We hope for righteousness (Gal. 5:5)

“For through the Spirit,

By faith,

We eagerly wait

For the hope

Of righteousness.”

ἡμεῖς γὰρ Πνεύματι ἐκ πίστεως ἐλπίδα δικαιοσύνης ἀπεκδεχόμεθα.

Paul said, “For through the Spirit (ἡμεῖς γὰρ Πνεύματι), by faith (ἐκ πίστεως), we eagerly wait (ἀπεκδεχόμεθα) for the hope of righteousness (ἐλπίδα δικαιοσύνης).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἀπεκδεχόμεθα, that means to await eagerly or look for.  Paul explained that they were eagerly waiting for the hope of righteousness.  They were doing this through the Holy Spirt by their faith.  They believed strongly that the Holy Spirit would bring them righteousness.  They were very hopeful.  Are you hopeful?

Fall from grace (Gal. 5:4)

“You who are justified

By the law

Have cut yourselves off

From Christ.

You have fallen away

From grace.”

κατηργήθητε ἀπὸ Χριστοῦ οἵτινες ἐν νόμῳ δικαιοῦσθε, τῆς χάριτος ἐξεπέσατε.

Paul said, “You who are justified by the law (οἵτινες ἐν νόμῳ δικαιοῦσθε) have cut yourselves off (κατηργήθητε) from Christ (ἀπὸ Χριστοῦ).  You have fallen away (ἐξεπέσατε) from grace (τῆς χάριτος).”  Paul explained that if they thought that they were justified by the law, they then had cut themselves off from Christ.  They had fallen away from the grace of Jesus Christ.  If they tried to be righteous or justified by following the law, they were no longer connected to Christ and his graces.  They were on their own.  Do you follow the law or Jesus Christ?

Obey the whole law (Gal. 5:3)

“Once again,

I testify

To every man

Who lets himself

Be circumcised

That he is bound

To obey

The whole law.”

μαρτύρομαι δὲ πάλιν παντὶ ἀνθρώπῳ περιτεμνομένῳ ὅτι ὀφειλέτης ἐστὶν ὅλον τὸν νόμον ποιῆσαι.

Paul said, “Once again (δὲ πάλιν), I testify (μαρτύρομαι) to every man (παντὶ ἀνθρώπῳ) who lets himself be circumcised (περιτεμνομένῳ) that he is bound to obey the whole law (ὅτι ὀφειλέτης ἐστὶν ὅλον τὸν νόμον ποιῆσαι).”  Paul maintained that any man who let himself be circumcised was then bound to the whole Mosaic law or the whole Torah, not just a part of it.  Paul was an all or nothing man.  They either accepted the Torah and circumcision and all its implications or they accepted Christ without the Mosaic law.  There was no in-between.  Are you an all or nothing kind of person?

Circumcision does not help (Gal. 5:2)


Now I,


Say to you

That if you receive circumcision,

Christ will be

Of no advantage

To you.”

Ἴδε ἐγὼ Παῦλος λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐὰν περιτέμνησθε Χριστὸς ὑμᾶς οὐδὲν ὠφελήσει.

Paul said, “Listen (Ἴδε)!  Now I, Paul (ἐγὼ Παῦλος), say to you (λέγω ὑμῖν) that if you receive circumcision (ὅτι ἐὰν περιτέμνησθε), Christ (Χριστὸς) will be of no advantage to you (ὑμᾶς οὐδὲν ὠφελήσει).”  Paul told the Galatians to listen up.  He gave a very personal and emphatic note.  He said to the Galatians that circumcision was not worth it.  There was no advantage or profit in being circumcised.  He emphasized that the circumcision even takes away the value of Jesus Christ.  Is circumcision a big deal in your life?

Freedom in Christ (Gal. 5:1)

“For freedom,

Christ has set us free.

Stand fast!


Do not submit again

To the yoke

Of slavery.”

Τῇ ἐλευθερίᾳ ἡμᾶς Χριστὸς ἠλευθέρωσεν· στήκετε οὖν καὶ μὴ πάλιν ζυγῷ δουλείας ἐνέχεσθε.

Paul said “For freedom (Τῇ ἐλευθερίᾳ), Christ has set us free (ἡμᾶς Χριστὸς ἠλευθέρωσεν).  Stand fast (στήκετε)!  Therefore, do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (οὖν καὶ μὴ πάλιν ζυγῷ δουλείας ἐνέχεσθε)!”  Paul made a big deal about freedom and slavery.  He followed up on the concept of the children of the slave woman, Hagar, and the free woman, Sarah.  Christ has set us free from the yoke of slavery from the Mosaic law, the Torah.  Therefore, we should stand firm and fast.  We should not let ourselves be entangled or drawn into slavery.  Christ has liberated us from sin and death.  The Mosaic law was a burdensome yoke around their necks.  For Paul, the law and Christ were exclusive, not complimentary.  They were no longer obligated to be circumcised, make animal sacrifices, or follow the dietary laws.  They were free to follow Jesus Christ.  Are you free to follow Jesus Christ?

Children of the free woman (Gal. 4:31)


My brothers!

We are children,

Not of the slave woman

But of the free woman.”

διό, ἀδελφοί, οὐκ ἐσμὲν παιδίσκης τέκνα ἀλλὰ τῆς ἐλευθέρας.

Paul said, “Thus, my brothers (διό, ἀδελφοί)!  We are children, not of the slave (οὐκ ἐσμὲν παιδίσκης τέκνα) but of the free woman (ἀλλὰ τῆς ἐλευθέρας).”  Paul ended this section by saying that he and his believing Christian brothers in Galatia were children, not of the slave maiden, but of the free woman.  The Christians were the children of Sarah not Hagar.  Do you consider yourself the child of a free woman or a slave woman?

The free woman and the slave woman (Gal. 4:30)

“But what does the scripture say?

‘Cast out the slave

And her son!

The son of the slave

Will not inherit

With the son of the free woman.’”

ἀλλὰ τί λέγει ἡ γραφή; Ἔκβαλε τὴν παιδίσκην καὶ τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς· οὐ γὰρ μὴ κληρονομήσει ὁ υἱὸς τῆς παιδίσκης μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ τῆς ἐλευθέρας.

Paul said, “But what does the scripture say (ἀλλὰ τί λέγει ἡ γραφή)?  ‘Cast out the slave (Ἔκβαλε τὴν παιδίσκην) and her son (καὶ τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς)!  The son of the slave (ὁ υἱὸς τῆς παιδίσκης) will not inherit (οὐ γὰρ μὴ κληρονομήσει) with the son of the free woman (μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ τῆς ἐλευθέρας).’”  Paul continued with his comparison to Sarah and Hagar.  He cited the words of Sarah to Abraham in Genesis, chapter 21:10, “So she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this slave woman with her son.  The son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.’”  Abraham and Sarah had a big feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.  Sarah did not like to see Ishmael playing with her son Isaac, so she wanted to cast out Hagar, the Egyptian slave, with her son Ishmael.  The next day, Abraham cast out Hagar with her son Ishmael.  Paul used this incident to refute the Judaizers in Galatia, since Ishmael had been circumcised.  A circumcised person was cast out of the family of Abraham, since circumcision did not save Ishmael.  Thus, circumcision was not necessary for salvation.  Have you had a problem about inheritance in your family?

The child of the Spirit (Gal. 4:29)

“But just as at that time,

The child

Who was born

According to the flesh

Persecuted the child

Who was born

According to the Spirit,


It is now.”

ἀλλ’ ὥσπερ τότε ὁ κατὰ σάρκα γεννηθεὶς ἐδίωκεν τὸν κατὰ Πνεῦμα, οὕτως καὶ νῦν.

Paul said, “But just as at that time (ἀλλ’ ὥσπερ τότε), the child who was born according to the flesh (ὁ κατὰ σάρκα γεννηθεὶς) persecuted (ἐδίωκεν) the child who was born according to the Spirit (τὸν κατὰ Πνεῦμα), so it is now (οὕτως καὶ νῦν).”  Paul interpreted the story in Genesis, chapter 21:9, where Ishmael was playing with his younger brother Isaac as taunting.  “But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac.”  Jewish tradition had seen this as a persecution rather than a playful action.  Due to this action, Sarah then decided to get rid of Hagar and Ishmael.  Paul linked this action of Sarah and Hagar with the present situation that they were facing in Galatia.  He considered the Judaizers in the Galatia territory as persecuting the new gentile Christians with their demands or taunts to follow the Jewish law of the Torah.  They were like Ishmael.  The descendants of Hagar and Ishmael had become the traditional enemies of the Jewish people.  Paul saw this action of the Jewish Christians as a persecution of the new gentile Christians.  Has anyone playfully taunted you?

The children of the promise (Gal. 4:28)

“Now you!

My brothers!

You are the children

Of the promise,

Like Isaac.”

ὑμεῖς δέ, ἀδελφοί, κατὰ Ἰσαὰκ ἐπαγγελίας τέκνα ἐστέ.

Paul said, “Now you (ὑμεῖς δέ)!  My brothers (ἀδελφοί)!  You are the children of the promise (ἐπαγγελίας τέκνα ἐστέ), like Isaac (κατὰ Ἰσαὰκ).”  Paul made it very clear so that no one would misunderstand him.  He said that the new Christians in Galatia were his brothers and the children of the promise.  They were like Isaac, the son of Sarah, and not like Ishmael, the son of Hagar.  Those who followed Christ were the true descendants of Abraham, since they shared in the blessings given to his son Isaac.  Do you feel a connection to Isaac?

Rejoice! (Gal. 4:27)

“It is written.


You childless one!

You who bear

No children!

Burst into song!


You who endure

No birth pangs!

The children

Of the desolate woman

Are more numerous

Than the children

Of the one who is married

With a husband.’”

γέγραπται γάρ Εὐφράνθητι, στεῖρα ἡ οὐ τίκτουσα, ῥῆξον καὶ βόησον, ἡ οὐκ ὠδίνουσα· ὅτι πολλὰ τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἐρήμου μᾶλλον ἢ τῆς ἐχούσης τὸν ἄνδρα.

Paul said, “It is written (γέγραπται γάρ).  ‘Rejoice (Εὐφράνθητι)!  You childless one (στεῖρα)!  You who bear no children (ἡ οὐ τίκτουσα)!  Burst into song (ῥῆξον)!  Shout (καὶ βόησον)!  You who endure no birth pangs (ἡ οὐκ ὠδίνουσα)!  The children of the desolate woman are more numerous (ὅτι πολλὰ τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἐρήμου μᾶλλον) than the children of the one who is married with a husband (ἢ τῆς ἐχούσης τὸν ἄνδρα).’”  Only this Galatian letter used the word ὠδίνουσα, that means birth pangs, to travail, to be in labor.  Paul then used an exact citation from the first verse of Deutero-Isaiah, chapter 54:1-3 about Sarah and the birth of Isaac.  “‘Sing!  O barren one!  You who did not bear!  Burst into song!  Shout!  You who have not been in labor!  The children of the desolate woman will be more than the children of her that is married.’  Says Yahweh.  ‘Enlarge the site place of your tent!  Let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out!  Do not hold back!  Lengthen your cords!  Strengthen your stakes!  You will spread out to the right.  You will spread out to the left.  Your descendants will possess the nations.  They will settle the desolate towns.’”  Jerusalem was the barren city that had no children because of the Exile.  Now they were to sing and shout because the barren one was about to have many children, even more that the married women.  They were now going to enlarge the place for their tents.  Their land would be stretched out so that they would need more cords and stakes for their tents.  They were about to spread out to the right and the left.  Their descendants would possess many nations and repopulate many desolate towns.  Paul thus indicated that the new Jerusalem would give birth to a number of children from all the nations of the world.  Do you consider many children a blessing?