Our verse for the day is Galatians 1:2:
“and all the brethren who are with me, to the churches of Galatia:” (NKJV)
That’s short, but I wanted to point out that when we study a book of the Bible, it’s good to take time to understand who the author is (Paul in this case) and to whom he was writing (the churches of Galatia).
It’s also interesting to read commentaries for more information about the date of writing or the purpose for the book, etc., and we can also establish some of those things as we read through.
My ESV Bible study notes say, “Paul’s letter to the Galatians was likely written to the churches he established in the southern part of Galatia during his first missionary journey (Acts 13:1-14:28). He probably sent the letter from his home church in Antioch, sometime before the Jerusalem council (see Acts 15:1-31).”
So we now have our author and recipients of this letter to the Galatians.
There is one other thing I wanted to point out about the “churches” of Galatia. Though there is what is called the “church universal,” referring to all believers who are Christians, there are also many references throughout the New Testament, such as this, to the local church.
At our local church, they have just had a special emphasis on the church and made available a booklet on the importance of church. I am also reading through Josh Moody’s book on Galatians, No Other Gospel, as I am reading Galatians, and it also speaks about this issue of the local church.
He points out often that “It is the constant assumption of Scripture that, to be a member of the universal church, one must be a member of the local church…. The New Testament knows nothing of a Christian who is not a part of a local church. So, if you are a Christian but not a part of a local church, find a biblical church where you can get involved in order to be securely and confidently a member of the universal church.” (No Other Gospel, p. 21)
Our culture will always float unbiblical ideas (such as “I don’t really need to go to church. I can have church by myself or in the outdoors alone – I worship when I fish or am in nature or when I work, etc.”). People look for ways to try to assert that the Bible doesn’t really speak to such issues. But it does, and it’s quite relevant actually to all the cultural things we find around us, and we always want to know biblical truth.
So here we see Paul writing to the “churches of Galatia” and remember again the emphasis the Bible has on the local church and being part of one.
PRAYER: Lord, we thank you for our local church that is God-centered and gospel-centered where we can participate in the local body of believers and worship You. We thank you for this letter written to the churches in Galatia that can help instruct us in our faith today. Would you grow us as we study your Word, and let us love to know You and Your Word more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.