law-books-291676_1280The fol­low­ing is adapted and expanded from a por­tion of my July 28, 2009 pre­sen­ta­tion, “I Did Not Come To Abol­ish” given at the New Covenant The­ol­ogy Think Tank in Evans, N.Y.

Despite its brief men­tion and a lack of a far-reaching or biblically-explicit con­text to sup­port the notion, there have been whole the­olo­gies and there have been whole NCT doc­trines built around a sys­tem­atic, rather than an exeget­i­cal and bib­li­cal the­ol­ogy approach to “the Law of Christ.”

Covenant The­olo­gians would typ­i­cally refer to it as iden­ti­cal to the moral law or Ten Com­mand­ments, and would con­sider as the impri­matur, “I have not come to abol­ish the Law,” full stop.

Dou­glas Moo defines it gen­er­ally as the teach­ings of Christ as con­tained in the New Tes­ta­ment. But that brings up a cou­ple of dif­fi­cul­ties: First, nowhere in Scrip­ture does it tell us that the “Law of Christ” is His teach­ings; sec­ond, nowhere does Christ or any Apos­tle say (as Moses wrote), “This shall be a statute for all your gen­er­a­tions,” or any­thing like that. The imper­a­tives of Jesus Christ and the Apos­tles, espe­cially Paul, come mostly in the form of exhor­ta­tions based in the indica­tive of the gospel, call­ing for us as new crea­tures to live as those whom we were recre­ated to be.

Thirdly, Paul writes quite con­sis­tently against a law of let­ters, for exam­ple, in , “[O]ur suf­fi­ciency is from God, 6 who has made us com­pe­tent to be min­is­ters of a new covenant, not of the let­ter but of the Spirit. For the let­ter kills, but the Spirit gives life,” or in , “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”

Replac­ing one law of let­ters with another law – even a bet­ter one – still runs counter to what Paul has written.

Steve Lehrer, writ­ing for IDS, had this assess­ment: “The law of Christ is made up of all of the com­mands given in the teach­ing pas­sages of the epis­tles and cer­tain parts of the Gospels. This is God’s stan­dard for all peo­ple from Pen­te­cost to eter­nity. In the attempt to apply any part of the rest of Scrip­ture to believ­ers, it must be inter­preted through the lens of these Scrip­tures.” (In-Depth Stud­ies. In-Depth Stud­ies Insti­tute of New Covenant The­ol­ogy. Mesa, Ariz.: Unpub­lished, 1993.).

The cor­rect answer, how­ever, doesn’t add to Pauline the­ol­ogy what isn’t in Paul’s epis­tles. When Paul was writ­ing his let­ters, most of the NT canon had yet to be writ­ten. It is doubt­ful that in his first epis­tle that Paul was telling the Gala­tians to fol­low a law that con­sisted of the com­mands of all of the NT Scrip­tures prior to their com­po­si­tion – even allow­ing for inspi­ra­tion by the Holy Spirit.

Recently, A. Blake White explained that it’s the pat­tern of Christ that is the law of Christ:

What, then, does Paul mean by “the law of Christ?” In the imme­di­ate con­text, the law of Christ is related to bear­ing the bur­dens of oth­ers: “Carry one another’s bur­dens; in this way you will ful­fill the law of Christ” (: 2). The “law” of Christ is the “law” of burden-bearing. In other words, Paul is not refer­ring to a lit­eral “law” here. He is using a word play on the word “law” to refer to a pat­tern or mind­set or prin­ci­ple demon­strated by Christ. The law of Chris is his pat­tern of burden-bearing. As noted, this is another way of speak­ing of love: giv­ing of self for the good of oth­ers, i.e., bear­ing their bur­den. From the begin­ning of the let­ter, the Mes­siah him­self is the par­a­dig­matic burden-bearer. Jesus “gave Him­self for our sins to res­cue us from this present evil age” (: 4). Jesus loved us and gave him­self for us (: 20). Jesus became a curse for us in order to redeem us (: 13–14). In : 4–7, God gives of self by send­ing his Son to redeem those under the law so that we might receive adoption.

So the law of Christ (or bet­ter, the pat­tern of the Mes­siah) is essen­tially the law of love, and as we have seen, the cross of Christ gives expla­na­tion to love. He loved us and gave him­self for us (: 20). There­fore, in call­ing us to carry one another’s bur­dens and ful­fill the law of Christ, Paul is essen­tially call­ing us to imi­tate the self-giving love of Jesus that ben­e­fits others.

White, A. Blake (2014–04-16). The Imi­ta­tion of Jesus (Kin­dle Loca­tions 269–284). New Covenant Media. Kin­dle Edition.

Thomas Schreiner, as shared on this blog recently, agrees that the con­text of Gala­tians points to the law of love as he answers the ques­tion “What is the Law of Christ?”:

It seems most promis­ing to iden­tify the law of Christ with the admo­ni­tion to love one another (), for there is a clear link between and 6:2. The Old Tes­ta­ment law “is ful­filled” (peplērō­tai) in the injunc­tion to love one’s neigh­bor as one­self ( in ). And the law of Christ “is ful­filled” (anaplērōsete) when believ­ers ful­fill one another’s bur­dens (). If we carry the bur­dens of other believ­ers, we show our love for them. Sac­ri­fi­cial love for fel­low believ­ers, then, ful­fills the Old Tes­ta­ment law and the law of Christ. Such a read­ing fits with –10, where the Old Tes­ta­ment law is cap­sulized in the admo­ni­tion to love one another. We also could say that Christ’s life, and the sac­ri­fice of his life in his death, exem­pli­fies to the utter­most the law of Christ. That is, Christ’s life and death are the par­a­digm, exem­pli­fi­ca­tion, and expla­na­tion of love. How­ever, –10 guards us from over­sim­pli­fy­ing the nature of Christ’s law, for love is expressed when believ­ers ful­fill moral norms. The law of Christ is exem­pli­fied by a life of love, but such love is expressed in a life of virtue.

Schreiner, Thomas R. 40 Ques­tions about Chris­tians and Bib­li­cal Law. Ed. Ben­jamin L. Merkle. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Aca­d­e­mic & Pro­fes­sional, 2010. Print. 40 Ques­tions Series.

 

Oddly enough, recently this same quote was mis­used to say that Schreiner means that the law of Christ must include all of the teach­ing of Jesus and the Apos­tles, even though in the pre­vi­ous para­graph Schreiner unam­bigu­ously states,  “it seems unlikely that the law of Christ refers explic­itly to Jesus’ teaching.”

Schreiner con­cludes that seg­ment of the book with this summary:

I have argued from both Gala­tians and 1 Corinthi­ans that the law of Christ should be defined as the law of love. We see in that Paul’s flex­i­bil­ity and sac­ri­fice on behalf of his hear­ers rep­re­sents the same kind of sac­ri­fi­cial love that Christ dis­played in going to the cross. The life of Christ, then, exem­pli­fies the law of love. It would be a mis­take to con­clude that there are no moral norms in the law of Christ, for –10 makes it clear, as do many other texts in Paul, that the life of love can­not be sep­a­rated from moral norms.

The gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell in the believer is inte­gral to the law of Christ, as G.M.H. Loub­ser writes:

Law of Christ is not a clan­des­tine phrase by which Paul wished to intro­duce some form of law or com­pelling sys­tem of ethics through the back­door. It is intended to describe the bear­ing of the bur­dens of oth­ers as intrin­sic to the new par­a­digm inau­gu­rated by Christ and his Spirit. It was intended to char­ac­terise Chris­t­ian action and ethics as in line with the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross of Christ was the bear­ing from which Chris­tians had to deter­mine their posi­tion and the direc­tion in which they were to move eth­i­cally. Their deci­sions had to be taken in terms of the cross of Christ, even though it might at times be in con­tra­dic­tion to what the world and law expected – scan­dalous, as it were! Paul’s use of the term “law” in this phrase is not indica­tive of moral law or exter­nally com­pelling moral­ity, but of how foun­da­tional the new dis­pen­sa­tion is. It is absolutely fixed in Christ and can­not be undone.

(Loub­ser, G.M.H. “ETHICS IN THE NEW CREATION: A CELEBRATION OF FREEDOM! A Per­spec­tive from Paul’s Let­ter to the Gala­tians.” Doc­toral Dis­ser­ta­tion in the Depart­ment of New Tes­ta­ment Stud­ies in the Fac­ulty of The­ol­ogy of the Uni­ver­sity of Pre­to­ria, South Africa, 2004., 350).

Sim­i­larly, Michael Winger, in his 2000 arti­cle “The Law of Christ” for Cam­bridge New Tes­ta­ment Stud­ies Jour­nal, writes:

We must there­fore take Paul’s use of ‘law’ in in a some­what looser sense; not as iden­ti­fy­ing any spe­cific, legal instruc­tion, but as refer­ring to the way Christ exer­cises his lord­ship over those called by him. And what way is that? Accord­ing to , it is nec­es­sary for those who are ‘of Christ’ to live in a way that is orga­nized by the Spirit; accord­ing to 5:18 that is suf­fi­cient as well. A nec­es­sary and suf­fi­cient con­di­tion for life in the com­mu­nity of the called: what else could there be to the ‘law of Christ’? … Indeed, since the ‘the law’, Jew­ish law, is now dis­tin­guished from ‘the law of Christ’, it is plainly an infe­rior one. In effect, Paul says: We who belong to Christ live in and accord­ing to the Spirit; that is our law – the true law.

Winger, Michael. “The law of Christ.” Cam­bridge New Tes­ta­ment Stud­ies Jour­nal, 31 Octo­ber 2000. 537–545., 544–5)

It forces Scrip­ture to go where Paul did not to extrap­o­late the law of Christ into a set of writ­ten com­mands that did not exist when Paul wrote Gala­tians and 1st Corinthi­ans. Rather, the phrase “law of Christ” empha­sizes the bear­ing of bur­dens that reflects Christ’s exam­ple in bear­ing our sins upon the cross, and His admo­ni­tions to us to love God and love our neigh­bor, and, indeed, the new com­mand­ment to love one another as He has loved us. That clearly could be under­stood by a church who had not received a canon not yet written.

And it empha­sizes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to pro­duce the love that ful­fills the law. This law of Christ is writ­ten upon the hearts of believ­ers by the Holy Spirit, ful­fill­ing . We love because He first loved us.

Antic­i­pat­ing the objec­tion that I am say­ing we do not have to obey the com­mands of Jesus and the Apos­tles, let me assert most strongly: all of Scrip­ture – and not just the New Tes­ta­ment as some on the fringes of NCT would teach – informs our ethic (c.f. ). All of Scrip­ture is for our obedience.

But that does not give us license to rede­fine what Paul meant in the con­text of his let­ters to the Gala­t­ian and Corinithian churches.

 


17 “Do not think that I have come to abol­ish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abol­ish them but to ful­fill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accom­plished. (ESV)


Not that we are suf­fi­cient in our­selves to claim any­thing as com­ing from us, but our suf­fi­ciency is from God, who has made us com­pe­tent to be min­is­ters of a new covenant, not of the let­ter but of the Spirit. For the let­ter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (ESV)


17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (ESV)


6:1 Broth­ers, if any­one is caught in any trans­gres­sion, you who are spir­i­tual should restore him in a spirit of gen­tle­ness. Keep watch on your­self, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s bur­dens, and so ful­fill the law of Christ. For if any­one thinks he is some­thing, when he is noth­ing, he deceives him­self. But let each one test his own work, and then his rea­son to boast will be in him­self alone and not in his neigh­bor. For each will have to bear his own load.

One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for what­ever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap cor­rup­tion, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eter­nal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due sea­son we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have oppor­tu­nity, let us do good to every­one, and espe­cially to those who are of the house­hold of faith.

11 See with what large let­ters I am writ­ing to you with my own hand. 12 It is those who want to make a good show­ing in the flesh who would force you to be cir­cum­cised, and only in order that they may not be per­se­cuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For even those who are cir­cum­cised do not them­selves keep the law, but they desire to have you cir­cum­cised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been cru­ci­fied to me, and I to the world. 15 For nei­ther cir­cum­ci­sion counts for any­thing, nor uncir­cum­ci­sion, but a new cre­ation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

17 From now on let no one cause me trou­ble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, broth­ers. Amen. (ESV)


1:1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the broth­ers who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave him­self for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, accord­ing to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory for­ever and ever. Amen.

I am aston­ished that you are so quickly desert­ing him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turn­ing to a dif­fer­ent gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trou­ble you and want to dis­tort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel con­trary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If any­one is preach­ing to you a gospel con­trary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

10 For am I now seek­ing the approval of man, or of God? Or am I try­ing to please man? If I were still try­ing to please man, I would not be a ser­vant of Christ.

11 For I would have you know, broth­ers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a rev­e­la­tion of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my for­mer life in Judaism, how I per­se­cuted the church of God vio­lently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advanc­ing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my peo­ple, so extremely zeal­ous was I for the tra­di­tions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gen­tiles, I did not imme­di­ately con­sult with any­one; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apos­tles before me, but I went away into Ara­bia, and returned again to Damascus.

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fif­teen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apos­tles except James the Lord’s brother. 20 (In what I am writ­ing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cili­cia. 22 And I was still unknown in per­son to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hear­ing it said, “He who used to per­se­cute us is now preach­ing the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glo­ri­fied God because of me. (ESV)


2:1 Then after four­teen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barn­abas, tak­ing Titus along with me. I went up because of a rev­e­la­tion and set before them (though pri­vately before those who seemed influ­en­tial) the gospel that I pro­claim among the Gen­tiles, in order to make sure I was not run­ning or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be cir­cum­cised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false broth­ers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our free­dom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slav­ery— to them we did not yield in sub­mis­sion even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be pre­served for you. And from those who seemed to be influ­en­tial (what they were makes no dif­fer­ence to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influ­en­tial added noth­ing to me. On the con­trary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncir­cum­cised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the cir­cum­cised (for he who worked through Peter for his apos­tolic min­istry to the cir­cum­cised worked also through me for mine to the Gen­tiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pil­lars, per­ceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fel­low­ship to Barn­abas and me, that we should go to the Gen­tiles and they to the cir­cum­cised. 10 Only, they asked us to remem­ber the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

11 But when Cephas came to Anti­och, I opposed him to his face, because he stood con­demned. 12 For before cer­tain men came from James, he was eat­ing with the Gen­tiles; but when they came he drew back and sep­a­rated him­self, fear­ing the cir­cum­ci­sion party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hyp­o­crit­i­cally along with him, so that even Barn­abas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their con­duct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gen­tile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gen­tiles to live like Jews?”

15 We our­selves are Jews by birth and not Gen­tile sin­ners; 16 yet we know that a per­son is not jus­ti­fied by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be jus­ti­fied by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

17 But if, in our endeavor to be jus­ti­fied in Christ, we too were found to be sin­ners, is Christ then a ser­vant of sin? Cer­tainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a trans­gres­sor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been cru­ci­fied with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave him­self for me. 21 I do not nul­lify the grace of God, for if right­eous­ness were through the law, then Christ died for no pur­pose. (ESV)


3:1 O fool­ish Gala­tians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was pub­licly por­trayed as cru­ci­fied. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hear­ing with faith? Are you so fool­ish? Hav­ing begun by the Spirit, are you now being per­fected by the flesh? Did you suf­fer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who sup­plies the Spirit to you and works mir­a­cles among you do so by works of the law, or by hear­ing with faith— just as Abra­ham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abra­ham. And the Scrip­ture, fore­see­ing that God would jus­tify the Gen­tiles by faith, preached the gospel before­hand to Abra­ham, say­ing, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abra­ham, the man of faith.

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is writ­ten, “Cursed be every­one who does not abide by all things writ­ten in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evi­dent that no one is jus­ti­fied before God by the law, for “The right­eous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becom­ing a curse for us—for it is writ­ten, “Cursed is every­one who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the bless­ing of Abra­ham might come to the Gen­tiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

15 To give a human exam­ple, broth­ers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been rat­i­fied. 16 Now the promises were made to Abra­ham and to his off­spring. It does not say, “And to off­springs,” refer­ring to many, but refer­ring to one, “And to your off­spring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years after­ward, does not annul a covenant pre­vi­ously rat­i­fied by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inher­i­tance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abra­ham by a promise.

19 Why then the law? It was added because of trans­gres­sions, until the off­spring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an inter­me­di­ary. 20 Now an inter­me­di­ary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then con­trary to the promises of God? Cer­tainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then right­eous­ness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scrip­ture impris­oned every­thing under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held cap­tive under the law, impris­oned until the com­ing faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be jus­ti­fied by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were bap­tized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is nei­ther Jew nor Greek, there is nei­ther slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s off­spring, heirs accord­ing to promise. (ESV)


4:1 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no dif­fer­ent from a slave, though he is the owner of every­thing, but he is under guardians and man­agers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were chil­dren, were enslaved to the ele­men­tary prin­ci­ples of the world. But when the full­ness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adop­tion as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, cry­ing, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

For­merly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worth­less ele­men­tary prin­ci­ples of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and sea­sons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

12 Broth­ers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong. 13 You know it was because of a bod­ily ail­ment that I preached the gospel to you at first, 14 and though my con­di­tion was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. 15 What then has become of the bless­ing you felt? For I tes­tify to you that, if pos­si­ble, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They make much of you, but for no good pur­pose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. 18 It is always good to be made much of for a good pur­pose, and not only when I am present with you, 19 my lit­tle chil­dren, for whom I am again in the anguish of child­birth until Christ is formed in you! 20 I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am per­plexed about you.

21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not lis­ten to the law? 22 For it is writ­ten that Abra­ham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born accord­ing to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be inter­preted alle­gor­i­cally: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bear­ing chil­dren for slav­ery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Ara­bia; she cor­re­sponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slav­ery with her chil­dren. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written,

“Rejoice, O bar­ren one who does not bear;
break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
For the chil­dren of the des­o­late one will be more
than those of the one who has a husband.”

28 Now you, broth­ers, like Isaac, are chil­dren of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born accord­ing to the flesh per­se­cuted him who was born accord­ing to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scrip­ture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, broth­ers, we are not chil­dren of the slave but of the free woman. (ESV)


2:1 Then after four­teen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barn­abas, tak­ing Titus along with me. I went up because of a rev­e­la­tion and set before them (though pri­vately before those who seemed influ­en­tial) the gospel that I pro­claim among the Gen­tiles, in order to make sure I was not run­ning or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be cir­cum­cised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false broth­ers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our free­dom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slav­ery— to them we did not yield in sub­mis­sion even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be pre­served for you. And from those who seemed to be influ­en­tial (what they were makes no dif­fer­ence to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influ­en­tial added noth­ing to me. On the con­trary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncir­cum­cised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the cir­cum­cised (for he who worked through Peter for his apos­tolic min­istry to the cir­cum­cised worked also through me for mine to the Gen­tiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pil­lars, per­ceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fel­low­ship to Barn­abas and me, that we should go to the Gen­tiles and they to the cir­cum­cised. 10 Only, they asked us to remem­ber the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

11 But when Cephas came to Anti­och, I opposed him to his face, because he stood con­demned. 12 For before cer­tain men came from James, he was eat­ing with the Gen­tiles; but when they came he drew back and sep­a­rated him­self, fear­ing the cir­cum­ci­sion party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hyp­o­crit­i­cally along with him, so that even Barn­abas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their con­duct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gen­tile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gen­tiles to live like Jews?”

15 We our­selves are Jews by birth and not Gen­tile sin­ners; 16 yet we know that a per­son is not jus­ti­fied by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be jus­ti­fied by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

17 But if, in our endeavor to be jus­ti­fied in Christ, we too were found to be sin­ners, is Christ then a ser­vant of sin? Cer­tainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a trans­gres­sor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been cru­ci­fied with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave him­self for me. 21 I do not nul­lify the grace of God, for if right­eous­ness were through the law, then Christ died for no pur­pose. (ESV)


14 For the whole law is ful­filled in one word: “You shall love your neigh­bor as your­self.” (ESV)


18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own peo­ple, but you shall love your neigh­bor as your­self: I am the Lord. (ESV)


Bear one another’s bur­dens, and so ful­fill the law of Christ. (ESV)


Owe no one any­thing, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has ful­filled the law. (ESV)


Owe no one any­thing, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has ful­filled the law. (ESV)


9:1 Am I not free? Am I not an apos­tle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my work­man­ship in the Lord? If to oth­ers I am not an apos­tle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apos­tle­ship in the Lord.

This is my defense to those who would exam­ine me. Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a believ­ing wife, as do the other apos­tles and the broth­ers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barn­abas and I who have no right to refrain from work­ing for a liv­ing? Who serves as a sol­dier at his own expense? Who plants a vine­yard with­out eat­ing any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock with­out get­ting some of the milk?

Do I say these things on human author­ity? Does not the Law say the same? For it is writ­ten in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muz­zle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is con­cerned? 10 Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was writ­ten for our sake, because the plow­man should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of shar­ing in the crop. 11 If we have sown spir­i­tual things among you, is it too much if we reap mate­r­ial things from you? 12 If oth­ers share this right­ful claim on you, do not we even more?

Nev­er­the­less, we have not made use of this right, but we endure any­thing rather than put an obsta­cle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the tem­ple ser­vice get their food from the tem­ple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sac­ri­fi­cial offer­ings? 14 In the same way, the Lord com­manded that those who pro­claim the gospel should get their liv­ing by the gospel.

15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writ­ing these things to secure any such pro­vi­sion. For I would rather die than have any­one deprive me of my ground for boast­ing. 16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boast­ing. For neces­sity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stew­ard­ship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preach­ing I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a ser­vant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those out­side the law I became as one out­side the law (not being out­side the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those out­side the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all peo­ple, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the run­ners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every ath­lete exer­cises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a per­ish­able wreath, but we an imper­ish­able. 26 So I do not run aim­lessly; I do not box as one beat­ing the air. 27 But I dis­ci­pline my body and keep it under con­trol, lest after preach­ing to oth­ers I myself should be dis­qual­i­fied. (ESV)


Owe no one any­thing, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has ful­filled the law. (ESV)


Bear one another’s bur­dens, and so ful­fill the law of Christ. (ESV)


16 Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They make much of you, but for no good pur­pose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. 18 It is always good to be made much of for a good pur­pose, and not only when I am present with you, 19 my lit­tle chil­dren, for whom I am again in the anguish of child­birth until Christ is formed in you! 20 I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am per­plexed about you.

21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not lis­ten to the law? 22 For it is writ­ten that Abra­ham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born accord­ing to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be inter­preted alle­gor­i­cally: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bear­ing chil­dren for slav­ery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Ara­bia; she cor­re­sponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slav­ery with her chil­dren. (ESV)


31 “Behold, the days are com­ing, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their hus­band, declares the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my peo­ple. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neigh­bor and each his brother, say­ing, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the great­est, declares the Lord. For I will for­give their iniq­uity, and I will remem­ber their sin no more.” (ESV)


16 All Scrip­ture is breathed out by God and prof­itable for teach­ing, for reproof, for cor­rec­tion, and for train­ing in right­eous­ness, 17 that the man of God may be com­pe­tent, equipped for every good work.

4:1 I charge you in the pres­ence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the liv­ing and the dead, and by his appear­ing and his king­dom: preach the word; be ready in sea­son and out of sea­son; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with com­plete patience and teach­ing. For the time is com­ing when peo­ple will not endure sound teach­ing, but hav­ing itch­ing ears they will accu­mu­late for them­selves teach­ers to suit their own pas­sions, and will turn away from lis­ten­ing to the truth and wan­der off into myths. (ESV)