Many have inquired concerning parts of Paul’s epistle to the Galataians, and especially in chapter 3. Here we present the entire epistle, from my edition of The Letters of Paul, hoping to shed light on various matters. While there is no space here for which to explain many of the methods employed in the translation, they are explained extensively in the full volume. Space does allow us to provide one of the footnotes, that for v. 3:16, found at the end of this document. A companion essay demonstrating Paul’s use of “Anointed” for the children of Israel shall soon follow.
I. 1 Paul, an ambassador not from men nor through man, but through Yahshua Christ, even Yahweh the Father, Who has raised Him from the dead, 2 and all of the brethren with me, to the assemblies of Galatia. 3 Favor to you and peace from Yahweh, the Father and our Prince, Yahshua Christ, 4 who gave Himself on behalf of our errors, in order that He should deliver us from the present wicked age, in accordance with the will of Yahweh our Father, 5 to whom is honor for eternity. Truly.
6 I am astonished seeing that so quickly you are changed from He who has been calling you in favor of the Anointed, to another good message, 7 which is no other except there are some who are agitating you, and wish to pervert the good message of the Anointed. 8 But even if we, or a messenger from heaven, should announce a good message to you contrary to that which we have announced to you, he must be accursed. 9 Just as we have said before, now also I say again, if anyone brings you a good message contrary to that which you have received, he must be accursed. 10 Now therefore do I persuade men, or Yahweh? Or do I seek to please men? Yet if I were pleasing to men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
11 Now I point out to you, brethren, the good message which is announced by me, that it is not according to man. 12 Neither from man have I received it, nor have I been taught but through a revelation of Yahshua Christ. 13 For you have heard of my conduct at one time in Judaism, that I had exceedingly persecuted the assembly of Yahweh, and had endeavored to destroy it, 14 and had advanced in Judaism beyond many contemporaries within my race, being a more excessive emulator of the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased Yahweh, Who selected me from my mother’s womb and called me through His favor 16 to reveal His Son by me that I announce Him among the Nations, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 Nor had I gone up to Jerusalem to those who were ambassadors before me, rather I departed into Arabia, then again returned to Damaskos. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to relate an account to Kephas, and remained with him fifteen days; 19 but the other ambassadors I saw not, except Iakobos the brother of the Prince. 20 Now the things I write to you, behold, in the presence of Yahweh, that I do not lie. 21 After that I went into the regions of Syria and Kilikia. 22 But I was unknown in appearance to the assemblies of Judaea which are among the number of the Anointed. 23 And they were only hearing: ‘That he who persecuting us at one time, is now announcing the faith which he once endeavored to destroy.’ 24 And they supposed Yahweh was within me.
II. 1 Then after fourteen years I had again gone up to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titos along also; 2 and I had gone up after a revelation, and laid upon them the good message which I proclaim among the Nations, but privately to those of repute, lest in any way I strive, or have strived, in vain. 3 Yet not even Titos who with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised 4 by those privily introduced false brethren, such who infiltrate to spy out our freedom, which we have in Christ Yahshua, in order that they may enslave us; 5 to whom not even for a minute did we yield in subjection, at which the truth of the good message would persevere for the sake of you. 6 Now from those reputed to be something, whatsoever they were then makes not one difference to me. Yahweh does not receive a man’s stature, therefore to me those of repute are conferred nothing. 7 But on the contrary, having seen that I have been entrusted with the good message of the uncircumcised, just as Petros of the circumcised, 8 (He who has been operating within Petros for a message of the circumcised, has also operated within me for the Nations,) 9 and knowing the favor being given to me, Iakobos and Kephas and Iohannes, those reputed to be pillars, had given right hands of fellowship to me and to Barnabas, that we are for the Nations, and they for the circumcised; 10 only that we should remember the poor, the same thing which I had then been anxious to do.
11 But when Kephas had come to Antiochia, I had confronted him personally because he was condemning himself: 12 for before some who were to come from Iakobos, he had eaten in common with the Nations, but when they came he withdrew and separated himself, being in fear of those of the circumcised; 13 and also the rest of the Judaeans had acted with him, so that even Barnabas had been led away by them in hypocrisy. 14 But when I had seen that they did not walk uprightly, according to the truth of the good message, I had said to Kephas before them all: If you, being a Judaean, live like a foreigner and not like a Judaean, how do you compel the Nations to imitate the Judaeans? 15 We, Judaeans by nature, and not wrongdoers from the Nations, 16 knowing that a man is not deemed righteous from rituals of law, if not through the faith of Yahshua Christ, we then have relied in Christ Yahshua in order that we would be deemed righteous from the faith of Christ, and not from rituals of law, since not any flesh shall be deemed righteous from rituals of law. 17 Now if seeking to be deemed righteous in Christ we ourselves are also found to be wrongdoers, then is Christ a minister of failure? Certainly not! 18 For if I again build these things which I have destroyed, I continue a transgressor myself. 19 For I through law have died in law, in order that in Yahweh I shall live. I have been crucified with Christ. 20 Now I live no longer, but Christ lives in me. And that I now live in flesh, in faith I live: in that of the Son of Yahweh, who having loved me then surrendered Himself on my behalf. 21 I would not refuse the favor of Yahweh; if righteousness is through law, then Christ has died for no purpose.
III. 1 Oh, senseless Galataians! Who has bewitched you? Before whose eyes Yahshua Christ had been publicly set forth, having been crucified? 2 This only I wish to learn from you: from rituals of law have you received the Spirit, or from a report of faith? 3 So are you senseless, beginning in Spirit, you are now being perfected in flesh? 4 Have you been affected by so many things without purpose? And if indeed without purpose. 5 Therefore he supplying to you besides the Spirit is also effecting abilities among you from rituals of law or from a hearing of faith? 6 Just as “Abraham had trusted Yahweh, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” 7 then you know that they from faith, they are sons of Abraham. 8 And the writing having foreseen that from faith Yahweh would deem the Nations righteous, announced to Abraham beforehand that “In you shall all the Nations be blessed.” 9 So those from faith are blessed along with the believing Abraham. 10 For as many as are from rituals of law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed are all who do not stand fast in all the writings within the book of the law, to do them.” 11 And that in law no one is deemed righteous before Yahweh is clear, because “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Now the law is not from faith, but “he who practices these things shall have life by them.” 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, becoming a curse on our behalf, (for it is written, “Accursed is everyone who hangs upon a timber,”) 14 in order that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Nations at the hand of Christ Yahshua, that we should receive the promise of the Spirit through the faith.
15 Brethren, (I speak as befits a man,) even a validated covenant of man no one sets aside, or makes additions to for himself. 16 Now to Abraham the promises have been spoken, and to his offspring. It does not say “and to offsprings”, as of many; but as of one: “and to your offspring,” which are anointed.39 17 Now this I say, a covenant validated beforehand by Yahweh, the law which arrived after four hundred and thirty years does not invalidate, by which the promise is left idle. 18 For if from law, the inheritance is no longer from promise, but to Abraham through a promise Yahweh has given it freely.
19 Then why the law? It had been imposed on account of the transgressions, until He would come: the offspring in which He had promised Himself, having been arranged by messengers in a mediator’s hand. 20 And the mediator is not of one, but Yahweh is one. 21 Therefore is the law in opposition to the promises of Yahweh? Certainly not! If a law had been given having the ability to produce life, indeed justification would have been from of law. 22 But the writing has enclosed all under fault, in order that the promise, from the faith of Yahshua Christ, would be given to those who are believing. 23 But before the faith was to come we had been guarded under law, being enclosed to the faith destined to be revealed. 24 So the law has been our tutor for Christ, in order that from faith we would be deemed righteous. 25 But the faith having come, no longer are we under a tutor; 26 for you are all sons of Yahweh through the faith in Christ Yahshua. 27 For as many of you have been immersed in Christ, Christ you have been clothed in. 28 There is not one Judaean or Greek, there is not one bondman or freeman, there is not one male and female; for all you are one in Christ Yahshua. 29 But if you are Christ’s, then of the offspring of Abraham you are heirs according to promise.
IV. 1 Now I say, for as long a time as the heir is an infant, he differs not at all from a bondman, being master of all; 2 but he is subject to guardians and stewards until a time appointed by the father. 3 Just as we also, when we were infants, we were held subject under the elements of the cosmos. 4 And when the fulfillment of the time had come, Yahweh had dispatched His Son, having been born of a woman, having been subject to law, 5 in order that he would redeem those subject to law, that we would recover the position of sons. 6 And because you are sons, Yahweh has dispatched the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying Father, Father. 7 So you are no longer a bondman but a son, and if a son, then an heir through Yahweh. 8 But while at that time not knowing Yahweh, you had been enslaved to those who are not gods by nature; 9 and now knowing Yahweh, and still more being known by Yahweh, how do you again turn back to the weaknesses and poor elements of knowledge to which from above you again desire to be enslaved? 10 You observe days, and months, and times, and cycles; 11 I fear for you, whether or not I have toiled for you without purpose. 12 You be as I am inasmuch as I am also like you, brethren, I ask this of you. You have wronged me in nothing. 13 Now you know that in sickness of the flesh I had announced the good message to you earlier, 14 and of my trial in my flesh you did not despise or loathe, but as a messenger of Yahweh you accepted me, like Yahshua Christ. 15 Then what is your blessing? I testify to you that, if possible, your eyes being extracted you would have given them to me. 16 Therefore, have I become your enemy, speaking truth to you? 17 Not rightly do they envy you, rather they desire to exclude you, in order that you would envy them. 18 But it is right always to envy in good, and not only at my presence with you. 19 My little children, whom I travail once more, until the Anointed have taken shape among you; 20 I have desired to be present with you even now, and to change my tone, because I am perplexed with you.
21 Tell me, those who are desiring to be subject to law, do you not hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one of the servant woman and one of the free. 23 Yet indeed he of the servant woman was born in accordance with the flesh, but he of the free by a promise. 24 Such things are, being allegorized: For these are two covenants, one from Mount Sinai having resulted in bondage, which is Hagar. 25 So Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem: for she is enslaved with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, which is our mother. 27 For it is written, “Be gladdened, barren who is not bearing; break fourth and shout, she who is not travailing; because many more are the children of the desolate than of she who has the husband.” 28 And we, brethren, down through Isaak, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to flesh had persecuted him according to Spirit, so also now. 30 But what does the writing say? “Cast out the servant woman and her son, for by no means shall the son of the servant woman inherit along with the son of the free.” 31 Well, brethren, we are not children of a servant woman, but of the free.
V. 1 In the freedom in which Christ has set us free, you stand fast indeed, and do not again be entangled in a yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say to you, that if you should be circumcised, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 And I testify again to every man getting himself circumcised, that he is obligated to do the entire law. 4 You are left unemployed, apart from the Anointed. Those that in law are tested have fallen from favor. 5 For we in Spirit from faith anxiously await the expectation of justice. 6 In Christ Yahshua neither circumcision nor uncircumcision prevail at all, but faith acting through love. 7 Have you run well, you who have resisted to be persuaded in the truth? 8 That persuading is not from He who is calling you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole dough. 10 I have confidence for you among the number of the Prince, that you will have no other purpose, and he who is agitating you shall bear the judgment, whoever he may be.
11 Now for my part, brethren, if I yet proclaim circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then has the stumblingblock of the cross been rendered idle? 12 I would even be obliged that those upsetting you were to cut themselves off. 13 For you have been called on to freedom, brethren, only not that freedom for occasion in the flesh; but through love you serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one statement, to wit: “You shall love him near to you as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and eat one another up, watch lest by one another you are consumed.
16 Now I say, you must walk in the Spirit, and desire of the flesh you should not at all fulfill. 17 The flesh desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; indeed these are in opposition to one another, in which case you should not do these things that you desire. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are under no law. 19 Manifest are the deeds of the flesh, such things are fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, use of drugs, hostilities, contention, rivalry, wrath, intrigues, dissensions, sects, 21 envyings, drunkenness, revelries, and things like these; which I have announced to you beforehand, just as I have said before, that they who practice such things shall not inherit Yahweh’s kingdom. 22 Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, selfcontrol: there is no law against such things. 24 But they of the Anointed crucify the flesh along with those affections and those desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, in the Spirit we also should walk. 26 We should not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
VI. 1 Brethren, even if a man should already be caught up in some transgression, you, those of the Spirit, restore such a man in a spirit of meekness, watching yourself lest also you may be tested. 2 Should you bear one anothers’ burdens, and in that manner fulfill the law of the Anointed? 3 For if anyone supposes to be something, being nothing, he deceives his own mind; 4 so each must scrutinize his own work, and then he has a boast to himself only, and not to another. 5 For each will bear his own load. 6 He who is being instructed in the word must share in all good things with he who is teaching. 7 Do not be deceived, Yahweh is not mocked; “Indeed whatever a man should sow, that he also shall reap.” 8 Because he who is sowing for his own flesh, from the flesh shall he reap destruction; but he who is sowing for the Spirit, from the Spirit he shall reap life eternal. 9 Now we should not waver from doing well, for in due time we shall reap without failing. 10 So then while we have occasion we should work at good towards all, but especially towards those of the family of the faith.
11 Do you see, in how large letters I have written to you in my own hand? 12 As many as desire to look good in body, these compel you to be circumcised only in order that they would not be persecuted for the cross of the Christ. 13 For not even they who are being circumcised themselves keep the law, but they wish you to be circumcised, in order that they may boast in your bodies. 14 But to me it may not happen to boast, except in the cross of our Prince, Yahshua Christ, through whom the cosmos has been crucified to me, and I to the cosmos. 15 Indeed neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new foundation. 16 And as many as shall be in line with this standard, peace upon them, and mercy, even upon the Israel of Yahweh.
17 Henceforth, no one must cause me troubles, for I bear the marks of Yahshua in my body. 18 The favor of our Prince Yahshua Christ is with your Spirit, brethren. Truly.
Note 39: Here Paul contrasts spermati, Dative singular of sperma (4690), with its Dative plural, spermasin. Thayer says of sperma “the singular is used collectively of the grains or kernels sown”, although later Thayer claims that this is not so here, perverting Paul’s use of the word and calling it “genius”. In the context of this and other of Paul’s epistles, I must read this to be a comparison of the several races sprung from Abraham: Jacob-Israel with Ishmael (Gal. 4:21-31), with Esau-Edom (Rom. 9, 10, and 11), and even those from Keturah.
The word “seed”, as in English, also in Greek and Hebrew is a singular used collectively, of many of a single type. The Greek plural of sperma appears in the N.T. only at Matt. 13:32 and Mark 4:31, where diverse types are meant. This is true in Old Testament Hebrew also, where zera (2233, “seed”) only occurs in the plural at I Sam. 8:15, where it is used of crops and diverse varieties are implied.
Many may point to the verb estin here, properly the singular “is” (of eimi, 1510) but here “are”, and it is easily demonstrable that estin is often translated “are” when referring to a collective noun, or a collection of objects. One need not look further than Gal 4:24 and 5:19 for examples of this, and Luke 18:27 is another example.
Since sperma may be translated “race” (Liddell & Scott, sperma, II. 2.) in all fairness, I may have done better to translate this verse: “Now to Abraham the promises have been spoken, and to his race. It does not say ‘And to races’ as of many; but as of one: ‘and to your race’, which is Anointed.”
You’ve now had occasion to critique one small portion of my translations, and to survey an example of one of hundreds of notes accompanying them. W.R.F.