1 From Paul--an apostle [chosen] not by any group or individual but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who brought him back to life-- 2 and all the believers who are with me. To the churches in Galatia. 3 Good will and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ are yours! 4 In order to free us from this present evil world, Christ took the punishment for our sins, because that was what our God and Father wanted. 5 Glory belongs to our God and Father forever! Amen. 6 I'm surprised that you're so quickly deserting Christ, who called you in his kindness, to follow a different kind of good news. 7 But what some people are calling good news is not really good news at all. They are confusing you. They want to distort the Good News about Christ. 8 Whoever tells you good news that is different from the Good News we gave you should be condemned to hell, even if he is one of us or an angel from heaven. 9 I'm now telling you again what we've told you in the past: If anyone tells you good news that is different from the Good News you received, that person should be condemned to hell. 10 Am I saying this now to win the approval of people or God? Am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ's servant. 11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the Good News I have spread is not a human message. 12 I didn't receive it from any person. I wasn't taught it, but Jesus Christ revealed it to me. 13 You heard about the way I once lived when I followed the Jewish religion. You heard how I violently persecuted God's church and tried to destroy it. 14 You also heard how I was far ahead of other Jews in my age group in following the Jewish religion. I had become that fanatical for the traditions of my ancestors. 15 But God, who appointed me before I was born and who called me by his kindness, was pleased 16 to show me his Son. He did this so that I would tell people who are not Jewish that his Son is the Good News. When this happened, I didn't talk it over with any other person. 17 I didn't even go to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was. Instead, I went to Arabia and then came back to Damascus. 18 Then, three years later I went to Jerusalem to become personally acquainted with Cephas. I stayed with him for fifteen days. 19 I didn't see any other apostle. I only saw James, the Lord's brother. 20 (God is my witness that what I'm writing is not a lie.) 21 Then I went to the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 The churches of Christ in Judea didn't know me personally. 23 The only thing they had heard was this: "The man who persecuted us is now spreading the faith that he once tried to destroy." 24 So they praised God for what had happened to me.
1 Then 14 years later I went to Jerusalem again with Barnabas. I also took Titus along. 2 I went in response to a revelation [from God]. I showed them the way I spread the Good News among people who are not Jewish. I did this in a private meeting with those recognized as important people to see whether all my efforts had been wasted. 3 Titus was with me, and although he is Greek, no one forced him to be circumcised. 4 False Christians were brought in. They slipped in as spies to learn about the freedom Christ Jesus gives us. They hoped to find a way to control us. 5 But we did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the Good News would always be yours. 6 Those who were recognized as important people didn't add a single thing to my message. (What sort of people they were makes no difference to me, since God doesn't play favorites.) 7 In fact, they saw that I had been entrusted with telling the Good News to people who are not circumcised as Peter had been entrusted to tell it to those who are circumcised. 8 The one who made Peter an apostle to Jewish people also made me an apostle to people who are not Jewish. 9 James, Cephas, and John (who were recognized as the most important people) acknowledged that God had given me this special gift. So they shook hands with Barnabas and me, agreeing to be our partners. It was understood that we would work among the people who are not Jewish and they would work among Jewish people. 10 The only thing they asked us to do was to remember the poor, the very thing which I was eager to do. 11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I had to openly oppose him because he was completely wrong. 12 He ate with people who were not Jewish until some men James had sent [from Jerusalem] arrived. Then Cephas drew back and would not associate with people who were not Jewish. He was afraid of those who insisted that circumcision was necessary. 13 The other Jewish Christians also joined him in this hypocrisy. Even Barnabas was swept along with them. 14 But I saw that they were not properly following the truth of the Good News. So I told Cephas in front of everyone, "You're Jewish, but you live like a person who is not Jewish. So how can you insist that people who are not Jewish must live like Jews?" 15 We are Jewish by birth, not sinners from other nations. 16 Yet, we know that people don't receive God's approval because of their own efforts to live according to a set of standards, but only by believing in Jesus Christ. So we also believed in Jesus Christ in order to receive God's approval by faith in Christ and not because of our own efforts. People won't receive God's approval because of their own efforts to live according to a set of standards. 17 If we, the same people who are searching for God's approval in Christ, are still sinners, does that mean that Christ encourages us to sin? That's unthinkable! 18 If I rebuild something that I've torn down, I admit that I was wrong to tear it down. 19 When I tried to obey the law's standards, those laws killed me. As a result, I live in a relationship with God. I have been crucified with Christ. 20 I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live I live by believing in God's Son, who loved me and took the punishment for my sins. 21 I don't reject God's kindness. If we receive God's approval by obeying laws, then Christ's death was pointless.
1 You stupid people of Galatia! Who put you under an evil spell? Wasn't Christ Jesus' crucifixion clearly described to you? 2 I want to learn only one thing from you. Did you receive the Spirit by your own efforts to live according to a set of standards or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you that stupid? Did you begin in a spiritual way only to end up doing things in a human way? 4 Did you suffer so much for nothing? [I doubt] that it was for nothing! 5 Does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you through your own efforts or through believing what you heard? 6 Abraham serves as an example. He believed God, and that faith was regarded by God to be his approval of Abraham. 7 You must understand that people who have faith are Abraham's descendants. 8 Scripture saw ahead of time that God would give his approval to non-Jewish people who have faith. So Scripture announced the Good News to Abraham ahead of time when it said, "Through you all the people of the world will be blessed." 9 So people who believe are blessed together with Abraham, the man of faith. 10 Certainly, there is a curse on all who rely on their own efforts to live according to a set of standards because Scripture says, "Whoever doesn't obey everything that is written in Moses' Teachings is cursed." 11 No one receives God's approval by obeying the law's standards since, "The person who has God's approval will live by faith." 12 Laws have nothing to do with faith, but, "Whoever obeys laws will live because of the laws he obeys." 13 Christ paid the price to free us from the curse that God's laws bring by becoming cursed instead of us. Scripture says, "Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed." 14 [Christ paid the price] so that the blessing promised to Abraham would come to all the people of the world through Jesus Christ and we would receive the promised Spirit through faith. 15 Brothers and sisters, let me use an example from everyday life. No one can cancel a person's will or add conditions to it once that will is put into effect. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his descendant. Scripture doesn't say, "descendants," referring to many, but "your descendant," referring to one. That descendant is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: The laws [given to Moses] 430 years after God had already put his promise [to Abraham] into effect didn't cancel the promise [to Abraham]. 18 If we have to gain the inheritance by following those laws, then it no longer comes to us because of the promise. However, God freely gave the inheritance to Abraham through a promise. 19 What, then, is the purpose of the laws given to Moses? They were added to identify what wrongdoing is. Moses' laws did this until the descendant to whom the promise was given came. It was put into effect through angels, using a mediator. 20 A mediator is not used when there is only one person involved, and God has acted on his own. 21 Does this mean, then, that the laws given to Moses contradict God's promises? That's unthinkable! If those laws could give us life, then certainly we would receive God's approval because we obeyed them. 22 But Scripture states that the whole world is controlled by the power of sin. Therefore, a promise based on faith in Jesus Christ could be given to those who believe. 23 We were kept under control by Moses' laws until this faith came. We were under their control until this faith which was about to come would be revealed. 24 Before Christ came, Moses' laws served as our guardian. Christ came so that we could receive God's approval by faith. 25 But now that this faith has come, we are no longer under the control of a guardian. 26 You are all God's children by believing in Christ Jesus. 27 Clearly, all of you who were baptized in Christ's name have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There are neither Jews nor Greeks, slaves nor free people, males nor females. You are all the same in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants and heirs, as God promised.