Located in the middle of Central Anatolia in Turkey, is the ancient region of Galatia. In the early years before Christ, Celtic tribes occupied Galatia as they did throughout most of Europe
The Mighty Roman Empire
In 25 BC, Rome had begun their great rise to reign and Galatia became a Roman Province. While the majority of Rome followed pagan practices, some Jewish communities existed.
Travelling with St. Paul
St. Paul took three missionary journeys through Galatia. There he planted churches in Gentile areas (AD 47) and was able to convert many, including Jews. After some time, new Christian converts from paganism who were being encouraged by Jewish converts to add the practices of Jewish law especially the rite of circumcision as a requirement for salvation. Paul had preached that faith in Jesus Christ is the key to salvation, but he had interference from some members of the community in Galatia who seemed to undermine Paul’s authority. Because of the attacks on his apostleship, he opened his letter to the Galatians by defending himself and his authority.
Paul The Apostle
Paul was not an apostle appointed by a congregation, but by Christ himself (Acts 9: 14-17). He gives witness to his own revelation and shares the dark chapter from his pre-Christian life (1: 11-17). One can read the emotion and shame he feels in regards to his violent and aggressive behavior toward the early Christians.
Paul’s enthusiasm for Jewish tradition fueled his actions that later converted to enthusiasm for the Gospel of Jesus and the New Covenant. I hope that in studying his letter to the Galatians we can renew our enthusiasm for the gospels and our own tradition.