The letter claims to have been written by Paul (1:1) and none but the most extreme doubt this.
There is considerable debate over the date of this letter, boiling down to whether it was written before or after the Council of Jerusalem (mentioned in Acts). Even the date for the Council is unsure, so the letter to the Galatians must at this stage be dated somewhere around 48 AD (a likely date for the Council of Jerusalem).
- 1:1-5 Paul, an apostle sent by Jesus Christ and God the Father, and all the brothers with me, to the churches in Galatia: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who has truly saved us.
- 1:6-10 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel - which is really no gospel at all. Let he who preaches to you a gospel other than what you have already accepted be eternally condemned.
- 1:11-2:10 I want you to know brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that men made up. I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. For you know that previously I zealously persecuted the church of God, but God had set me aside to reveal His Son to the Gentiles. I did not even consult with the Apostles until after three years I got acquainted with Peter and met James, the Lord's brother. Fourteen years later I went up to the Apostles and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles - this, in response to those who would add to the gospel. But James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognised the grace given to me, and agreed that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the Jews.
- 2:11-21 When Peter came to Antioch I opposed him as he had fallen in with the circumcision group and was clearly wrong. We know that a man is not justified by observing the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!
- 3:1-25 You foolish Galatians! Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to obtain the goal by human effort? Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "the righteous will live by faith". Christ redeemed us from the law in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles. Brothers, the law was introduced 430 years after the covenant and was added because of transgressions until Christ came. Therefore the law is absolutely not opposed to the promise of God, for if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would then certainly have come by the law. But what was promised is given by faith to those who believe. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
- 3:26-4:7 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts. So you are no longer a slave but a Son; and since you are a son, God has made you and heir.
- 4:8-16 When you did not know God, you were slaves to those who are not gods. But now that you know God, how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!
- 4:17-31 Those people are zealous to win you over - they wish to alienate you from us. How I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed! You are children of the promise - we are not slaves but free!
- 5:1-12 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free - you who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
- 5:13-15 You were called to be free, but do not use your freedom to indulge in the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love - love your neighbour as yourself.
- 5:16-26 Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the cravings of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. But if you are led by the Spirit then you are not under the law.
- 6:1-10 Let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
- 6:11-15 Those who would have you obey the law do so only that they may escape persecution - but what counts is a new creation.
- 6:16-18 Peace and mercy to all; and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.