Basic Orientation to the Letter
Who wrote the letter?
This is one of the letters nobody really dispute was written by the apostle Paul.
When was it written?
The dating and chronological ordering of Paul’s letters is another contested area in scholarship. A key question is how to relate them to the accounts in Acts (whose own accuracy is itself debated). For this letter the focus is on how events described in Gal 1 and 2 relate to Acts and in particular whether the letter was written before or after the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. Dating also relates – given what we know of Paul’s travels – as to whether the recipients are thought to be in North or South Galatia. If the latter then the letter could have been any time after 49AD and some think it is the earliest or one of the earliest of Paul’s letters written in the early 50s. Others, especially those favouring North Galatia, view it as later, probably in the mid 50s (eg 55-56 AD).
Introducing the Letter to the Galatians – Resources
Tom Wright introduces the letter in just under 10 minutes as part of the St John’s Nottingham Timeline project
His Letter to the Galatians: Exegesis and Theology (2000) is a helpful introduction to the letter.
In this video first Tom Wright and then James Dunn explain the broader debates about “works of the law” and “The New Perspective on Paul” which are important in discussions about what Paul is saying in Galatians
Here Tom Wright explains his understanding of justification and what it means in Galatians in discussion with Ben Witherington.
For the bigger picture of Paul’s theology from Tom Wright
Douglas Moo, author of a recent commentary on Galatians, is more critical of the New Perspective. He gave a series of 8 lectures on Galatians at Oak Hill theological college in July 2014. The first, looking at Galatians in its original setting, exploring the conversation between Paul and two groups: the Galatians themselves and the false teachers who were agitating the local church is below, the others which offer an exposition of the text can be accessed via the link above or from Soundcloud.
Tom Schreiner, another recent commentator on Galatians has audios of a 21 sermon series online.
Mark Alan Powell has resources based on his Introducing the New Testament (Baker 2009)
His page on Galatians has various resources for students and teachers including the following PDFs:
Bibledex video on Galatians from University of Nottingham with Karen Kilby, Richard Bell and John Milbank
This website has a number of helpful introductory resources including
Dr Robert Stein‘s New Testament Survey series on
Dr Craig Blomberg‘s Introduction the New Testament: Romans to Revelation series on
Galatians (25 mins)
Galatians (Part 2) (37 mins)
Galatians (Part 3) (42 mins)
Dr Bill Mounce‘s New Testament: Its Structure, Content and Theology series on
Acts 13.1-15.35 and Galatians (1 hr 11 mins)
This has resources on Galatians by James Boyce including
On the right hand side of the page are various further resources including short commentaries on key texts and 3 short videos of Boyce on the main message, freedom and the importance of Abraham.