Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Galatians 5:2-5:15, Christian Freedom (The Study of Galatians)

     2 Behold, I, Paul, am speaking to you1 that if you have yourself circumcised2, Christ will profit you nothing3. 3 Now I testify4 again to every man who has himself circumcised that he is obligated5 to perform6 the whole law7. 4 You have ceased to exist8 apart from Christ, all of you who justify yourselves in the law, you have fallen away 9 from grace10. 5 For we, who are in the Spirit by faith, eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any value11, but faith working through love is of value.
     7 You were running well12 . Who cut in front of you13 in order for you to not be persuaded by the truth? 8 This14 persuasion is not from the one who is calling you15 . 9 “A little yeast causes the whole batch of dough to rise.”16 10 I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will think of nothing other17, but the one who is stirring you up18 will bear the judgement, whoever he is.19 11 But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Therefore, the scandal20 of the cross has ceased to exist.21 12 I wish the ones who are trying to get you to rebel would even castrate themselves.
13 For you were called on the basis of freedom brothers, only do not let your freedom become22 a favorable opportunity for the flesh23, but through love, you are a slave to one another.24 14 For all the law has been fulfilled25 in one commandment, in that “You will love your neighbors as yourself.”26 15 Now if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not destroyed by one another.27


Paul continues in the idea of the people of Galatia were born in freedom and not born into the slavery of the Jewish law.  

1 Paul is speaking alone. He is influenced by no one else. If the false- brothers have told the Galatians that Paul believes in circumcision, Paul is making it known right now, that it is not true. I am the Paul whom you know, whom loves you like a brother, whom you trusted when I was with you.

2 περιτέμνησθε (have yourself circumcised) 

The verb is in the middle voice with indicates an action that one does for himself or to himself.

3 Χριστὸς ὑμᾶς οὐδὲν ὠφελήσει (Christ will profit you nothing)

or “Christ will gain you nothing” or “Christ will benefit you nothing”. If one of the Galatians would allow themselves to become circumcised, then that prove within themselves that the legal works of the law supersedes Christ who gave himself for our sins. It is a basic statement that we are saved by performing the works of the law and don’t need the saving acts of Jesus Christ.

4 μαρτύρομαι (I testify) 

or “I bear witness”.

5 ὀφειλέτης ἐστὶν (he is obligated)

or “he is a debtor”. One who owes money to someone. The language is appropriate here as Paul uses “redeem” in the above passage 4:5. “Redeem” means to “buy out” or “buy back”. Christ “bought out” everyone from being in debt to the Jewish law. He paid the debt in full in becoming a sacrifice for sin.

6 ποιῆσαι (to perform) 

Greek: “to do”.

7 If one decides that performing the Jewish law in one part completes salvation, then that person is obligated to perform the entire law to complete salvation.

8 κατηργήθητε (you have ceased to exist) 

or “you have caused yourself to become nothing”.

9 ἐξεπέσατε (you have fallen away) 

or “you have turned away”.

10 F.F. Bruce states it like this: “They could seek justification through faith in Christ (and obtain it) or they could seek it through legal works (and miss it)...To seek it it through faith in Christ was to seek it on the ground of God’s grace; to seek it through legal works was to seek it on the ground of their own merit.” (The Epistle to the Galatians) pg. 231.

11 τι ἰσχύει (is of any value) 

Greek: “is of any strength” In other words, neither one will make you “strong” or “healthy” in God.

12 Paul uses the term “run” for himself in 2:2. Running on the path of truth.

13 ἐνέκοψεν (cut in front of you)

as in “cut in front of you while you were racing or running”. In other words, the one who cut in front of the runners, hindered them from being persuaded by the truth.

14 ἡ (This) 

Greek: “the”. Referring to the persuasion of keeping the law.

15 ἐκ τοῦ καλοῦντος ὑμᾶς (from the one who is calling you)

This is God. “Is calling” is in the present tense which carries a continual aspect. In other words, God continually called them and was even calling them at the present time while they were in sin.

16 In other words, a little corruption causes the whole church to be corrupt. Paul is probably also using this phrase to strengthen the thought of verse 3. If a person follows one aspect of the Jewish law, then he must follow all of the law. A little bit prompts the rest.

17 They should think of no other way than what Paul has preached to them. He says this because he knows that they had received the Spirit of God and the Spirit should guide their thinking.

18 ὁ δὲ ταράσσων ὑμᾶς (but the one who is stirring you up)

Notice that Paul has now switched from the plural (1:7) to the singular here. It is either a generic way of putting this or Paul may have someone in mind who is the leader of the “trouble makers”.

19 ὅστις ἐὰν ᾖ (whoever he is)

Paul is either not sure of who the person or leader is, or decides to not name the person in the letter.

20 τὸ σκάνδαλον (the scandal)

or “the offense” or “stumbling-block”. τὸ σκάνδαλον is the Greek word that we get the english word scandal from. The verb form means “to cause to stumble”.

21 Paul is being a little sarcastic here. If he indeed preaches the need for circumcision, then there is no need for Christ. Therefore, the “offense” of the cross is removed from the Galatians as it was standing in their way of completing salvation by performing the Jewish law.

22 εἰς (become) 

Greek: “into”.

23 The human nature of the flesh. Just because you are free from the law, that doesn’t give you a license to do immoral things based on human nature.

24 Love here is probably referring to the love mentioned in verse 6. In other words, “If you must practice slavery, practice the slavery that is based on the love for one another.”

25 πεπλήρωται (has been fulfilled)

The verb is in the perfect tense which indicates an action that has occurred in the past, but the effects of that action are still being felt at the time of the writing of the letter. Only the Spirit of God dwelling within can help a person to actually produce this form of love.

26 The quote is taken from Leviticus 19:18b. After a lawyer quotes this in Luke 10:27, Jesus tells the parable of the good Samaritan, thus defining what true love for one another is and defining who our neighbors are.

27 Apparently, the false-brothers brought something else with them other than a false-gospel. The teachings that they preached must have also cause much division and controversy in the members of the churches of Galatia. There must have been much attacking from different sides. Paul indicates here that if that continues, the fellowship of their church will be destroyed.

The Greek

2 Ἴδε ἐγὼ Παῦλος λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐὰν περιτέμνησθε, Χριστὸς ὑμᾶς οὐδὲν ὠφελήσει. 3 μαρτύρομαι δὲ πάλιν παντὶ ἀνθρώπῳ περιτεμνομένῳ ὅτι ὀφειλέτης ἐστὶν ὅλον τὸν νόμον ποιῆσαι. 4 κατηργήθητε ἀπὸ Χριστοῦ, οἵτινες ἐν νόμῳ δικαιοῦσθε, τῆς χάριτος ἐξεπέσατε. 5 ἡμεῖς γὰρ πνεύματι ἐκ πίστεως ἐλπίδα δικαιοσύνης ἀπεκδεχόμεθα. 6 ἐν γὰρ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ οὔτε περιτομή τι ἰσχύει οὔτε ἀκροβυστία ἀλλὰ πίστις δι ̓ ἀγάπης ἐνεργουμένη.
Γαλάτας 5·7 Ἐτρέχετε καλῶς· τίς ὑμᾶς ἐνέκοψεν [τῇ] ἀληθείᾳ μὴ πείθεσθαι; 8 ἡ πεισμονὴ οὐκ ἐκ τοῦ καλοῦντος ὑμᾶς. 9 μικρὰ ζύμη ὅλον τὸ φύραμα ζυμοῖ. 10 ἐγὼ πέποιθα εἰς ὑμᾶς ἐν κυρίῳ ὅτι οὐδὲν ἄλλο φρονήσετε· ὁ δὲ ταράσσων ὑμᾶς βαστάσει τὸ κρίμα, ὅστις ἐὰν ᾖ. 11 Ἐγὼ δέ, ἀδελφοί, εἰ περιτομὴν ἔτι κηρύσσω, τί ἔτι διώκομαι; ἄρα κατήργηται τὸ σκάνδαλον τοῦ σταυροῦ. 12 Ὄφελον καὶ ἀποκόψονται οἱ ἀναστατοῦντες ὑμᾶς.

1 comment:

  1. Christ is the stone of stumbling into salvation.
    His voice goes out to everyone as He calls out. Everyone is called. Some answer. Each day He calls out anew with words of comfort, encouragement, and hope.
    Each day His love pours forth. We respond in faith and with faith.