Galatians 1-3 Common English Bible (CEB)
1 From Paul, an apostle who is not sent from human authority or commissioned through human agency, but sent through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead; 2 and from all the brothers and sisters with me.
To the churches in Galatia.
3 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 He gave himself for our sins, so he could deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father. 5 To God be the glory forever and always! Amen.
The gospel challenged in Galatia
6 I’m amazed that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ to follow another gospel. 7 It’s not really another gospel, but certain people are confusing you and they want to change the gospel of Christ. 8 However, even if we ourselves or a heavenly angel should ever preach anything different from what we preached to you, they should be under a curse. 9 I’m repeating what we’ve said before: if anyone preaches something different from what you received, they should be under a curse!
10 Am I trying to win over human beings or God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I wouldn’t be Christ’s slave. 11 Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that the gospel I preached isn’t human in origin. 12 I didn’t receive it or learn it from a human. It came through a revelation from Jesus Christ.
13 You heard about my previous life in Judaism, how severely I harassed God’s church and tried to destroy it. 14 I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my peers, because I was much more militant about the traditions of my ancestors. 15 But God had set me apart from birth and called me through his grace. He was pleased 16 to reveal his Son to me, so that I might preach about him to the Gentiles. I didn’t immediately consult with any human being. 17 I didn’t go up to Jerusalem to see the men who were apostles before me either, but I went away into Arabia and I returned again to Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 But I didn’t see any other of the apostles except James the brother of the Lord. 20 Before God, I’m not lying about the things that I’m writing to you! 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, 22 but I wasn’t known personally by the Christian churches in Judea. 23 They only heard a report about me: “The man who used to harass us now preaches the faith that he once tried to destroy.” 24 So they were glorifying God because of me.
Confirmation of Paul’s leadership
2 Then after fourteen years I went up to Jerusalem again with Barnabas, and I took Titus along also. 2 I went there because of a revelation, and I laid out the gospel that I preach to the Gentiles for them. But I did it privately with the influential leaders to make sure that I wouldn’t be working or that I hadn’t worked for nothing. 3 However, not even Titus, who was with me and who was a Greek, was required to be circumcised. 4 But false brothers and sisters, who were brought in secretly, slipped in to spy on our freedom, which we have in Christ Jesus, and to make us slaves. 5 We didn’t give in and submit to them for a single moment, so that the truth of the gospel would continue to be with you.
6 The influential leaders didn’t add anything to what I was preaching—and whatever they were makes no difference to me, because God doesn’t show favoritism. 7 But on the contrary, they saw that I had been given the responsibility to preach the gospel to the people who aren’t circumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised. 8 The one who empowered Peter to become an apostle to the circumcised empowered me also to be one to the Gentiles. 9 James, Cephas, and John, who are considered to be key leaders, shook hands with me and Barnabas as equals when they recognized the grace that was given to me. So it was agreed that we would go to the Gentiles, while they continue to go to the people who were circumcised. 10 They asked only that we would remember the poor, which was certainly something I was willing to do.
The Jewish-Gentile controversy
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was wrong. 12 He had been eating with the Gentiles before certain people came from James. But when they came, he began to back out and separate himself, because he was afraid of the people who promoted circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also joined him in this hypocrisy so that even Barnabas got carried away with them in their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they weren’t acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of everyone, “If you, though you’re a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you require the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
15 We are born Jews—we’re not Gentile sinners. 16 However, we know that a person isn’t made righteous by the works of the Law but rather through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. We ourselves believed in Christ Jesus so that we could be made righteous by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the Law—because no one will be made righteous by the works of the Law. 17 But if it is discovered that we ourselves are sinners while we are trying to be made righteous in Christ, then is Christ a servant of sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild the very things that I tore down, I show that I myself am breaking the Law. 19 I died to the Law through the Law, so that I could live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I don’t ignore the grace of God, because if we become righteous through the Law, then Christ died for no purpose.
Works versus the Spirit
3 You irrational Galatians! Who put a spell on you? Jesus Christ was put on display as crucified before your eyes! 2 I just want to know this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the Law or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so irrational? After you started with the Spirit, are you now finishing up with your own human effort? 4 Did you experience so much for nothing? I wonder if it really was for nothing. 5 So does the one providing you with the Spirit and working miracles among you do this by you doing the works of the Law or by you believing what you heard?
Abraham: an example of righteousness
6 Understand that in the same way that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness,[a] 7 those who believe are the children of Abraham. 8 But when it saw ahead of time that God would make the Gentiles righteous on the basis of faith, scripture preached the gospel in advance to Abraham: All the Gentiles will be blessed in you.[b] 9 Therefore, those who believe are blessed together with Abraham who believed.
10 All those who rely on the works of the Law are under a curse, because it is written, Everyone is cursed who does not keep on doing all the things that have been written in the Law scroll.[c] 11 But since no one is made righteous by the Law as far as God is concerned, it is clear that the righteous one will live on the basis of faith.[d] 12 The Law isn’t based on faith; rather, the one doing these things will live by them.[e] 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us—because it is written, Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed.[f] 14 He redeemed us so that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, and that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
15 Brothers and sisters, I’ll use an example from human experience. No one ignores or makes additions to a validated will. 16 The promises were made to Abraham and to his descendant. It doesn’t say, “and to the descendants,” as if referring to many rather than just one. It says, “and to your descendant,” who is Christ. 17 I’m saying this: the Law, which came four hundred thirty years later, doesn’t invalidate the agreement that was previously validated by God so that it cancels the promise. 18 If the inheritance were based upon the Law, it would no longer be from the promise. But God has given it graciously to Abraham through a promise.
The Law’s origin and purpose
19 So why was the Law given? It was added because of offenses, until the descendant would come to whom the promise had been made. It was put in place through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now the mediator does not take one side; but God is one. 21 So, is the Law against the promises of God? Absolutely not! If a Law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would in fact have come from the Law. 22 But scripture locked up all things under sin, so that the promise based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ might be given to those who have faith. 23 Before faith came, we were guarded under the Law, locked up until faith that was coming would be revealed, 24 so that the Law became our custodian until Christ so that we might be made righteous by faith.
God’s children are heirs in Christ
25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian.
26 You are all God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 Now if you belong to Christ, then indeed you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise.