Galatians 3 New Living Translation (NLT)
The Law and Faith in Christ
3 Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. 2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3 How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? 4 Have you experienced[a] so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?
5 I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.
6 In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”[b] 7 The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.
8 What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would make the Gentiles right in his sight because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.”[c] 9 So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.
10 But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.”[d] 11 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”[e] 12 This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.”[f]
13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”[g] 14 Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised[h] Holy Spirit through faith.
The Law and God’s Promise
15 Dear brothers and sisters,[i] here’s an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case. 16 God gave the promises to Abraham and his child.[j] And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children,[k]” as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says “to his child”—and that, of course, means Christ. 17 This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. 18 For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise.
19 Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. 20 Now a mediator is helpful if more than one party must reach an agreement. But God, who is one, did not use a mediator when he gave his promise to Abraham.
21 Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises?[l] Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. 22 But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.
God’s Children through Faith
23 Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed.
24 Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. 25 And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.
26 For you are all children[m] of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.[n] 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile,[o] slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children[p] of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.
Galatians 3 New King James Version (NKJV)
Justification by Faith
3 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you [a]that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed [b]among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so [c]many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
The Law Brings a Curse
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is [d]justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
The Changeless Promise
15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God [e]in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Purpose of the Law
19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, [f]kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our [g]tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
Sons and Heirs
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
Justification through Faith
3 You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you,[a] before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed[b] as crucified? 2 I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by believing what you heard?[c] 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by the Spirit, are you now finishing by the flesh? 4 Did you experience[d] so much for nothing—if in fact it was for nothing? 5 So then, does God give you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law? Or is it by believing what you heard— 6 just like Abraham who believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness?[e]
7 You know, then, that those who have faith, these are Abraham’s sons. 8 Now the Scripture saw in advance that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and proclaimed the gospel ahead of time to Abraham, saying, All the nations[f]will be blessed through you.[g] 9 Consequently those who have faith are blessed with Abraham, who had faith.[h]
Law and Promise
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written, Everyone who does not do everything written in the book of the law is cursed.[i] 11 Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith.[j] 12 But the law is not based on faith; instead, the one who does these things will live by them.[k] 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written, Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.[l] 14 The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith.
15 Brothers and sisters, I’m using a human illustration. No one sets aside or makes additions to a validated human will.[m] 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but referring to one, and to your seed,[n] who is Christ. 17 My point is this: The law, which came 430 years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously established by God[o] and thus cancel the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is based on the law, it is no longer based on the promise; but God has graciously given it to Abraham through the promise.
The Purpose of the Law
19 Why then was the law given? It was added for the sake of transgressions[p] until the Seed to whom the promise was made would come. The law was put into effect through angels by means of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not just for one person alone, but God is one. 21 Is the law therefore contrary to God’s promises? Absolutely not! For if the law had been granted with the ability to give life, then righteousness would certainly be on the basis of the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin’s power,[q] so that the promise might be given on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ to those who believe. 23 Before this faith came, we were confined under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith was revealed. 24 The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith. 25 But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for through faith you are all sons of God in Christ Jesus.
Sons and Heirs
27 For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. 28 There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3 New International Version (NIV)
Faith or Works of the Law
3 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?[a] 4 Have you experienced[b] so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[c]
7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[d] 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[e] 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”[f] 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”[g] 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”[h] 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
The Law and the Promise
15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,”[i] meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.
21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Children of God
23 Before the coming of this faith,[j] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3 The Voice (VOICE)
3 Galatians, don’t act like fools! Has someone cast a spell over you? Did you miss the crucifixion of Jesus the Anointed that was reenacted right in front of your eyes? 2 Tell me this: Did the Holy Spirit come upon you because you lived according to the law? Or was it because you heard His message of grace through faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Do you think you can perfect something God’s Spirit started with any human effort? 4 Have you suffered so greatly for nothing—if it was indeed for nothing? 5 You have experienced the Spirit He gave you in powerful ways. Miracle after miracle has occurred right before your eyes in this community, so tell me: did all this happen because you have kept certain provisions of God’s law, or was it because you heard the gospel and accepted it by faith?
Paul primarily focuses on the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Jesus as the foundation of the church and of a right relationship with God, but he also correlates this with the presence of the Spirit. If the Spirit is working among the outsiders, it shows that they aren’t really “outsiders” when it comes to membership in the people of God. Paul supports this by showing how the presence of the Spirit is none other than the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham. However, the Spirit only came through Abraham’s descendant, that is, the new covenant with God is mediated by Jesus and the Spirit, not the law.
6 You remember Abraham. Scripture tells us, “Abraham believed God and trusted in His promises, so God counted it to his favor as righteousness.”[a] 7 Know this: people who trust in God are the true sons and daughters of Abraham. 8 For it was foretold to us in the Scriptures that God would set the Gentile nations right by faith when He told Abraham, “I will bless all nations through you.”[b] 9 So those who have faith in Him are blessed along with Abraham, our faithful ancestor.
10 Listen, whoever seeks to be righteous by following certain works of the law actually falls under the law’s curse. I’m giving it to you straight from Scripture because it is as true now as when it was written: “Cursed is everyone who doesn’t live by and do all that is written in the law.”[c] 11 Now it is absolutely clear that no one is made right with God through the law because the prophet Habakkuk told us, “By faith the just will obtain life.”[d] 12 The law is not the same thing as life formed by faith. In fact, you are warned against this when God says, “The one who observes My laws will live by them.”[e] I am trying to tell you that 13 the Anointed One, the Liberating King, has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. It was stated in the Scriptures, “Everyone who hangs on a tree is cursed by God.”[f] 14 This is what God had in mind all along: the blessing He gave to Abraham might extend to all nations through the Anointed One, Jesus; and we are the beneficiaries of this promise of the Spirit that comes only through faith.
15 My dear brothers and sisters, here’s a real-life example I can give you: With a last will and testament, when all the property is accounted for, the document is signed, witnessed, and notarized; and afterward no one can make changes to it. 16 In a similar way, God’s promises established a binding agreement with Abraham and his offspring. In the Scriptures, it is carefully stated, “and to your descendant” (meaning one), not “and to your descendants”[g] (meaning many). Therefore, in these covenant promises, God was not referring to every son and daughter born into Abraham’s family but to the Anointed One to come. 17 What this all means is that the law given to Israel comes along some 430 years after the promise made to Abraham; so it does not invalidate the covenant God previously agreed to or in any way do away with His promise. 18 You see, if the law became the sole basis for the inheritance, then it would put God in the position of breaking a covenant because He had promised it to Abraham.
Throughout this argument, one critical question remains: why would God give the law if it would not bring His people into a right standing with Him? Couldn’t God have found a better way of doing this? It isn’t as if the law is a bad thing or a mistake that God needs to correct. It has a good purpose, but a limited one. It never supplants God’s promise to Abraham. Rather, the law keeps sin in check until the time is right for the saving justice that comes through faith in Jesus. The law serves as a tutor or a schoolmaster, revealing our great need for salvation and pointing everyone toward Jesus.
19 Now you’re asking yourselves, “So why did God give us the law?” God commanded His heavenly messengers to deliver it into the hand of a mediator for this reason: to help us rein in our sins until the Offspring, about whom the promise was made in the first place, would come. 20 A mediator represents more than one, but God is only one. 21 “So,” you ask, “does the law contradict God’s promise?” Absolutely not! Never was there written a law that could lead to resurrection and life; if there had been, then surely we could have experienced saving righteousness through keeping the law. But we haven’t. 22 Scripture has subjected the whole world to sin’s power so that the faithful obedience of Jesus the Anointed might extend God’s promises to everyone who has faith. 23 Before faith came on the scene, the law did its best to keep us in line, restraining us until the faith that was to come was fully revealed. 24 So then, the law was like a tutor, assigned to train us and point us to the Anointed, so that we will be acquitted of all wrong and made right by faith. 25 But now that true faith has come, we have no need for a tutor. 26 It is your faith in the Anointed Jesus that makes all of you children of God 27 because all of you who have been initiated into the Anointed One through the ceremonial washing of baptism[h] have put Him on. 28 It makes no difference whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a freeman, a man or a woman, because in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, you are all one. 29 Since you belong to Him and are now subject to His power, you are the descendant of Abraham and the heir of God’s glory according to the promise.