Greeting

1 Paul, an apostle (neither from men, nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), and all the brothers who are with me, to the churches of Galatia: Grace to you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

No Other Gospel

I marvel that you are turning away so quickly from Him who called you in1 the grace of Christ to a different gospel, which is not really another, but there are some who trouble you and who want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any other gospel than what we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone preaches to you any other gospel than what you received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now seek the favor of men, or of God? Or do I now seek to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

The Apostle’s Testimony and Credentials

11 But I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through revelation from Jesus Christ.2 13 For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more ardently zealous than they for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased Him who separated me from my mother’s womb, and who called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned once again to Damascus.

18 Then, after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to meet Cephas, and I remained with him for fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. 20 (Now the things which I am writing to you: Behold, I affirm before God that I am not lying.) 21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea that were in Christ; 23 they only kept hearing, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And because of me they were glorifying God.

Notes

  1. Or by
  2. Or through a revelation from Jesus Christ

 

Peter Approves of Paul

Then, after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. I went up in accordance with a revelation, and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles; but I did so in private, to those who were esteemed as leaders, if perhaps I was running, or had been running, in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. This dispute arose because of false brothers, secretly smuggled in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage— to whom we did not yield in submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. As for those who were highly esteemed1—whatever they were makes no difference to me: God shows personal favoritism to no man—well, those who were esteemed added nothing to my message.2 On the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the Gospel to the uncircumcised (just as Peter was to the circumcised, for He who worked effectively in Peter for an apostleship to the circumcised was also working effectively in me towards the Gentiles), and recognizing the grace given to me, James, Cephas, and John—who all were regarded as pillars—gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised.10 They only asked that we should remember the poor, the very thing I also was eager to do.

Paul Reproves Peter

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and separate himself, fearing those of the circumcision.3 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away in their hypocrisy! 14 But when I saw that they were not walking in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, now live like the Gentiles, and not like the Jews, how can you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?”4 

15 Yes, we are Jews by nature, and not “Gentile sinners.” 16 However, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law—for by the works of the Law no flesh shall be justified.

17 But if we ourselves, while seeking to be justified by Christ, are also found to be sinners, has Christ therefore become a minister of sin? God forbid! 5 18 For if I rebuild the things that I formerly destroyed, then I am making6 myself a transgressor. 19 For through the Law I died to the Law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and who gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ has died in vain.

Notes

  1. Lit. seemed to be something
  2. Lit. me
  3. I.e. those of the party favoring circumcision
  4. Some interpreters close the quote at the end of the chapter
  5. Lit. May it never come to pass!
  6. Lit. showing, demonstrating

 

Justification by Faith

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was distinctly portrayed as crucified? This alone I would learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now perfecting yourselves by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Therefore, I ask: He who supplies you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith? Yes, He does it by faith, even as He did with Abraham, who “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness?”1 Know, then, that those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”2 So then, those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all the things which are written in the book of the Law, to do them.”3 11 But that no one is justified by the Law in the sight of God is evident, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”4 12 However, the Law is not of faith, but, “The man who does them, he shall live by them.”5 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),6 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The Promise and the Law

15 Brothers, I speak in accordance with the practice of men: Though it is only a man-made covenant, yet once it is ratified, no one sets it aside or adds to it. 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed the promises were made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as if speaking of many, but rather of one: “And to your Seed,”7 who is Christ. 17 What I am saying is this: The Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance is based on law, then it is no longer based on promise; but God granted it to Abraham through a promise.

19 Why, then, the Law? It was added for the sake of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 But a mediator is not for one party alone, whereas God is one.

21 Is the Law then against the promises of God? God forbid!9 For if a law had been given that was able to impart life, then indeed righteousness would have been by the Law. 22 But the Scripture has shut up all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.23 But before faith came, we were held in custody under the Law, shut up to the faith that was later to be revealed. 24 So then, the Law has become our tutor, a guide to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you all are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Notes

  1. Gen. 15:6
  2. Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14
  3. Deut. 27:26
  4. Or “The one who is righteous by faith shall live.” See Hab. 2:4
  5. Lev. 18:5
  6. Deut. 21:23
  7. Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 24:7
  8. Lit. from, out of
  9. Lit. May it never come to pass!

 

Sons and Heirs

Now this I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave (even though he is lord of all), but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so, when we were children, we too were held as slaves under the basic principles of the world.1 But when the appointed time had fully come,2 God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

However, at that time, when you did not know God, you were indeed slaves to things3 that by nature are not gods at allBut now that you have come to know God—or rather to be known by God—how is it that you are turning back to the weak and beggarly principles, principles to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have labored over you in vain.

What Happened to Your Zeal?

12 Brothers, I beg of you: Become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong. 13 But as you well know, it was because of a physical infirmity that I first4 preached the gospel to you; 14 and though my condition was a trial for you, you did not scorn or detest me, but instead received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus himself! 15 Where then is the blessedness that you formerly enjoyed? For I bear you witness that if it were possible you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.16 Have I therefore become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They zealously court you, but not for your good. On the contrary, they want to isolate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. 18 Now it is good to be zealous in a good thing, but to be so always, and not only when I am present with you. 19 My little children with whom I am again in travail till Christ be formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone; for I am perplexed about you!

A Lesson from the Old Testament

21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the Law, do you not hear the Law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bond-woman and one by the free. 23 But the son of the bond-woman was born according to the flesh, and the son of the free-woman through a promise. 24 These things are meant allegorically. For these two women represent two covenants. One proceeds from Mount Sinai and gives birth to bondage: This is Hagar. 25 Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the Jerusalem that now is, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she5 is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written:

“Rejoice, O barren,
You who do not bear!
Break forth and shout,
You who labor not!
For more are the children of the desolate
Than of she who has a husband.”5

28 Now you, brothers, just like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is even now. 30 Nevertheless, what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bond-woman and her son, for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the free-woman.”7 31 So then, brothers, we are not children of the bond-woman but of the free.

Notes

  1. I.e. The basic spiritual principles or realities underlying worldly religion and philosophy
  2. Lit. But when the fullness of the time had come .
  3. Lit. those
  4. Or formerly
  5. Lit. which
  6. Is. 54:1
  7. Gen. 21:10

 

The Christian’s Fight for Freedom

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand fast, therefore, and do not be entangled again in a yoke of bondage. Behold, I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole Law. You who would be justified by the Law, you are severed from Christ; you have fallen from grace. But as for us, we, through the Spirit, and by faith, eagerly await the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; what counts is faith working through love.

You were running well: Who cut in on you, that you should no longer obey the truth?This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you in the Lord, that you will take no other view than ours; but he who is troubling you, he will bear his judgment, whoever he may be. 11 And I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.12 Would that those who incite you to rebellion would go all the way and1 cut themselves off!2 13 For you, brothers, have been called to freedom; only do not turn your freedom into an occasion for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in this one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”3 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

The Christian’s Realm of Freedom

16 Therefore I say: Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things you wish.18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious. They are: fornication, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, rivalries, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions,3 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like; of which I now forewarn you, just as I previously forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Notes

  1. Lit. also
  2. Or mutilate themselves
  3. Lev. 19:18
  4. Or heresies

 

Concluding Instructions

Brothers, even if a man is ensnared in a particular1 trespass, you who are spiritual should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, looking to yourselves lest you also should be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the Law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when in fact he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then his boast will be in himself alone, and not in another. For each one will carry his own load.

Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, and especially to those of the household of faith.

The Mark of the True Israel of God

11 Look at what large letters I am using as I write to you with my own hand! 12 As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these compel you to be circumcised, but only so that they themselves might not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.13 For not even those who are circumcised keep the Law, but they desire to have you circumcised so they may boast in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should boast, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom2 the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; what counts is a new creation. 16 And as many as will walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and so upon the Israel of God.

17 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear on my body the marks3 of Jesus. 18 Brothers, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Notes

  1. Lit. any, some
  2. Or by which(the cross)
  3. Greek stigmata: marks, scars, or brands indicating ownership