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Galatians 5

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Freedom of the Believer

5:1 For freedom 1  Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke 2  of slavery. 5:2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you at all! 5:3 And I testify again to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey 3  the whole law. 5:4 You who are trying to be declared righteous 4  by the law have been alienated 5  from Christ; you have fallen away from grace! 5:5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait expectantly for the hope of righteousness. 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision carries any weight – the only thing that matters is faith working through love. 6 

5:7 You were running well; who prevented you from obeying 7  the truth? 5:8 This persuasion 8  does not come from the one who calls you! 5:9 A little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise! 9  5:10 I am confident 10  in the Lord that you will accept no other view. 11  But the one who is confusing 12  you will pay the penalty, 13  whoever he may be. 5:11 Now, brothers and sisters, 14  if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? 15  In that case the offense of the cross 16  has been removed. 17  5:12 I wish those agitators 18  would go so far as to 19  castrate themselves! 20 

Practice Love

5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; 21  only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, 22  but through love serve one another. 23  5:14 For the whole law can be summed up in a single commandment, 24  namely, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” 25  5:15 However, if you continually bite and devour one another, 26  beware that you are not consumed 27  by one another. 5:16 But I say, live 28  by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. 29  5:17 For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires 30  that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to 31  each other, so that you cannot do what you want. 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 5:19 Now the works of the flesh 32  are obvious: 33  sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, 34  hostilities, 35  strife, 36  jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, 37  factions, 5:21 envying, 38  murder, 39  drunkenness, carousing, 40  and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!

5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit 41  is love, 42  joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 43  5:23 gentleness, and 44  self-control. Against such things there is no law. 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ 45  have crucified the flesh 46  with its passions 47  and desires. 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with 48  the Spirit. 5:26 Let us not become conceited, 49  provoking 50  one another, being jealous 51  of one another.

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1 tn Translating the dative as “For freedom” shows the purpose for Christ setting us free; however, it is also possible to take the phrase in the sense of means or instrument (“with [or by] freedom”), referring to the freedom mentioned in 4:31 and implied throughout the letter.

2 sn Here the yoke figuratively represents the burdensome nature of slavery.

3 tn Or “keep”; or “carry out”; Grk “do.”

4 tn Or “trying to be justified.” The verb δικαιοῦσθε (dikaiousqe) has been translated as a conative present (see ExSyn 534).

5 tn Or “estranged”; BDAG 526 s.v. καταργέω 4 states, “Of those who aspire to righteousness through the law κ. ἀπὸ Χριστοῦ be estranged from Christ Gal 5:4.”

6 tn Grk “but faith working through love.”

7 tn Or “following.” BDAG 792 s.v. πείθω 3.b states, “obey, follow w. dat. of the pers. or thing…Gal 3:1 v.l.; 5:7.”

8 tn Grk “The persuasion,” referring to their being led away from the truth (v. 7). There is a play on words here that is not easily reproducible in the English translation: The words translated “obey” (πείθεσθαι, peiqesqai) in v. 7 and “persuasion” (πεισμονή, peismonh) in v. 8 come from the same root in Greek.

9 tn Grk “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”

10 tn The verb translated “I am confident” (πέποιθα, pepoiqa) comes from the same root in Greek as the words translated “obey” (πείθεσθαι, peiqesqai) in v. 7 and “persuasion” (πεισμονή, peismonh) in v. 8.

11 tn Grk “that you will think nothing otherwise.”

12 tn Or “is stirring you up”; Grk “is troubling you.” In context Paul is referring to the confusion and turmoil caused by those who insist that Gentile converts to Christianity must observe the Mosaic law.

13 tn Or “will suffer condemnation” (L&N 90.80); Grk “will bear his judgment.” The translation “must pay the penalty” is given as an explanatory gloss on the phrase by BDAG 171 s.v. βαστάζω 2.b.β.

14 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:11.

15 sn That is, if Paul still teaches observance of the Mosaic law (preaches circumcision), why is he still being persecuted by his opponents, who insist that Gentile converts to Christianity must observe the Mosaic law?

16 sn The offense of the cross refers to the offense to Jews caused by preaching Christ crucified.

17 tn Or “nullified.”

18 tn Grk “the ones who are upsetting you.” The same verb is used in Acts 21:38 to refer to a person who incited a revolt. Paul could be alluding indirectly to the fact that his opponents are inciting the Galatians to rebel against his teaching with regard to circumcision and the law.

19 tn Grk “would even.”

20 tn Or “make eunuchs of themselves”; Grk “cut themselves off.” This statement is rhetorical hyperbole on Paul’s part. It does strongly suggest, however, that Paul’s adversaries in this case (“those agitators”) were men. Some interpreters (notably Erasmus and the Reformers) have attempted to soften the meaning to a figurative “separate themselves” (meaning the opponents would withdraw from fellowship) but such an understanding dramatically weakens the rhetorical force of Paul’s argument. Although it has been argued that such an act of emasculation would be unthinkable for Paul, it must be noted that Paul’s statement is one of biting sarcasm, obviously not meant to be taken literally. See further G. Stählin, TDNT 3:853-55.

21 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:11.

22 tn Grk “as an opportunity for the flesh”; BDAG 915 s.v. σάρξ 2.c.α states: “In Paul’s thought esp., all parts of the body constitute a totality known as σ. or flesh, which is dominated by sin to such a degree that wherever flesh is, all forms of sin are likew. present, and no good thing can live in the σάρξGal 5:13, 24;…Opp. τὸ πνεῦμαGal 3:3; 5:16, 17ab; 6:8ab.”

23 tn It is possible that the verb δουλεύετε (douleuete) should be translated “serve one another in a humble manner” here, referring to the way in which slaves serve their masters (see L&N 35.27).

24 tn Or “can be fulfilled in one commandment.”

25 sn A quotation from Lev 19:18.

26 tn That is, “if you are harming and exploiting one another.” Paul’s metaphors are retained in most modern translations, but it is possible to see the meanings of δάκνω and κατεσθίω (daknw and katesqiw, L&N 20.26 and 88.145) as figurative extensions of the literal meanings of these terms and to translate them accordingly. The present tenses here are translated as customary presents (“continually…”).

27 tn Or “destroyed.”

28 tn Grk “walk” (a common NT idiom for how one conducts one’s life or how one behaves).

29 tn On the term “flesh” (once in this verse and twice in v. 17) see the note on the same word in Gal 5:13.

30 tn The words “has desires” do not occur in the Greek text a second time, but are repeated in the translation for clarity.

31 tn Or “are hostile toward” (L&N 39.1).

32 tn See the note on the word “flesh” in Gal 5:13.

33 tn Or “clear,” “evident.”

34 tn Or “witchcraft.”

35 tn Or “enmities,” “[acts of] hatred.”

36 tn Or “discord” (L&N 39.22).

37 tn Or “discord(s)” (L&N 39.13).

38 tn This term is plural in Greek (as is “murder” and “carousing”), but for clarity these abstract nouns have been translated as singular.

39 tcφόνοι (fonoi, “murders”) is absent in such important mss as Ì46 א B 33 81 323 945 pc sa, while the majority of mss (A C D F G Ψ 0122 0278 1739 1881 Ï lat) have the word. Although the pedigree of the mss which lack the term is of the highest degree, homoioteleuton may well explain the shorter reading. The preceding word has merely one letter difference, making it quite possible to overlook this term (φθόνοι φόνοι, fqonoi fonoi).

40 tn Or “revelings,” “orgies” (L&N 88.287).

41 tn That is, the fruit the Spirit produces.

42 sn Another way to punctuate this is “love” followed by a colon (love: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control). It is thus possible to read the eight characteristics following “love” as defining love.

43 tn Or “reliability”; see BDAG 818 s.v. πίστις 1.a.

44 tn “And” is supplied here as a matter of English style, which normally inserts “and” between the last two elements of a list or series.

45 tc ‡ Some mss (א A B C P Ψ 01221 0278 33 1175 1739 pc co) read “Christ Jesus” here, while many significant ones (Ì46 D F G 0122*,2 latt sy), as well as the Byzantine text, lack “Jesus.” The Byzantine text is especially not prone to omit the name “Jesus”; that it does so here argues for the authenticity of the shorter reading (for similar instances of probably authentic Byzantine shorter readings, see Matt 24:36 and Phil 1:14; cf. also W.-H. J. Wu, “A Systematic Analysis of the Shorter Readings in the Byzantine Text of the Synoptic Gospels” [Ph.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 2002]). On the strength of the alignment of Ì46 with the Western and Byzantine texttypes, the shorter reading is preferred. NA27 includes the word in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.

46 tn See the note on the word “flesh” in Gal 5:13.

47 tn The Greek term παθήμασιν (paqhmasin, translated “passions”) refers to strong physical desires, especially of a sexual nature (L&N 25.30).

48 tn Or “let us also follow,” “let us also walk by.”

49 tn Or “falsely proud.”

50 tn Or “irritating.” BDAG 871 s.v. προκαλέω has “provoke, challenge τινά someone.

51 tn Or “another, envying one another.”



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