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Bible Commentaries
Galatians 3

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


You foolish Galatians! “The message that God puts men right with himself through faith is so full of comfort and the proof of it is so plain, that I must ask you foolish Galatians, ‘Who put a spell on you???’” [See Romans 5:1-2; James 2:19 and notes.] Right before your eyes! Paul uses the strongest possible language to bring past facts to life!!! Christ-on-the-cross is “what no man ever thought could happen!” Compare 1 Corinthians 1:23; Hebrews 9:15 and notes.

Verse 2


Tell me. “Since you think The Law is superior to the Good News of God’s act in Christ to set men free, let me ask you this question. You have God’s Spirit living in you (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Tell me: Did you receive God’s Spirit through The Law, or through faith??? When I also gave you the gifts from the Spirit (compare Acts 19:6), few of you knew anything about the Law of Moses.”

Verse 3


How can you be so foolish! They had begun with a new birth of water and the Spirit (John 3:5) and had been following the spiritual religion of Jesus Christ. To go under The Law means trying to save themselves by their own efforts, which is impossible! When they try to put themselves right with God through The Law, they do two things: (1) They say by their actions that there was no need or purpose for Christ to die; (2) They must deny the Holy Spirit (see Hebrews 10:29 and note).

Verse 4


Your experience? The Galatian Christians had suffered much in the persecution which hostile Jews brought against them. Compare 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16. If they abandon the gospel, all this effort will go for nothing!!!

Verse 5


Does God give you? “Christians have advantages that those under The Law never did have! You Galatians have the Spirit (John 7:37-39), and you have seen the miracles the Holy Spirit did among you. Was this because you obeyed the ritual of The Law, or was it because you heard and believed the gospel???”

Verse 6


About Abraham. Genesis 15:6. “The Scriptures (Old Testament) prove that God intended both Jews and Gentiles to be put right with him through faith, and not through The Law.” And because of his faith. This quotation shows Abraham, whom every Jew thought of as sort of a “guardian angel” (see Matthew 3:9 and note), being accepted as righteous by God BECAUSE OF HIS FAITH! Abraham had a positive faith (see James 2:22 and note).

Verse 7


Are the real descendants. “You are no relation to Abraham, unless you have the same kind of faith which he had!” Those who reach out through faith to seize Christ are the ones who are Abraham’s descendants!!! See Galatians 3:26-29.

Verse 8


Saw ahead of time. “Since God had already decided to put men right with himself by faith, the scripture tells about it.” The Good News. The promise that through Abraham, God would bless all the people on earth, (and not just the Jews). The quotation is found in Genesis 12:3; Genesis 18:18; Genesis 22:18.

Verse 9


So all who believe. We see Abraham had an active faith, not passive, and God blessed him because of his faith! Therefore, all who believe with the active faith that Abraham had, are blessed as he was! [On the nature of faith, see note on James 2:19.]

Verse 10


On obeying the Law. “If you depend on the rites of The Law to save you, you are putting yourself under a curse! For The Law brings God’s curse on all who do not keep it perfectly! And, if you break only one command, you are guilty of breaking them all (James 2:10)!!!The quotation is Deuteronomy 27:26.

Verse 11


By means of the Law. “Besides, The Law itself proves that no one is put right with God by means of The Law.” The quotation is Habakkuk 2:4. Alford (Greek Testament) also translates this: “The just by faith shall live. “Alford says: “He is not seeking to show by what the righteous shall live, but the ground itself of that righteousness which shall issue in life; and the contrast is between HO DIKAIOS EK PISTEOS and O POIESAS AUTA.” Compare Romans 5:1. But faith is more than just believing (James 2:19). Faith reaches out!!!

Verse 12


Does not depend on faith. Johnson says: “It is not a system of faith, but proclaims life by doing the Law, rather than by faith. But since none can keep it perfectly, all are under the curse (Galatians 3:10).The quotation is Leviticus 18:5.

Verse 13


But Christ has redeemed us. “The Law held us under its curse, but Christ bought us from the curse by becoming a curse for us. It was impossible for us to free ourselves from the curse, but what we find impossible, God did through Christ (Romans 8:1-4)!” The quotation is Deuteronomy 21:23. Compare Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Titus 2:14.

Verse 14


In order that. “Christ-on-the-cross gives to the Gentiles (and Jews) the blessing God promised to Abraham (Galatians 3:9)!” It is correct to say that: through Christ, God made His promises to Israel (and the Gentiles) come true; and: Christ was the one who fulfilled Israel’s contract to God (through the Law). Compare Romans 8:3-4; Acts 13:32-33; Hebrews 9:15 and notes. Might receive the Spirit. The presence of the Holy Spirit is one large difference between The Law and the Good News!!! Compare John 7:37-39; Acts 5:32; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. See notes on Galatians 3:2; Galatians 3:5.

Verse 15


An everyday example. “To disprove the claims of those who are saying that God’s promise to bless the Gentiles through Abraham and his descendant, is to come true through converting them to Judaism, I show you this example.”

Verse 16


Now, God made. “God promised to bless all the people of the world through Abraham and his descendant. God specifically said DESCENDANT to point to Christ.” Jewish thought understood descendant (seed) to mean one chosen family ( Israel ). Paul points this directly to Christ, who is in a far higher sense than Abraham, the FATHER of the one chosen family.

Verse 17


What I mean is this. “I want to show you that God made a covenant and promised to keep it. Since this was with Abraham and his descendant, it did not terminate with the death of Abraham. Not until four hundred and thirty years later did The Law come, and it came without the consent of either Abraham or his descendant Christ, but only with the consent of the Jewish Nation. The Law, then, cannot possibly break that covenant which God made and cancel God’s promise, by introducing a new and different method of blessing the people of the earth.”

Verse 18


For if. “If you earn it, it is not a free gift! If it is through The Law, it cannot be through God’s promise!” However. Abraham proves the point! See Galatians 3:9.

Verse 19


What was? “Why did God give The Law??? To restrain sin by clearly showing what wrongdoing is!!! But it was temporary and was meant to last only until Abraham’s descendant came.” By angels. See Hebrews 2:2; Acts 7:38; Acts 7:53. A go-between. Note that The Law came through both angels and a go-between. But God made his promise directly to Abraham. This shows that The Law was inferior to the promise. [The Good News was spoken directly through God’s Son!!! Hebrews 1:2; 1 Timothy 2:5-6.]

Verse 20


Is not needed. “When God makes a promise, no go-between is needed!” See the contrast in Hebrews 12:18-24.

Verse 21


Does this mean: “The Law is not in competition with God’s promise, because The Law does not give life at all! If it could give life, then The Law could be said to be against God’s promise. The Law, by placing men under its curse and taking away their hope of mercy, forces them to reach out to seize God’s promise through faith!!!” See notes on Romans 3:31.

Verse 22


But the scripture. “The scripture shows that all the people of earth, both Jew and Gentile, are held as slaves by sin and are under God’s curse. The only way out of this curse, is through the promised gift which comes THROUGH faith in Christ!!! We reach out through faith to seize the sacrifice of Christ and make ourselves part of it (Galatians 3:27).

Verse 23


Before. “Before the Good News of God’s act in Christ was revealed (1 Corinthians 2:7-10), The Law kept us locked up as prisoners, criminals condemned by The Law, to be set free only when this faith should be revealed!” Compare Hebrews 9:15 and note.

Verse 24


Was in charge. The Expositor’s Greek Testament says of the PAIDAGOGOS: “For he was a confidential dependent, usually a slave, neither qualified to instruct, nor invested with authority to control his young master, but appointed to attend on him, to safeguard him, and to report to his father any disorderly or immoral habits on which it might be necessary for the father to place a check.” This is what The Law did. See notes on Romans 3:31.

Verse 25


Now. “There is no longer any NEED for The Law to be in charge of us!!!”

Verse 26


It is through faith. “The Law had no authority or ability to make us God’s sons! It is through faith that both Jews and Gentiles are adopted as God’s sons (Romans 8:15)!” [In the Bible, the masculine usually (but not always) includes the feminine. Sons includes daughters.]

Verse 27


Baptized into union. Faith = trust = action. Note salvation is seized, not achieved! Baptism is a promise made to God (1 Peter 3:21 and note). The qualities of Christ himself. “By being baptized into union with Christ and taking upon yourselves the qualities of Christ himself, you become more truly the sons of Abraham and of God than anyone who has only a fleshy claim to be a descendant!!!”

Verse 28


So there is no difference. “The Law made a difference between persons. All that has been canceled and terminated!!! Under the Good News, no Jew is superior to a Gentile, no slave is inferior to a free man, no man is superior to a woman!!! You are all one, in salvation, in promises, in dignity, and in privileges, IN UNION with Christ Jesus.” See Ephesians 2:15.

Verse 29


If you belong to Christ. “Since Christ is the descendant of Abraham, in your union with Christ, you become what He is, and will receive God’s promise, as a spiritual descendant of Abraham.” [In the Bible, faith means: (1) belief/trust – active, obediential; (2) the obedience which faith produces; (3) the teaching contained in the Good News. Remembering this will help to identify the meaning in a particular context.]

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Galatians 3". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/galatians-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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