Paul’s Concern for the Galatians
8 Formerly, when you ldid not know God, you mwere enslaved to those that by nature nare not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather oto be known by God, phow can you turn back again to qthe weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 rYou observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid sI may have labored over you in vain.
12 Brothers,1 tI entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. uYou did me no wrong. 13 You know it was vbecause of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you wat first, 14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me xas an angel of God, yas Christ Jesus. 15 What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I then become your enemy by ztelling you the truth?2 17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. 18 It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and anot only when I am present with you, 19 bmy little children, cfor whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ dis formed in you! 20 I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
Example of Hagar and Sarah
21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, eone by a slave woman and fone by a free woman. 23 But gthe son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while hthe son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two icovenants. jOne is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia;3 she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But kthe Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written,
l“Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than those of the one who has a husband.”
28 Now you,4 brothers, mlike Isaac, nare children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh opersecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, pso also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? q“Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but rof the free woman.
Christ Has Set Us Free
2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that xif you accept circumcision, yChrist will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that zhe is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are asevered from Christ, byou who would be justified5 by the law; cyou have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly dwait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus eneither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but fonly faith working through love.
7 gYou were running well. Who hindered you from obeying hthe truth? 8 This persuasion is not from ihim who calls you. 9 jA little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 kI have confidence in the Lord that you will ltake no other view, and mthe one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers,6 still preach7 circumcision, nwhy am I still being persecuted? In that case othe offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish pthose who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. qOnly do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love rserve one another. 14 For sthe whole law is fulfilled in one word: t“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you ubite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Keep in Step with the Spirit
16 But I say, vwalk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify wthe desires of the flesh. 17 For xthe desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, yto keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are zled by the Spirit, ayou are not under the law. 19 Now bthe works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, cdivisions, 21 envy,8 drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that dthose who do9 such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But ethe fruit of the Spirit is flove, joy, peace, patience, gkindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 hgentleness, iself-control; jagainst such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus khave crucified the flesh with its lpassions and desires.
Bear One Another’s Burdens
6 Brothers,10 oif anyone is caught in any transgression, pyou who are spiritual should restore him in qa spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 rBear one another’s burdens, and sso fulfill tthe law of Christ. 3 For uif anyone thinks he is something, vwhen he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one wtest his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For xeach will have to bear his own load.
6 yLet the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 zDo not be deceived: God is not mocked, for awhatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For bthe one who sows to his own flesh cwill from the flesh reap corruption, but dthe one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And elet us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, fif we do not give up. 10 So then, gas we have opportunity, let us hdo good to everyone, and especially to those who are iof the household of faith.
Final Warning and Benediction
11 See with what large letters I am writing to you jwith my own hand. 12 kIt is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh lwho would force you to be circumcised, and only min order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But far be it from me to boast nexcept in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which11 the world ohas been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For pneither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but qa new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, rpeace and mercy be upon them, and upon sthe Israel of God.
17 From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
The Jerusalem Council
15 yBut some men came down from Judea and were teaching zthe brothers, “Unless you are acircumcised baccording to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and cdebate with them, Paul and Barnabas and dsome of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to ethe apostles and the elders about this question. 3 So, fbeing sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, gdescribing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and hbrought great joy to all ithe brothers.1 4 jWhen they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and kthe apostles and the elders, and gthey declared all that God had done with them. 5 But some believers who belonged to lthe party of the Pharisees rose up and said, m“It is necessary nto circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”
6 oThe kapostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. 7 And after there had been much pdebate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, qthat by my mouth the Gentiles should hear rthe word of sthe gospel and believe. 8 And God, twho knows the heart, ubore witness to them, vby giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9 and whe made no distinction between us and them, xhaving cleansed their hearts yby faith. 10 Now, therefore, why zare you putting God to the test aby placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples bthat neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we cbelieve that we will be dsaved through ethe grace of the Lord Jesus, wjust as they will.”
12 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul fas they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13 After they finished speaking, gJames replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 hSimeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them ia people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,
16 j“‘After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
and I will restore it,
and all the Gentiles lwho are called by my name,
says the Lord, who makes these things 18 mknown from of old.’
19 Therefore nmy judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who oturn to God, 20 but should write to them pto abstain from qthe things polluted by idols, and from rsexual immorality, and from swhat has been strangled, and from sblood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, tfor he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”
The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers
22 Then it seemed good to uthe apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called vBarsabbas, and wSilas, leading men among xthe brothers, 23 with the following letter: x“The brothers, both uthe apostles and the elders, to the brothers3 who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, ygreetings. 24 Since we have heard that zsome persons have gone out from us and atroubled you4 with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come bto one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our cbeloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 dmen who have erisked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent fJudas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good gto the Holy Spirit and hto us ito lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 jthat you abstain from kwhat has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”
30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves lprophets, encouraged and mstrengthened nthe brothers with many words. 33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off oin peace by nthe brothers to those who had sent them.5 35 But pPaul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
Paul and Barnabas Separate
36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit nthe brothers qin every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them rJohn called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one swho had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose ta sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. uBarnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, vhaving been commended by wthe brothers to xthe grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, ystrengthening the churches.