I just finished reading Galatians in my reading schedule. After getting stuck myself in a few places with the simple logic of Paul’s argument (why is he saying that here?) I tried to formulate the basic points Paul is making. I stripped away everything else and even ignored the heavy hitting theological points, just to focus on the flow and logic of the argument he is making to the Galatian believers. Here’s what I came up with. Hope it helps! It was a fun exercise for me.
1. The ones troubling you are preaching a different gospel, which is a perversion of the gospel of Christ.
2. I don’t care who they are, even if an angel out of heaven announced to you a gospel beyond what I preached, he should be cursed!
3. My gospel is not from man but through a revelation by Christ.
4. Proof of this is that after I was called by God I didn’t consult with anyone or go up to Jerusalem. I went away to Arabia for quite a while. So there’s no way I received this gospel from man.
5. And after three years, when I finally went up to Jerusalem I only stayed fifteen days, and I only saw Peter and James, no one else. In fact, no one in the churches of Judea had even seen me yet.
6. After fourteen years I went to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus and presented to those of repute the gospel that I’d been preaching among the Gentiles. And even there in Jerusalem, Titus wasn’t compelled by anyone to be circumcised. Those who were of repute didn’t add anything else to my message (nothing was said about circumcision).
7. But at the conference there were some false brothers who tried to bring us into slavery again by demanding that Gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved. We didn’t yield to their demands for even one hour. We fought for the truth of the gospel for you!
8. In contrast to the false brothers, the leading brothers there—James, Peter, and John—recognized and approved my taking the gospel to the Gentiles, and the only thing they said was, “Don’t forget the poor” (again, they said nothing about circumcision).
9. But later I opposed Peter to his face for his hypocrisy because he withdrew from eating with the Gentiles when some came from James. This is swerving from the truth of the gospel that we had fought for.
10. I told him, “Why do you force the Gentiles to become like the Jews when you yourself have become like a Gentile? Even we who have been born Jews know that we are justified by faith, not works of law, and so we believed in Christ ourselves to become justified. We abandoned and destroyed those former things, how can we build them again? We will be discovered to be transgressors and Christ will seem to be serving sin to people.”
11. We died to law through the law to live to God.
12. If righteousness is through law, then Christ has died for nothing.
13. Y’all are being so foolish! Didn’t you vividly see Christ crucified before your own eyes? What happened? Who bewitched you?
14. Ask yourself this question: how did you receive the Spirit, through works of law or by faith? Does God supply to you the Spirit through works of law or through the hearing of faith?
15. Are you so foolish that after starting by the Spirit you are now finishing by the flesh?
16. We become righteous the same way Abraham did, through faith, and this makes us the real sons of Abraham, with whom God’s promises were made way before the law was given through Moses.
17. The Scriptures say that faith brings a blessing, the law brings a curse.
18. In fact, no one is justified before God by the law because the Old Testament says the righteous person lives by faith and the law is not based on faith because the Old Testament also says that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.
19. Christ redeemed us out of this cursed situation with the law by becoming a curse on our behalf so that we might receive the Spirit, which is the very blessing that God promised to Abraham.
20. The law came after the promise and therefore cannot annul the promise.
21. In fact, the law was given only as a temporary means because of our sin, to guard us and eventually lead us to Christ. Hence, the law was just until faith came. The law was a child-conductor, and now that we are sons and no longer little children, we don’t need the law anymore.
22. Now that we are sons of God through faith and have been baptized into Christ, there cannot even be the difference between Jews and Greeks anymore.
23. Christ redeemed us from under the law so that we would become His sons and receive His Spirit.
24. Now that you know God and are even heirs, why do you want to go back to being slaves to the elementary principles of the world? That’s the stuff of the law.
25. Become as I am, just like I became as you are (unlike Peter).
26. The Judaizers are zealously courting you so that they can shut you out of the gospel.
27. Ok, if you want to be under the law, listen to what it says: cast out the maidservant and her son, for he won’t inherit with the son of the free woman. The maidservant’s son are these Judaizers, slaves under law. If you go back to the old covenant, you’re going back to slavery, and slaves have no right of inheritance.
28. Stand fast therefore in the freedom Christ freed you for and don’t be entangled again with that yoke of slavery.
29. If you do become circumcised Christ will profit you nothing and you will be obligated to do the whole law.
30. Besides, circumcision doesn’t accomplish anything; only faith operating through love does.
31. This persuasion to be circumcised is not from God. It’s totally hindering you. I wish they would cut off more than their foreskin and cut off themselves!
32. They say I’m still preaching circumcision myself? Then why am I still being persecuted by them?
33. The whole law is fulfilled by one word, but it’s not “circumcision”; it’s loving your neighbor as yourself.
34. Don’t think the flesh will take over if you get freed from the law. If you walk by the Spirit, there’s no way that will happen. By this logic, if you are led by the Spirit, you don’t need to be under the law anymore.
35. The law has nothing to say against what the Spirit produces.
36. The law, however, brings out the flesh, because it makes you vainglorious in your attainments. And then you provoke and envy one another. If you were spiritual you would bear one another’s burdens in meekness, and in this way you would fulfill the law of Christ completely.
37. Don’t you realize that those who are compelling you to be circumcised just want to boast in your flesh and make a good show out of you so they won’t be persecuted for the cross of Christ?
38. Those who get circumcised don’t even keep the law themselves!
39. In the end, circumcision and uncircumcision are nothing; only a new creation matters.
40. The peace and mercy of God will be upon all those who walk by this rule—the new creation, not the rule of the law—for they are the real Israel of God.
It helped me to understand some passages of this book. You have been a Phillip to me 🙂
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Thank you for this! It helped a lot. 🙂