katapi New Study Bible - New English Bible - New Testament

katapi HOME | references | Search---> the New English Bible New Testament | Faith and freedom (Ch.1) | → parallel NEB || Greek ← |

. Chapter 3.

Law or Faith

1 YOU STUPID GALATIANS! You must have been bewitched—you before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly displayed upon his cross! 2 Answer me one question: did you receive the Spirit by keeping the law or by believing the gospel message? [Or: or by the message of faith; Or: or by hearing and believing. ] 3 Can it be that you are so stupid? You started with the spiritual; do you now look to the material to make you perfect? 4 Have all your great experiences been in vain—if vain indeed they should be? I ask then: 5 when God gives you the Spirit and works miracles among you, why is this? Is it because you keep the law, or is it because you have faith in the gospel message? 6 [ Gn.15.6. ] Look at Abraham: he put his faith in God, and that faith was counted to him as righteousness.

7 You may take it, then, that it is the men of faith who are Abraham's sons. 8 [ Gn.12.3. ] And Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles through faith, declared the Gospel to Abraham beforehand: 'In you all nations shall find blessing.' 9 Thus it is the men of faith who share the blessing with faithful Abraham.

10 [ Dt.27.26. ] On the other hand those who rely on obedience to the law are under a curse; for Scripture says, 'A curse is on all who do not persevere in doing everything that is written in the Book of the Law.' 11 [ Hab.2.4. ] It is evident that no one is ever justified before God in terms of law; because we read, 'he shall gain life who is justified through faith'. 12 [ Lv.18.5. ] Now law is not at all a matter of having faith: we read, 'he who does this shall gain life by what he does'.

13 [ Dt.21.23. ] Christ bought us freedom from the curse of the law by becoming for our sake an accursed thing; for Scripture says, 'A curse is on everyone who is hanged on a gibbet.' 14 And the purpose of it all was that the blessing of Abraham should in Jesus Christ be extended to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

The Law and the Promise

15 My brothers, let me give you an illustration. Even in ordinary life, when a man's will and testament has been duly executed, no one else can set it aside or add a codicil. 16 [ Gn.12.7, Gn.13.15, Gn.17.7. ] Now the promises were pronounced to Abraham and to his 'issue'. It does not say 'issues' in the plural, but in the singular, 'and to your issue'; and the 'issue' intended is Christ. 17 What I am saying is this: a testament, or covenant, had already been validated by God; it cannot be invalidated, and its promises rendered ineffective, by a law made four hundred and thirty years later. 18 If the inheritance is by legal right, then it is not by promise; but it was by promise that God bestowed it as a free gift on Abraham.

19 Then what of the law? It was added to make wrong-doing a legal offence. [Or: added because of offences.] It was a temporary measure pending the arrival of the 'issue' to whom the promise was made. It was promulgated through angels, and there was an intermediary; 20 but an intermediary is not needed for one party acting alone, and God is one.

Slaves and Sons

21 Does the law, then, contradict the promises? No, never! If a law had been given which had power to bestow life, then indeed righteousness would have come from keeping the law. 22 But Scripture has declared the whole world to be prisoners in subjection to sin, so that faith in Jesus Christ may be the ground on which the promised blessing is given, and given to those who have such faith.

23 Before this faith came, we were close prisoners in the custody of law, pending the revelation of faith. 24 Thus the law was a kind of tutor in charge of us until Christ should come, [Or: a kind of tutor to conduct us to Christ.] when we should be justified through faith; 25 and now that faith has come, the tutor's charge is at an end.

26 For through faith you are all sons of God in union with Christ Jesus. 27 Baptized into union with him, you have all put on Christ as a garment. 28 There is no such thing as Jew and Greek, slave and freeman, male and female; for you are all one person in Christ Jesus. 29 But if you thus belong to Christ, you are the 'issue' of Abraham, and so heirs by promise.

<< | Galatians: 3 | >>

NEBNew English Bible: © The Delegates of the Oxford University Press & the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press 1961. This Webpage layout © Paul Ingram 2009. Any mismatches, truncated verses, other mistakes? Please e-mail me.