Occasionally when we read the text of the Bible, we come across some issues with translation, where the original Greek text is quite different to the English translation. In verse 1 there are several extra words in about a quarter of the translations that are missing from the others. There are also a few other less significant variations in the other verses too.
But the reason for these variations is different from the usual translation problems. Generally when I find such issues, I turn to the Greek to sort out the correct translation. But in this case I turned to two different Greek texts to discover that the variations also appear in the Greek texts. I looked at both the “Koine Greek New Testament” and the “Nestle Greek” text…and found they are different.
Fortunately the additional words do not greatly change the meaning of the texts, but they do greatly add to the clarity of the verses as you will see.
A question that is often raised is why it was necessary that Jesus Christ died.
We know and understand that He did die to save us from sin and to set us free from the law, but this last verse of Galatians chapter 3 gives us an amazing insight into why Christ died. It also presents us with the problem of the fallibility of the law and the fact that no person is able to stand righteous before God under law.
So it is worth looking at this in some more detail so that we can understand a little more about why Christ died, because one of the primary things we seek from salvation is the ability to stand righteous before God.
In many places in the New Testament we see that as Christians we have been set free from sin and set free from the law. This freedom in the truth is one of the primary purposes of Jesus coming to the world and dying for our salvation.
For many Christians though, they find it a challenge to accept the freedom that is freely given under the grace of God.
And it isn’t all their fault because too many churches do not teach the mechanisms by which their flock can be set free. They speak the words of freedom, but do not know how it works or how to receive it. Thus too many people after coming to Christ continue submitting to sin when it is not necessary. Paul explains this issue in these verses. Continue reading “Submitting To Sin”
This section of scripture is an eye-opener for anyone who thinks that they can
be righteous in the sight of God by keeping the works of the law. In this section it is made evident that there is no justification by works of law, and in fact in some cases the works of law may even be opposed to the truth of the Gospel.
This is not to say there is anything wrong with the law, but the application of it can be problematic.
The Apostle Peter in this section was in fact following one tenet of the Jewish law, but it opposed the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And it took Paul to identify and point his error out because the rest of the Jews were being swayed by Peter’s actions and could have been led astray. Continue reading “No Justification By Works Of Law”
Christianity possesses the greatest power on earth. Within the teachings of Christianity are all of the things you need to know to set you free, because freedom is in Jesus Christ.
Apart from Christ there is no freedom and there can be no freedom. Apart from Christ there is only bondage and slavery.
Look at the world around you. Who in this world is truly free? Any person who is confined under law, fear and bound up by the passions of human nature cannot be truly free. All people in this world are in bondage because true freedom can only be found in Jesus Christ. That is what these few verses of Paul are saying too.
One of the things Paul was trying to make clear to the Galatians church was that they needed to be taught by God and led by the Holy Spirit to understand the truth. The challenge they were facing at this time was they had some men come to them who were supposed to be Christians, but these man were teaching them what was essentially a form of Christianity and Judaism combined.
They were being told by these men that if they were to follow God, they had to be circumcised and taught to follow the law of Moses.
But this is not what Paul had taught them when he and Barnabas first opened the gospel of Jesus Christ up to the Galatians. And we see in these two verses that in his own early Christian walk, Paul sought confirmation of what he was teaching in order to check that he was not making an error in what he believed and then taught to others. Continue reading “Test Your Faith”
One of the things all Christians need to do is to examine themselves and try to understand who it is they are listening to and learning from because the gospel truth is not from men, but from God.
There is only one truth of the New Covenant, just as there is only one God and Father, One Christ who is the Son of God and Saviour of all mankind. But in this world we do not see this same oneness of mind, spirit and purpose. This is especially true in the church today, for the church is widely splintered in a multitude of sects, denominations and groups, all of whom claim to be Christians, but who frequently disagree on what is the fundamental truth of the New Covenant.
That is why it is important to examine yourself and determine from whom you are learning. Is the quality of the doctrine and teachings that you accept and believe really the truth, or is it a concoction of teachings, some of which are true and some of which are not, for the purpose of bringing you under the dominion and bondage of men rather than into the freedom of Jesus Christ. Continue reading “Gospel Truth Is Not From Men”
These verses in Galatians chapter 1 really set the scene for this whole letter. The essence of this whole book is to instruct a church that has rejected the gospel of freedom in Jesus Christ and accepted a different gospel, which is a mishmash of law and bondage.
Paul is frustrated, astonished and amazed that the Galatians church has been torn apart by false teaching and lies from people who are supposed to be representing Jesus Christ. False teachers had come among the Galatians and are leading them back into bondage, and Paul is quite clearly horrified by it.
He says they have been taken captive by accepting a different gospel, and then makes the point that there is not, and cannot be a different gospel. There is only ONE gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. Anything else, anything that purports to be a different gospel is a lie and will not lead to freedom, but to bondage.
Today I commence my studies in the book of Galatians. As a brief overview of this amazing letter from the Apostle Paul to the church if the Galatians, it is worthwhile just noting what Paul wrote in his first few introductory words.
These few verses really tell a story and set the tone for the rest of Paul’s letter. And it is not a good story as far as the church of the Galatians is concerned.
So let’s just examine his opening words and see where Paul is coming from and what he intends to speak about to the Galatians.
It is a common thing among Christians to think less of themselves than they should. By this I mean that many Christians seem to be constantly aware of sin and sinning and a great many live in guilt and self-condemnation.
But here we see an interesting comment from Paul that shows a very different mindset than we see today.
And it is not easy to pick out because even the Bible translators have either missed it, not believed it or chosen to soften the truth of this verse, for they have modified the true meaning of the Greek word into something less than what Paul was talking about: Perfection.