(Tap footnote number to read it; tap up arrow (↑) to scroll back up to verse. Old Testament quotations/allusions are underlined.)
- Click on Chapter to expand text
- Click Here to Collapse All Chapters
- Click Here to Expand All Chapters (Useful for "find on page")
Galatians Chapter 1
Greeting from Paul
- Paul, an apostle not sent from men nor through man but through Jesus the Anointed and God the Father – the One who raised Him from the dead –
- and all the brothers with me, to the churches of Galatia:
- Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Anointed Lord Jesus,
- the One who gave Himself for our sins, so He might rescue us from the evil age which was – and is – at hand, according to the will of our God and Father,
- to whom is the glory through the ages of the ages.(1)“through the ages of the ages” is literal, often translated “forever and ever”. However, the traditional interpretation lacks the past element of a more literal translation. Further, the Greek word often translated “forever” here (αἰών, “aion”) literally means “age”, meaning a time span with a beginning and an end. It’s also used in Matthew 24:3 “what are the signs of your coming and the culmination (end) of the age?” Amen.
Don’t Desert the True Gospel
- I marvel at the way(2)“at the way” is more literally “that in this way” you’re so quickly deserting the One who called you in the Anointed’s grace for a different gospel,
- which isn’t really another gospel, except there are some who are perplexing and deeply shaking you, wanting to corrupt the gospel of the Anointed.
- But even if we or an angel from heaven preaches a gospel to you that’s close beside but contrary to(3)“close beside but contrary to” is one word in Greek. It’s the Greek word “παρά” (para) which is the root of our word parallel. The primary meaning is “close beside”, but when followed by a word in the Greek accusative case – which it is here – it also gains the nuance of being “contrary to”. the gospel which we preached to you, let him be anathema!(4)“anathema” likely because of the Bible, this Greek word has entered the English vocabulary. In Greek it literally means to curse someone, and more specifically to offer a curse on them to devote them to God’s destruction. It can also have the connotation of being abominable and/or detestable.
- As we did – and do – forewarn you, so now I say again: if anyone preaches a gospel to you that’s close beside but contrary to(5)see note on previous verse what you received, let him be anathema!(6)see note on previous verse
- For now, do I seek favor from men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? Yet if I were pleasing men, I wouldn’t be a slave of the Anointed.
- For brothers, I make known to you the gospel which was preached by me, that it’s not from men.
- For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it; but I received it through a revelation of Jesus the Anointed.
- For you heard of my former way of life in Judaism, that I was persecuting the church exceedingly beyond measure and ravaging it.
- And I was blazing a trail(7)“blazing a trail” is one word in Greek with that exact meaning. The Greek word refers to a pioneer cutting through brushwood to create a path, exactly like the English idiom “blaze a trail” in Judaism beyond many men of the same age(8)“men of the same age” is one word in Greek meaning “of the same age”, and here it’s a masculine word. in my nation, being abundantly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
- But when God (the One who set me apart from my mother’s womb and who called me through His grace) was pleased
- to reveal His Son in me so I might preach His gospel among the gentiles, I didn’t immediately consult flesh and blood.
- Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to the men who were apostles before me, but I departed into Arabia and returned again to Damascus.
- Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas(9)“Cephas” is Aramaic for “a rock”, and is another name for the disciple/apostle Peter. and remained with him fifteen days.
- But I didn’t see the other apostles except James, the brother of the Lord.
- (And what I write to you, behold: in the sight of God I don’t lie.)
- Afterwards I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
- Now, my face was unknown to the churches of Judea who are in the Anointed.
- And they were only hearing that: “The man who previously persecuted us now preaches the gospel of the faith he was previously ravaging.”
- And they were glorifying God because of me.
Click to Collapse this Chapter
Galatians Chapter 2
Paul’s story continues
- Then after fourteen years I went up to Jerusalem again with Barnabas, taking Titus with me also.
- And I went up because of a revelation and related to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles (but did so privately to the men who were esteemed) lest in some way I run or ran in vain.
- But not even Titus who was with me – though being Greek – was compelled to be circumcised,
- because of the false brothers secretly brought in, who infiltrated us to spy on our liberty which we have in Jesus the Anointed, so they expect they will bring us under bondage.
- To whom to we didn’t yield in obedience even for an hour, so the truth of the gospel might remain for you.
- And from the men who are esteemed to be something (what sort of man they were before makes no difference to me; God shows no favoritism(10)“God shows no favoritism” is more literally “God doesn’t accept the face of man”. To “accept the face” is a Hebrew idiom meaning to show partiality or favoritism to someone.) for the men who are esteemed added nothing to my message.
- But on the contrary, seeing that I was – and am – entrusted to spread the gospel to the uncircumcised (just as Peter is to the circumcised,
- for the One who worked in Peter’s apostleship to the circumcised also worked in me toward the gentiles)
- and knowing the grace which was given to me, James and Cephas(11)“Cephas” is Aramaic for “a rock”, and is another name for the disciple/apostle Peter. and John – the men who are esteemed to be pillars – gave Barnabas and me the right hand of partnership so we might go to the gentiles, but they to the circumcised.
- They only asked that we remember the poor; and I was eager to do that same thing.
Paul Confronts Peter
- But when Cephas(12)“Cephas” is Aramaic for “a rock”, and is another name for the disciple/apostle Peter. came to Antioch, I firmly opposed him to his face because he was – and is – condemned.(13)“because he was – and is – condemned” could also be translated in the middle voice because the passive and middle endings for this Greek word are the same. In such a sense, it could be translated “saying that he did – and does – condemn himself.”
- For he was eating with the gentiles before some men came from James. But when they came, he was withdrawing and separating himself, fearing the circumcised men.
- And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.
- But when I saw that they weren’t walking uprightly with regard to the truth of the gospel, I told Cephas(14)“Cephas” is Aramaic for “a rock”, and is another name for the disciple/apostle Peter. in front of everyone, “If you (being a Jew) live like a gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the gentiles to live like Jews?”
- We’re Jews by birth and aren’t sinners from among the gentiles.
- But knowing – and having known – that man isn’t made righteous by works of the law but through faith in Jesus the Anointed, we also believed in Jesus the Anointed so we might be made righteous by faith in the Anointed and not by works of the law, because no flesh will be made righteous by works of the law.
- But if we’re seeking to be made righteous in the Anointed and we ourselves have been found sinners, then is the Anointed a servant of sin? May it never be!
- For if I rebuild those things which I tore down, I establish myself as a deliberate sinner.
- For through the law, I died to the law so I might live to God.
- I was – and am – crucified with the Anointed; and I no longer live, but the Anointed lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God; the One who loved me and gave Himself for me.
- For I don’t set aside the grace of God. For if righteousness comes through the law, then the Anointed died for nothing.
Click to Collapse this Chapter
Galatians Chapter 3
Righteousness through Grace, not Law
- You foolish Galatians! Who bewitched you [not to be persuaded of the truth], before whose eyes Jesus the Anointed was publicly portrayed as having been – and being – crucified.
- I only want to learn this from you: did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?
- Are you foolish this way? After beginning by the Spirit are you now perfecting yourselves(15)“perfecting yourselves” could also be translated “being perfected” because the ending for the middle and passive voices are the same for same this Greek word. by the flesh?
- Did you suffer so many things pointlessly? (If it really was pointlessly.)
- Therefore, does the One who abundantly supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do it by works of the law or by hearing with faith?
- Just as Abraham “believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.”(16)quotation/allusion to Genesis 15:6
- Therefore, know that the men of faith; these are sons of Abraham.
- And foreseeing that God makes the gentiles righteous by faith, the scripture preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand: “In you, all the nations(17)“nations” could also be translated “gentiles”, as this Greek word can be translated either way depending on the context. will be blessed.”(18)quotation/allusion to Genesis 22:18
- So then, the men of faith are blessed with Abraham, the man of faith.
- For as many as are works of the law, they are under a curse. For it was – and is – written: “Cursed is everyone who doesn’t continue keeping all things which were – and are – written in the book of the law, to do them.”(19)quotation/allusion to Deuteronomy 27:26
- And that no one is made righteous before God by the law is obvious because “The righteous will live by faith.”(20)quotation/allusion to Habakkuk 2:4
- And the law isn’t from faith, but: “The man who does them will live by them.”(21)quotation/allusion Leviticus 18:5
- The Anointed bought us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it was – and is – written: “Cursed is every man who hangs on a tree.”(22)quotation/allusion to Deuteronomy 21:23
- So in Jesus the Anointed, the blessing of Abraham might be in the gentiles so we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
- Brothers, let me now speak in the way of man: even when a man did – or does – ratify a covenant, no one annuls it or makes an addition.
- And the promises were spoken to Abraham and his seed. It doesn’t say “to the seeds” like they were many; but “to your seed” like there is one, who is the Anointed.
- And I say this: the covenant was – and is – ratified beforehand by God. The law which came into being 430 years later doesn’t annul it to abolish the promise.
- For if the inheritance is from the law, it’s no longer from a promise. But God did – and does – grace(23)“Grace” The Greek word here is a verb form of “χάρις” (charis), most often translated “grace” or “gift”. It was a technical term in the 1st century, referring to the Patronage system in place. The Patron (from “pater” = “father”) would give gifts or do favors (both called a charis) for someone. A charis was always given/done freely to anyone who would be grateful for it, and this person then became a “client” of the patron. The clients were expected to reciprocate by telling everyone what the patron had done, and offering their services to the patron whenever the patron needed them. This reciprocal act was also called “charis”, and the ones who reciprocated were “being faithful”. Both were done out of gratitude, not legal obligation. A client who wasn’t faithful and grateful probably wouldn’t receive any more charis from his patron, or any other patrons. The patron was responsible for taking care of all his clients, and making sure their needs were met. Christian Grace and Faith is well picture by this system. The Heavenly Patron (God the Father) freely gave a gift (Jesus’ blood), and the clients who accept it (Christians) are expected to “be faithful” out of gratitude. it to Abraham through a promise.
Why the Law came
- Then why the law? Because of deliberate sins it was put into place, being carefully arranged through angels in the hand of a mediator, until the seed might come to whom the promise was – and is – made.
- (Now, a mediator isn’t for one man only, but God is one.)
- Then is the law opposed to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to give life, then righteousness would truly be from the law.
- But the scripture imprisoned all things under sin, so the promise from faith in Jesus the Anointed might be given to the men who believe.
- And before the faith came, we were being guarded under the law, being imprisoned until the faith which was about to be revealed came.
- So the law did – and does – become a strict schoolmaster(24)“strict schoolmaster” The Greek word here refers to a man (typically a slave) who was in charge of a boy’s education and discipline. The boy wasn’t even allow to leave the house with this man’s permission, and they were regarded as being very strict in discipline. for us, leading into the Anointed so we might be made righteous by faith.
- But now coming under faith, we’re no longer under a strict schoolmaster.(25)“strict schoolmaster” The Greek word here refers to a man (typically a slave) who was in charge of a boy’s education and discipline. The boy wasn’t even allow to leave the house with this man’s permission, and they were regarded as being very strict in discipline.
- For you are all sons of God through faith in Jesus the Anointed.
- For as many of you as were baptized into the Anointed, you have clothed yourselves in the Anointed.
- There’s neither Jew nor Greek, there’s neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female; for all of you are one in Jesus the Anointed.
- And if you are the Anointed’s, then you’re Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.
Click to Collapse this Chapter
Galatians Chapter 4
Sons and heirs
- And I say this: as long as the heir is a child, he differs from a slave in nothing, though being lord of everything.
- But he’s under guardians and stewards until the time appointed beforehand by the father.
- In this way also, when we were children we were – and are – being enslaved under the elementary principles of the world.
- But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son; being born from a woman and being born under the law,
- so He might buy back the men under the law, so we might receive the adoption as sons.
- And because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out “Abba,(26)“Abba” is a Greek form of the Hebrew word for father. It is a term of greater closeness and familiarity than “father”, though the degree of closeness is widely debated. Some think “Papa” or “Daddy” is appropriate, while others say that’s is too familiar and prefer “Dad” or perhaps “Pa”. Some of the latter group prefer to render as an adjective and would translate it “dear father”. Father!”
- So then you’re no longer a slave, but a son. And if a son, then also an heir through God.
- But not having known – or knowing – God at that former time, you were indeed enslaved to the men who by nature aren’t gods.
- But now, knowing God – and more, being known by God – how do you return to the weak and destitute elementary principles, to which you want to be enslaved all over again?
- You carefully observe days, and months, and seasons, and years.
- I fear for you, lest somehow in vain I did – and do – exhaust myself working for you.
- I implore you brothers: become like I am, because I also became like you. You wronged me in nothing.
- Now, you did – and do – know that I formerly preached the gospel to you because of an infirmity of the flesh.
- And in your test by my infirm flesh, you didn’t treat me with contempt nor reject me in disgust. But like an angel of God, you welcomed me like Jesus the Anointed.
- Where then is your declaration of blessedness? For I testify of you that if you were able, you would’ve given me your eyes after plucking them out.
- Have I become your enemy by speaking truth to you?
- They are jealous for you. Not nobly, but to exclude you so you might be jealous for them.
- And it’s always noble to be jealous for a noble thing, and not only when I’m present with you.
- My children, for whom I again go through birthing pains until the Anointed might be formed in you,
- and I’m wishing to be present with you now and to change my tone, because I’m perplexed and have doubts in you.
Hagar and Sarah, Slave and Free
- Tell me, you men who wish to be under the law, don’t you listen to the law?
- For it was – and is – written that Abraham had two sons; one from the slave woman and one from the free woman.
- But indeed: the son from the slave woman was – and is – born according to the flesh; but the son from the free woman through the promise,
- (about which we’re speaking allegorically) for these are two covenants. Indeed, one is from Mount Sinai birthing into slavery, which is Hagar.
- Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to present Jerusalem, for she’s enslaved with her children.
- But the Jerusalem above is free, who is our mother.
- For it was – and is – written: “Be glad you barren woman, the woman who hasn’t given birth. Break forth and shout you woman who didn’t have labor pains, because the children of the desolate woman are many more than of the woman who has a husband.”(27)quotation/allusion to Isaiah 54:1
- But brothers, you are children of promise like Isaac.
- But just as when the son who was born according to the flesh was persecuting the son born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.
- But what does the scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman definitely won’t(28)“definitely won’t”. In Greek, this is a double negative (no, not) to add emphasis. Since English double negatives cancel each other out (instead of adding emphasis) the word “definitely” was added to keep the emphatic sense of the Greek. inherit with the son of the free.” (29)quotation/allusion to Genesis 21:10
- Therefore brothers, we aren’t children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
Click to Collapse this Chapter
Galatians Chapter 5
- The Anointed set us free for freedom; therefore stand firm and don’t entangle yourselves again in a yoke of slavery.
- Behold; I Paul tell you that if you circumcise yourself, the Anointed will gain you nothing.
- And again, I testify to every man who’s being circumcised: he is a debtor who must keep the whole law.
- Whoever is made righteous by the law, you were severed from the Anointed; you fell from grace.
- For we eagerly await the hope of righteousness by faith through the Spirit.
- For in Jesus the Anointed, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any power, but only faith working through love.
- You were running well; who hindered you, not to be persuaded of the truth?
- This persuasion isn’t from the One who called you.
- A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.
- I did – and do – believe in you in the Lord, that you will think nothing else. But the man who perplexed and deeply shook(30)“perplexed and deeply shook” is one word in Greek with that exact definition. you will endure the judgement, whoever he might be.
- And brothers, if I still preach circumcision why am I persecuted? (Then the stumbling block of the cross was – and is – nullified.)
- O, I wish the men who are turning you upside down(31)“turning you upside down” is one word in Greek, often translated “upsetting” here. It literally mean to turn upside down, with a figurative meaning of upsetting or stirring up trouble. would also castrate themselves.(32)“castrate themselves” the Greek word here literally means to “cut off”. “castrate” was chosen because it conveys the sense, but Paul was more likely referring to amputating the whole organ.
- For you were called to freedom brothers, only not freedom as a pretext for the flesh. But serve one another through love.
- For the whole law was – and is – fulfilled in one statement: “You shall show preference(33)The Greek word used here is “ἀγαπάω” (agapao), which is the verb form of “ἀγάπη” (agape), typically translated “love”. However, unlike our English word “love” – which primarily speaks of affection and feelings – agape centers on preference. In the verb form, it literally means “to prefer” or “show preference for”. In the New Testament, that usually means “moral preference”, or “actively preferring what God prefers” in what we do, not just in what we feel. It’s the “love” based on will, choice, decision, and action; not feelings. (Feelings-based love is the Greek word “φιλέω” (phileó), which properly means “brotherly love/affection”.) to your neighbor as yourself.”
- But if you bite and devour one another; watch out, lest you are consumed by one another.
Walking in Spirit vs. Flesh
- And I say: walk in the Spirit and you definitely won’t(34)“definitely won’t”. In Greek, this is a double negative (no, not) to add emphasis. Since English double negatives cancel each other out (instead of adding emphasis) the word “definitely” was added to keep the emphatic sense of the Greek. accomplish the craving of the flesh.
- For the flesh craves what’s contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what’s contrary to the flesh. For these two stubbornly oppose one another, so you don’t do those things which you desire.
- But if you’re led by the Spirit, you aren’t under the law.
- Now, the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: fornication, impurity, wanton debauchery,
- idolatry, sorcery,(35)“sorcery” the Greek word here is “φαρμακεία” (pharmakeia) which is the root of our word “pharmacology” and “pharmaceuticals”. It refers to mixing ingredients to produce effects when ingested, which can be either positive or negative depending on the context. As a doctor, Luke (author of Luke’s Gospel) would’ve engaged in “pharmakeia” in the positive sense of making medicine. The negative sense was often associated with mixing compounds (often hallucinogenic) in order to contact spirits or other ‘gods’. Such potions were also used in other ‘magical’ arts which the Bible condemns. hostility, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions,(36)“selfish ambitions” this Greek word refers to attempting to attract followers, offices, and/or power for one’s own gain at the expense of others. pointless divisions, factions,(37)“factions” This word could also be translated “sects”, and is the various “sects” of 1st century Judaism. A modern equivalent might be “denominations”. See 1 Corinthians 11:19.
- spiteful envy, drunkenness, debauched parties, and things like these. About which I forewarn you – just as I did forewarn you – that the men who practice these things won’t inherit God’s kingdom.
- But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, benevolence,(38)“benevolence” this Greek word refers to kindness that is both practical (meeting real needs) and morally upright. It also contains the idea of integrity. goodness, faithfulness,
- gentle strength, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
- Now the men who belong to Jesus the Anointed crucified the flesh with its passions and cravings.
- If we live by the Spirit, we should also march in lock-step with(39)“march in lock-step with” is one word in Greek, which properly refers to walking in a regular cadence or rhythm, and thus can refer to military style marching in lock-step. the Spirit.
- We shouldn’t become conceited braggarts, provoking one another or envying one another.
Click to Collapse this Chapter
Galatians Chapter 6
- Brothers, even if a man is overtaken in some sinful slip-up(40)“sinful slip-up”. The Greek word used here doesn’t quite mean “sin”. It’s the word “παράπτωμα” (paraptóma) and carries the connotation of a “slip-up” with the strong implication – but not certainty – that it was unintentional. you (the spiritual men) restore such a man in a spirit of gentle strength, while watching yourself lest you also be tempted.
- Bear one another’s burdens and thus you will fulfill the law of the Anointed.
- For if someone thinks himself to be something while being nothing, he deceives himself.
- But let each man test the work he himself does, and then he will have a boast for himself alone and not for another.
- For each will bear his own load.
Sowing and Reaping
- Now, let the man who is taught the word share in all good things with the man who teaches.
- Don’t be misled; God won’t be mocked. For whatever a man sows, that also will he reap.
- For the man who sows into his own flesh(41)“his own flesh” is literally “the flesh of himself”, but proper English grammar doesn’t allow for that construction. will reap ruinous corruption from the flesh. But the man who sows into the Spirit will reap the life of ages(42)“life of ages” is literal, and captures the duration as well as the quality of the life, which the traditional interpretation of “eternal life” doesn’t. The word translated “ages” (αἰώνιον) is the adjective form of the Greek word “αἰών” (aion), which is used – for example – in Matthew 24:3 “what are the signs of your coming and the end of the age?” Virtually all lexicons define αἰών (the noun form) as “age”, but some want to change the adjective form’s meaning to “eternal” instead of “age-long” or “of ages”. This despite “of ages” conveying a similar – and more literally accurate – meaning. from the Spirit.
- And we shouldn’t grow weary while doing good, for we will reap our own harvest at an opportune time after not growing faint.
- So therefore, as we have an opportune time, we should do good toward all men, but especially toward the men of the household of faith.
Conclusion and Closing
- See how I’ve written to you in large letters with my own hand.
- As many as want to look good in the flesh, these men compel you to be circumcised; but only so they won’t be persecuted for the cross of Jesus the Anointed.
- For not even the men who are circumcised keep the law themselves, but they want you to be circumcised so they might boast in your flesh.
- But for me to boast; may it never be! Except in the cross of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, through which the world was – and is – crucified to me, and I to the world.
- For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything, but be a new creation.
- And as many as will walk by this standard, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
- From now on, let no one give me wearying troubles, for I bear the brand-marks(43)“brand marks” refers to marks cut into the skin of slaves to show who their owner was. Sometimes they were cut in and scarred, other times they were burned in like how cattle were branded in the American west. of Jesus on my body.
- The grace of our Lord Jesus the Anointed be with your spirit brothers, amen.
Click to Collapse this Chapter
Next: The Book of Ephesians
Previous: The Book of 2 Corinthians
Up: BOS Bible Index
Note: If you think a word, phrase, or passage could be better translated - or is wrong - then Please Say Something. This is an open source Bible that's accountable to all Christians. See this link for details.
Legal Use: Please feel free to quote the BOS Bible, but follow the guidelines on the Legal Use page when doing so. They are easy and mostly common sense.