11From Paul, whose call to be an apostle did not come from human beings or by human means, but from Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from death. 2All the brothers and sisters who are here join me in sending greetings to the churches of Galatia:
3May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
4In order to set us free from this present evil age, Christ gave himself for our sins, in obedience to the will of our God and Father. 5To God be the glory for ever and ever! Amen.
6I am surprised at you! In no time at all you are deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ,1.6 by the grace of Christ; some manuscripts have by his grace. and are accepting another gospel. 7Actually, there is no “other gospel”, but I say this because there are some people who are upsetting you and trying to change the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel that is different from the one we preached to you, may he be condemned to hell! 9We have said it before, and now I say it again: if anyone preaches to you a gospel that is different from the one you accepted, may he be condemned to hell!
10Does this sound as if I am trying to win human approval? No indeed! What I want is God's approval! Am I trying to be popular with people? If I were still trying to do so, I would not be a servant of Christ.
11Let me tell you, my brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preach is not of human origin. 12I did not receive it from any human being, nor did anyone teach it to me. It was Jesus Christ himself who revealed it to me.
You have been told how I used to live when I was devoted to the Jewish religion, how I persecuted without mercy the church of God and did my best to destroy it. 14
I was ahead of most fellow-Jews of my age in my practice of the Jewish religion, and was much more devoted to the traditions of our ancestors.
But God in his grace chose me even before I was born, and called me to serve him. And when he decided 16to reveal his Son to me, so that I might preach the Good News about him to the Gentiles, I did not go to anyone for advice, 17nor did I go to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before me. Instead, I went at once to Arabia, and then I returned to Damascus. 18
It was three years later that I went to Jerusalem to obtain information from Peter, and I stayed with him for two weeks. 19I did not see any other apostle except James,1.19 any other apostle except James; or any other apostle; the only other person I saw was James. the Lord's brother.
20What I write is true. God knows that I am not lying!
21Afterwards I went to places in Syria and Cilicia. 22At that time the members of the churches in Judea did not know me personally. 23They knew only what others were saying: “The man who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith that he once tried to destroy!” 24And so they praised God because of me.
Fourteen years later I went back to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2I went because God revealed to me that I should go. In a private meeting with the leaders I explained the gospel message that I preach to the Gentiles. I did not want my work in the past or in the present to be a failure. 3My companion Titus, even though he is Greek, was not forced to be circumcised, 4although some wanted it done. Pretending to be fellow-believers, these men slipped into our group as spies, in order to find out about the freedom we have through our union with Christ Jesus. They wanted to make slaves of us, 5but in order to keep the truth of the gospel safe for you, we did not give in to them for a minute.
But those who seemed to be the leaders — I say this because it makes no difference to me what they were; God does not judge by outward appearances — those leaders, I say, made no new suggestions to me. 7On the contrary, they saw that God had given me the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the task of preaching the gospel to the Jews. 8For by God's power I was made an apostle to the Gentiles, just as Peter was made an apostle to the Jews. 9James, Peter, and John, who seemed to be the leaders, recognized that God had given me this special task; so they shook hands with Barnabas and me, as a sign that we were all partners. We agreed that Barnabas and I would work among the Gentiles and they among the Jews. 10All they asked was that we should remember the needy in their group, which is the very thing I have2.10 have; or had. been eager to do.
11But when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him in public, because he was clearly wrong. 12Before some men who had been sent by James arrived there, Peter had been eating with the Gentile brothers and sisters. But after these men arrived, he drew back and would not eat with the Gentiles, because he was afraid of those who were in favour of circumcising them. 13The other Jewish brothers and sisters also started acting like cowards along with Peter; and even Barnabas was swept along by their cowardly action. 14When I saw that they were not walking a straight path in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you have been living like a Gentile, not like a Jew. How, then, can you try to force Gentiles to live like Jews?”
15Indeed, we are Jews by birth and not “Gentile sinners”, as they are called. 16
Yet we know that a person is put right with God only through faith in Jesus Christ, never by doing what the Law requires. We, too, have believed in Christ Jesus in order to be put right with God through our faith in Christ, and not by doing what the Law requires. For no one is put right with God by doing what the Law requires. 17If, then, as we try to be put right with God by our union with Christ, we are found to be sinners as much as the Gentiles are — does this mean that Christ is serving the cause of sin? By no means! 18If I start to rebuild the system of Law that I tore down, then I show myself to be someone who breaks the Law. 19So far as the Law is concerned, however, I am dead — killed by the Law itself — in order that I might live for God. I have been put to death with Christ on his cross, 20so that it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. This life that I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. 21I refuse to reject the grace of God. But if a person is put right with God through the Law, it means that Christ died for nothing!
31You foolish Galatians! Who put a spell on you? Before your very eyes you had a clear description of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross! 2Tell me this one thing: did you receive God's Spirit by doing what the Law requires or by hearing the gospel and believing it? 3How can you be so foolish! You began by God's Spirit; do you now want to finish by your own power? 4Did all your experience mean nothing at all? Surely it meant something! 5Does God give you the Spirit and work miracles among you because you do what the Law requires or because you hear the gospel and believe it?
Consider the experience of Abraham; as the scripture says, “He believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.” 7
You should realize then, that the real descendants of Abraham are the people who have faith. 8
The scripture predicted that God would put the Gentiles right with himself through faith. And so the scripture announced the Good News to Abraham: “Through you God will bless the whole human race.” 9Abraham believed and was blessed; so all who believe are blessed as he was.
Those who depend on obeying the Law live under a curse. For the scripture says, “Whoever does not always obey everything that is written in the book of the Law is under God's curse!” 11
Now, it is clear that no one is put right with God by means of the Law, because the scripture says, “Only the person who is put right with God through faith shall live.”3.11 put right with God through faith shall live; or put right with God shall live through faith. 12
But the Law has nothing to do with faith. Instead, as the scripture says, “Whoever does everything the Law requires will live.”
But by becoming a curse for us Christ has redeemed us from the curse that the Law brings; for the scripture says, “Anyone who is hanged on a tree is under God's curse.” 14Christ did this in order that the blessing which God promised to Abraham might be given to the Gentiles by means of Christ Jesus, so that through faith we might receive the Spirit promised by God.
15My brothers and sisters, I am going to use an everyday example: when two people agree on a matter and sign an agreement, no one can break it or add anything to it. 16
Now, God made his promises to Abraham and to his descendant. The scripture does not use the plural “descendants”, meaning many people, but the singular “descendant”, meaning one person only, namely, Christ. 17
What I mean is that God made a covenant with Abraham and promised to keep it. The Law, which was given 430 years later, cannot break that covenant and cancel God's promise. 18
For if God's gift depends on the Law, then it no longer depends on his promise. However, it was because of his promise that God gave that gift to Abraham.
19What, then, was the purpose of the Law? It was added in order to show what wrongdoing is, and it was meant to last until the coming of Abraham's descendant, to whom the promise was made. The Law was handed down by angels, with a man acting as a go-between. 20But a go-between is not needed when only one person is involved; and God is one.3.20 and God is one; or and God acts alone.
21Does this mean that the Law is against God's promises? No, not at all! For if human beings had received a law that could bring life, then everyone could be put right with God by obeying it. 22But the scripture says that the whole world is under the power of sin; and so the gift which is promised on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ is given to those who believe.
23But before the time for faith came, the Law kept us all locked up as prisoners until this coming faith should be revealed. 24And so the Law was in charge of us until Christ came, in order that we might then be put right with God through faith. 25Now that the time for faith is here, the Law is no longer in charge of us.
26It is through faith that all of you are God's children in union with Christ Jesus. 27You were baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed, so to speak, with the life of Christ himself. 28So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus. 29
If you belong to Christ, then you are the descendants of Abraham and will receive what God has promised.