Continue by God’s Spirit
An EasyEnglish Version with Notes (1200 word vocabulary) of Paul’s Letter to the Galatians
The translated text has been through Advanced Checking.
Words in boxes are comments on the text.
The word list at the end explains words with a star * by them.
The Book of Galatians includes some words from the Old Testament. (That is the part of the Bible that describes events before Jesus’ life on earth.) We show where these words come from in the Old Testament by straight brackets like this: [………..].
v1 This letter is from me, Paul. Jesus Christ and God the Father, who caused Jesus to become alive again after his death, have sent me. They have given authority to me to be a special worker and teacher on Christ’s behalf. No human person sent me or gave that authority to me. v2 All the believers who are here with me also say ‘hello’ to you groups of believers in Galatia.
v3 I pray that God, our Father, and the *Lord Jesus Christ will continue to be very kind to you. I pray that they will cause you to be without trouble deep inside yourselves. v4 Jesus gave himself because of all the wrong things that we have done. He did that to save us from this bad world in which we live now. This is what our God and Father wanted him to do. v5 Everyone should say always how very good and great God is! This is true.
v6 I am very surprised about you! You are turning away so soon from God, who caused you to come to him by Christ. He caused you to live by Christ, because he is so very kind. But instead, you are listening now to a different ‘good news’. v7 But really, there is no other ‘good news’. Clearly, some people are confusing you. They are trying to change the good news about Christ. v8 Nobody should ever teach a different ‘good news’ from the one that we taught you. Neither we, nor even an *angel from the sky, should ever teach a different message. I pray that God will *punish always anyone who does that. v9 I will say again what I have just said. Someone may teach a different ‘good news’ from the one that you have believed. But God will *punish always anyone who does that.
v10 Certainly, I am not trying to make people happy by what I am saying. No, but I am trying to do what God wants. If I were still trying to make people happy, I would not be Christ’s servant.
v11 The good news that I taught you did not come from any human person. I want you to know this, my friends. v12 No human person gave it to me or taught it to me. No, it was Jesus Christ himself who showed it to me.
v13 You know about the things that I did before, as a *Jew. At that time, I strongly believed the things that the *Jews believe. And I caused very much trouble and pain for God’s church (the Christians). I did my best to destroy it. v14 I was a better *Jew than many other *Jews who were about the same age as me. I wanted very, very much to obey and to teach the things that my grandfathers taught. v15 But God had chosen me even before I was born. He chose me to be his servant because he is so very kind. He decided v16 to show his Son in me, so that I could tell the *Gentiles about him. When God did that in me, I did not talk to any human person about it. v17 Nor did I go to Jerusalem to see Christ’s special workers and teachers. Those men were Christ’s special workers and teachers before I was. But I did not go to see them. No, instead, I went immediately to the place called Arabia, and later I went back to Damascus city.
v18 Then, three years later, I went to Jerusalem to meet Peter. I stayed there with him for 15 days. v19 I did not see any of Christ’s other special workers and teachers, except James, the *Lord’s brother. v20 What I am writing to you is true. And God knows that it is true! v21 Later I went to places in Syria and Cilicia. v22 The groups of believers in Judea had never met me. v23 They had only heard people say things about me. People said: ‘This man caused bad trouble and pain for us before. He wanted to stop people believing Christ. He tried to destroy us. But now he himself is telling people to believe Christ.’ v24 And so, the believers in Judea thanked God because of me. And they said how good and how great God is.
v1 Then, 14 years later, I went to Jerusalem again. This time I went with Barnabas, and I took Titus with me also. v2 I went because God had shown me that I should go. I explained to the Christian leaders there the good news that I teach to the *Gentiles. But I explained it only to those men who seemed to be the leaders. I wanted them to understand the message that I was teaching. I wanted them to agree that it was right. I was afraid that perhaps they might not agree. I was afraid that my work, both in past times and now, was not really worth anything. v3 Titus was with me then, and he is a Greek man (from the country called Greece). But the leaders at Jerusalem did not even say to me that anyone should *circumcise Titus. v4 Some men, who had come into our meeting secretly, did want to *circumcise Titus. Those men said that they were believers. But they were not really believers. They had come only to find out what we believe. They wanted to know how free we are from the *Jews’ rules because we are united to Christ. They wanted to make us slaves to those rules. v5 But we did not agree with what those men were saying, not even for a moment. We wanted you to continue believing the true good news.
v6 Those people who seemed to be the leaders did not argue with me. It does not matter to me whether they were really important people or not. God does not look at what people seem to be on the outside. Those leaders did not say that I should teach anything more in my message. v7 No, instead they saw that God had given a special job to me, as he had to Peter. God wanted me to tell the good news about Christ to the *Gentiles. And he had told Peter to tell the good news to the *Jews. v8 God worked in Peter to make him a special teacher to the *Jews. And God worked also in me to make me a special teacher to the *Gentiles.
v9 James, Peter and John, the important leaders in Jerusalem, understood that God had given this special job to me. So, they were happy to be friends with Barnabas and me, because all of us were Christ’s special workers. They agreed that we should go to the *Gentiles. And they themselves would go to the *Jews. v10 The only thing that they asked us to remember was this: They wanted us to remember to help the poor people. And that was the same thing that I myself wanted very much to do.
v11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I was angry with him. I stood in front of him. ‘You are doing something that is wrong’, I said to him. v12 Before certain men had arrived at Antioch, Peter had been eating meals with the *Gentile believers there. Then James sent some men (*Jews) from Jerusalem to Antioch. And after those men had arrived, Peter started to keep himself separate from the *Gentiles. He stopped eating meals with them, because he was afraid. He was afraid of those *Jews, who wanted to *circumcise all the *Gentiles. v13 All the other *Jews at Antioch who were believers were afraid also. So, they did the same as Peter had done. And, as a result, even Barnabas copied their example.
v14 But they were not doing what is really right. And I saw that it was not right. They were not obeying the true message that is the good news. Then I spoke to Peter in front of all of them. ‘You are a *Jew, but you have been living like a *Gentile, and not like a *Jew’, I said. ‘So you should not try to make *Gentiles obey the same rules as the *Jews.’
v15 We were born *Jews. We are not *Gentiles, who are without the Law (the rules that God gave to the *Jews). v16 But we know that those rules cannot make anyone right with God. A person only becomes right with God when that person really believes Jesus Christ. So we, too, have become believers in Christ Jesus so that we could be right with God. God accepts us as right with himself because we believe Christ. He does not accept us because we obey the *Jews’ rules. Nobody becomes right with God only because they obey the *Jews’ rules.
v17 So then, we believe that we become right with God by Christ. But, at the same time, other people may see that we ourselves are doing some wrong things. But that does not mean that Christ causes people to do wrong things. Certainly, it does not mean that! v18 I could start to build again the things (the *Jews’ rules) that I tore down. But that would only show that I myself could not obey all those rules. v19 But, as a result of those rules, I have died to those rules. I died to them, so that now I can live for God. v20 Christ died on the cross, and I have died with him. I do not live any more, but Christ lives in me. The life that I live now, in my body, I live by the Son of God. I live because the Son of God causes me to believe him. He loves me and he gave himself on my behalf. v21 God has done so very much on our behalf because he is so very, very kind. And I refuse to say that God has done less than he has really done. If the *Jews’ rules could have made me right with God, then Christ died for no reason!
v1 You Christians in Galatia are fools! Someone has taught you to believe crazy ideas! I showed to you so very clearly how and why Jesus Christ died on the cross. v2 I want you to think about the reason why you received God’s Spirit. You did not receive him because you were trying to obey the *Jews’ rules. No, instead you received him because you believed the good news. You heard the good news, and you believed it. v3 You have begun by God’s Spirit. So, you should not try to continue by your own human *power. You should not be such fools! You can never become completely as God wants you to be by human *power. v4 You have had so many difficulties and troubles that have taught you so very much. You should not throw away what you have learned as a result of all these troubles. v5 God gives his Spirit to you. And he does special things among you that surprise people. But he does not do these things because you obey the *Jews’ rules. No, he does them because you believe the good news. You believe the good news that you have heard.
v6 Think about Abraham. ‘Abraham believed God and, as a result, God accepted Abraham as right with himself’ [Genesis 15:6]. v7 So, the people who believe God, they are Abraham’s children. This is what you need to understand. v8 In the *Old Testament it says that, at a future time, God would make the *Gentiles right with himself. He would make them right with himself if they believed him. And so, the *Old Testament told this future good news to Abraham. ‘I will be good to people from all countries because of you’, God said [Genesis 12:3]. v9 So then, God will be good to all those people who, like Abraham, believe him.
v10 But God will *punish all those people who believe only in the *Jews’ rules. Those people think that, by those rules, they can become right with God. But those people will have to be separate from God. It says in the *Old Testament: ‘God will *punish everyone who does not always obey all the rules completely. Everyone must be careful always to do everything that is in the book of the *Jews’ rules’ [Deuteronomy 27:26]. v11 It is clear that nobody can become right with God by the *Jews’ rules. It is clear because it says in the *Old Testament: ‘The person that I have accepted will live. Those people will live because they believe me.’ [Habakkuk 2:4]
v12 But the *Jews’ rules do not make it important to believe God. Those rules are not about that. No, instead it says in the *Old Testament: ‘The person who obeys all these rules completely will live by them’ [Leviticus 18:5]. v13 As a result of the *Jews’ rules, God would have had to *punish us. God would have had to make us separate from himself. But Christ bought us, to make us free, because God *punished him on our behalf. It says in the *Old Testament: ‘When people hang someone on a tree to kill him, that person must be separate from God.’ [Deuteronomy 21:23] v14 Christ did this so that the *Gentiles could receive good things from God. They could receive, by Jesus Christ, what God had promised to Abraham. So then, if we believe Christ, we can receive God’s Spirit. We can receive the Spirit that God promised.
v15 My friends, I will use an example from what people do. When two people make a proper *agreement in the correct way, nobody else can change that *agreement. Nobody can take away the power of that *agreement, nor can anyone include any extra words in it. v16 In the same way, God promised things to Abraham and to Abraham’s grandson. It does not say in the *Old Testament ‘to your grandsons’. That is, it does not mean ‘to many people’. No, instead it says ‘to your grandson’. That is, it means ‘to one person only’. God promised those things to one person, and that person is Christ. v17 What I mean is this. God had made an *agreement. He had promised to do what he had said. Then, 430 years later, God gave his rules to Israel’s people. But those rules could not finish the power of God’s *agreement. Those rules could not stop what God had already promised. v18 We can receive what God gives to his children. But it is not as a result of the *Jews’ rules that we receive it. If that were true, then we would not receive it as a result of God’s promise. But God gave it to Abraham because he had promised to give it.
v19 So we could ask: Why did God give his rules to his people? He gave those rules to them to show them which things were wrong. God gave those rules until Abraham’s one special grandson came. That was the grandson to whom God had given his promise. God used *angels to give his rules to a man (Moses), who was there on behalf of all the people. That man was between God and the people. v20 But sometimes only one person is doing something by himself. And then it is not necessary to have a man in between like that. And God gave his promise by himself alone.
v21 So, perhaps someone could say that the *Jews’ rules are working against God’s promises. No, certainly that is not true! If any rules could have made people alive to God, then God would have given those rules to people. Then those rules would really have made people right with God. v22 But it says in the *Old Testament that all the people in the world are like people in prison. *Sin keeps all people in prison. So then, we can only receive what God has promised by Jesus Christ. God gives what he has promised to every believer in Christ.
v23 But before we believed Christ, the *Jews’ rules kept us safe. Those rules kept us safe, like people that someone had locked into a safe place. Those rules kept us safe until God showed Christ to us. God showed us that we must believe Christ. v24 So, the *Jews’ rules were like our teacher, who kept us safe. Those rules led us to Christ. So then we could become right with God because we believed Christ. v25 But now that we do believe Christ, the *Jews’ rules do not have authority as our teacher any more.
v26 All of you are God’s sons because you believe Christ Jesus. v27 All of you that God *baptised into Christ have put on Christ. You have put on Christ, as someone puts on new clothes. v28 You are not different from each other any more, because you are all united together in Christ Jesus. Whether you are *Jews or *Gentiles, men or women, slaves or free people, all of you are united in him. v29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s grandchildren. So, you will receive everything that God promised to Abraham.
v1 I will try to explain it like this. The oldest son in a family will receive what is his father’s at the right age. But while he is a child, he is completely like a slave. One day he will be the master of all his father’s things. But still he is completely like a slave now. v2 He has to obey teachers, and other people who have authority over him, until the right time. He must wait for the time that his father has chosen. v3 In the same way, we were like children also. We were slaves to the bad *spirits that rule this world. v4 But when the time was completely right, God sent his own Son. He came as the son of a human mother. He was born a *Jew, under the authority of the *Jews’ rules. v5 We were like slaves under the *Jews’ rules. But God’s Son bought us, to make us free. So then we could become proper sons of God. v6 And because you are sons, God has sent his Son’s Spirit to live deep inside us. His Spirit in us shouts to God: ‘Father, my Father’. v7 So, you are not a slave any more, but you are a son. And because of that, you will receive everything that God gives to his sons.
v8 Before, when you did not know God, you were slaves to other *spirits. You were slaves to *spirits that are not really gods. v9 But now you know God. Or really, I should say that God knows you. So, you should not turn back to those weak and poor *spirits that rule this world. You should not want to become their slaves again! v10 You say that certain days, or months, or times, or years are special. v11 I am afraid about you. I worked so very much among you to help you. And I am afraid that I may have wasted my time.
v12 My friends, I ask you very strongly to become like me, because I became like you. You have not done anything wrong to me. v13 I told the good news to you the first time because I was ill. You know that. v14 I caused trouble for you because I was ill. But still you were kind to me, and you did not say bad things to me. Instead, you said: ‘Welcome!’ You were as happy as if I were an *angel from God, or even Christ Jesus himself. v15 But now I do not understand why you are not happy like that any more. I can say certainly that you would have torn out your own eyes for me. If it had been possible, you would have given your own eyes to me. v16 And now I seem to have become your enemy because of what I am telling you! But I am telling you only what is true.
v17 Those false teachers want very much to make you believe them. But they do not really want what is good for you. What they do want is to make you separate from me. They want you to think that they themselves are very clever and important. v18 It is good to want other people to believe certain things, if it is for a good purpose. It is always good to be like that, not only when I am there with you. v19 My children, I feel really like a mother who is giving birth to you again. I feel pain on your behalf until you become more completely like Christ. v20 I want very much to be present with you now. Then I could know better what I should say to you. Because I do not really know what to say.
v21 So, you want the *Jews’ rules to have authority over you! Then you must know what those rules mean. v22 It says in the *Old Testament that Abraham had two sons. He had one son by a woman, Hagar, who was a slave. And he had another son by Sarah, who was a free woman. v23 One woman was a slave. And her son was born as a result of what Abraham himself decided. But his son by the free woman was born as a result of what God had promised.
v24 These two women are like pictures of the two *agreements that God made with his people. Hagar is like the *agreement that God made on Sinai mountain. That *agreement causes people to become slaves. v25 Hagar is like a picture of Sinai mountain in Arabia. Also, she is like Jerusalem city here on earth now, because that city and its people are slaves. v26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free. And that Jerusalem is our mother. v27 It says in the *Old Testament:
‘Be happy, you woman who never had any children!
You are the woman who has never known the pain from a child’s birth.
Shout loudly because you are so happy!
Because the sad and lonely woman has many more children
than the woman who has a husband.’
v28 You, my friends, are children like Isaac. Like him, you were born as a result of what God promised. v29 At that time, the son who was born as a result of what Abraham decided was not kind to Isaac. That first son, Ishmael, caused trouble and pain for Isaac, the son who was born because of God’s Spirit. And it is the same now. v30 But it says in the *Old Testament: ‘Send away the woman who is a slave and her son. Because that woman’s son will never receive what God has promised to the free woman’s son.’ [Genesis 21:10] v31 So then, my friends, we are not children of the woman who is a slave. No, we are children of the free woman.
v1 Christ has made us free because he wants us to be free! So, be strong and continue to be free. Do not let yourselves become slaves again.
v2 Listen carefully! I, Paul, tell you this. If you let someone *circumcise you, then Christ will be worth nothing to you. v3 I say it again. Every man who lets someone *circumcise him must then obey all of the *Jews’ rules. v4 You people who try to become right with God by the *Jews’ rules will make yourselves separate from Christ. You have stopped believing that only Christ can make you right with God. You have stopped believing how very kind God is to us. v5 But God’s Spirit causes us to hope certainly that we will become right with God. We will be right with him because we believe him. We are waiting for this and we want it to happen very much. v6 We are united with Christ Jesus. And so, it does not matter whether anyone has *circumcised us or not. The only thing that matters is that we believe God. And those who believe him must love God and other people. And then they will show that they believe him.
v7 Like good runners, you were doing so well! You should not have let anyone stop you. You should not have stopped obeying what is true. v8 It is not God who has caused you to stop. No, because God asks you to come to him. v9 ‘Only a small amount of *yeast can cause a whole lot of bread to rise’, as people say. v10 But I still feel sure about you, because we are united in the *Lord. I feel sure that you will not think differently from me. But God will *punish the man who is confusing you. Whoever that man may be, God will *punish him.
v11 My friends, I do not still tell people that someone should *circumcise them. If I did tell people that, then nobody would still cause trouble and pain for me. Then what I taught about Christ’s cross would not cause anyone to become angry. v12 The people who are confusing you should cut their own bodies. That is what I want them to do!
v13 My friends, God has asked you to come to him so that you can be free. But you must be free in the right way. You are not free to do everything that, as a human person, you may sometimes want to do. Instead, you must be like servants to each other because you love each other. v14 One rule brings together all the rules that God gave to the *Jews. This one rule says: ‘Love every other person the same as you love yourself.’ v15 But do not be like wild animals. Wild animals fight and eat each other. If you are like that, be careful. Be careful that you do not destroy each other completely.
v16 So, this is what I am saying to you. Live by the *power that God’s Spirit gives. And let him lead you. Then you will not do any wrong things that, as a human person, you may sometimes want to do. v17 Your own human *power wants completely opposite things to what God’s Spirit wants. It fights against what God’s Spirit wants. And so, you cannot do the things that you really want to do. v18 But if God’s Spirit leads you, then the *Jews’ rules have no authority over you.
v19 Everyone knows the kinds of bad things that people can do by their own human *power. They have sex with people who are not their own wife or husband. They think and they do dirty things. They do things that people ought to be very ashamed to do. v20 They *worship false gods. They ask bad *spirits to help them. They become enemies and they fight. They *hate other people because they themselves want to be like those people. They become very angry without any good reason. They want to be more important than other people. They refuse to agree, and so they belong to separate groups. v21 They want things that are other people’s. They are drunks. They have parties where they do all kinds of bad things. I have told you before how dangerous it is to do these things. And now I am telling you again. People who do things like this will not be God’s people. They will not belong to God’s people that he rules over. Nor will they receive the things that God has prepared for his people.
v22 But God’s Spirit in us causes us to love God and other people. He causes us to be happy and without trouble deep inside ourselves. He causes us to be patient, kind and good. He causes us to believe that God will continue to help us. v23 He causes us not to think that we are better than other people. He causes us to rule ourselves properly. And there are no rules against these things that God’s Spirit causes us to do. v24 Those people who belong to Christ Jesus have killed their own human *power on his cross. They have killed it, so that it does not make them feel things any more. Nor does it make them want to do things any more. v25 We live by God’s Spirit. So, we must obey God’s Spirit and we must let him lead us. v26 We must not want people to think that we are better than anyone else. We must not make each other angry. We must not want each other’s things so that, as a result, we *hate each other.
v1 My friends, if anyone among you cannot stop doing a certain wrong thing, you must tell him to stop. Those people in your group who understand things by God’s Spirit should tell him to stop. You should tell him what is the right thing to do. But you must be careful to be kind when you tell him. Remember that you yourself might not always be able to stop yourself doing something wrong. v2 Like people who help to carry heavy things, you should help each other to be strong during troubles and problems. This is how you will obey Christ’s rules. v3 None of you should think that you yourself are too important. If you are not that important really, then you would be believing something false. v4 Each person should think about the things that he himself has done. And he himself must decide whether those things are good. If they are good, then he can be happy. He can be happy because of what he himself has done. He does not need to think about whether he is better or worse than anyone else. v5 Each person must live his own life and do his own work.
v6 Everyone who is learning God’s message from a teacher should give good things to that teacher. Every learner should give some of all the good things that he has to his teacher.
v7 Nobody can ever make God a fool. Do not let yourself think that anyone can ever do that! If someone puts a seed from a certain kind of plant into the ground, that seed will grow. And the result will be the same kind of plant. v8 A person may do the things that, as a human person, he himself wants to do. And the result will be that he will die. Or instead, a person may do the things that God’s Spirit wants. And the result will be that God’s Spirit will cause him to live always. v9 So, we should not stop doing what is good. We should not get tired of it. If we do not get tired, then we shall receive a good result at the proper time. v10 So then, every time that we have the chance, we must do good things for everyone. Certainly, we must do good things for those people who, like us, believe Christ. Those people belong to the same family as us because all of us believe Christ.
v11 You can see what big letters I am making now! It is because I am writing to you now with my own hand!
v12 Those people who want to seem clever and important are trying to confuse you. They are telling you that you should let someone *circumcise you. They are doing that only for this reason. They do not want anyone to cause trouble and pain for them because of Christ’s cross. v13 Even those men that someone has *circumcised do not obey the *Jews’ rules. They want to *circumcise you only to make themselves seem great. They want to say that they have authority over your bodies. v14 But I do not want to say any great things about myself. The only thing that makes me great is our *Lord Jesus Christ’s cross. By his cross, the world has become dead to me and I have become dead to the world. v15 It does not matter whether anyone has *circumcised you or not. What matters is that God has made you a new person. v16 I pray that God will be kind to all those people who live by this rule. I pray that he will cause them to be without trouble deep inside themselves. I pray this for all those people who are really God’s.
v17 I want no more trouble from anyone after this. The marks on my body show that I am Jesus’ servant.
v18 My friends, I pray that our *Lord Jesus Christ will continue to be very kind to you. I pray that he will be with your *spirits. This is what I pray.
agreement ~ when two or more people, or God and people, agree about something.
angel ~ *spirit being (a being is a person or animal that is alive). Good angels come from God’s home beyond the earth. They are God’s servants and they bring messages from God to people.
baptise ~ to put a person or a thing completely into something else (for example, into water). See the note on 3:7.
circumcise ~ to cut off the skin from the end of a boy’s or a man’s sex part. It was a mark to show that Israel’s people had agreed to obey God.
Gentile ~ a person who does not belong to Israel’s people.
hate ~ to strongly or completely not like something or someone. To hate is the opposite of when you love something or someone.
Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children (Israel’s people).
Lord ~ master. Another name for God. It means that he is greater than everyone else.
Mount ~ a word for a small mountain.
Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible, that describes events before Jesus’ life on earth.
power ~ what someone is able to do. Human power includes everything that we can think or do by ourselves, without God’s help.
punish ~ to hurt someone, or to cause trouble for them, because they have done wrong things.
sin ~ what makes us *sinful. *Sin has authority over every person who is born into this world. When we come to Christ, he stops sin’s authority over us.
sinful ~ when a person does not love or obey God. All people are born sinful, with their *spirits dead to God. As a result, they cannot really know God or be friends with him. Sinful things (sins) are the wrong things that sinful people do.
spirit ~ a being (person) that is always alive, even without a body. A person’s spirit is the part of them that will always be alive. It will be alive even after their body is dead. Our spirit is the part of us that receives God’s Spirit. There are good spirits, like God’s Spirit and his *angels. And there are bad spirits, like the Devil (God’s enemy) and his *angels.
worship ~ to love and thank someone (God) more than anyone else.
yeast ~ something that people use to make bread. See the note on 5:2.
A. Marshall ~ The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament
R. N. Longenecker ~ Galatians ~ Word Biblical Commentary
Various Bible versions
© 1997-2005, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).
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