1 Paul, an Apostle, not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead, 2 and all the brethren who are with me,
To the Churches of Galatia:
3 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,
4 For he gave himself up for our sins and delivered us from the present wicked world, according to the will of God our Father. 5 To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
6 I am amazed that you are so lightly turning away from God who called you to the grace of Christ and going over to another gospel. 7 As you well know, there is only one Gospel. But there are some people who are trying to mislead you, and want to distort the Gospel of Christ.
8 Even if I or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel other than that which I have preached to you, let him be accursed! 9 I said it before, and I repeat it now: Whoever proclaims to you a gospel other than that which I have preached to you, let him be accursed!
10 Am I now trying to win the favor of men, or of God? To be sure, I am not courting the good-will of men. If after all these years I were still seeking to please men, I should not be a servant of Christ.
11 Now, brethren, I want you to know that the Gospel which I have preached, is not of human origin. 12 I have not received it from a man, nor was I instructed in it by any human teacher. I have received it through a revelation from Jesus Christ.
13 You have heard of my former way of life in Judaism. I have persecuted the Church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 I was proficient in Judaism beyond many of my own age and race. I was a fierce champion of the traditions handed down by my forefathers.
15 But God had set me apart before my birth and called me to his service through his grace. 16 He graciously revealed his Son to me and ordered me to preach his Gospel to the Gentiles. My first action then was not to confer with any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who had been Apostles before me. Instead, I went into Arabia, and I returned again to Damascus.
18 Three years later, I went up to Jerusalem to visit Peter, and stayed fifteen days with him. 19 But I saw none of the other Apostles except James, the brother of the Lord.
20 What I am writing to you in the presence of God is the plain truth.
21 After my conversion, I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was still personally unknown to the Christian Churches of Judea. 23 They had only heard people say: “The man who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith he tried to destroy.” 24 So they glorified God for what he had done through me.
APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES
1 After fourteen years, I went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas and took Titus also with me. I made this journey in obedience to a revelation. 2 Privately, I communicated only to the leaders of the Gospel which I was preaching to the Gentiles, to make sure that what I had done in the past or what I am now doing was not futile.
3 They did not insist that my companion Titus, who was a Gentile, should be circumcized. 4 They refused to gratify the false brethren who had sneaked in and who were spying on us. They were plotting to deprive us of the liberty we enjoy in Jesus Christ and to bring us back to the slavery of the Jewish ritual. 5 We did not submit to them for a moment. For we were resolved that the true principles of the Gospel should remain in your possession.
6 As to those who were regarded as the leaders, it does not matter to me who or what they were. God makes no distinction between man and man. These leaders contributed nothing to my work. 7 They simply accepted the accomplished facts: They saw plainly that I was the leader of the mission among the Gentiles, as Peter was the leader of the mission among the Jews. 8 God who had enabled Peter to become the Apostle of the Jews had also enabled me to become the Apostle of the Gentiles. 9 Therefore James, Peter, and John, who were regarded as pillars of the Church, recognized the grace God had given me. So they made an agreement with me and Barnabas that we should be in charge of the work among the Gentiles, while they should be in charge of the work among the Jews. 10 Only we were to remember the poor, which was the very thing I had set myself to do.
PETER AND PAUL
11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him openly, because he was condemned by his own conduct. 12 He had been eating with the Gentiles, until we were visited by certain delegates from James. After their arrival, he began to draw back and hold aloof, as he was afraid of the supporters of circumcision. 13 The other Jewish Christians followed his example in concealing their real views. Even Barnabas himself was carried away by their hypocrisy.
14 When I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the Gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all: “If you who are a Jew live like a Gentile, why do you force the Gentiles to live like Jews? 15 We are Jews by birth, and we are not descendants of sinful Gentiles. 16 Yet we found out that man is justified, not by observances of the Law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore we also believed in Jesus Christ, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by observances of the Law. For no man can be justified by observances of the Law.”
17 When we seek justification in Christ, we admit that we are sinners. But that does not mean that Christ is encouraging sin. Certainly not, because we repent of our sins.
18 But when I reconstruct the Law which I have torn down, then I prove to be an unrepentant sinner. 19 For my old self died to the Law through the Law. Now I live a new life in God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. Now it is not my old self, but Christ himself who lives in me. Yes, now I live a new life in the flesh, by faith in the Son of God who loved me and sacrificed himself for me.
21 I refuse to repudiate the grace of God. For if justification comes through the Law, then Christ has died in vain.
THE GOSPEL AND THE LAW
1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you disobey the true doctrine, although Jesus Christ has been depicted nailed on the cross before your eyes?
2 Let me ask you only one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit from the observance of the Law, or from the Gospel of faith? 3 How can you be so senseless? You have started with the Holy Spirit. Now you end with the delusions of the flesh! 4 Did you endure so many sufferings in vain? It looks as if it was indeed all in vain.
5 Yet you well know that God did not bestow upon you the Holy Spirit and the power to perform miracles through the observance of the Law, but through the Gospel of faith.
THE EXAMPLE OF ABRAHAM
6 Thus Abraham believed in God, and he was justified. 7 You see that the real descendants of Abraham are the children of his faith. 8 The Scripture foretold that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced this good news in the old days to Abraham in this passage: “All the nations will be blessed in you.” 9 Consequently, all men of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
THE JEWISH LAW
10 All those who rely on the works of the Law, are under a curse. For the Scripture says: “Cursed be everyone who does not observe and does not carry out all the commandments contained in the Book of the Law.”
11 It is evident that no one is justified before God by the observance of the Law. The Scripture says that the righteous man will find life by faith. 12 But the Law does not depend on faith. For it is written in the Scripture: “Whoever carries out the commandments of the Law will find life in them.”
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us. For the Scripture says: “Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree.” 14 Thus the blessing of Abraham came upon the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, and thus we have received the promise of the Holy Spirit through faith.
THE DIVINE PROMISE
15 Let me give you a human illustration: No one annuls or adds to a man’s testament, after it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. The Scripture does not say “to his descendants,” in the plural, but in the singular, “to his offspring,” which means Christ.
17 This is what I mean: The Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, and does not cancel his promise. 18 For if our inheritance depends on the Law, then it has nothing to do with the promise. Yet it was as a promise that God bestowed it upon Abraham.
19 Then what about the Law? It was added to punish trespassers, until the arrival of his offspring to whom it was made, and it was ordained by angels through an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, whereas God is one.
21 Does this mean that the Law is contrary to the promises of God? By no means. For if a life-giving law had been given, then justification could be obtained through the Law. 22 But the Scripture represents all mankind as being under the bondage of sin. Therefore it is faith in Christ which will impart the promised blessing to the believers.
23 Until faith came, we were kept in bondage to the Law, waiting for the coming revelation of the faith. 24 Therefore the Law was our custodian until Christ came and brought us justification through faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian.
26 We are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ. 27 For all of you who have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor freeman, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ.
29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, and his heirs according to the divine promise.
SONS OF GOD
1 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a minor, has no more liberty than one of the servants, although he is the owner of the whole estate. 2 He is under guardians and trustees until the date prescribed by his father.
3 Likewise, when we were minors, we were slaves to the worldly regulations. 4 But when the appointed time had arrived, God sent his Son, born of a woman under the Law, 5 to redeem those who lived under the Law, and enable us to become his sons by adoption. 6 To prove that you are his sons, God has sent into your hearts the Spirit of his Son to cry: “Abba, namely Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer servants, but sons. Now, if you are sons, you are certainly heirs of God through Jesus Christ.
8 Formerly, when you had no knowledge of God, you were the slaves of mythical divinities. 9 But now that you have recognized the true God, or rather have been recognized by him, how can you go back to those wretched and miserable hobgoblins? Do you want to become their slaves again? 10 I understand that you still observe certain pagan holidays, months, seasons, and years. 11 So I am afraid that the labor I spend on you was wasted.
12 I entreat you, brethren, stand by me, as I stood by you. I have no complaint against you. 13 As you know, I was a sick man when I preached the Gospel to you at first. 14 Yet, although my physical condition was a trial to you, you did not despise and reject me. On the contrary, you received me as a divine messenger, as Jesus Christ himself.
15 How gracious was your kindness then! I assure you, in those days, if it had been possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy, because I told you the truth?
17 Others pretend to be your admirers, but not with honorable intentions. On the contrary, they want to isolate you and make you their own admirers. 18 I hope you will continue to be my honest and constant admirers, not only when I am present with you, 19 my children. For I am in travail with you again and I want you to be reborn in the image of Christ.
20 I wish I were with you now and could speak to you in a different tone. For I am utterly perplexed about you. 21 Tell me, how can you disregard the Law, under which you want to remain subject?
ISHMAEL AND ISAAC
22 The Scripture tells us that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave-girl and another by a free woman. 23 The child of the slave-girl was born in the ordinary course of nature. The child of the free woman was born in fulfillment of the divine promise.
24 Allegorically, these two women represent the two Testaments. 25 Hagar, the slave-mother, typifies the old Testament from Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the earthly Jerusalem. For she is in slavery with her children.
26 Sarah, the free woman, typifies the New Testament and corresponds to the heavenly Jerusalem. She is the free mother of us all. 27 For the Scripture says: “Rejoice, O barren, desolate, and childless woman! You will have more children than the married woman with a husband.”
28 Brethren, like Isaac, we are children, born in fulfillment of the promise. 29 But, as the natural son persecuted the spiritual son, so it is now. 30 Yet the Scripture says: “Cast out the slave-girl and her son. For the son of the slave-girl must not share the inheritance with the son of the free woman.”
31 Brethren, we are not sons of the slave-girl, but sons of the free woman.
NO DIVIDED ALLEGIANCE
1 Therefore stand firm in the freedom which Christ has bestowed upon us. Do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no profit to you. 3 I warn again every man who receives circumcision that he is under obligation to observe the entire Law.
4 If you expect to be justified through the Law, you have been severed from Christ, and you have fallen away from grace. 5 For we hope to receive justification by faith through the Holy Spirit. 6 In Jesus Christ, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any value. What matters is faith which finds its expression through charity.
7 You were making good progress until now. Who stopped you from following the true doctrine? 8 This injunction does not come from the Lord who called you to his service. 9 It takes only a little yeast to leaven the whole dough. 10 I am fully confident in the Lord that you will agree with me and leave the disturbers of your peace, whoever they may be, to bear the penalty for their misdeeds.
11 Brethren, I am persecuted because I do not preach the need of circumcision. If I did, the preaching of the Cross would no longer give offense. 12 May those who disturb you get out of your Church once for all.
13 Remember, brethren, that you were called to freedom. Only do not use your freedom as an excuse for sensuality. But serve one another through charity. 14 For the entire Law can be summarized in one sentence: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
15 Now, if you bite and devour one another, look out. Otherwise, you will destroy one another in the end. 16 So I say: Live a spiritual life, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are contrary to the spirit, and the desires of the spirit are contrary to the flesh. They are mutually opposed, and do not allow you to do what you wish. 18 But, if you are led by the Holy Spirit, you are not subject to the yoke of the flesh.
19 The vices of the flesh are well-known: Adultery, fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, rivalry, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, murder, drunkenness, revelry, and similar vices. I warn you, as I told you before, that those who practice these vices will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 The virtues produced by the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faith, 23 meekness, and continence. The Law is not needed by men who practice these virtues. 24 For the followers of Christ have crucified their flesh will all its passions and cravings.
25 If we want to live by the Holy Spirit, let us be guided by the Holy Spirit also. 26 We must not be vainglorious, provocative, and envious.
1 Brethren, if a man is detected in some trespass, as disciples of the Holy Spirit, you must set him right in a spirit of meekness. Remember that you may also fall into temptation.
2 Bear the burdens of one another. In that way you will carry out the commandments of Christ. 3 For whoever imagines that he is somebody in the Lord, when he is nobody, deceives himself. 4 Every man must scrutinize his own work and must boast only of what he has done himself, without any reference to others. 5 For every man must bear his own load.
6 Those who are instructed in the Gospel must give a share of their goods to their teachers. 7 Do not be deceived. You cannot cheat God. Every man will reap whatever he sows. 8 Everyone who sows temporal seed will reap perishable fruit. Everyone who sows spiritual seed will reap eternal life through the Holy Spirit.
9 We must never be weary of well-doing. For in due time we shall reap our reward, if we do not get discouraged. 10 Therefore, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who belong to the household of the faith.
11 See in what large characters I am writing to you with my own hand.
12 Remember that those who urge you to be circumcized want to keep up appearances and avoid persecution for the Cross of Jesus. 13 They are preaching circumcision, but they are not observing the Law themselves. They want only to boast of your conversion.
14 But far be it from me to boast of anything except the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, but only a spiritual rebirth has any importance in Jesus Christ. 16 Peace and mercy be on those who follow this rule, for they are the true Israelites of God.
17 Henceforth let no one make trouble for me, for I already bear in my flesh the brandmarks of Jesus.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, my brethren. Amen.