Finally, Paul calls attention to the fact that he himself is writing, possibly the entire letter. But in view of his practice of utilizing a scribe, as noted in other letters, it is more likely that he takes the pen from the hand of his scribe and adds his own concluding comment. Once again he denounces false teachers as he accuses them of trying to force circumcision on the Galatians, only that they may boast in the number of converts they have won rather than glorying in the cross of Christ. By making converts their way, they avoid persecution at the hand of others of like mind. The Judaizers saw the Galatian Gentile believers as potential proselytes, whereas Paul sees these same Galatian Gentiles as brothers and sisters in Christ, by God's grace. Therefore, to become a Jewish proselyte meant to turn away from grace.
In conclusion Paul says that, for the believer, circumcision or uncircumcision is of no importance. What does being a Jew or a Gentile matter, as long as one is a new creature in Christ? In v. 17 Paul seems to contrast the mark of circumcision on the body with the marks of Jesus, possibly scars on his back from the beatings at the hands of the Jews. (If the South Galatian theory is accepted, some of the readers could well have been among the apostle's early converts who witnessed the stoning at Lystra, Ac 14.)
Peace, mercy, and grace are bestowed on all who are of the new creation, as Paul brings his explosive letter to an end. These blessings are directed to the “Israel of God”—the new Israel, which is the church. In spite of all he has said, Paul still calls them brothers.
Arichea, Daniel C. and Nida, Eugene A. A Translator's Handbook on Paul's Letter to the Galatians. London: United Bible Societies, 1976.
Beacon Bible Commentary. Vol. 18. Kansas City: Beacon Hill, 1965.
Betz, Hans Dieter. Galatians. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979.
Bruce, F. F. The Epistle to the Galatians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982.
Burton, Edgar Dewitt. Epistle to the Galatians. ICC. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1921. Rep. 1962.
Cole, R. A. Galatians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965.
Dayton, Wilbur T. “Galatians.” WBC. Vol. 5. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965.
Lightfoot, J. B. The Epistle of Paul to the Galatians. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1865, reprint.
Luther, Martin. A Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. New York: Robert Carter, 1845.
Ramsey, W. M. A Historical Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1900, reprint.
Ridderbos, Herman N. The Epistle of Paul to the Churches of Galatia. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971.
Tenney, Merrill C. Galatians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971.
Trench, Richard Chenevix. Synonyms of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1948.
Wesley, John. Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament. New York: Carlton, n.d.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
For the best Bible Gateway experience, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll gain access to a vast digital Bible study library and reduced banner ads to minimize distractions from God's Word. Try it free for 30 days!