New King James Version
5 (A)Stand[a] fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a (B)yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that (C)if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised (D)that he is [b]a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 (E)You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; (F)you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly (G)wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For (H)in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but (I)faith working through love.
Love Fulfills the Law
7 You (J)ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 (K)A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, (L)why do I still suffer persecution? Then (M)the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 (N)I could wish that those (O)who trouble you would even [c]cut themselves off!
13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only (P)do not use liberty as an (Q)opportunity for the flesh, but (R)through love serve one another. 14 For (S)all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: (T)“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
Walking in the Spirit
16 I say then: (U)Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For (V)the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, (W)so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But (X)if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now (Y)the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [d]adultery, [e]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [f]murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that (Z)those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But (AA)the fruit of the Spirit is (AB)love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, (AC)goodness, (AD)faithfulness, 23 [g]gentleness, self-control. (AE)Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s (AF)have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 (AG)If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 (AH)Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Walk by the Spirit
5 It was for this freedom that Christ set us free [completely liberating us]; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery [which you once removed].
2 Notice, it is I, Paul, who tells you that if you receive circumcision [as a supposed requirement of salvation], Christ will be of no benefit to you [for you will lack the faith in Christ that is necessary for salvation]. 3 Once more I solemnly affirm to every man who receives circumcision [as a supposed requirement of salvation], that he is under obligation and required to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, if you seek to be [a]justified [that is, declared free of the guilt of sin and its penalty, and placed in right standing with God] through the Law; you have fallen from grace [for you have lost your grasp on God’s unmerited favor and blessing]. 5 For we [not relying on the Law but] through the [strength and power of the Holy] Spirit, by faith, are waiting [confidently] for the hope of righteousness [the completion of our salvation]. 6 For [if we are] in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but only faith activated and expressed and working through love.
7 You were running [the race] well; who has interfered and prevented you from obeying the truth? 8 This [deceptive] persuasion is not from Him who called you [to freedom in Christ]. 9 A little [b]leaven [a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers] leavens the whole batch [it perverts the concept of faith and misleads the church]. 10 I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view [contrary to mine on the matter]; but the one who is disturbing you, whoever he is, will have to bear the penalty. 11 But as for me, [c]brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision [as I had done before I met Christ; and as [d]some accuse me of doing now, as necessary for salvation], why am I still being persecuted [by Jews]? In that case the stumbling block of the cross [to unbelieving Jews] has been abolished. 12 I wish that those who are troubling you [by teaching that circumcision is necessary for salvation] would even [go all the way and] castrate themselves!
13 For you, my brothers, were called to freedom; only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the [e]sinful nature (worldliness, selfishness), but through [f]love serve and seek the best for one another. 14 For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is fulfilled in one precept, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, you shall have an unselfish concern for others and do things for their benefit].”(A) 15 But if you bite and devour one another [in bickering and strife], watch out that you [along with your entire fellowship] are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the [g]sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts]. 17 For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the [h]sinful nature; for these [two, the sinful nature and the Spirit] are in direct opposition to each other [continually in conflict], so that you [as believers] do not [always] do whatever [good things] you want to do. 18 But if you are guided and led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the Law. 19 Now the practices of the [i]sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), 20 [j]idolatry, [k]sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies], 21 envy, drunkenness, riotous behavior, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the [l]sinful nature together with its passions and appetites.
25 If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]. 26 We must not become conceited, challenging or provoking one another, envying one another.
- Galatians 5:4 See note 2:16.
- Galatians 5:9 Leaven (yeasty dough) represents the man-made tradition and false teachings that obscure the truth regarding salvation through personal belief and faith in Christ.
- Galatians 5:11 Lit brethren.
- Galatians 5:11 Paul’s opponents in Galatia were trying to support their own arguments for circumcision by claiming that Paul was actually in favor of it. They probably knew that he had circumcised Timothy (Acts 16:3) and were taking advantage of that fact.
- Galatians 5:13 Lit flesh.
- Galatians 5:13 The key to understanding this and other statements about love is to know that this love (the Greek word agape) is not so much a matter of emotion as it is of doing things for the benefit of another person, that is, having an unselfish concern for another and a willingness to seek the best for another.
- Galatians 5:16 Lit flesh.
- Galatians 5:17 Lit flesh.
- Galatians 5:19 Lit flesh.
- Galatians 5:20 Including prostitution, which was often part of pagan ritual.
- Galatians 5:20 Including such things as occult practices, witchcraft, worship of evil powers, drug-induced trances.
- Galatians 5:24 Lit flesh.
New Living Translation
Freedom in Christ
5 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. 4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.
5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. 6 For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.
7 You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? 8 It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. 9 This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! 10 I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you.
11 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. 12 I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.[b]
13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[c] 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
Living by the Spirit’s Power
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.