Epistle to the Galatians
|Books of the|
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|Acts of the Apostles|
1 Corinthians · 2 Corinthians
Galatians · Ephesians
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1 Thessalonians · 2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy · 2 Timothy
Titus · Philemon
Hebrews · James
1 Peter · 2 Peter
1 John · 2 John · 3 John
|New Testament manuscripts|
The Epistle to the Galatians, often shortened to Galatians, is the ninth book of the New Testament. It is a letter fromPaul the Apostle to a number of Early Christian communities in the Roman province of Galatia in central Anatolia. Paul is principally concerned with the controversy surrounding Gentile Christians and the Mosaic Law during the Apostolic Age.
No original of the letter is known to survive. The earliest reasonably complete version available to scholars today, named P46, dates to approximately the year 200 AD, approximately 150 years after the original was presumably drafted. This papyrus is fragmented in a few areas, causing some of the original text carefully preserved over the years to be missing, "however, through careful research relating to paper construction, handwriting development, and the established principles of textual criticism, scholars can be rather certain about where these errors and changes appeared and what the original text probably said."
Biblical scholars agree that Galatians is a true example of Paul's writing. The main arguments in favor of the authenticity of Galatians include its style and themes, which are common to the core letters of the Pauline corpus. Moreover, Paul's possible description of theCouncil of Jerusalem (Gal.2:1–10) gives a different point of view from the description in Acts 15:2–29, if it is, in fact, describing the Jerusalem Council.
The central dispute about the letter concerns the question of how Gentiles could convert to Christianity, which shows that this letter was written at a very early stage in church history, when the vast majority of Christians were Jewish or Jewish proselytes, which historians refer to as the Jewish Christians. Another indicator that the letter is early is that there is no hint in the letter of a developed organization within the Christian community at large. This puts it during the lifetime of Paul himself.
Paul's letter is addressed "to the churches of Galatia" (Galatians 1:2), but the location of these churches is a matter of debate. A minority of scholars have argued that the "Galatia" is an ethnic reference to a Celtic people living in northern Asia Minor, but most agree that it is a geographical reference to the Roman province in central Asia Minor, which had been settled by immigrant Celts in the 270s BC and retained Gaulish features of culture and language in Paul's day. Acts of the Apostles records Paul traveling to the "region of Galatia and Phrygia", which lays immediately west of Galatia.
Some[who?] claim the New Testament says that the churches of Galatia (Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe) were founded by Paul himself (Acts 16:6;Galatians.1:8;4:13;4:19). They seem to have been composed mainly of converts from paganism (Galatians 4:8). After Paul's departure, the churches were led astray from Paul's trust/faith-centered teachings by individuals proposing "another gospel" (which centered on salvation through the Mosaic law, so-called legalism), whom Paul saw as preaching a "different gospel" from what Paul had taught (Galatians 1:1–9). The Galatians appear to have been receptive to the teaching of these newcomers, and the epistle is Paul's response to what he sees as their willingness to turn from his teaching.
The identity of these "opponents" is disputed. However, the majority of modern scholars view them as Jewish Christians, who taught that in order for converts to belong to the People of God, they must be subject to some or all of the Jewish Law, (i.e. Judaizers). The letter indicates controversy concerning circumcision,Sabbath observance, and the Mosaic Covenant. It would appear, from Paul's response, that they cited the example of Abraham, who was circumcised as a mark of receiving the covenant blessings (Genesis 17). They certainly appear to have questioned Paul's authority as an apostle, perhaps appealing to the greater authority of the Jerusalem church governed by James the Just.
North Galatian view
The North Galatian view holds that the epistle was written very soon after Paul's second visit to Galatia (Acts 18:23). In this view, the visit to Jerusalem, mentioned in Galatians 2:1–10, is identical with that of Acts 15, which is spoken of as a thing of the past. Consequently, the epistle seems to have been written after theCouncil of Jerusalem. The similarity between this epistle and that to the Romans has led to the conclusion that they were both written at roughly the same time, during Paul's stay in Macedonia in roughly 56–57. However, it should be noted that variations on this geographic theory would have the epistle written during Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey around 50–52, or during the events described in Acts. 19:1–41 (53–55 AD, or perhaps even as late as 55-58 AD). This third date takes the word "quickly" in Gal. 1:6 literally.
South Galatian view
The South Galatian view holds that Paul wrote Galatians before or shortly after the First Jerusalem Council, probably on his way to it, and that it was written to churches he had presumably planted during either his time in Tarsus (he would have traveled a short distance, since Tarsus is in Cilicia) after his first visit to Jerusalem as a Christian, or during his first missionary journey, when he traveled throughout southern Galatia. If it was written to the believers in South Galatia, it would likely have been written in 49.
A third theory is that Galatians 2:1–10 describes Paul and Barnabas' visit to Jerusalem described in Acts 11:30 and 12:25. This theory holds that the epistle was written before the Council was convened, possibly making it the earliest of Paul's epistles. According to this theory, the revelation mentioned (Gal 2:2) corresponds with the prophecy of Agabus (Acts 11:27–28). This view holds that the private speaking about the gospel shared among the Gentiles precludes the Acts 15 visit, but fits perfectly with Acts 11. It further holds that continuing to remember the poor (Gal. 2: 10) fits with the purpose of the Acts 11 visit (but not Acts 15). In addition, the exclusion of any mention of the letter of Acts 15 is seen to indicate that such a letter did not yet exist, since Paul would have been likely to use it against the legalism confronted in Galatians. Finally, this view doubts Paul's confrontation of Peter (Gal. 2:11) would have been necessary after the events described in Acts 15. If this view is correct, the epistle should be dated somewhere around 47, depending on other difficult to date events, such as Paul's conversion.
Kirsopp Lake found this view less likely and wondered why it would be necessary for the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) to take place at all if the issue were settled in Acts 11:30/12:25, as this view holds. Defenders of the view do not think it unlikely an issue of such magnitude would need to be discussed more than once.Renowned New Testament scholar J.B. Lightfoot also objected to this view since it "clearly implies that his [Paul's] Apostolic office and labours were well known and recognized before this conference." Defenders of this view, such as Ronald Fung, disagree with both parts of Lightfoot's statement, insisting a) Paul received his "Apostolic Office" at his conversion (Gal. 1:15–17; Ac. 9). Fung holds, then, that Paul's apostolic mission began almost immediately in Damascus (Acts 9:20). While accepting that Paul's apostolic anointing was likely only recognized by the Apostles in Jerusalem during the events described in Gal. 2/Acts 11:30, Fung does not see this as a problem for this theory.
- Salutation (1:1–5)
- No other gospel (1:6–10)
- Conversion of Paul (1:11–24)
- a meeting, possibly the Council of Jerusalem (2:1–10)
- Incident at Antioch (2:11–14)
- Jews, like Gentiles, saved by faith (2:15–21)
- Law or Faith (3:1–14)
- Law and Promise (3:15–20)
- Slaves and Sons (3:21–4:7)
- Sons of God (3:26)
- Concern for the Galatians (4:8–20)
- Interpretation of Hagar and Sarah (4:21–5:1)
- Christian Freedom (5:1–15)
- Love thy neighbour (5:14)
- Fruit of the Spirit (5:16–26)
- The Law of Christ (6:1–10)
- Final Warning and Benediction (6:11–18)
This epistle addresses the question of whether Christians were obligated to follow Mosaic Law. After an introductory address (Galatians 1:1–10), the apostle discusses the subjects which had occasioned the epistle.
In Chapter 1 he defends his apostolic authority (1:11–19; 2:1–14). Chapters 2, 3, and 4 show the influence of the Judaizers in destroying the very essence of the gospel. Chapter 3 exhorts the Galatian believers to stand fast in the faith as it is in Jesus, and to abound in the fruit of the Spirit. Chapter 4 then concludes with a summary of the topics discussed and with the benediction, followed by 5:1–6:10 teaching about the right use of their Christian freedom.
In the conclusion of the epistle (Galatians 6:11), Paul wrote, "Ye see how large a letter I have written with mine own hand." Regarding this conclusion, Lightfoot, in his Commentary on the epistle, says:
"At this point the apostle takes the pen from his amanuensis, and the concluding paragraph is written with his own hand. From the time when letters began to be forged in his name (2Thessalonians 2:2; 2Thessalonians 3:17) it seems to have been his practice to close with a few words in his own handwriting, as a precaution against such forgeries... In the present case he writes a whole paragraph, summing up the main lessons of the epistle in terse, eager, disjointed sentences. He writes it, too, in large, bold characters (Gr. pelikois grammasin), that his hand-writing may reflect the energy and determination of his soul."
Probably the most famous single statement made in the Epistle, by Paul, is in chapter 3, verse 28: "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." The debate surrounding that verse is legend and the two schools of thought are (1) this only applies to the spiritual standing of people in the eyes of God. it does not implicate social distinctions and gender roles on earth; and (2) this is not just about our spiritual standing but is also very much about how we relate to each other and treat each other in the here and now. Position (1) emphasises the immediate context of the verse and notes that it is embedded in a discussion about justification: our relationship with God. Position (2) reminds its critics that the "whole letter context" is very much about how people got on in the here and now together, and in fact the discussion about justification came out of an actual example of people treating other people differently (2:11ff).
An interesting literary interpretation of this period of Christianity and the character of Paul can be found in Rudyard Kipling's short story "The Church that was at Antioch". A Roman soldier and follower of Mithraism discovers the faith on his death bed, after having tried to defuse tension between the Gentile and Jewish Christians over issues of Mosaic Law such as circumcision and the preparation of food.
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一些[ 誰？ ]聲稱新約聖經說，加拉太（的教堂彼西底的安提阿，以哥念，路司得和特庇）由保羅自己創立（使徒行傳16時06分 ;Galatians.1：8，4點13分，4時19分）。他們似乎已組成主要是從皈依異教（加拉太書4:8）。之後保羅的離開，教堂被引誘離保羅的信任/信仰為中心的教導由個人提出“別的福音”（它通過集中在救恩鑲嵌法，所謂的法家），保羅看見了作為鼓吹“不同的福音”從保羅曾教導（加拉太書1:1-9）。加拉太似乎已經接受這些新來的教學和書信是保羅的回應他所認為的，他們願意轉離他的教學。[ 需要的引證 ]
這些“對手”的身份是有爭議的。然而，大多數現代學者認為它們是猶太基督徒，誰教，為了使皈依屬於神的人，他 們必須受到一些猶太律法的部分或全部，（即猶太教徒）。信中表示有關爭議割禮，遵守安息日，和摩西之約。這樣看來，從保羅的回應，他們列舉的例子亞伯拉罕，誰是割禮為接受的一個標誌約的祝福（創世記17章）。他們肯定會出現，以質疑保羅的權威作為一個使徒，也許呼籲的更大的權力耶路撒冷教會所管轄詹姆斯剛。[ 需要的引證 ]
北加拉太觀點認為，書信是寫後很快保羅的第二次訪問加拉提亞（使徒行傳18:23）。這種觀點認為，在訪問耶路撒冷，在提到加拉太書2:1-10，是相同的行為15，這是口語的，因為過去的事情。因此，書信似乎已被寫入後耶路撒冷的會議。這書信和羅馬人之間的相似性，導致它們均被寫在大致相同的時間結束時，在保羅逗留在馬其頓在大約56-57。[ 5 ]然而，應該指出的是，這個變化地理理論將不得不在保羅的第二次宣教旅程的書信寫於約50-52，或在使徒行傳中所描述的事件。19:1-41（公元53-55，或什至遲在公元55-58）。這第三日取詞“迅速”在加爾。1:6從字面上。[ 6 ]
第三個理論[ 9 ]是加拉太書2:1-10描述保羅和巴拿巴“訪問耶路撒冷使徒行傳11:30，12時25分描述。該理論認為，書信的撰寫會議召開前，可能使其成為最早保羅的書信。根據這一理論，提到（加2:2）的啟示對應亞迦布的預言（徒11:27-28）。這種觀點認為，關於在外邦人中分享福音的私人演講排除了使徒行傳15訪問，但與使徒行傳11非常適合它進一步認為，繼續記念窮人（加拉太書2：10）。與配合的行為的目的11訪問（但不是使徒行傳15）。此外，任何提及使徒行傳15信排除被看作是表明這樣的信件還不存在，因為保羅本來有可能用它對付面臨在加拉太書的律法主義。最後，這個觀點懷疑彼得（加二11）保羅的對抗也有必要在使徒行傳15中描述的事件發生後，如果這個觀點是正確的，書信應當註明日期某處大約47，根據其他難以日後事項如保羅的轉換。[ 10 ]
Kirsopp湖發現這種說法不太可能，不知道為什麼它會是必要的耶路撒冷會議（徒15）發生在所有的問題是否獲得解決在使徒行傳11時半/ 12:25，因為這種觀點成立。[ 11 ]該視圖的捍衛者不認為它如此大規模的可能性不大的問題需要討論不止一次。[ 12 ]著名新約學者JB萊特富特也反對這種觀點，因為它“顯然意味著他[保羅]使徒辦公室辛勤勞動是眾所周知的，本次會議之前，公認的“。[ 13 ]捍衛這種觀點，如羅納德豐，不同意萊特富特的語句的兩個部分，堅持一）保羅接受了他的“使徒辦公室”在他的轉換（加拉太書1： 15-17;徒9）。豐成立的話，那保羅的使徒使命在大馬士革幾乎立即開始（使徒行傳9:20）。同時接受保羅的使徒的恩膏很可能只在加爾中所描述的事件認可由使徒在耶路撒冷。2/Acts 11點半，豐不認為這是對這一理論的一個問題。[ 13 ]
“在這一點上，使徒取筆從他的抄寫員，而最後一段是寫自己的手從字母時開始在他的名字是偽造的時間。（帖後2:2 ; 帖後3:17），它似乎都被他的做法，關閉了幾句在他自己的筆跡，作為對這種偽造的預防措施......在他寫一整段目前的情況下，總結書信的簡潔，躍躍欲試，脫節句子的主要經驗教訓。他寫了，也是在大，粗體字符（希臘語：pelikois grammasin），他的手寫可能反映了他的靈魂的能量和決心。“
大概在書信做了最有名的單個語句，保羅，是在第3章，第28節：“並不分猶太人或外邦人，奴隸或自由，也沒有男性和女性，你都是一個在基督耶穌裡“。圍繞這節經文的爭論是傳說和兩所學校的思想是：（1）這僅適用於精神站立的人在神的眼中。它不牽涉在地球上的社會差別和性別角色; 及（2）這不只是我們的精神地位，但也非常多，我們如何彼此相關和對待彼此在此時此地。位置（1）強調詩歌的直接背景，並指出它是嵌入在大約理由的討論：我們與神的關係。位置（2）提醒批評者認為，“全信上下文”是非常關注人們如何在這裡，現在上了車在一起，而事實上有關理由的討論出來的人對待其他人不同（2一個實際的例子：11FF）[ 16 ]