Galatians 5:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Galatians 5:21, NIV: "and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Galatians 5:21, ESV: "envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Galatians 5:21, KJV: "Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

Galatians 5:21, NASB: "envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Galatians 5:21, NLT: "envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God."

Galatians 5:21, CSB: "envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things--as I warned you before--that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

What does Galatians 5:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul continues his list of sins which he says should "obviously" not mark the lifestyle of one who is free in Christ. In the previous verses, he listed sexual sins, anger-related sins, and relationship sins (Galatians 5:19–20).

Now, Paul mentions envy. Envy is sometimes described as wanting what someone else has. It can also include resenting people who have the things we want. For Christians in particular, envy implies that we're discontent with what God has given to us.

Paul then concludes his list with two sins of excess. "Drunkenness" is from the Greek term methai, which specifically means the effect of consuming too much alcohol, and by extension, any other mind-altering substance. This is consistent with the approach to alcohol taken by Scripture, which never forbids consumption, but always condemns drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18).

Related to this, Paul uses the term komōi, referring to a popular practice of the Roman world. These were events well-reflected in English terms such as bacchanals, or more commonly as orgies. Such parties were wild, alcohol-fueled events featuring all sorts of lewd behavior, excessive eating and drinking, wild dancing, and sexual immorality, sometimes as part of the worship of pagan gods.

It's important to understand that Paul's list here is not meant to be exhaustive. It does not include every sin that human beings might do. Paul was not creating a simplified version of the law for Christians to live by. Instead, Paul is demonstrating what a life spent serving ourselves looks like. Those who are in Christ must not squander their freedom in living in that way.

Paul is not saying here that anyone who commits any of these sins at any time is not in Christ. Christians still sin sometimes. We don't always win the battle with ourselves to let the Holy Spirit lead in our decisions. That, of course, is part of Paul's point—these are sins Christians need to purposefully avoid, and not fall back into by ignoring the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul does warn the Galatians—and, by extension, all believers—that someone who indulges in these kinds of sins as an ongoing lifestyle without ever turning back—without repenting, or changing course—is not "in Christ." In other words, there is a marked difference between those who slip into sin, as opposed to those who perpetually revel in it. Those who are in Christ begin to give the Holy Spirit control and turn away from sin, and those in Christ will definitely inherit the kingdom of God along with Jesus.