To The Galatians

1:1Paul, an Ambassador— not from people nor through people, but through Jesus the Anointed and God the Father who raised him from the dead—1:2and the brothers and sisters with me,

To all the Congregations in Galatia:

1:3Favor and peace to you from God our Father and Master Jesus the Anointed!1:4He gave himself on account of our failures so that he could lift us up out of this evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.1:5Honor to him forever, absolutely!

1:6I am astounded that you are being moved from your calling by the favor of the Anointed into a different Gospel—1:7which really isn’t another Gospel at all. Someone is confounding you and trying to distort the Gospel of the Anointed.1:8But even if we or a Messenger from heaven should bring you a Gospel that isn’t the one we brought you before, let them be cursed!1:9I repeat: even if we or a Messenger from heaven should bring you a Gospel that isn’t the one we brought you before, let them be cursed!

1:10Do you think I’m trying to impress people or God? Am I after people’s approval? If I were still trying to please people I would not be a slave of the Anointed.1:11I’m telling you right now, sisters and brothers, that the Gospel I brought you was not from people.1:12No, I didn’t learn it from people; it came by means of revelation from Jesus the Anointed.

1:13You know very well how I once behaved in Judaism. I severely persecuted God’s Congregation and tried to wipe it out.1:14I excelled in Judaism beyond many of my peers and was very loyal to the traditions of my ancestors.1:15And yet it seemed good to God, who set me apart from birth and called me by means of his favor,1:16to reveal his Son in me, so that I could bring the Gospel to the non-Judeans.

I did not immediately consult flesh and blood,1:17nor did I go to Jerusalem to see those who were Ambassadors before me, but instead I went off to Arabia and then returned to Damascus.1:18Then after three years I went to Jerusalem to interview Cephas (Peter) and stayed with him for fifteen days.1:19I did not see any of the other Ambassadors except for James, the brother of the Master.1:20These things I am writing to you are the honest truth before God.1:21Then I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia,1:22and I was still unknown to the Congregations of the Anointed in Judea.1:23They only knew that “the one who persecuted us is now bringing the Gospel of the faith he once tried to destroy!”1:24And they honored God because of me.

2:1Fourteen years later I went up to Jerusalem and took Barnabas and Titus with me.2:2I went according to a revelation and presented to them the Gospel I proclaim among the non-Judeans. Yet I only told this privately to those who were highly esteemed, in case somehow I was still, or had been, running in vain.2:3But they didn’t even force Titus, the Greek who was with me, to be circumcised.2:4And this had to be done privately because of the fake believers, who were planted to spy on the freedom we have in Anointed Jesus so they could enslave us.2:5But we did not give in to them for even a second, so that the truth of the Gospel could stand secure with you.

2:6As for those who were highly esteemed, what they once were is of no concern to me (and God is not impressed with human credentials), because they did not add any further conditions.2:7But on the contrary, they saw that I have been entrusted with bringing the Gospel to the non-Judeans, just as Peter was to the Judeans.2:8The same One who empowered Peter in his commission to the Judeans also empowered me in that of the non-Judeans.2:9James, Cephas,1 and John— those reputed to be the “supporting pillars”— recognized the favor that was granted to me and welcomed me and Barnabas into the partnership; we were to go to the non-Judeans and they to the Judeans.2:10All they asked is that we remember the poor, which is exactly what I had intended to do.

2:11Now when Cephas came to Antioch I confronted him to his face because he was in error.2:12What happened was that before some people came representing James, he ate together with the non-Judeans, but when those people came he withdrew and segregated himself out of fear of “the circumcision.”2:13And he led the rest of the Judeans into displaying a double standard with him, to the point where even Barnabas got carried away with it.2:14But when I saw that they had veered off the road leading to the truth of the Gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “If you, a Judean, could live as the non-Judeans and not according to Judaism, how is it that now you are compelling the non-Judeans to observe Judaism?”

2:15We who are natural Judeans, not non-Judean deviants,2:16have understood that no one is justified on the basis of meeting the requirements of the Law, but only by trusting in Jesus the Anointed. And we put our trust in Anointed Jesus so that we may be justified by that trust and not due to performing the requirements of the Law, which the flesh cannot accomplish.

2:17Now if we want to be justified and are found to be united with the Anointed yet are deviants ourselves, does that mean that the Anointed is condoning sin? Absolutely not!2:18For if I demolish what I build, I condemn myself as a one who crosses the line.2:19By means of the Law, I died to it so that I would live for God.2:20I have been crucified along with the Anointed, yet I live; but at the same time, it isn’t really I but the Anointed who lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live in trust of the God-Man who loved me and gave himself up for my sake.2:21I do not deny the truth of the favor of God, because if justice could come by means of the Law, that would mean the Anointed’s death was a wasted effort!

3:1You senseless Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you with the “evil eye”? Right before your eyes Jesus the Anointed was openly presented as crucified,3:2so I’d like to learn just one thing from you: Was it by your legal performance that you received the Spirit, or by believing what you heard?3:3Are you really so senseless as to think you would start with the Spirit and finish with the flesh?3:4Was all your suffering really for nothing?3:5Did the One who supplied you with the Spirit do powerful works among you because you followed the Law, or because you believed what you heard?

3:6Just as Abraham believed God and was thereby declared righteous,3:7it follows that those with faith are of Abraham.3:8So the scripture, looking ahead to the time when God would justify the nations by means of faith, brought Abraham the good news: “All the nations will be blessed because of you.”3:9So then, those with faith are blessed together with faithful Abraham.

3:10Those who rely on their legalistic performance are cursed, for it is written: “Cursed is anyone who does not perfectly observe everything written in the scroll of the Law.”3:11Now it is obvious that no one is justified before God solely on the basis of the Law, because “the just will live by faith.”3:12The Law is not about faith but instead, “the one who does them will live in them.”3:13So the Anointed ransomed us from the curse of the Law by becoming that curse for our sakes, because it has been written, “Cursed is anyone who is hung on wood.”3:14That is how the blessing of Abraham could come to the nations in Anointed Jesus, so that we may obtain the promise of the Spirit by means of faith.

3:15Now let me put this in down-to-earth terms, brothers and sisters. Once a person’s Last Will and Testament has been properly signed and notarized, no one can modify it or declare it annulled.3:16Now the promises were declared to Abraham and his Descendant (note that it is singular— Descendant— and not “to your descendants”), who is the Anointed.3:17What I’m saying is that this legal will, ratified by God, was not invalidated by the Law that came four hundred and thirty years later.3:18For if the inheritance could come by a law then it would no longer come by a promise. Yet God graciously granted it to Abraham through promise.

3:19So then, what purpose did the Law serve? It was added to deal with our having crossed the line until the promised Descendant could come. And it was established in the presence of Messengers through the agency of a mediator.3:20In contrast, you can’t mediate between one— and God is One.

3:21So then, does the Law conflict with the promises of God? Absolutely not! If the Law could bring life, then righteousness could actually come from the Law.3:22But the scripture used Failure to contain everything, so that the promise may be given from the faith of Jesus the Anointed to those who believe.3:23Now before the arrival of faith we were bound under the Law until the faith was revealed.3:24So you could say that the Law served as our guide, to lead us to the Anointed so we could be justified by faith.3:25And when we arrived at faith, we had no further need of a guide.

3:26Now you are all children of God through faith in Anointed Jesus,3:27because whoever is immersed into union with the Anointed has clothed themselves with him.3:28And since you are all united as one with Anointed Jesus, there is no more division between Judean and Greek, slave and free, or even male and female.23:29And if you are his, then it follows that you are descendants of Abraham and thus heirs of the promise.3

4:1Now a minor heir is no better off than a slave even though they will inherit the whole estate,4:2since they are under guardians and household administrators until the time set by the father.4:3So it is also with us: when we were minors we were enslaved by the elemental spirits4 of the world.4:4But when the time set by God arrived, he sent out his Son to be born from a woman and under Law,4:5so that he could redeem those under the Law and adopt them as children.4:6So since you are children, God sends out the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, so that we can call out, “Daddy, Father!”4:7meaning you are no longer a slave but a child— and if a child, then an heir through God.

4:8But before, of course, you had no concept of God and were a slave to what were not really gods at all.4:9Yet now that you know God— or rather are known by God— how can you turn back again to those weakling elemental spirits and enslave yourselves to them again?4:10You are observing sacred months and times and years!4:11I fear for you, that somehow I labored for nothing on your behalf.

4:12Become like me, sisters and brothers, because I was once like you. I plead with you because you did me no wrong.4:13You know that when I brought the Gospel to you before, I was physically ill.4:14Yet you were not put off by my physical condition and did not “spit me out,”5 but you accepted me as though I were a Messenger of God or even as Anointed Jesus.4:15So where is your happiness? I vouch for you that if you could, you would have gouged out your own eyes and given them to me!4:16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?

4:17Those people are trying to sway you to their side, and not out of pure motives. They want to cut you off from me so you will admire them.4:18Now admiring someone is fine, and not just when I’m around.4:19But my little children, I am writhing in the pains of childbirth with you until you become like the Anointed!4:20I want so much to be there with you in person right now so I could change my tone. I am exasperated with you!

4:21Tell me, you who want to go back under the Law, do you not listen to it?4:22For it has been written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and one by the free woman.4:23But the one by the slave woman came purely by means of the flesh, while the one by the free woman came through a promise.4:24This is an allegory, for these women represent two legal contracts. One was from Mt. Sinai in Arabia and gave birth into slavery— that is Hagar.4:25She represents Mt. Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to Jerusalem today, since she and her children are still in slavery.4:26Yet the Jerusalem from above is free— it is she who is our mother.4:27For it has been written, “Be glad, childless one who is not giving birth! Break your silence and shout, you who are not in labor pains! For the children of the single woman outnumber those of the one with a husband!”

4:28Now brothers and sisters, you are children of promise, corresponding to Isaac.4:29But the child of the flesh persecuted the child of the Spirit; it’s the same now as it was then.4:30But what does the scripture say? “Send the slave woman and her son away, for he will not share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”4:31So then, sisters and brothers, we are not children of the slave woman but of the free woman.

5:1The Anointed has set us free, so stand firm and do not strap yourselves to slavery again.5:2Now look! I, Paul, am telling you that if allow yourselves to be circumcised, then the Anointed will be of no use to you.5:3I solemnly testify to you that everyone who does this is obligated to perform the whole Law perfectly.5:4You who think justification comes from the Law have been “cut away” from the Anointed and “fallen off” of God’s favor!6

5:5We who are of the Spirit hope in faith for the justice we await.5:6For in Anointed Jesus neither circumcision nor un-circumcision matters, but only faith operating through love.5:7You were running a great race; who cut in on you and pushed you away from the truth?5:8This gullibility certainly doesn’t come from the One who called you!5:9“It only takes a little yeast to make the whole loaf rise.”5:10But I have confidence in you from the Master, that you will get back on course. Yet the one who is disturbing you will face judgment, whoever it may be.5:11Sisters and brothers, if I am still pushing circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? That would only disable the “trap” of the cross.5:12If only those who are disturbing you would keep cutting until the whole thing is gone!7

5:13You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters— not freedom to indulge the flesh but to enslave yourselves to each other out of love.5:14For the entire Law is encapsulated in this one sentence: “You must love others as you love yourself.”5:15But if you keep backbiting each other, beware that you don’t consume each other!5:16So I say, keep in step with the Spirit and do not give in to the cravings of the flesh.5:17For flesh and Spirit continually fight against each other and get in the way of your doing what you want.5:18But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under law.

5:19Now what the flesh does is obvious: promiscuity, impurity, vice,5:20idolatry, sorcery, hostility, rivalry, tension, fits of rage, factions, disputes, divisions,5:21envy, drunkenness, wild parties and so on. I warned you about all that, just as I warned you that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.5:22But the evidence of the Spirit is love, happiness, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustworthiness,5:23gentleness, and self-control; there is no law against any of that.5:24Now those of us who are united with Anointed Jesus have crucified the flesh with its feelings and desires.5:25If we are living in the Spirit let us keep in step with the Spirit.5:26Then we will not become conceited, challenging and envying each other.

6:1Sisters and brothers, if anyone is overtaken by blunders, you spiritual ones must restore them with great humility, remembering that it could happen to you.6:2Look after each other so that you will fulfill the law of the Anointed.6:3If anyone thinks they’re something special, they are nothing— they’re only fooling themselves.6:4Let each one test their own work, and be content with that instead of comparing themselves with others;6:5you are each responsible for yourselves.

6:6The one who is instructed in the Word should partner with their instructor by sharing their goods.

6:7Don’t fool yourselves— God is not mocked! A person will harvest what they plant.6:8The one who plants for their own flesh will harvest only decay, yet the one who plants for the Spirit will harvest eternal spiritual life.6:9Now let’s not despair of doing good, for we will harvest according to what we planted if we don’t slack off.6:10So then, as we have the opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those in the household of the faith.

6:11Now I myself am writing this in really big letters so nobody can miss it:6:12The ones who are pushing circumcision on you are only doing it for show, so they won’t be persecuted because of the cross of the Anointed.6:13They don’t even keep the whole Law themselves, but only want you to be circumcised so they can brag about controlling you.6:14May I never brag except about the cross of our Master Jesus the Anointed, through whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.6:15For it doesn’t matter whether or not someone is circumcised, but only whether they are a new creation.

6:16Peace upon whoever keeps in step with this rule, and may God have compassion on Israel.6:17From now on let no one give me any more grief, for my body is branded with the scars of Jesus.6:18May the favor of our Master Jesus the Anointed be with your spirits, brothers and sisters, absolutely!

  1. 1Cephas is the Aramaic name for Peter.
  2. 2Paul’s statement (Jew/Greek, slave/free, male/female) exactly parallels an ancient rabbinical prayer: “Thank God that I was not born a gentile, a slave, or a woman!” This is especially significant in light of the fact that Paul was a Pharisee.
  3. 3Being descendants, we are heirs of the promise to Abraham because we are united with The Descendant by means of faith. Paul’s point is not that all are saved the same way, but that all are free from the Law— a fact with crucial implications for the Body of Christ.
  4. 4The word rendered “elemental spirits” has a wide range of meanings in the general area of principles or basic things as well as dark spiritual beings of great power. The context here seems to favor the latter, considering also its use in vs. 9.
  5. 5Paul is likely referring at least in part to the pagan practice of spitting three times to ward off a spell cast by “the evil eye,” making his reference to the Galatians’ willingness to “gouge out their own eyes” a play on words. Yet on the other hand, during his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was struck blind for three days, so it could also refer to a literal eye problem.
  6. 6Paul is using double entendre, comparing the act of circumcision to what happens when people separate themselves from the favor of God by going back under the Law.
  7. 7Once again Paul is using crudity in his ire against those advocating circumcision.