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Literature / Book of Galatians

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One of the Pauline epistles that makes up part of the New Testament of The Bible. In this epistle, Paul the apostle writes to the Galatians concerning those who want to lead them back to following the Law of Moses by suggesting that circumcision is required for salvation in Jesus Christ.

Structure of the book:

  • Greetings and a harsh warning about a "different gospel" (Galatians 1:1-10)
  • Paul's call by God (Galatians 1:11-24)
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  • Paul accepted by the apostles (Galatians 2:1-10)
  • Paul opposes Peter (Galatians 2:11-21)
  • By faith, or by the works of the Law? (Galatians 3:1-14)
  • The Law and the promise (Galatians 3:15-29)
  • Sons and heirs through Christ (Galatians 4:1-7)
  • Paul's concern for the Galatians (Galatians 4:8-20)
  • The allegory of Hagar and Sarah (Galatians 4:21-31)
  • Freedom in Christ (Galatians chapter 5)
  • Bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:1-10)
  • Final warning and benediction (Galatians 6:11-18)


This book contains examples of:

  • Allegory: Hagar and Sarah are explained as part of Paul's allegory in Chapter 4 about the difference between the children born of the flesh (Hagar) and the children born of the Spirit (Sarah), and that those who are born of the Spirit will be the inheritors of God's promise rather than those born of the flesh, as Hagar and her child were cast away because they were not destined to share in the same inheritance that Abraham was to leave to his son Isaac.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Plenty of references to the Old Testament are made by Paul.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Paul in this epistle mentions that when he writes with his own hand he uses large letters. This implies that when he was cured of his blindness after the Damascus Road incident, although he could see well enough not to bump into things, he still was far from 20/20.
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  • Call-Back: To Genesis, as Paul alludes to the births of Abraham's two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, as examples of the two different kinds of people: those that are born of natural means (the "children of the slave woman"), and those that are born of the Spirit (the "children of the free woman").
  • Circumcision Angst: Paul writes to the Galatians about this issue, warning them not to become circumcised, because then they would be indebted to follow the whole Law, and thus be estranged from the grace of God. He goes on to say that circumcision and uncircumcision counts for nothing, but faith working itself in love and being "a new creation" does.
  • Crippling Castration: Paul sarcastically suggests that those who want to lead the Galatians astray to believing "another gospel" by suggesting that they should be circumcised should themselves go all the way and castrate themselves.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Paul in Galatians 6:7-8, usually Quote Mined to warn believers that God is not to be made fun of:
    Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The Common English Bible renders the Greek word pharmakeia (normally used in English translations for magic and witchcraft) as "drug use and casting spells" in Galatians 5:20.
  • Exact Words: Paul makes it a point to tell the Galatians that God's promises to "Abraham and his seed" were not made to "seeds", as of many, but to his Seed, as of one — that is, Jesus Christ.
  • Eye Scream: Paul tells the Galatians about how they first treated him when he shared the gospel with them as he dealt with an infirmity and said, if it were possible, they would have torn out their own eyes and given them to him.
  • Forgiveness: From Galatians 6:1:
    Brothers, if a man is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, watching yourselves, lest you also be tempted.
  • Ghost in the Machine: Paul mentions the struggle between "the flesh" and "the Spirit" that goes on within believers that they must allow the Spirit to be the master of.
    I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. These are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16-18)
  • Groin Attack: The epistle rebuts some false teachers who were telling the Galatians that in order to be saved, they needed to be circumcised. Paul throws in a little sarcasm, saying that those who preach about the necessity of circumcision should castrate themselves.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Very much the point of the epistle. No matter how hard you work to keep the Law, it still won't be enough to earn your salvation. You can either trust in your own good works, or you can have faith in Christ, but you can't do both!
  • Hypocrite:
    • Paul calls Peter out for being one when he started distancing himself from the uncircumcised believers at Antioch when certain men from James came along.
    • Paul makes it a point to remind the Galatians that even those who demand them to be circumcised don't follow the whole Law, but simply claim to do so because they want the opportunity to boast in the flesh.
  • Listing the Forms of Degenerates:
    • Galatians 5:19-21 lists the works of the flesh:
      "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
    • Later, Galatians 5:22-23 lists the Fruits of the Spirit, which is an inversion.
      "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
  • Miles Gloriosus: In Galatians 6:3, Paul has some words on the subject: "For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself." (KJV)
  • The Mole: Paul tells about "false brethren" that sneaked in to spy out on the liberty he and his fellow believers had in Christ, to whom they did not put themselves in subjection to for even an hour.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Paul in Galatians 2:21:
    I do not nullify the grace of God. For if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ died in vain.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Paul begins the letter by chastising the Galatians for being led away by "another gospel", warning that those who preach a different gospel, even if it is Paul himself, are condemned.
    • At Antioch, Paul withstood Peter the apostle publicly for his withdrawing himself from eating with the uncircumcised, playing the hypocrite when it came to presenting the gospel truth, and also causing even Barnabas to be drawn away by the hypocrisy.

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