In Gal 5:17, Paul teaches that the Spirit and the flesh are diametrically opposed to each other “so that you do not do whatever you want [ἃ ἐὰν θέλητε].” Interpreters have understood ἃ ἐὰν θέλητε to refer to (1) both the desires of the Spirit and the desires of the flesh, (2) the desires of the Spirit, (3) the desires of the flesh, or (4) neither the desires of the Spirit nor the desires of the flesh. This study examines the exegetical factors that have led scholars to affirm one view over the others and presents fresh evidence in favor of interpreting ἃ ἐὰν θέλητε as fleshly desires from Paul’s use of θέλω with respect to the Galatians elsewhere in the letter.

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