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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 2 For freedom Christ set us
free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.
It is I, Paul, who am telling you that if you
have yourselves circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you.
Once again I declare to every man who has
himself circumcised that he is bound to observe the entire law. 3
You are separated from Christ, you who are
trying to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the
hope of righteousness.
For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor
uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. 4
5 6 You were running well;
who hindered you from following (the) truth?
That enticement does not come from the one who
called you. 7
A little yeast leavens the whole batch of
I am confident of you in the Lord that you will
not take a different view, and that the one who is troubling you will bear the
condemnation, whoever he may be.
As for me, brothers, if I am still preaching
circumcision, 8 why am I still being persecuted? In that
case, the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.
Would that those who are upsetting you might
also castrate themselves! 9
10 11 For you were called for
freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one
statement, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 12
But if you go on biting and devouring one
another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.
I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will
certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. 13
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you
may not do what you want.
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are
not under the law.
14 Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
immorality, impurity, licentiousness,
idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,
outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions,
occasions of envy, 15
drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that
those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control. Against such there is
Now those who belong to Christ (Jesus) have
crucified their flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow
Let us not be conceited, provoking one another,
envious of one another.
1 [1-6] Paul begins the exhortations,
continuing through ⇒ Gal 6:10, with an appeal to the
Galatians to side with freedom instead of slavery (⇒ Gal
5:1). He reiterates his message of justification or righteousness by
faith instead of law and circumcision (⇒ Gal 5:2-5);
cf ⇒ Gal 2:16; ⇒ 3:3.
Faith, not circumcision, is what counts (⇒ Gal 5:6).
2  Freedom: Paul stresses as the
conclusion from the allegory in ⇒ Gal 4:21-31 this
result of Christ's work for us. It is a principle previously mentioned
(⇒ Gal 2:4), the responsible use of which
⇒ Gal 5:13 will emphasize.
3  Cf ⇒ Gal
as those who seek to live by the law must carry out all its contents, so those
who have faith and live by promise must stand firm in their freedom
(⇒ Gal 5:1, ⇒ 13).
4  Cf ⇒ Romans
2:25-26; ⇒ 1 Cor 7:19;
⇒ Gal 6:15. The Greek for faith working through love
or "faith expressing itself through love" can also be rendered as
"faith energized by (God's) love."
5 [7-12] Paul addresses the Galatians
directly: with questions (⇒ Gal 5:7,
⇒ 11), a proverb (⇒ Gal
5:9), a statement (⇒ Gal 5:8), and biting
sarcasm (⇒ Gal 5:12), seeking to persuade the
Galatians to break with those trying to add law and circumcision to Christ as a
basis for salvation.
6  Running well: as in an athletic
contest; cf ⇒ Gal 2:2; ⇒ 1 Cor
9:24-26; ⇒ Philippians 2:16;
7  The one who called you: see the
note on ⇒ Gal 1:6.
8  Preaching circumcision: this
could refer to Paul's pre-Christian period (possibly as a missionary for
Judaism); more probably it arose as a charge from opponents, based perhaps on
the story in ⇒ Acts 16:1-3 that Paul had circumcised
Timothy "on account of the Jews." Unlike the Gentile Titus in
⇒ Gal 2:3 Timothy was the son of a Jewish mother. The
stumbling block of the cross: cf ⇒ 1 Cor 1:23.
9  A sarcastic half-wish that
their knife would go beyond mere circumcision; cf ⇒ Philippians
3:2 and the note there.
10 [13-26] In light of another reminder
of the freedom of the gospel (⇒ Gal 5:13; cf
⇒ Gal 5:1), Paul elaborates on what believers are
called to do and be: they fulfill the law by love of neighbor
(⇒ Gal 5:14-15), walking in the Spirit
(⇒ Gal 5:16-26), as is illustrated by concrete fruit
of the Spirit in their lives.
11  Serve . . . through love: cf
⇒ Gal 5:6.
12  ⇒ Lev
19:18, emphasized by Jesus (⇒ Matthew
22:39; ⇒ Luke 10:27); cf
⇒ Romans 13:8-10.
13 [16-25] Spirit . . . flesh: cf
⇒ Gal 3:3 and the note on ⇒ Romans
14 [19-23] Such lists of vices and
virtues (cf ⇒ Romans 1:29-31; ⇒ 1
Cor 6:9-10) were common in the ancient world. Paul contrasts works of
the flesh (⇒ Gal 5:19) with fruit (not
"works") of the Spirit (⇒ Gal 5:22). Not
law, but the Spirit, leads to such traits.
15  Occasions of envy: after the
Greek word phthonoi, "envies," some manuscripts add a similar
sounding one, phonoi, "murders."
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