The question of which Galatia is intended is tied up with the problem of the date of this letter. Many scholars hold the opinion that Galatians was the first letter written by Paul, and they assign to it a date as early as the year 47 or 48 A.D. A later date, however, is suggested by the similarity of this letter to letters of Paul which clearly were written at a later date, particularly Romans and the Corinthian correspondence. The similarity tends to show that all these letters were probably written close to each other. If that is the case, the letter to the Galatians may have been written either during Paul’s second missionary journey or before the start of the third. This also makes it possible to equate Paul’s visit to Jerusalem mentioned in Galatians 2 with the visit recorded in Acts 15, when Paul and Barnabas attended the Jerusalem council.
In some languages it is almost a matter of necessity to indicate the nature of Galatia. One must translate “the churches in the province of Galatia,” or “… the region of Galatia,” depending upon one’s interpretation as to which Galatia is intended.
In selecting a term for churches, it is important to avoid an expression which will merely refer to buildings. Paul’s reference here is to groups of believers or “believers who meet together in various places.”
Arichea, D. C., & Nida, E. A. (1976). A handbook on Paul’s letter to the Galatians (pp. 6–7). New York: United Bible Societies.