Why did Paul call the Galatians foolish? 


By BibleAsk Team

Foolish Galatians

Paul in his epistle to the Galatians wrote, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?” (Gal. 3:1). Paul called the Galatians foolish because they had shown their lack of understanding by submitting to the influence of the false teachers who taught the need to do works to gain justification. The Bible teaches that justification is gained by faith alone in the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:8,9). People don’t do works to be saved but because they are saved.

There was no good reason for the members of the church at Galatia to reject the doctrine of salvation by faith. In doing so, they had been greatly misled. So, Paul wrote to them hoping that they will see their error and change their wrong path. In listening to the false teachers, they have followed their feelings and not their reason.

The Galatians could not claim ignorance of the truths of the gospel, for Paul had preached these same truths to them. Paul magnified the cross of Christ and made it the core of his teachings (1 Corinthians 1:23; 2:1, 2; 15:3). The Galatians had heard about the significance of Christ’s sacrifice and they had believed that His sacrifice was essential for their justification.

Swayed From the Truth

The Galatians had experienced the enlightenment of the Spirit in their lives and had seen the revelation of the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4:10–13). They saw how the Spirit reproved sin, and led them to the light (John 16:7–13).  They were sure that what they learned originated from God.  And through faith, the Galatians had accepted salvation by Christ and had experienced the blessings of the Spirit that followed. Like Cornelius (Acts 10:44), they had accepted what they heard and had received the “earnest of the Spirit” as proof that the Lord accepted their faith (2 Corinthians 1:22).  

Thus, they had already received rich blessings from God and experienced many evidences of His presence amongst them. But this was only a beginning. So, it was strange that they should turn their hearts from God just when He had started to work out His will for them. What rich blessings they would lose if they forsook His plan and accept man-made ideas.

Reignite the Faith

Paul called the members of the church to reignite their original faith which was sealed by their suffering for Christ. For the Galatians had without doubt faced affliction because of their faith in Christ. In that, they followed the pattern of their Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 4:29). Like the Thessalonians, they must have experienced persecution (1 Thessalonians 2:14).

Paul argued, if their previous, Spirit-led life had been a blunder, then all the suffering they had suffered as a result of it had been in vain. It was because of their understanding of the atonement offered by Christ that they had suffered persecution. Paul sincerely hoped that this suffering had not been in vain, and that, even yet, the Galatians would recognize their error and come back to their previous stand.   

Paul reminded the members of Abraham’s experience with God, “just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham” (Gal. 3:6,7). And he added, if that was true of Abraham, it must be true of his seed (Gal. 3:7), and more so of his spiritual children (Gal. 3:14, 26–29). Thus, Paul’s most important message to Galatians was the supremacy of faith over the law as a means of gaining righteousness and justification.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team 

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