An Argument Of The Book Of GalatiansRelated Media
In View Of The Historical And Theological Veracity Of The Gospel Message That Salvation And Sanctification Are Acquired By Faith, Paul Urges The Galatians To Separate From The False Teachers Who Desire To Entangle Them, And To Express Their Freedom Through Loving Service Of One Another Under The Enablement Of The Spirit
I. The Prologue1: Paul, the divinely chosen apostle, and those with him open their letter to the churches of Galatia with a prayer that they might experience the grace and peace of the gospel, and announcing his concern that the Galatians have turned from God unto a different gospel 1:1-10
A. In a salutation Paul identifies the letter of Galatians to have been sent from himself and those with him to the churches of Galatia 1:1-2
1. Paul identifies himself as an Apostle 1:1a
2. Paul explains2 that his apostleship is not founded through men, but through the risen Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Jesus from the dead 1:1b
3. Paul is writing along with all of the brethren who are with him3 1:2a
4. Paul is writing to the churches of Galatia4
B. Paul greets the Galatians with an expression of the gospel in its twofold aspects culminating in praise to God 1:3-5
1. Paul prays that the Galatians might receive grace and peace5 from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ 1:3
2. Paul emphasizes that the Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins in order that He might deliver us from this evil age in accordance with God’s will6 1:4
3. In view of the good work of Jesus, Paul praises God 1:5
C. Paul identifies the reason for his writing as being that the Galatians have turned from God unto a different gospel than that which he proclaimed to them 1:6-10
1. Paul is amazed that the Galatians have so quickly deserted the Lord who called them by the grace of Christ 1:6a
2. Paul is amazed that the Galatians have so quickly deserted the Lord for a different gospel (ε῎τερον εὐαγγέλιον) which is not another of the same kind (α῎λλο) 1:6b-7a
3. Paul recognizes that there are some who are stirring the Galatians up and who want to distort the gospel of Jesus 1:7b
4. Paul pronounces a curse (ἀνάθεμα) upon anyone who might proclaim a gospel that overturns (παρ᾿ ο῞ εὐηγγελισάμεθα) the one which he preached to them (the apostolic team, an angel, anyone) 1:8-9
5. Paul is speaking to persuade men as a servant of God and not to please men7 1:10
II. Paul provides a personal defense of his gospel message by affirming that God rather than man was the source of his message, by demonstrating that it was approved of in its content by the Jerusalem church leaders, and by demonstrating that its authority was even greater than that of Peter (the head of the Twelve)8 1:11--2:21
A. Paul defends his gospel message by demonstrating that God, rather than man, was the source of his message 1:11-24
1. Paul asserts that his message was not from man, but from God9 1:11-12
a. Paul desires for the Galatians to know that the Gospel which he preached did not originate from man because he neither received it from man, nor was taught it by men 1:11-12a
b. Paul affirms that the origin of his gospel message was from Jesus because he received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ10 1:12b
2. Paul demonstrates that his message was not from man but from God through his historical experience (pre-salvation, salvation, and post-salvation history) 1:13-24
a. Paul’s pre-salvation history demonstrates that he did not receive his message from man because he tried to destroy the church and was a zealous Jew 1:13-14
1) Paul demonstrates that his message was not from man, but from God through his life before he became a believer in Jesus because he tried to destroy the church 1:13
2) Paul demonstrates that his message was not from man, but from God through his life before he became a believer in Jesus because he was zealous in Judaism 1:14
b. Paul’s salvation history demonstrates that he did not receive his message from man because God had set Paul apart from his conception, called Paul through His grace, and revealed His Son within Paul so that he might proclaim Him among the Gentiles 1:15-16b
1) Paul’s salvation history demonstrates that he did not receive his message from man because God set Paul apart for His service from his conception 1:15a
2) Paul’s salvation history demonstrates that he did not receive his message from man because God called Paul through His grace 1:15b
3) Paul’s salvation history demonstrates that he did not receive his message from man because God revealed His Son within Paul so that He might proclaim Him among the Gentiles 16a-b
c. Paul’s post-salvation history demonstrates that his message was not from men because he did not join himself with a group of men or go to the Apostles in Jerusalem after he received the revelation of Jesus Christ, but went away to Arabia and then returned to Damascus, whereupon, he went up to Jerusalem three years after his conversion to meet with Peter for only fifteen days, and then went to Syria, Cilicia and did not have fellowship with the churches of Judea 1:16c-24
1) Paul’s post-salvation history demonstrates that his message was not from men because he did not immediately consult with a group of men, nor with the Apostles 1:16c-17a
2) Paul’s post-salvation history demonstrates that his message was not from men because he went away to Arabia and then returned to Damascus 1:17b
3) Paul’s post-salvation history demonstrates that his message was not from men because he only went up to Jerusalem three years after his conversion to become acquainted with Cephas and stayed there only fifteen days during which time he did not see any other apostles other than James the Lord’s brother11 1:18-19
4) Paul’s post-salvation history demonstrates that his message was not from men because he assures the Galatians that he left Jerusalem and went to Syria and Cilicia where he remained unknown (by sight) to the Judean churches even though they knew of his conversion 1:20-21
B. Paul defends his gospel message by demonstrating that it was approved of in its content by the Jerusalem church leaders12 2:1-10
1. Paul presented his “message to the Gentiles” to those in Jerusalem to see if there would be a schism or unity13 2:1-2
b. Paul went up to Jerusalem because of a revelation16 2:2a
c. When Paul went up to Jerusalem, he presented his “message to the Gentiles” privately to those in Jerusalem to see if there would be a schism or unity17 2:2b
2. Those in Jerusalem strongly affirmed Paul’s message 2:3-9
a. Paul’s message was affirmed in that Titus was not compelled to be circumcised by the insistence of the false teachers 2:3-5
1) Paul illustrates the response of those in Jerusalem by affirming that Titus was not required to be circumcised as a Greek believer 2:3
2) The reason Titus was not required to be circumcised was because those who desired it were false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out the liberty which the Christians have in order to place them in bondage under the code of the Law 2:4
3) Paul and his team did not yield to the false brethren for even a short time in order to protect the truth of the gospel for the Galatians 2:5
b. Paul’s message was affirmed by being accepted into the fellowship of the Jerusalem church 2:6-9
1) As Paul begins to present the response of the Jerusalem leaders he emphasizes that he was not in awe of them because of their position in the church since God is not partial towards men 2:6
2) When the leaders of the Jerusalem saw that Paul had been entrusted with the gospel to the Gentiles (uncircumcised) just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the Jews (circumcised) by the Lord, they recognized the grace that had been given to Paul, and James, Cephas, and John received Barnabas and Paul’s ordained ministry 2:7-9
3. Those in Jerusalem only asked Paul to remember the poor18 Jerusalem church which he was eager to do 2:10
C. Paul defends his gospel message by demonstrating that its authority was even greater than that of Peter19 2:11-21
1. Paul gives a historical case where Peter, the rest the Antiochan Jews, and Barnabas separated from eating with Gentiles when Jews came from Jerusalem 2:11-13
a. Summary/Setting: When Cephas came to Antioch20, Paul opposed him to his face because he stood condemned 2:11
b. The Historical Cause: The reason Paul opposed Cephas was because he began to separate himself from the Gentiles and to lead the rest of the Jews and Barnabas astray in the same practice for fear of certain men from James21 who emphasized the need for obeying the code of the law (circumcision) 2:12-13
2. The Historical Defense: In response to Peter’s actions, Paul publicly charged Peter with hypocrisy, and defended his charge on the basis of the nature of the Gospel which provides both justification and sanctification by grace through faith in Jesus alone 2:14-21
a. Paul publicly charged Peter with hypocrisy 2:14
2) Paul charges Peter with hypocrisy because He is Jewish and lives like the Gentiles (rather than like the Jews), but now he compels the Gentiles to live like the Jews24 2:14b
b. Paul defended his charge of Peter’s hypocrisy by arguing for the nature of the Gospel--namely, that both justification and sanctification are by faith in Christ alone25 2:15-21
1) Justification for both Jew and Gentile is by faith alone: Speaking to Peter (and perhaps the Jews from James), Paul notes that even though they were Jewish by nature (biologically)26, they had to turn to Jesus for justification because obedience to the Law was not adequate 2:15-16
2) Sanctification is by faith alone: Paul notes that although the Jews argued that the Law produced righteousness, and Christ promoted sin, the opposite was the case in that the Law only convicted of sin, while faith in Jesus produced righteousness 2:17-21
a) The Jews argued that the Law produced righteousness (or sanctification) and since one must leave the Law to trust Christ, Christ promoted sin 2:17
(1) Paul asks Peter if Jesus should be considered to be a minister of sin if they are found to be sinners (by the Jews from James) because as Jews they have left the code of the Law for justification 2:17a
(2) Paul affirms that this is a bad conclusion from a good premise--”may it not possibly be”27 2:17b
b) Paul responds by asserting that Christ does not promote sin, but produces righteousness, and it is the Law which reveals sin 2:18-20
(1) The reason Christ is not the minister of sin is because one’s own return to the code of the Law, after one has torn it down, convicts one of being a sinner (for tearing it down in the first place)28 2:18
(2) The second reason Christ is not the minister of sin is because Christians have been separated from the rule of the Law to live by faith in Christ who enables them to live righteously 2:19-20
3) Paul concludes and summarizes his defense by stating that the grace of God (the gospel) which brings righteousness to men should not be set aside by returning to the Law because righteousness does not come through the Law but through the death of Christ 2:21
III. Paul gives a theological defense for His gospel message that God works by faith and not by works of the Law by arguing that salvation is through grace rather than the Law, and by affirming that believers are now heirs rather than slaves in their relationship to God 3:1--4:31
A. Paul argues that salvation is not under Law, but through grace29 3:1-29
1. Paul questions the Galatians’ turn to the Law in light of their experience in order to prepare them for instruction30 3:1-5
a. Paul affirms that the Galatians are not using their minds and must have been hypnotized into leaving the Gospel because they experienced a clear proclamation of it 3:1
b. Arguing from the experience of the Galatians, Paul reveals the illogical, unwise thinking that has led them astray 3:2-4
1) Paul asks the Galatians if they received the Holy Spirit by doing the Law or by hearing with faith (justification) 3:2
2) Paul asks the Galatians if they are so unwise as to think that they could complete through natural works31 that which they began by means of the Spirit (sanctification) 3:3
2. Paul instructs the Galatians on how God works through faith and not through works of the Law37 3:6-14
a. God’s work of salvation has always been through faith38 3:6-9
1) Using Abraham, the “father of Judaism”, Paul demonstrates that God’s work of salvation has always been through faith because God worked to credit Abraham with righteousness when he believed God39 3:6
2) Therefore, Paul argued that God works to credit all men with righteousness when they believe Him 3:7-9
a) From Abraham’s case Paul concludes that the Galatians may be certain that the ethical sons40 of Abraham are those who believe like Abraham did 3:7
b) Paul demonstrates from the promise given to Abraham41 that God intended to justify the Gentiles by faith when He promised that all nations would be blessed in Abraham 3:8
c) From the Abrahamic promise, Paul concludes that those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham who believed 3:9
b. God’s work of salvation has never been through Law which brought a curse, and is characterized by works 3:10-12
1) Paul argues that the Law brought a curse, and not salvation 3:10
a) Paul affirms that whoever follows the works of the Law is under a curse from the Law 3:10a
b) Paul supports his statement that those under the Law were under a curse because the Law would bring a curse upon anyone who broke any portion of it42 3:10b
2) No one was ever justified by the Law, but by faith since as Scripture says, “the righteous man shall live by faith”43 3:11
3) Paul then affirms that the Law is not characterized by faith, but by works44 3:12
c. God’s work of salvation is through faith in the redemptive work of Christ from the curse of the Law whereby believers receive the Holy Spirit 3:13-14
1) Christ redeemed the Galatians (believers) from the curse of the Law45 3:13a
2) The way which Christ redeemed believers from the curse of the law was by taking upon Him our curse of the Law when he was crucified46 3:13b
3) Jesus redeemed men from the curse of the Law in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles (justification, cf. 1:8), and in order that the promise of the Spirit might come to those who believe (sanctification, cf. 3:2-3) 3:14
3. Paul argues that because the promise of heirship comes through faith, believers are not under the law47 3:15-29
a. Paul uses human relations48 to affirm a principle that a covenant can neither be invalidated, nor added to once it is ratified 3:15
b. Paul applies the principle to the Mosaic Law stating that it cannot invalidate or be added to the covenant promise to Abraham and Christ (his seed) 3:16-18
1) The Abrahamic covenant was promised to Abraham and his seed, which refers to Christ49 3:16
2) The Mosaic Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later50, did not invalidate or nullify God’s earlier promise to Abraham and his Seed. 3:17
3) Therefore, the inheritance is not based upon the Mosaic Law, but upon the Abrahamic promise 3:18
c. Paul argues that the function of the Law was not to give life, but to work with the promise by reminding men of their sin and keeping them from it, until the promise came 3:19-24
1) Paul taught that the function of the Law was not to give life but to restrain sin in a mediated fashion until the coming of Christ 3:19-20
a) Rhetorically, Paul asks about the function of the Mosaic Law if it was not to give life 3:19a
2) Paul explains that the Law functioned along side of the promise to Abraham as a tutor who restrained Israel under her sin until Christ, the object of their faith, should come 3:21-24
a) Rhetorically, Paul asks if the Law was contrary to the Abrahamic promises made by God 3:21a
b) Paul affirms that the Law was not contrary to the Abrahamic promise because it was not given to impart life, but to constrain Israel under their sin like a tutor until the object of their faith should come--Jesus, the Christ 3:21-24
(1) Paul responds to the question of conflict between the Mosaic and Abrahamic covenants by affirming that this is a wrong conclusion from a right premise53 “May it not possibly be” 3:21b
(2) The Law was not given to impart life, otherwise, righteousness would have been based upon works rather than faith 3:21b
(3) The Law was meant to constrain54 men under sin so that they might partake of the promise by faith in Jesus Christ 3:22
(4) Before faith (in Jesus, 3:22) was realized, Jews were protected by the Law until the coming of the object of faith (Jesus) 3:23
(5) Paul illustrates the function of the Law through the image of a “tutor”55 who kept Israel distinct until Christ came that they may be justified by faith 3:24
d. Paul argues that believers are heirs now by faith in Jesus Christ, and therefore, are not under the rule of the Law 3:25-29
1) When faith was realized in Jesus Christ, Israel was no longer under the “tutor” of the Law56 3:25
2) The reason believing Jews are no longer under the tutor of the Law is because their faith in Jesus has caused them to become grown sons of God when they were identified57 with Christ Jesus 3:26-27
3) Paul emphasizes that faith in Christ has removed all spiritual distinctions between people: Jew/Greek, slave/free man, male and58 female--there is no longer a hierarchical system with a tutor 3:28
4) When one belongs to Christ, then one is Abraham’s seed--heirs according to the Abrahamic promise [not works]59 3:29
B. Paul argues that believers are now in relation to God as sons rather than slaves and should live in such a manner60 4:1-31
1. Paul exhorts the Galatians to live as heirs rather than going back again into childhood and slavery61 4:1-11
a. Illustration: Even though the heir is owner of everything, he does not differ to his advantage from a servant when he is a child62 because he is under guardians and managers until the day set by his father63 4:1-2
b. Application to the Galatians: Using the Roman illustration, Paul reminds the Galatians that with the Father’s sending of Christ, they were redeemed and made adopted sons who are heirs and close to God through the Spirit, therefore, it is unreasonable for them to return to the childish things of the Mosaic Law, and threatens their future effectiveness 4:3-11
1) Through analogy, Paul than affirms that the Jews (we) were like children held in bondage under the elemental aspects of the religion64 4:3
2) But when the time set by the Father came65, God sent forth Messiah in his humanity66 under the law in order to redeem those who were under the Law, and to give them (and all believers) privilege as mature sons (adoption67 as sons) 4:4-5
3) Because the Galatians are sons, God has given the spirit of his Son to their hearts so that they might have a close relationship with God68 4:6
4) Paul therefore concludes that each69 of the Galatians is no longer a slave, but a son and heir through God 4:7
5) When the Galatians70 did not know God they were slaves to those who were not gods 4:8
6) Paul thus questions the reasoning behind the Galatians return to the elemental things71 which are weak to deliver and will enslave them now that they know God and are known by Him 4:9-10
7) Paul then expresses his concern that his work among the Galatians may not have a continuing purpose72 4:11
2. As a “father” to “sons” Paul exhorts the Galatians to become those who live out their position just as He has73 4:12-20
a. Paul begs the Galatians to become as he is (free from the Law and living by faith, cf. 2:19-21), because he is (saved) as the Galatians are 4:12a
b. When Paul came to the Galatians in the past with physical problems, they did not treat him offensively (or unjustly)74 but responded properly to him as a messenger of God 4:12b-14
c. Paul now inquires about the Galatians’ former attitude of blessing towards Paul where they would have even given their very eyes75 to him if that were possible 4:15
d. Paul questions the logic of the Galatians’ response to him as their enemy when he is telling them the truth 4:16
e. Paul affirms that the false teachers are seeking out the Galatians in a way that is not commendable in that they exclude the Galatians from fellowship among the Gentiles (cf. 2:11) in order to make them followers of them 4:17
f. Paul is not concerned that others, besides himself, are seeking out the Galatians, but that those who seek them out do it always in a commendable way 4:18
g. Paul, as a spiritual father, now expresses his anxiousness like a mother in birth-pangs76 for her children77 until Christ becomes shaped78 in them, and expresses his desire to be present with them in order to help them and thus change his mood from concerning to rejoicing 4:19-20
3. From the principle of sonship drawn from the sons of Abraham, Paul argues against the Galatians’ return to the Law because they, unlike the persecuting Judaizers, are sons of promise and should not tolerate being persecuted79 4:21-31
a. Paul exhorts the Judaizers and those of the Galatians who desire to be under the Mosaic Law to listen to what the Law has to say to them80 4:21
c. In a figurative way83 Paul is going to draw analogies between the two women and their seed 4:24a
e. Paul then compares Hagar (who is identified with the Mosaic covenant [Mount Sinai in Arabia]) with present day Jews (Jerusalem who is in slavery with her children)86 4:25
f. In contrast to the earthly Jerusalem (which represents present day Judaism), Paul affirms that the Jerusalem above is free and is the mother of believers (in Christ)87 4:26
g. Paul supports his reasoning that the Galatians are part of the New Covenant community through citing Isaiah 54:1 where the barren women of Israel are urged to rejoice since God will bring more children from them than from those who are not barren (have a husband)88 4:27
h. Paul argues that just as Ishmael had to be cast out because of his mocking of the child of promise, so should the Galatians, as children of promise, cast out the Judaizers89 4:28-30
i. Paul clearly states his thesis from his analogy that the Galatians are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free woman (e.g., of Sarah and thus of promise) 4:31
IV. Paul exhorts the Galatians to apply the gospel to their lives by standing firm in their freedom, not being separated from the benefits of Christ, and using their liberty for service rather than for sin 5:1--6:10
A. Paul exhorts the Galatians to stand in their freedom, and not to be separated form the benefits of Christ as their perverters desire90 5:1-12
1. Thesis: Since Christ set the Galatians free for the advantage of freedom, the Galatians should defend their freedom, and not subject themselves to slavery again (through the Law) 5:1
2. Sphere of Law: Paul warns the Galatians that if they move toward works of the Law (circumcision) in order to acquire righteousness before God, that they will separate themselves from the benefits of knowing Christ (e.g., lose the advantage of Christ for their spiritual growth, they will become a debtor to all of the Law, and they will be separated from the effective rule of Christ having gone astray from the rule of Christ) 5:2-4
a. Paul affirms that if the Galatians receive circumcision that Christ will be of no advantage91 to them (in their spiritual growth) 5:2
b. Paul affirms that everyone who receives circumcision is a debtor to keep all of the Law92 5:3
3. Sphere of Grace: Paul explains that believers who continue in faith wait for the surety of righteousness and increase in righteousness through their faith in Jesus and their love for others96 5:5-6
a. The reason why (γὰρ) Paul has just described the negative effect on those returning to the Law is because in contrast to their position, those who are under the Spirit’s direction are awaiting their ultimate righteousness by faith 5:5
b. The reason why (γὰρ) Paul has just described the negative effect on those returning to the Law is because righteousness does not come through keeping laws, or not keeping laws, but through faith (in what Jesus has done) which works through love (for others) 5:6
4. Conclusion: As Paul thinks about those causing the Galatians to stumble, he reassures them that the message did not come from the Lord and expresses a confidence that the Galatians will adopt his view, but he desires that the Judaizers, who persecute him because of his message and stumble over the lack of works in Christianity, be judged, or cut themselves up, as the pagans do so that they may not reproduce 5:7-12
a. In view of how well the Galatians were doing, Paul asks about who97 it was that caused them to stumble, and affirms that it was not the Lord 5:7-8
b. Through a proverb, (“a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough”) Paul affirms that this “stumbling” is not a small issue in that it may affect the whole church, nevertheless, Paul has confidence in the Lord that the Galatians will not be swayed away from the position which he is presenting98 5:9-10a
c. Paul prays that the one who is stirring up the Galatians will be judged 5:10b
d. Paul affirms that he does not preach circumcision sometimes (as the Judaizers accused him)99 because that would remove the stumbling block of the cross and thus, this kind of persecution 5:11
e. Paul desires that those who are raising a revolt among the Galatians over circumcision would in the process castrate themselves100 5:12
B. Paul exhorts the Galatians to use their liberty for service, and not for sin101 5:13--6:10
1. Paul warns that if the Galatians do not use their liberty for service, they will destroy one another102 5:13-15
a. The reason Paul desires for the Judaizers to be judged is because the Galatians were called to freedom 5:13a
b. Paul urges the Galatians to not turn their liberty into a base of operation for sinning in accordance with the flesh103, but into service of one another104 through love which fulfills the moral Law105 5:13b-14
c. Paul warns the Galatians that if they use their liberty to sin against one another,106 they will destroy themselves 5:15
2. Paul explains how walking by the Spirit enables the believer to not be ruled by the desire of flesh which will lead to loss of reward in the Kingdom of God 5:16-26
a. Principle: Paul exhorts believers to live by the enablement of the Spirit so that they may overcome their fleshly desires and the bondage of the Law 5:16-18
2) The reason (γὰρ) Paul exhorts believers to live their lives by the enabling power of the Spirit is because the Spirit and the flesh are in opposition to one another with the result that110 the believer may not do the things which he desires111 5:17
3) In contrast to the believer’s loss of self control in his struggle with the flesh and the Spirit, Paul affirms that if one is led by the Spirit, one is not in bondage to the Law (which he cannot keep)112 5:18
b. Illustration: Paul presents the works of the flesh, and the fruit of the Spirit in order to demonstrate the conflict between the two realms, (and as a measuring stick so that one can determine whether or not one is living under the Spirit’s enabling), whereupon he affirms that the Law cannot accuse those who live the enabling life of the Spirit 5:19-23
1) Paul illustrates the deeds of the flesh through sexual sins, sins against God, and sins against the congregation113 5:19-21
a) The works of the flesh are plain, or evident114 5:19a
b) The works of the flesh include sexual immorality: 5:19b
(1) Immorality (πορνεία)
(2) Impurity (ἀκαθαρσία)
(3) Sensuality (ἀσέλγεια)
c) The works of the flesh include rebellion against God: 5:20a
(1) Idolatry (εἰδωλολατρία)
(2) Sorcery (φαρμακεία)
d) The works of the flesh include sins against the congregation: 5:20b-21a
(1) Enmities (ε῎χθραι)
(2) Strife (ε῎ρις)
(3) Jealousy (ζῆλος)
(4) Outbursts of anger (θυμοί)
(5) Disputes (ἐριθεῖαι)
(6) Dissensions (διχοστασίαι)
(7) Factions (αἰρέσεις)
(8) Envy (φθόνοι)
(9) Drunkenness (μέθαι)
(10) Carousing (κῶμοι)
e) Paul warns that Galatians that whoever does these kinds of fleshly works shall not inherit115 the kingdom of God 5:21b
2) In contrast to the works of the flesh, Paul presents the fruit116 of the Spirit 5:22-23a
a) Love (ἀγάπη)
b) Joy (χαρὰ)
c) Peace (εἰρήνη)
d) Patience (μακροθυμία)
e) Kindness (χρηστότης)
f) Goodness (ἀγαθωσύνη)
g) Faithfulness (πίστις)
h) Gentleness (πραῦτης)
i) Self-control (ἐγκράτερια)
3) Paul affirms that the Law can not make accusations against those who live in such a manner (by the Spirit) because they fulfill it requirements 5:23b
c. Explanation: Paul explains that walking by the Spirit enables one to not be ruled by the flesh in that those who belong to Christ Jesus have been separated (crucified)117 from the rule of the flesh with its passions and desires 5:24
d. Exhortation: Paul exhorts the Galatians to not only live by the Spirit, but to walk by the Spirit by ceasing to become boastful, challenging one another, and envying one another 5:26
1) Paul exhorts the Galatians to not only live by the Spirit, but to walk by means of the Spirit118 5:25-26
2) Paul illustrates how walking by the Spirit will eliminate strife in the church community 5:26
3. Paul reasons that the Galatians should use their liberty for service because it will bring spiritual reward119 6:1-10
a. Believers are not to destroy one another (5:26), but to help one another with problems because only by their own works can they boast before God 6:1-5
1) Paul urges the spiritually mature among the Galatians to restore any among them who may be found in sin in a spirit of gentleness (for the sake of the other person), and with an eye out for their own vulnerability 6:1
2) Paul urges the Galatians to help one another with their problems (burdens), and thereby have confidence before the Lord because he has fulfilled the Law of Christ 6:2-5
a) The Galatians are urged to help one another with their problems (burdens) and thereby fulfill the Law of Christ120 6:2
b) The reason helping one another fulfills the Law of Christ is because self-evaluation (according to the standard of other people)121 can lead to deception 6:3
c) In contrast to evaluating one’s self by another, self-evaluation according to the standard of what one alone is doing will lead to a proper boasting (or confidence) which is necessary because each one will carry122 his own works (burden, before the Lord)123 6:4-5
b. Believers should invest in the spiritual resulting in eternal life, rather than the fleshly resulting in corruption 6:6-9
1) Paul affirms that those who are taught the word ought to contribute a share of all their good things with those who teach it124 6:6
2) God will not be laughed at because He works the law of the harvest giving a harvest of that which is planted 6:7-8
a) Paul urges the Galatians to not be deceived because God will not be laughed at since whatever a man sows, he will also reap 6:7
b) The reason Paul affirms that a man will reap what he sows is because that which is invested in rebellion against God (to the flesh) will naturally (from the flesh) yield corruption125 6:8a
c) This which is invested in the Spirit will ultimately reap a quality of life 6:8b
3) Believers should endure doing good because they will ultimately (at the right time) reap good 6:9
c. In conclusion Paul exhorts believers to do good to all men, especially other believers 6:10
V. Postlude: Paul closes this letter to the Galatians by asserting in his own handwriting that he no longer wishes to be bothered with the Judaizers, who only fear persecution, because he boasts in the cross which has freed him from sin and will bring grace and peace upon believers who walk in it. Paul also desires that God’s grace will enable the Galatians in their conflict 6:11-18
A. Paul, in his own writing, expresses that he no longer wishes to be bothered with the lies of the Judaizers who only fear persecution because he boasts in the cross which has freed him from sin and will bring grace and peace upon believers who walk in it 6:11-17
1. Paul has written to the Galatians with his own hand126 6:11
2. Unlike the Judaizers who seek converts out of fear of persecution, Paul boasts in the cross which separated him from the power of the world 6:12-16
b. Paul only boasts in the cross which has separated him from the demands of the world129 because he is only concerned about a new creation (that which God has done within a believer130, not the law), and because he only desires peace and mercy upon those who walk by the rule of a new creation (the Spirit) and the Israel of God131 6:14-16
B. Benediction: Paul desires that the grace of the Lord be with the Galatians’ spirit (where the conflict rages)135 6:18
1 This prologue is peculiar because there is no commendation to the Galatians (cf. 1 Cor. 1:4ff). Its absence seems to indicate the severity of the issue Paul is about to address.
2 Paul immediately begins his defense of the gospel by defending himself as an authentic apostle. His authority comes from God the Father and the risen Christ (διὰ) and not through the agency of men (οὐδὲ δἰ ἀνθρώπου). This is important to Paul because it is his badge of authority for his message--the gospel.
3 In accordance with the early date of the epistle, those with Paul on the first missionary journey may well include: Barnabas (Acts 13), possibly John Mark (cf. Acts 12:12,24; 13:13) and in spirit at least those disciples of the church in Syrian Antioch (Acts 13:1; 14:27-28).
Therefore, Paul begins his letter as introducing himself as one with authority to speak to them because of God and those who support his message.
4 They would include those churches of Attalia, Perga, Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe (Acts 13--14). See the introduction for the reasoning behind their identity.
5 While the typical greeting of grace and peace may simply be an appeal to the Jews and Gentiles in the churches (cf. 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:2; Col. 1:2; Phil. 1:2; Bruce, Galatians, p. 24), there may be a greater significance here. Since Paul is addressing the full aspects of the gospel including both justification and sanctification, it seems that even in his greeting Paul alludes to his message of the gospel because grace (χάρις) is that which leads to salvation or justification (Rom. 3:24), and peace (εἰρήνη) is that which refers to a present well being (Jas. 2:16), or sanctification. Therefore, Paul in his greeting is referring to the gospel.
6 In verse four Paul develops the twofold gospel reference by first referring to Jesus as the One who gave Himself for our sins (justification) and the purpose of Christ’s voluntary sacrifice as being to deliver us from the evil which dominates this age (cf. Jn. 17:15), or sanctification.
7 Evidently, there were those who followed Paul who accused him of being a man-pleaser because he preached “grace by faith plus nothing.” Those who followed were Judaizers imposing the code of the Law, but Paul asserts that if anyone comes and preaches another message than that which was publicly portrayed by him, then they should be dedicated to God for destruction.
Paul is countering the false accusations from the Judaizers to demonstrate that he does not act so as to please people. On the contrary, it was much easier to please people as an orthodox Jew (Acts 7), than as a proclaimer of Jesus.
8 Having now extended fully into the heart of his message, namely the gospel and his authority to proclaim it, Paul now develops these initial themes with greater arguments. Paul defends his apostleship as a means of defending his message--the gospel which is the real issue with the Galatians who are coming to question his message because of accusations against his person. Perhaps the Judaizers were saying that Paul received his message from the eleven apostles and is just watering it down. But Paul says, “No! It was from God (1:11-24) and it only relates to the eleven Apostles as something they recognized or approved (2:1-20) and as something which even had authority over them--even Peter” (2:11-21).
9 As Paul now moves into his first major defense of his message he begins with the general--man/God-- and gradually moves to the specific--the Eleven and Peter. He does this so that there will be no question that his gospel message is the true one from God.
10 Compare Acts 9; Ephesians 3:3.
11 See Acts 9:26-30 where Luke does not recount the other aspects of Paul’s history (e.g., Arabia; cf. 9:19) as in Galatians because he is selecting his material to emphasize the change in Paul’s life.
12 Paul now becomes more specific in his defense of his message by demonstrating that he not only received his message from God only, but that the only thing which the church leaders in Jerusalem did was to acknowledge, or approve, his message as it was--nothing was added or subtracted.
13 In 2:1-2 Paul reveals that at one point he laid himself open to the examination of the church leaders--not to see if his message was true or not, but to see if there was going to be a schism again between Jew and Gentile in the church which would effect his missionary activity among the Gentiles (Bruce, Galatians, p. 11; Boice, “Galatians” in EBC, pp. 438-439).
14 Although it is difficult to be certain, this number is probably counted from Paul’s conversion (cf. Gal. 1:18; Bruce, Galatians, pp. 106-109). The fourteen years mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12:1ff. is probably not measured from Paul’s conversion, but took place some time within the fourteen years mentioned in Galatians 2:1 (e.g., during his ministry in Syria and Cilicia).
15 This most probably should be identified with Acts 11:27-30; 12:25). Paul’s use of ε῎πειτα (then, or next) as in 1:18 and 1:21 implies that he is not omitting material from his argument--especially with respect to the church in Jerusalem or its leaders. Although Titus is not mentioned in the Acts account, he may well have be part of the church in Antioch (see Bruce, Galatians, pp. 106-109).
16 Although some consider the revelation to be a personal one from God to Paul telling him to go up to Jerusalem (Bruce, Galatians, p.108), it is more probably that the revelation was the one given by Agabus of a great famine (Acts 11:28). Paul’s point is that he did not go to Jerusalem for personal need, but because of the revelation.
17 When Paul says, “for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain” he is saying that he presented his gospel to those in Jerusalem individually to make sure that he was not running a race which was empty or useless. Paul was not concerned that he had the wrong message because his message had come from Christ (1:1,11,12) and the Apostles could not have changed that. Rather, Paul was concerned that if they did not agree with him, there would have been a split in the unity of the church thereby making his hard labors less effective (cf. Phil. 2:16). Paul is also concerned that his ministry might be hindered by the Judaizers.
18 Probably a reference to the Jews. Paul especially did this as he was connected with an offering for the Jerusalem church from the Gentile churches (2 Corinthians 8--9).
This request did not represent an adjustment of Paul’s gospel ministry.
19 In Paul’s movement from the general to the specific he demonstrates that his gospel message was from God, approved by the church leaders in Jerusalem, and now recounts an incident with Peter in order to demonstrate that even the chief of the Apostles, Peter, did not add anything to Paul’s message, but was himself placed under it--not because Paul was greater than Peter, but because his message was God’s message. This argument would destroy the Judaizers attack that Paul had received his message from men since the chief of the Eleven was rebuked by Paul’s message.
It is also important to notice that the message referred to here--the gospel--moves from the realm of justification to sanctification as it is applied to Peter. In 1:11--2:10 justification seems to have been the emphasis with Paul’s conversion and his message to the Gentiles. But in this segment sanctification comes into view as it is applied to Peter. This flow between justification and sanctification comprises Paul’s complete message as was seen in the prologue which occurs here and will reoccur in chapters 3--4 because justification is the basis of sanctification in Paul’s thought, and both are through faith.
20 It is not possible to precisely date this event. It probably occurred sometime after Paul’s second visit to Jerusalem. If this is so, than this event took place after Peter had gone to Cornelius (Acts 10), and before Paul and Barnabas went on their first missionary journey (Acts 13--14). It is possible that this may have occurred after the first missionary journey, but before the council which settled this issue (Acts 15). See Bruce, Galatians, pp. 128-129.
21 That these men were from James may indicate that they were Jews from the Jerusalem church--perhaps believing Pharisees (Acts 15:5). Therefore, they were not necessarily Judaizers, but Jews who followed the code of the Law. In any case Peter and the rest became intimidated with their appearance because they would have been breaking the code of the law by eating with Gentiles (e.g., Gentiles were unclean because of their practices, so if one ate with a Gentile, one also became contaminated with uncleanliness). This was an issue of sanctification, rather than justification.
22 The phrase is “in the presence of all” (ε῎μπροσθεν πάντων). Paul had spoken privately to Peter and others in Jerusalem because the answers only affected him, but here all of the Jews are being affected by Peter’s actions of fear; therefore, Paul confronts him before all-- publicly.
23 The term is ὀρθοποδέω-”straight, upright walk”. It emphasizes what they were doing rather than what they were thinking. Their walk was not upright or straight, but slouched and crooked--they were perverting the gospel.
24 Paul’s accusation is concerned with more than the particular incident of eating. Even in his accusation Paul is addressing the consequences of Peter’s movement away from the Gentiles (e.g., the Gentiles will need to follow the code of the law).
In what follows Paul’s argument develops by recognizing a hypothetical difference, and then destroying the difference: (1) by nature there were Jews who followed the Law and sinners from the Gentiles, (2) but both needed to trust Jesus by faith for salvation because justification is not by the Law, (3) but justified Jews are also discovered to be sinners after justification, not because of Jesus, but because of themselves.
25 Toussaint separates 2:15-21 from 2:11-14 calling it “Paul’s theological conclusion” because there are no connectives between verses 14 and 15, there is no use of the second person after verse 14, and there is no further information as to what happened after verse 14 (Stanley D. Toussaint, “Galatians” [unpublished class notes in 308 Pauline Epistles and Revelation, Dallas Theological Seminary, Spring 1984], p. 8). However, context seems to argue against his points. The connection is logical not grammatical. Paul uses the first person to include himself with Peter and the rest as “all” being under one message--the gospel; that Paul was correct and that Peter capitulated is clear in that Paul is using this as a defense of his gospel message.
In this unit Paul caps off his defense that his message is authentic by stating that he received it from God, it was approved by the leaders in the Jerusalem church, and even Peter was subject to its authority. It is the true gospel for salvation and sanctification. All of this is meant to argue against the Judaizers who were perverting the gospel, and turning the Galatians from God (1:6). Paul desire to give them confidence in his message so that they will continue in it and thus with God.
26 It seems that Jews had a concept of Gentiles being sinners by nature while Jews by nature were not sinners. For the sake of argument, Paul is granting the Jewish mindset of superiority over the Gentiles. However, in verse 16 Paul clearly argues that the nature of each is the same--a sinner who is then saved by the grace of Christ.
27 The Greek expression is “μὴ γένοιτο” expressing a false conclusion from a true premise. The premise is that justification in Christ came by leaving the code of the Law. The false conclusion is that Jesus has, therefore, caused Jews to sin by not following the code of the (e.g., eating with the unclean--Gentiles).
28 Paul’s point is that the Law does not make one righteous. When one returns to obeying it, all it does is convict one of being guilty of breaking it when one left it (in the former demolition of the wall--explicitly--and in the present rebuilding of the wall--implicitly).
The specific case at hand relates to Paul’s statement as follows: If Peter and the Jews rebuild the dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles, they prove themselves to be at fault (1) for eating with Gentiles [breaking down the wall],and (2) for now stopping their eating with Gentiles [building the wall]. Therefore, Christ is not a promoter of sin because the wall of division was destroyed by Christ and rebuilding is what makes a person a sinner in the eyes of the Law because he had disregarded the Law: (1) Peter was fellowshiping because God had torn down the wall [Acts 10], (2) by fellowshiping Peter was obeying God and not sinning [breaking down the wall], (3) by breaking his fellowshiping Peter was returning to the Law which convicted him of breaking the Law and thus sin, (4) therefore, Christ did not cause him to sin, but going back to the Law convicted Peter of sinning when he acted against the Law.
29 As with most commentators, it seems that chapters 3--4 form one unit of a doctrinal defense or polemic (Boice, “Galatians”, EBC, p. 423; Bruce, Galatians, p. viii; Lightfoot, The Epistle, pp. 66-67, and Campbell, “Galatians”, BKC, p. 589). However, there seem to be as many different subdivisions within these chapters as there are commentators. Therefore, in an attempt to synthesize the material it seems best to subdivide these two chapters into two basic movement--3:1-5 as a preparation of Paul’s instruction, and 3:6--4:31 as the content of Paul’s instruction
Paul has been arguing to demonstrate that his message is reliable because he received it from God in 1:11--2:21. Now he moves into an even greater defense of his message from a theological realm. Perhaps the Judaizers were saying that even if Paul did not receive his message from men as he claims, the message which he proclaims is contrary to the teachings of the Scriptures. Therefore, Paul argues theologically against the Judaizers.
Once again it is interesting to note that Paul moves from the realm of justification to sanctification in this section because the latter is built upon the former.
30 As Paul has been challenging Peter in 2:11-21, so now he turns his attention to the Galatians so that he might gain their attention for his argument.
31 The “flesh” probably refers to that part of our nature which finds gratification in the observance of ceremonial, or external, rites rather than through faith.
32 See Acts 13:50,51; 14:19,22,23.
33 The term is εἰκῇ meaning “to no purpose” (cf. Rom. 13:4; 1 Cor. 15:2). The emphasis is on there being no continuing effect from their experiences (e.g., having experienced such things, are they just going to forget about it?).
34 The words are ει῎ γε meaning “if indeed” emphasizing the “if”. Paul is expressing hope here that their experiences were not to no further purpose or effect, but that there will be an effect.
The point of all of this is that Paul, after reminding the Galatians of how they received the Spirit, questions whether or not they are going to go on in their Christian lives without the work of the Spirit.
35 See Acts 14:8-10, 19-20.
36 This statement is really given in the form of a question. Paul will now answer this twofold question. In 3:7-27 he will explain how one receives the Spirit theologically (e.g., by faith [7-14], whereas the Law revealed our need [15-29]). In chapter four he will explain how God works with believers theologically (as children, not as slaves).
37 Paul now begins his theological treatise, or polemic, against the teachings of the Judaizers who were probably asserting that God has always used the Law to make men righteous before Him.
Paul begins in 3:6-14 with the doctrine of salvation (or justification) and asserts that God works salvation through faith, and not through works of the Law.
38 One reason Abraham was chosen was because he predates the Mosaic Law, yet, he was declared righteous.
39 Moses’ account of this is in Genesis 15:6, “Now Abraham [had] believed (or was a believer) in YHWH, and He reckoned it to him (namely) righteousness. The Hebrew reads,
וְהֶאֱמִן בַּיהושּׂה יּחְשְׁבֶהָ לּוֹ צְדָקָה. The “it” on “reckoned” is feminine agreeing with righteousness. This a straight credit transaction (e.g., God credited him with righteousness--not his belief as righteousness, but because of his belief). The verb refers to Abraham as one who has believed or is characterized as believing--from Ur on (cf. Genesis 12:1,4; 14:21-24).
Paul is comparing the way God worked with the Galatians to the way He worked with Abraham (e.g., He bestows righteousness because of a response of faith and not due to works of the Law).
40 The term for sons (υἱοί) emphasizes relationship, and considers the inward, ethical, and legal practices. The point is that ethically and legally, the true sons of Abraham are by faith and not by flesh (see Romans 9:6-7).
41 The Old Testament citations in verses 8-13 emphasize that God’s work of salvation has always been by faith:
(1) Galatians 3:8 = Genesis 12:3 [faith]. This is the Abrahamic covenant, and this promise is the root of the blessing. Note the syllogism: (a) Abraham is justified by faith , (b) Gentiles are to blessed in Abraham , (c) Therefore Gentiles who believe receive the blessing 
(2) Galatians 3:10 = Deuteronomy 27:26 [works]. This is the Mosaic Covenant which is the root of cursing
(3) Galatians 3:11 = Habakkuk 2:4 [faith]. In the midst of judgment from under the Mosaic covenant, it is “faith” with brings life
(4) Galatians 3:12 = Leviticus 18:5 [works]. Life under the Mosaic covenant comes through obedience rather than “faith”; therefore, faith and law are mutually exclusive
(5) Galatians 3:13 = Deuteronomy 21:23 [faith]. Jesus delivers us (Israel) from the curse of the Mosaic covenant by taking our curse upon Him and thus satisfying the demands of the Law. This brings the Abrahamic blessing to us as we believe.
42 Paul explains his statement by referring to Deuteronomy 27:26 where Israel was about to enter the land as a people re-established under their Suzerain-God (under the Law), when they agreed that they would follow all of the Law or be cursed. They must not just follow part of the Law in a smorgasbord manner, but all of the law or else they would be cursed.
43 Paul cites Habakkuk 2:4 as proof that no one is declared righteous before God. In Habakkuk’s time those of Israel thought that they were righteous because of the Law and therefore had become proud, sinned, and were going to be judged by God through a sinful nation (Hab. 1:5-11). Habakkuk could not believe it, and questioned God’s actions (Hab. 1:12--2:1). God responded that life will not come thorough pride, but through faith (2:4ff). For ancient Israel the life being spoken of was from the Chaldeans; for Paul’s audience, the life was eternal life from the curse for breaking the Law.
44 In contrast to life coming by faith (δὲ) Paul quotes Leviticus 18:5 to show that works of the Law are not the same as faith, “He who practices ( or does; ὁ ποιήσας) them shall live by them”. Physical life in the land of Canaan would not come through believing in God’s law, but in doing God’s law. If and when they did not do God’s law, they were judged and taken out of the land.
45 The term for redemption is ἐξηγοράζω meaning “to redeem by paying a price”. Theologically, the paradigm for redemption is the deliverance of the nation of Israel from their bondage in Egypt (Exodus 12). In that deliverance the substitutionary price of the deliverance was the death of the first born for those of the nation who applied the blood of the lamb to their doorposts to be set physically free from Egypt. In this deliverance the price of redemption was again the death of the first born (Jesus) in order for those who applied the blood of the “Lamb” to their lives to be set spiritually free from the curse of the Law. In both cases the price was paid to the righteousness of God.
In Egypt the king’s son was given to free the people, in cosmic history the King’s Son was given to free the people.
46 Paul cites Deuteronomy 21:23, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” to emphasize Jesus’ experiencing of the curse of the Law. If a man committed a sin worthy of death, he was to be killed and then hung on a tree as a public testimony that his death was not natural, but due to the breaking of God’s Law. Jesus was not only hung on a tree dead, but alive in order to show that he was experiencing the curse of the Law; but Jesus’ experience was not because of what he did, but as our substitute--paying for our debt to God!
47 After arguing theologically that salvation has always been through faith in 3:6-14, Paul moves on to address the believer’s position as an heir.
48 Paul is going to first speak of a lower principle (the way men function) in order to emphasize a higher principle (the way that God functions) which must be much more true.
49 See Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 15:18; 17:7; 24:7. The Hebrew reads, “לְזַרְעֲךָ” with the noun being masculine singular, and the suffix being second masculine singular.
Some understand the seed to refer to a “head of a progeny--head of a whole group of seeds.” However, (1) the collective sense emphasizes the seeds as being organically connected. This is a problem with Gentiles, (2) by faith in the Seed we all (including Gentiles) become “a” seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:29-- σπέρμα is anartherous) rather than the seed, and (3) this is an attempt to deal with the normal collective sense plus the single sense, but this is not necessary since the singular can be used of an individual person (cf. Gen. 4:25; 21:13; 1 Sam. 1:11; 2 Sam. 7:12 [although this may have implications beyond Solomon]).
Although זרע (seed) is a collective noun, the emphasis seems to be on one pre-eminent descendant of Abraham through whom the promise would be fulfilled. Although Abraham would have thought of Isaac, YHWH seems to have thought of Christ in that the blessing to the world did not come through Isaac or Jacob in particular, but through Christ. A specific seed could have been in view from the promise given to Adam in Genesis 3:15 (cf. 4:25).
50 This are two basic views about the 430 years mentioned in this verse.
(1) There are 430 years from Genesis 15 to Exodus 20 (e.g., 215 years from Abraham to the captivity, and 215 years from the captivity to Sinai). However, these dates do not fit with a conservative chronology (e.g., Abraham was c. 2,000 BC, and the Exodus was c. 1446 BC; Also the captivity was prophesied to be 400 years in Genesis 15:13, not 215 years)
(2) There are 430 years from Genesis 46 to Exodus 20. In Genesis 46 Jacob receives the last confirmation of the Abrahamic covenant and then goes into Egypt as one of the patriarchs c. 1880 BC. Exodus 12:40, Acts 7:6, and Genesis 15:13-16 all describe 400 years of captivity. 1 Chronicles 7:20-21 describes ten generations from Joseph to Joshua. It would take 400 years to grow from 70 to 2-3 million.
51 Some understand this verse to be teaching that the Law was given to point out sin. While this is a true theological statement (Romans 3:20; 5:20; 7:7), it is not Paul’s argument here in Galatians.
Paul argues that the Law was to restrain sin in Israel until Christ came; it was a fence to protect Israel until Messiah for the following reasons: (a) “until the seed should come” does not fit with “to point out sin”, (b) “until the seed should come” fits with the ides of a Pedagogue [3:24], and (3) “until the seed should come” fits with 1 Timothy 1:8-11 where the Law was added to grace and promise to drives us to grace.
52 The concept of “ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator” emphasizes the mediated aspect of the Law (e.g., from God, through Angels, through Moses, to the people). Therefore, Paul says in 3:20 that Abrahamic promise depends on only one person (Gen. 15) whereas the Mosaic Law was mediated by two parties (angels and Moses). Galatians 3:20 is notoriously difficult to interpret.
53 The correct premise was that the Mosaic Law was given to restrain Israel until Christ came (3:19-20). The wrong conclusion was that therefore, the Law was opposed to God’s promises (3:21a). Therefore, Paul explains that the purpose of the Law was not to give life (3:21c), but to work with the promise (constrain sin/or convict men of sin) in order that the promise might be given to those who have faith in Jesus Christ 3:22.
54 The Greek term is συνέκλεισεν which is also used to describe capturing fish in a net (Luke 5:6). The Law was to confine, or hold, all men under sin (ὑπὸ ἀμαρτίαν). As Bruce writes, “it shuts men and women up to the grace of God as their only hope” (Galatians, p. 180).
55 The Greek term is παιδαγωγὸς He was a personal slave attendant who accompanied the free-born boy wherever he went from the time he left the nurse’s care. His duties were to teach good manners, take the boy to school, wait for him at school, take him home, and test his memory. During the youth’s minority, he imposed a necessary restraint on his liberty.
Therefore, Paul is saying that the Law: (1) was Israel’s personal slave attendant as little children who in immaturity thought they were good enough for God--he helped to remind them that they were not righteous, (2) seemed to have been like a baby sitter keeping Israel in line--like an English Nanny to watch over children and discipline, rear, and train them: sour, dour, and mean, (3) was to cause Israel to be justified by faith--not works-- when (εἰς--temporal) Christ came. The Law kept Israel distinct. Every decision was made for them.
While the line of promise ran uninterrupted from Abraham to Christ, the Law was added alongside the line to specify the conditions which must be met to experience the promise.
56 The image is of a child growing up and thus no longer being under his tutor. So was/is it with believing Israel when Jesus came.
57 The term is βαπτιζω which emphasizes “identification” (cf. 1 Cor. 10:1-2). This identification came when they believed. See also 1 Cor. 12:12-13.
The term for clothed (ἐνεδύσασθε) is also used in Luke 15:22 to describe the putting the robe on the prodigal son. To put on Christ is to have his righteousness on you. Therefore, you do not need to earn righteousness.
58 The conjunction καὶ emphasizes that even the distinctions of creation are removed.
59 Verse 29 is the climax of chapter three. Paul is proclaiming that believers in Christ share in the promises to Abraham (Eph. 2:19-22; Matt. 19:27-28; 21:43; Rom. 11:15-24; 15:8-9; 1 Cor. 6:2; Lk. 19:11; Heb. 11:39-40; 12:22-23; 13:14; Rev. 3:12; 5:10; 20:6; 21:14), but they do not fulfill the promises.
60 Having again affirmed the principle of faith, and now, their position as heirs, Paul breaks out in an exhortation to the Galatians to live as heirs rather than going back unto a position of childhood and slavery.
61 In 4:1-11 Paul is concerned about the Galatians who are choosing to go back to their childhood and life as slaves rather than sons. He expresses this picture through an illustration in 4:1-2 where he states that when an heir is a little child, he is functionally no different than a slave until the time set by the father. He then applies the illustration to the Galatians in 4:3-7 who were little children, no different than slaves, until the arrival of the predetermined time by the Father when Christ came and changed their functional position from slaves to sons and heirs. Then in 4:8-11 Paul expresses his concern over the Galatians because they are choosing to go back to their childhood, and to be slaves rather than sons.
62 The term used is νήπιός having reference to a very young child such as one still on milk (Heb. 5:13), or vegetables (BAGD, p. 537), at least four years old (MM, p. 426), thus, one who is a minor in our culture.
63 Under Roman law the time when a child came of age was not fixed as with the Jews (age 12), or the Greeks (age 18). Rather the Father may have discretion in setting the time of his son’s maturity (Boice, “Galatians”, EBC, p. 471). See The Robe by Douglas.
64 The phrase τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου is descriptive of the fundamental principles as in the ABC’s (Heb. 5:12; cf. Co. 2:8) and thus the elementary stages of religious experience common to all men. These are elementary forms of religion--Jewish and Gentile--which have been superseded by the new revelation in Christ. There are also elemental spirits associated with the physical elements (e.g., fire, air, water, earth, sun, moon, stars). There were pagan festivals honoring the gods, behind whom were demonic spirits.
Paul is saying that the he and the Jews were under the control of a religious system as children with no control before Christ came.
65 “The fullness of time” seems to correlate with the appointed time set by a father for declaring the sonship of a minor. Even at an earlier time in life Ferguson writes, “The Greeks and Romans put that moment even later. The newborn was not considered a part of the family until acknowledged by the father as his child and received into the family in a religious ceremony. Thus, they did not consider esposure murder but the refusal to admit to society” (Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 73-74).
66 This no doubt has reference to the fulfillment of the promise given in Genesis 3:15 (e.g., the seed of the woman).
67 The sonship is not exactly parallel with the illustration because it must be bought. Yet it is the Father’s work which bought us as sons. Once were are adopted, we gain the inheritance.
68 See also Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15-16; Ephesians 1:14.
69 There is a movement from the plural to the singular in order to emphasize that this is all individual.
70 Paul may primarily have the Gentiles in view since they did not factually know (εἰδότες) God in their pagan sate. Yet the Jews too worshiped idols.
71 Again this term is στοιχεῖα (cf. 4:3). But now Paul identifies them as the code of the Mosaic Law: Sabbath days (and feasts on those days), months (celebrations tied to recurring monthly cycles such as the new moon, cf. Isaiah 1:14), seasons (seasonal events of more than one days duration such as the feast of tabernacles, Passover), and years (the year of jubilee). Some see these as being pagan acts of worshiping different gods, but it seems more probable, due to the context of the Law, to be referring to Jewish festivals, feast, holy days et cetera. Paul may even see the legalistic use of these as having demonic control as with the pagan feasts (again compare 4:3).
72 The term is εἰκῇ meaning “to no avail or purpose”. Paul’s concern is that he labored hard among the Galatians to no purpose or avail (cf. 3:4). The emphasis is on their continuing in the Christian life, and not their salvation.
73 Paul’s labors among the Galatians probably now remind him of his personal relationship with them. He has been appealing to them as God’s children, now as their spiritual father, Paul includes an emotional appeal. Therefore, it seems as though 4:1-20 was an expression of Paul’s desire for the Galatians in the midst of this polemical section of the book which naturally developed out of the second argument for heirship based upon faith.
74 The term is ἀδικεω.
75 The “eyes” may refer to Paul ailment, but is also may refer to the most valuable possession one has (cf. Deut. 32:10; Matt. 18:9).
76 The term is ὠδινω, cf. Rev. 12:2.
77 The term is τέκνα emphasizing physical descent. Paul is speaking figuratively of the Galatians as unborn children.
78 The term is μορφόρω meaning “to form, or shape”. Paul is describing Christ as symbolically in the formation of an embryo. Paul longs for their maturity.
79 Now in 4:21-31 Paul once again returns to his theological arguments in order to help the Galatians solidify his previous arguments that God works through faith and not works by appealing to principles drawn from the sons of Abraham. His point in this argument is that the Galatians should not return to the Law because they, unlike the persecuting Judaizers, are sons of promise through faith. They should not tolerate the persecuting Judaizers.
Therefore in chapters 3--4 Paul has been arguing, after gaining the Galatians’ attention through their own experience with God, that God always has worked through faith be it for justification or sanctification. It makes no sense to go back under the Law. The Galatians need to realize who they are (heirs), and cast out the persecuting ones even as Abraham did Ishmael.
80 Since these groups appeal to the Law, Paul accepts their challenge and uses the Law one last time in his argument.
Paul’s reference to the Law no doubt refers to all of that written by Moses; therefore, he is justified in going to Genesis.
81 This phrase is descriptive of physical birth. It is also a play on the means of procuring the child. Ishmael was procured through a fleshly attempt to fulfill the promise (Gen. 16:1-4).
82 Isaac was born through the enabling word of God (Gen. 21:1) in accordance with the promise (Gen. 17:19; 18:8-15).
Paul is now going to argue that being an heir does not come automatically from being a physical descendant; rather, it comes through promise because Abraham had a son (by flesh) who was not an heir.
The central passages are Genesis 12:16; cf. 16:1,16; 21:1.
83 The term is ἀλληγορούμενα from which we arrive at our term for “allegory.” However, when one speaks of “allegory” one things of the method practiced by Alexandrian Jews, latter church Fathers and the Roman church during the middle ages to interpret Greek myths in the context of the Old Testament. In this method of interpretation, the literal sense does not exhaust the meaning of many passages in the Old Testament. Rather, there is a deeper, higher, spiritual, and mystical sense. Clement of Alexandria and Augustine distinguished the different senses in the Old Testament Scriptures as: (1) literal--what things are done?, (2) allegorical--what things are to be believed?, (3) moral (tropological)--what things are to be done?, and (4) anagogic--what things are to be hoped?. Unlike typological interpretation which finds its meaning in the fulfillment of the New Testament, allegorical interpretation recognizes no limits on the spiritual meanings. Paul is developing a typological analogy.
In this account Paul takes an aspect of the New Covenant and presents it in terms of an Old Testament narrative. He writes a midrash providing an exposition on Genesis 21 without denying the literal event.
84 If one is the Mosaic covenant, the other must be the Abrahamic covenant.
85 Normally Isaac would represent the ancestor of the chosen people, the Jews who received the liberating knowledge of the Law, the people of covenant, and Ishmael would represent the ancestor of the Gentiles who are in bondage because of ignorance, and only have unconverted mercies
However, when Paul explains the two children he turns the events around. Isaac represents those who have embraced the gospel (Jews and Gentiles), and Ishmael represents the people of the Law (Jews).
The Jews would say that they are the offspring of Sarah, but Paul says that people of the Law belong to Hagar (the children of slavery). The gospel fulfilled the promise to Abraham through Christ (3:16,18); Law was temporary in order to lead to Christ (3:15-29).
86 Just as the child of a slave was by nature a slave, so does the Law enslave, and its children are enslaved spiritually.
“Jerusalem” does not refer to the geographical location so much as to the whole legal system which had its center there (e.g., Judaism). Now that Christ has come, those in Judaism have remained under the Law, and are now servants of the Law, just as Ishmael was a child of Hagar, and remained a slave. Therefore, Ishmael = Jerusalem.
87 Paul seems to be contrasting the present Jewish religious system on earth with the present Jewish system in heaven: (1) bondage/free, (2) earthly/heavenly, (3) of Hagar/of Sarah, (4) children = Israel/children = believers.
Perhaps the reference to “above” is (1) perfectly realized Judaism (e.g., Christianity; cf. Rom. 21:9ff), (2) Sarah who is in heaven substituting the realized system for the mothers of it, (3) not so much a spatial place as the community of the New Covenant, (4) Jesus.
88 Isaiah 54:1 is prophecy of Jerusalem’s restoration following the years of Babylonian captivity stating that her blessing will be greater than before.
Paul seems to be using Isaiah 54:1 as support (γάρ) for his reasoning that the Galatians are part of the New Covenant community which God promised to bring about through Israel. This ultimately goes back through Sarah through whom the promise passed (e.g., she was barren, yet, God brought about seed through faith). So also are the Galatians (and Christians) the fulfillment of promise. In other words the reason Paul identifies the Galatians with the community of the New Covenant is because they are a part of the promise of blessing to the believing remnant of Israel who once were blessed (with spiritual children), sinned, went into captivity (was barren), and then were promised to be even more greatly blessed. God was speaking to those of faith, and the Galatians are of faith and thus fulfill it in part.
Note the contrasts between Hagar and Sarah: fertile/barren, pre-exelic Israel/postexelic Israel--more, earthly Jerusalem/heavenly Jerusalem, blessed under the old covenant/blessed under the new covenant--more.
It is actually this metaphor from Isaiah 54 that Paul uses to develop his “allegory” form the events of Genesis 16. Here Isaiah refers to a city as a woman (Isa. 54:11,1). Thus Paul relates the two women of Genesis to two women of Israel, and to two cities of Jerusalem. They are distinguished by their covenant relationship. Hagar equals the covenant relationship of works, and Sarah equals the covenant relationship of promise. In this sense, and only in the theological design, is it possible to say that “the Law says” (4:21).
89 Just as Ishmael threatened the covenant promise and had to be cast out, so should the Galatians separate from the Judaizers who threaten the covenant promise through Christ.
90 This section has been the goal of Paul’s letter all along. The problem addressed in the prologue (of turning from God unto a different gospel), and the time spent defending his message personally and theologically were all focused upon enabling the Galatians to accept his message as God’s truth, and thus live by it.
As a unit, this segment has been divided in many ways. It seems best to make two major subdivisions of 5:1-2 where Paul exhorts the Galatians, based upon his previous arguments, to no longer be deceived by the Judaizers, and 5:13--6:10 where Paul exhorts the Galatians on the proper way to use their liberty. The former is an application by warning, and the latter is an application by exhortation. One is negative and the other is positive.
91 The term is ὠφελήσει meaning “to help”, “to be useful”, to be advantageous”, “to profit” as in the profit which obedience to the word can bring (Heb. 4:2), or the good which comes from translating tongues when spoken in the congregation (1 Cor. 14:6). From the point of view of the Judaizers, circumcision would be a means of producing spiritual growth--deepening one’s spiritual relationship. But Paul is saying that if one pursues spiritual growth by keeping a set of rules, than Christ will not provide any spiritual growth, or be of any beneficial good because He has been abandoned as the source of righteousness for laws and rituals.
92 Paul’s point is that if one goes back to the Law for seeking righteousness in one area (circumcision), then one is obligated, or a debtor, to keep all areas of the Law. One may not pick and choose; the Law is all or nothing (cf. 3:10). With the demands of the Law also come its curse if one fails, and Paul says that all fail (3:11-12).
93 This is the same term that is employed in 5:5 in a future sense (ἐλπίδαδικαιοσύνης (hope of righteousness). Therefore, it is not describing the legal act of being declared righteousness so much as the finished process of being righteousness.
94 The sentence is κατηργήθητε ἀπὸ Χριστστοῦ. The concept is of being released from the rule, or jurisdiction, or someone, or something, as in Romans 7:2 where the woman is released from the rule of the Law (cf. Rom. 7:6). Here Paul is saying that whoever is seeking to acquire righteousness with the Law is released from the jurisdiction of Christ who brings righteousness. These are people who are already justified (3:2), but are returning again to the Law through the advice of Judaizers. This return to Law releases them from the benefits of Christ, and separates them from His effective rule of righteousness.
95 “To fall” (ἐξεπέσατε) may be descriptive of withered flowers that fall to the ground (James 1:11), or have the idea of being lead off course from one’s steady position (2 Pet. 3:17; cf. BAGD, P. 243). Here Paul is saying that those returning to the Law have fallen, or strayed off course, from the steadfastness of grace. They have left the rule of Christ; they have strayed from the principle of grace through a movement towards works for righteousness. They have fallen from the sphere of grace to live in the sphere of Law.
96 Paul is affirming that all possibility of growth in the spiritual life is stifled by a Christian returning to the Law because there is a separation of one’s self from Christ’s present rule in your life when you go back to trying to be righteous, but the one who does not go back to the Law can grow because his issue of righteousness is settled--he waits for glory--and he loves others.
97 This term is singular (τι) and thus, probably looks at an individual.
98 Just because it is the nature of evil to spread does not mean that God will ultimately allow it to triumph.
99 Perhaps the Judaizers accused Paul of “preaching circumcision” because he did at times allow Jews to be circumcised in order for them to be able to reach other Jews. Although the Timothy event occurred later than this letter, it is a case in point which could have been misunderstood, and thus applied against Paul (cf. Acts 16).
100 Paul is not speaking out of vengeance and anger, but in a figurative way to express his desire that the Judaizers cease to be able to reproduce themselves (spiritually). Certainly, castration would physically picture the spiritual bareness that he desires, and it does relate to the rite which the Judaizers are promoting.
Also, Paul desires to expose the perverseness of the Judaizers demand for circumcision. For Paul, circumcision is of so little value before God, now that Christ has come, that it may as well be the action of the cult of Cybele. It has no more value than the ritual of cutting, and marking followed by the pagans. And not only does Paul relate their desires to the Gentiles, but he also relates it to that which would disbar one from worship in Judaism (Deut. 23:1).
101 Now Paul begins to give positive exhortations to the Galatians so that they might know how it is that they are to function without the Law ruling them, and what the consequences to their actions will be.
102 The concern that some might have had was that the freedom of Christianity would be used as a license for evil. Therefore, Paul now relates freedom to libertinism whereas before he related it to bondage.
103 “Flesh” has three possible senses: (1) meat on the bones, (2) weaknesses, and (3) our propensity to sin--our sinful nature. Galatians 5 is referring to number three.
104 This is somewhat of a paradox because freedom is described as slavery (e.g., “to serve one another”). However, this slavery fulfills the moral Law, and was never possible before Jesus.
105 Again, if one recognizes the threefold breakdown of the Mosaic Law into promise, ethic, and code, then Paul’s meaning of the “Law” may be clearly seen to have reference to the ethic of the Law. When Paul speaks against the Law, he speaks with reference to the code of the Law. However, here he urges the Galatians to fulfill the ethic of the Law--to love their neighbors.
106 The concern that some might have had was that the freedom of Christianity would be used as a license for evil. Therefore, Paul now relates freedom to libertinism whereas before he related it to bondage.
107 The term is περιπατέω meaning “to live, conduct one’s self, walk, live one’s daily life”, and carries the figurative idea of walking or moving by taking one step at a time, just as one physically walks (cf. Rom. 6:4; 8:4; 14:15).
108 Paul is exhorting believers to live their lives, take each step, by the agency, or help, of the Holy Spirit. It is not the Holy Spirit who does the walking for them, but He who enables them to do it themselves (cf. Eph. 5:18).
109 This is an emphatic negation (οὐ μὴ)--it is not even possible (cf. 1 Thess. 5:3).
110 See Dana and Manty, p. 249.
111 Although some, such as Toussaint, do not understand this conflict to be the same as that in Romans 7--8 because Romans 7 is a conflict between the sin nature and the reborn ego whereas Galatians 5 is between the sin nature and the Holy Spirit (“Galatians”, p. 14), one must ask if there is any real difference between my regenerated “ego” and the Spirit who lives within me. Also the effect is the same in that “I do what I do not wish” in the flesh (cf. Rom. 7:20), and “I do what I desire” in the Spirit (Gal. 5:17). Both cases are concerned with obeying God; both are our normal experience. Galatians is discussion the help from our dilemma.
112 To be “under Law” is to be under the rule of the Law, but to be led by the Spirit is to be under the rule of grace (cf. Romans 6:14). When one is under law, he has a sinful master--the Flesh; when one is under grace, he has a righteous master (the Spirit).
113 It seems that Paul is describing the work of the flesh as being diverse, (1) sexual immorality, (2) rebellion against God, (3) fighting within the congregation with believers that leads to insensitivity toward one another.
114 Paul is making them open so that we might see them and be aware.
115 It is argued by many that this use of inherit does not describe believes, but unbelievers who will not enter into God’s kingdom (Bruce, Galatians, p. 250). However, this is a questionable interpretation for the following reasons: (1) in the context there is no reason to think that Paul has suddenly started to talk about unbelievers, (2) the things which those who will not inherit the kingdom of God do are those things Paul is saying the believer can do if he does not walk by the Spirit, and (3) once again in this context the judgment seat of Christ is referred to in a positive way (cf. 6:5).
Therefore, it seems that inherit may have reference to the reception of rewards, and thus the right to rule in the kingdom, at the judgment seat of Christ (cf. Luke 19:11-27).
116 The term for fruit is singular (καρπὸς), therefore, all of these descriptions are present in one way or another at the same time when you walk by the Spirit. The image of “fruit” is a comparison to the production of a tree (or plant). These are character traits which enable the believer to “do what he desires” (cf. 5:17). Fruit indicates the outward expression of an inner life as with an apple tree.
117 Although the voice of the verb is active (ἐσταύρωσαν), it has a passive idea (cf. 1 Cor. 9:22 for another instance of an active voice with a passive idea). Paul’s point here is not that Christians should crucify themselves, but that they were co-crucified with Christ (cf. Romans 6:6).
118 The method of justification determines the method of sanctification.
119 Now that Paul has discussed the negative results of not using one’s liberty for service, he reasons that the Galatians should use their liberty for service because it will bring spiritual reward (6:1-10).
120 The Law of Christ is spoken of in 5:14, John 13:34-35 (cf. 15:10-12; 13:3-15, 31-35). It seems that Paul is teaching what Christ taught in the “upper-room discourse” in John 13 and 15 that believers are to have love for one another, and in so doing they fulfill the Law and demonstrate themselves to be disciples of Christ. Paul would be emphasizing that it is these actions which make the Christian pleasing to God and not circumcision or other cultic laws.
121 The term for “something” (τι) is used of the Apostles where partiality was being displayed among men with some thinking the Eleven to be better than other men because of their God-given privilege (Gal. 2:6). There Paul argues that God does not show partiality with men. Paul again uses the idea of being “something” when he speaks of the relationship between Apollos and him as neither of them being anything of great importance in themselves in that God causes all things to increase (1 Cor. 3).
It seems that in this verse Paul is reacting again to the Judaizers who considered themselves to be better by essence, or nature, than the Galatians because they were circumcised, or followed the ritual of the Law. Although they compared themselves to others, and considered themselves to be greater than others, they were in fact nothing (μηδὲν).
122 The verb is βαστάσει which is a future tense.
123 While there are some burdens which one can carry for others (Gal. 6:1-2), we stand alone before Christ (cf. Rom. 14:10-12; 1 Cor. 3; 2 Cor. 5:9-10). Paul is exhorting the Galatians to have true love for one another whereby they may have confidence when they stand alone before God.
124 Other similar passages are 1 Corinthians 9:7-15; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; Luke 10:7. This is an act of participation in ministry in that the teacher shares the good things of the work, and the congregation shares their good things for the growth of the ministry--a fellowship (e.g., share = Κοινωνείτω)
125 This kind of loss can be seen at the Judgment Seat of Christ (cf. Luke 19:11-27; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:10).
126 Although it is difficult to be certain, this verse may be affirming that Paul wrote not only the conclusion, but the whole letter in uncials (large letters): (1) Paul never uses the epistolary aorist to refer to what follows, (b) Paul normally uses the present tense for what is at hand (cf. 1 Cor. 9:14; 14:37; 2 Thess. 3:17).
127 It is the cross which unified Jews and Gentiles, and the Judaizers probably did not want to be persecuted by the militant Jews for being with uncircumcised Gentiles as Paul was.
128 The Judaizers are not concerned about all of the Law, but just those areas which cause them trouble before the Jews--circumcision. That is why they wish the Galatians to be circumcised (e.g., to boast in their [the Galatians] flesh [circumcision, or fleshly observance of the Law--a play on words]).
129 The world is crucified/Paul is crucified: Here Paul is explaining that the world with all of its allurements, fleshly displays, and religions of human effort were cast aside by Paul. He looked at the world as if it were on the cross, and the world system looked at Paul as if he were on the cross.
130 See 2 Corinthians 5:16-17. To be in Christ is what matters.
131 Although it is not a theological problem to say that Paul is emphasizing that believers (Jews and Gentiles) are now partaking of the spiritual promises given to Israel (Gal. 3:29), it is probably better to understand Israel to be “believing Jews” for the following reasons: (1) Paul may be making a distinction even though he recognizes the unity of the church in order to make clear that he is not anti-Jewish [cf. Acts 21:21], (2) The usual meaning of καὶ is “and” rather than “even”, (3) two groups seemed to be emphasized by the repetition of ἐπὶ, (4) Israel occurs 65 times in the New Testament, and every time it refers to literal Israel, and (5) Paul elsewhere distinguishes between believing and unbelieving Israel [cf. Romans 2:28-29; 9:6].
Also believing Israel could be broad to include present believing Israel as well as eschatological Israel (S.Lewis Johnson, Jr., “Paul and ‘The Israel of God’“ An Exegetical and Eschatological Case-Study”, pp. 180-196. In Essays in Honor of J. Dwight Pentecost. [Edited by Stanley D. Toussaint and Charles H. Dyer. Chicago: Moody Press,1986]; Bruce, Galatians, pp. 273-275).
132 It seems that the Judaizers were giving Paul troubles by accusing him of going back to the Law (e.g., circumcising some; see Acts 16).
133 The term is στίγματα and describes the brand which a master would place upon a slave. Paul’s marks from persecution showed that he was a slave to Christ rather than a people-pleaser.
134 Paul is affirming that he bares marks of persecution by the Jews as proof that he does not go back to the Law as a proclaimer of Jesus (cf. 2 Cor. 4:10-11; 6:5-9; 11:23-27; Acts 14:19; 21ff).
135 Paul calls them “brethren”. It is good that after all the turmoil of this letter, he still calls them brethren. His parting words are an expression of his love for them!
Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines