The Berean Expositor
Volume 36 - Page 105 of 243
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#43. The Place of Galatians in the early group of Paul's Epistles.
pp. 207 - 211
In our last article we were occupied with the proofs that may be brought forward for
the Pauline authorship of the epistle to the Hebrews. We are satisfied that there is
abundant proof and that Paul is the author of fourteen epistles in the New Testament. We
have, in other epistles of other series, as in the article in the series dealing with the Acts
of the Apostles, made it clear that Paul exercised a twofold ministry, and that his epistles
keep pace with either the itinerant preaching of Acts 13:-19:, of with the prison
testimony indicated in the closing verses of Acts 28:  The epistles therefore divide
into two groups: those which were written while Paul was free to travel are Romans,
Galatians, I and II Thessalonians, I and II Corinthians, Hebrews, and those written
after the setting aside of Israel, and either during or after the imprisonment therein
recorded. For the moment we are concentrating our attention on the earlier ministry and
the seven epistles of that period. It is evident that the pairs of epistles--I & II Thess.,
and I & II Cor. must be kept together for the purposes of study, whether one of the other
epistles were written between the writing of the first and second epistles or not. We
could also consider the three single epistles in their canonical order, namely Romans,
Galatians, and Hebrews, but wherever we may feel Galatians fits in the chronological
order, we know that Romans was the last of the series.
As we found it necessary, and we trust profitable to discern the authorship of
Hebrews, we shall find it equally important and helpful to have some certain convictions
regarding the geographical and chronological place of Galatians. The following note
from Lewin's "Life and Epistles of Paul" bears witness:
"It is a great disappointment that neither in the Acts nor even in the Epistles can we
trace any details of Paul's ministry in Galatia, and we must therefore content ourselves
with reasonable probabilities."
We are now in the happy position of reading in the Acts itself the fullest account of
this Galatian visit, and are free from the necessity of "reasonable probabilities" of any
kind. Let us examine the problem.
First, if Galatia be conceived of as the kingdom of that name which occupied the
Northern part of Asia Minor, it is obvious that the epistle could not have been written
until after Acts 18: 23, for Gal. 4: 13 indicated a second visit. The reader may
wonder how it is possible to use such an argument as "if Galatia be conceived" for a
country either is or is not a definite geographical site and beyond argument. That of