Galatians

1 1Paul [Paulos]

In the ancient world all letters began with the writer's name, followed by the recipient's name and a greeting or message.

, an apostle [apostolos]

Apostles were personally chosen, called and commissioned by Jesus Christ, and authorized to teach in His name.

(not from men, neither through man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead), 2and all the brothers who are with me, to the assemblies [ekklēsiais] of Galatia [Galatias]

Probably the southern part of the province, in particular the four cities of Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe, which Paul evangelised during his first missionary journey (cf. Ac 13 and 14).

: 3Grace [charis] to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins [hyper tōn hamartiōn]

Some MMS have the preposition peri before hamartiōn, possibly as an echo of the OT expression for the sin-offering. LXX: peri hamartias, e.g., Lv 5:11 and Nu 8:8. Cf. Rom 8:3 and 1 Pet 3:18.

, that he might deliver [exaireō]

Used in the Book of Acts of the rescue of the Israelites (7:34), of Peter both from prison and from the hand of Herod (12:11), and of Paul from an infuriated mob (23:27).

us out of this present evil age, according to the will [thelēma] of our God and Father--5to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen [amēn].

6I marvel [thaumazō] that you are so quickly deserting [metatithēmi]

Signifies the transfer of allegiance. Used of soldiers in the army who revolt or desert, and of men who change sides in politics or philosophy. Thus, Dionysius of Heracleia, who left the Stoics to become a member of the Epicureans, was called ho metathememos, 'turncoat'.

him who called you in the grace [chariti] of Christ to a different "good news" [euangelion]; 7and there isn't another "good news." Only there are some who trouble [tarassō]

To 'shake' or 'agitate'. The Jerusalem Council, which probably met just after Paul had written Galatians, were to use the same verb in their letter to the churches (Ac 15:24).

you, and want to pervert [metastrepsai]

'To reverse' by turning back to front or upside down.

the Good News [euangelion] of Christ. 8But even though we, or an angel [angelos] from heaven, should preach [euangelizō] to you any "good news" other than that which we preached [euangelizō] to you, let him be cursed [anathema]

Used in LXX for the divine ban, the curse of God resting upon anything or anyone devoted by Him to destruction (as in the Canaanite spoil that Achan hoarded).

. 9As we have said before, so I now say again: if any man preaches [euangelizō] to you any "good news" other than that which you received, let him be cursed [anathema]. 10For am I now seeking the favour [areskō]

Citizenship - shame and acclaim

Lit. 'Do I seek men to please?' To the Roman citizen, the approval of the entire city was the ultimate, the only, test of worth. Praise was what every citizen most desired - just as public shame was his ultimate dread. The Circus Maiximus, Rome's largest public space with room for 200, 000 citizens, was where a citizen could be most publicly defined, whether by cheers of acclamation or by jeering and boos. Cf. Rom 14:17-18

of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? For if I were still pleasing men, I wouldn't be a servant [doulos] of Christ. 11But I make known [gnorizō] to you, brothers [adelphoi], concerning the Good News [euangelion] which was preached [euangelizō] by me, that it is not according to man. 12For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation [apokalypseōs] of Jesus Christ. 13For you have heard of my way of living in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted [diōkō] the assembly [ekklēsian] of God, and ravaged [portheō] it. 14I advanced in the Jews' religion beyond many of my own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions [paradoseōn] of my fathers. 15But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me through his grace [charitos], 16to reveal [apokalyptō] his Son in me, that I might preach [euangelizomai] him among the Gentiles [ethnēsin], I didn't immediately confer with flesh and blood [sarki kai aimati], 17nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles [apotolous] before me, but I went away into Arabia. Then I returned to Damascus [Damaskon]

Damascus and the surrounding area were ruled by king Aretas of Arabia. St Chrysostom believed that a 'barbarous and savage people' lived in Arabia and it is thought that Paul went there to preach. It is more likely that he withdrew for three years.

. 18Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit [historeō]

Used of sight-seeing and implies a visit with the purpose of coming to know someone. Paul was in Jerusalem for only fifteen days and spent much of the time preaching.

Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days. 19But of the other apostles [apostolōn] I saw no one, except James, the Lord's brother. 20Now about the things which I write to you, look [idou], before God, I'm not lying. 21Then I came to the regions of Syria and Cilicia [Kilikias]

Cf. Ac 9:30 where Paul, in danger for his life, was sent off to Tarsus which is in Cilicia. Since he went to Syria too he may have revisited Damascus and called at Antioch on the way to Tarsus. In any case, he was a long way from Jerusalem.

. 22I was still unknown by face to the assemblies [ekklēsiais] of Judea which were in Christ, 23but they only heard: "He who once persecuted [diōkō] us now preaches [euangelizō] the faith [pistin] that he once tried to destroy [portheō]." 24And they glorified God in me.

2 1Then after a period of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas [Barnaba; Heb. Bar-Nabba], taking Titus [Titon] also with me. 2I went up by revelation [apokalypsin], and I laid before them the Good News [euangelion] which I preach [keryssō] among the Gentiles [ethnēsin], but privately before those who were respected, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. 3But not even Titus [Titos], who was with me, being a Greek [Hellēn], was compelled to be circumcised. 4This was because of the false brothers [pseudadelphous] secretly brought in, who stole in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage [katadoulosousin]; 5to whom we gave no place in the way of subjection, not for an hour, that the truth of the Good News [euangeliou] might continue with you. 6But from those who were reputed to be important (whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God doesn't show partiality to man)--they, I say, who were respected imparted nothing to me, 7but to the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the Good News [euangelion] for the uncircumcision [akrobustias], even as Peter [Petros] with the Good News for the circumcision [peritomēs] 8(for he who appointed Peter [Petrō] to the apostleship [apostolen] of the circumcision [peritomēs] appointed me also to the Gentiles [ethnē]); 9and when they perceived the grace [charin] that was given to me, James [Iakōbos] and Cephas [Kēphas] and John [Iōannēs], they who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas [Barnaba; Heb. Bar-Nabba] the right hand of fellowship [koinōnias], that we should go to the Gentiles [ethnēs], and they to the circumcision [peritomēs]. 10They only asked us to remember the poor--which very thing I was also zealous to do. 11But when Peter [Petros] came to Antioch, I resisted him to his face, because he stood condemned [kataginōskō]. 12For before some people came from James, he ate with the Gentiles [ethnōn]

Proselytes, or 'Gentile believers'.

. But when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision [peritomēs]

Judaizers, 'the faction who favoured circumcising Gentile believers'.

. 13And the rest of the Jews [Ioudaioi]

'Jewish (Messianic) believers'.

joined him in his hypocrisy [synupokrinō]; so that even Barnabas [Barnabas; Heb. Bar-Nabba] was carried away with their hypocrisy [hypokrisei]

Lit. 'play-acting'.

. 14But when I saw that they didn't walk uprightly according to the truth of the Good News [euangeliou], I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live as the Gentiles [ethnikōs] do, and not as the Jews [Ioudaios] do, why do you compel the Gentiles [ethnē] to live as the Jews do? 15"We, being Jews by nature, and not Gentile [ethnōn] sinners, 16yet knowing that a man is not justified [dikaioō]

A legal term borrowed from the law courts. It is the exact opposite of 'condemnation'. Cf. Jb 25:4.

by the works of the law [ergon nomou] but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified [dikaioō] by faith [pisteōs] in Christ, and not by the works of the law [ergōn nomou], because no flesh [sarx] will be justified [dikaioō] by the works of the law. 17But if, while we sought to be justified [dikaioō] in Christ, we ourselves also were found sinners, is Christ a servant [diakonos] of sin? Certainly not [Mē genoito]! 18For if I build up again those things which I destroyed, I prove myself a law-breaker. 19For I, through the law, died to the law, that I might live to God. 20I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me. That life which I now live in the flesh [sarki], I live by faith [pistei] in the Son of God, who loved [agapaō] me, and gave himself up for me. 21I don't make void [atheteō] the grace [charin] of God. For if righteousness is through the law [nomou dikaiosynē], then Christ died for nothing!"

3 1Foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you not to obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth [prographō]

'Show forth or portray in public; to set before the eyes'. Used of edicts, laws and public notices put up in certain public places to be read, and also used of pictures and portraits.

among you as crucified? 2I just want to learn this from you. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law [ergōn nomou], or by hearing of faith [akoēs pisteōs]? 3Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now completed [epiteleō] in the flesh [sarki]? 4Did you suffer so many things in vain, if it is indeed in vain? 5He therefore who supplies the Spirit to you, and works miracles among you, does he do it by the works of the law [ex ergōn nomou], or by hearing of faith [ex akoēs pisteōs]? 6Even as Abraham "believed [pisteuō] God, and it was counted [logizō] to him for righteousness [dikaisounēn]." 7Know [ginōskō] therefore that those who are of faith [oi ek pisteōs], the same are children of Abraham. 8The Scripture [graphē]

The Tanach.

, foreseeing that God would justify [dikaioi] the Gentiles [ethnē] by faith [pisteōs], preached the Good News beforehand [proseuengelisato] to Abraham, saying, "In you all the nations will be blessed [eulogeō]." 9So then, those who are of faith [oi ek pisteōs] are blessed [eulogeō] with the faithful [pistō] Abraham. 10For as many as are of the works of the law [ergon nomou] are under a curse. For it is written, "Cursed [epikataratos] is everyone who doesn't continue in all things that are written in the book of the law [bibliō tou nomou]

Or 'Scroll of the Torah'. The Jews regarded the 'am haaretz', the common people without the law, as being under God's curse. The apostle shocks the Judaizers by asserting that those under the curse are not just ignorant, lawless Gentiles, but Jews as well (cf. Ro 3:22,23).

, to do them." 11Now that no man is justified [dikaioō] by the law before God is evident, for, "The righteous [dikaios] will live by faith [ek pisteōs]." 12The law is not of faith [pisteōs], but, "The man who does them will live by them." 13Christ redeemed [axagorazō] us from the curse of the law [nomou], having become a curse [katara] for us. For it is written, "Cursed [epikataratos]

Every criminal sentenced to death under the Mosaic legislation and executed, usually by stoning, was then fixed to a stake or hanged on a tree, symbolising divine rejection. So when Christ crucified was preached, Jews would sometimes shout back, 'Jesus is accursed!' (cf. 1 Cor 12:3). This was construed by the standers-by at the cross, seeing the tri-lingual inscription which in Hebrew read, 'Yeshua Hanotzi Vemelech Hayehudim'. The acrostic YHWH (I AM) led the Jews to implore Pilate to change the title.

is everyone who hangs on a tree [xylou]," 14that the blessing [eulogia] of Abraham might come on the Gentiles [ethnē] through Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith [pisteōs]. 15Brothers [adelphoi], speaking of human terms, though it is only a man's covenant [diathēken]

Translated covenant because in the LXX it is used for the covenants of God. But in classical Greek and the Papyri it was commonly used for a will. Cf. Heb 9:15-17, where covenant and will are mentioned together. In Roman law a man could change his will by making a new one or by adding codicils but in Greek law a will, once executed and ratified, could not be revoked or even modified. In any case no one other than the testator can ever alter or annul a will and certainly no one can after the testator has died.

, yet when it has been confirmed, no one makes it void, or adds to it. 16Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed [spermati]. He doesn't say, "To seeds [spermasin]," as of many, but as of one, "To your seed [spermati]," which is Christ. 17Now I say this. A covenant confirmed beforehand by God in Christ, the law, which came four hundred thirty years after, does not annul [akuroō], so as to make the promise [diathēkēn] of no effect [katargeō]. 18For if the inheritance [klēronomia] is of the law, it is no more of promise; but God has granted [charizomai] it to Abraham by promise. 19What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the seed [sperma] should come to whom the promise has been made. It was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20Now a mediator is not between one, but God is one. 21Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not [Mē genoito]! For if there had been a law given which could make alive, most certainly righteousness [dikaiosynē] would have been of the law. 22But the Scriptures imprisoned all things [panta] under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe [pisteuō]. 23But before faith [pistin] came, we were kept in custody [phroureō]

To 'protect by military guards'; 'guarded', 'confined'. To 'hold in custody'. When applied to a city, it was used both of keeping the enemy out and of keeping the inhabitants in, lest they should flee or desert. Cf. 2 Cor 11:32 where the city of Damascus was guarded presumably by posting sentries to seize Paul, and Ac 9:24. The verb is used metaphorically of God's peace and power in Phil 4:7; 1 Pet 1:5. The verb syngkleiō ('kept under restraint') is similar: to 'hem in' or 'coop up', cf. Lk 5:6 in a fishing context.

under the law, confined for the faith [pistin] which should afterwards be revealed [apokalyptō]. 24So that the law has become our tutor [paidagōgos]

Lit. a 'tutor', i.e., a guide and guardian, usually a slave, whose duty it was to take the boy to and from school and to look out for his general conduct. The paidagōgos was the boy's disciplinarian. He was often harsh to the point of cruelty, and is usually depicted in ancient drawings with a rod or cane, cf. 1 Cor 4:15; 1 Cor 4:21 where Paul, the fatherly one, contrasts himself with strict tutors.

to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified [dikaioō] by faith [pisteōs]. 25But now that faith [pisteōs] has come, we are no longer under a tutor [hypo paidagōgon]. 26For you are all children of God, through faith [pisteōs] in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on [eneduō]

The reference may be to the 'toga virilis', which a boy would put on when he had become a man to show that he had grown up.

Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek[Hellēn]

Greek achievement and culture

When the world emerged into Iron Age civilisation, the East - West division began to appear, and from the western side of it emerged one of the most powerful cultural forces the world has ever seen: this civilisation of the polis, the Greek city - state. The Greeks bred a continuing surplus population. They created the ubiquitous maritime commerce. They planted colonies throughout the Mediterranean. In Alexander's day they pushed into Asia and Africa, and his successors carved out of his empire sprawling kingdoms: Ptolemy in Egypt, Seleucus in Syria and Mesopotamia, and later Attalus in Anatolia. From 332 to 200 BC the Jews were ruled by the Ptolemies; thereafter by the Seleucids. Among the Jews, their new rulers inspired awe and terror. The Greeks had the fearsome and then - absolute weapon of the phalanx. They built increasingly powerful machines of war, towering siege - engines, huge warships, colossal forts. The Jews knew all about Greek militarism, for they served the Greeks as mercenaries, as they had served the Persians. Greek military training began in the gymnasium, the primary educational instrument of the polis. But that was not its only function. Its main purpose was to promote Greek culture, as were the other institutions with which each polis was equipped: the stadium, the theatre, the odeum, the lyceum, the agora. The Greeks were superb architects. They were sculptors, poets, musicians, playwrights, philosophers and debaters. They staged marvellous performances. They were excellent traders too. In their wake, the economy boomed; living standards rose. Greek economics and Greek culture both appealed strongly to the less sophisticated societies of the Near East.

Syria and Palestine were areas of intense Greek settlement and rapid Hellenization of their existing inhabitants. The coast was soon completely Hellenized. The Greek rulers gave polis - style cities, such as Tyre, Sidon, Gaza, Stratton's Tower, Biblos and Tripoli, generous freedoms and privileges, and these in turn set up satellite cities in the interior. The influence of Greek culture could be seen everywhere. Cf. also Col 3:11.

, there is neither slave [doulos] nor free man, there is neither male nor female [thēlu]

Women were nearly always despised in the ancient world, even in Judaism, and not infrequently exploited and ill-treated as well.

; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed [sperma] and heirs according to promise.

4 1But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a bondservant [doulou], though he is lord of all; 2but is under guardians [epitropous] and stewards [oikonomous] until the day appointed by the father. 3So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental principles [stoicheia]

'Elements' or 'rudiments' as in Heb 5:12. Alternatively Paul could be referring to physical elements (earth, fire, air and water) or the heavenly bodies (sun, moon, and stars) which controlled the seasonal festivals observed in the ancient world (cf. v8).

of the world [kosmou]. 4But when the fullness of the time came [plērōma tou chronou]

i.e., Rome had conquered and subdued the known inhabited earth, Roman roads had been built to facilitate travel, and Roman legions had been stationed to guard them. The Greek language and culture had given a certain cohesion to society. At the same time, the old mythological gods of Greece and Rome were losing their hold. And the law of Moses had done its work of preparing men for Christ.

, God sent [exapostellō] out his Son, born to a woman, born under the law, 5that he might redeem [exagorazō] those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of children. 6And because you are children, God sent out [exapostellō] the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying [krazō], "Abba [Abba]

An Aramaic diminutive for 'Father'.

, Father!" 7So you are no longer a bondservant [doulos], but a son [hyios]

The slave to son metaphor comes from a Graeco-Roman law whereby a wealthy childless man might take into his family a young slave who then ceased to be a slave and became a son and heir.

; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 8However at that time, not knowing [oida] God, you were in bondage [douleuō] to those who by nature are not gods. 9But now that you have come to know [ginōskō] God, or rather to be known [ginōskō] by God, why do you turn back again to the weak and miserable elemental principles [stoicheia], to which you desire to be in bondage all over again? 10You observe days, months, seasons, and years. 11I am afraid for you, that I might have wasted my labour for you. 12I beg you, brothers [adelphoi], become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong, 13but you know that because of weakness [astheneian tēs sarkos]

Some have guessed that Paul's physical weakness or infirmity was malaria, caught in the mosquito-infested swamps of coastal Pamphylia (Ac 13:13). The condition seems to have affected Paul's eyesight (Ac 23:1-5; Gal 6:11).

of the flesh [sarkos] I preached the Good News [euangelizō] to you the first time. 14That which was a temptation to you in my flesh [ton peirasmon humon en tē sarki], you didn't despise nor reject; but you received me as an angel [angelon] of God, even as Christ Jesus. 15What was the blessing [makarismos] you enjoyed? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. 16So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17They zealously seek you in no good way. No, they desire to alienate you, that you may seek them. 18But it is always good to be zealous in a good cause, and not only when I am present with you. 19My little children [tekna], of whom I am again in travail until Christ is formed in you--20but I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you. 21Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, don't you listen to the law? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid [paidiskēs]

Breastfeeding

Upper-class women rarely breast-fed their children, despite it being their civic duty, since, as everyone knew, milk was imbued with the character of the woman who supplied it. How could a slave's milk ever compare with that of a freeborn Roman woman?

, and one by the free woman. 23However, the son by the handmaid [paidiskēs] was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman was born through promise. 24These things contain an allegory [allēgoreō]

The form of argument was familiar in the Jewish rabbinical schools. Paul is saying, "To make a midrash on these thingsā€¦".

, for these are two covenants [diathēkai]. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage [douleian], which is Hagar. 25For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to the Jerusalem that exists now, for she is in bondage with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27For it is written, "Rejoice, you barren who don't bear. Break forth and shout, you that don't travail. For more are the children of the desolate than of her who has a husband." 28Now we, brothers [adelphoi], as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29But as then, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30However what does the Scripture [graphē]

The Tanakh, Hebrew Bible.

say? "Throw out the handmaid [paidiskēn] and her son, for the son of the handmaid will not inherit with the son of the free woman." 31So then, brothers, we are not children of a handmaid [paidiskēs], but of the free woman.

5 1Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don't be entangled [enechō]

The tense here means 'to be loaded down with' and portrays an ox bowed down by a heavy yoke (cf. Lv 26:13)

again with a yoke of bondage. 2Look [ide], I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. 3Yes, I testify [martyromai] again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law [nomon Torah]. 4You are alienated [katargeō] from Christ, you who desire to be justified [dikaiousthe] by the law. You have fallen away from grace [charitos]. 5For we, through the Spirit, by faith wait for the hope of righteousness [dikaiosynēs]. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love [agapēs]. 7You were running well! Who interfered with you that you should not obey the truth? 8This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9A little yeast [mikra zymē]

A common proverb, cf. 1 Cor 5:6.

grows through the whole lump. 10I have confidence toward you in the Lord that you will think no other way. But he who troubles you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. 11But I, brothers [adelphoi], if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block [skandalon] of the cross has been removed. 12I wish that those who disturb you would cut [apokoptō Like the priests of the heathen goddess Cybele in Asia Minor] themselves off. 13For you, brothers [adelphoi], were called for freedom. Only don't use your freedom for gain [aphormēn]

Lit. 'for an occasion to the flesh'. Aphormē or 'opportunity' is used in military contexts for a place from which an offensive is launched, a base of operations. It therefore means a vantage-ground, and so an opportunity or pretext.

to the flesh [sarki], but through love [agapēs] be servants [douleuō] to one another. 14For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: "You shall love [agapaō] your neighbour as yourself." 15But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don't consume one another. 16But I say, walk [peripateō] by the Spirit, and you won't fulfill the lust of the flesh [sarkos]. 17For the flesh [sarx] lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh [sarkos]; and these are contrary to one another, that you may not do the things that you desire. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19Now the works of the flesh [erga tēs sarkos] are obvious, which are: adultery [moicheia], sexual immorality [porneia], uncleanness [akatharsia], lustfulness, 20idolatry [eidōlolatreia], sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice [prassō]

The tense here implies habitual practice and not an isolated lapse.

such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love [agape], joy [chara], peace, patience [makrothumia], kindness, goodness, faith [pistis], 23gentleness [praotēs], and self-control [egkrateia]. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh [sarka] with its passions and lusts. 25If we live by the Spirit, let's also walk [stoicheō]

Refers literally to people being 'drawn up in line'. Hence it means to 'walk in line' or 'be in line with'.

by the Spirit. 26Let's not become conceited [kenodoxoi]

Denotes somebody who has an opinion of himself which is empty, vain or false.

, provoking [prokaleō]

Unique in the NT, meaning to 'challenge' somebody to a contest. It implies that we are so sure of our superiority that we want to demonstrate it.

one another, and envying one another.

6 1Brothers [adelphoi], even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore [katartizō]

'Put in order' and so 'restore to its former condition'. It was used in secular Greek as a medical term for setting a fractured or dislocated bone (cf. Mk 1:19).

such a one in a spirit of gentleness [en pneumati prautētos]; looking to yourself so that you also aren't tempted. 2Bear [bastazō] one another's burdens [barē]

Baros means a weight or heavy load.

, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3For if a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4But let each man test [dokimazō] his own work, and then he will take pride [kauchēma] in himself and not in his neighbor. 5For each man will bear [bastazō] his own burden [phortion]

A common term for a man's pack.

. 6But let him who is taught in the word [katēchoumenos ton logon]

The catechumen, a person under instruction in the faith, cf. Lk 1:4.

share [koinōneō] all good things with him who teaches [katēchounti]. 7Don't be deceived [planaō]. God is not mocked [myktērizō]

Derived from the word for 'nose' and means literally to 'turn up the nose at' somebody and so to 'sneer at' or 'treat with contempt'. From this it can signify to 'fool' or 'outsmart'.

, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8For he who sows to his own flesh [sarka] will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don't give up. 10So then, as we have opportunity, let's do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household [oikeious] of the faith [pisteōs]. 11See with what large letters [grammasin]

So far Paul has been dictating to an amanuensis, but now, as his custom was, he adds a personal postscript. Usually this was just to append his signature as a guarantee against forgery (cf. 2 Thes 3:17). Perhaps the large letters were because Paul was unused to writing, especially in Greek. Or perhaps they were due to bad eyesight (cf. 4:13-15). Alternatively he used them for emphasis, possibly even reinforcing his readers' spiritual immaturity by using baby writing.

I write to you with my own hand. 12As many as desire to look good in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13For even they who receive circumcision don't keep the law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may boast [kauchaomai] in your flesh [sarki]. 14But far be it from me to boast [kauchaomai], except in the cross [staurō] of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world [kosmou] has been crucified [stauroō]

There may be a side-glance at an alternative meaning of the very stauroō, namely 'fence off'. The person I now am ('in Christ') has been fenced off by the cross from the person I formerly was ('in Adam').

to me, and I to the world [kosmō]. 15For in Christ Jesus neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16As many as walk [stoicheō] by this rule [kanoni]

Kanōn means measuring rod or rule, the carpenter's or surveyor's line by which a direction is taken.

, peace and mercy be on them, and [kai] on God's Israel. 17From now on, let no one cause me any trouble, for I bear [bastazō] the marks [stigmata]

Likely to mean the wounds received while being persecuted for Jesus' sake, cf., 2 Cor 11:23-25. Certainly Paul had already been stoned in Lystra, one of the Galatian cities, and left in the gutter for dead (Ac 14:19). The word 'stigmata' was used in secular Greek for the branding of a slave and was also employed for religious tattooing. Perhaps Paul was claiming that persecution, not circumcision, was the authentic Christian 'tattoo'.

of the Lord Jesus branded on my body. 18The grace [charis] of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers [adelphoi]. Amen.

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