Bible Query from Galatians
August 2014 version. Copyright (c) Christian Debater(tm) 1997-2014. All rights reserved except as given in the copyright notice.
Q: In Gal, are there any passages that are similar to other parts of the Bible?
A: Yes. While the exact words are different, the logical argument of Galatians 4:3-7 and Romans 8:2-17 are similar. See the Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary on Romans 1-8 by Douglas Moo p.542-543 (Moody 1991) for more info.
Q: In Gal 1:1 and Acts 13:30, did God the Father raise Jesus from the dead, did Jesus raise Himself, or did the Spirit raise Jesus?
A: All of the above are true. Even humans can work together jointly. The three in the Trinity worked together even more in this wonderful miracle. Here is what scripture says.
1. The Father was involved (1 Thessalonians 1:10; Acts 3:26).
2. Jesus was involved in raising Himself (John 2:19-21; 10:18).
3. The Spirit was involved (Romans 8:11).
4. God did. (Acts 17:31; 2:32; 3:10; Hebrews 13:20).
5. Father and/or Spirit (2 Corinthians 4:14).
Q: In Gal 1:2, where exactly is Galatia?
A: The New Geneva Study Bible p.1845, The NIV Study Bible p.1781, and the skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.1114-1115 point out there were two regions called Galatia, the original home of the Galatian people to the north, a second one bordering it on the south, and the Roman province was both combined. Asimov does not rule out either one, but favors south Galatia.
The New Geneva Study Bible (p.1845) favors it being written to the Galatian people in the north.
The NIV Study Bible p.1781 simply mentions both theories. Either way, Christian doctrine and the evidence of authenticity of the book are not affected.
Q: In Gal 1:4, why is this present world is evil, since it is actually a good and wonderful place?
A: First of all, the best this world has to offer is impoverished and trifling compared to the wonderful things of Heaven. Second, this world that God created does have good and wonderful aspects. However, people from Sudan, Somalia, World War II German and Japanese concentration camps, and Cambodia are not as naive as some Americans today. In fact, in the Buddhist religion, the first point of the eightfold path is that life is full of pain and suffering. Apart from the natural disasters, many fundamentalist Muslims and dedicated Communists sincerely believe it is their duty to invade and kill people who were not at war with them.
The world is definitely not all good and wonderful. We live in a fallen creation (Romans 8:19-22), and people have evil inside of them (Romans 3:23).
Q: In Gal 1:7, why does God allow His gospel to be perverted?
A: Two points to consider in the answer.
Not lost: Godís Gospel is not perverted in the sense of being lost. Godís word will never depart from Godís people, as Isaiah 59:21 says.
Some perverted versions: However, God permits some people to teach a perverted version of the Gospel. Even in Jesusí time the Sadducees denied angels and the resurrection of the dead, as Mt 22:23-32 and Acts 23:8 show.
Q: Does Gal 1:8 show the early church became so apostate that [put any name here], was needed to restore the church almost 2,000 years later?
A: No. Paul is speaking just to the Galatian church, not to all churches. For example, after the letter of Galatians was written, Jesus Himself in the book of Revelation 2:8-11 and 3:7-13, had only good things to say about the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia. When Cultists Ask p.248 mentions that Mormons say that God needed to restore the church through Joseph Smith.
Q: In Gal 1:8,9, Paul does not sound very loving to curse people. Should we follow Paulís example here?
A: Paul is not necessarily cursing them, but is calling them cursed. Furthermore, Paul is even including himself and the holy angels, saying: "if we or an angel from heavenÖ" He wants others to clearly recognize them as cursed and not to follow, recommend or even acquiesce to their teaching. Today, we should be careful not to give the impression we recommend as teachers any that preach a false gospel that sends people to Hell. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.630-632 and John Chrysostomís Commentary on Galatians p.8-9 for more info.
Q: In Gal 1:9, what exactly is it Paul said he "already said"?
A: There are two views:
1. John Chrysostom and others say Paul is deliberately reiterating verse 8. (Commentary on Galatians p.8)
2. Dr. Gross Alexander and others say this cannot be, since the Greek word is plural, not singular. Also the Greek word marks a greater distinction in time. See The Nicene and post-Nicene Fathers First Series vol.13 p.8 for more info.
Assuming the second view is correct, there is a lesson we can learn here from this very minor point. Greek grammar was complex, and even Greek-speaking Christians were not perfect in interpreting the grammar of the Bible.
Q: In Gal 1:10, why do Christians try to please men? Why did even Paul try to be all things to all men in 1 Cor 9:19-22?
A: 1 Corinthians 19:23 answers that Paul tries to relate to all men "for the sake of the gospel." Paul (and we) try to be agreeable, relate to people, and present the timeless truth in a way to which people of our time can relate. However, Paul (and we) are not to compromise our teaching or practice of truth.
Q: In Gal 1:11-12, did Paul contradict himself in 1 Cor 15:3-8 as the Jesus Seminar claimed?
A: No. In Galatians 1:11-12 Paul says he did not receive the gospel from any man, but he received the gospel by revelation from Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 Paul said, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:Ö". Notice that 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 does not specify how Paul received the gospel.
See The Resurrection of Jesus p.378 for more info.
Q: Do Gal 1:15-16 and Jer 1:5, teach that the heresy of reincarnation, or at least pre-existence, is true?
A: No. Hebrews 9:27-28 shows that reincarnation is false, and no verse shows that pre-existence is true. God setting apart someone from birth, or even before they were conceived means that God had planned for them to serve Him in a special way. Psalm 139:16 shows that every day of our lives was written in Godís book before one of them came to be. In other words, before our first day of existence, God had everything planned for us.
It would be reaching desperately to say that since God knew about us before we were born, that God was unable to know the future about us unless we existed then.
See the discussion on Hebrews 9:27-28, When Cultists Ask p.83 and Now Thatís a Good Question p.180-181 for more info.
Q: In Gal 1:17, when did Paul go into Arabia?
A: Paul was converted between 34 to 35 A.D. (The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.1021 says between 32-36 A.D.) After he became a Christian, Paul was in Arabia prior to his first missionary journey, which began around 47 A.D, about fourteen years later. See John Chrysostomís Commentary on Galatians p.12-13 (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers First Series vol.13 by Gross Alexander) for more info
Q: Did the churches in Judea not know Paul (Galatians 1:21-22) or did Saul persecute the churches in Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1-3) (Jesus, Interrupted p.56)
A: They would have certainly known the reputation, if not the face, of Saul of Tarsus. However, after he became a Christian (and changed his name to Paul), he was not personally known to the churches in Judea. Galatians 1:22 does NOT say the Judean churches never heard of Saul/Paul. Rather the Greek says "I was unknown by face" to the churches of Judea.
Q: In Gal 2:6 (KJV), what does "seemed to be somewhat in conference" mean?
A: This King James Version phrase is better translated "seemed to be important" or "seeming to be something"
Q: In Gal 2:7, St. Paul speaks about "the gospel of the uncircumcision" and "the gospel of the circumcision". What's the difference between them?
A: Circumcision and uncircumcision refers to two groups of people: Jews and Gentiles. Galatians 2:7 in the NIV says, "On the contrary the [the apostles] that I [Paul] had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews." There is only one gospel, but Paul went primarily to Gentiles while Peter to Jews.
Q: In Gal 2:11-14, how could the apostle Peter be a bad example?
A: Peter sinned, and he was fallible in his thinking and example. Godís words, including those spoken through the apostles, were without error. That does not mean every one of the apostles own words were without error, or that the apostles were sinless. See also the next question for more info.
Q: In Gal 2:11-14, if Peter was once a bad example, does this mean that a Catholic Pope who was a bad example is not disqualified as Peterís successor?
A: I supposed someone else could argue that if a Pope burned Christians at the stake, he was not willing to sit down and eat with them, but I think the two situations are fundamentally unlike. There is a world of difference between not sitting down with genuine Christians, and ordering them to be burned at the stake for the crime of reading the Bible. The unintentional sin of Peterís confusion does not excuse a lifetime of flaunted wickedness, murder, immorality, drunkenness, and luxurious living of the offerings of others.
Pope Julius (1504-1513) had his armies destroy and loot entire Italian cities to add to his empire of the Papal States. According to Austinís Topical History of Christianity p.148, after 904 A.D. was the so-called "pornocracy" in which prostitutes had relations of power and sexual intimacy with various popes, including Popes Sergius III, Anastasius III, Lando, and John XII. People bought the office of Pope as Gregory VI and Alexander VI did. Men became Pope by the previous Pope being murdered (Boniface VII, Leo V, and Stephen VII all killed). There were periods of two and even once three popes at a time (Ursinus and Damasus (366-384), (Gregory VI, Benedict IX, and Sylvester III). Popes were sometimes deposed unwillingly, which makes the concept of papal succession very intriguing. Pope Stephen VII 896-897) had the body of Pope Formosus dug up and condemned for heresy at a mock trial.
Some Catholics might agree there is a possibility that at least one of the preceding popes was not in the center of Godís will. Actually, "Papal succession", if it ever existed, was made meaningless in the Middle Ages by the lack of papal succession.
One hand, it should be pointed out that if one can find a Catholic who is a rotten, ungodly person, that does nothing to prove Catholicism wrong. On the other hand, if millions of Catholics loyally obey the wicked desires of someone who is like, this, even when they know he is ungodly, there is something very wrong.
Q: In Gal 2:16-21, is Paul implying the Old Testament Law was evil, as Gnostic heretics taught?
A: Not at all. As John Chrysostom (392-407 A.D.) put it, "he does not say they had abandoned the Law as evil, but as weak." See the discussion on 1 John 1:1 for more on the Gnostics.
Q: In Gal 2:16-21 and Gal 3:11; since righteousness could not come by the law, how come those who read the Old Testament were taught this error?
A: The Old Testament does not teach this error. However, people have an uncanny ability to interpret things to be what they want them to mean, and to add to Godís word. Some people took all that God said about His mercy, and made their obedience to Godís Law, not God, their hope. Even today, some Christians can be unbalanced, and care about some good aspect of Christianity, such as spiritual experience, Bible study, helping the poor, or religious ceremonies, as more of a focus on their life than God Himself. Some can love religion more than they love God.
Q: In Gal 3:1, can some Christians be bewitched?
A: No, Paul is not saying that. Paul is hypothetically asking if they were, because of his surprise at how quickly many Galatians were turning to a different and false gospel.
As a side note, in the religion of Islam, one thing Christians and Sunni Muslims can agree on is that, at least at one time, Mohammed was under an evil spell and said things that were false. You can read the Bukhari Hadith (vol.4 no. 400 p.267, vol.4 no.490 p.317, and vol.8 no.400 p.266) for a complete account of how it says that Mohammed was at one time bewitched by an evil spell. Muslims in general think Mohammed recovered.
Q: In Gal 3:10,13 how are people under the law cursed?
A: How do you describe people who are trying to meet a standard that is impossible for them to keep, never realize it, and yet refuse to follow the one way to get to Heaven who has kept the impossible standard for them? "Under a curse" seems an apt description.
Q: In Gal 3:13, was Jesus cursed, or was He blessed as Ps 72:17 says?
A: Both aspects are true. Christ was blessed by God the Father, and Christ voluntarily took upon Himself Godís curse for our sins at the cross. In Revelation 5:12, Christ will be blessed in Heaven. See When Critics Ask p.473 for a chart of how Christ was blessed and cursed, and Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.115 for more info.
Q: In Gal 3:13, do Christians worship and follow someone they even admit was cursed by God?
A: Yes we do, and we make no apologies for it. Jesus willingly took upon Himself our curse, punishment, and shame by dying on the cross for our sins.
Q: In Gal 3:16 (and Acts 3:25) vs. Gen 12:7, etc, "seed" is a collective singular noun, (as is the word "people"), so why does Paul say it could not refer to many?
A: The point here is that Paul is reminding the Jews that their scriptures (the Old Testament) taught that the promises made to Abrahamís descendants would come through the Messiah, which both the Jews and Christians acknowledged as one person.
Q: In Gal 3:17, was the law given 430 years later, since the people were slaves for just 400 years?
A: The Israelites lived in Egypt for 430 years; they were slaves in Egypt for only 400 years. See also the next questions.
Q: In Gal 3:17, did Moses receive the law only 430 years after Abraham?
A: The Israelites were in Egypt for 430 years, and Paul was especially reminding Judaizer readers that Moses received the law just after this 430 year period of time. Of course, since it was more than 430 years, then it is a true statement that it was 430 years after this. See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.403 and When Critics Ask p.473-474 for more info.
Q: In Gal 3:17, why did Paul not give the precise number of years?
A: Before giving two probable reasons, it is important to explain the difference between accuracy and precision. If a bucket contains exactly 1,056 balls, and someone says it has 2,000 balls, or only 500 balls, both statements are inaccurate (and false). If someone says it has a thousand balls, that is accurate (and truthful) but imprecise. If someone says it has more than 500 balls, that is also accurate and truthful, but not precise and not comprehensive. The Bible is all true in its original manuscripts, but it is often imprecise, and not comprehensive. Here are two reasons we can see for imprecision, here.
1) God did not see a need to inform Paul (or anyone else) the exact number of years between Abraham and the Exodus. God had the Bible written to be completely true, and to have all the precision we need to understand what God wanted to communicate about Himself, man, getting saved, growing in Christ, and serving God. God apparently did not see a need to have the Bible written with greater precision than was required, and He did not see a need to have it preserved with a greater precision than required.
2) Paul wanted to use the most conservative number. If Judaizers wanted to improve the precision, that only emphasizes Paulís point of the long period of time.
Q: In Gal 3:26, is everyone who reads Galatians a child of God? Is universalism true?
A: No. The Gospel is offered to all, but those who choose to reject God are free to do so, - and face the consequences. See the discussion on Colossians 1:20.
Q: In Gal 3:27, since all who are baptized have put on Christ, are all who are baptized going to Heaven? What about Simon Magus in Acts 8:13,18-20?
A: Water baptism does not save you; it is Christ who saves you. God commands all Christians to be baptized with water as a pledge of their good conscience toward God, as 1 Peter 3:21 says.
Q: In Gal 3:28, since there is no male or female in Christ, why are there are different roles in the church in 1 Tim 2:11-18 and 1 Cor 15:34-37?
A: Interestingly, this is the oldest known historical document that says men and women are equal. Christians disagree on women roles in church today, but all should agree on three points.
1. At all times, for men and women there is no difference in value to God, and there should be no difference in value to us.
2. All Christians must agree that equal value does not prove there should never be a difference in role, because, at least at that time, women were not to be in authority over men in church, as 1 Timothy 2:11-13, 1 Corinthians 11:3-9, and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 show.
3. If one does limit a New Testament verse as "only for that time", they should have good Biblical reasons as to why only that verse is limited to that time, and not every other verse with which you might happen to disagree.
Q: In Gal 3:28, how seriously should we take the command that we are all to be one in Christ Jesus?
A: Of course it is easy to say we should take this seriously. But on the other hand, there might be a temptation to downplay this when it might seem more fruitful to win people to Christ. However, this is wrong, as if a person does not submit to Godís authority, then we should question if they are really saved. The famous Christian missionary William Carey refused to baptize anyone who claimed to be Christian but still followed the Indian caste system.
Q: In Gal 3:28, how did Greek culture view women and marriage?
A: Here are some quotes from Greek writers taken from The Great Quotations compiled by George Seldes.
"Marriage, to tell the truth, is an evil, but a necessary evil." -Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) quoted by Diogenes Laertius (p.67)
"Woman may be said to be an inferior man" Menander (342?-291? B.C.) (p.486)
It is not good to take our views of marriage from pagan Greek writers.
Q: In Gal 4:4 and Tt 1:3, why did God send Jesus at that time, and not earlier or later?
A: This scripture simply says that Jesus was sent at the right time, without saying why, -but it is still fun to speculate. There are at least three factors we can see.
Language: From about 200 B.C. to 250 A.D., much of the area of the Roman Empire spoke Greek. After that, they spoke Greek in the east and Latin in the West. One language greatly helped the spread of Christianity.
Peace: This was a time window of peace. This was after the Seleucids, Ptolemies, and Persians, were not fighting by 141 B.C.. Pompey conquered Phoenicia in 64 B.C. This window of relative peace was before 161 A.D. when the Parthians invaded Syria and 220 A.D. when the Goths invaded Asia Minor. By 350 A.D. the northern Europeans, Huns, and Persians were fighting Rome. Since there was relative peace, the Romans were able to eliminate much of piracy that often plagued the Mediterranean by 69 B.C. In general, peace was a great help in Christians moving about to spread the Gospel.
Roads: The Romans built over 42,000 miles of extensive roads that connected their vast empire together. This aided people such as Paul travel relatively safely and easily to a great number of places.
The results were amazing. Within 300 years, Christianity had peacefully blossomed out to Ethiopia, India, Georgia, England, Spain, and North Africa. The only two major world beliefs that had a faster initial spread were Islam and Communism, and both of them spread fundamentally by military conquest.
Q: In Gal 4:7, Rom 8:17; Eph 3:6; Heb 1:2; 1 Pet 3:7, how do you pronounce the word "heir"?
A: This is pronounced identically to "air"; there is no "h" sound.
Q: In Gal 4:13, since Paul could heal others, why was Paul himself sick?
A: This valuable verse demonstrates that the healing power was with God, not with the apostle. Some cultic groups, such as Christian Science and a few strange Charismatic groups, teach that obedient, spiritual Christians will never get sick, and Christians should not take medicine. However Paul being sick here, and Paulís concern over the near-fatal illness of Epaphroditus in Philippians 2:26-27 and prescribing a remedy for Timothyís stomach problems in 1 Timothy 5:23 show that even the best of obedient, spiritual Christians can get sick. That does not necessarily mean they have a lack of faith, or that God is punishing them.
John Chrysostom (392-407 A.D.) in Concerning the Statues homily 1 v.14 gives a more involved answer concerning situations like Timothyís stomach illnesses in 1 Timothy 5:23. John Chrysostom says God allows this situation to happen to Christians. Here is a paraphrase of his eight numbered reasons.
1. To keep them from being proud by the greatness of their good works and miracles.
2. The others might not have too high an opinion of them.
3. That it is clear it is the power of God that is being made manifest, not the power of the men.
4. The endurance of godly men under their trial or illness might be an example for others.
5. That when we see a godly men die of illness, we are reminded of the resurrection of all.
6. When we fall into suffering, we can have consolation that others before us have endured similarly.
7. When we are told to be imitators of Paul or others, we do not shrink back thinking they are of a higher nature. The have the same nature and weaknesses as other people in general.
8. We may learn that a godly personís blessedness does not come from the circumstances of his health.
Chrysostom then goes on for more than seven pages to elaborate and prove each of these points from scripture.
Q: In Gal 4:14 (KJV), what did Paul mean by "And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejectedÖ"?
A: This is a King James version phrase is translated in the NIV "Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scornÖ."
Q: In Gal 4:25 (KJV), who is Agar?
A: In the King James Version, "Agar" was written for "Hagar", who was Sarahís Egyptian maid and Abrahamís concubine.
Q: In Gal 4:25, was Mt. Sinai in Arabia, or was it in the Sinai Peninsula as the Torah indicates?
A: Both, understanding that "Arabia" here is not the modern Muslim country of Saudi Arabia. It is the Roman Province of Arabia. The Roman Province of Arabia was the Sinai Peninsula, and the northwestern portion of modern-day Jordan, and a small part of Syria. See either The Roman World p.107 or Encyclopedia Britannica under Roman History for a map proving this. As a side note, the Romans never conquered near Mecca.
Q: In Gal 5:2, does circumcision somehow limit Christís power or work?
A: Not at all. Just as never believing in Christ means that Christís sacrifice is of no value to a person, trusting in circumcision and rejecting Christ likewise means that Christís sacrifice is of no value to the person, and they will go to Hell. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.632-633 for more info.
Q: In Gal 5:2-3, since Christ profits not those who are circumcised, can Christ profit the many baby boys circumcised today? Should they be debtors to the law, too?
A: No, for two reasons.
1. Galatians 5:2-3 only talks of men who let themselves be circumcised, not baby boys.
2. The general meaning refers to those who choose to be circumcised for the purpose of fulfilling the Old Testament Law. They demonstrate they are not relying on Christ to save them, apart from the Law.
See also the answer for Acts 16:3 for more info.
Q: In Gal 5:4, how can we fall from grace?
A: Paul is directly addressing seriously mixed-up Christians who have stopped relying on Godís grace in Christ. Paul is also talking to unsaved legalists. How do you tell the difference between a seriously mixed-up Christian and an unsaved legalist? Often you cannot, but you can warn them regardless of which they are.
Q: In Gal 5:4, what are the various views Christians have of what is meant here?
A: First the Greek, then four views, and then a conclusion.
The Greek word katergethete means "Öany destruction of growth and life, physical or spiritual, beneficial or deleterious", according to the Expositorís Greek Testament p.184. This word is also used in Romans 7:2 for annulment by death of a wifeís obligation to her husband, and spiritual death in Romans 7:6. There are four main views.
1. Losing salvation is equated with falling away from grace. The Believerís Bible Commentary p.1891 says this view is unsound because it is NOT talking about people who fall into sin and unbelief. Rather it is talking of moral people who think their own works will help get or keep them saved. It also sees it as ironic that some who want to use this verse to support losing salvation are legalists similar to what Paul is talking against.
2. A believer leaving grace for a system of legalism, but not losing salvation. This is not falling out of salvation into unbelief or willful sin, but falling from grace into legalism. Is it a paralysis of spiritual life by severance of union with Christ has a deadening effect on the whole spiritual nature, and results in craving for legal justification. See Expositorís Greek Testament p.184, The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.10 p.488, and Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.605 for more info. However, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1891 says this view is wrong because it does not describe Christians who seek sanctification, but unsaved people who attempt to be justified by the law.
3. Counterfeit Christians who seek to be justified by the law. The Believerís Bible Commentary p.1891 espouses this view, saying they had to choose between two saviors: either Christ or the Law. Calvin thought that they were not trying to choose the law instead of Christ, but the law in addition to Christ, and believing any part of salvation is by works is not believing it is all by grace through faith.
2+3. Both foolish believers who renounce grace for legalism, and "apparent" Christians who permanently abandon the Gospel and never were saved. See the New Geneva Study Bible p.1865 for more info on this view.
In the early church, this verse is not actually discussed. John Chrysostom teaches on this verse, saying it mentions the most severe of penalties, but without specifying anything more than that.
Conclusion: On one hand Paul is addressing the same people in Galatians 5:4 as the sons of God in 3:26; brothers he is addressing in Galatians 3:15; 4:12,28; 5:13; 6:1,18 who were running a good race in Galatians 5:7.
Yet on the other hand Paul is concerned that his efforts were wasted on them (Galatians 4:11), and they might be among the eternally condemned who preached a different gospel in Galatians 1:8,9.
Paul, like us, did not know who the elect were. Consider this example: if someone who appeared to be a genuine Christian falls into great sin, are they: an elect person who will later repent, come back, and persevere, or a reprobate person who has permanently abandoned the truth they have heard? God knows; we do not, and we do not need to know. But we certainly do not have an assurance that they are saved when they do that. Likewise, if someone falls into serious doctrinal error as the legalistic Galatians did, were all of the ones Paul addressed genuine Christians who fell into heresy but will come back, or were all of them unsaved, hell-bound people who would never believe the gospel of grace, or could they be a mixture a wheat and tares, and not even Paul knew which was which, but Paulís job was not to judge their souls, but to warn them of the consequences if they continued in their legalism. So the answer is "2 + 3".
Q: In Gal 5:11 and 2 Cor 2:15-16, why did Paul preach the cross, since he knew the cross was offensive to people? Paul did not want to put a stumbling block in anyoneís way (2 Cor 6:3) or do anything to hinder the gospel in 1 Cor 9:12.
A: Like Paul, we do not want to do anything that makes people offended with us personally. However, when we share the Gospel, we do not want to hide or minimize the parts that some people find offensive. Some people are offended that God watches their every move, or that on their own they are inadequate, failures before Godís tribunal. Some are offended that someone would suggest that they do things bad enough to need saving. Offended or not, people need to know the truth of the Gospel.
Q: How do we walk in the spirit? Does this mean that every second of the day no matter what I am doing I have to be praying to God while I'm doing it? Does it mean that I always have to be thinking of God? Talking to God? What does it mean to "walk in the Spirit" as Paul says? Does this mean that when I am walking to the store In my head I am saying "God every step I am taking is totally on your dependence, and I praise you for every breath I take". Iím not saying that is silly or absurd I am just trying to find out if that is indeed what is meant by walking in the Spirit.
If that is true, then it is really, really hard to always be walking in the spirit meaning I sin waay more than I thought I did. Thanks, God bless. P.S.-- Was I typing this email in the spirit since it was about God?
A: If you are seeking to draw near to God, the sinful desires of this world, (love of money, lust, pride, and other desires) will grow dim. As Christians, we are to battle evil within us, as well as without as Romans 7:7-25 shows. Fortunately we are not left on our own in waging this war, God is there to rescue us (Romans 7:24-25) and even do the work within us (Philippians 2:12-13).
Walking in the Spirit is not easy, because "always" is a very tough word. I think you basically understand though that it is having an awareness of God in whatever you do.
Paul says to be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
"always giving thanks to God the Father for each other in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20) (NET Bible)
[Love] "always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a (NIV)
You can look in a concordance and find other examples of what we are commanded to "always" do.
Jesus said He was with us always in Matthew 28:20.
Rejoice in the Lord always in Philippians 4:4.
Paul constantly prayed for others in 2 Thessalonians 1:11
Paul thanked God everyone he remembered the Philippians in Philippians 1:3-4
Colossians 3:17 "And whatever you do in word or deed do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (NET Bible)
Always be prepared to give an answer ... 1 Peter 3:15.
James 4:17 says, "So whoever knows what is good to do and does not do it is guilty of sin." (NET Bible)
The Bible has many verses on perseverance, and we shouldn't forget that important Christian virtue too.
Finally, I suggest starting off each day right by dedicating it to God. I learned this many years ago at a youth camp where Josh McDowell was the speaker.
See Now Thatís a Good Question p.65 for more info.
Q: In Gal 5:19-21, can Christians do these things and go to Heaven?
A: It is possible for a genuine Christian to do one of these things and then repent. However, if a person habitually does one of these things, it looks suspiciously like he or she will go to Hell and was never eternally saved in the first place. In Brazil, it has been estimated that half of the people who claim to be Catholics also practice some form of witchcraft or other Spiritism, or believe in spending money to pay a witchcraft practitioner to curse someone. While a Roman Catholic can be a genuine Christian, and a person who practices witchcraft can be a Catholic, it does not appear as though these Catholics are genuine Christians.
Q: In Gal 5:21, what does the Greek word pharmakeia (witchcraft/sorcery) precisely mean?
A: This word has a broad range of meaning. On one hand, it can mean sorcery, witchcraft, magic, or enchantment. On the other hand, it can also mean drugging, poisoning, and even dispensing good medicine, as our English word "pharamacist" means. In general in this passage Paul is warning against the fruit of immorality, hatred and fighting, drugs and magic, and wild partying. You would almost think Paul knew of many modern movies!
Q: In Gal 5:22-23, if nonbelievers show the fruit of the Spirit, will they go to Heaven, too?
A: Only if wearing a wool sweater makes you a sheep. Having some of the outward works without the inward transformation does not help.
Non-believers do not show the fruit of the Spirit. They can do some of these good things, and even do them from commendable motives. However, if the Spirit of Christ is not inside them, and they are not doing these things for Jesusí sake, then their actions are not the fruit of the Spirit done for the love of the God who gave us the Bible.
Q: In Gal 6:2, are we to bear anotherís burdens, or just our own as Gal 6:5 says?
A: These two verses use different Greek words. We are to take responsibility for our own actions. However, we also are to help others, as well as let others help us.
As To Walk and Not Grow Weary p.17 says, "the word translated Ďcarryí has the inherent meaning of support. Also, the word Ďburdení in verse 2 is vastly different from the word Ďloadí in verse 5. ĎLord simply refers to something being carried, but Ďburdení designates the effects of something pressing upon our resources." See also Now Thatís a Good Question p.361-362 and When Critics Ask p.474 for more info.
Q: Does Gal 6:3 show a saint can bear other peopleís burdens like the Roman Catholic church teaches?
A: No. Apparently this was thought of in Old Testament times, and if any saint could bear anotherís sins, certainly Noah, Daniel, and Job could. Yet Ezekiel 14:14,20 15:1 clearly says that they could only save themselves, not others, by their righteousness.
See When Cultists Ask p.249 for more info.
Q: Does Gal 6:7-8 show that the law of karma, and thus reincarnation is true, as the Unity School of [so-called] Christianity teaches?
A: No. It simply says that a man reaps what he sows. According to the Bible, reaping for unbelievers does not primarily occur until the Last Judgment. See When Cultists Ask p.249-250 for more info.
Q: In Gal 6:10, should we do good to all, or should we not show hospitality to false teachers as 2 Jn 10-11 says?
A: Both. Welcoming false teachers into our homes gives the impression to both them and others that their teaching is acceptable to us, and that we think it is acceptable to God. We do not want to deceive people in this way. We are not doing good to false teachers or others when we welcome them. See Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions p.245-246 for more info.
Q: In Gal 6:12, why would being circumcised be a way to avoid persecution?
A: In Paulís time (51-57 A.D.), it would help someone escape being persecuted by the Jews.
Q: In Gal 6:14 and 1 Cor 1:17-2:2, are we to glory in the cross? Mormons, Jehovahís Witnesses, and Muslims believe it is wrong to do so.
A: Since our religion is to be the same as the apostles, we should do so. Paul would have made a very poor Mormon or Jehovahís Witness in Galatians 6:14 and 1 Corinthians 1:17-2:2. For that matter, so would Thomas who called Jesus "my Lord and my God" in John 20:28. So would Stephen who prayed to Jesus in Acts 7:59. So would John, who saw with his own eyes people and angels praising and glorifying Jesus in Heaven in Revelation 5:8-14; 7:9-10. To top it all off, Jesus said all are to honor the Son just as they honor the Father, in John 5:23.
Ignatius was a disciple of John the apostle who died either 107 or 116 A.D. In the Second Letter of Ignatius to the Ephesians chapter 13 says "My spirit bows in adoration to the cross, which is a stumbling-block to those who do not believe, but is to you for salvation and eternal life." (Ante-Nicene Fathers volume 1 p.102.) Letís believe and practice what Ignatius was taught.
Q: In Gal 6:16, who is the "Israel of God"?
A: Christians have two views:
1. Since Christís death, the Israel of God is the church, regardless of whether a person is Jew or Gentile.
2. This refers to Jewish people who do not yet believe in Christ but will.
Hard Sayings of the Bible p.633-636 gives Greek grammatical arguments on both sides.
Q: In Gal 6:17, what were the marks on Paul?
A: Scripture does not say. One explanation is the scars and physical damage from the beatings, shipwrecks, and persecutions Paul endured.
A second explanation, that it was "stigmata" is not as likely, as the early church was apparently unfamiliar with the concept. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of stigmata, see the next question for more info.
Q: In Gal 6:17, could the marks on Paul have been "stigmata"?
A: -Probably not. Stigmata are open wounds that have appeared on some Catholic mystics on their hands and side for no known physical reason. Padre Pio, who lived at the time of the Reformation, was one person. He later died a natural death, which Padre Pio said was a sacrifice for the sake of the unity of the church. From what I can tell of history of that time, the Popes were either totally unaware or else totally unconcerned with Padre Pioís sacrifice being a reason to hound and kill Protestants any less.
Some say the stigmata is a psychological phenomena, and others say it is a miraculous sign from God. One important point is concerning the hands. The Greek word "hand" includes the wrist, and we know today that in crucifixion the nails were in the top part of the victimís wrist, where the bone would hold the nail. If the nails had been in the palms of the hands, they would have ripped out. Stigmata appears on the palms of the hands.
Q: In Gal, how do we know Paul wrote the book of Galatians?
A: There are at least two reasons.
1. Paul says so in Galatians 6:11. We trust this is correct because no one in the early church ever questioned this. God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; Matthew 24:35.
2. Early church evidence. See the next question part 4 for the writers who referred to the book of Philippians.
Q: What evidence do we have that the book of Galatians should be in the Bible?
A: There are at least four reasons.
1. Paul wrote it, and He was an apostle. Peter attested that Paulís words were scripture in 2 Peter 3:15-16.
2. Paul himself said he was apostle in 1 Timothy 1:1; 2:7, Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 9:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, 11:5; Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:1.
3. Evidence of the early church. See the next question for some of the writers who referred to verses in Galatians.
To Diognetus (c.130 A.D.) ch.4 p.26 alludes to Gal 4:10 in "observing months and days"
2 Clement ch.2 p.251 (c.150 A.D.) quotes both Isaiah 54:14 and Gal 4:27
Polycarpís Letter to the Philippians (100-155 A.D.) quotes one-fourth of a verse of Galatians "God is not mocked" (3 out of 14 Greek words).
The Muratorian Canon (c.190-217 A.D.) mentions Paul wrote to seven churches in his epistles, Corinthians (2 letters), Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Galatians, Thessalonians (2 letters), Romans. Paul wrote Philemon, Titus, two letters to Timothy.
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) quotes Galatians 4:4-5 as by Paul writing to the Galatians. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 ch.16.3 p.441
The Passion of the Scilitan Martyrs (180-202 A.D.) mentions the writings of Paul without identifying any specific books.
Clement of Alexandria quotes Galatians 3:19,23,24 as by Paul in the Stromata (193-202 A.D.) book 1 ch.27 p.338
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) quotes 1 Corinthians 8:2 and Galatians 1:7 and 5:7 as being by the apostle in On Prescription Against Heretics ch.27 p.256.
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) mentions Paul being the author of Galatians, Corinthians, Philippians, Thessalonians, Ephesians, Romans, and John being the author of the Apocalypse (Revelation) in Against Marcion book 14 ch.5 p.350.
Tertullian 207 A.D. said that Paul wrote to the Galatians in Tertullian Against Marcion book 14 chapter 5 p.350. It was a book "that comes down from the apostles, which has been kept as a sacred deposit in the churches of the apostles."
Theodotus the probable Montanist (ca.240 A.D.) alludes to Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6 in ch.19 p.45
Hippolytus (225-235/6 A.D.) quotes half of Galatians 1:1 as by Paul Treatise on Christ and Antichrist ch.8 p.206. He quote of Galatians 3:20 Fragment from Commentaries on Numbers p.169
Origen (wrote 225-254 A.D.) refers to Galatians 2:12 as by Paul in the Letter to the Galatians. Origen Against Celsus book 2 ch.1 p.429
Novatian (250/254-257 A.D.) quoted Galatians 1:1 and 1:12 as by Paul. Treatise on the Trinity ch.13 p.622
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) "Paul to the Galatians" and from "Galatians" in Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 12 the third book 3,9,64 among other places. He also quotes Galatians 5:17-22 say this is by the Apostle Paul in Treatise 4 ch.16 p.452.
Firmilian of Caesarea to Cyprian Letter 74 ch.12 p.393 (256 A.D.) quotes half of Galatians 3:27
Seventh Council of Carthage p.566 (258 A.D.) Nemesianus of Thubunae quotes Galatians 5:19-21 as by the apostle.
Archelaus (262-278 A.D.) quotes part of Gal 4:3 as by Paul the apostle. Disputation with Manes ch.13 p.188. He also quotes Galatians 1:6-8 Disputation with Manes ch.36 p.209
Adamantius (c.300 A.D.) Adamantius says that Paul wrote to the Galatians Dialogue on the True Faith (808a) p.44
Methodius (260-312 A.D.) quotes Galatians 15:22,23 as by the apostle. Banquet of the Ten Virgins discourse 10 p.340
Alexander of Alexandria (313-326 A.D.) quotes Galatians 1:8,9 as by "the blessed Paul" in Letters on the Arian Heresy ch.1.13 p.296
Eusebiusí Ecclesiastical History (323-326 A.D.) book 3 ch.3 p.134 (Implied) He says, "Paulís fourteen epistles are well known and undisputed." Then he says some dispute whether Paul wrote Hebrews or not. He also says in book 3 ch.25 p.155 that the letters of Paul are scripture. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series vol.1 p.155.
Asterius the Sophist (after 341 A.D.)
Aphrahat (337-345 A.D.) Select Demonstrations
Eusebius of Emesa (c.359 A.D.)
Victorinus of Rome (after 363 A.D.)
Athanasius (367 A.D.) lists the books of the New Testament in Festal Letter 39 p.552
Hilary of Poitiers (355-367/368 A.D.)
Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae (350-370 A.D. or 5th century) mentions Paulís Letter to the Galatians as part of the New Testament. It quotes all but the last phrase of Galatians 1:1.
Marcellus of Ancyra (c.374 A.D.) refers to Galatians 1:11
Ephraim the Syrian hymn-writer (350-378 A.D.)
Basil of Cappadocia (357-378 A.D.)
Ambrosiaster (after 384 A.D.)
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.)
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.)
Gregory of Nanzianzen (330-391 A.D.)
Pacian of Barcelona (342-379/392 A.D.)
Gregory of Elvira (after 392 A.D.)
Gregory of Nyssa (c.356-397 A.D.)
Didymus (398 A.D.)
The schismatic Lucifer of Cagliari, Sardinia (361-c.399 A.D.)
Ammon (4th century)
Epiphanius of Salamis (360-403 A.D.)
Rufinusí Commentary on the Apostles Creed (374-406 A.D.)
Gaudentius (after 406 A.D.)
John Chrysostom 392-407 A.D. wrote a commentary on Galatians, which we have today.
Chromatius (407 A.D.)
Severian (after 408 A.D.)
Niceta of Remesianus (414 A.D.)
Jerome (373-420 A.D.)
Council of Carthage (218 bishops) (393-419 A.D.)
Augustine of Hippo (388-8/28/430 A.D.)
The semi-Pelagian John Cassian (419-430 A.D.)
Nilus (c.430 A.D.) refers to Galatians 6:10
Marcus of Eremita (after 430 A.D.)
Vincent of Lerins (c.434 A.D.)
Socratesí Ecclesiastical History (c.400-439 A.D.)
Alexandrinus manuscript (A) (c.450 A.D.)
Hesychius of Jerusalem (after 450 A.D.) refers to Galatians 6:2, and no other verses in Galatians
Council of Chalcedon vs. Monophysites (451 A.D.)
Council of Constantinople II (c.153 present) (May 453 A.D.)
Quodvultdeus (c.453 A.D.)
Theodoret of Cyrus (bishop and historian) (423-458 A.D.)
Pope Leo I of Rome (440-461 A.D.)
Prosper of Aquitaine (foe of Cassian) (426-465 A.D.)
Varimadum (445/480 A.D.)
Macarius/Symeon (4th or 5th century)
Speculum (5th century)
Theodotus of Ancyra (5th century A.D.)
Proclus (412-485 A.D.)
Evidence of heretics and spurious books
The heretic Marcion according to Tertullian and Adamantius
Manichaean heretic Faustinus of Milevis/Milevum (4th century)
The heretic Priscillian (killed 385 A.D.) refers to Galatians 3:28
The Donatist Tyconius (after 390 A.D.) refers to Galatians 3:28 and other verses.
The heretic Pelagius (416-418 A.D.)
Nestoriusí Bazaar of Heracleides (451/452 A.D.)
The Pelagian heretic Theodore of Mopsuestia (425 A.D.)
Much of this is according to Aland et al. fourth revised edition, Adamantius : Dialogue on the True Faith in God, and The Books of Steps : The Syriac Liber Graduum.
Q: In Gal, how do we know that Scripture today is a reliable preservation of what was originally written?
A: There are at least three good reasons.
1. God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; Matthew 24:35.
2. Early church evidence. See the previous question for writers who referred to verses in Galatians.
3. Earliest manuscripts we have of Galatians show there are small manuscript variations, but zero theologically significant errors.
p46 Chester Beatty II 100-150 A.D. contains 140 verses of Galatians, as well as other verses. Specifically it has Galatians 1:1-8; 1:10-2:9; 2:12-21; 3:2-29; 4:2-18; 4:20-5:17; 5:20-6:8; 6:10-18 and other parts of Paulís letters and Hebrews. The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a photograph of part of p46 on p.192. It also says on p.197-198 that the quality and the stichiometric marks show that a professional scribe wrote this. A quite readable photograph of the page of the Chester Beatty papyrii of Galatians 6:10-18 and the start of Philippians is in Paul : Apostle of the Heart Set Free.
First half of 3rd century - 1936 - Frederic G. Kenyon according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
2nd century, 200 A.D. - 1935 - Ulrich Wilken according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
200 A.D. - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
81-96 A.D. - 1988 - Young Kyu Kim according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
About 200 A.D. - 1975 - Aland et al. third edition.
About 200 A.D. - 1998 - Aland et al. fourth revised edition.
Early to middle 2nd century - 1999 - The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts. This is based in part on the handwriting being very similar to Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 8 (late first or early second century) and Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2337 (late first century).
p51 (=Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2157) Galatians 1:2-10,13,16-20 c.400 A.D.
c.400 A.D. - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament and - 1975 - Aland et al. third edition and - 1998 - Aland et al. fourth revised edition
Vaticanus [B] 325-350 A.D.
Sinaiticus [Si] 340-350 A.D.
Bohairic Coptic [Boh] 3rd/4th century
Sahidic Coptic [Sah] 3rd/4rth century
Gothic [Goth] 493-555 A.D.
See www.BibleQuery.org/galMss.htm for more on early manuscripts of Galatians.