Galatians 4-6 Common English Bible (CEB)
4 I’m saying that as long as the heirs are minors, they are no different from slaves, though they really are the owners of everything. 2 However, they are placed under trustees and guardians until the date set by the parents. 3 In the same way, when we were minors, we were also enslaved by this world’s system. 4 But when the fulfillment of the time came, God sent his Son, born through a woman, and born under the Law. 5 This was so he could redeem those under the Law so that we could be adopted. 6 Because you are sons and daughters, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore, you are no longer a slave but a son or daughter, and if you are his child, then you are also an heir through God.
Paul’s concern for the Galatians
8 At the time, when you didn’t know God, you were enslaved by things that aren’t gods by nature. 9 But now, after knowing God (or rather, being known by God), how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless world system? Do you want to be slaves to it again? 10 You observe religious days and months and seasons and years. 11 I’m afraid for you! Perhaps my hard work for you has been for nothing.
12 I beg you to be like me, brothers and sisters, because I have become like you! You haven’t wronged me. 13 You know that I first preached the gospel to you because of an illness. 14 Though my poor health burdened you, you didn’t look down on me or reject me, but you welcomed me as if I were an angel from God, or as if I were Christ Jesus! 15 Where then is the great attitude that you had? I swear that, if possible, you would have dug out your eyes and given them to me. 16 So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They are so concerned about you, though not with good intentions. Rather, they want to shut you out so that you would run after them. 18 However, it’s always good to have people concerned about you with good intentions, and not just when I’m there with you. 19 My little children, I’m going through labor pains again until Christ is formed in you. 20 But I wish I could be with you now and change how I sound, because I’m at a loss about you.
Slave versus free
21 Tell me—those of you who want to be under the Law—don’t you listen to the Law? 22 It’s written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and one by the free woman. 23 The son by the slave woman was conceived the normal way, but the son by the free woman was conceived through a promise. 24 These things are an allegory: the women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, which gives birth to slave children; this is Hagar. 25 Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and she corresponds to the present-day Jerusalem, because the city is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 It’s written:
Rejoice, barren woman, you who have not given birth.
28 Brothers and sisters, you are children of the promise like Isaac. 29 But just as it was then, so it is now also: the one who was conceived the normal way harassed the one who was conceived by the Spirit. 30 But what does the scripture say? Throw out the slave woman and her son, because the slave woman’s son won’t share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.[b] 31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we aren’t the slave woman’s children, but we are the free woman’s children. 5 1 Christ has set us free for freedom. Therefore, stand firm and don’t submit to the bondage of slavery again.
Arguments against being circumcised
2 Look, I, Paul, am telling you that if you have yourselves circumcised, having Christ won’t help you. 3 Again I swear to every man who has himself circumcised that he is required to do the whole Law. 4 You people who are trying to be made righteous by the Law have been estranged from Christ. You have fallen away from grace! 5 We eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness through the Spirit by faith. 6 Being circumcised or not being circumcised doesn’t matter in Christ Jesus, but faith working through love does matter.
7 You were running well—who stopped you from obeying the truth? 8 This line of reasoning doesn’t come from the one who calls you. 9 A little yeast works through the whole lump of dough. 10 I’m convinced about you in the Lord that you won’t think any other way. But the one who is confusing you will pay the penalty, whoever that may be. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I’m still preaching circumcision, why am I still being harassed? In that case, the offense of the cross would be canceled. 12 I wish that the ones who are upsetting you would castrate themselves!
13 You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. 14 All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.[c] 15 But if you bite and devour each other, be careful that you don’t get eaten up by each other!
Two different ways of living
16 I say be guided by the Spirit and you won’t carry out your selfish desires. 17 A person’s selfish desires are set against the Spirit, and the Spirit is set against one’s selfish desires. They are opposed to each other, so you shouldn’t do whatever you want to do. 18 But if you are being led by the Spirit, you aren’t under the Law. 19 The actions that are produced by selfish motives are obvious, since they include sexual immorality, moral corruption, doing whatever feels good, 20 idolatry, drug use and casting spells, hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, competitive opposition, conflict, selfishness, group rivalry, 21 jealousy, drunkenness, partying, and other things like that. I warn you as I have already warned you, that those who do these kinds of things won’t inherit God’s kingdom.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the self with its passions and its desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit. 26 Let’s not become arrogant, make each other angry, or be jealous of each other.
Caring and sharing
6 Brothers and sisters, if a person is caught doing something wrong, you who are spiritual should restore someone like this with a spirit of gentleness. Watch out for yourselves so you won’t be tempted too. 2 Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are important when they aren’t, they’re fooling themselves. 4 Each person should test their own work and be happy with doing a good job and not compare themselves with others. 5 Each person will have to carry their own load.
6 Those who are taught the word should share all good things with their teacher. 7 Make no mistake, God is not mocked. A person will harvest what they plant. 8 Those who plant only for their own benefit will harvest devastation from their selfishness, but those who plant for the benefit of the Spirit will harvest eternal life from the Spirit. 9 Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up. 10 So then, let’s work for the good of all whenever we have an opportunity, and especially for those in the household of faith.
11 Look at the large letters I’m making with my own handwriting! 12 Whoever wants to look good by human standards will try to get you to be circumcised, but only so they won’t be harassed for the cross of Christ. 13 Those who are circumcised don’t observe the Law themselves, but they want you to be circumcised, so they can boast about your physical body.[d]
14 But as for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except for the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me through him, and I have been crucified to the world. 15 Being circumcised or not being circumcised doesn’t mean anything. What matters is a new creation. 16 May peace and mercy be on whoever follows this rule and on God’s Israel.
17 From now on, no one should bother me because I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.
18 Brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.