By Faith, or by Works of the Law?

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? (A)It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly (B)portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: (C)Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by (D)hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? (E)Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by[a] the flesh? (F)Did you suffer[b] so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and (G)works miracles among you do so (H)by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as (I)Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Know then that it is (J)those of faith who are (K)the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that (L)God would justify[c] the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, (M)“In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

10 For all who rely on works of the law are (N)under a curse; for it is written, (O)“Cursed be everyone who does not (P)abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that (Q)no one is justified before God by the law, for (R)“The righteous shall live by faith.”[d] 12 But the law is not of faith, rather (S)“The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ (T)redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, (U)“Cursed is everyone who is hanged (V)on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might (W)come to the Gentiles, so that (X)we might receive (Y)the promised Spirit[e] through faith.

The Law and the Promise

15 (Z)To give a human example, brothers:[f] (AA)even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now (AB)the promises were made (AC)to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, (AD)“And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came (AE)430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as (AF)to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but (AG)God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

19 Why then the law? (AH)It was added because of transgressions, (AI)until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was (AJ)put in place through angels (AK)by an intermediary. 20 Now (AL)an intermediary implies more than one, but (AM)God is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For (AN)if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture (AO)imprisoned everything under sin, so that (AP)the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given (AQ)to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, (AR)imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, (AS)the law was our (AT)guardian until Christ came, (AU)in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus (AV)you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as (AW)were baptized (AX)into Christ have (AY)put on Christ. 28 (AZ)There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[g] nor free, (BA)there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And (BB)if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, (BC)heirs according to promise.

Sons and Heirs

I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave,[h] though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, (BD)were enslaved to the elementary principles[i] of the world. But (BE)when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, (BF)born (BG)of woman, born (BH)under the law, (BI)to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive (BJ)adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent (BK)the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then (BL)an heir through God.

Paul's Concern for the Galatians

Formerly, when you (BM)did not know God, you (BN)were enslaved to those that by nature (BO)are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather (BP)to be known by God, (BQ)how can you turn back again to (BR)the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 (BS)You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid (BT)I may have labored over you in vain.

12 Brothers,[j] (BU)I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. (BV)You did me no wrong. 13 You know it was (BW)because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you (BX)at first, 14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me (BY)as an angel of God, (BZ)as 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 (CA)telling you the truth?[k] 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 (CB)not only when I am present with you, 19 (CC)my little children, (CD)for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ (CE)is 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, (CF)one by a slave woman and (CG)one by a free woman. 23 But (CH)the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while (CI)the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two (CJ)covenants. (CK)One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia;[l] she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But (CL)the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written,

(CM)“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,[m] brothers, (CN)like Isaac, (CO)are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh (CP)persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, (CQ)so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? (CR)“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 (CS)of the free woman.


  1. Galatians 3:3 Or now ending with
  2. Galatians 3:4 Or experience
  3. Galatians 3:8 Or count righteous; also verses 11, 24
  4. Galatians 3:11 Or The one who by faith is righteous will live
  5. Galatians 3:14 Greek receive the promise of the Spirit
  6. Galatians 3:15 Or brothers and sisters
  7. Galatians 3:28 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface
  8. Galatians 4:1 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface; also verse 7
  9. Galatians 4:3 Or elemental spirits; also verse 9
  10. Galatians 4:12 Or Brothers and sisters; also verses 28, 31
  11. Galatians 4:16 Or by dealing truthfully with you
  12. Galatians 4:25 Some manuscripts For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia
  13. Galatians 4:28 Some manuscripts we

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