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Lesson Twelve: Galatians 5:1-15

  • Page ID
    125050
  • Instructions: Translate the Greek text with help from the reader notes. Complete the MYON (Make Your Own Note) and Discussion Questions if you desire.

    1 Τῇ ἐλευθερίᾳ ἡμᾶς Χριστὸς ἠλευθέρωσεν· στήκετε οὖν καὶ μὴ πάλιν ζυγῷ δουλείας ἐνέχεσθε. 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. 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. 13 Ὑμεῖς γὰρ ἐπ᾽ ἐλευθερίᾳ ἐκλήθητε, ἀδελφοί· μόνον μὴ τὴν ἐλευθερίαν εἰς ἀφορμὴν τῇ σαρκί, ἀλλὰ διὰ τῆς ἀγάπης δουλεύετε ἀλλήλοις. 14 ὁ γὰρ πᾶς νόμος ἐν ἑνὶ λόγῳ πεπλήρωται, ἐν τῷ· ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν. 15 εἰ δὲ ἀλλήλους δάκνετε καὶ κατεσθίετε, βλέπετε μὴ ὑπ᾽ ἀλλήλων ἀναλωθῆτε. SBLGNT

    5:1

    MYON [SN] Τῇ ἐλευθερίᾳ: Describe the syntactical function of the dative.

    [GMN] Ἠλευθέρωσεν (AAI3S LF: ἐλευθερόω) is a #contract verb.

    [GMN] Στήκετε is PAM2P (LF: ἵστημι).

    [SN] Μὴ . . . ἐνέχεσθε: μὴ generally negates the imperative. It is typically used with the oblique moods (imperative, subjunctive, and optative).

    [LN] Ζυγῷ (MSD LF: ζυγός) refers to a yoke used to bind animals together as they pull a plow or similar farming implement. This noun is frequently used in the NT in a figurative sense, as a symbol of slavery, both negatively (here) and positively (cf. Matt 11:30).

    [SN] Δουλείας (FSG LF: δουλεία) is likely an #attributive genitive, underscoring the figurative use of ζυγῷ.

    [LN] Ἐνέχεσθε (PMM2P LF: ἐνέχω) here means “to be subject” or “under (someone’s) control.” It occurs three times in the NT, with slightly different meanings in its other occurrences (see Mk 6:19; Lk 11:53).

    5:2

    [SN] Ἐὰν . . . οὐδὲν ὠφελήσει is a #third-class conditional statement, best understood in the sense “if A, then B” with no indications of the likelihood of the #protasis being fulfilled or not being fulfilled.

    [SN, LN] Οὐδὲν is likely an #adverbial accusative or #accusative of respect that means “in no way.”

    5:3

    [GMN] Περιτεμνομένῳ (PPPMSD LF: περιτέμνω) is an #anarthrous attributive participle (“every man who is circumcised”).

    [SN] Here ὅτι introduces a complementary clause, i.e., it explains the content of Paul’s testimony (μαρτύρομαι). In this way, the entire ὅτι clause functions as the direct object of the sentence.

    [LN, TN] The noun φειλέτης (MSN) occurs only seven times in the NT, including four times in Paul (cf. Rom 1:14, 8:12, 15:27). It refers to someone who owes a debt or is obligated to do something. It is possible that Paul’s audience would have heard some sort of wordplay between ὠφελήσει (v. 2) and όφειλέτης (though they are not lexically related).

    [GMN] Ποιῆσαι (AAN LF: ποιέω) is an #epexegetical infinitive that explains ὀφειλέτης (“he is obligated/a debtor to do . . .”).

    5:4

    [LN] Κατηργήθητε (API2P LF: καταργέω) occurs only three times in the NT, all in Galatians (cf. 3:17; 5:11). In 3:17, it is used to refer to a ratified covenant that is not “nullified.” In this verse, it means “removed.”

    [SN] The prepositional phrase ἐν νόμῳ could either express #reference or #means here.

    [GMN, LN] Δικαιοῦσθε (PMI2P or PPI2P LF: δικαιόω) could either be read here in the passive voice (“whoever is being justified ἐν νόμῳ) or the middle voice, with a possible reflexive sense (“whoever is justifying/seeking to justify themselves ἐν νόμῳ). If the former, it is possible that this clause is meant to be read sarcastically.

    [SN]Τῆς χάριτος is an #ablative genitive of separation. This syntactical function is brought out by the ἐκ of the compound verb ἐξεπέσατε (“you have fallen [away] from grace”).

    [GMN] Ἐξεπέσατε (AAI2P LF: ἐκπίπτω) is formed by the preposition ἐκ and the verb πίπτω (“to fall”). It occurs ten times in the NT, only twice in Paul (cf. Rom 9:6). Notice as a second aorist form it has undergone a stem change.

    5:5

    [SN] Πνεύματι (NSD LF: πνεῦμα) is a #dative of means or possibly #sphere.

    [SN] Ἐκ πίστεως is likely an expression of #means. It is by now a common phrase in Galatians (cf. 2:16; 3:7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 22, 24).

    [SN] Δικαιοσύνης could be read either as a #genitive of apposition (“hope, namely, righteousness”) or an #objective genitive (“righteousness, for which we hope”).

    [LN] Ἀπεκδεχόμεθα (PDI1P LF: ἀπεκδέχομαι) occurs eight times in the NT, including six times in Paul. It means “to await (eagerly).”

    5:6

    [SN] Ἐν . . . Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ is a #spatial or #causal use of ἐν.

    [SN] Οὔτε . . . οὔτε is a common construction translated “neither . . . nor.”

    [LN] Ἰσχύει (PAI3S LF: ἰσχύω) can mean “to be healthy” (see Mk 2:17) or “to be strong” (see Lk 16:3), but here it means “to be able” (cf. Phil 4:13). Therefore, the phrase οὔτε περιτομή τι ἰσχύει οὔτε . . . means, “Neither circumcision can do anything nor . . .”

    [SN] Δι᾿ ἀγάπης communicates #means.

    [SN] Ἐνεργουμένη (PMPFSG LF: ἐνεργέω) is an #attributive participle modifying πίστις.

    5:7

    [LN] Ἐτρέχετε (IAI2P LF: τρέχω) means “to run,” but it can also carry the more figurative meanings “to progress” or “to exert (oneself)” (see Rom 9:16 for an example of the figurative meaning). This verb occurs twenty times in the NT, including ten times in Paul, three times in Galatians (cf. 2:2 τρέχω ἢ ἔδραμον).

    [LN] Ἐνέκοψεν (AAI1S LF: ἐγκόπτω) has to do with hindering, stopping/blocking, or otherwise impeding someone’s progress. It occurs five times in the NT, including three times in Paul (see Rom 15:22; 1 Thess 2:18).

    [SN] [Τῇ] ἀληθείᾳ (FSD) should probably be read here as a #dative of reference.

    [LN, SN] Πείθεσθαι (PPN LF: πείθω) means “to be persuaded.” This word seems important to Paul’s argumentation here, as it is one of three cognates used in this section (cf. v. 8 πεισμονὴ, v. 10 πέποιθα).

    5:8

    [LN] Πεισμονὴ (FSN) is a #hapax legomenon, and this is its first appearance in extant Greek literature. [1] Like its English translation “persuasion,” it is unclear whether the noun should be understood in an active or passive sense.

    [SN] ‘Eκ τοῦ καλοῦντος indicates #source.

    [SN, TN] Tοῦ καλοῦντος (PAPMSG LF: καλέω) is a #substantival participle, likely meant to parallel τοῦ καλέσαντος in 1:6.

    5:9

    [LN] Μικρὰ (FSN LF: μικρός, -ά, -όν) is an adjective meaning “small” or “little.”

    [LN] The noun ζύμη (FSN) occurs thirteen times in the NT, including five times in Paul (see 1 Cor 5:6–8) and means “yeast/leaven.”

    [LN, SN] Τὸ φύραμα (NSA LF: φύραμα) occurs five times in the NT, all in Paul (see Rom 9:21, 11:16; 1 Cor 5:6) and refers to a lump of dough. It is the direct object of the verb ζυμοῖ.

    [LN] The verb ζυμοῖ (PAI3S LF: ζυμόω) occurs only four times in the NT, including twice in Paul (see 1 Cor 5:6; see also Matt 13:33; Lk 13:21) and is a verbal cognate of the noun ζύμη. It refers to the use of yeast in baking bread and is often translated “to leaven.”

    [TN] Μικρὰ ζύμη ὅλον τὸ φύραμα ζυμοῖ occurs verbatim in 1 Cor 5:6. It is possible that Paul penned this phrase in Galatians and simply reused it in his Corinthian correspondence. It is more likely, however, that Paul is here drawing upon a well-known proverb.

    5:10

    [SN] The prepositional phrase εἰς ὑμᾶς modifies πέποιθα by indicating the object of Paul’s confidence (i.e., it expresses #reference). The prepositional phrase ἐν κυρίῳ further modifies πέποιθα by indicating the #cause of his confidence.

    [SN] Here ὅτι introduces the #clausal complement of πέποιθα, meaning that it explains the content of the verb.

    [LN, GMN] Φρονήσετε (FAI2P LF: φρονέω) means “to think/regard” and often carries connotations of mindset or even behavior. Notice the lengthening of the final vowel ε to η, characteristic of #contract verbs.

    [SN]Ὁ . . . ταράσσων (PAPMSN LF: ταράσσω) is a #substantival participle and is the subject of βαστάσει. It occurs seventeen times in the NT, including twice in Paul, with both occurrences in Galatians (cf. 1:7).

    [LN] Τὸ κρίμα (NSA LF: κρίμα) means “judgment” and is the nominal form of the verb κρίνω (“to judge”).

    [SN, TN]Ὅστις ἐὰν ᾖ is a relative clause in which ὅστις acts as a qualitative pronoun referring to ὁ ταράσσων. The use of ὅστις coupled with ἐὰν and the subjunctive (PS3S LF: εἰμί) gives the clause a feeling of generality or lack of specificity (“whoever he is/might be”). This could possibly be intended to sharpen the polemic (i.e., Paul does not think the specific ὁ ταράσσων is even worth naming).

    5:11

    [SN] The vocative of direct address ἀδελφοί (MPV) is grammatically independent from the following clause, as Ἐγὼ is the subject of the main verb κηρύσσω. It is likely that Ἐγὼ was placed at the front of the verse to draw out the contrast between Paul and the “troubler” of v. 10.

    [SN] Εἰ introduces the #protasis of a #first-class conditional statement, with τί indicating the #apodosis. In this construction, the protasis is assumed to be true for the sake of the argument; however, the apodosis (here a rhetorical question) points to the fact that the protasis is not true. Therefore, we should translate this as we would a #second-class condition (“If I were still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted?”).

    [SN] Τοῦ σταυροῦ is a #genitive of apposition (“the scandal/stumbling block, which is the cross”).

    5 :12

    [LN] Ὄφελον is a particle meaning “would that.”

    [SN, LN] Οἱ ἀναστατοῦντες (PAPMPN LF: ἀναστατόω) is a #substantival participle and the subject of ἀποκόψονται. The verb only occurs three times in the NT (cf. Acts 17:6; 21:38). It can mean “to agitate” or “unsettle,” but it is worth noting that in its other occurrences it carries connotations of inciting someone to rebellion.

    [LN] Ἀποκόψονται (FMI3P LF: ἀποκόπτω): This is the #causative direct middle voice. A figurative meaning of “to cut off/excommunicate” is possible, but this would likely be a secondary meaning at best. Rather, given the sustained polemic against circumcision, a quite literal and graphic image is surely being evoked (i.e., castration); this usage of ἀποκόπτω is found in LXX Deut 23:2.

    5:13

    [SN] It is unclear how γάρ is functioning in this verse if we seek to understand it as a straightforward explanatory conjunction, introducing the rationale for the preceding clause. It is likely best to think of it as summative, introducing the following ethical exhortation in light of the previous section as a whole (cf. the keyword link with 5:1, ἐλευθερίᾳ).

    [SN, LN] Ἐπ᾽ ἐλευθερίᾳ expresses #purpose and should thus be translated “for the purpose of freedom.”

    [SN] The clause μόνον μὴ τὴν ἐλευθερίαν εἰς ἀφορμὴν τῇ σαρκί does not have a verb or subject, so some sort of verbal phrase must be supplied (e.g., “Only, do not use freedom . . .”).

    [LN, SN] The noun ἀφορμήν (FSA LF: ἀφορμή) occurs seven times in the NT, all in Paul, and means “opportunity.” The prepositional phrase εἰς ἀφορμὴν functions as the (negated) #goal of the direct object τὴν ἐλευθερίαν such that freedom is (not to be) “used” to justify the “opportunity.”

    [SN] Τῇ σαρκί is a #dative of advantage.

    [SN] Διὰ τῆς ἀγάπης expresses #means and modifies δουλεύετε.

    5:14

    [SN] The prepositional phrase ἐν ἑνὶ λόγῳ can be understood to express #reference or #standard. Alternatively, it could be understood as #means if one supplies a verb of doing (“by the doing of one word”).

    [SN] Ἐν τῷ communicates #sphere, explaining what constitutes the ἑνὶ λόγῳ. For this reason, it is probably best to understand the article τῷ as nominalizing the clause that follows it, and it can thus be left out of translation.

    [SN] Here ἀγαπήσεις (FAI2S LF: ἀγαπάω) is functioning as an #imperatival future and should thus be understood with the force of a command.

    [TN] Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν is quoted from LXX Lev 19:18.

    5:15

    [SN] Εί introduces the #protasis of a #first-class conditional statement, with βλέπετε μὴ indicating the #apodosis.

    [GMN] Βλέπετε (PAM2P LF: βλέπω): The morphology for the imperative and the indicative are identical in this case, but context dictates that we read βλέπετε as an imperative verb.

    [SN] Βλέπετε μή . . . ἀναλωθῆτε: The imperative verb at the beginning of the clause sets up a caution, which is followed by the #subjunctive mood. The construction βλέπετε μή is found eight times in the NT.

    [GMN] Ἀναλωθῆτε (APS2P LF: ἀναλόω) is a contract verb here in the subjunctive mood.

    Discussion Questions (5:1–15)

    [5:1] In many printed editions of the NT, the verse beginning Τῇ ἐλευθερίᾳ ἡμᾶς starts a new chapter of the letter. Based upon the syntactic and lexical elements of this passage and the preceding passage, in which section should one include this clause? That is, how might one divide the sections of this portion of the letter?

    [5:8] In this verse, Paul refers to τοῦ καλοῦντος (which possibly recalls τοῦ καλέσαντος in 1:6). As in 1:6, the antecedent is ambiguous. Could it be referring to Christ, God, or even Paul?

    [5:5] Here ἐκ πίστεως probably expresses #means, but what is the syntactic function of the dative πνεύματι—#means or #sphere? How does this affect our understanding of the verse?

    [5:14] English translations of ἐν ἑνὶ λόγῳ sometimes interpret the phrase as expressing #means (i.e., “by [the doing of] one word” or “in keeping one word”) and other times use more ambiguous phrasing that could refer either to #means or simply to content (i.e., “fulfilled in the commandment/word”). Does this greatly affect our reading of the passage?