“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?” (Galatians 3:1 NKJV)
A skilled speaker using subtle combinations of praise and well-thought-out smooth phrases with familiar, but twisted concepts, can deceive a sincerely devout new believer.
This Greek term “baskainó,” here translated as “bewitched,” is used only once in scripture and—in this case—does not refer to witchcraft. The implication is to be “fascinated” or “deceived” by the convincing dialog of the orator.
Most of Paul’s other epistles include prayer requests or his commendations for diligence and faithfulness in the Gospel, but not the book of Galatians. It gives the impression that Paul was disappointed in this church and its ministry. He had preached the Gospel presenting “Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” to them (1 Cor 2:2), and they had apparently believed and started well.
They appeared to understand the foundational doctrines of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus and freedom in Christ from bondage to sinful living, and it seems hard for Paul to understand how they were so quickly led astray.
However, Christianity has a far greater “bewitching” underfoot today than what happened in Galatia! Professed Christians today are “tossed to and fro… with every wind of doctrine” (Eph 4:14). There is legalism and “lawlessness,” the opposite doctrine; also evolutionism, hedonism, spiritualism, emotionalism, materialism, and many other non-scriptural beliefs called “doctrines of men.”
Like the Galatians, many who profess to be Christians are “bewitched” by peer pressure and clever persuasions into these deceptions. They may believe they are “enlightened,” and in some special way, “intellectuals,” or just “in-the-know,” but Paul calls this “foolish” in the same manner as the Galatians.
Don’t be “Bewitched!” It is through Christ alone—our Creator, Lord, and Redeemer—that we find “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3). And finally, Paul concludes his letter to the Galatian believers:
“God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal 6:14). Friends, study the scriptures sincerely, with the Holy Spirit as your Guide!