Galatians 3:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Galatians 3:1, NIV: You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.

Galatians 3:1, ESV: O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.

Galatians 3:1, KJV: 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?

Galatians 3:1, NASB: You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?

Galatians 3:1, NLT: Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ's death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross.

Galatians 3:1, CSB: You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?

What does Galatians 3:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul is building on a thought given in the previous verse (Galatians 2:21). He has said that if anyone can be justified—made right in God's eyes—by the law, then Jesus died for nothing. His death would be pointless if there was another way to be made right with God, other than to trust in Christ's death in our place on the cross.

Now Paul turns forcefully back to his original readers. These were people in the region of Galatia who had believed in Jesus when Paul visited their towns on one of his missionary journeys. Now, however, they had begun to believe the lies of the Judaizers, a group of Jewish leaders who taught that Gentiles must be circumcised and follow the law to truly be saved.

Paul calls the Galatians "foolish," and asks: who has bewitched them? When Paul was there, they had clearly understood the simple truth of the gospel of God's grace. They understood the power of the cross. Paul said they saw it with their own eyes when he described it to them. Did someone use magic to steal away the truth from them? Are they under an evil spell? Paul is not really suggesting that some kind of hex is at work; he is making the point that this is such a foolish lie that it is as if someone is manipulating their beliefs against their will.

Paul is stern with them because believers have a responsibility to hold on to the truth they receive about Jesus and not to be talked out of it. As the following verses will show, this is possible in the power of the Holy Spirit.