Bible: Galatians 1-4
1:1 From Paul, 1 an apostle (not from men, nor by human agency, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead) 1:2 and all the brothers with me, to the churches of Galatia. 1:3 Grace and peace to you 2 from God the Father and our 3 Lord Jesus Christ, 1:4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age according to the will of our God and Father, 1:5 to whom be glory forever and ever! Amen.
Occasion of the Letter
1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one 4 who called you by the grace of Christ 5 and are following 6 a different 7 gospel – 1:7 not that there really is another gospel, 8 but 9 there are some who are disturbing you and wanting 10 to distort the gospel of Christ. 1:8 But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach 11 a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, 12 let him be condemned to hell! 13 1:9 As we have said before, and now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let him be condemned to hell! 14 1:10 Am I now trying to gain the approval of people, 15 or of God? Or am I trying to please people? 16 If I were still trying to please 17 people, 18 I would not be a slave 19 of Christ!
Paul’s Vindication of His Apostleship
1:11 Now 20 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, 21 that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 22 1:12 For I did not receive it or learn it from any human source; 23 instead I received it 24 by a revelation of Jesus Christ. 25
1:13 For you have heard of my former way of life 26 in Judaism, how I was savagely persecuting the church of God and trying to destroy it. 1:14 I 27 was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my nation, 28 and was 29 extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. 30 1:15 But when the one 31 who set me apart from birth 32 and called me by his grace was pleased 1:16 to reveal his Son in 33 me so that I could preach him 34 among the Gentiles, I did not go to ask advice from 35 any human being, 36 1:17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem 37 to see those who were apostles before me, but right away I departed to Arabia, 38 and then returned to Damascus.
1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem 39 to visit Cephas 40 and get information from him, 41 and I stayed with him fifteen days. 1:19 But I saw none of the other apostles 42 except James the Lord’s brother. 1:20 I assure you 43 that, before God, I am not lying about what I am writing to you! 44 1:21 Afterward I went to the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 1:22 But I was personally 45 unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 1:23 They were only hearing, “The one who once persecuted us is now proclaiming the good news 46 of the faith he once tried to destroy.” 1:24 So 47 they glorified God because of me. 48
Confirmation from the Jerusalem Apostles
2:1 Then after fourteen years I went up to Jerusalem 49 again with Barnabas, taking Titus along too. 2:2 I went there 50 because of 51 a revelation and presented 52 to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did so 53 only in a private meeting with the influential people, 54 to make sure that I was not running – or had not run 55 – in vain. 2:3 Yet 56 not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, although he was a Greek. 2:4 Now this matter arose 57 because of the false brothers with false pretenses 58 who slipped in unnoticed to spy on 59 our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, to make us slaves. 60 2:5 But 61 we did not surrender to them 62 even for a moment, 63 in order that the truth of the gospel would remain with you. 64
2:6 But from those who were influential 65 (whatever they were makes no difference to me; God shows no favoritism between people 66 ) – those influential leaders 67 added 68 nothing to my message. 69 2:7 On the contrary, when they saw 70 that I was entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised 71 just as Peter was to the circumcised 72 2:8 (for he who empowered 73 Peter for his apostleship 74 to the circumcised 75 also empowered me for my apostleship to the Gentiles) 76 2:9 and when James, Cephas, 77 and John, who had a reputation as 78 pillars, 79 recognized 80 the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me 81 the right hand of fellowship, agreeing 82 that we would go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 83 2:10 They requested 84 only that we remember the poor, the very thing I also was eager to do.
Paul Rebukes Peter
2:11 But when Cephas 85 came to Antioch, 86 I opposed him to his face, because he had clearly done wrong. 87 2:12 Until 88 certain people came from James, he had been eating with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he stopped doing this 89 and separated himself 90 because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision. 91 2:13 And the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray with them 92 by their hypocrisy. 2:14 But when I saw that they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas 93 in front of them all, “If you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you try to force 94 the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Jews and Gentiles are Justified by Faith
2:15 We are Jews by birth 95 and not Gentile sinners, 96 2:16 yet we know 97 that no one 98 is justified by the works of the law 99 but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. 100 And 101 we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ 102 and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one 103 will be justified. 2:17 But if while seeking to be justified in Christ we ourselves have also been found to be sinners, is Christ then one who encourages 104 sin? Absolutely not! 2:18 But if I build up again those things I once destroyed, 105 I demonstrate that I am one who breaks God’s law. 106 2:19 For through the law I died to the law so that I may live to God. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, 107 and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So 108 the life I now live in the body, 109 I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, 110 who loved me and gave himself for me. 2:21 I do not set aside 111 God’s grace, because if righteousness 112 could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing! 113
Justification by Law or by Faith?
3:1 You 114 foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell 115 on you? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed 116 as crucified! 3:2 The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law 117 or by believing what you heard? 118 3:3 Are you so foolish? Although you began 119 with 120 the Spirit, are you now trying to finish 121 by human effort? 122 3:4 Have you suffered so many things for nothing? – if indeed it was for nothing. 3:5 Does God then give 123 you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law 124 or by your believing what you heard? 125
3:6 Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, 126 3:7 so then, understand 127 that those who believe are the sons of Abraham. 128 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time, 129 saying, “All the nations 130 will be blessed in you
Inheritance Comes from Promises and not Law
3:15 Brothers and sisters, 142 I offer an example from everyday life: 143 When a covenant 144 has been ratified, 145 even though it is only a human contract, no one can set it aside or add anything to it. 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his descendant. 146 Scripture 147 does not say, “and to the descendants,
3:19 Why then was the law given? 152 It was added 153 because of transgressions, 154 until the arrival of the descendant 155 to whom the promise had been made. It was administered 156 through angels by an intermediary. 157 3:20 Now an intermediary is not for one party alone, but God is one. 158 3:21 Is the law therefore opposed to the promises of God? 159 Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 160 3:22 But the scripture imprisoned 161 everything and everyone 162 under sin so that the promise could be given – because of the faithfulness 163 of Jesus Christ – to those who believe.
Sons of God Are Heirs of Promise
3:23 Now before faith 164 came we were held in custody under the law, being kept as prisoners 165 until the coming faith would be revealed. 3:24 Thus the law had become our guardian 166 until Christ, so that we could be declared righteous 167 by faith. 3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 168 3:26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. 169 3:27 For all of you who 170 were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave 171 nor free, there is neither male nor female 172 – for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, 173 heirs according to the promise.
4:1 Now I mean that the heir, as long as he is a minor, 174 is no different from a slave, though he is the owner 175 of everything. 4:2 But he is under guardians 176 and managers until the date set by his 177 father. 4:3 So also we, when we were minors, 178 were enslaved under the basic forces 179 of the world. 4:4 But when the appropriate time 180 had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights. 181 4:6 And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls 182 “Abba! 183 Father!” 4:7 So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are 184 a son, then you are also an heir through God. 185
Heirs of Promise Are Not to Return to Law
4:8 Formerly when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods at all. 186 4:9 But now that you have come to know God (or rather to be known by God), how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless 187 basic forces? 188 Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again? 189 4:10 You are observing religious 190 days and months and seasons and years. 4:11 I fear for you that my work for you may have been in vain. 4:12 I beg you, brothers and sisters, 191 become like me, because I have become like you. You have done me no wrong!
Personal Appeal of Paul
4:13 But you know it was because of a physical illness that I first proclaimed the gospel to you, 4:14 and though my physical condition put you to the test, you did not despise or reject me. 192 Instead, you welcomed me as though I were an angel of God, 193 as though I were Christ Jesus himself! 194 4:15 Where then is your sense of happiness 195 now? For I testify about you that if it were possible, you would have pulled out your eyes and given them to me! 4:16 So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 196
4:17 They court you eagerly, 197 but for no good purpose; 198 they want to exclude you, so that you would seek them eagerly. 199 4:18 However, it is good 200 to be sought eagerly 201 for a good purpose 202 at all times, and not only when I am present with you. 4:19 My children – I am again undergoing birth pains until Christ is formed in you! 203 4:20 I wish I could be with you now and change my tone of voice, 204 because I am perplexed about you.
An Appeal from Allegory
4:21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, do you not understand the law? 205 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the 206 slave woman and the other by the free woman. 4:23 But one, the son by the slave woman, was born by natural descent, 207 while the other, the son by the free woman, was born through the promise. 4:24 These things may be treated as an allegory, 208 for these women represent two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai bearing children for slavery; this is Hagar. 4:25 Now Hagar represents Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 4:26 But the Jerusalem above is free, 209 and she is our mother. 4:27 For it is written:
“Rejoice, O barren woman who does not bear children; 210
break forth and shout, you who have no birth pains,
because the children of the desolate woman are more numerous
than those of the woman who has a husband
4:28 But you, 212 brothers and sisters, 213 are children of the promise like Isaac. 4:29 But just as at that time the one born by natural descent 214 persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, 215 so it is now. 4:30 But what does the scripture say? “Throw out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the son