Introduction to Galatians

In his epistle to the Galatians the Apostle Paul is not so much
concerned with expounding his Gospel as with defending it. The
mischief-makers were evidently certain Jews who professed conversion to
Christianity, and yet were more zealous of the law than they were of
Christ; men of the same stamp as those we have mentioned in Acts 15: 1
and 5.

We find allusions to their mischievous activities in some of the
other epistles. They had gained a certain measure of success amongst
the Corinthians, for instance. There are faint allusions to them in the
first epistle, but in 2 Cor. 11, the Apostle denounces them in no
uncertain terms. They were Jews right enough, as 2 Cor. 11: 22 shows,
but he does not admit their being truly Christian, as we may see by
reading verses 13 and 14. The Colossian Christians were warned against
their beguilings in the epistle addressed to them, (Col. 2: 14-23), and
even the faithful Philippians had a word thrown in about them in,
"Beware of evil workers, beware of the concision" (Phil. 3: 2).

Evidently however their greatest success was with the Galatians, who
were a people of fickle temperament. The "churches of Galatia" had very
largely embraced the ideas they pressed, hardly realizing how they cut
at the root of that Gospel which they had first heard from the lips of
Paul himself. This the Apostle shows them in the epistle. Consequently
he stresses just those features of the Gospel which exposed the falsity
of these newer ideas. He shows them moreover what a fall from grace, as
regards their own thoughts and spiritual state, it had involved them
in. The seriousness of this fall accounts for the restraint and even
severity of language which characterizes this epistle.