· Epistle to the Galatians ·

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CHAPTER 1
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1Paul, an apostle – sent neither by human commission nor from human authorities, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead – 2and all the brethren who are with me, to the Churches of Galatia. 3Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins, so that he might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father – 5to whom be the glory unto ages of ages. Amen.

A different “Good News”

6I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ in order to embrace a different ‘Good News’ – 7and there is no other ‘Good News.’ Yet, there are some who disturb you and want to pervert the Good News of Christ. 8Now, even if ourselves or an angel from heaven should preach to you any ‘Good News’ that is not what we preached to you, let such a one be accursed. 9We have said it before and now I say it again: if anyone preaches to you any other ‘Good News’ than what you received, let such a one be accursed. 10I am now seeking to please God or people? I am striving to please human beings? But if I was still trying to please men, then I would not be a servant of Christ.

Paul’s account

11As regards the Good News which I preached, I proclaimed this to you, brethren, that it is not of human origin. 12I did not receive it from man and I was not taught by man, but it came to me through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13You have heard about how I used to live in Judaism, how I persecuted the Church of God beyond measure, and how I ravaged it. 14I advanced in the Jewish religion beyond many of my own age among my countrymen, as I was more extremely zealous for the traditions of my forefathers. 15But when it was the good pleasure of God who had set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me through his grace 16to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood. 17I did not go up to Jerusalem to visit those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia. Later on, I returned to Damascus. 18Then, after three years, I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Peter and I stayed with him for fifteen days. 19However, I did not see any of the other apostles, except James, ‘the Lord’s brother.’ 20Now, regarding the things which I write to you, you can see that I am not lying before God. 21After that, I visited the districts of Syria and Cilicia. 22My face was still unknown to the Churches of Judea which were in Christ; 23they only heard, ‘The one who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith that he once tried to destroy.’ 24And they glorified God in me.

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CHAPTER 2
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1Fourteen years later, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus accompanied me. 2I went up by revelation and I presented to them the Good News which I preach among the Gentiles. I did so in private in front of those who were recognised leaders, for fear that I might be running, or had been running, in vain. 3But even though Titus who was with me was a Greek, he was not compelled to be circumcised. 4This occurred because false brethren were secretly brought in, and they sneaked in to spy on the freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery. 5But in this regard, we gave them no room, not even for an hour, so that the truth of the Good News might continue with you. 6As far as the recognised leaders are concerned – what they were before makes no difference to me; God does not discriminate – I can say that those who were respected added nothing to me. 7Instead, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the Good News for the uncircumcised, just as Peter with the Good News for those who are circumcised, 8since he who appointed Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision also appointed me to the Gentiles; 9and when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James, Peter and John who were considered as pillars gave to Barnabas and myself the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to those who are circumcised. 10They only asked us to remember the poor – which is the very thing that I was eager to do.

Paul confronts Peter in Antioch

11However, when Peter came to Antioch, I resisted him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12Before some people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he drew back and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13Moreover, the rest of the Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 14When I saw that their behaviour was not consistent with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live as the Gentiles do, and not as the Jews do, why do you compel the Gentiles to live as the Jews do?

Faith and the works of the law

15As for us, being Jews by nature and not Gentile sinners, 16yet knowing that no one is justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, we believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law. 17But if, even though we desired to be justified in Christ, we were found to be sinners, does that mean that Christ is a servant of sin? Certainly not. 18Indeed, if I build up again those things which I destroyed, I show that I am breaking the law. 19For I, through the law, died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. I now live this life in the flesh, but I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and who gave himself up for me. 21I do not nullify the grace of God. For if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

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CHAPTER 3
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1Senseless Galatians. Christ was openly presented to you as crucified – who then bewitched you not to obey the truth? 2I just want to hear this from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by believing what you heard? 3Are you that senseless that having begun in the Spirit, you now end in the flesh? 4Did you suffer so many things in vain, if it is indeed in vain? 5He who provides 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? 6Even as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.’ 7Know, therefore, that those who are of faith are likewise Abraham’s children. 8As foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, the Scripture announced the future Good News to Abraham by saying, ‘In you all the nations will be blessed.’ (Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18) 9And so, those of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham. 10But those who depend on the works of the law are under a curse, for it is written,

Cursed is everyone who does not persevere in all the things that are written in the book of the law, to do them. (Deuteronomy 27:26)

11Now, it is obvious that no one is justified by the law before God, because ‘The righteous will live by faith.’ (Habakkuk 2:4) 12The law is not of faith, but, ‘The one who does these things will live by them.’ (Leviticus 18:5)

The law and the promise

13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for our sake. For it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,’ (Deuteronomy 21:23) 14so that Abraham’s blessing might also come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, and that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15Brethren, even speaking of a human example; when a person’s will has been confirmed, it cannot be cancelled or altered even though it is only a human contract. 16Now, the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘to seeds’ as if there were many, but as of one, ‘to your seed’ (Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 24:7) which is Christ. 17What I am saying is this: the law, which came four hundred and thirty years after the covenant previously confirmed by God in Christ, does not cancel it to make the promise of no effect. 18If the inheritance comes from the law, it is no longer from the promise; but in fact, God granted it to Abraham by way of a promise.

19What then is the law about? It was added because of transgressions, until the seed to whom the promise had been made should come, and it was established through the angels, by the hand of a mediator. 20Now, there is no mediator when there is only one party, and God is one. 21Therefore, is the law against God’s promises? Certainly not. If a law had been given which could make alive, then certainly, righteousness would have been from the law. 22But in fact, the Scriptures declared everything to be captive under sin, so that the promise might be given to those who believe, that is by faith in Jesus Christ. 23Nevertheless, before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, locked up to wait for the faith which would later on be revealed. 24Hence, the law was our tutor which was to bring us to Christ, so that we might be justified by faith. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor, 26and you are all God’s children, through faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

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CHAPTER 4
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Free children

1Here is my point: as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although being the owner of everything. 2The heir is under tutors and trustees until the day appointed by the father. 3Likewise, when we too were children, we were held in bondage under the elemental principles of the world. 4But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born to a woman, born under the law, 5so that he might redeem those who were under the law and so that we might receive adoption as children. 6And because you are children, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, “Abba, Father.” 7Now, you are no longer slaves, but children; and if children, then heirs of God through Christ.

Return to slavery

8In the past, as you did not know God, you were in bondage to those who by nature are not gods. 9But now that you have come to know God, or rather come to be known by God, why do you return to the weak and miserable primordial forces whose slaves you want to be all over again? 10You observe days, months, seasons, and years… 11I am afraid concerning you, that I may have wasted my labour for you. 12I beg you, brethren, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have never treated me wrongly, 13but you know that it was an illness that first gave me an opportunity to preach the Good News to you. 14Even though my condition was a trial for you, you did not despise nor reject me; instead, you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

15What has happened to the blessing you enjoyed? Indeed, I bear witness to you that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. 16And now, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17Those people pursue you, but not for good. No, they desire to cut you off from us, so that you might eagerly seek after them. 18But it is always good to be zealous in a good cause, not only when I am present with you.

19My little children, I am again in labour over you, until Christ is formed in you. 20I wish that I could be with you in person now, to change my tone, because I am confused about you. 21Tell me, since you desire to be under the law, why do you not listen to the law?

Two mountains

22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the servant, and one by the free woman. 23However, the son by the servant was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman was born through a promise. 24These things contain an allegory which represents two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to slavery, and that is Hagar. 25This Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and it corresponds to the Jerusalem that exists now, in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and the mother of us all. 27As it is written,

Rejoice, you barren who bears no child;
break forth and shout, you that do not travail.
For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband. (Isaiah 54:1)

28Brethren, we are, just as Isaac, children of promise, 29and it is now as it was then: the one who was born according to the flesh persecuted the one who was born according to the Spirit. So it is even now. 30However, what does the Scripture say?

Throw out the servant-girl and her son,
because the son of the servant will not inherit
with the son of the free woman. (Genesis 21:10)

31And so, brethren, we are not children of a servant, but children of the free woman.

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CHAPTER 5
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Freedom in Christ or yoke of slavery

1Therefore, stand firm in the freedom by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of slavery. 2Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no profit to you. 3Yes, once again, I testify to everyone who receives circumcision that he is under duty to observe the entire law. 4You who desire to be justified by the law are no longer under Christ: you have fallen away from grace. 5As for us, through the Spirit, we wait by faith for the hope of righteousness, 6since in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value, only faith working through love. 7You were running so well. Who came to block your way so that you would not obey the truth? 8This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. 10I have confidence towards you in the Lord that you will take no other view; but whoever troubles you will bear his judgement, whoever he may be.

11But brother, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? If it were so, the stumbling block of the cross would have been removed. 12Indeed, I wish that those who disturb you would then emasculate themselves. 13As for you, brethren, you were called to freedom. Only, do not use your freedom to satisfy the flesh, but through love, become each others’ servants 14because the whole law is fulfilled in one message, which is this one, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ (Leviticus 19:18) 15But if you bite and devour each other, be careful that you do not end up in mutual destruction. 16I say this: walk by the Spirit, and you will not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17What the flesh desires is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. Yes, these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you desire. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The works of the flesh

19Now, the works of the flesh are obvious. They are: adultery, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, 20idolatry, the practice of magic, hatred, strife, selfish ambitions, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21envyings, murders, excess drinking, orgies, and similar things. About these, I warn you, as I have done in the past: those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

The fruit of the Spirit – Life in the Church

22On the other hand, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26Let us not become arrogant, challenging and envying one another.

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CHAPTER 6
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1Brethren, even if someone is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness. But watch out for yourself in order not to be tempted. 2Bear each others’ burdens, and thus fulfil the law of Christ. 3If anyone thinks that he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4But let everyone test his own work: then one can take pride in himself, not by comparison with someone else. 5Yes, each one will bear his own burden, 6but everyone who is being taught in the word should share all good things with the one who teaches.

7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked; whatever someone sows is what he will reap. 8Whoever sows to the field of self-indulgence will reap corruption from the flesh. But the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9Let us not grow tired of doing what is good, for we will reap in due season, if we do not give up. 10And so, as we have the opportunity, let us do what is good towards all, especially to those who belong to the household of the faith.

11See with what large letters I write to you with my own hand. 12It is those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh who are trying to compel you to be circumcised; and it only so that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Even those who receive circumcision do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. 14As for me, I shall find glory in nothing, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. 15In Christ Jesus, circumcision and uncircumcision mean nothing; only a new creation. 16To those who live by this rule, may there be peace and mercy upon them, and on the Israel of God. 17From now on, let no one cause me any trouble, for I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus branded on my body.

18May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.