New International Reader's Version

Galatians 1

1I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am an apostle. People have not sent me. No human authority has sent me. I have been sent by Jesus Christ and by God the Father. God raised Jesus from the dead. All the brothers and sisters who are with me join me in writing.

We are sending this letter to you, the members of the churches in Galatia.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Jesus gave his life for our sins. He set us free from this evil world. That was what our God and Father wanted. Give glory to God for ever and ever. Amen.

There Is No Other Good News

I am amazed. You are so quickly deserting the one who chose you. He chose you to live in the grace that Christ has provided. You are turning to a different “good news.” What you are accepting is really not the good news at all. It seems that some people have gotten you all mixed up. They are trying to twist the good news about Christ. But suppose even we should preach a different “good news.” Suppose even an angel from heaven should preach it. Suppose it is different from the good news we gave you. Then let anyone who does that be cursed by God. I have already said it. Now I will say it again. Suppose someone preaches a “good news” that is different from what you accepted. That person should be cursed by God.

10 Am I now trying to get people to think well of me? Or do I want God to think well of me? Am I trying to please people? If I were, I would not be serving Christ.

Paul Was Appointed by God

11 Brothers and sisters, here is what I want you to know. The good news I preached does not come from human beings. 12 No one gave it to me. No one taught it to me. Instead, I received it from Jesus Christ. He showed it to me.

13 You have heard how I lived earlier in my Jewish way of life. With all my strength I attacked the church of God. I tried to destroy it. 14 I was moving ahead in my Jewish way of life. I went beyond many of my people who were my own age. I held firmly to the teachings passed down by my people. 15 But God set me apart from before the time I was born. He showed me his grace by appointing me. He was pleased 16 to show his Son in my life. He wanted me to preach about Jesus among the Gentiles. When God appointed me, I decided right away not to ask anyone for advice. 17 I didn’t go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was. Instead, I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem. I went there to get to know Peter. I stayed with him for 15 days. 19 I didn’t see any of the other apostles. I only saw James, the Lord’s brother. 20 Here is what you can be sure of. And God is even a witness to it. What I am writing you is not a lie.

21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 The members of Christ’s churches in Judea did not know me in a personal way. 23 They only heard others say, “The man who used to attack us has changed. He is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me.

The Message

Galatians 1

11-5 I, Paul, and my companions in faith here, send greetings to the Galatian churches. My authority for writing to you does not come from any popular vote of the people, nor does it come through the appointment of some human higher-up. It comes directly from Jesus the Messiah and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. I’m God-commissioned. So I greet you with the great words, grace and peace! We know the meaning of those words because Jesus Christ rescued us from this evil world we’re in by offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins. God’s plan is that we all experience that rescue. Glory to God forever! Oh, yes!

The Message

6-9 I can’t believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God. Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head. Let me be blunt: If one of us—even if an angel from heaven!—were to preach something other than what we preached originally, let him be cursed. I said it once; I’ll say it again: If anyone, regardless of reputation or credentials, preaches something other than what you received originally, let him be cursed.

10-12 Do you think I speak this strongly in order to manipulate crowds? Or curry favor with God? Or get popular applause? If my goal was popularity, I wouldn’t bother being Christ’s slave. Know this—I am most emphatic here, friends—this great Message I delivered to you is not mere human optimism. I didn’t receive it through the traditions, and I wasn’t taught it in some school. I got it straight from God, received the Message directly from Jesus Christ.

13-16 I’m sure that you’ve heard the story of my earlier life when I lived in the Jewish way. In those days I went all out in persecuting God’s church. I was systematically destroying it. I was so enthusiastic about the traditions of my ancestors that I advanced head and shoulders above my peers in my career. Even then God had designs on me. Why, when I was still in my mother’s womb he chose and called me out of sheer generosity! Now he has intervened and revealed his Son to me so that I might joyfully tell non-Jews about him.

16-20 Immediately after my calling—without consulting anyone around me and without going up to Jerusalem to confer with those who were apostles long before I was—I got away to Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus, but it was three years before I went up to Jerusalem to compare stories with Peter. I was there only fifteen days—but what days they were! Except for our Master’s brother James, I saw no other apostles. (I’m telling you the absolute truth in this.)

21-24 Then I began my ministry in the regions of Syria and Cilicia. After all that time and activity I was still unknown by face among the Christian churches in Judea. There was only this report: “That man who once persecuted us is now preaching the very message he used to try to destroy.” Their response was to recognize and worship God because of me!