1&2To the churches of the Galatians,
From Paul, an apostle, not appointed by men but by Jesus Christ and God the father who raised him from the dead.
Also from all the brothers who are with me.
3 Grace to you and peace from God our father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who has given himself for our sins to rescue us from this evil age according to our father God's will, 5 to whom goes the glory for all ages. Amen.
Don't turn away from the Good News
6 I'm astonished at how quickly you turned away from him who called you in grace, and towards another good-news 7 (not that there is another) because of certain people who are agitating you and wishing to reverse the gospel of Christ. 8 Even if we or an angel from heaven were to proclaim a different good-news than what we originally preached, let him be eternally lost. 9 As we said before, we now say again: if anyone preaches to you another gospel than what you originally accepted, let him be eternally lost.
10 Am I trying to win the approval of men, or God? If I was trying to please men, I would not be Christ's slave.
11 I proclaim this to you brothers: the good-news I preached is not of men. 12 I didn't receive it from men, nor was it taught to me, but it came through a revelation of Jesus.
13 You have heard of my former extreme Jewish lifestyle when I was persecuting and warring against God's church. 14 I advanced in Judaism, beyond many of my contemporaries in the Jewish nation, and was a zealot for the traditions of my ancestors.
15 But it pleased God to set me apart, even before I was born, and call me by grace to 16 reveal his son to the Gentile nations. I did not immediately consult with humans 17 nor did I go to Jerusalem and consult with the apostles. Instead, I first went to Arabia and then I returned to Damascus.
18 Only after three years did I go to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter, with whom I stayed for fifteen days. 19 I saw no other apostles except James, the brother of the Lord. 20 (With God as my witness, what I write is not a lie.)
21 I then went in to the regions of Syria and Cilicia, 22 and I was still not personally known by the Christian churches in Judea. 23 They had only heard that the person who was persecuting them was now proclaiming the faith against which he had once warred, 24 and they praised God because of me.
Gentile ministry affirmed by the Apostles
1 Only after fourteen years did I go to Jerusalem with Barnabas, also taking along Titus, 2 in response to a revelation. I presented the good-news I had proclaimed to the Gentile nations. I did this in private, to those seemingly in authority, in case I had somehow run this race in vain. 3 Titus, a Greek, was not present. He was being pressured to get circumcised, 4 because traitorous false brothers were spying on our freedom in Jesus Christ, and trying to enslave us. 5 We did not submit to this, even for a moment, so that the truth of the good-news would remain firmly with you.
6 The reputation of those with seeming authority meant nothing to me, since God is not partisan and those authorities added nothing extra. 7 On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the good-news for the un-circumcised, like Peter was for the circumcised. 8 The one having worked through Peter as an apostle to the Jews also worked through me to the Gentiles.
9 Realizing the grace given to me, the pillars-of-authority, Peter and John, extended the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me. We were to be for the Gentiles and they for the circumcised, 10 and only that we should remember the poor which was the very thing I was eager to do.
Paul confronts Peter about hypocrisy
11 When Peter came to Antioch, I stood against him face-to-face because he had condemned himself: 12 previously he had been regularly eating with Gentiles until associates of James came. Fearing the circumcised ones, he separated from the Gentiles. 13 The rest of the Jews joined in this charade and even Barnabas was drawn into the hypocrisy.
14 When I saw they were not walking in the gospel truth, I said to Peter in front of the others, "You are a Jew who lives as a Gentile. How, then, can you pressure the Gentiles to live as Jews?"
Life of faith vs. life under the Law
15 We Jews-by-birth are not Gentile sinners, 16 and we know that a person is never justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. We believed in Jesus Christ that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by obeying the law. My body is not justified by the law.
17 Now if while trying to be declared righteous in Christ we end up being sinners, then is Christ the minister of sin? Certainly no! 18 If I rebuild what I tore down I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 I died because of the law, and to the law, so that I might live to God.
20 I have been crucified with Christ. I am no longer alive but Christ lives in me. I now live this fleshly life by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
21 I do not discount the grace of God, because if righteousness came through the law then Christ died for nothing.
The Spirit came by faith, not law
1 Foolish Galatians! Who has decieved you? In your own eyes Jesus Christ was shown to be crucified. 2 I only want to learn one thing from you: did you receive the Spirit from doing the law, or by faith in what you heard?
3 Are you so foolish that you began in the Spirit and are finishing in the flesh? 4 Did you experience evil in vain? Hopefully not.
5 Was it by doing the law, or by hearing with faith, that you were lavished with the spirit and mighty works among you? 6 As Abraham believed God, it was credited to him as righteousness. 7 Know that the people of faith are the children of Abraham. 8 Having been foretold in the scriptures that God would justify the nations by faith, 9 therefore the good news was prophesied to Abraham: "People of faith are blessed by the belief of Abraham."
10 For as many as are trying to do the law, that many are cursed; because it has been written, "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all that has been commanded in the book of the law." 11 Clearly, no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The just will live by faith."
12 The law is not of faith, and those doing it live under it. 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse on our behalf, as it is written, "Cursed are those hung on a tree," 14 so that the nations might receive the blessing of Abraham through Jesus Christ, and we might receive the promised spirit through faith.
Contract with Abraham's seed
15 Brothers, I speak from human experience: a binding contract, once ratified, can not be annulled or amended. 16 A promise was given to Abraham and to his seed. Now, it does not say "to his seeds," as if referring to many, but was referring to his one seed, who is Christ. 17 I say to you: this contract, ratified by God, was not annulled by the law which came four hundred and thirty years later.
18 If inheritance came via the law then it no longer comes by promise; but since God gave Abraham a promise, 19 then why the law? It was added through angels, on orders of the mediator, because of sin until the coming of the seed to whom the promise was given. 20 A mediator is not for just one party, but God is one.
21 Therefore is the law against the promised of God? Certainly not! For if the law was able to give life, righteousness would have come through the law. 22 The scriptures confined all things in sin, that the promise of Jesus might be given to all who believe in faith.
23 Before faith came we were confined by the law to the faith about to be revealed. 24 The law was our guardian, who led us to Christ, so that we might be justified by faith. 25 We are no longer under a guardian, now that faith as come.
26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all who have been baptized into Christ, cloaked themselves in Christ. 28 There is no Jew or Greek, no slave or free, nor male or female; you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you are of Christ then, by inheritance, you are of Abraham's seed.
An example from inheritance law
1 I am saying this: while an heir is a child, he is no different than a slave even though he is lord of all; 2 but he remains under guardians and trustees until a date appointed by the father. 3 So we also were children, enslaved to our natural instincts; 4 so when the time was right, God sent forth his son to be born of a woman and under the law, 5 so that he might redeem those under the law and adopt us. 6 Because you are sons, God sent his son's spirit into our hearts crying, Daddy! Father! 7 You are no longer a slave but a son, and since you are a son you are an heir through God.
A personal appeal
8 Before you knew God, you were enslaved to those who are not gods by nature. 9 Now that you know God, how do you turn back to the weak and poor basic elements? Do you want to be enslaved again by them? 10 You observe days, months, seasons and years. 11 I fear for you that I have somehow labored in vain on your behalf.
12 Brothers, I beg of you: become like me because I became like you.
You have not harmed me, 13 and you remember that in physical weakness I first preached the good-news to you. 14 You did not treat me with contempt even though my flesh put you to the test. Instead, you received me as an angel of God or as Christ Jesus.
15 Where have your blessings for me gone? I can testify that there was a time when you would have torn out your eyes and, if possible, given them to me. 16 Am I now your enemy because I told you the truth?
17 Although they desire to exclude you, they exalt you so that you will exalt them. 18 It's good to exalt good, but not just when I'm present with you.
19 My children, I keep suffering birth pains until Christ is formed in you.
20 I wish that I could be with you right now and change my tone, but I am perplexed with you.
21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to what it says? 22 It was written, "Abraham had two sons, one born by a slave woman and one by a free woman." 23 The son by the slave was born of the flesh and the son by the free woman was born of promise. 24 These women are an allegory for the two covenants. Hagar, from Mount Sinai, bore children into slavery. 25 Today Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which remains in slavery with her children. 26 The other woman is the heavenly Jerusalem, free and the mother of us all. 27 For it was written:
- "Rejoice, childless and barren one!
- Burst-out in shouting, the one not suffering birth pains.
- Because the desolate woman has many more children
- than the woman with a husband."
28 Brothers, you are children of promise, like Isaac; 29 and it's like that now: the son born of flesh persecutes the one born by the Spirit.
30 What does the scripture say?
- "Cast out the slave woman and her son. For the child of the slave woman will not share the inheritance of the free child."
31 Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free.
1 Christ liberated us for this kind of freedom; so stand firm and do not again be held down by the yoke of slavery.
Choose either Christ or the law
2 Listen to me, Paul. I say that if you let yourself be circumcised you don't benefit from Christ. 3 Again, I swear that any person who allows themselves to be circumcised is obliged to obey the whole law. 4 If you are trying to be justified by the law then you are separated from grace and become a stranger to Christ. 5 By the spirit of faith we earnestly await the hoped-for righteousness.
6 In Christ, neither circumcised nor uncircumcision have any power but only acts of faith and love.
7 You were running the race so well, but who blocked you from believing the truth? 8 This is not from the one calling you. 9 A little yeast leavens the whole batch. 10 I am confident that you will believe in none other besides the Lord and that whoever is troubling you will be judged.
11 Brothers, if I continue to preach circumcision then why am I still be being persecuted since the cross would no longer be offensive? 12 I wish the troublemakers would cut theirs all off!
Live by the Spirit, not the flesh
13 You were called to freedom, brothers, but not as an excuse for the flesh but for love -- to serve each other as slaves. 14 The entire law can be summed up with one statement: "Love your neighbor as yourself.
15 Beware. You might destroy one another if you bite and devour each other.
16 I say: if you are walking by the spirit there is no way you will fulfill the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is against the spirit, and spiritual desires are against the flesh. 18 If you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The works of the flesh are clear: illicit sex, impurity, indecency, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, sectarianism, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing and similar. As I said previously, those doing such will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, long-suffering, kindness, faith, 23 humility and self-control. There are no laws against such things.
24 Those in Christ have crucified the passions and lust of the flesh. 25 If we live by the spirit we, should keep in-line with the spirit. 26 Let's not become conceited, provoke others or be envious of each other.
Dangers of the flesh
1 Brothers, if anyone is overtaken by sin, you spiritual ones should gently correct him while being watchful of yourselves, lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear each other's burdens and you fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks more of himself than he really is, he is self-deceived. 4 Let each person examine their own works and be proud of themselves, rather than boast in others. 5 For each man bears his own load.
6 Students of the Word should share all good things with their teacher.
7 Do not be deceived; God is not duped. One reaps what they sow. 8 The one sowing to his own flesh will reap rottenness from the flesh but the one sowing to the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit. 9 Let us not grow weary in doing good, for we will reap in due time. Without giving up, 10 therefore, we should not miss an opportunity to do good to all, but especially to those in the family of faith.
11 Notice the large letters I write with my own hand. 12 Those coercing you to be circumcised make a good outward showing but they are only avoiding persecution for Christ's cross. 13 The circumcision group doesn't keep the law but they still want you to be circumcised so they can boast about your bodies. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me and I to it.
15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision are worth anything; only the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy will be upon those who obey these rules, just as is upon God's Israel. 17 Let no one trouble me from now on, for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.
18 Brothers, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you in spirit. Amen.