Continue to Believe the Truth

An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Paul’s Letter to the Galatians

www.easyenglish.info

Roy Rohu

This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

 

About Galatians

Paul wrote this letter about 50 years after the birth of Jesus. He wrote in the Greek language. The people called Galatians lived in part of the country that we now call Turkey. After his usual greeting, ‘I pray that you will have *grace and *peace’, Paul did not continue with gentle, loving words as he always did in his other letters. He was not pleased with them.

Many people in Galatia had become Christians. Some of these people were *Jews. Before they became Christians, they had tried to obey all of the very strict laws of Moses. They had tried to please God in this way. Now some of these Christian *Jews wanted to go back to the strict laws. They wanted to *circumcise all Christian men. They said that *faith in God was not enough. In this way, they refused what Paul was teaching.

To start, Paul said three important things:

1.   He said that he was a true *apostle (1:1).

2.   He said that his message was the only true message (1:6-10).

3.   He said that he got his message from Jesus himself (1:12).

Chapter 1

v1 This letter is from Paul, the *apostle. Men have not made me an *apostle. Jesus Christ and God the Father did it. God brought Jesus back from death. v2 And this letter is from all the *brothers who are with me. This letter is to the *churches in Galatia.

In all his letters, Paul says that God raised Jesus from death. And he says that Jesus is alive again. This is extremely important. Paul also says that ‘all the *brothers’ agree with him and with his message (see also 1:24 and 2:9). In the Greek language, the word ‘*brothers’ can mean a group of both men and women. When Paul says ‘*brothers’, he does not mean people of his own family, but other Christians.

v3 I pray that you will have *grace and *peace, from God the Father, and our *Lord Jesus Christ. v4 Jesus obeyed God our Father and Jesus died for our *sins. He did this because God our Father wanted us to be free from this evil world. v5 God’s greatness will always be wonderful. *Amen!

Paul began with a prayer for all the Christians at Galatia. He prayed that they would have *grace and *peace. People who used the Greek language spoke a lot about *grace. And people who used the *Jews’ language, Hebrew, spoke a lot about *peace. He wanted to teach both the *Gentiles (those who were not *Jews) and the *Jews something. When they obey Jesus, they are all Christians together. That is what he wanted to teach them. ‘Free from this evil world’ means free in their minds. He wanted their minds to be free from the ways of the people of the world.

v6 It surprises me that you are turning away from God so soon. He is so kind and he chose you. But you have believed another message. v7 That message is not the *good news. Some people are trying to change the *good news of Christ into something else. v8 We have already told you the *good news. Let us suppose that we, or an *angel from *heaven told you different ‘*good news’ from that. Then God will punish that person. v9 As I said before, I say again. You believed the ‘*good news’ that you heard from us. If anyone teaches you something different, then God will punish him.

v10 I do not try to please people. I try to please God. If I tried to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

v11 The *good news that I tell is from God, not from men! v12 I did not get it from people. Nobody told it to me. Jesus Christ caused me to understand it. v13 You have heard the story of my past when I was a *Jew. You know that I was very cruel to the *church of God. I even tried to destroy it. v14 I was even stronger in the religion of the *Jews than other young *Jews. I obeyed all our traditions. v15 But, before I was born, God had chosen me. And, one day, by his *grace, he showed me his Son. v16 God did this so that I had the *good news to tell to the *Gentiles. I did not ask anyone to teach me. v17 I did not go to Jerusalem city to the men there who were *apostles already. Instead, I went to the country called Arabia. Then I came back to Damascus city.

Paul tells how he received the *good news in verses 11-17. He wants the Christians at Galatia to know why his message is the true *good news. There were no Christian teachers in Arabia at that time. Paul wanted to learn from God, by himself.

v18 After 3 years, I went up to Jerusalem in order to see Peter. I was there with him for 15 days. v19 The only other *apostle that I saw was James, the brother of the *Lord Jesus. v20 God knows that all of this is true.

v21 Then I came to the countries called Syria and Cilicia.

v22 But none of the Christians in Judea knew me then. v23 They only heard this report. The cruel man who had tried to destroy the *good news was now telling it. v24 And they thanked God.

Chapter 2

v1 Fourteen (14) years later, I went back to Jerusalem. Two men, Barnabas and Titus, went with me.

This was Paul’s third visit to Jerusalem. The first visit was after he had trusted in Jesus (Acts 9:26; Galatians 1:18-19). The second visit was to take gifts (Acts 11:29-30; 12:25). The third one was to talk to the other *apostles (Acts 15:1-4). You can read about Paul’s fourth visit in Acts chapter 21. That was his last visit of all to Jerusalem.

v2 It was God who sent me to the *church leaders. I showed them how I tell the *good news to *non-Jews. I wanted to see if they agreed with my work.

Paul was very wise. He knew that troubles were coming. All the *apostles must agree together about the true *good news.

v3 Titus was not a *Jew, so nobody had *circumcised him. The *church leaders did not ask me to *circumcise him.

At this time, the *church leaders really believed the *good news. They could see that *circumcision does not make a person right with God. And to try to obey the laws does not make him right either.

v4 Some people who pretended to be Christians were there. They wanted to find out about the freedom that Jesus has given us. But they only wanted to make us obey their rules. v5 We did not listen to them. In that way, we kept the true *good news safe for you.

v6 Now, God does not prefer one person to another person. But some people did seem important. They did not try to add to my *good news. v7 Actually they knew that God was sending me to take his *good news to *non-Jews. They already knew that God was sending Peter to the *Jews. v8 God, who made Peter an *apostle to the *Jews, made me an *apostle to the *non-Jews.

v9 James, Peter and John, the important people, saw that this was true. So they accepted Barnabas and me as friends. They did it to show that we could tell the *good news to the *non-Jews. They would tell it to the *Jews.

v10 They did ask us to be kind to poor people. We always wanted to do that anyway.

It is not always right to agree with people. It is important to know what the Bible teaches. Then you will know what is right. And you will know what is wrong.

v11 On one occasion, Peter came to Antioch. I told him that he was wrong. v12 Some strict people from James had come to us, and Peter would not eat with the *non-Jews any longer. He was afraid about what the people from James would think.

v13 The rest of the *Jewish Christians were afraid also. Even Barnabas joined them.

These people were strict about the *Jewish laws. They came from the church in Jerusalem, where James was a leader. And they persuaded Peter not to eat with the *non-Jews. Peter should have realised that God accepted these *non-Jews as Christians. And Peter too should have accepted them.

Some people think that Peter was the most important *church leader. These verses show that Peter could make serious mistakes, like all of us. Barnabas was a good Christian but he did something wrong. Christian leaders must be especially careful about their words and their actions. If Christians do wrong things, trouble is the result. Other people do the same things.

v14 I saw that they were not true to the *good news. So I told Peter, ‘You were born a *Jew. But you have lived like a Christian who is not a *Jew. You cannot ask *non-Jews to live like *Jews.’

Good Christians can tell each other when they have done something wrong. Paul and Peter both loved God. They both wanted what is right. So they remained friends.

v15 I also said to Peter, ‘You and I were born *Jews, not *non-Jewish *sinners. v16 We know that the laws of Moses do not give a person *peace with God. We trusted Jesus and now we have *peace with God. We have *peace with God because we trust Jesus. We do not have *peace with God because we obey the laws. Nobody can have *peace with God just because that person obeys the laws. v17 We have *peace with God by trusting Jesus. But perhaps people will see that we are “*sinners”, no different from *non-Jews. This certainly cannot mean that Jesus encouraged us to *sin!’

We do not have *peace with God because of our efforts. It is Jesus himself who gives us *peace. Our trust may be a weak thing. But Jesus is able to save completely all who come to God by him (Hebrews 7:25).

Paul no longer trusted in the laws to have *peace with God. Jesus put away Paul’s *sins on the cross. Now Paul trusted in what Jesus had done. He knew that no person can make himself right with God. That might make people call him a ‘*sinner’. But that would not mean that Jesus had caused him to *sin. ‘That cannot be true’, said Paul. ‘Jesus does not cause people to *sin.’

v18 I should not go back to the things that I have refused. If I do, I was wrong to refuse them at the start. v19 I tried to obey the laws in order to please God. But I failed. So the law says that I deserve to die. Now, because of Jesus, I am alive to God. v20 It is as if I died with Jesus on the cross. Jesus now lives in me. Yes, I still live in a *human body. But my real life is to trust the Son of God. He loved me and he died for me. v21 I will not refuse the *grace of God to me. If the laws make a person right with God, then Jesus died in vain.

Jesus died instead of me. He died for me. I died to my own way when I trusted in him. Someone has called verse 20 ‘the whole point of the *good news’. Any honest person who can say verse 20 is a real Christian.

Chapter 3

v1 You foolish Christians at Galatia, someone has made fools of you. But you have known how Jesus died! v2 I want you to think about this one fact. You did not receive the *Holy Spirit because you obeyed the laws. You received the *Holy Spirit because you heard. And then you believed.

Here is what the Christians at Galatia had received:

• Paul, who brought the *good news (4:14).

• The *good news itself (1:9, 12).

• God had brought them into his family (4:5).

• The *Holy Spirit (3:2).

They had received all of this. Paul cannot believe that they could forget.

v3 Do not be so foolish! You cannot complete by effort what God has started. v4 You have suffered so many things. And I am sure that you did not suffer in vain. v5 God gives his *Holy Spirit and he does *miracles among you. He does not do this because you obey the laws. Instead, you believe the truth that you heard. And so God does these things among you.

v6 Similarly, Abraham trusted God and God declared him to be a friend of God. v7 You see! People who trust God are the real ‘sons’ of Abraham! v8 There it is in the *scripture! God decided to make people right with him by *faith. There is the *good news to Abraham, ‘Through you I will do good things for all the people in the world.’ This includes *non-Jews. v9 So then anyone who has *faith has *peace like Abraham.

Some people think that we do not need the *Old Testament. But we could not understand verses 6-9 without it. God is angry with those who trust in keeping rules. We know this because the *scriptures say so. (See Deuteronomy 27:26.) This is because people cannot keep all the rules. (See Deuteronomy 31:26.) Nobody has ever obeyed all the laws (Romans 3:10). If a person does not obey one part of the laws, he is also guilty of the other parts. This shows that the person is against God (James 2:10).

v10 Some people think that their own efforts please God. But he is angry with such people. The *scripture says, ‘God is angry with everyone who does not obey all of the laws.’ v11 To obey the laws does not make a person into a friend of God. But *faith gives life to the person who becomes a friend of God. The *scriptures say that. v12 The laws do not bring *faith. The person who obeys the laws will just continue to obey rules. v13 Christ has removed his anger from us. We do not need to obey the laws in order to have *peace with God. He took our punishment upon himself. The *scriptures say, ‘A punishment is on everyone who hangs on a tree.’ v14 Christ died for us. In that way, God’s promises to Abraham now come to all the people in the world. So, because of what Jesus has done, we can receive the *Holy Spirit by *faith.

Because of what Jesus did, God will not punish us. Jesus took the punishment on himself to make us free (Deuteronomy 21:22-23).

v15 Nobody can change a man’s *will after he has made it.

v16 Now God gave the promise to Abraham and to his *descendant. *Scripture does not say ‘*descendants’, it says ‘*descendant’. That is, one *descendant. That *descendant is Christ. v17 Now the laws came 430 years after God’s promise to Abraham. So the laws cannot put an end to God’s ‘*will’, (his promise). v18 If we have to gain the promise by keeping rules, God’s promise is nothing. But God freely gave the promises to Abraham.

We are not able to *earn our *salvation by what we do. And we are not able to *earn it by what we do not do. The laws show us that. When we see that, we are ready to go to Jesus for help.

The purpose of the laws and the rest of the *Old Testament was to lead us to Jesus (Matthew 11:13; Luke 16:16). When we are right with God, we can show our love for God. God’s *Holy Spirit (verse 14) helps us to love God. And he helps us to obey God.

v19 I will tell you why God added the laws. He added them because people were doing wrong things. The laws would last until Abraham’s *descendant, Jesus, came. *Angels gave the laws to Moses. And Moses gave the laws to the people. v20 But, when God gave his promise to Abraham, he did it by himself alone.

Moses stood between God and the *Jewish people. God used *angels to give his laws to Moses. (See Hebrews 2:2; Acts 7:53; Deuteronomy 5:5.)

v21 But the laws are certainly not against the promise of God. Because, if life could come from the laws, then to obey the rules would make us right with God. v22 But the *scripture says that all people are guilty of *sin. So the promise is for all who have *faith in Jesus.

v23 At first, the laws were all that we had. That was before *faith came. We had to wait for the *faith that was to come. v24 The laws were our *guardian until *faith came. Now, by *faith in Jesus, we can be right with God. v25 Now that *faith has come, the laws are no longer like our *guardian. v26 Now that you have *faith in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God. v27 You have accepted *baptism in the name of Jesus. His life covers you like new clothes.

*Baptism is an important action. People who want *baptism should be ready to live to please Jesus. Paul writes more about *baptism in Romans 6:1-8.

v28 There is no longer *Jew or *non-Jew, slave or free person, male or female. God makes all of us one family in Christ Jesus. v29 If you are Christ’s, you are Abraham’s *descendant. And the promise of God to Abraham is yours too.

This verse teaches that every Christian person is in God’s family. God is a loving Father, who cares for each Christian. He appreciates men and women, servants and rulers, and people from all countries. God does not prefer one person to another person. Things like colour of skin and wealth can divide people. In Christ, they are no longer important to us. He wants us to live at *peace with each other (John 17:20-23).

Chapter 4

v1 Let me tell you more. As long as a son is a child, he is like a servant. Yes, although he owns all that his father has left. v2 He is responsible to keepers and managers until the time that his father decides. v3 It was like that for us. When we were children, we were servants to the ways of this world. v4 But when the right time came, God sent his son into the world. A *human mother gave birth to him. He was born in a society that had to obey the laws.

Verse 4 says ‘the right time came…’

• Never forget that God knows all things. We see and know only a little. He knows the right time to act in world affairs and in personal affairs.

• There was one world language, Greek, at the time of Jesus and his followers. So language was not a problem.

• There was one world government, from Rome. The *Roman rulers had good roads to all places. It was easy to go from place to place.

• The *Roman rulers kept the *peace everywhere, so wars did not prevent Christians from travelling with the *good news.

v5 God sent him to free the people who had to obey the laws. Now he has done that, God brings us into his family as his sons. v6 And because you are now sons, God has given you the *Holy Spirit of his Son. So now we can say, ‘Abba’, which means ‘Father’. v7 Now you are no longer a servant, but a son. God, the Father, gives his sons the things that he promised.

Romans 8:9 makes it clear that if we are Christians, the *Holy Spirit lives in us. ‘Abba’ means ‘Daddy’.

v8 Before you knew God as Father, you were like slaves. You served ‘gods’ that are not real gods. v9 But now, you know God and God, even more, knows you. So I do not know how you can return to these weak and poor principles. I do not know why you want to become slaves again. v10 You are so careful about the special days and times of your old religion. v11 I am afraid for you. Perhaps all my hard work for you was in vain.

The *scriptures often tell about the false gods of some of the *Jews (Jeremiah 1:16). The *non-Jews also had false gods (Acts 17:23). Even ‘good’ people who did not know God made a false ‘god’ of the rules of this world (Colossians 2:20-22). People were ready to blame other people because they did not obey the rules (Colossians 2:16-17).

Paul’s great fear for the Christians at Galatia should have warned them about their danger. Paul wanted:

• his *good news to bring people to Christ;

• his Christians to grow in *faith and in love;

• his new Christians never to go back to their old ways.

v12 *Brothers and sisters, I ask you to become like me. I am a *human person like you. I am not angry with any one of you.

Paul wanted the new Christians to be like him. He knows why he can never go back to his old ways. He wants them to be as sure as he is about laws and *grace.

v13 I first told you the *good news. You knew then that my body was not well. v14 You did not let my trouble make any difference to you. You accepted me as if I was an *angel, or Jesus Christ himself.

Many people think that Paul had an eye disease (Galatians 6:11; Galatians 4:15). Or perhaps he was referring to some other trouble.

v15 We were so happy together. And I do not know what has happened to change this. At that time, if it were possible, you would have given your own eyes to me. You really cared about me then. v16 I have been honest with you. I hope that I am not your enemy now because of that. v17 Yes, those people who change the *good news have an interest in you. But they only want to take from you the *grace of God. Then they will be your teachers. v18 It is good when everyone wants to do the right thing. But do not only do it when I am with you. v19 My children, I feel like a mother in pain as she gives birth. And I will feel like that until I see the *nature of Christ in you. v20 I wish that I was there with you now. And I wish that I had reasons to be more gentle. You cause me trouble.

True Christians want other people to know Jesus. And they want them to grow in *faith and in love. You must want this too! (See Colossians 4:12.)

v21 Listen, you who want to return to the laws. You have not really thought about the laws. v22 The *scriptures say that Abraham had two sons. The mother of one son was the slave called Hagar. The mother of the other son was the free woman, called Sarah.

The *Jews said that they were the real sons of Abraham. In the *human way, they were, as Jesus taught (Luke 13:16). But Jesus said that, in their spirits, many of them were not (Matthew 3:9). See also Romans 9:1-8.

v23 Now the son of the slave was born in the ordinary way. The son of the free woman, Sarah, was born because God promised him to Abraham.

God promised Abraham a son but Abraham did not wait. Instead, the son of the slave was born. (Read Genesis 15:1-4 and Genesis 16:1-4.) But afterwards, God still allowed the free woman to have her son. (Read Genesis 18:10; 21:1-3.) So Abraham had to wait 14 years for the son that God promised. His name was Isaac.

v24 These things are like a picture to help us to understand. It is like a picture of the two agreements between God and men. God gave the first agreement at the mountain called Sinai. That is where he gave the laws. The mother, Hagar, is like that agreement. Her children were born as slaves. v25 Hagar, the slave, is like the present Jerusalem. Jerusalem and all the people who live there serve like slaves. v26 The Jerusalem that is in heaven is free. That Jerusalem is like our real mother. v27 The *scriptures speak about this. They say,

‘Be glad, you woman who does not give birth to any children.

Shout, you who have no birth pains.

Be glad, because the woman with no husband

has more children than the married one.’

See Isaiah 54:1. This *scripture is about the *Kingdom of God and the *Gentiles who have *faith in Jesus. Paul means that God chose the *Jews. God gave them all that they needed, ‘husband and children’. He gave them himself and the family of *Jewish children. But many *Jews did not trust Jesus.

Today, God invites the *Gentiles as well as the *Jews to trust him. The *Gentiles who trust God will now be like Abraham and Sarah. They will bring many ‘children’ to God. These ‘children’ are the people who become Christians. They become Christians when the *Gentiles tell them the *good news. So God’s people are now both *Jews and *Gentiles. Everyone who trusts in Jesus is a real Christian.

v28 *Brothers and sisters, we are God’s children because of his promise. In that way, we are like Isaac.

v29 Now, the son of the slave was cruel to the son of the free woman. That still happens today. v30 So the *scripture says, ‘Send away the woman who is a slave. And send away her son.’ In that way, the slave’s son will not share in God’s promise to Abraham. v31 And similarly, we are not slaves, but we are free.

Ishmael, the son of the slave, was cruel to Isaac (Genesis 21:9). When he laughed at Isaac, he was also laughing at God’s promise to Abraham. You can read more about Abraham’s sons in Genesis 21:10-14; 25:5-6.

Chapter 5

v1 Christ has made us free. Stay free then, and do not let anyone make you like slaves again.

v2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you. If you let people *circumcise you, Christ will be of no use to you. v3 Yes, I tell you again. If you let people *circumcise you, you will have to obey all the laws again.

The Christian is free to *circumcise for health reasons. Paul is speaking about the *circumcision that the *Jewish laws ordered. The *Jews believed that this was the way to please God. The *Jews said that *circumcision was extremely important (Genesis 17:10-14). *Circumcision was a sign of the agreement between God and the *Jews. That agreement lasted until Jesus came (Matthew 11:13; Luke 16:16). Jesus brought a new agreement between God and all people everywhere (Matthew 26:27-28; Hebrews 12:24).

v4 Let us suppose that you try to be right with God by keeping rules. Then you will no longer have power from Christ. You will be cut off from *grace. v5 It is by *faith that we live by means of the Holy Spirit. By *faith we can be sure that God approves us.

Paul warns three times against the *circumcision which was part of the old laws:

• ‘Christ will be of no use to you’ (verse 2).

• ‘You will no longer have power from Christ’ (verse 4).

• ‘You will be cut off from *grace’ (verse 4).

The Christian must live by *faith. This is so important that God has said it four times in *scripture (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).

v6 *Circumcision and *uncircumcision do not matter to the Christian. *Faith and love that work together are the important things.

We may have *faith without love. We will not bring people to Jesus that way. We may have love that is only a *human love. That will not bring people to Jesus either. *Faith and love must work together.

v7 You were going on so well! But someone turned you away from the truth. v8 Whatever changed your mind did not come from God. God invited you to come to him. v9 A little bit of *yeast goes through the whole loaf of bread.

If we make bread without *yeast, the loaf will be flat and hard. Even a little bit of *yeast affects the whole loaf. In the same way, says Paul, a little *sin can spoil many people. (See the same idea in Hebrews 12:15.)

v10 I have confidence in God that you will agree with me. But the person who causes trouble for you will have his punishment. v11 Some people say that I teach *circumcision. But they still attack me! If I did agree with *circumcision, the message about the cross would not upset anybody. v12 Some people have made trouble for you. I wish that those people would cut themselves off completely!

Paul speaks very strongly here. He does so because he loves the Christians at Galatia so much. He is very angry with those who try to lead the Christians at Galatia away from Jesus.

v13 God invited you, my *brothers and sisters, to be free. But do not use your freedom as an excuse to do anything that you want. Instead, serve each other with love. v14 All the laws together are really equal to only one law: Love other people as much as you love yourself.

From verse 13 to 6:10, Paul talks about a serious *heresy that came into the *church.

This *heresy disagreed with the plain message of Jesus. We now call it antinomianism. The false teachers said that Christians are free from the laws. They may do anything that they want to do. Jesus helps us to understand the laws, which God gave to us through Moses (Matthew 5:17). Paul taught that the laws are good (Romans 7:12). This is because they show us our *sin (Galatians 3:24). And they also help us to keep close to Jesus. They also help us to be kind to other people. See Leviticus 19:18 and Matthew 7:12.

v15 If you fight with each other, be careful! You will ruin each other’s lives. v16 But let God’s *Holy Spirit guide you. In that way you will not satisfy what your *human *nature wants. v17 The desires of the *human *nature are against the desires of your new Christian *nature. These two desires are enemies to each other. So it is hard for you, as Christians, to do what you should do. v18 But if you obey God’s *Holy Spirit, you are not under the authority of the *Jewish laws.

v19 Now what the *human *nature produces is clear. It produces wrong use of sex, wrong desires, wrong use of the mind. v20 It uses false gods and magic. It hates people. It likes bad arguments. It causes people to be jealous. It produces bad temper and selfish desires. It makes one group oppose another group. It produces divisions and false teachers. v21 It is *envious. It likes to be drunk and to have evil parties. And it produces other things like these. I warn you, as I did before. People who do such things have no part in the *Kingdom of God.

v22 The *Holy Spirit, however, causes us to have love, joy, *peace, and patience. He causes us to behave with kindness and goodness. He causes us to be loyal to other people. v23 He causes us to be gentle and to control ourselves. There are no laws against these things.

Christians should love God and people. And they should be humble. Christians like that show that they are obeying Jesus. Joy is different from happiness. Happiness depends on things like money, food, home, possessions and friendships. Joy comes when God forgives our *sins (Psalm 5:11). *Peace and patience come by knowing God (Romans 5:1; Colossians 1:20; Isaiah 26:3). God tells us to be kind to other people (Romans 12:10). God expects us to be true to him (Luke 16:11, 12; 1 Corinthians 4:2). He is true to us (1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 John 1:9). We must be gentle to other people (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13). If we do not control ourselves, we do not please God.

v24 It is as if Christ’s people have put their *human *nature to death. Their *human *nature with all its loves and desires has died. v25 Since we have chosen the life of the Spirit, let us obey the Spirit. v26 Let us not be proud people. That only makes other people angry and jealous.

Chapter 6

v1 My friends, you are of the *Holy Spirit. Perhaps someone will fall into *sin. Then you, whom the Spirit guides, should help that person. Help that person to return to God. But have a gentle attitude. And be careful; the devil may tempt you also. v2 When you help each other, you are obeying the law of Christ. v3 Somebody may think that he is better than other people. But if he is not better, then he is a person without much sense. v4 Do what you ought to do. Then you will have something to be glad about.

Paul is speaking here about the kind of *sin that takes a person by surprise. The best people can do wrong things. Paul is warning Christians to remember that, apart from the *grace of God, anyone can make a mistake (Matthew 7:3; 1 Corinthians 4:5).

The law of Christ is plain. It is love, love, love (John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:11). We should not always need the *approval of other people (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

v5 Every person must do his own part of God’s work. v6 Share your good things with anyone who teaches you God’s word. v7 Make no mistake. Nobody can pretend to God. A person gets the same crop as he sows. v8 Similarly, one person acts by his *human *nature. The result will be death. Another person acts by the *Holy Spirit. That person will live always.

*Human life is like when we sow seeds. And later we gather in the plants. Every day, we do things that will have results in the future. We do so in our thoughts, words and deeds. It is possible for a Christian to act from his *human *nature. See Galatians 6:7.

v9 Let us continue to do good deeds. Do not tire. Then, each of us will receive our reward. Our reward will come at the proper time, like the harvest.

v10 We should help people whenever we can. Especially, we should help other Christians. v11 I am writing with large letters. Notice it!

A person can get tired of doing good deeds when people punish him for it. People can get tired when other people do not appreciate their good deeds. Read what Paul’s advice is in 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Paul may have told a helper what to write. Some people believe that Paul himself wrote the last few verses with large letters. They believe that it was in order to show the importance of the letter. Other people believe that he had weak eyes. They think that this caused him to write with large letters.

v12 These men want so much to *circumcise you. They want to make a good impression about things that people consider important. But people who speak about the cross have trouble. And these men want to avoid trouble.

The false teachers said that they were Christians. But they wanted the *Jews to accept them.

v13 Yes, they are *circumcised but they do not obey the laws themselves. They want to *circumcise you. Then they will be able to say with pride that you obeyed them. v14 But I am never proud about anything except the death of our *Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that death, I consider the world and its ways as dead to me. The world thinks of me as dead.

Although Paul’s letter to the Christians in Galatia is short, he talks about the death of Christ 13 times. He wants us to see how important the death of Christ is. Paul also tells us to be like dead people to *sin and to the world (Romans 6:11; 7:6; 8:13).

v15 It does not matter if you are *circumcised or not. All that matters is that you are a new person. v16 Live in this way. Then I shall pray that you will have *peace. And I pray that God will be good to you. I pray that the Israel of God will have *peace.

v17 There are *scars on my body. They prove that I belong to Christ Jesus. So from now on, do not cause me trouble with these things again. v18 I pray that the *grace of our *Lord Jesus Christ will be with your spirit, my Christian friends. *Amen.

Many Christians believe that ‘the Israel of God’ means the *church. Other Christians believe that it means *Jews who have become Christians.

People were cruel to Paul because he told the *Good News. Anybody could see his *scars. (See 2 Corinthians 6:4-5, 9; 11:23-27).

Word List

amen ~ that is right; let it be so; oh, yes!

ancestor ~ ancestors are people years ago that your parents came from.

angel ~ a servant from God who brings messages from God’s home.

apostle ~ a man that God chose to lead his *church.

approval ~ when someone agrees with what someone else has done.

baptism ~ when they put a person under water or put water on a person; it is to show that they want to obey Christ.

brothers ~ people who are part of God’s family; When Paul says ‘brothers (and sisters)’, he does not mean people of his own family, but other Christians.

church ~ a group of people who obey and believe in Jesus Christ.

circumcise/circumcision ~ to cut off the loose skin from the end of the sex part of a boy or man.

descendant ~ a child, grandchild, and so on; a person in your family who lives after you are dead.

earn ~ gain by work.

envious ~ to want things that other people have; or to be angry with them because they have them.

faith ~ belief in something; or belief and trust in someone; or belief and trust in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Gentiles ~ people who are not *Jews.

good news ~ the good news that God saves people from *sin by Jesus Christ.

grace ~ a gift from God that we do not deserve or *earn.

guardian ~ a person who takes care of children instead of the natural parents.

heaven ~ the place where God and Christ are.

Hebrew ~ the language of *Jewish people; a Hebrew is a *Jewish person.

heresy ~ an opinion that is different from an accepted opinion in religion.

Holy Spirit ~ also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ and the Comforter. He is equal with and he is joined to God and Christ. Jesus sent God’s Holy Spirit to help people.

human ~ people, not animals or other things that are alive.

Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children; or a person who believes what Jews believe.

Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything that belongs to a *Jew.

Kingdom of God ~ the Kingdom of God is where God rules.

Lord ~ the name for God in the Bible; it means that he is head over all; a name that we call Jesus; we call Jesus Lord when we obey him; someone with authority.

Lord’s Supper ~ when Christians eat bread and drink wine to remember Jesus.

miracles ~ wonderful works which God does by his power.

nature ~ how someone is or their mind or their ways.

non-Jew ~ a person who is not a *Jew.

Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible.

peace ~ when we are friends with God and with other people.

Roman ~ a person from Rome. Rome was a powerful city; it had a strong army.

salvation ~ when God frees us from the results and power of *sin; the rescue of a person from evil things and their results in their life; God forgives us when we are sorry for our wrong ways.

scars ~ marks left when a person is hurt.

scripture ~ a book of God’s holy message.

sin/sins ~ when people do things against God or other people.

sinner ~ someone who *sins.

uncircumcision ~ when a person is not *circumcised.

will ~ a person writes a will; it says who should get his possessions after his death.

witness ~ a person who was present to see or to know something.

yeast ~ a powder that makes bread soft when you are making it.

Book List

W. Barclay ~ The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians ~ St. Andrew’s Press

J. Calvin ~ Galatians and Ephesians ~ Calvin Translation Society

M. Henry’s Commentary ~ Corinthians to Philippians ~ W. Mackenzie

Hogg and Vine ~ Epistle to the Galatians ~ Pickering and Inglis

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown ~ Bible Commentary ~ Oliphant

R. Lee ~ The Outlined Galatians ~ Pickering and Inglis

Bibles

Petersen ~ The Message ~ Navpress

Weymouth ~ The New Testament in Modern Speech ~ J. Clarke and Co.

Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible

New King James, The New Testament from 26 Translations ~ Marshall, Morgan and Scott

 

© 1997-2005, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).

December 2005

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