when he brought the Kingdom message to the Galatian believers.
Moreover, these false apostles openly accused Paul of preaching a compromised and cheapened way of righteousness in order to gain converts to himself. Paul, in this letter, strongly defends his own authority and brilliantly explains the Gospel of the King-dom and the righteousness that is by faith as opposed to works. He proves clearly that the Law is incapable of removing the burden of sin and has always been nothing more than a “schoolmaster” or “guardian” to teach us what sin and grace are all about. As always, he then concludes with solid, practical, applications of what he has been teaching.
Galatians, in many ways, is a succinct companion letter to the much more in-depth and complete theological treatise offered in Paul‘s letter to the Romans, which was also written in this same general time period. When the two letters are studied together, they comprise a very clear and complete explanation of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and of our Creator‘s plans and purposes as He has moved the race of Adam through its development into its destiny as the manifest sons and daughters of God. (Romans 8)