Galatians 5:7-12

7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.

9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.

11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.

12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!

hindered (v.7) — cut off, break up, cutting in on, slowing down a runner in a race. Who broke up the road you had begun to travel so well?

obeying (v.7) = persuaded, won over. Obedience resulting from persuasion, not from submission

persuasion (v.8) — influence (of the Judaizers)

Him who calls you (v.8) — God

So … You weren’t persuaded by the truth but  you are persuaded by those who hinder you, who do not come from God.

Leaven (v.9) — the pervasive power of evil. One person in an assembly can persuade all to follow a wrong path — or — One bit of law allowed can send a person down the wrong path. Leaven is always a symbol of evil in the Bible.

I have confidence (v.10) — Paul had hope based on his argument and the power of the Lord, that the Galatians would resist the influence of the Judaizers.

in the Lord (v.10) — Paul’s confidence wasn’t in the Galatians but in the Lord, that He would accomplish His purpose in them.

other mind (v.10) — to form an opinion and take action upon it.

bear his judgment (v.10) — burden with the decision resulting from judgment

whoever he is (v.10) — no matter the troublemaker’s authority or position (James?)

if I still preach circumcision (v.11) — Paul is meeting a charge of inconsistency or insincerity by the Judaizers (1:6-9)

The apostle turns suddenly to meet a charge of inconsistency, perhaps of insincerity, made against him by the Judaizing party, one to which indeed he had already somewhat indirectly referred (1:8-9). His action in regard to Timothy may have afforded ground for this charge. But the case of Timothy differed from that of Titus (2:3) in an important particular. Titus was a Gentile born of Gentile parents; Timothy’s mother was a Hebrew, his father a Gentile—he was therefore the offspring of a union plainly prohibited by the Mosaic Law. It may have seemed expedient to the apostle on this account to circumcise Timothy in order to conciliate some who through ignorance, or through weakness in the faith, were sensitive on the point. However that may have been, the apostle soon learned that any attempt to conciliate the Judaizers was foredoomed to failure, and would probably involve the church in disaster. The time arrived when it became necessary to oppose them at all points, and to attack their hybrid system of salvation by works and faith with every legitimate weapon available. The pressure in favor of circumcision was renewed when Titus came to Antioch, but now the apostle did not yield. So long as he hoped to further the interests of the gospel by conciliating the Judaizers he endeavored to conciliate them, perhaps even hoped to win them; now he saw clearly that these interests could be preserved and furthered only by bold and insistent attack upon those who opposed them.  — Vine, page 237-238

still (v.11) — (1st use) a thing that formerly went on but has been changed.

still (v.11) — (2nd use) logical opposition to a point

why do I still suffer persecution (v.11) — If, as the Judaizers claimed, Paul was preaching circumcision, then why would they, who also preached it, persecute him?

offense (v.11) — stumbling block — part of a trap to which bait is attached — metaphorically, anything that causes another to fall (but not always in a bad way — the hindrance can be good which causes the wicked to fall)

Chrysostom commenting on this same thing said, “For even the cross which was a stumbling block to the Jews, was not so much so as the failure to require obedience to ancestral laws. For when they attacked Stephen they said not that he was worshiping the Crucified, but that he was speaking against the law and the holy place.” Saul, the Pharisee, persecuted the Church for the same reason (1:13-14). The Cross was offensive to the Jew therefore because it set aside the entire Mosaic economy, and because it offered salvation by grace through faith alone without the added factor of works performed by the sinner in an effort to merit the salvation offered. All of which goes to show that the Jew of the first century had an erroneous conception of the law of Moses, for that system never taught that a sinner was accepted by God on the basis of good works.  — Wuest, page 146.

offense of the cross (v.11) — If Paul’s gospel of the cross and what it meant, was identical with what the Judaizers were saying, they would have no issue with it and wouldn’t be opposing Paul.

All his labors, his sufferings, and his distresses could be traced to his fidelity to the gospel of Christ and to his insistence upon justification by faith in Him alone. “Then hath the stumbling-block of the cross been done away,” adds the apostle. If, indeed, man can be saved by rites and ceremonies, then there is no need of the death of Christ. This painful and ignominious death had been a stumblingblock in the way of the Jews. If now salvation depended on Jewish rites and ceremonies, then this stumblingblock no longer remained. It is, indeed, a fact that at the foot of the cross we realize the  weakness and impotence and worthlessness of our own deeds of righteousness, our own efforts to secure salvation. “For if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nought.” — Erdman, page 104.

I could wish (v.12) = “would that” — an exclamation

those who trouble you (v.12) — continuous tense — “are attempting to unsettle you.”

cut themselves off (v.12) — amputate

The words cut off are from apokopto. The word refers to bodily mutilation. Paul expresses the wish that the Judaizers would not stop with circumcision, but would go on to emasculation. The town of Pessinus was the home of the worship of Cybele in honor of whom bodily mutilation was practiced. The priests of Cybele castrated themselves. This was a recognized form of heathen self-devotion to the god and would not be shunned in ordinary conversation. This explains the freedom with which Paul speaks of it to his Galatian converts. In Philippians 3:2, the apostle speaks of the Judaizers as the concision, that is, those who mutilate themselves. Vincent expresses his conception of Paul’s words as follows: “These people are disturbing  you by insisting on circumcision. I would that they would make thorough work of it in their own case, and instead of merely amputating the foreskin, would castrate themselves as heathen priests do. Perhaps this would be even more powerful help to salvation.” — Wuest, page 146-147.

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