The Epistle to the Galatians

Galatians was the first or second actual New Testament work, written somewhere around 50 AD, just prior to the council of Acts 15, which forever settled the question as to whether the Gentiles needed to convert to Judaism in order to be saved. It is quite possibly the most important book of the New Testament, laying out in no uncertain terms that any thought of being acceptable to God based on following the commandments not only is anathema to the Christian, but is actually a rejection of Christ! The epistle was written because conservative Jewish Christians had come to central Turkey after Paul, instructing the Gentile believers that they must convert to Judaism to be saved, starting with the act of circumcision.

 

It is mind boggling to me that even today there are some who miss the entire point of this work and substitute everything from the 10 Commandments to some denominational ordinances that one must follow in order to be saved. Even some of my brothers in the Messianic movement twist the words of Paul herein to make the claim he was confirming that the Galatians should keep all of Mosaic Law except for the one act of circumcision! But the fact is, the message of Paul remains unchanged to this day: if anyone adds so much as one commandment to faith in order to be saved, Christ will “profit you nothing”!

 

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 1

1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: 1

3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

8 But though we, or an angel from heaven,2 preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews'3 religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,

16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.

20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.

21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;

22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:

23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

24 And they glorified God in me.

1 From: Paul, an apostle not because any group or man gave him this title, but because he was appointed to that office by both Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;

2 And from all the brethren who are with me, to the churches in the (southern) region of Galatia (--Antioch, Derbe, Iconium, Lystra, Perge, and Pisidian).

3 Grace and peace be to you from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

4 The one who gave himself for our sins, in accordance with the will of our God and Father, that he might deliver us from this present evil Age.

5 Glory be to him, forever and ever! Amen.

6 It is beyond my comprehension that you are so quickly turning your backs on (God), who called you into the grace of the Messiah, in order to accept a wholly different “Good News” than the one you first knew.

7 And really, it’s not “Good News” at all. But there are some who disturb you, and turn the true “Good News” about the Messiah into a perversion.

8 (Let me say it plainly:) If we--or even an angel from heaven--ever come to you and proclaim a Gospel that differs from the one you first heard from us in any way, let him be accursed!

9 If what we said before wasn‘t clear enough, let me say it again: If any man preaches any other Gospel to you other than the one you first heard from us--let him be accursed!

10 So whom am I trying to please--men or God? Is it men? No. If I pleased men, I would not be the slave of Christ (for that is the price of compromise).

11 But I assure you, brethren, that the Gospel I originally preached to you was of no human origin.

12 For I did not get it from man, nor was I taught it by man. I received my theology by a supernatural revelation sent by Jesus Christ himself!

13 Now you’ve heard of my past lifestyle, when I was a part of ultra-Orthodox Judaism and beyond comprehension persecuted and laid waste to the church of God back then.

14 And all that time, I devoted myself to the strictest possible form of Judaism--so much so, that there were few Jews I knew who could hold a candle to my zeal, passion, and commitment to following the religious traditions of my ancestors!

15-16 But when it pleased God--who had in mind for me to serve Him from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace--to reveal His son in me so that I could, in turn, preach him to the Gentiles, I made no rush to seek advice from men about it.

17 Nor did I head to Jerusalem to counsel with those who had been apostles before me. Instead, I first went to Arabia (to study and seek God), and only later returned to Damascus.

18 After three years had passed, I went to Jerusalem to see Peter, and stayed with him for fifteen days (learning all I could from him about Jesus).

19 But at that time, I did not meet with any of the other apostles save for James, the Lord’s kinsman.

20 The things I am writing, I affirm before God are absolutely true, and I am not lying to you!

21 Now after this, I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia,

22 Though I wasn’t known in any of the Christian synagogues in Judea.

23 But they had all heard that, “He who used to persecute us in the past is now preaching the faith he once tore down!”

24 And they esteemed what God was doing in and through me.

1. The “Galatia” Paul refers to were the churches of central and southern Turkey, among which were the cities of Antioch, Derbe, Iconium, Lystra, Perge, and Pisidian, which were visited by Paul and Barnabas during their 1st missionary journey.

2. How apt Paul’s words are here, for more than once has a heretical movement arisen as a result of an “angel” commissioning a deceived person. A good example is Joseph Smith and the Mormon church that came about because of the commission Smith received from the “angel” Moroni.

3. Better translated as: “Now you’ve heard of my past lifestyle in Judaism...”

 

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 2

1 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.

2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.

3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 1

4 And that because of false brethren2 unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

6 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:3) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:

7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;4

8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

9 And when James,5 Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.

11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

12 For before that certain came from James,6 he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?7

15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,

16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

1 Only after a total of fourteen years did I return to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along too.

2 I made the decision to go there as a result of a personal revelation, to carefully explain the Gospel I was teaching the Gentiles. I did this privately, explaining my teachings of the Gospel to the chief members of the home church to assure that I was not, and had not, been ministering in vain.

3 But note that even when we were in Jerusalem (amongst the heads of the church), no one compelled Titus, being Greek, to be circumcised.

4 And that was despite the fact that the issue was briefly raised by some false brethren who had crept into the church--spies, really--whose only purpose was to see what our freedom in Christ Jesus was, and then try to overturn it and return us to (religious) bondage.

5 But we never paid even slight attention to their views (--let alone repeat them as arguable secondary issues--) in order that the pure truth of the Gospel would remain in you.

6 Even those who were in leadership there--though to call them “leaders“ might be a misnomer, for God esteems no man over another--really had nothing to add to what I was already teaching.

7 On the contrary, they saw and accepted that God had committed the Gospel outreach to the Gentiles to me, just as He had given Peter the outreach to the Jews.

8 For (God) who had wrought spectacular deeds through Peter when he functioned as an apostle seeking to reach Jews, did likewise to me as I reached out to the Gentiles.

9 And when James, Cephas (Peter), and John, who seemed to be the main pillars of the church, came to understand the grace of God that had been given to me, they commissioned Barnabas and me to go to the Gentiles, while they would concentrate on the reaching the Jews.

10 They asked only that we would remember the poor, something I was eager to do anyway.

11 However, when Peter came to Antioch once, I had to criticize him publicly because he was clearly in the wrong.

12 For before some of James’ associates came, he had no problem eating at the same table with Gentiles. But as soon as these men arrived, he began acting like an ultra-Orthodox Jew, and separated himself from the Gentiles because he was intimidated by those from the circumcision movement who strictly keep the Torah!

13 Bad as that was, the other Jews in the church followed his example (and re-erected walls of separation between Jews and Gentiles again). Even Barnabas, who should have known better, started aping their hypocrisy.

14 So when I saw that they were not walking correctly, in accord with the true Gospel, I stood up and rebuked Peter in front of everyone, saying: “If you, being a Jew, live more like a Gentile than a Jew (when our guests aren‘t around), why are you suddenly setting an example to the Gentiles that they should live like Jews?“ (Peter accepted the rebuke, so you see that even this incident showed no acknowledgment of a doctrine that the Gentiles must follow Jewish Law and custom.)

15-16 Now we, who are natural-born Jews, and not Gentile sinners--knowing that a man is not placed in right standing with God by keeping the Torah, but by our faith in Jesus Christ--even we have believed in Jesus Christ so we can be justified on the basis of our faith in Christ, rather than by our obeying the commandments in the Torah. For by the deeds of the Torah shall no man ever be placed in right standing with God!

17 But if, while we seek to be justified by faith in Christ, we are still seen to be sinners who are less than perfect, does that mean Christ somehow leads us to sin, or approves of us sinning? God forbid!

18 So then--if I were to return to a system of religious bondage that I had renounced (once I knew it could only result in my condemnation), I leave the status of a man justified in God’s eyes, and return to stand in the state of a transgressor. (Therefore, to believe God would lead you into mandatory Torah observance is the same as saying that He would lead you back into the status of a transgressor.)

19 For the Law doomed and slew me (despite my own zealous observance of it). But it did so in order that, once I realized I was dead through it, I could now also consider it dead (so far as my obligations to it were concerned), and by that find a true life in God (which the Law simply could not provide to me on its own because of my own human weakness).

20 And the life I found, I found by being and remaining crucified with Christ, and through that live on. But it's not really Paul who lives. The one who lives is Christ in me. And the life I now live, I experience through my faith in the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself (as a sacrifice) for me.

21 Therefore, I do not scorn nor nullify the grace of God offered to me, for if right standing with God actually comes through Torah observance, then the Messiah died needlessly!

1. Paul here is directly contradicting the message of the Judaisers by pointing out that his own fellow worker in the Gospel, Titus, was himself uncircumcised.

2. It is noteworthy that referring to the Judaisers as “false brethren” may suggest not that they were sincere people who were sincerely wrong, but that out of their hatred for Gentiles, they were consciously seeking to add a burden to them to cause them to give up and drop out of the church, marking these men as ultimately tares with no real Saving faith in Christ.

3. It is interesting to see Paul, here in his first letter, making the point that he is as good as anyone else, and that those who preceded him had nothing to teach him. By the time of his last letter, however, his humility is such that he has moved from ‘as good as anyone else,’ to ‘least of the apostles,’ to finally ‘chief among sinners.’

4. A curious point by Paul if Peter is the head of the church. We see here that Peter was acknowledged as the apostle to the Jewish believers, but it is Paul who makes the claim of being the chief apostle of the Gentile church.

5. Note that James--not Peter--is named first in the list of pillars of the church.

6. It is here that we see James was part of the problem that Paul had to deal with. Probably raised as a Shammaiite, James initially may have been less-than-enthused over Gentiles coming into the church, and may have continued to follow Shammai’s 18 edicts, which forbade the Jews from eating or interacting with Gentiles in most situations. (Even Peter called those edicts “Lawful” in Acts 12.) There is little question he had to move from a position of assuming Gentiles must be fully Torah-observant to that they could be accepted by God equally with the Jews, apart from keeping the Torah.

7. A very crucial verse suggesting that Peter himself had given up full observance of the Torah. This is probably not saying that he abandoned observance altogether, but he may have become lax in some of the dietary laws. Paul thus asks why, since Peter has been living a less-than-observant lifestyle, he is now acting as if the Gentiles are unworthy to eat with unless they become fully observant.

 

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 3

1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

5 He1 therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.2

11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law,3 being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:4

14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.5

17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.6

19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions,7 till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.8

20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then against the promises of God?9 God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin,10 that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.11

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

1 You foolish Galatians--who cast a spell causing you to forget the truth about Jesus Christ being crucified for you, a truth explained to you all so clearly that you could not possibly mistake it?

2 I have one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit because you were carefully observing Mosaic Law, or because you placed faith in what you heard?

3 Are you really this stupid? Having begun your walk in the Spirit (through faith), do you now expect to perfect that walk by your own fallible human efforts (at Torah observance)?!

4 Have you suffered so much persecution over your faith for nothing? At least, I hope it‘s not for nothing!

5-6 Tell me--does (God), who gives the Holy Spirit and performs miracles among you, do it because you keep the Torah, or because of your hearing and believing, just as Abraham, “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness”?

7 Understand then, that people who approach God on the basis of faith (--rather than obedience to Torah--) are the ones who are the children of Abraham!

8 And the Scriptures, foreseeing that God would eventually justify the Gentiles also through faith, was preaching that Gospel message even then when it said: In thee shall all nations be blessed. (This meant that by his example of faith, all men would enter into the same blessing that he and his descendants were promised.)

9 So those who approach God through faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

10 Conversely, those who base their relationship and right standing with God on the works of the Torah are actually cursed! For it is written: Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them!

11 The notion that no man is placed in right standing with God on the basis of his keeping the Torah is even evident in this verse from Habakkuk: The just shall live by faith.

12 You see, the Torah is not faith-based! Remember what it says: The man that doeth the commandments shall find life in them!

13 Christ has ransomed us from the curse that comes upon those who fail to keep the Torah by himself becoming a curse! For it is written: Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.

14 He did this so that the blessing of Abraham might also be given to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, so that we all might receive the promise of the Holy Spirit through faith. (And it is His job to aid us in living righteously before God, not our job to perfect that through keeping a list of commandments regulating our lifestyle.)

15 Brethren, I now need to speak in human terms to explain more of what I mean: Even in the case of human men entering into a binding covenant of agreement, neither of them, once its terms are established, can thereafter add to it or take away from it; it stands as written, and cannot be modified.

16 Now it was to “Abraham and his seed“ that the promises in the covenant we‘re speaking of were made. Note that He didn‘t say “and to your seeds“--referring to many heirs--but to “thy seed,” which is singular! And that one lone “seed“ is none other than Christ himself!

17 And I say that the covenant God confirmed in Christ four hundred and thirty years before Moses and the Law came cannot be overturned and the promise made meaningless. Thus, it only follows that the Torah of Moses (--a secondary covenant to the one God had with Abraham--) cannot overturn the primary covenant that was in force before that secondary covenant existed. (Nor can it function as a perpetual covenant, for that would nullify and supersede the original covenant preceding it, which was based on a different platform, namely faith.)

18 For if the inheritance actually comes through the Torah, it no longer comes through a promise (but instead through being earned). But we see that God gave a promise to Abraham (which meant that it had to received through belief, rather than earned through obeying commandments).

19 All right--so what, then, was the purpose of the Torah? Well, it was added as a codicil to the primary covenant because the Jewish people were sinful transgressors (incapable of moral living on their own without having their lives regulated like children). The Torah was thus added to keep watch over them until the one “seed“ came,to whom the promise made to Abraham applied. (After that, the Torah would no longer be necessary to keep men in God‘s plan and right standing because the Holy Spirit would now do that.) There is also one more thing to remember: The Torah was ordained by angels and delivered to Moses, the mediator between God and the people. (This is wholly inferior to the primary covenant that was instituted one-on-one between God and Abraham!)

20 When an agreement is made by someone directly, he is not a mediator (--he is the primary signatory to the agreement--) and no mediator was used between God and Abraham (unlike at Mount Sinai, when angels played a role in the giving of the Torah). So with Abraham, God acted on His own, and made His own direct negotiations with Abraham on a face-to-face basis (without employing anything else as a mediator).

21 But in saying these things, am I claiming that the Torah is somehow against the promises God made Abraham? God forbid! For if the Torah could have given men true life in God, righteousness would have come through the Torah!

22 But the Scriptures of that Torah reveal that even the best of us are shamefaced sinners before God, and this revelation is given so that we can understand that the promise made to Abraham as a result of his faith can only be given to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

23 But before the source and manifestation of what our faith would be in arrived, we were kept under the Torah and not allowed out from under its umbrella into the source of faith that was yet to be revealed.

24 Thus, the Law was our tutor to introduce us to Christ so we could ultimately be justified on the basis of faith.

25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under the tutor.

26 For you are all children of God because of your faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put him on as your covering.

28 So all are one in Christ Jesus, and thus there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female in God’s eyes (for all are equal).

29 And if it so be that you are Christ‘s, then you are also Abraham‘s “seed“ (on an individual basis), and heirs (through Christ) of the promise God made to Abraham.

1. The “He” is God. Paul here is pointing out that the power of the Spirit was received by the church after it accepted his doctrines, and long before the group from Judea came to insist the Galatians must also keep the Torah.

2. Paul here is confirming that it is impossible to please God by attempting to keep the Torah, for no human is capable of keeping it to the exacting standard that a perfect God would otherwise require; and to attempt to keep it for the wrong reason is to deny the work of Christ who died to redeem mankind, and to bring oneself under the various curses written into the Torah for those who fail to keep it! Paul’s words still hold true today, for there are a host of Christians bringing themselves under some degree of curse by legalistically tithing in obedience to Malachi 3. While the principle of tithing is valid, those who tithe out of a sense that it is a requirement automatically bring themselves under the curse of the Law, because those who tithe, believing it is a point of righteousness, bring themselves under the curse of having to keep the remainder of the Torah as well.

3. Paul is not saying the Torah is an accursed thing, but rather that Christ, by relieving us from the responsibility of keeping the Torah for righteousness’ sake, has redeemed us from the curses contained inside the Law for those who failed to continuously keep it.

4. This is one of the ways Christ took our sin and punishment on Himself while on the cross.

5. In this verse, Paul is pointing out that God intended from the beginning that Jesus Christ would be the focus of all the promises made to Abraham who, in turn, would bequeath those promises to us apart from keeping the ordinances of the Torah that were instituted hundreds of years afterward. By the way, verse 17 obliterates the false doctrine taught by ultra-Orthodox Judaism, and some Messianics, that the full Law existed long before Moses, and was merely written down in Moses' time. Paul here makes it clear that the Law did not exist until 430 years after the time of Abraham! What did exist from the Fall of Man onward were the fundamental moral precepts of God placed in the conscience of man without need of writing them out.

6. Paul continues to show that the promises made to Abraham were based solely on the grace of God through Abraham’s willingness to believe, and not as a reward for obeying commandments, which would make it an earned entitlement.

7. Meaning that since the Hebrews showed themselves to be incapable of moral living on their own, the ordinances of the Torah were given to regulate their behavior just as rules are made for disobedient children.

8. It was common belief that the Law was given by the angels who heard it from God. The Mediator was, of course, Moses. The superior covenant of Christ permits God Himself, through the Holy Spirit, to enact with mankind directly with Christ as the heavenly Mediator.

9. Having apparently been critical of the Torah in previous verses, Paul briefly pauses to make sure the Galatians understand he is not saying the Law is bad--but that the focus of the promises of God were always based on faith alone; and that no commandment can change the inside of a man, for a greater righteousness than that contained in laws is required for that.

10. In other words, the Scriptures point out that all men are ultimately sinners, and thus all men equally can only appropriate reconciliation to God by faith in Messiah.

11. “Schoolmaster” is a bad translation. The word refers to a faithful slave who tutored a young man and oversaw him as a governess might, until he reached maturity and could function on his own without need of supervision. The point here is that full maturity is achieved through the power of the Spirit acting upon the believer’s heart so that he walks uprightly by a transformed nature, and not because he follows a set of commandments for regulated behavior.

 

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 4

1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.

3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.1

6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant,2 but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.

9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.3

11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am;4 for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.

13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.

14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. 5

16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. 6

18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.7

19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

20 I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice;8 for I stand in doubt of you.

21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law,9 do ye not hear the law?

22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.

23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.

24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.

28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son:10 for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

1 Now I point out that a man’s heir, when he is a child, is no different from a slave, even though he is due to inherit and become the lord of everything,

2 For he is under the care of tutors and caregivers who tell him what to do until he reaches the age of maturity that his father sets for him.

3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage to the spiritual forces in this world.

3 (Alternate reading): Even so, we (Jews), when we were under the tutor of the Law, were simply carrying out the carnal ordinances appropriate to life in this age, while waiting for the Messiah to eventually come and lead us from this world, and its principles, into the next world and its principles.

4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent His Son, born from a woman, and born under the covenant of the Torah,

5 To redeem those who were under the Torah (by fulfilling its requirements), so that we could move beyond it into full adoptive sonship (and inheritance).

6 And because you all are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son to live in your hearts, which can now cry out, “Daddy!”

7 Because of this, you are no longer a slave, but a son. And since you are a son, then you are an inheritor with Christ himself.

8 Now before you knew God, you performed religious duties and obligations (like honoring certain days, making certain sacrifices, and doing certain things) to appease creatures that by nature are not gods, but merely masquerade as gods.

9 But now, after you know God--or rather, are known by God--how is it you return to the same mindset of spiritual bondage that you cast by the wayside when you came to Christ in the first place?

10 You are now legalistically observing (Sabbath) days, Jewish New Moon (Sabbaths), Jewish Festival (Sabbaths), and (even Sabbath) years!

11 I am starting to think I wasted my time with you.

12-13 Brothers, I beg you to be as I now am, for I was once as you are now. You did me no wrong, and you know that it was as a result of a physical illness that I had the opportunity to stay and preach to you in the beginning.

14 And the physical trial I was undergoing you did not consider or reject me over, but you welcomed me as a messenger from God, and gave me homage as if I were Christ Jesus himself (when you mistakenly thought I and Barnabas were Greek gods)!

15 What has happened to the blessed fellowship we mutually shared, that you once spoke of? Back then, I know you would have plucked out your own eyes to give me if that would have helped me.

16 So am I now your enemy for simply telling you the truth?

17 The ones causing these problems act like they care about you, but their motive is to draw you away from me for their own glory.

18 Now it’s good to be zealous for a good cause even when I’m not there (so that’s not what I am criticizing).

19 My little children, for whom I am undergoing labor pains yet again to see Christ birthed in you…

20 I wish I were there with you now and could change my tone, for I am in doubt of what will happen to you.

21 Tell me, you who want to be under the Torah: Do you know what the (books of the) Torah say?

22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: One by a slave-woman, and one by a freewoman.

23 But the son from the slave-woman was born through the normal procreative processes, while the son from the freewoman came miraculously, through a divine promise.

24 These are an allegory, for they represent the two separate covenants. Hagar, the slave-woman, represents the covenant and Torah from Mount Sinai, which is the covenant that keeps men in bondage.

25 For Hagar, as relates to the Torah, is Mount Sinai, in Arabia. It corresponds to earthly Jerusalem whose children are in religious bondage to this day.

26 But the heavenly Jerusalem above the earth is free, and that is the Jerusalem that is our true mother.

27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.

28 Now we Christians, brethren, are children of promise like Isaac.

29 But as happened even back then, the children of the slave-woman persecute the children of the freewoman.

30 Nevertheless, what did the Scripture say? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

31 So, then, brethren, we are not children of the slave-woman, but of the freewoman!

1. Paul here is making a distinction between the Jewish view that Israel was the son of God only in a national sense; and the gift of Christ, which provided for adoption by God on an individual, intimate basis.

2. As Paul will go on to show, the Mosaic covenant was a covenant of servanthood through which a person was accepted depending on how faithfully he did what was told. The New covenant, which is vastly superior, provides for the former servant to now become adopted as a son and heir, and to be accepted wholly apart from how well he obeys what he is told to do.

3. This is a criticism of the Galatians keeping all forms of the Jewish Sabbath: Sabbath days, months (the Jewish New Moon Sabbath), times (the Moedim or “appointed times” of the Jewish Feasts), and apparently even the Sabbath years! (There was such a year in AD 48 or 49, around the time this Epistle was written.) Now there is nothing intrinsically wrong with these observances, but the Galatians were keeping these ordinances out of fear they would go to hell if they did not keep them. In the case of the Sabbath year, some were probably refusing to work and looked to the church to support them during that year.

4. This is a rather difficult verse in Greek. Although most Bibles translate it similarly to how the KJV does, it can also be understood as the paraphrase renders it, and it is the author’s belief that this fits the context better than, “be as I am, for I am as you are.” The Aramaic text also reads similarly.

5. This verse is the basis of the common belief that Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was an eye problem.

6. Better paraphrased as: “They act like they care about you, but their motive is to draw you away from me for their own glory.”

7. Paul is congratulating them on at least being zealous, although their zeal is misdirected.

8. “Change my voice” is better rendered: “Change my tone.”

9. A very clear, sarcastic tone toward those who think they should keep Mosaic Law.

10. How some of my Messianic brothers can possibly look at this chapter and conclude Paul is saying, “God wants all believers to keep the Torah, excluding the one act of circumcision,” is beyond me. The extremist Messianic says: “The Torah is perpetual and all must keep it or they are rejecting God,” and Paul’s slashing response is: “Cast out the bondwoman and her son!” No one is required to keep any positive mitzvot of Mosaic Law to follow Christ, and doing so out of a sense of fear is a “bondage” that holds the potential of cutting one off from the grace of Christ!

It’s this same refusal to accept the words of Paul here that causes some Messianics to teach a heresy that holds where the New Testament refers to a “New covenant,” it should actually be translated as a “renewed covenant.” Well, here we see Paul himself saying there are “two” covenants: Not one covenant, which has been improved with new life breathed into it, but a second, independent covenant that took over where the first left off! That first covenant--which Paul says leads to bondage--is the Mosaic covenant, which is now dead.

That covenant is dead because the Jews sinned in the wilderness.

That covenant is dead because the Jews never kept it (Malachi 3:7).

That covenant is dead because the leaders of Judaism crucified their Messiah.

And that covenant is dead because God Himself left the Temple behind to dwell with mankind directly after Messiah’s sacrifice.

Now the prophetic mysteries in that covenant will last forever. The moral precepts in that covenant will last forever. But that covenant itself, which was structured on obedience and made promises based on obedience rather than faith, has been superseded by a “Better” covenant as repeatedly stressed in Hebrews.

 

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 5

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke1 of bondage.

2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 2

4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

7 Ye did run well; who did hinder3 you that ye should not obey the truth?

8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.

9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.

11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision,4 why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you.5

13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh,6 but by love serve one another.

14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.7

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry,8 witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.9

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.10

24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

1 So stand, unmoving, in the liberty Christ freed us to enjoy, and don’t get caught up again in a yoke of religious bondage.

2 Look--I, Paul, say to you that even if you do no more than receive physical circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you whatever.

3 For I remind those who have undergone circumcision (--and think they can stop at that--) to know that a man who receives physical circumcision (in the belief he must do that to be in right standing with God) must also keep the rest of Mosaic Law as well!

4 Those of you who now seek justification with God through the Torah have fallen away from grace, and cut yourselves off from Christ in the process!

5 Meanwhile, the rest of us, aided by the Spirit, await the assurance of true righteousness that can come only through faith.

6 You see, for those in Jesus Christ, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything. All that counts is faith operating through love.

7 You were running a good race. Who cut in front of you and caused you to break stride and not obey the truth?

8 These ideas did not originate with God who called you.

9 “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.”

10 I am confident that you, through the Lord’s influence, will return to a correct understanding of the faith, and that he who is making you stumble will reap his judgment, whomever that person is.

11 Oh, and by the way, if (--as a different set of liars claim--) I still preach circumcision and Torah observance as the way to God, brethren--then why do I suffer continual persecution at the hands of the unbelieving Jews? In fact, if I were preaching that sort of doctrine, the cross (and notion of a crucified Messiah atoning for sin) would cease to be a stumbling block to them.

12 I wish those troubling you would pull out their circumcision knives, and emasculate themselves!

13 For, brethren, you have been called by God into a state of liberty. Just don’t use that freedom from religious obligations as a license to commit sin the flesh longs for, but serve one another in love.

14 For all the Torah is fulfilled in this one command: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

15 But if you keep biting and devouring one another--beware, lest you consume each other.

16 So I say this: Walk in the footsteps of the Spirit, and you will not take the last step of actually committing the lust of your flesh.

17 For the flesh and the spirit are in opposition to each other, and at constant war with each other--and you are always torn between which urge to follow, and you cannot do the things you really want to do.

18 But if the Spirit leads you, you are not under the Torah.

19 Now the things the flesh likes to do are obvious: Adultery, fornication, impurity of various sorts,

20 Idolatry, drug abuse, hatred, argumentativeness, jealousy, wrath, strife, rebelliousness, doctrinal heresies,

21 Envying, murders, drunkenness, partying, and things along these lines which, as I have told you before, if you practice them you will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is: Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, and self-control. There has never been any law, by the way, regulating how often, or in what way, these can be done.

24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its evil desires.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit.

26 Let us not desire our own glory, provoking each other, or envying each other.

1. Paul is referring to the very “yoke” that the Judaiser of then, and the heretic of today, seek to place upon the neck of Gentile believers: observance of the Torah (see verse 3, Matthew 11: 28-30, and Acts 15:7-10).

Despite the attempts of heretics to hold onto Law with one hand, and grace with the other, the Law was--and is--a “yoke of bondage,” and not the completion of one’s walk with God, nor do more than its basic moral principles have any place in the Gentile Christian’s life. The reason for this--and the reason why I belabor the point throughout this work--is that while Paul accepted Jews continuing in Torah observance (Col. 2:16, 1 Tim.: 3-11), not once did he ever tolerate Gentiles being taught to keep the various Sabbath, cultural or dietary aspects of it (Gal. 4:10, Col. 2:16, 1 Tim.: 3-11). This is because a non-Jew who embraces any of these points of the Law will be moving--not forward, but backwards in the faith if he adopts them.

When a man comes to salvation in Christ, he has reached a point of enlightenment that can either grow or wither, depending on the doctrines he embraces from that point. If he is taught that God requires or calls on him to keep various Torah commands, he is now spiritually retreating into the shadows and joining the Jews of Romans 14 who were “weak in the faith,” rather than walking forward with the ranks of the “strong.” If he then continues in the lie that Torah observance is a mandated part of the Christian faith, he will move further and further from truth, and the end result will be divisions and heresies along these lines:

1. He will misuse and pervert verses in the New Testament such as Matt 19:17, Rom 2:13, and Rom. 3:31, and use them as “proof” Christians must keep the law of Moses to be saved.

2. He will focus more on the Old Testament than the New, and embrace teachings by so-called “Torah-observant” Messianics that the Law must be kept by every generation. He will consider denial of that position a doctrine of devils.

3. He will stop using the name Jesus, and call Him Yeshua--not to be more accurate, but as a denunciation  and repudiation of “Gentile Christianity and its Gentile Jesus” that should be rejected by the “true” followers of God who keep Torah. He will no longer consider himself a part of the normal Christian community, but instead a part of the Messianic community of believers.

4. He will make a personal choice to reject traditional Christian observances like Easter or Christmas--which, in our society, are in the crosshairs of the Godless, Satan-inspired politicians and judges--but then go beyond that to denounce and belittle those who do participate in them.

5. He will reject orthodox contemporary or historic Gentile Christian theologians--whom God used mightily to teach and proclaim the Gospel--in favor of unpedigreed modern Messianic teachers attacking traditional Christian biblical interpretation. He will come to view the Jewish Talmud, and the writings of Christ-rejecting Orthodox rabbis, as more edifying than the writings of Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, and so on.

6. He will claim that his particular group is an example of real Christianity, and that standard Catholic and Protestant denominations have lost the true teachings of Christ and the apostles, injecting hosts of pagan teachings, holidays, and beliefs in their place. In connection with this, he will adopt an attitude of elitism and pride, considering Christians and denominations that reject Sabbath and Torah observance to be in deception--or, at worst, heretics following Satan and the Antichrist. He may actually come to deny the deity of Christ, and label that a “Catholic” doctrine that must be rejected.

7. He will deny the “New covenant,” and instead claim a “Renewed covenant,” which retains Torah observance. He may reject using the term Old Testament, considering the Law and the teachings of how to observe it therein to be equally binding on believers with the writings of the New Testament.

8. He will ultimately deny the reliability of the New Testament itself. If confronted about his beliefs with verses that contradict his views, he will insist those verses are mistranslated, misunderstood, or perhaps were added by the Catholic Church.

9. He will claim that the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew, and then go on to seek someone’s reconstructed Hebrew-translation New Testament, which will contradict the Greek New Testament on key issues and verses, but fit his preconceived notions about the need for Torah observance.

10. If unable to refute a criticism of his beliefs by those using New Testament Scripture, he may reject the writings of Paul altogether, and label him a false prophet. (I've seen Messianics do this more than once, by the way!)

11. He may flat-out come to believe that only those who keep the Jewish Law, while acknowledging Christ as Messiah, will enter into eternal life, and everyone else will be damned.

12. He will reach the point where he has “fallen from grace” and Christ ‘profits him nothing’ when he becomes consciously secure and certain of his salvation because he acknowledges Yeshua as Messiah--and is “keeping the Commandments of God.”

All these unpleasant things illustrate the deception it is possible to slip into if, just like the Galatians Paul wrote to, one accepts Christ’s redemption, but then comes to believe he must also keep the Jewish Torah to be in right standing with God.This is why the Christian church must stand up and denounce those--including some deceived ministers on Christian TV--who are advocating various levels of Torah observance, from Sabbatarianism to keeping the various Jewish Feasts and tithes (typically, as a formula of witchcraft to gain material prosperity from God). To do otherwise is to allow error into the church and “give place to the devil.”

To be clear, I am not saying that we should reject the Old Testament, and need not study it. Rather, I am upholding the Christian precepts that there is a New--not renewed--covenant that does not include or mandate Torah observance; and that Christianity must interpret the Old Testament through the New, rather than interpret the New through the Old as the Judaiser teaches.

That is the heresy pervading Messianic Judaism, and what defines a vocal and heretical part of it--but certainly not all of it--as a movement to be avoided and denounced from the pulpit, along with the ministers who support it.

2. Those addressed here were apparently a bit less extreme than some others,* and were stopping short of full observance, but still undergoing circumcision out of fear. Paul here is saying, “No, you can’t just stop at circumcision--if you undertake to obey one point of the Torah to be acceptable to God, you must keep the whole of it!” And, once again, Paul in no way, shape, or form voices any encouragement of the idea that every believer should keep the Jewish Torah.

 

* We can surmise this from the fact Paul has already rebuked others in the last chapter who were going further and keeping the Sabbath and Festivals.

 

3. If there is one thing obvious about Paul, it is that he was a sports nut! The word “hinder” refers to someone who cuts in front of someone running in a race.

4. Apparently, the Judaisers were lying to the Galatians and telling them Paul himself approved of their doctrine. Paul points out here that he was still regularly criticized for preaching that the Gentiles need not keep the Law.

5. Better understood as: “I wish those troubling you would pull out their circumcision knives, and emasculate themselves!

6. Having pointed out the Galatians need not keep the whole of Mosaic Law, Paul quickly reminds them this is not a license to break its moral commands.

7. Referring back to the point that the Torah is a tutor, and that one who has come into relationship with Christ, who yields to the Spirit, will naturally fulfill the spirit of the Torah in his behavior, and thus there is no need for his actions to be regulated by written ordinances.

8. This does not mean worshipping Zeus, but rather pride, self-absorption, sell-reliance and justification through works.

9. In other words, if the Galatians pursue these sins on an ongoing basis, they will exempt themselves from salvation.

10. Better paraphrased as: “Regarding these, there has never been a law regulating how often or in what way they can be done.”

 

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 6

1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual1, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.2

3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

5 For every man shall bear his own burden.3

6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate4 unto him that teacheth in all good things.

7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

11 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.5

12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law;6 but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.7

15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks8 of the Lord Jesus.

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

1 Brethren, if a member of the community becomes overtaken by bad choices and sin, those who think themselves spiritual should carefully restore him in an attitude of forgiveness, exhibiting no pride or arrogance lest you open the door to your own temptation.

2 Be there to help each other in whatever way you can, and always pick up those who have fallen. In this way, you will fulfill the Torah Christ wants you to keep.

3 For if a man thinks himself better than someone else when he really isn’t, he is deceiving himself.

4 But let every man worry about his own deeds and lifestyle, rather than someone else’s, and then he will rejoice in what he has done, neither being jealous of, nor thinking himself better than the next man.

5 For every man should live up to his responsibilities.

6 Let him who is taught the Gospel by someone share his resources with the man who teaches him.

7 Don’t fool yourselves, for God is not mocked. You will reap what you sow!

8 The man who sows to his sinful flesh will reap spiritual gangrene. But he who sows to the Spirit shall receive everlasting life from the Spirit.

9 And let us not grow weary of doing the right things, for at the right time we will reap a harvest of reward if we do not grow tired and give up.

10 As the opportunity arises, let us all do charitable acts for people, especially to those in the Christian community.

11 YOU SEE WHAT LARGE LETTERS I AM WRITING WITH MY OWN HAND (SO YOU KNOW THIS LETTER IS FROM ME PERSONALLY).

12 (Remember that) all these who are trying to have you circumcised are “Christians” of the sort who take the easy way out, avoiding persecution in their unwillingness to suffer for the cross of Christ.

13 For these physically circumcised men haven’t the slightest idea what it even means to truly keep the Law (in a spiritually circumcised manner)! They just show their own self-absorption by seeking you as disciples in order to glory.

14 But God forbid I glory in anything other than the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, who helped me kill off worldly concerns and the world’s hold over me.

15 For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision gains one anything. What does gain something, is a man who is a new creation from the inside out.

16 And to as many of you who are willing to accept this statement and live by it, peace and mercy to you, who are the true Israel of God.

17 I don’t want to hear any more bad reports about you, for I bear enough pain in my body from the scars earned serving the Lord Jesus in preaching the Gospel I just reiterated.

18 Brethren, the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

1. Paul is being somewhat sarcastic with this word, and one could view it as if it was in quotation marks.

2. Paul means that we are to help our brothers who find themselves in need.

3. A different word for “burden” is used here, and so Paul is not contradicting himself. In this verse, he means that everyone should take care of his own legitimate responsibilities.

4. “Communicate” is better translated as: “Share.” In other words, those who are taught should support their teacher in a practical manner--i.e. give to your local church.

5. Meaning that the letters themselves on the papyrus were extremely large, suggesting that Paul was far-sighted.

6. Paul probably is not saying that the Judaisers were not observant themselves, but the verse could be paraphrased like this: “For these physically circumcised men haven’t the slightest idea what it even means to truly keep the Law (in a spiritually circumcised manner)! They just show their own self-absorption by seeking you as disciples in order to glory.

7. Better paraphrased as: “But God forbid I should glory in anything other than the cross of Christ, who helped me kill off worldly concerns, and the world’s hold over me.”

8. The “marks” were undoubtedly the scars Paul bore from years of violent persecution for the sake of the Gospel.

 

Home