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Galatians Background - 1983 - Part 2

Format: mp3
Publication Date: 9-14-1983

Walter J. Cummins graduated from the Power for Abundant Class in 1962.  

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Ohio State University in 1968 and his Master of Education degree in Secondary School Administration in 1978 from Wright State University.

He was ordained to the Christian by The Way International in 1968. He has studied at The Way International under Victor Paul Wierwille and K.C.Pillai. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was director of the Research department of the Way International  and served as assistant to the president. 

I'd like to begin again this year, as I did last year, by expressing my appreciation to the greatest teacher of our times, Dr. Wierwille, for entrusting the Corps teaching of God’s Word to me. And who am I? I am a student. I have sat at the feet of the teacher with the most magnificent heart and insight to God's Word that I know. My goal is, and always has been, to walk with God and to be able to teach God's Word like the man who taught me. I love to research, as you know. But greater than that, I love to teach faithful men and women who shall be able to teach others. What I teach is important. But what you learn is even more important. "It Is Written" is our motto, and that you learn what is written is vital to rebuilding the walls that religion has torn down.


Last week Dr. Wierwille shared that in the Corps you come and hear with an enlarged heart. Then, you can lead others to go tell. The Corps is a special training for those who will lead others to go tell. I never had the privilege to live and learn with the Apostle Paul...but others have. I never had the joy of hearing Peter preach... but others have. I have not been witnessed to by the great couple, Aquilla and Priscilla...but others have. Yes, but I have heard, lived with, and learned from Dr Wierwille. It is written--come and hear with an enlarged heart--go tell.


Last week Rev. Martindale told us of the importance of the stayed mind. He said, “A distracted mind is a confused mind which will never recognize the still, small voice.'' You must fight to eliminate the distractions so that you are able to distinguish between the still, small voice and the roar of the world. To come and hear the most of what is written requires a stayed, undistracted, enlarged mind and heart.
In 1962 when I read Galatians, I didn't have that undistracted, enlarged mind and heart. It took working the Word and staying my mind on the Word to get to that point.
Now the Galatians were like some of us. The Galatians were distracted from the truth. In Acts 13 and 14 the Apostle Paul went to Galatia and built the walls of truth among the people. In less than ten years after Acts 13 and 14, those walls were destroyed by religion. The Galatians had succumbed not only to practical error as the Corinthians had, but they yielded to doctrinal error. Their minds were distracted. The roar of religion drowned the still, small voice in their ears. Whenever someone begins to practice error and they continue practicing that error, it ultimately becomes doctrine. At Corinth they practiced error. At Galatia they practiced error, and eventually at Galatia it became doctrine or doctrinal error. Similarly, as we get into the book of Philippians this year, we'll see that they yielded to practical error. And by the same token, the Colossians yielded to doctrinal error.
As Paul rebuilt those walls (which religion had torn down) by writing these epistles, so you, the Corps, have come to hear what is written with an enlarged heart and a stayed mind so that you may “Go Tell!” and rebuild the walls of truth in our times.
In order to prepare for this study of Galatians, Philippians, and Colossians this year, there are a number of other things you ought to read. And I'm particularly concerned about the book of Galatians. First of all, as Rev. Martindale said before, you ought to read Galatians through at least once a day to put it in your mind until it becomes a part of your life -- that you know what you're reading when you read it.
Secondly, you ought to read the first eight chapters of Romans through a number of times. And I'd suggest that at least the Corps teachings that Dr. Wierwille did on Romans chapters 2 thru 7. You ought to listen to as many of those this fall as you can, because that's the heart of the doctrinal section of Romans and the part that will give you a great insight to the book of Galatians. And I also suggest that you read Acts 13, 14, and 16, because 13 and 14 are where Paul took his first itinerary through Galatia and chapter 16 is where he began on his second itinerary that started going through Galatia.
Now, Galatians, as you know, corrects the doctrinal error that crept into the Church due to the misuse of the revelation that's given to us in the book of Romans. Corinthians corrects the practical error that crept into the Church through the misuse of the revelation that's given in the book of Romans. The Corinthians were practicing error and therefore they had to be corrected. The Galatians went a step further where that practice became doctrine and therefore their doctrine had to be corrected. Therefore, what we read last year in the book of Corinthians corrected practical error and associated a lot with Romans 12-16. What we'll see in Galatians this year corrects doctrinal error and relates more specifically to the first eight chapters of Romans.
In Galatians, chapter one, and in verse six, he confronts the problem right away. He says, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another but there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ." See, the Galatians were not only practicing error, they were into a whole new doctrine, a whole new gospel, another gospel, and some were perverting the gospel of Christ. And that's why it's doctrinal error. And Paul writes in verse 11, "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." He didn't receive it from man; he received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. It's not the gospel of men as the other things that were being introduced in Galatia.
In chapter two, and in verse four, he says, "And that because of false brethren unawares brought in who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage." There were those who were sneaking into the fellowship to bring them into bondage, put them back under law, under a doctrine that was contrary to the doctrine of grace- the doctrine of justification by believing. "To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you." And Paul continued to stand for the Galatians even though they weren't standing for themselves.
In chapter three, in verse one, he says, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth." They were into another doctrine. Somebody had bewitched them.
In chapter four, and in verse nine, "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” They wanted to go back into bondage under the elements, to the law, circumcision. “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of [for] you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain."
And in chapter five, and in verse seven, "Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?" Who hindered you that you should not obey the truth? They were into doctrinal error. "This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.'' And Galatia had been leavened.
Turn to Philippians, chapter one. Galatians was written to correct the doctrinal error that crept into the Church due to the misuse of the revelation that's given in the book of Romans, and Romans sets forth the greatness of our justification by believing, not by the works of the law but by believing. And it's by grace, not of works. Philippians, however, corrects practical error, not doctrinal error. They had not gone as far as doctrinal error. They were practicing error, like the Corinthians were. But Philippians corrects the practical error that crept into the Church due to the misuse of the revelation that's given in the book of Ephesians – dwells on the greatness of the Mystery and the unity of the spirit and the things associated with the one Body. Therefore, anything that gets outside of that unity where there is division in the Body, rather than a unity of the spirit and unity of the one Body, deals with practical error relating to Ephesians. And that's where Philippians takes us.
Look at Philippians chapter one, and in verse 15. "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife, and some also of good will." Now, there's two different ways people are preaching Christ, they're still preaching Christ but they're just doing it in a different way. Same doctrine, just a different practice. "The one preach Christ of contention [or strife], not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds. But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." But it'd be nicer if we were all unified, practicing the same thing.
In verse 27, "Only let your conversation [citizenship] be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." With one spirit, one mind – that's unity, unity of the one Body.
In chapter two, in verse two, "Fulfill ye my joy, that ye have different thoughts." No, "be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind [the unity of the one Body]”. "Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."
Look at verse 25. "Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants [needs]."

Now look at verse 30. "Because for the work of Christ he [Epaphroditus] was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.” That's practical error, and that practical error almost cost the life of a believer, a leader, Corps in the first century.
Look at Colossians. The Colossians had gone a step further. They were more than practicing error, they were into doctrinal error, only it wasn't the doctrine of justification of believing or justification of works, it was the doctrine relating to the book of Ephesians, and especially the first three chapters which are the doctrinal section of Ephesians where the greatness of the Mystery is set forth. Colossians corrects the doctrinal error that crept into the Church due to the misuse of the revelation that's given in the book of Ephesians. So, then Colossians ought to correct doctrinal error, not practical error, but doctrinal error that relates to the Mystery that's given in the book of Ephesians.
In Colossians, chapter two, and in verse one...he says, "I would that ye knew [I want you to know] what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love [and love is the tying together facet of the Mystery], and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the Mystery of God." The riches of the full assurance of understanding to the acknowledgement of the Mystery. They were not fully acknowledging the Mystery and that's where the doctrinal error was. And the first thing to go is that knowledge of the Mystery and people don't know the great power that they have in Christ – the knowledge of the Mystery.
Verse four... "And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words [beguile you with enticing words to get you away from the great knowledge of that Mystery that, of course, is given to us in the book of Ephesians].”
And in verse eight... "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men." And Dr. Wierwille hit this Sunday night in that series on the household, “...after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” They fall more on tradition and follow tradition and that's why there’s doctrinal error at Colossee and they're getting away from that great knowledge of the Mystery that's given in the book of Ephesians.
Look at verse 16. "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath." Look at verse 18. "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind." See, these are the things that were leading them to doctrinal error, and again, they were observing days and new moons, sabbaths, like they were in Galatia – very similar to Galatians in that respect.
In verse 20. . . and yet it's different because Colossians corrects the doctrinal error relating to Ephesians; Galatians corrects the doctrinal error relating to the book Romans. And we'll see these differences this year. Look at verse 20, "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using; ) after the commandments and doctrines of men?" Sounds a lot like that opening of Galatians. Paul didn't receive it from men,
but it by the revelation of whom? Jesus Christ. These other doctrines come from men. "Which things indeed have a show of wisdom in the will, worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” [I guess we skipped 22...] "Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?” Those four verses there again point to the greatness of the doctrinal error that was in vogue at Colossee at this time, getting them away from the great knowledge of the Mystery, back into legalistic things.
Now, you put these three epistles, Galatians, Philippians, and Colossians, together with what we covered last year in Corinthians, and it gives you everything that you need in order to lovingly confront any believer that's not walking on God's Word – everything you need to lovingly confront any believer that's not walking according to God's Word, and to minister to that individual's needs. You notice I said lovingly confront, to be able to really help that person and to be able to get them back in alignment and harmony with God. If they're practicing error, how do they get out of that practice and back into practice? If they're into doctrinal error, how do you get them back to right believing? These four epistles do it, and of course there's no correction for Thessalonians because that's our hope and that's it. If you lose that, you've gone a long way, baby.
Now, before we get into Galatians, and that's what we're going to cover this first year or this first block this year, I want to give you the background of Galatians, and I had a map produced which you have a copy of (next page). There are a couple of things I'd like you to add to the map. On the map you see where the province of Asia is, rather central there. Right to the right of that, just over the border in the province of Galatia, you see the city of Antioch. Below Antioch in that edge of Galatia is an ethnic division known as Pisidia. I'd like you to write that in. It does not include Antioch but is below Antioch.
The area around Antioch, and actually extends all the way to Iconium but does not include Lystra – that whole area and also a part of Asia is another ethnic division that extends through part of the province of Asia and part of the province of Galatia over to Iconium – and that is called Phrygia. That's very important. You see, Phrygia was not a provincial designation, neither was Pisidia. But it crossed over the border of two provinces and it's an ethnical division.
Now, the other thing is over to the west of Asia, left on the map. It's a sea between Asia and Achaia (Greece), and that sea is called the Aegean Sea. Now we'll take a look at the background of Galatians and follow your map as we go through this.
The term "Galatia" was used in two distinct ways in the first century, politically and ethnically. Politically, it was a large Roman province in central Asia Minor. On your map we've outlined it in dots – you can see where the political division is, it includes Pisidia and so on. The actual political boundary of Galatia was constantly changing over the centuries. But in the first century at the time of the Apostle Paul, Galatia included Galatia proper. That's where the word "Galatia" is written on your map. It also included Pisidia, where I told you to write "Pisidia" It included that portion of Phrygia that's inside of the dots there. It included Lycaonia, another ethnic division. And, up above, parts of Paphiagonia on the north side, and a part of Pontus (as a matter of fact, we've designated Galatia Pontus over to the right) – that was all a part of the province of Galatia, the political province.

However, the ethnical division of Galatia was much smaller. It was only that area where it says "Galatia" in the middle, and that's on the plateau of Asia Minor. I might also say this whole area is now called Turkey. It used to be called Asia Minor. When we just talk about Asia it's that smaller area over to the left near the Aegean Sea, where Ephesus is.

The Roman province of Galatia got its name from a branch of the Galatians who were the Galls of the Roman writers. The Galatians were descendants of the Galls who moved into central Asia Minor in the third century B.C. The Galatians settled in the northern part of the central plateau of Asia Minor and that of course is where the word "Galatia" is written on your map.
Since the word “Galatia" can mean either the entire Roman province that's outlined in the dots, or just the northern part of the province where the Galatians originally settled, you'll have to examine the scriptures to find the places where the Apostle Paul traveled because that is to whom the epistle was originally sent. Acts only records cities in the southern part of the province Galatia which the Apostle Paul visited, and those cities are marked on your map (look on the map in Phrygia – you have Antioch). Then he went to Iconium, then down to Lystra, and then over to Derbe. Those are the four cities of Galatia that are mentioned in Acts 13 and 14. Therefore, the epistle to the Galatians at least included the people in the southern province of Galatia but knowing how the Word spread out into the regions around about, I'm sure that it included people in other parts of Galatia as well.
I'd like you to look at Acts 13, and again, read Acts 13 and 14 so that you know what we're talking about when we refer back to this first itinerary. In Acts 13, during his first itinerary, in verse 14 it says, "When they departed from Perga (Perga is on your map – it's below Pisidia in Pamphylia) they came to Antioch in Pisidia." Now wait a minute, I just told you that Antioch was in Phrygia. Well, there's a reason for that. It literally means "Pisidian Antioch." Antioch was technically Phrygian, as I told you before, but the Pisidian Antioch was used to distinguish it from another Antioch on the Meander River in Asia which was also Phrygian. In other words, someplace over here in the province of Asia there was, back in those times, another city that was called Antioch in Asia, and it was in the Phrygia area. One historian points out that the full designation for this city, the one over here that we're talking about, was a Phrygian city on the side of Pisidia, because it's next to Pisidia. But this was later shortened to Pisidian Antioch. So that's why it's called Pisidian Antioch even though it's not in Pisidia. The term, Pisidian Antioch, placed more emphasis on the area of Phrygia within the province of Galatia than the entire area of Phrygia.
Now in chapter 16 of Acts, and in verse 6. Here he is on his second itinerary. And by the way, in verse 1, he comes to Derbe and Lystra, and that's where he picks up Timothy and takes Timothy on his second itinerary with him. Timothy was from Lystra. "Now when they had gone [in verse 6] throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia..." Now in the Greek text this literally should read, "the Phrygio Galatic region," because it was that area of Galatia that was known ethnically as Phrygia. So Phrygia was the ethnical part of Galatia that it's referring to. When he had gone throughout the Phrygio Galatic region... Phrygia was an ethnic term for the area that as partly in the province of Galatia and partly in the province of Asia, as I said. It was an ethnic division rather than a provincial division. The province was the entire area that's outlined in dots. Phrygia was in the southwestern part of Galatia and included the cities of Antioch and all the way over to Iconium; Iconium was the easternmost part.
Now the history of Asia Minor. The reason we need to look at the history is so you understand how this screwy boundary came to be here marking Galatia in the first century. First of all, Asia Minor was populated by the descendants of Japheth and Shem as well as Ham (well, no
technically Ham, the Hittites were descendants of Ham, they settled nearby). But some of these descendants of Japeth and Shem settled in this area and in Genesis 10, if you wanted to study that sometime, you can go into this in more detail. I'm not going to go through all this now but it'd make an interesting study to see some of those descendants of Noah that settled here in this area.
However, the Phrygians, around the year 1,000 B.C., moved into Asia Minor from Thrace and Europe. These Phrygians came down from Thrace, crossed the Bosphorous into Bithynia and then into the main part of Asia Minor. Now Phrygia is one of those regions I told you about. But at one time, around 1,000 B.C. and later, they were the dominant race in Asia Minor. Of course, there were other groups and tribes migrating into Asia Minor – they weren't the only ones. The Greeks, for example, were establishing cities especially along the western coast. The Cimmerians, who were descendants of Gomer (listed in Genesis 10) invaded Asia Minor in the 700's B.C. and they destroyed the Phrygian kingdom. But they didn't shove them all out because you've still got Phrygia, even as late as the first century. The Cimmerians dominated much of Asia Minor until the rise of the Lydian kingdom. On your map, over in the province of Asia, you see the word "Lydia" right above Ephesus. They were descendants of this Lydian kingdom that settled here and at one time was dominant in Asia Minor. The last Lydian king was named Croesus, who was best known from the proverb, “Rich as Croesus," which arose due to his immense wealth. Now, Croesus was killed by Cyrus the Persian. In II Chronicles 36, the Judeans were rather screwed up at a particular time in the Old Testament and they went into the Babylonian captivity.
That's the time at which Daniel writes and certain other records in the Old Testament. They were in captivity at Babylon for seventy years. After the seventy years, Cyrus, the king of Persia, took over Babylon. He conquered Babylon and in II Chronicles 36:22 it says, "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred of the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God of heaven given me and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up.'' So it was Cyrus the Persian that gave Judah the opportunity to go back to Judea and rebuild their city, Jerusalem, or the house in Jerusalem, the temple.
Now, that was Cyrus the Persian. He killed Croesus who was this Lydian king that I mentioned. He also conquered all of Asia Minor and destroyed the Lydian capitol in the year 546 B.C. The Greek coastal colonies were soon subdued (that's along the vest coast in Ionia, Lydia, and so on) and Persia ruled all of Asia Minor. However, the situation changed during the reigns of the Persian kings that followed. During the reigns of those kings, Darius and Xerxes, the Greeks defeated them. And so, the Persian empire started to decline and they had to pull back. Now where are they going to pull back to? Back to Persia. So that means they leave the map – they go to the right of your map. And at the same time Greece, who defeated them (that's Achaia over here on the left of your map), had problems. Civil wars like you wouldn't believe. And so where does this leave Asia Minor? It leaves them to themselves. And so during this time, the various tribes in Asia Minor gained increasing independence.
But then there rose another Greek, called Alexander the Great, who conquered Asia Minor in the years 334 and 333 B.C. Although he conquered it, the language and culture of Asia Minor remained mostly unaffected by Alexander. After Alexander’s death in 323 B.C., Alexander's empire was divided among his generals who immediately began fighting one another in order to expand their territories.
Now at that time, following Alexander the Great, Bithynia became an independent monarchy, and on the top of your map you see Bithynia. They became independent and a monarchy at that time. Meanwhile, back in the central part of Asia Minor (the Galatians haven't gotten there yet), Antigonus, who was the Phrygia (remember the Phrygians there back around 1,000 B.C. and at one the time the dominant culture there in Asia Minor) and another man by the name of Seleucus. Seleucus was the successor of Alexander the Great. He was a Macedonian general and he was the one who established what we call the Seleucid Dynasty. There were a number of those that followed him and this comes up even in Judean history, as we'd work that later on.
Anyway, Antigonus, the king of Phrygia, and Seleucus, who would be the Greek or Macedonian ruler, were at war with each other. They fought for the rest of Asia Minor. And by the end of his life, Seleucus ruled Asia Minor. But upon his death his son, who is called Antiochus I (Antioch was named after him), as unable to hold together this empire. Cappadocia and Pergamum (over in the area where Mysia is in Asia) resisted his rule and strengthened their positions as independent territories, so they did not fall in line with Antiochus.
In the late third century B.C., the king of Bithynia (up north) was involved in a civil war with his brother and invited the Galatians (the Galls of the Roman writers, also called the Celts and they come from Europe. Remember, Ceasar fought with the Galls from Europe, the Gaelic wars) to come and help him fight against his brother in the civil war. So, they traveled. In the year 278 and 277 B.C., twenty thousand Galatians with their families crossed the Bosphorous. They went from Thrace across the Bosphorous into Bithynia--Asia Minor. And later on even more Galatians followed.
There were three distinct tribes of Galatians that came into Asia Minor. Because the Galatians had brought their families with them, they were able to maintain their genealogical stock, their own language and their form of tribal government. They also retained their religion and priesthood although there was some syncretism with the religion of the people they conquered. Syncretism is when you combine your gods with the deities from another country, maybe rename yours but have traits from some of their gods and traits from some of your former gods. That's a combination of gods so now you've got syncretism. That happened a lot when people moved around the world.
The three tribes of the Galatians were ruled by twelve chiefs – four chiefs to a tribe. Once the Galatians had helped the king of Bithynia, they started raiding Asia Minor. You know, the war is over, now we've got to have a place to settle down. So, they moved down toward the south from Bithynia into Asia, on their own. Around 275 B.C. Antiochus I defeated the Galatians, but there were thousands of them there. So, he assigned them a territory in the interior of Asia Minor which became known as Galatia.
See where Galatia is? That's all because this Bithynia guy had a civil war with his brother and he invited the Galatians to come down and help him. When they finished, they attacked Antiochus and Antiochus beat them and he gave them a place over here that became known as Galatia. That's how the Galatians got there to begin with. And these were a very warlike group. And they were a continual menace to the Hellenistic powers of the Greeks in Asia Minor. They were also excellent mercenaries – you could buy them to be soldiers. So, around 200 years later Cleopatra had 400 Galatians in her bodyguard. And then she gave those 400 Galatians to Herod the Great, or they were given to him by Caesar Agustus.
Now the areas assigned to Galatia had been Phrygian, so Phrygia had extended up further at one time but now it became Galatia. And the Phrygian culture had remained predominant through the time of the Persian and Greek empires. This explains why part of southern Galatia is often referred to as Phrygia.
Now, in the year 190 B.C., Galatian infantry (remember they were always ready for a good fight) and the cavalry assisted the Greek army of Antiochus III against Rome. This action brought Galatia to the attention of Rome who dispatched Manlius Volso to Galatia. And in 188 B.C. the Galatians were thoroughly beaten by the Romans. That's an important date. The Romans granted the Galatians independence in the year 166 B.C. and Galatia became a subject kingdom. After the Romans conquered Asia Minor, the tribal structure of the Galatians was reorganized. Galatia was ruled by three ethnarchs or kings rather than the twelve chiefs as they were before from within Galatia. The twelve chiefs were replaced by these three kings. The three kings did not get along together and the Galatians entered a period of inter-tribal conflict and civil war.
And that brings us to 42 B.C. when a single king emerged as ruler over all of Galatia. Now, during all this history when the Romans were in touch with the Galatians, the Galatian kingdom served as a buffer state in Asia Minor against Rome's enemies. The Galatians are Galls, who supported Pompeii in the civil war between Pompeii and Julius Caesar. Who won? Caesar. Wrong move on part of the Galatians. Then they supported Brutus and Cassius (et, tu) in their civil war against Marc Antony. Who won? Wrong move. They lost again; however, they were allowed to remain there. In the civil war between Marc Antony and Octavian, they sided with Marc Antony. Wrong, again. They lost again. In the year 25 B.C., the Galatian king Amyntas died and willed his kingdom to Rome. That's why 25 B.C. was very important. Caesar Agustus, who was the caesar at that time, took the opportunity to make Galatia an imperial Roman province and expanded it to include parts of Pontus, Phyrgia, Lycaonia, Pisidia, and Paphiagonia. And of course, that is the territory that's outlined by the dotted line on your map. And that's how that Galatian province came to be. And that's the status of it in the first century with one exception. I'll get to that here in a minute.
The province of Galatia was bordered by Cappadocia on the east, the Paphlagonia Mountains on the north, the province of Asia on the west, and the Tarsus Mountains on the south... so Galatia actually included these other territories.
The city of Ancyra, that became the administrative center, or capitol, of Galatia. In the year 6 or 5 B.C., east Paphlagonia, up above, was finally added to Galatia, so then all the dotted line there is included. But for all practical purposes, that province was established in 25 B.C. It's just that
little section of Paphlagonia was added in 5 or 6 B.C. So, that's the status of it. Politically, when Paul arrived there in Acts, and when he wrote the epistle to the Galatians. Then after that, in 64 A.D., Neru added Pontus to Galatia. In 72 A.D., the emperor Vespasian added Cappadocia as well as lesser Armenia which is off of your map to the right. During the reign of the emperor Trajan, which was later on, Galatia began to be subdivided again. He separated Cappadocia from Galatia.
Now, the next historical fact takes us to the year 395 A.D. At that time the Roman empire was divided between the east and the west. Of course, Rome was the capital of the east and Constantinople was the capitol of the west. Constantinople is right next to the Bosphorus on the left side of the strait there. It's not on your map. But Constantinople was the capitol of the eastern Roman empire and Galatia was naturally in the eastern Roman empire, Asia Minor. Then Asia Minor later on became a major battlefield between the Christians and Moslems in the Middle Ages. In the year 1067, the Celgic Turks invaded Cilicia and Cappadocia. (They are over on your right.) Then there was a long succession of Turkish invasions, wars, and civil wars that followed. And Asia Minor eventually fell to the Ottoman Turks who by the year 1340 controlled all of Asia Minor except a few Byzantine towns along or near Constantinople. That Ottoman Turk empire lasted and was not broken until World War I. And in 1923 Turkey became a republic and “Mestafa Camo Pasha” (?) became it's first president. So that brings you up to date on the history of Galatia and that territory of Asia Minor.
Now, in the first century, what type of government was employed in Galatia? Well, the Roman empire consisted of provinces and subject kingdoms. There were two types of provinces in the Roman Empire. They were senatorial and imperial. The senatorial provinces were usually the more peaceful provinces and they were run by a proconsul. The proconsul was appointed by the Senate and he was responsible to the Senate, not to the Emperor. There are two proconsuls mentioned in the Bible. One is in Acts 13:7, and that of course is Sergius Paulus on the island of Cyprus. Paul, on his first itinerary, went through Cyprus before he went up to Perga and then to Galatia, and that's where he met Sergius Paulus who he witnessed to. And he was a proconsul. That means that the island of Cyprus was a senatorial province. The other one that's mentioned is Gallio in Acts 18:12. Gallio was at Corinth so he was over the senatorial province of Greece, or Achaia.
The imperial provinces were responsible to the Emperor, not to the Senate. Rome had a Senate and they also had an Emperor. These were responsible to the Emperor. And they were governed by agents of the Emperor and reported directly to him. There were three kinds of imperial provinces. The first class was the biggest. They were ruled by consular legates and they had a large standing army. On your map way over on the right and going down, you have the province of Syria. Syria was a very large province, it was an imperial province and it was of this first class, ruled by a consular legate. It had a very large army here. The second class of imperial province was run by a praetor, or a legate who had less authority than a consular legate, usually a smaller area and a smaller army. There are two provinces on here that were of the second class, ruled by a praetor or a praetorium legate. That was Asia and Galatia. So Galatia in the first century at this time was ruled by a praetor or a praetorium legate. The third class of imperial province was smaller yet and was run by a governor who had the title of praefectus. Pontius Pilate was a praefectus who ruled over Judea. However, we're concerned here with Galatia which was ruled
by a praetorian legate and it was ruled by that until 72 A.D., remember when Cappadocia was added by Vespasian, as well as lesser Armenia. So, it moved up to the first class, so it got a consular legate rather than a praetor. The Roman provinces were usually large and hence divided into regions or districts to facilitate governmental procedures.
In Galatia they had these different regions like Paphlagonia, Phrygia, Lycaonia, Galatia, Pontus, and Pisidia. The provincial capitol of Galatia, as I said before, was Ancyra. However, the city of Antioch (Pisidian Antioch) was the regional administrative center of Pisidian Galatia. And Iconium, even though it was considered part of Phrygia, was the administrative center of Lycaonia, that section of Galatia. So they had regional divisions of the province. So that gives you some idea of the political setup in the government of Galatia in the first century.
As far as the geography, this entire area of Asia Minor is a peninsula bordered on the north by the Black Sea, on the west by the Aegean Sea, and on the south by the Mediterranean Sea. The main mass of Asia Minor is a plateau averaging 3,000-5,000 feet above sea level. In the interior of Asia Minor is a central flatland surrounded by high mountains with fertile valleys which descend to the coast. Of course, that central part of Galatia is that flatland area. The entire province of Galatia covered territory in both the central flatland and the mountain region. In the central flatland, the rainfall is slight, averaging less than 10 inches a year. And the temperature range is extreme. The mountain and coastal regions get much more rain so that fruit and grain are abundant in the valleys and along the coast. In western and southern Asia Minor, the climate is more Mediterranean so the olives and figs abound. So, the closer you get to the center, the less good farmland you have although Iconium was a good agricultural center. And the closer you get to the coast, then down along the southern coast you have good Mediterranean climate. The region of southern Galatia where the cities of Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe were located is an area of semi-arid hills and plains. From the earliest times, the people made a living by grazing livestock in the hills and by dealing in trade. Towns grew up around sources of water and those located near routes leading to the coastal plain became cities. Iconium was such a city. The smaller city of Derbe was located near a pass through the mountains, while Lystra was a Roman colony established to help subdue the fierce nomadic tribesmen of the hills. So, when you get in that area you're starting to get into the hills. North of that would be the flat plateau area.
What did they trade in? Trade was one of their economic opportunities there. The major things were wool, slaves, and opium. The opium trade developed around the regions of southern Galatia and it's very likely that Iconium, now keep that in mind -- Iconium in particular, was at the hub of this activity.
First, the wild poppy from which opium is derived is native to the northern Mediterranean coast. Second, the land around Iconium is especially well-suited to the cultivation of poppies. The modern city of Konia, which is situated over the ancient city of Iconium (it was built right on top) is a major producer of opium today. Thirdly, Iconium was situated on two major trade routes; one moving north and one moving west. In the centuries preceding the birth of Christ, Asia Minor had more cultural ties with the north and west than with the south and east. There is no reference to opium in Egyptian literature, but opium was taken to Greece. In the first century A.D. a Cilician-born Greek by the name of Padonius Deoscoridies (?) described in detail the extraction of opium and its properties in his work on medicinal plants. Thus, the procedure with
its ability to relieve pain and its notorious ability to addict the user was well known by the time Paul traveled there. The opium trade flourished in the first and following centuries as Arab traders took it east and south. At times it surpassed in importance the trade in wool and slaves.
In Galatians 5:20 it gives you the works of the flesh. One of those works is witchcraft. The word, witchcraft, is pharmakeia which was a magical incantation by means of drugs. If opium was a cheap trade product here, I'm sure that that had quite an effect on the Galatians and one of the works of the flesh Paul would naturally include in that list.
It's also interesting in Galatians 3:1 that Paul says, "Who hath bewitched you..." which could tie in to these magical arts and he drugs that were related to it.
Now, each city had it's own loyalties and prejudices connected with the nomadic tribes living in the area around it. Thus, the native culture was locally diverse and strongly entrenched. Though the area was penetrated and settled and ruled by various peoples, including the Phrygians, the Persians, the Galls, the Greeks, the Romans, the Judeans, and others, their influence overlay rather than replaced the native culture. Remember Alexander the Great when he came in? He did not change the language or the culture that much. He just moved in, conquered, moved out.
The native dialects were primarily Indo-European rather than Semitic, and at the time of Paul's visits, the language of literature and learning was Greek. The language of government was Latin but the native and common dialects used by the people were those individual dialects that they had, and languages. That's why the use of Aramaic was limited to the Judeans who settled in these different cities, and there were definitely Judeans in each of these cities to which Paul traveled.
Now, Paul himself was born just over the border from Galatia in the province of Cilicia. He was born in Tarsus and it's a major city in that province. His family, having acquired full citizenship at Tarsus, made him a free-born Roman citizen. However, he was the son of a Pharisee, raised strictly as a Hebrew of the Hebrews, as Philippians 3:5 says . And a Hebrew was an Aramaic speaking Judean as opposed to a Hellenist who was a Greek-speaking Judean. Besides that, Pharisees (and he was a Pharisee) were known for greatly despising the Greek language and culture. When Paul was quite young, his family moved to Jerusalem where he was trained and educated by Gamaliel, as you know. Gamaliel is known for despising the Greeks, historically. And Paul was being trained by Gamaliel to serve with the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem. Paul was a leader in the persecution against the Christian Church until his dynamic conversion after which he became the greatest spokesman for the Church. In contrast to most other apostles, his ministry carried him to successful outreach among the Gentiles.
He made four major itineraries among the nations during which his knowledge of Greek and Latin would have improved although Aramaic, without doubt, remained his native and most familiar tongue because of his background as a Pharisee and a Hebrew. As was his custom, taught first in the synagogues on his first visit to Galatia in Acts 13 and 14. Then he taught the Gentiles. Later in writing back to the Galatians he would have written in Aramaic, the tongue in which he was most familiar. There were many Aramaic speaking people living in the Galatia area as can be seen from reading Acts 13 and 14. The Greeks caused the Judeans to settle in Asia
Minor at one point in time. The active trade in this area attracted other Judeans to settle there and that's why they were there, at synagogues there and so on. Since the cities where Paul stopped in Galatia also had substantial Greek and Roman populations, translators would naturally make Greek and Latin copies for the benefit of the believers who spoke those languages. In our study of Galatians we must consider both Aramaic and Greek as well as old Latin and other versions since we have no original manuscripts in existence today. Nor do we have any manuscripts from the first century.
Now looking back at your map you see the area of Galatia and it was the Roman province that is entirely surrounded by these dots. It included the cities of Antioch, lconium, Lystra and Derbe. It was ruled by a praetor rather than a consular legate, and the language here was diverse. That's very important! When Paul was there, it says in that one place they spoke in the language of the Lycaonians when they were trying to do worship to him. So they had other languages; not just Greek, Aramaic, and Latin, but other languages there. Their culture was diverse. They had problems in dope. Opium was a major thing here in this area and the Judaizers that followed Paul presented a problem. Now all these things are going to lead to conflict here in Galatia.
Christianity in Galatia, if you'll read Acts 13 and 14, it'll give you the picture of how things were settled there. Paul and Barnabas were ministering in Antioch of Syria when God said in Acts 13 to "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them." Shortly after that revelation Paul and Barnabas left on their first itinerary which included travel through the southern part of the Roman province of Galatia. The cities in Galatia that are specifically mentioned in Acts are these four that I have given you: Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe.
Antioch was the first city in Galatia that Paul visited. It was named after Antiochus I, the son of Seleucus Nicator as I said before, who seceded Alexander the Great. As a matter of fact, the city of Antioch was founded by Seleucus in order to control the tough mountain people of Pisidia. Two and a half centuries later the Roman Emperor Augustus made Antioch a Roman colony. Now that's important that he made this a Roman colony and settled Roman veterans from the famous “Fifth Gaelic Legion” there for the same reason that the Greeks originally founded the city – because they had trouble with the mountain people of Pisidia. By the time of the Apostle Paul, the military problems had dissipated and the area was peaceful, so Pisidian Antioch was a peaceful area when Paul came. Antioch lay on an important trade route between Ephesus and Cilicia. The Greeks encouraged settlers and brought Greeks from Magnesia, a city on the Meander River. They also encouraged Judeans to settle there. The Romans settled veterans in Antioch, but the fact that it was a colony called a “Little Rome” also attracted other Romans to settle there.
Antioch was also the Roman administrative center for this part of Galatia, as I said before. Inscriptions in coins from Antioch attest to the mixture of the native culture with Greek, Roman and Judean cultures so it was quite a hodge-podge of culture there. A melting pot. The strength of the Judean community in Antioch is attested by their ability to influence the political leaders to expel Paul and Barnabas from the city in spite of the fact that they didn't break the law. So the Judeans did hold a firm hand there. The exact amount of time that the Apostle Paul stayed in Antioch is not recorded. However, it says that after he had taught two Sabbaths, then the Word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. So it had hit more than just the city of Antioch.
His initial teaching in Antioch which is partially recorded in Acts 13:16-41 is his longest recorded teaching in the Book of Acts.
Now after Paul and Barnabas were expelled from Antioch they go over to Iconium. Iconium is on the edge of the central plateau in one of the largest plains in Asia Minor; it was very well watered and was a major agricultural center. As Damascus was a paradise was to the Arabs, so Iconium was a paradise to the Turks later on. The Greeks had taken advantage of the agricultural wealth of Iconium and had Hellenized. On the other hand, the Roman Emperor Augustus had passed it by because it was on a plain and so it wouldn't make a good defense place. Instead he went on to the next city of Lystra. At any rate, the people in Iconium considered themselves Phrygian and they spoke the Phrygian language. As late as the third century A.D. a bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia referred to Iconium as Phrygia. However, both the Greeks and the Romans made Iconium the capital city of Lycaonia for administrative purposes (and I mentioned that before, that Iconium was the capitol city of that area of Galatia known as Lycaonia).
By the way, Iconium is identified in Greek mythology where Persias cut of the head of Medusa. Medusa, you know, was the woman, one of the three sisters that had snakes for hair and if you looked at her you turned to stone. And I am sure that the trade of opium had a lot to do with that! There was a large Judean population in Iconium as Acts 14:1 indicates. Paul stayed in Iconium teaching for a long time, it says, and only left when they were in danger of being stoned to death.
Travelling south from Iconium, Lystra (see Lystra on your map is about 25 miles) was an isolated town on the high plain of Lycaonia. It was made a colony by Augustus. So it's a Roman colony and it has military advantages. Lystra was built on a hill so that it stood in the center of a valley. Now you got a picture of that? On a hill, in the center of a valley. The sides of the hill are steep and the hill is 100-150 feet high. Lystra was easily fortified and was in a perfect position to facilitate the control of southern Galatia. The amount of Latin inscriptions found there attest to the presence of Romans.
The Judean population was small in Lystra. There is no mention of a synagogue, and resistance to the teachings of the Apostle Paul did not arise from the people of Lystra, but was imported to Lystra by the Judeans of Antioch and Iconium, as recorded in Acts 14:19. The fact that people spoke Lycaonian as given in Acts 14:11, despite centuries of Greek and Roman rule, demonstrates how tenaciously the native population held on to their local customs.
And, of course, I told you about the syncretism of their gods with the other gods that they found there. Remember when Paul in Acts 14 came to Lycaonia, he healed that man who was lame. The people said that Paul was Hermes (he's called Mercury, that's the Latin name, Hermes is the Greek name) and they called Barnabus, Zeus, or Jupiter (Zeus was the Greek name). Now that's interesting because the Greek poet Auvid (?) records a legend of Zeus and Hermes coming to Lycaonia and being refused hospitality by everyone except an aged couple. The legend states that gods then flooded the country and killed off all the people except for the couple whose house they turned into a marble temple. The people at Lystra thought that Zeus and Hermes had indeed come to visit the area when they saw the lame man healed, and it was all Paul and Barnabas could do to persuade them otherwise. The content of the speech of the Apostle Paul to
the people preparing to sacrifice to him attest to their non-Judean background as opposed to their Judean background in some of the other cities he went to.
And of course this is where Paul was stoned and his body dragged out of the city and they ministered to him; he was raised from the dead and moved on. This is an indication there wasn’t much Roman law in practice here at Lystra. The great contribution of Lystra in the first century was Timothy. Timothy was already a disciple when the Apostle Paul came to Lystra on his second itinerary. He probably heard Paul teach on his first itinerary.
After Lystra, the Apostle Paul traveled about 60 miles southeast to Derbe, another Roman colony. Derbe's official name was Claudio Derbe because the Emperor Claudius had honored the town. Derbe was the eastern “customs station”, not the eastern custom station, but the eastern “customs station”. Got that? Where, to pass through you have to go through customs for the southern part of Galatia, and monitored the trade coming west and north through Cilician gates. In 1956 the site of Derbe was positively identified. The Word of God simply says that Paul preached the gospel in this city. Does not go into details as to what he did, but he taught many there. However, in Acts 20:4 on Paul's third itinerary, one of the men that accompanied him was Gaius of Derbe.
Now after reaching Derbe, the Apostle Paul retraced his steps through Galatia, strengthening the disciples as he went, and returned to Antioch of Syria. When Paul taught at these larger cities, the Word of God was spread by believers into the local areas. After Paul taught at Antioch of Pisidia, the Word of the Lord was published throughout the entire region (Acts 13:49).
When Paul stayed at Ephesus, what happened there? The whole province of Asia heard the Word of the Lord, both Judaeans and Greeks (Acts 19:10). The Apostle Paul traveled through Galatia on both his second and third itineraries. The only specific incident that's given on his second itinerary is that Timothy joined him at that time. In Acts 18:23 you have him just passing through on his third itinerary and after that he goes to Ephesus and from Ephesus he writes the Book of Galatians. Apparently on this third itinerary he saw some things going on, that's when it says he strengthened the apostles but then he moved on to Ephesus. And while he was at Ephesus for that two years and three months, some time while there he writes back to Galatia to correct the doctrinal error that was going on in that city.