New American Bible Revised Edition

* [1:1–5] See note on Rom 1:1–7, concerning the greeting.

* [1:1] Apostle: because of attacks on his authority in Galatia, Paul defends his apostleship. He is not an apostle commissioned by a congregation (Phil 2:25; 2 Cor 8:23) or even by prophets (1 Tm 1:18; 4:14) but through Jesus Christ and God the Father.

* [1:2] All the brothers: fellow believers in Christ, male and female; cf. Gal 3:27–28. Paul usually mentions the co-sender(s) at the start of a letter, but the use of all is unique, adding weight to the letter. Galatia: central Turkey more likely than the Roman province of Galatia; see Introduction.

* [1:4] The greeting in v. 3 is expanded by a christological formula that stresses deliverance through the Lord Jesus from a world dominated by Satan; cf. 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2; 6:12.

* [1:6–10] In place of the usual thanksgiving (see note on Rom 1:8), Paul, with little to be thankful for in the Galatian situation, expresses amazement at the way his converts are deserting the gospel of Christ for a perverted message. He reasserts the one gospel he has preached (Gal 1:7–9) and begins to defend himself (Gal 1:10).

* [1:6] The one who called you: God or Christ, though in actuality Paul was the divine instrument to call the Galatians.

* [1:8] Accursed: in Greek, anathema; cf. Rom 9:3; 1 Cor 12:3; 16:22.

* [1:10] This charge by Paul’s opponents, that he sought to conciliate people with flattery and to curry favor with God, might refer to his mission practices (cf. 1 Cor 9:19–23) but the word still suggests it refers to his pre-Christian days (cf. Gal 1:14; Phil 3:6). The self-description slave of Christ is one Paul often uses in a greeting (Rom 1:1).

* [1:11–2:21] Paul’s presentation on behalf of his message and of his apostleship reflects rhetorical forms of his day: he first narrates the facts about certain past events (Gal 1:12–2:14) and then states his contention regarding justification by faith as the gospel message (Gal 2:15–21). Further arguments follow from both experience and scripture in Galatians 3; 4 before he draws out the ethical consequences (Gal 5:1–6:10). The specific facts that he takes up here to show that his gospel is not a human invention (Gal 1:11) but came through a revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal 1:12) deal with his own calling as a Christian missionary (Gal 1:13–17), his initial relations with the apostles in Jerusalem (Gal 1:18–24), a later journey to Jerusalem (Gal 2:1–10), and an incident in Antioch involving Cephas and persons from James (Gal 2:11–14). The content of Paul’s revealed gospel is then set forth in the heart of the letter (Gal 2:15–21).

* [1:12] Although Paul received his gospel through a revelation from Christ, this did not exclude his use of early Christian confessional formulations. See note on Gal 1:4.

* [1:13–17] Along with Phil 3:4–11, which also moves from autobiography to its climax in a discussion on justification by faith (cf. Gal 2:15–21), this passage is Paul’s chief account of the change from his former way of life (Gal 1:13) to service as a Christian missionary (Gal 1:16); cf. Acts 9:1–22; 22:4–16; 26:9–18. Paul himself does not use the term “conversion” but stresses revelation (Gal 1:12, 16). In Gal 1:15 his language echoes the Old Testament prophetic call of Jeremiah. Unlike the account in Acts (cf. Acts 22:4–16), the calling of Paul here includes the mission to proclaim Christ to the Gentiles (Gal 1:16).

* [1:16] Flesh and blood: human authorities (cf. Mt 16:17; 1 Cor 15:50). Paul’s apostleship comes from God (Gal 1:1).

* [1:17] Arabia: probably the region of the Nabataean Arabs, east and south of Damascus.

* [1:18–24] Paul’s first journey to Jerusalem as a Christian, according to Galatians (cf. Acts 9:23–31 and the note on Acts 12:25). He is quite explicit about contacts there, testifying under oath (Gal 1:20). On returning to Syria (perhaps specifically Damascus, cf. Gal 1:17) and Cilicia (including his home town Tarsus, cf. Acts 9:30; 22:3), Paul most likely engaged in missionary work. He underscores the fact that Christians in Judea knew of him only by reputation.

* [1:18] After three years: two years and more, since Paul’s call. To confer with Cephas may mean simply “pay a visit” or more specifically “get information from” him about Jesus, over a two-week period. Cephas: Aramaic name of Simon (Peter); cf. Mt 16:16–18 and the notes there.

* [1:19] James the brother of the Lord: not one of the Twelve, but a brother of Jesus (see note on Mk 6:3). He played an important role in the Jerusalem church (see note on Gal 2:9), the leadership of which he took over from Peter (Acts 12:17). Paul may have regarded James as an apostle.

* [2:1–10] Paul’s second journey to Jerusalem, according to Galatians, involved a private meeting with those of repute (Gal 2:2). At issue was a Gentile, Titus, and the question of circumcision, which false brothers (Gal 2:4) evidently demanded for him. Paul insists that the gospel he preaches (Gal 2:2; cf. Gal 1:9, 11) remained intact with no addition by those of repute (Gal 2:6); that Titus was not compelled to accept circumcision (Gal 2:3); and that he and the reputed pillars in Jerusalem agreed on how each would advance the missionary task (Gal 1:7–10). Usually, Gal 1:1–10 is equated with the “Council of Jerusalem,” as it is called, described in Acts 15. See notes on Acts 15:6–12, 13–35, the latter concerning the “decree” that Paul does not mention.

* [2:1] After fourteen years: thirteen or more years, probably reckoned from the return to Syria and Cilicia (Gal 1:21), though possibly from Paul’s calling as a Christian (Gal 1:15). Barnabas: cf. Gal 2:9, 13; 1 Cor 9:6. A Jewish Christian missionary, with whom Paul worked (Acts 4:36–37; 11:22, 25, 30; 12:25; 13:1–3; 15:2). Titus: a missionary companion of Paul (2 Cor 2:13; 7:6, 13–15; 8:6, 16, 23; 12:18), non-Jewish (Gal 2:3), never mentioned in Acts.

* [2:2] A revelation: cf. Gal 1:1, 12. Paul emphasizes it was God’s will, not Jerusalem authority, that led to the journey. Acts 15:2 states that the church in Antioch appointed Paul and Barnabas for the task. Those of repute: leaders of the Jerusalem church; the term, while positive, may be slightly ironic (cf. Gal 1:6, 9). Run, in vain: while Paul presents a positive picture in what follows, his missionary work in Galatia would have been to no purpose if his opponents were correct that circumcision is needed for complete faith in Christ.

* [2:3] Not even a Gentile Christian like Titus was compelled to receive the rite of circumcision. The Greek text could be interpreted that he voluntarily accepted circumcision, but this is unlikely in the overall argument.

* [2:4] False brothers: Jewish Christians who took the position that Gentile Christians must first become Jews through circumcision and observance of the Mosaic law in order to become Christians; cf. Acts 15:1.

* [2:5] The truth of the gospel: the true gospel, in contrast to the false one of the opponents (Gal 1:6–9); the gospel of grace, used as a norm (Gal 2:14).

* [2:7–9] Some think that actual “minutes” of the meeting are here quoted. Paul’s apostleship to the Gentiles (Gal 1:16) is recognized alongside that of Peter to the Jews. Moreover, the right to proclaim the gospel without requiring circumcision and the Jewish law is sealed by a handshake. That Paul and colleagues should go to the Gentiles did not exclude his preaching to the Jews as well (Rom 1:13–16) or Cephas to Gentile areas.

* [2:9] James and Cephas and John: see notes on Gal 1:18, 19; on Peter and John as leaders in the Jerusalem church, cf. Acts 3:1 and Acts 8:14. The order here, with James first, may reflect his prominence in Jerusalem after Peter (Cephas) departed (Acts 12:17).

* [2:10] The poor: Jerusalem Christians or a group within the church there (cf. Rom 15:26). The collection for them was extremely important in Paul’s thought and labor (cf. Rom 15:25–28; 1 Cor 16:1–4; 2 Cor 8–9).

* [2:11–14] The decision reached in Jerusalem (Gal 2:3–7) recognized the freedom of Gentile Christians from the Jewish law. But the problem of table fellowship between Jewish Christians, who possibly still kept kosher food regulations, and Gentile believers was not yet settled. When Cephas first came to the racially mixed community of Jewish and Gentile Christians in Antioch (Gal 2:12), he ate with non-Jews. Pressure from persons arriving later from Jerusalem caused him and Barnabas to draw back. Paul therefore publicly rebuked Peter’s inconsistency toward the gospel (Gal 2:14). Some think that what Paul said on that occasion extends through Gal 2:16, 21.

* [2:11] Clearly was wrong: literally, “stood condemned,” by himself and also by Paul. His action in breaking table fellowship was especially grievous if the eating involved the meal at the Lord’s supper (cf. 1 Cor 11:17–25).

* [2:12] Some people came from James: strict Jewish Christians (cf. Acts 15:1, 5; 21:20–21), either sent by James (Gal 1:19; 2:9) or claiming to be from the leader of the Jerusalem church. The circumcised: presumably Jewish Christians, not Jews.

* [2:13] The Jews: Jewish Christians, like Barnabas. Hypocrisy: literally, “pretense,” “play-acting”; moral insincerity.

* [2:14] Compel the Gentiles to live like Jews: that is, conform to Jewish practices, such as circumcision (Gal 2:3–5) or regulations about food (Gal 2:12).

* [2:15–21] Following on the series of incidents cited above, Paul’s argument, whether spoken to Cephas at Antioch or only now articulated, is pertinent to the Galatian situation, where believers were having themselves circumcised (Gal 6:12–13) and obeying other aspects of Jewish law (Gal 4:9–10; 5:1–4). He insists that salvation is by faith in Christ, not by works of the law. His teaching on the gospel concerns justification by faith (Gal 2:16) in relation to sin (Gal 2:17), law (Gal 2:19), life in Christ (Gal 2:19–20), and grace (Gal 2:21).

* [2:16] No one will be justified: Ps 143:2 is reflected.

* [2:17] A minister of sin: literally, “a servant of sin” (cf. Rom 15:8), an agent of sin, one who promotes it. This is possibly a claim by opponents that justification on the basis of faith in Christ makes Christ an abettor of sin when Christians are found to be sinners. Paul denies the conclusion (cf. Rom 6:1–4).

* [2:18] To return to observance of the law as the means to salvation would entangle one not only in inevitable transgressions of it but also in the admission that it was wrong to have abandoned the law in the first place.

* [2:19] Through the law I died to the law: this is variously explained: the law revealed sin (Rom 7:7–9) and led to death and then to belief in Christ; or, the law itself brought the insight that law cannot justify (Gal 2:16; Ps 143:2); or, the “law of Christ” (Gal 6:2) led to abandoning the Mosaic law; or, the law put Christ to death (cf. Gal 3:13) and so provided a way to our salvation, through baptism into Christ, through which we die (crucified with Christ; see Rom 6:6). Cf. also Gal 3:19–25 on the role of the law in reference to salvation.

* [3:1–14] Paul’s contention that justification comes not through the law or the works of the law but by faith in Christ and in his death (Gal 2:16, 21) is supported by appeals to Christian experience (Gal 3:1–5) and to scripture (Gal 3:6–14). The gift of God’s Spirit to the Galatians came from the gospel received in faith, not from doing what the law enjoins. The story of Abraham shows that faith in God brings righteousness (Gal 3:6; Gn 15:6). The promise to Abraham (Gal 3:8; Gn 12:3) extends to the Gentiles (Gal 3:14).

* [3:1] Stupid: not just senseless, for they were in danger of deserting their salvation.

* [3:2] Faith in what you heard: Paul’s message received with faith. The Greek can also mean “the proclamation of the faith” or “a hearing that comes from faith.”

* [3:3] On the contrast of Spirit and flesh, cf. Rom 8:1–11. Having received the Spirit, they need not be circumcised now.

* [3:4] Experience so many things: probably the mighty deeds of Gal 3:5 but possibly the experience of sufferings.

* [3:6] Abraham…righteousness: see Gn 15:6; Rom 4:3. The Galatians like Abraham heard with faith and experienced justification. This first argument forms the basis for the further scriptural evidence that follows.

* [3:7–9] Faith is what matters, for Abraham and the children of Abraham, in contrast to the claims of the opponents that circumcision and observance of the law are needed to bring the promised blessing of Gn 12:3; cf. Gn 18:18; Sir 44:21; Acts 3:25.

* [3:10–14] Those who depend not on promise and faith but on works of the law are under a curse because they do not persevere in doing all the things written in the book of the law (Gal 3:10; Dt 27:26) in order to gain life (Gal 3:12; Lv 18:5; cf. Rom 10:5). But scripture teaches that no one is justified before God by the law (Gal 3:11; Heb 2:4, adapted from the Greek version of Habakkuk; cf. Rom 1:17; Heb 10:38). Salvation, then, depends on faith in Christ who died on the cross (Gal 3:13), taking upon himself a curse found in Dt 21:23 (about executed criminals hanged in public view), to free us from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13). That the Gentile Galatians have received the promised Spirit (Gal 3:14) by faith and in no other way returns the argument to the experience cited in Gal 3:1–5.

* [3:15–18] A third argument to support Paul’s position that salvation is not through the law but by promise (Gal 3:1–14) comes from legal practice and scriptural history. A legal agreement or human will, duly ratified, is unalterable (Gal 3:15). God’s covenant with Abraham and its repeated promises (Gn 12:2–3, 7; 13:15; 17:7–8; 22:16–18; 24:7) is not superseded by the law, which came much later, in the time of Moses. The inheritance (of the Spirit and the blessings) is by promise, not by law (Gal 3:18). Paul’s argument hinges on the fact that the same Greek word, diathēkē, can be rendered as will or testament (Gal 3:15) and as covenant (Gal 3:17).

* [3:16] Descendant: literally, “and to his seed.” The Hebrew, as in Gn 12:7; 15:18; 22:17–18, is a collective singular, traditionally rendered as a plural, descendants, but taken by Paul in its literal number to refer to Christ as descendant of Abraham.

* [3:17] Four hundred and thirty years afterward: follows Ex 12:40 in the Greek (Septuagint) version, in contrast to Gn 15:13 and Acts 7:6, for chronology.

* [3:18] This refutes the opponents’ contention that the promises of God are fulfilled only as a reward for human observance of the law.

* [3:19–22] A digression: if the Mosaic law, then, does not save or bring life, why was it given? Elsewhere, Paul says the law served to show what sin is (Rom 3:20; 7:7–8). Here the further implication is that the law in effect served to produce transgressions. Moreover, it was received at second hand by angels, through a mediator, not directly from God (Gal 3:19). The law does not, however, oppose God’s purposes, for it carries out its function (Gal 3:22), so that righteousness comes by faith and promise, not by human works of the law.

* [3:19] The descendant: Christ (Gal 3:16). By angels: Dt 33:2–4 stressed their presence as enhancing the importance of the law; Paul uses their role to diminish its significance (cf. Acts 7:38, 53). A mediator: Moses. But in a covenant of promise, where all depends on the one God, no mediator is needed (Gal 3:20).

* [3:23–29] Paul adds a further argument in support of righteousness or justification by faith and through God’s promise rather than by works of the law (Gal 2:16; 3:22): as children of God, baptized into Christ, the Galatians are all Abraham’s descendant and heirs of the promise to Abraham (Gal 3:8, 14, 16–18, 29). The teaching in Gal 3:23–25, that since faith (Christianity) has come, we are no longer under the law, could be taken with the previous paragraph on the role of the Mosaic law, but it also fits here as a contrast between the situation before faith (Gal 3:23) and the results after faith has come (Gal 3:25–29).

* [3:24–25] Disciplinarian: the Greek paidagōgos referred to a slave who escorted a child to school but did not teach or tutor; hence, a guardian or monitor. Applying this to the law fits the role of the law described in Gal 3:19–25.

* [3:26] Children of God: literally “sons,” in contrast to the young child under the disciplinarian in Gal 3:24–25. The term includes males and females (Gal 3:28).

* [3:27–28] Likely a formula used at baptism that expresses racial, social-economic, and sexual equality in Christ (cf. Col 3:11).

* [3:27] Clothed yourselves with Christ: literally, “have put on Christ”; cf. Rom 13:14; Eph 4:24; Col 3:10. Baptismal imagery, traceable to the Old Testament (Jb 29:14; Is 59:17) but also found in pagan mystery cults.

* [4:1–7] What Paul has argued in Gal 3:26–29 is now elaborated in terms of the Christian as the heir (Gal 4:1, 7; cf. Gal 3:18, 29) freed from control by others. Again, as in Gal 3:2–5, the proof that Christians are children of God is the gift of the Spirit of Christ relating them intimately to God.

* [4:1, 3] Not of age: an infant or minor.

* [4:3] The elemental powers of the world: while the term can refer to the “elements” like earth, air, fire, and water or to elementary forms of religion, the sense here is more likely that of celestial beings that were thought in pagan circles to control the world; cf. Gal 4:8; Col 2:8, 20.

* [4:6] Children: see note on Gal 3:26; here in contrast to the infant or young person not of age (Gal 3:1, 3). Abba: cf. Mk 14:36 and the note; Rom 8:15.

* [4:8–11] On the basis of the arguments advanced from Gal 3:1 through Gal 4:7, Paul now launches his appeal to the Galatians with the question, how can you turn back to the slavery of the law (Gal 4:9)? The question is posed with reference to bondage to the elemental powers (see note on Gal 4:3) because the Galatians had originally been converted to Christianity from paganism, not Judaism (Gal 4:8). The use of the direct question is like Gal 3:3–5.

* [4:8] Things that by nature are not gods: or “gods that by nature do not exist.”

* [4:10] This is likely a reference to ritual observances from the Old Testament, promoted by opponents: sabbaths or Yom Kippur, new moon, Passover or Pentecost, sabbatical years.

* [4:11] Cf. Gal 2:2. If the Galatians become slaves…all over again to the law (Gal 4:9), Paul will have worked in vain among them.

* [4:12–20] A strongly personal section. Paul appeals to past ties between the Galatians and himself. He speaks sharply of the opponents (Gal 4:17–18) and pastorally to the Galatians (Gal 4:19–20).

* [4:12] Because I have also become as you are: a terse phrase in Greek, meaning “Be as I, Paul, am,” i.e., living by faith, independent of the law, for, in spite of my background in Judaism (Gal 1:13), I have become as you Galatians are now, a brother in Christ.

* [4:13] Physical illness: because its nature is not described, some assume an eye disease (Gal 4:15); others, epilepsy; some relate it to 2 Cor 12:7–9. Originally: this may also be translated “formerly” or “on the first (of two) visit(s)”; cf. Acts 16:6; 18:23.

* [4:15] That blessedness of yours: possibly a reference to the Galatians’ initial happy reception of Paul (Gal 4:14) and of his gospel (Gal 1:6; 3:1–4) and their felicitation at such blessedness, but the phrase could also refer ironically to earlier praise by Paul of the Galatians, no longer possible when they turn from the gospel to the claims of the opponents (Gal 4:17–18; 1:7). If the word is a more literal reference to a beatitude, Gal 3:26–28 may be in view.

* [4:17] Isolate you: that is, from the blessings of the gospel and/or from Paul.

* [4:21–31] Paul supports his appeal for the gospel (Gal 4:9; 1:6–9; 2:16; 3:2) by a further argument from scripture (cf. Gal 3:6–18). It involves the relationship of Abraham (Gal 3:6–16) to his wife, Sarah, the freeborn woman, and to Hagar, the slave woman, and the contrast between the sons born to each, Isaac, child of promise, and Ishmael, son of Hagar (Gn 16; 21). Only through Isaac is the promise of God preserved. This allegory (Gal 4:24), with its equation of the Sinai covenant and Mosaic law with slavery and of the promise of God with freedom, Paul uses only in light of previous arguments. His quotation of Gn 21:10 at Gal 4:30 suggests on a scriptural basis that the Galatians should expel those who are troubling them (Gal 1:7).

* [4:25] Hagar represents Sinai…: some manuscripts have what seems a geographical note, “For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia.”

* [4:27] Is 54:1 in the Septuagint translation is applied to Sarah as the barren one (in Gn 15) who ultimately becomes the mother not only of Isaac but now of numerous children, i.e., of all those who believe, the children of the promise (Gal 4:28).

* [5:1–6] 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).

* [5:1] 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.

* [5:3] Cf. Gal 3:10–12. Just 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).

* [5:6] Cf. Rom 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.

* [5:7] Running well: as in an athletic contest; cf. Gal 2:2; 1 Cor 9:24–26; Phil 2:16; 3:14.

* [5:8] The one who called you: see note on Gal 1:6.

* [5:11] 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.

* [5:12] A sarcastic half-wish that their knife would go beyond mere circumcision; cf. Phil 3:2 and the note there.

* [5:13–26] 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.

* [5:13] Serve…through love: cf. Gal 5:6.

* [5:14] Lv 19:18, emphasized by Jesus (Mt 22:39; Lk 10:27); cf. Rom 13:8–10.

* [5:16–25] Spirit…flesh: cf. Gal 3:3 and the note on Rom 8:1–13.

* [5:19–23] Such lists of vices and virtues (cf. Rom 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.

* [5:21] Occasions of envy: after the Greek word phthonoi, “envies,” some manuscripts add a similar sounding one, phonoi, “murders.”

* [6:1–10] The ethical exhortations begun at Gal 5:1 continue with a variety of admonitions to the community (brothers: see note on Gal 1:2). Nearly every sentence contains a separate item of practical advice; the faith and freedom of the gospel underlie each maxim. Tensions and temptation within communal life have previously been addressed in Gal 5:15, 26 and Gal 6:1 continues with a case in which a person is caught in some transgression such as those in Gal 5:19–21; cf. Gal 2:17.

* [6:2] The law of Christ: cf. Rom 8:2; 1 Cor 9:21; Gal 5:14. The principle of love for others is meant. To bear one another’s burdens is to “serve one another through love” (Gal 5:13).

* [6:4–5] Self-examination is the cure for self-deception. Compare what you are with what you were before, and give the glory to God; cf. Rom 6:19–22. Load: used elsewhere of a soldier’s pack. Correcting one’s own conduct avoids burdening others with it.

* [6:6] Implies oral instruction in the faith by catechists; these are to be remunerated for their service; cf. Rom 15:27.

* [6:10] The family of the faith: the Christian household or church. Doing good has a universal object (to all), but the local community makes specific the reality of those to be served.

* [6:11–18] A postscript in Paul’s own hand, as was his practice (see 1 Cor 16:21; 2 Thes 3:17). Paul summarizes his appeal against his opponents (Gal 6:12–13), then returns to his message of glorying in the cross, not in circumcision, as the means of salvation (Gal 6:14–15; cf. Gal 5:11). A benediction follows at Gal 6:16. In the polemical spirit that the attack on his apostleship called forth (Gal 1:11–2:21), Paul reasserts his missionary credentials (Gal 6:17) before giving a final benediction (Gal 6:18).

* [6:11] Large letters: in contrast to the finer hand of the scribe who wrote the letter up to this point. The larger Greek letters make Paul’s message even more emphatic. Some find a hint of poor eyesight on Paul’s part. See note on Gal 4:13.

* [6:12–15] The Jewish Christian opponents wished not to be persecuted, possibly by Jews. But since Judaism seems to have had a privileged status as a religion in the Roman empire, circumcised Christians might, if taken as Jews, thereby avoid persecution from the Romans. In any case, Paul instead stresses conformity with the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; cf. Gal 2:19–21; 5:11.

* [6:13] Those having themselves circumcised: other manuscripts read, “those who have had themselves circumcised.”

* [6:14] Through which: or “through whom.”

* [6:15] New creation: or “new creature”; cf. 2 Cor 5:17.

* [6:16] This rule: the principle in Gal 6:14–15. The Israel of God: while the church may be meant (the phrase can be translated “to all who follow this rule, even the Israel of God”; cf. Gal 6:10; 1 Cor 10:18), the reference may also be to God’s ancient people, Israel; cf. Ps 125:5; 128:6.

* [6:17] The marks of Jesus: slaves were often branded by marks (stigmata) burned into their flesh to show to whom they belonged; so also were devotees of pagan gods. Paul implies that instead of outdated circumcision, his body bears the scars of his apostolic labors (2 Cor 11:22–31), such as floggings (Acts 16:22; 2 Cor 11:25) and stonings (Acts 14:19), that mark him as belonging to the Christ who suffered (cf. Rom 6:3; 2 Cor 4:10; Col 1:24) and will protect his own.

q. [1:23] 1:13.

e. [2:5] 2:14; 4:16.

l. [2:13] 2:1, 9.

m. [2:14] 2:5 / 1:18; 2:9 / 2:3.

q. [2:21] 5:2.

d. [3:5] 2:16.

w. [3:24] 2:16.

c. [4:5] 3:13, 26.

a. [5:1] 2:4; 4:5, 9; Jn 8:32, 36.

f. [5:8] 1:6.

h. [5:10] 1:7.

t. [5:25] 5:16.

j. [6:12] 5:2, 11.

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Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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