5. Exhortations, 4:8-6:10
iii] Do not cut yourself off from Christ by submitting to the Mosaic law, 5:2-12Argument
In this passage, which serves as an appeal to the Galatian believers, Paul reminds his readers that if they try to use law-obedience to appropriate the blessings of the Christian life they will cut themselves off from Christ.
i] Context: See 4:8-11.
ii] Structure: A negative warning in regard to nomism, v2-4, is followed by a positive restatement of Paul's central proposition (2:15-21), v5-6. Then in v7-12, by means of questions, remarks, a proverb and appeal, Paul encourages his readers "to wake ... up before it is too late", Barnes.
iii] Interpretation - The third exhortation: In this, the third of his exhortations to the Galatian believers, Paul encourages his readers to resist the temptation that they submit themselves to the Mosaic law as the means of appropriating God's promised blessings. To choose this course of action will serve only to cut them off from Christ and the gift of new life found in him through the renewing work of the Spirit. As for those who are promoting this heresy, namely, the members of the circumcision party, they "will pay the penalty"; their infection must be resisted.
iv] Paul's argument in relation to the new perspective on Paul: Paul's specific mention of circumcision draws us into the debate over the new perspective on Paul. It is possible to argue that Paul is warning the Galatian believers against, as it were, converting to Judaism, of placing themselves under the Mosaic covenant which, although once a viable means of relating to God, has now been replaced by the new covenant and is therefore dead, and this because the Mosaic atonement system that once effectively covered sin has been made obsolete through the work of Christ. Yet, against the new perspective line, these notes take the view that both the Torah and the Mosaic atonement system (covering inadvertent sin only), served primarily to expose sin and thus the necessity to rest on promise (grace). The Mosaic covenant is but a negative restatement of the Abrahamic covenant, such that the divine promise of life has always rested on the faithfulness of God appropriated through faith, now fulfilled in the faithfulness of Christ (the atonement). So, Paul's direction to the Galatian believers that they not submit to circumcision is not driven by a fear that they are moving to a dead system, but rather that they are flirting with the infective yeast of nomism, a heresy dominant in second temple Judaism and adopted by the members of the circumcision party. The totality of God's promised blessings (full justification) rests with the faithfulness of Christ and does not require a supplementary submission to the law. To supplement grace with law is to undermine grace, and thus undermine the basis of a person's justification / recognition of being in the right with God - Christ supplemented is Christ supplanted.
v] Form: Treating this passage as an exhortation seems appropriate, although, even at this point, there are still some commentators, eg. Witherington III, who argue that it is part of the central theological discourse of the letter.
vi] Exposition: A simple verse-by-verse exposition of this passage can be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.
Text - 5:2
Do not cut yourself off from Christ by submitting to the Mosaic law, v2-12: i] Paul encourages his Galatian readers to step back from the law-obedience-for-blessing heresy, v2-4. The first reason why the Galatian believers should not be circumcised - they would cut themselves off from the fullness of new life (the promised Abrahamic blessings) in Christ.
ide (eidon) imp. "Mark my words" - behold. Interjection; "Look here!"
egw pro. "I [Paul tell]" - Emphatic, underling what follows. As of bearing witness, offering up an "affidavit", Dunn.
uJmin dat. pro. "you" - [say] to you. Dative of indirect object.
oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Paul wants to say.
ean + subj. "if" - if ..... then ..... Introducing a 3rd. class conditional clause where the condition has the possibility of coming true, "if, as the case may be, .... then ....."
peritemnhsqe (peritemnw) pres. pas./mid. subj. "you let yourselves be circumcised" - you are circumcised / get yourselves circumcised. It can be argued that since the conditional clause refers to the future, then "the Galatians circumcision was still pending", Longenecker, Dunn, etc. Yet, a verb, taking the future tense in the apodosis, only implies a logical consequence, not a temporal one. A subjunctive verb, taking a present tense in the protasis, is a formal construction, and in any case, the present tense expresses aspect, namely, durative action. The issue, of course, is not just circumcision, since circumcision serves as a technical reference for the totality of Jewish cultic law, cf. Betz.
wfelhsei (wfelew) fut. "[Christ] will be of [no] value [to you at all]" - [Christ] will profit, value, advantage, benefit, use to [you nothing]. In what sense circumcision is of no value is open to debate. See above for the new perspective line; "going the whole way to become proselytes", by adopting the symbol of "Jewish ideological and nationalistic imperialism", Dunn. Clearly circumcision is representative, encapsulating submission to the Mosaic law as a whole, but for what purpose? It is usually argued that such submission is for the purpose of justification / salvation and thus "Christ will be of no benefit" at the last judgment, or possibly "not benefit" when it comes to "the powers that enslave", Martyn, cf. Allan, Betz, George, Dunn, Ridderbos, Stott, Barnes, Guthrie, Bruce. These notes on Galatians take the line that submission to the law of Moses is for the purpose of progressing the Christian life and thus "Christ will be of no benefit" in appropriating the fullness of new life in Christ (ie. the problem is nomism, not legalism; see above). "What he (Paul) strenuously opposes is the imposition of circumcision and a nomistic lifestyle on Gentile believers as being necessary for living out their Christian faith in a proper fashion, for that takes us right back to the basic issue of righteousness (both forensic and ethical) as being based on either 'works of the law' or faith in 'the faithfulness of Jesus Christ'. For Gentiles [all believers?] to revert to the prescriptions of the Jewish Law as a necessary form of Christian lifestyle is, in effect, to make Christianity legalistic rather than Christocentric, and so not have Christ's guidance in one's life [the benefit is surely greater than just "guidance"]", Longenecker. None-the-less, although the Galatian believers are using the Mosaic law to progress their Christian lives for the appropriation of God's blessings, rather than to secure their salvation, the immediate consequences of which entails the loss of those blessings, there still remains the danger of even greater loss - "a Christ supplemented is a Christ supplanted", Hendriksen.
ouden "no [value to you] at all" - [will profit you] nothing. Accusative of respect.
Paul now gives the second reason for not getting circumcised, namely, the burden of the law's impossible demands [with its curse for noncompliance]. As noted in v2, circumcision serves as the defining act of submission to the law of Moses for blessing.
de "-" - but, and. Here as a transitional connective, introducing the next step in the argument.
palin "again" - again. Not found in all manuscripts. Indicating that v3 reinforces v2.
marturouai (marturew) pres. "I declare" - I witness. Emphatic, demanding attention; "I affirm solemnly", Zerwick; "you can have my solemn word once again", Cassirer.
panti dat. adj. "to every [man]" - Dative of direct object. The generalization here indicates that Paul's words apply to those who have been circumcised, as well as those who are contemplating circumcision. "Man" is probably inclusive, "any man or woman", although, as with baptism, circumcision would be a family act initiated by the male head of the home.
peritemnomenw/ (peritemnw) pres. pas./mid. part. "who lets himself be circumcised" - being circumcised. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "man", although Bligh suggests that the anarthrous construction "to every man being circumcised" carries conditional force, "if a person lets themselves be circumcised then they are obliged to fulfill the whole law". Passive = "allow yourselves to be circumcised"; Middle = "get yourselves circumcised".
oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Paul testifies.
ofeilethV (hV ou) ["he is] obligated" - [he is] a debtor, a person morally obligated to pay off a debt. Predicate nominative. "You must obey the whole law", CEV.
poihsai (poiew) aor. inf. "to obey" - to do. The aorist is obviously gnomic, expressing a universal truth. The infinitive is epexegetic, clarifying the noun "a debtor", he is a debtor to obey ("to the demands of" may have been where Paul was originally heading) the whole law.
oJlon adj. "the whole [law]" - whole. Accusative object of the infinitive "to do / obey." Presumably Paul is making the point that the maintenance of covenant standing, and thus the appropriation of the promised Abrahamic blessings, by means of obedience to covenant regulations, requires complete obedience of all regulations, Deut.28:58-59. Paul is by no means alone in this understanding of the inter-dependence of Biblical law, cf. Jam.2:10. Of course, the members of the circumcision party, having adopted the nomism of second temple Judaism, would not have held such a ridged view of the law's demands. Note how Jesus exposes the hypocrisy of the Pharisees with their highly developed reductionism, happily affirming doable "gnat" law, while ignoring the weightier matters of the law, matters of justice. "He is committing himself to every line and word of Old Testament Law (surely the totality of God's law inc. NT?)", Junkins.
The third reason for not getting circumcised / submitting to the law of Moses to maintain justification / covenant standing / a right relationship with God, for the appropriation of divine blessing / life, is that it alienates a believer from Christ and consequently from grace / promise / God's covenant mercy. Bligh points out that linking prepositions would have been better grammatically for this verse, but by leaving them out Paul establishes a "more dramatic and emphatic" sentence.
oiJtineV rel. pro. "you who" - whoever, everyone who. Paul typically uses a complex pronoun for a simple "you who".
dikaiousqe (dikaiow) pres. pas. "are trying to be justified" - are being justified, set right [by God]. Usually treated as a conative/tendential present (a contemplated, or attempted action), as NIV (the verbal action "trying" = "effort to attain to", is potentially misleading when perception/attitude may be intended), given that the indicative "are being justified [by law]" is expressing an action that Paul regards as impossible. Bligh argues that this use of the present tense is not well attested and that Paul is either being ironical, "you who imagine you are being justified by the law", or the clause is reflective, "you who reckon yourselves justified by your observance of the law". How is Paul using the verb "justified" here? The usual ethical/forensic options are suggested, but Paul's big-picture view rules out an either/or. As already argued in these notes, the nomist believers did accept that their justification rested on the atoning work of Christ, 2:15-16, but it is likely that their understanding of justification was limited to forgiveness and did not include the totality of God's promised new life. For the nomists, this new life, being the substance of the Abrahamic promise, required law-obedience. Paul, on the other hand, saw justification, as part of God's putting all things right, realized in union with Christ such that the totality of the promised life already belongs to those who rest on the faithfulness of Christ. Even now we reside with Christ in the heavenly places and share with him the immeasurable riches of God's grace, Eph.2:4-10. So, Paul's reference to justification by works of the law, does not concern the gaining of covenant acceptance, but rather the maintenance of covenant standing by obedience to the law, and this for the acquisition of God's promised new life (the substance of the promised Abrahamic blessings). As already noted in these studies on Galatians, the issue is not about getting saved, but about staying saved; its about progressing the Christian life, not about starting it. See "justified" in Galatians 2:16. "You who think you can maintain your justification by obedience to the law ....."
en + dat. "by [law]" - in, on. Either instrumental, "by the law", or locative, "in the sphere of the law". It is more than likely that this prepositional phrase is short for "on the basis of the works of the law", so Burton, see Galatians 2:16.
kathrghqhte (katargew) aor. pas. "have been alienated" - you were made inactive, invalid (+ prep. "from" = estranged, separated, loosed from). The aorist is dramatic/gnomic and does not state whether the action has, or is, being fulfilled, but rather the inevitability of its completion. This serves to draw the action into the present for dramatic effect. The nomist believers would naturally think that their attention to law will progress their walk with Christ, but again the principle applies, "a Christ supplemented is a Christ supplanted", Hendriksen. "You will inevitably be alienated from Christ."
apo + gen. "from [Christ]" - Expressing separation; "away from."
exepesate (ekpiptw) aor. "you have fallen" - you fell from, lost grip of / banished, expelled. The aorist is again dramatic. "You have removed yourselves from the sphere of grace", Barclay, or "you are banished from his grace", Bligh.
thV caritoV (iV itoV) gen. "away from grace" - of grace. The genitive here is likely to be ablative, expressing separation, "away from." God's grace/promise represents his covenant mercy; God's willingness to fulfill his covenant promises in those who do not deserve his kindness. "From the realm of grace", Martyn.
ii] Having warned his readers of the negative consequences of nomism, Paul counters positively in v5-6, referring to the central truth of his proposition outlined in 2:15-21. On the basis of the faith of Christ / the faithfulness of Christ / Christ's obedient sacrifice, appropriated through faith, we expectantly wait for our eternal hope, namely, the full entitlements associated with our justification / our being set right with God. Such is part of God's setting all things right, the reality of which we even now experience through the Spirit, cf. 3:1-5. Circumcision is irrelevant to God's setting all things right; what matters is Christ's faithfulness on our behalf, a faithfulness driven by God's love for us.
gar "but / for" - for. The TNIV cause/reason seems unlikely, better contrastive, as NIV, so Dunn, Ridderbos. Longenecker suggests an unusual usage "similar to the conjunction oJti, introducing a series of abbreviated statements of significance" ("dogmatic abbreviations", Betz), here in v5-6, summarizing Paul's proposition outlined in 2:15-21. The two positive statements in v5-6 establish "a sharp disjunction between seeking justification en nomw/ (in law) and seeking it ek pistewV (from faith)", Bligh. "With us things are entirely different", Martyn.
ek + gen. "by [faith]" - from, out of faith. Here expressing source/origin, so "on the basis of faith", the "faith" probably being Christ's faith/faithfulness, as well as our faith in Christ's faith/faithfulness. See "derived from / on the basis of" and "faith of Christ" in Galatians 2:16.
hJmeiV pro. "we [eagerly await]" - Emphatic by position and use. Who are the "we"? Usually Paul means "we apostles", or "we believing Jews", so Longenecker, Witherington , but here he seems to include his Gentile converts, "we over against the judaizers", Fung.
apekdecomeqa (apekdecomai) pres. "eagerly await" - await intently, earnestly, patiently. The prefixed prepositions ap and ek serve to intensify the action of the verb. Always used by Paul of "eschatological expectation", Bligh, "a special kind of waiting, one that is directed to the final redemptive act of God", Martyn. The placement of this verb is rather awkward in the Gk., but serves to emphasize that we don't facilitate justification, it is God who puts right, we but "expectantly wait", Peterson.
pneumati (a atoV) dat. "through the Spirit" - by spirit. The dative is instrumental, expressing means. The "hope", that which we eagerly await, is facilitated "through / by means of the power of the Spirit", Zerwick.
dikaiosunhV (h) gen. "the righteousness" - of righteousness. An epexegetic genitive specifying the content of the "hope", "the hope of righteousness" = "the hope which is that perfected righteousness", Zerwick, although the NIV treats "hope" as an act of hoping when it is most likely "the thing hoped for", Bligh. A verbal genitive, objective, is proposed by some; "hoped for righteousness." This "righteousness" = "being justified" - the divine "recognition of covenant inclusion", Dumbrell, of being set right with God as part of God's putting all things completely right. As already noted in v4, God's setting right is bigger than forgiveness, and even bigger than a forensic last-judgment acquittal, so Bruce, Morris (God's setting right is "past, present and future", Dumbrell), and certainly bigger than ethical improvement. Being "right" in Christ entails the immeasurable riches of God's grace: forgiveness, acquittal at the final judgment, holiness, ....... eternity. See "justification" in Galatians 2:16.
elpida (iV ewV) acc. "for which we hope" - hope. Accusative direct object of the verb "to await." "Hope" is best understood as "that which we hope for", modified / defined by the genitive "righteousness"; "the confident hope of ....", NJB.
gar "for" - Possibly introducing Paul's second propositional truth and therefore more emphatic than causal. See v5 above. "When we are in Christ Jesus ......", NCV.
en + dat. "in [Christ Jesus]" - in, on, by. A local sense is surely intended, incorporative union; "in relation to / united to Christ Jesus". "One together with Christ Jesus", TH.
oute .... oute "neither [circumcision] nor [uncircumcision]" - Negated comparative construction. For "circumcision" read "Jewish cultic law", Betz. Usually understood as "it makes no difference whether you are circumcised or not", CEV. It is certainly possible that Paul is exposing the impotence of both circumcision, or uncircumcision; in the game of salvation neither matters, "it is totally irrelevant in the realm of the Christian life", Fung. Yet, it is possible, given that many Galatian believers are obviously proposing to be circumcised, that Paul should declare as worthless both the act and the intention; "neither circumcision nor the want of it ...", Cassirer, cf. Knox.
iscuei (iscuw) pres. "has [any] value" - is of force, strong, able. "Valid / effective / counting for something", Zerwick, as regard justification, or in the more general sense, "means nothing", Knox, "has any meaning", Cassirer.
ti "any [value]" - certain. Accusative of reference. Classical Gk. ouden.
alla "the only thing that counts" - but. Adversative; "but only", Beyer.
pistiV (iV ewV) "faith" - Nominative subject of the assumed verb "to be strong." Again, "faith" is usually understood as "commitment of oneself to Christ", but of course, as already argued, faith is best understood as Christ's faith, his perfect acceptance of the will of God, his faithfulness, the benefits of which may be appropriated in union with Christ through our faith in him. "The real power is faith", Martyn.
energoumenh (energew) pres. part. mid/pas. "expressing itself" - working, working effectively. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "faith", "faith which is driven / energized / made effective / activated / made operative ...". The difficulty lies in identifying whether it is passive, or middle, eg. passive, "faith energized by charity"; middle, "faith working through charity", Bligh. Usually translated as middle voice (so most commentators, with some exceptions, eg. J.A. Robinson [never middle in Paul], G.S. Duncan), so, "faith finding its expression in love", Cassirer (note danger: "the operation of faith through love is not to be understood in a synergistic sense, as though faith through its expression of love cooperates in producing salvation", Ridderbos). None-the-less, if we understand "faith" in terms of Christ's faith, and "love" in terms of God's love, then passive would be best, particularly as the idea of human faith active in love at this point in the argument is rather incongruous (note the torturous explanations by Fung); "the faithfulness of Christ energized by God's love."
dia + gen. "through [love]" - through, by means of. Instrumental, expressing means.
iii] To support his exhortation that his readers step back from the law-obedience-for-blessing heresy promoted by the judaizers, "Paul has some stern words to say to the Galatians. He throws everything at them - questions, pointed remarks, a proverb, appeals and a dose of sarcasm, in order to wake them up before it is too late", Barnes, v7-12. In literary terms we can define this section as a "series of comments and remarks", Longenecker. Verse 7 is in "the form of an appeal - this time to the readers' original attitude to the gospel", Fung.
etrecete (trecw) imperf. "you were running" - you were running. The action is past durative, imaging a race meeting.
kalwV adv. "a good race" - well. "You did well", AV.
enekoyen (egkoptw) aor. "cut in on [you] and kept [you] from" - hindered, blocked, cut in on, got in the way of, thwarted. Paul continues using the image of a running race where someone has unexpectedly entered the race and cut off / tripped up / interfered with .... a fellow runner. "You were running splendidly; who has put obstacles in your way", Bligh.
mh peiqesqai (peiqw) pres. inf. pas. "obeying" - not to be persuaded = to prevent. The infinitive, forming an infinitival phrase, my be epexegetic, as NIV; "who hindered you from obeying the truth", ESV. The infinitive could also be adverbial, clarifying / modifying the verb "hindered", possibly forming either a final (purpose), "in order that", or consecutive (result) clause, "with the result that / so that"; "who go in your way so that you do not follow the truth", Berkeley. "Who has put an obstacle in your way to prevent you / to come between you and your loyalty to the truth", Bruce / Cassirer.
mhdeni peiqesqai "-" [not to be persuaded by the truth] to be persuaded by no one. A not well attested variant reading. "Who has hindered you? Obey no one (in such a way as) not to obey the truth", Bruce.
th/ alhqeia dat. "the truth" - by the truth. Dative of direct object after the verb peiqw, here as an infinitive, when it takes the meaning "to obey, follow." Possibly instrumental, expressing means; "who persuaded you not to obey (= prevented) by the truth of the gospel." The article may well have been added. This leads Burton to adopt a qualitative sense; "who has hindered you from obeying truth?" Given that the article is often used to specify and that nouns are often definite in themselves, "the truth" is obviously intended, "the truth of Paul's gospel", Dumbrell.
"Whatever arguments were used to persuade you (to "submit again to a yoke of slavery") certainly did not come from the God who calls you", Barclay.
hJ peismonh (h) "that kind of persuasion" - the persuasion. Hapax legomenon, once only use in the NT. Possibly "contrived persuasiveness", Longenecker, "empty rhetoric", Epiphanius, even "flattery", Chrysostom, but probably better just "referring to the other missionaries' (judaizers) explanation of what participation in the inheritance of Abraham requires", Dunn.
ouk ek + gen. "does not come from" - not out of, from. Expressing source/origin.
tou kalountoV (kalew) pres. part. "the one who calls [you]" - the one calling. The participle serves as a substantive. The CEV & NCV "the one who chose you" is somewhat bold, expressing the effective call of God / the election of individuals to salvation. "Call" may properly be translated as "invite", "first called you (ie. the call of the gospel), but of course, our theological propensities will determine our translation. "The one calling" is obviously God, but there is the outside possibility that Paul is obliquely referring to himself. None-the-less, it is likely that the "call" is God's "call" and that it refers to his elective, creative, act of calling into being the redeemed community in Christ. This sovereign act of God, whereby the covenant promises are fulfilled in Christ, is announced in the gospel. Although we are persuaded (not forced!!) to share in God's new creation, he certainly does not persuade us to pursue law-obedience for blessing (nomism). Whatever means of persuasion had been used on the Galatians, "you may be certain that it does not have its source in God, who has sent out his call to you", Cassirer.
"A proverbial saying having to do with the tendency of small matters to become large concerns and so to dominate a given situation", Longenecker, cf. 1Cor.5:6.
zumoi (zumow) pres. "works through" - ferments, leavens. In Jewish circles the leavening process of yeast is often viewed negatively. Is Paul referring to the Judaizers, or their teaching? Presumably he is reflecting on "the possibility that all members of the Galatian churches will succumb to the Teachers' (Judaizers') false gospel", Martyn.
ego "I" - Emphatic; "I, regardless of what others may think, ....", TH.
pepoiqa (peiqw) perf. "[I] am confident" - have confidence, am persuaded, convinced. An intensive perfect expressing a present state initiated by a previous action.
eiV uJmaV "-" - to, toward you. In classical Gk. the verb peiqw, "I am confident", would take the dative, "you", being a dative of direct object, "I am confident in you", but in NT Gk. "the use of prepositional phrases instead of simple cases increases greatly", Zerwick, cf. Bligh. Accusative of respect; "I am confident, regarding you, ....", Longenecker.
en + dat. "in [the Lord]" - Local, expressing space/sphere, incorporative union, or cause / basis. By "Lord" Paul usually means Jesus. Paul's confidence is not that his readers are "in the Lord", although he may well be confident of this; his confidence is that his readers "will take no other view" and this because he is "united to the Lord", ie. his communion with the Lord. Possibly "united to you in (with) the Lord", Cassirer.
oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing the content of Paul's confidence (may be classified as epexegetic).
ouden fronhsete (fronew) fut. "you will take no [other] view" - you will not think, hold an opinion, set one's mind on. What opinion? Presumably that the false gospel is infecting their church (as yeast infects dough) and that they should respond by rejecting it. Possibly "that you will not disagree (with what I have said in vv.5-6a)", Bligh, or a wider "I am convinced that you will not think any other way than what you have learned from us", Junkins.
allo pro. "other" - otherwise.
de "-" - but, and. Probably adversative here; "I feel persuaded in the Lord that you will not go wrong. But he who unsettled you, will have to meet his doom", Moffatt.
oJ tarasswn (tarassw) pres. part. "the one who is throwing [you] into confusion" - the one troubling, disturbing, upsetting. The participle serves as a substantive. Commentators divide on whether Paul has in mind a particular false teacher (certainly not Peter), "the person who is upsetting you", Barclay, or a more general "whoever it is who is worrying you", Phillips. We are best to take it as a generic singular, cf. 1:7, 5:12; so, "those troubling you."
bastasei (bastazw) fut. "will pay" - will bear, carry / suffer, endure. The Judaizers will have to "bear" "the sentence", namely, the divine anathema.
to krima (a atoV) "the penalty" - the judgment, condemnation / sentence / penalty. Accusative direct object of the verb "to bear / endure."
oJstiV ean + subj. of verb to-be. "whoever he may be" - The relative pronoun oJstiV (usually oJV) + ean = an indefinite relative pronoun; "the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is", ESV. Classical Gk. would have an and not ean, but in Koine Gk. both are used. As noted above, the singular number of troublers could leave us with "whosoever he be", but probably better to stretch the Gk. to "whoever they are." It is most likely that the judaizers belonged to the Jerusalem church and that Paul knew at least some of them and may well have met them at the Jerusalem conference, but he is politically discrete and doesn't name names.
Paul now adds another independent statement to the list found in v7-12, all of which serve to support his exhortation. This one seems to identify one of the charges made against Paul by the members of the circumcision party. The charge seems to imply that Paul was willing to put aside the Mosaic law in order to win Gentile converts ("become all thing to all men that by all means I may save some"!!!), but when it comes to the crunch, he promotes the law rather than devalues it.
adelfoi (oV) "brothers" - A nominative used instead of a vocative; "As in my own case", Cassirer.
egw pro. "I" - Emphatic. "My brothers", Phillips.
ei + ind. Introducing a conditional sentence, 1st. class, where the condition is assumed to be true; "if, as is the case, ..... then ...."
eti adv. "still" - yet, still. Temporal adverb. Paul once proclaimed the law, but when converted he preached grace, despite what some may say.
khrussw pres. "preaching [circumcision]" - communicate, proclaim.
diwkomai (diwkw) pres. pas. "[why] am I [still] being persecuted" - I am being persecuted, hunted down.
ara "in that case" - then, therefore. This inferential particle here expresses result in the terms of an inference drawn from the conditional clause; "then it appears that / then in that case ...."
to skandalon (on) "the offense" - the stumbling block. Nominative subject of the verb "to nullify." That which trips up, provides an occasion for sin / causes offense. Here obviously in the sense of "gives offense, causes revulsion, arouses opposition", Longenecker. "The very thing that causes offense in the preaching of the cross", Cassirer.
tou staurou (oV) gen. "of the cross" - The intended meaning of the genitive is, as usual, difficult to pin down. In this clause it is often treated as verbal, subjective, "the offensiveness of the cross"; "then those who believe in circumcision would no longer find the cross offensive", Barclay. Yet, better adjectival, epexegetic, limiting by specifying the offense. So, there is a sense where "the thing which causes offense" is limited by "the cross." Possibly the cross itself, ie. the scandal of the cross, but more likely "the preaching of the cross", Cassirer, that is, the gospel / "the theology of the cross", Longenecker, and therefore the very proposition which is the basis of this letter to the Galatians, namely, that the person who is right with God is a person who is grounded on the faithfulness of God/Christ. Such a person will experience God's promised new life, and this apart from the law. Paul, of course, rests this proposition on Habakkuk 2:4. For nomists, both religious Jews and law-bound believers (most of whom would be converted Jews), this gospel is indeed a scandal, an offense. If Paul is still preaching circumcision / the totality of Jewish cultic law, then there is no scandal / offense.
kathrghtai (katargew) perf. pas. "has been abolished" - has been entirely nullified, abolished, made of no effect.
A final sarcastic comment.
kai "-" - and. Possibly emphatic; "Indeed I wish ......"
oi anastatounteV (anastatow) pres. part. "those agitators" - the ones agitating, troubling, disturbing, upsetting. The participle serves as a substantive.
ofelon "I wish" - I would that. Expressing an unobtainable wish, or "a wish not likely to be realized", Zerwick.
apokoyontai (apokoptw) fut. mid. "they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves" - will cut themselves off. Possibly a gentle, "would take up some other cause and leave you alone", Junkins, or a more brutal, "would castrate themselves, let alone circumcise themselves", Barclay.