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Galatians 3:1-9 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Justification by Law or by Faith?

You[a] foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell[b] on you? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed[c] as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law[d] or by believing what you heard?[e] Are you so foolish? Although you began[f] with[g] the Spirit, are you now trying to finish[h] by human effort?[i] Have you suffered so many things for nothing?—if indeed it was for nothing. Does God then give[j] you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law[k] or by your believing what you heard?[l]

Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,[m] so then, understand[n] that those who believe are the sons of Abraham.[o] And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time,[p] saying, “All the nations[q] will be blessed in you.”[r] So then those who believe[s] are blessed along with Abraham the believer.


  1. Galatians 3:1 tn Grk “O” (an interjection used both in address and emotion). In context the following section is highly charged emotionally.
  2. Galatians 3:1 tn Or “deceived”; the verb βασκαίνω (baskainō) can be understood literally here in the sense of bewitching by black magic, but could also be understood figuratively to refer to an act of deception (see L&N 53.98 and 88.159).
  3. Galatians 3:1 tn Or “publicly placarded,” “set forth in a public proclamation” (BDAG 867 s.v. προγράφω 2).
  4. Galatians 3:2 tn Grk “by [the] works of [the] law,” a reference to observing the Mosaic law.
  5. Galatians 3:2 tn Grk “by [the] hearing of faith.” Because the genitive noun πίστεως (pisteōs, “of faith”) is impersonal here, an objective genitive was preferred rather than a subjective genitive. See also v. 5.
  6. Galatians 3:3 tn Grk “Having begun”; the participle ἐναρξάμενοι (enarxamenoi) has been translated concessively.
  7. Galatians 3:3 tn Or “by the Spirit.”
  8. Galatians 3:3 tn The verb ἐπιτελεῖσθε (epiteleisthe) has been translated as a conative present (see ExSyn 534). This is something the Galatians were attempting to do, but could not accomplish successfully.
  9. Galatians 3:3 tn Grk “in/by [the] flesh.”
  10. Galatians 3:5 tn Or “provide.”
  11. Galatians 3:5 tn Grk “by [the] works of [the] law” (the same phrase as in v. 2).
  12. Galatians 3:5 tn Grk “by [the] hearing of faith” (the same phrase as in v. 2).
  13. Galatians 3:6 sn A quotation from Gen 15:6.
  14. Galatians 3:7 tn Grk “know.”
  15. Galatians 3:7 tn The phrase “sons of Abraham” is used here in a figurative sense to describe people who are connected to a personality, Abraham, by close nonmaterial ties. It is this personality that has defined the relationship and its characteristics (BDAG 1024-25 s.v. υἱός 2.c.α).
  16. Galatians 3:8 tn For the Greek verb προευαγγελίζομαι (proeuangelizomai) translated as “proclaim the gospel ahead of time,” compare L&N 33.216.
  17. Galatians 3:8 tn The same plural Greek word, τὰ ἔθνη (ta ethnē), can be translated as “nations” or “Gentiles.”
  18. Galatians 3:8 sn A quotation from Gen 12:3; 18:18.
  19. Galatians 3:9 tn Grk “those who are by faith,” with the Greek expression “by faith” (ἐκ πίστεως, ek pisteōs) the same as the expression in v. 8.
New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.


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