Bible: Galatians 1-4

Salutation

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.” 131  3:9 So then those who believe 132  are blessed along with Abraham the believer. 3:10 For all who 133  rely on doing the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not keep on doing everything written in the book of the law.” 134  3:11 Now it is clear no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous one will live by faith. 135  3:12 But the law is not based on faith, 136  but the one who does the works of the law 137  will live by them. 138  3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming 139  a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree) 140  3:14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles, 141  so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.

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, 148  referring to many, butand to your descendant, 149  referring to one, who is Christ. 3:17 What I am saying is this: The law that came four hundred thirty years later does not cancel a covenant previously ratified by God, 150  so as to invalidate the promise. 3:18 For if the inheritance is based on the law, it is no longer based on the promise, but God graciously gave 151  it to Abraham through the promise.

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.” 211 

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 216  of the free woman. 4:31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, 217  we are not children of the slave woman but of the free woman.

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