Fillmore Study Bible: Galatians

Paul’s Letter to the Galatians

The Separation of Saints Peter and Paul, Giovanni Lanfranco (1582–1647). Public Domain.
The Separation of Saints Peter and Paul, Giovanni Lanfranco (1582–1647). Public Domain.

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Introduction to Paul’s Letter to the Galatians

The disturbed state of affairs indicated by the term “Galatian Controversy” forms the historical background of Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians; and if this Epistle is to be properly understood, some knowledge of what was taking place at the time of writing is absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, the New Testament gives little detailed information on the subject. Consequently, many differing accounts of these happenings have been put forward, and even the time and place of Paul’s writing have been variously stated. However, this lesson will present what appears the most reasonable explanation of what took place, giving the happenings in the chronological order which best harmonizes with other activities of Paul.

(1)The disturbing news: When Paul reached Antioch, at the close of his second missionary journey, disturbing news awaited him. It would appear that, during the apostle’s long absence, emissaries of the “Judaizing party” had visited the Christian groups in Galatia, denouncing Paul as an impostor, and declaring that all Gentiles—if they desired to become Christians—must submit to the ordinances of Judaism, including circumcision. Some time earlier, this matter had been taken up by the Apostles at the Jerusalem council (as discussed in Lesson Three), and a decision favorable to the Gentiles had been rendered; but during Paul’s prolonged absence in Europe this decision had been thrust aside, and many Gentile converts had been intimidated into submission. Thus much of Paul’s work among the Gentiles had been nullified, and the converts had surrendered their newly-gained freedom.

(2) The churches affected: The term Galatians, as here used, refers to the Christian groups formed by Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. Thus, the churches concerned in this Galatian controversy would be those of Antioch (in Pisidia), Iconium, Lystra,and Derbe.

(3) Paul’s twofold action: Paul first dictated the strongly-worded letter, which we now refer to as the Epistle to the Galatians, and dispatched it to the above-mentioned churches. The apostle’s purpose in writing is clearly indicated in the Epistle. First, he sought to vindicate his claim to apostleship—averring that his appointment was not “from men or through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father” (Gal. 1:1). Then he plunged into the important business of reconverting those Gentile Christians who had been so basely deceived by the “Judaizers,” and winning them back into experiences of Christian freedom. Paul further instructed his converts in the right use of this Christian freedom—their actions being no longer restricted by the limitations of the law, but enlarged through the working of Christian love.

Then, following the writing and dispatching of this Epistle, Paul hurriedly departed from his headquarters at Antioch (in Syria), and revisited the Christian groups in Galatia. During this visit Paul gave the converts further instructions along lines laid down in his Epistle, together with whatever additional guidance was necessary. Evidently Paul’s efforts to reestablish his Galatian converts in Christian freedom were successful, for after a short stay with them, he departed from Galatia and journeyed westward as far as Ephesus, where some important work awaited his coming. Paul’s activities in Ephesus will be discussed later in this lesson.

(4) Historical significance: It is true that Paul wrote his Epistle to the Galatians in order to vindicate his apostleship, and to win back the misguided Galatian converts. But history clearly shows that the Epistle to the Galatians should also be recognized as a combined “Declaration of Independence” and “Magna Charta” of Christian freedom. For at the time of writing something more than the ceremonial status of a few Galatian converts was at stake. The real points at issue were: Should Christians in general submit to the bondage of the Mosaic law, or should they find their freedom in Jesus Christ? Should the Christian Church continue as a subsidiary of Judaism, or should it now be regarded as a completely independent organization? The apostle took a stand for freedom and independence. Of course, all this controversy was not settled at that time. Nevertheless, Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, and his courageous actions, should be recognized as important milestones along the road which ultimately led to Christian freedom and the separation between Judaism and Christianity.

(5) Metaphysical meaning: The Roman province of Galatia derived its name from the Gauls, who invaded that section of Asia Minor in preChristian times. Thus, the term Galatia meant “the territory occupied by Gaulish immigrants”; and it also tended to emphasize the fact that the inhabitants were of comparatively recent arrival (or to use a modern term, they were “newcomers”). In a somewhat similar way, the Gentile Christians in Galatia should be recognized as recent converts, who were not yet fully established in the Christian teaching. Later on, Paul termed some of his newly-fledged converts “babes in Christ” (I Cor. 3:1-3). Apparently it was because of this spiritual immaturity that the Gentile converts in Galatia so easily surrendered their Christian freedom to the “Judaizers.” Applying what is indicated above to present-day experiences, it would seem that the Epistle to the Galatians has special reference to the dangers associated with spiritual immaturity. Like the Galatians, persons who are not well-grounded in Truth may easily become involved in erroneous teaching, and soon lose whatever measure of freedom they have gained. Possibly, it was some recollection of this Galatian experience which later caused Paul to write: “Therefore, take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:13).

Another important present-day message from Galatians is to be recognized in Paul’s oft-quoted admonition: “For freedom has Christ set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). Religious freedom is a precious heritage. But this freedom, when once attained, must also be maintained, and its maintenance calls for constant vigilance. Jesus made clear what our attitude must be in this respect, when He said: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). Paul’s words, given in a later epistle, are also significant: “Pray at all times in the Spirit. . . keep alert with all perseverance” (Eph. 6:18).

Introduction to Paul’s Letter to the Galatians by Herbert J. Hunt, former Dean of Bible Studies for the Unity School of Christianity.

In the first sentence of his letter, Paul declares that his authority as an apostle is not found in tradition, nor scripture, nor reason nor experience. It may be claimed that the rest of the letter is an elaboration on that inspired statement in Christian scripture (1:1-5)

Paul’s first assertion is that there is only one Gospel or Good News. As we will see, this means in the world of religion and spirituality there are some absolutes. There may be disagreements about what is absolute and what is relative. However Paul’s point is that it is perfectly fine for a spiritual tradition to assert Truth in such a way that denies the validity of some erroneous spiritual assertions (1:6-10).

Paul’s letter addresses problems that emerged when the ministry and message of Jesus, a Jew grounded in the Jewish covenant and legal traditions, was received by Gentiles, who had no covenant with the Jewish God nor any legal requirement to keep the Jewish law. That the Gospel of Jesus would take root in a non-Jewish, hellenistic culture surprised everyone. It not only took root, the mission and message of Jesus exhibited great spiritual power among the Gentiles. So the story of Paul’s letter to the Galatians begins with understanding that since the Good News for a particular people and culture could come to serve an entirely different people and culture then Truth transcends culture (1:11-24).

The acceptance of the ministry and message of Jesus in the Gentile world surprised even the Apostle Paul, who was responsible for evangelizing in Damascus and Arabia, places known metaphysically as centers of Gentile intellectual and worldly thoughts. In fact, so surprised was Paul that he and his friends convened a private meeting in Jerusalem with Peter, James and John, the core of Jewish Christian leadership, to make sure they were in agreement about how to understand non-Jewish Christianity. According to Paul, the Jewish Christian leadership extended the right hand of fellowship to Paul and his companions. So it was agreed that while there would be one Gospel but that there would also be separate ministries–one for the Gentiles and another ministry for the Jews (2:1-10).

It was not long before disagreements arouse between Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians about religious practices and orthodox teachings. The disagreements exploded when Peter, the Jewish Christian leader, visited Antioch, the center of Gentile Christian practice. Peter had shared fellowship meals with the Gentile converts there, but he ceased when people from his own religious circle showed up and accused him of impropriety. It’s a painful story that illustrates how people who were at one time religiously marginalized will often exhibit spiritual elitism when they become religiously prominent (2:11-14).

Paul makes an astonishing statement when reflecting on what had happened. People believed then, as they do now, that Jesus somehow saves each of us in some way. But the church has never clarified exactly how salvation works. Some theologians say Jesus paid a ransom to the devil. Others say he paid an atonement to God. Others hold that Jesus just showed the way to a better way to live. Astonishingly, Paul doesn’t talk so much about Jesus as much as he talks about himself. He writes, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.” (2:15-21).

So Paul’s solution to how the ministry and message of Jesus might serve Gentiles as well as Jews is to remove that ministry and message away from the culture and place it within each individual Gentile and Jew. It is Paul who is crucified, crucified with Christ, but with Christ who lives in him. Paul says that this Christ within supplies the Spirit to you and me and works miracles among each one of us (3:1-13).

Having removed the ministry and message of Jesus away from culture, Paul then moves it away from any particular covenant with God. He does so by declaring that the covenant with Abraham is one seed, which is Christ. Metaphysically, “one seed” is a euphemism for Principle, a singular metaphysical rule or Idea by which we are able to gain true spiritual heritage and possess riches of the kingdom of God (3:15-18).

The hostile disagreements between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians have now been resolved. We are no longer concerned about culture nor covenant because, as Paul says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (3:19-29).

Introduction to Paul’s Letter to the Galatians by Rev. Mark Hicks.

Galatians 1

(Online: ASV WEB)

Greeting from Our Spirit of Truth

1:1 Paul,1 an apostle (not from men, neither through man, but through Jesus Christ,2 and God the Father,3 who raised him from the dead),4 1:2 and all the brothers[1] who are with me, to the assemblies of Galatia:

1:3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, 1:4 who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil5 age, according to the will of our God and Father-- 1:5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

  1. Paul. Metaphysically, Paul is the word of the Spirit of truth. The converted Paul (formerly Saul, the will) becomes, by the power of the word, the most active thought in the establishment of good throughout our being. (MBD/Paul)
  2. Jesus Christ. Jesus is God’s idea of man in expression (MBD/Jesus). Christ is the idea in the absolute (MBD/Christ). Jesus Christ was the type man, which includes all the mental phases through which man passes in demonstrating life’s problems.
  3. God the Father. God is not person but principle, the underlying unchangeable truth. God is personal to us when we recognize Him within us as our indwelling life, intelligence, love, and power. (RW/God)
  4. dead. the outer symbol of mental negation or spiritual inertia. (RW/death)
  5. evil. That which is not God; unreality; error thought; a product of the fallen human consciousness; negation. (RW/evil)

There Is Only One Gospel

1:6 I marvel that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different "good news";1 1:7 and there isn't another "good news." Only there are some who trouble you, and want to pervert the Good News of Christ. 1:8 But even though we, or an angel2 from heaven, should preach to you any "good news" other than that which we preached to you, let him be cursed. 1:9 As we have said before, so I now say again: if any man3 preaches to you any "good news" other than that which you received, let him be cursed. 1:10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? For if I were still pleasing men, I wouldn't be a servant of Christ.

  1. Good News-“Gospel”. The Good news of Jesus is that every man can become God incarnate. It is now universally identified with Jesus’ mission. (RW/gospel)
  2. angel. A messenger of God. (MBD/angel)
  3. man, humanity. An idea in Divine Mind; the epitome of being. The apex of God’s creation, created in God's image and likeness. We appear unlike God because we, through disobedience, fell into sin. Through accepting race thoughts, we have adopted wrong ideas about ourself and our relation to our source. We have believed we are unlike and separate from God. (RW/man)

Truth Transcends Culture

1:11 But I make known to you, brothers, concerning the Good News which was preached by me, that it is not according to man. 1:12 For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.

1:13 For you have heard of my way of living in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the assembly of God, and ravaged it. 1:14 I advanced in the Jews' religion beyond many of my own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 1:15 But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me through his grace, 1:16 to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles,1 I didn't immediately confer with flesh and blood, 1:17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia.2 Then I returned to Damascus.

1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem3 to visit Peter,4 and stayed with him fifteen days. 1:19 But of the other apostles I saw no one, except James, the Lord's brother. 1:20 Now about the things which I write to you, behold, before God, I'm not lying. 1:21 Then I came to the regions of Syria5 and Cilicia. 1:22 I was still unknown by face to the assemblies of Judea which were in Christ, 1:23 but they only heard: "He who once persecuted us now preaches the faith that he once tried to destroy." 1:24 And they glorified God in me.

  1. Gentiles. Worldly thoughts–thoughts pertaining to the external, or thoughts that function through the senses. The Gentile is the unregenerate state of mind in us. (MBD/Gentiles)
  2. Arabia. Metaphysically, an outer, or Gentile, state of consciousness that is its wild, ignorant undisciplined, and unsettled nature is destructive in its tendency and is unproductive of good. (MBD/Arabia)
  3. Jerusalem. The spiritual center in consciousness. In us, it is the abiding consciousness of spiritual peace. (RW/Jerusalem)
  4. Peter. The spiritual faculty of faith. (MBD/Peter)
  5. Syria. Metaphysically, the intellect, intellectual pride (highland, swelling up). Egotistic purely intellectual thought. The Syria thoughts of the intellectual realm that have no understanding of the real (Israel) come down and seek to kill the spiritual thoughts of the heart. (MBD/Syria)

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Thomas Scheinler.

World English Bible Footnotes:

  • [1] v1:2. The word for "brothers" here and where context allows may also be correctly translated "brothers and sisters" or "siblings."

Galatians 2

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Fellowship of Jewish and Gentile Christianity

2:1 Then after a period of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem1 with Barnabas,2 taking Titus also with me. 2:2 I went up by revelation, and I laid before them the Good News which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately before those who were respected, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. 2:3 But not even Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 2:4 This was because of the false brothers secretly brought in, who stole in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage; 2:5 to whom we gave no place in the way of subjection, not for an hour, that the truth of the Good News might continue with you. 2:6 But from those who were reputed to be important (whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God doesn't show partiality to man)--they, I say, who were respected imparted nothing to me, 2:7 but to the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the Good News for the uncircumcision, even as Peter with the Good News for the circumcision 2:8 (for he who appointed Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision appointed me also to the Gentiles); 2:9 and when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John,3 they who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcision. 2:10 They only asked us to remember the poor--which very thing I was also zealous to do.

  1. went up again to Jerusalem. Jerusalem, in humanity, represents the abiding consciousness of spiritual peace, which is the result of continuous realizations of spiritual power tempered with spiritual poise and confidence. It represents the habitation of peace, or the dwelling place of peace. (MBD/Jerusalem)
  2. Barnabas, Paul. Barnabas and Paul are chosen for missionary work among the Gentiles because of their superior qualifications for the task, mainly their firm faith, loyalty, courage, and resourcefulness, as well as their zeal for Truth. The will (Paul) and imagination (Barnabas) illumined by the Christ turn all the thoughts toward Truth.
  3. James and Cephas and John. [Judgment, Faith and Love are pillars of the church (orthodox religion) that give the right hand of fellowship to transformed will and quickened imagination (metaphysical religion).] The right hand of fellowship is the seal of approval that evidences the bond of harmony and union between those of the same mind.

An Example of Spiritual Elitism.

2:11 But when Peter came to Antioch,1 I resisted him to his face, because he stood condemned. 2:12 For before some people came from James, he ate with the Gentiles. But when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.2 2:13 And the rest of the Jews3 joined him in his hypocrisy; so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 2:14 But when I saw that they didn't walk uprightly according to the truth of the Good News, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live as the Gentiles do, and not as the Jews do, why do you compel the Gentiles to live as the Jews do?4

  1. when Peter came to Antioch. The church that was established at Antioch symbolizes an assembling of spiritual thoughts, the first establishment of our awareness of Christ consciousness. (MBI/Acts 13) [It was there that followers of Jesus were first called "Christians". So Antioch represents a state of mind guided by “formulated theology” instead of spiritual understanding. Peter in the Antioch state of mind has abandoned the right hand of fellowship established in Jerusalem.] The Antioch state of mind must be thoroughly Christened. (MBD/Antioch)
  2. fearing those who were of the circumcision. Our ideas of God and of our relation to God must undergo a great change before we can begin uplifting and unifying the whole person (Jew and Gentile). Peter did not know that circumcision, spiritually, signifies the setting free of the individual from the law of sin and death. (RW/circumcision)
  3. Gentiles, Jews. The Jews symbolize our religious thoughts and the Gentiles symbolize our worldly thoughts. Gentiles are worldly thoughts pertaining to the external, or thoughts that function through the senses. Jews in their highest aspect symbolize divine ideas, or spiritual consciousness. Each individual has a formless mind and a formed mind, and these two minds seem in the present race consciousness to be hostile one to the other. (MBD/Jews)
  4. why do you compel the Gentiles to live as the Jews do? The lesson here is that a spiritually immature Peter, captive to the Antioch state of formalized theology, fears being set free from the law of sin and death.

The Transformation of the Soul

2:15 "We, being Jews by nature, and not Gentile sinners, 2:16 yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ,1 even we believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law, because no flesh will be justified by the works of the law. 2:17 But if, while we sought to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also were found sinners, is Christ a servant of sin? Certainly not! 2:18 For if I build up again those things which I destroyed, I prove myself a law-breaker. 2:19 For I, through the law, died to the law, that I might live to God. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ,2 and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me. 2:21 I don't make void the grace of God.3 For if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nothing!"

  1. not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. [Paul came to his understanding of “justification by grace through faith” because of his inability to achieve a perfect expression by will and intellect. He was a good Pharisee, but he knew that his life was not sufficient to achieve the full expression of his true nature. The will is one of the Twelve Powers, our decision making faculty that moves the other faculties into action. The problem with the will is that it cannot see the reality of Divine ideas. So Paul's mission was to conquer the will and intellect and to place it in service to his Christ nature. Paul's discovery is that the it is the faculty of faith, our ability to perceive the reality of the oneness of God and the flow of Divine ideas, that enables us to achieve perfect expression. (Divine Ideas in Paul's Writings)]
  2. I have been crucified with Christ... [An important message for strong-willed persons: First, it is Paul (the will) who is crucified. Second, the will is not crucified alone, but rather crucified with Christ. Third, the will is transformed, not in its status before God (it still lives “in the flesh”) but rather in its new reliance on faith. Finally, the will is now, possibly for the first time, aware of being loved.]
  3. make void the grace of God. We make void the grace of God by refusing to express divine goodness (ideas), which is the fundamental principle of Being. Everyone can do good and thus prove that the Christ is risen in our mind and heart. It is not enough to understand spiritual teachings. We must live the Truth we know. (Unity Principle #5)

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Thomas Scheinler.

Galatians 3

(Online: ASV WEB)

First Steps to Spiritual Consciousness

3:1 Foolish Galatians,1 who has bewitched you not to obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth among you as crucified? 3:2 I just want to learn this from you. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith? 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now completed in the flesh? 3:4 Did you suffer so many things in vain, if it is indeed in vain? 3:5 He therefore who supplies the Spirit to you, and works miracles among you,2 does he do it by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith?

3:6 Even as Abraham3 "believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness." 3:7 Know therefore that those who are of faith, the same are children of Abraham. 3:8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Good News4 beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you all the nations will be blessed."[2] 3:9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham.

3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse. For it is written, "Cursed is everyone who doesn't continue in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them."[3] 3:11 Now that no man is justified by the law before God is evident, for, "The righteous will live by faith."[4]5 3:12 The law is not of faith, but, "The man who does them will live by them."[5]

3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,"[6]6 3:14 that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

  1. Foolish Galatians. Galatians, represents the thoughts to the Galatia state of consciousness. (Galatia signifies a state of thought that is not yet ready for the operation of the word of truth.) (MBD/Galatia)
  2. works miracles among you. Miracles are events that take lace as a result of the operation of higher unknown law. All things happenings are the result of cause and can be explained under the law of cause and effect. (MBD/miracles)
  3. Abraham. Abraham is the power of the mind to reproduce its ideas in unlimited expression. (MBD/Abraham) Metaphysically, Abraham represents the first step in our redemption from mortal to spiritual consciousness. (Elizabeth Sand Turner/Let There Be Light)
  4. Good News. The Good news of Jesus is that each of us can become God incarnate. It is not alone a gospel of right living, but also shows the way into dominion and power equal to and surpassing that of Jesus of Nazareth. (RW/Gospel)
  5. The righteous will live by faith. Righteousness is a state of harmony established in consciousness through the right use of God-given attributes. (RW/righteousness)
  6. Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree. See Deuteronomy 21:22-23. [Don't let your mistakes hang on a tree. Let go and bury them.]

A Covenant, Metaphysically Understood

3:15 Brothers, speaking of human terms, though it is only a man's covenant,1 yet when it has been confirmed, no one makes it void, or adds to it. 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He doesn't say, "To seeds," as of many, but as of one, "To your seed,"[7] which is Christ. 3:17 Now I say this. A covenant confirmed beforehand by God in Christ, the law, which came four hundred thirty years after, does not annul, so as to make the promise of no effect. 3:18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by promise.

  1. covenant. The covenant of the Bible represents the principles or rules by which men are able to gain their true spiritual heritage and possess the riches of the kingdom of God. All God’s children are promised perfect health, prosperity, peace, light, and happiness, but it is necessary for us to abide by the spiritual law if we would gain the blessings of Spirit. (MBD/covenant)

A New Understanding of Divine Law

3:19 What then is the law?1 It was added because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise has been made. It was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator. 3:20 Now a mediator is not between one, but God is one.

3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could make alive, most certainly righteousness would have been of the law. 3:22 But the Scriptures imprisoned all things under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

3:23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, confined for the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 3:24 So that the law has become our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 3:26 For you are all children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized2 into Christ have put on Christ. 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female;3 for you are all one in Christ Jesus.4 3:29 If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to promise.

  1. What then is the law? Jesus taught a new understanding of divine law. He acknowledged mechanical cause and effect, but he knew it was possible to "fulfill the law" by transcending its strictly mechanical repetition. This can be done only by certain changes of consciousness. One of these changes is to let go of the insistence of "even-exchanges" in life all the time. Another change is to be willing to forgive sin instead of insisting on punishment for sin. Grace is the name given to the aspect of divine law which does not deal in "even-exchanging," but in the increase of good through greater giving. Ed Rabel/Metaphysics 1, The Divine Paradox, Law/Grace
  2. baptized. The spiritual cleansing of the mind, the first step in the realization of truth. (RW/baptism)
  3. There is neither Jew nor Greek. Often blessings may seem to come to us through human instrumentality, but back of appearances is the unalterable law of God and it is only as we conform our lives to the Christ standard that the gifts of the kingdom can come to us.
  4. for you are all one in Christ Jesus. On what principle does the law of Christ operate? The principle of unity. “Ye all are the man in Christ Jesus.”

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Thomas Scheinler.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Galatians 4

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Birth and and Expression of Divine Law

4:1 But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a bondservant, though he is lord of all; 4:2 but is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed by the father. 4:3 So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental principles of the world. 4:4 But when the fullness of the time came,1 God sent out his Son,2 born to a woman, born under the law, 4:5 that he might redeem those who were under the law,3 that we might receive the adoption of children. 4:6 And because you are children, God sent out the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, "Abba,[8] Father!" 4:7 So you are no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

  1. when the fullness of the time came. We cannot enter into spiritual consciousness until we meet and fulfill the conditions that govern it. When we do this “the fulness of the time” comes for us, and we enter naturally.
  2. God sent out his Son, born to a woman, born under the law. God’s Son is the Christ, the perfect idea of humanness or ideal of perfection in our soul. Woman represents our soul, and the law is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ.
  3. that he might redeem those who were under the law. Do outer conditions always conform to inner conditions? Not always immediately. Inner conditions are conditions of the mind and heart. Outer conditions become manifest according to the pattern of the inner.

Paul Appeals to Our Higher Consciousness

4:8 However at that time, not knowing God, you were in bondage to those who by nature are not gods. 4:9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, why do you turn back again to the weak and miserable elemental principles,1 to which you desire to be in bondage all over again? 4:10 You observe days, months, seasons, and years. 4:11 I am afraid for you, that I might have wasted my labor for you. 4:12 I beg you, brothers, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong, 4:13 but you know that because of weakness of the flesh I preached the Good News to you the first time. 4:14 That which was a temptation to you in my flesh, you didn't despise nor reject; but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.2

4:15 What was the blessing you enjoyed? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. 4:16 So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 4:17 They zealously seek you in no good way. No, they desire to alienate you, that you may seek them. 4:18 But it is always good to be zealous in a good cause,3 and not only when I am present with you.

4:19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ is formed in you4-- 4:20 but I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

  1. the weak and miserable elemental principles. [The natural law of cause and effect. Also mentioned in v.3]
  2. but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. [An early expression of I Behold the Christ in You.]
  3. always good to be zealous in a good cause. Zeal is intensity, ardor, enthusiasm; the inward fire of the soul that urges man onward, regardless of the intellectual mind of caution and conservatism (RW/zeal).
  4. until Christ is formed in you. Christ is a living presence, not a personality. Can Christ Prevent War?, Unity Magazine Dec. 1937

We are Born in Freedom

4:21 Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, don't you listen to the law? 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid,1 and one by the free woman.2 4:23 However, the son by the handmaid was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman was born through promise. 4:24 These things contain an allegory, for these are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage, which is Hagar. 4:25 For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to the Jerusalem3 that exists now, for she is in bondage with her children. 4:26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 4:27 For it is written,

"Rejoice, you barren who don't bear.

Break forth and shout, you that don't travail.

For more are the children of the desolate than of her who has a husband."[9]

4:28 Now we, brothers, as Isaac was, are children of promise.4 4:29 But as then, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 4:30 However what does the Scripture say? "Throw out the handmaid and her son, for the son of the handmaid will not inherit with the son of the free woman."[10] 4:31 So then, brothers, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the free woman.

  1. one by the handmaid. Hagar, the natural soul. It is a stranger to the awakened spiritual phase of the soul, in that its thoughts and emotions are sensual and are likely to be selfish and unholy, thus producing fear and uncertainty (wanderer). (MBD/Hagar) [The first born from the handmaid is our birth to its highest nature in physical form. Hence, we are above the animals yet still a servant to the physical realm.]
  2. one by the free woman. Sarah, The soul, the affectional, emotional part of the man. It is the daughter of the king (princess) and should never be allowed to unite in any way with matter or with material conditions. (MBD/Sarah) [The Son born from the free woman, represents us in our highest nature. Our true nature is connected to and working with God/Mind. We are in high, free spiritual consciousness.]
  3. Arabia, Jerusalem. Arabia, an outer, or Gentile, state of consciousness that in its wild, ignorant undisciplined, and unsettled nature is destructive in its tendency and is unproductive of good (MBD/Arabia) Jerusalem, the spiritual center in consciousness. In man it is the abiding consciousness of spiritual peace. (MBD/Jerusalem)
  4. we ... as Isaac was, are children of promise. Isaac, meaning laughter, signifies the joy of the new birth and new life in Christ. (MBD/Isaac)

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Thomas Scheinler.

World English Bible Footnotes:

  • [8] v4:6. Abba is a Greek spelling for the Aramaic word for "Father" or "Daddy" used in a familiar, respectful, and loving way.
  • [9] v4:27. Isaiah 54:1
  • [10] v4:30. Genesis 21:10

Galatians 5

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Nature of Christian Freedom

5:1 Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don't be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 5:2 Behold, I, Paul,1 tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. 5:3 Yes, I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 5:4 You are alienated from Christ, you who desire to be justified by the law. You have fallen away from grace.2 5:5 For we, through the Spirit, by faith wait for the hope of righteousness. 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision3 amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith4 working through love.5 5:7 You were running well! Who interfered with you that you should not obey the truth? 5:8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 5:9 A little yeast grows through the whole lump. 5:10 I have confidence toward you in the Lord that you will think no other way. But he who troubles you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.

5:11 But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been removed. 5:12 I wish that those who disturb you would cut themselves off. 5:13 For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don't use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another.6 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word,7 in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."[11] 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don't consume one another.

  1. Paul. Metaphysically, Paul is the word of the Spirit of truth. The converted Paul (formerly Saul, the will) becomes, by the power of the word, the most active thought in the establishment of good throughout our being. (MBD/Paul)
  2. You have fallen away from grace. Jesus taught a new understanding of divine law. He acknowledged mechanical cause and effect, but he knew it was possible to "fulfill the law" by transcending its strictly mechanical repetition. This can be done only by certain changes of consciousness. One of these changes is to let go of the insistence of "even-exchanges" in life all the time. Another change is to be willing to forgive sin instead of insisting on punishment for sin. Grace is the name given to the aspect of divine law which does not deal in "even-exchanging," but in the increase of good through greater giving. (Ed Rabel/Metaphysics 1, The Divine Paradox, Law/Grace).
  3. circumcision. The cutting off mortal tendencies; indicative of purification and cleanliness under divine law. (RW/circumcision)
  4. faith. The perceiving power of the mind linked with the power to shape substance. Spiritual assurance: the power to do the seemingly impossible. (RW/faith)
  5. love. The pure essence of Being that binds together the whole human family. Of all the attributes of God, love is undoubtedly the most beautiful. In Divine Mind, love is the power that joins and binds in divine harmony the universe and everything in it; the great harmonizing principle known to man. (RW/love)
  6. Only don't use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another. Rites, ceremonies, and laws for the conduct of Christians are necessary for discipline and, faithfully followed, hold sense consciousness in check. When the liberty of Christ is revealed and we discern that it is no longer necessary for us to be bound to the observance of the church ritual, we are likely to go to the other extreme, letting license instead of the higher wisdom of Christ, lead him.
  7. the whole law is fulfilled in one word. How does the divine law as perceived by Moses compare with the law of Christ? The Mosaic law is largely negative in form, as is evidenced by “Thou shall not” often repeated. The law of Christ is affirmative: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor”. In this verse Paul gives the Golden Rule which Jesus taught through in a slightly different form.

The Works of the Flesh

5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit,1 and you won't fulfill the lust of the flesh. 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh;2 and these are contrary to one another, that you may not do the things that you desire. 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.3 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 5:21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

  1. walk by the Spirit. Spirit is God as the moving force in the universe; Principle as the breath of life in all creation; the principle of life; creative intelligence and life (RW/Spirit). To walk by the Spirit is to think love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self control.
  2. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. Lust is sense consciousness, which causes human beings to be tempted (RW/lust). There should be no strife between Spirit and the flesh. We should not build up a thought of strife anywhere, especially not in our own thought world. Jesus said, “Agree with thine adversary.” Animal trainers say that it is very much easier to love animals into obedience than to ship them into obedience. For the same reason a Christian metaphysician trains his animal nature to obey him through love. Firmness is necessary to such training, but resentment is not, nor is the fear of punishment.
  3. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Many of the Galatian followers of Christ were Jews, who believed that their salvation depended upon their observing the rites of the Jewish religion, especially the rite of circumcision. In this lesson Paul was expounding his favorite text, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Real Christians do not live under human law but under grace. A higher mental and spiritual atmosphere envelops the whole life activity of those who put on Christ. All religious and natural laws, by reason of their inherent inefficiency, cease to affect the life of him who enters into the love of God, which is also called grace.

The Fruit of the Spirit

5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit1 is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,[12] 5:23 gentleness, and self-control.2 Against such things there is no law.3 5:24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh45:25 If we live by the Spirit, let's also walk by the Spirit.5 5:26 Let's not become conceited, provoking one another, and envying one another.

  1. fruit of the Spirit. These are proofs of the Spirit. Whoever exhibits these qualities in their daily living possesses and is possessed by the Spirit in the measure in which they expresses them. [They are not the same as the gifts of the Spirit given in Romans 12:6-8 and First Corinthians 12:8-10.]
  2. Love: the pure essence of Being that binds together the whole human family (RW/love). The practical application of charity was probably the most potent single cause of Christian success (Henry Chadwick, The Penguin History of the (Early) Church). Joy: the happiness of God expressed through God’s perfect idea—human beings (RW/joy). Peace: harmony and tranquillity derived from awareness of the Christ consciousness (RW/peace). Patience: an attitude of mind characterized by poise, inner calmness, and quiet endurance, especially in the face of trying conditions. Patience has its foundation in faith, and it is perfected only in those who have unwavering faith in God (RW/patience). Kindness: the kindness of God is revealed to us as we give it active expression (MBI/Colossians 3). Goodness: (NRSV, generosity) there is always a saving grace in divine goodness; and if we have ever done a kind act, it has been preserved in the careful records of memory and will come forth when we most need it (RW/goodness). Faithfulness: faithfulness “perceives” the good that we desire to demonstrate (show forth in our outer life), and it keeps us on the goal toward its attainment (Correspondence School Course, Series 1, Lesson 3, Annotation 13). Gentleness: the Christ Spirit of gentleness wins the heart of a transgressor, whereas censure and harshness fail to reach him (MBI/Galatians 6). Self-control: The capacity to direct one’s behavior in right ways. One who tries to establish self-control through will power and suppression never accomplishes permanent results. Self-control is accomplished when all the forces of man come in touch with the divine will and understanding (RW/self-control).
  3. Against such things there is no law. See comment for Galatians 5:18.
  4. crucified the flesh. [Traditional Christianity says the fruits are a sign or outcome of the work of Spirit within a human being. Whether that Spirit is a transcendent Holy Spirit or the Spirit of the Metaphysical Trinity of Man (Spirit, Soul, Body) is unclear. Chrysostom believed it was the inner Spirit at work. He wrote, “For if the statement mentions the flesh and the Spirit, where is the soul? Is Paul then speaking of soulless beings? For if the evil belongs to the flesh and the good to the Spirit, then the soul would be superfluous. Not at all; for the ordering of the passions is the work of the soul and concerns the soul. The soul is situated in the middle of the struggle between virtue and vice. If the soul uses the body as it should, it makes itself more spiritual.” (Homily on Galatians). How does the soul “order the passions”? According to Ed Rabel, it does so by proper use of the Twelve Powers. He writes, “Joy is not one of the twelve faculties, but joy is one of the fruits of the spirit or rewards one gets for using the twelve powers correctly. Peace is not one of the twelve faculties; peace is a fruit of the spirit and the reward one gets for using the twelve faculties. But the twelve faculties themselves are what Mr. Fillmore says they are; they are the originals; they are the Divine Ideas embodied into human nature as faculties and can be expressed by man through his human nature to serve the Christ.” (Ed Rabel, Old Testament Lectures, p.44)]
  5. If we live by the Spirit, let's also walk by the Spirit. A person can allow his feelings alone to absorb his faculties, remaining either too indolent or too different to express them clearly or fully. The Spirit is quenched by this subserviences to the opinions of others or by spiritual laziness. The Spirit is not a mood to be enjoyed selfishly; it is a motivating principle or power.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Thomas Scheinler and Rev. Mark Hicks.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Galatians 6

(Online: ASV WEB)

True Christian Responsibility

6:1 Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourself so that you also aren't tempted. 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 6:3 For if a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 6:4 But let each man test his own work, and then he will take pride in himself and not in his neighbor. 6:5 For each man will bear his own burden.1 6:6 But let him who is taught in the word share all good things with him who teaches. 6:7 Don't be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.2 6:8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit3 will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 6:9 Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don't give up. 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let's do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household of the faith.

  1. Bear one another's burdens; For each man will bear his own burden. We bear one another’s burdens by realizing that the Christ in each one of us is the great burden bearer for all. “Come unit me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” If Christ is the great burden bearer, what is the meaning of the 5th verse? We cannot lay the responsibility for our acts upon other persons. But Christ saves us all from the thought of personal responsibility. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law.”
  2. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. We deceive ourselves when we imagine that we can think thoughts or speak words without getting definite results in mind, body and affairs. Everything that occurs in our lives is the result of some thought sown in the substance of the mind. “The seed is the word of God.”
  3. sows to his own flesh; sows to the Spirit. Sowing to one's own flesh is thinking that the flesh is the source of life, intelligence, and power. We sow to the Spirit by thinking about spiritual life, affirming it as the source of our eternal existence and conforming our conduct to that affirmation.

Cutting Off or Restoration?

6:11 See with what large letters I write to you with my own hand. 6:12 As many as desire to look good in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 6:13 For even they who receive circumcision don't keep the law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may boast in your flesh. 6:14 But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.1 6:16 As many as walk by this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on God's Israel. 6:17 From now on, let no one cause me any trouble, for I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus branded on my body.

6:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

  1. For in Christ Jesus neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. [Circumcision is the will cutting off mortal tendencies; a new creation is a full restoration of the the divine human being.]

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Thomas Scheinler.

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