Study Guide

Galatians, Philippians, and Philemon Lies and Deceit

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Lies and Deceit

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed! (Galatians 1:6-9, NRSV)

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9, KJV)

Okay, let's get something straight: there's only one version of the truth. And it's the one that Paul told everyone. Anyone who goes against that is just a giant liar. (Paul's pretty sure of himself, huh?)

In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie! (Galatians 1:20, NRSV)

The things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. (Galatians 1:20, KJV)

Paul's so honest. He cannot tell a lie. (Yes, he totally cut down that cherry tree, too.)

When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned; for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. And the other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not acting consistently 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 compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?" (Galatians 2:11-14, NRSV)

When Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? (Galatians 2:11-14, KJV)

Paul really gets sore when he sees anyone turning from the truth. Peter decides not to upset the other Christians visiting from Jerusalem, and Paul calls him out on it. After all, if there's only one truth, then acting any other way is flying in the face of what's real and good.

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? (Galatians 3:1-3, NRSV)

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? (Galatians 3:1-3, KJV)

Poor Galatians are all mixed up. Paul knows it's not totally their fault, though. Some huge liars came in and "bewitched" them with their fancy words and notions. This is what you get when you listen to someone other than your apostle, apparently.

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? They make much of you, but for no good purpose; they want to exclude you, so that you may make much of them […] My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, I wish I were present with you now and could change my tone, for I am perplexed about you. (Galatians 4:16-17, 19-20, NRSV)

Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them […] My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. (Galatians 4:16-17, 19-20, KJV)

Paul's just bringing the truth…so why all the hard feelings, Galatians? Paul's the one with good intentions here (and the pipeline to God). How do you know? Because…he told you.

You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? Such persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. I am confident about you in the Lord that you will not think otherwise. But whoever it is that is confusing you will pay the penalty […] I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves! (Galatians 5:7-10, 12, NRSV)

Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be […] I would they were even cut off which trouble you. (Galatians 5:7-10, 12, KJV)

It just takes one little lie to throw everyone off their game in Galatia. Paul's getting pretty sick and tired of all this, too (was that castration crack really necessary though?). Why can't the Galatians see that he's the one who knows what Jesus wants for them?

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:7-9, NRSV)

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:7-9, KJV)

Another great metaphor to describe what happens to liars. If you go around worrying about all the wrong things, that's what you're gonna be left with in the end. Stay focused on the truth and everything will be all right, says Paul.

Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel; the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but intending to increase my suffering in my imprisonment. What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice. (Philippians 1:15-18, NRSV)

Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. (Philippians 1:15-18, KJV)

Apparently, in Philippi, these naysayers don't upset Paul as much. Sure, they're peddling lies to the people, but he doesn't really care. They're still talking up Jesus and that's all that matters. Of course, it also helps that the Philippians aren't buying what they're selling.

Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh. (Philippians 3:2-3, NRSV)

Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. (Philippians 3:2-3, KJV)

These circumcision lovers have it all wrong, according to Paul. They're on the side of evil and all right-thinking people need to watch out for them.

Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. (Philippians 3:18-19, NRSV)

Many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. (Philippians 3:18-19, KJV)

Things are not gonna work out for anyone who's spreading a false gospel. They've got all the wrong priorities and they are gonna pay. Big time.

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