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Galatians 3

Vincent's Word StudiesVincent's Studies

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Verse 1

Foolish [ανοητοι] . See on Luke 24:25. In N. T. and LXX always in an active sense. See Luke 24:25; Romans 1:14; 1 Timothy 6:9; Titus 3:3. Nouv is used by Paul mainly with an ethical reference, as the faculty of moral judgment. See on Romans 7:23. 'Anohtov therefore indicates a folly which is the outgrowth of a moral defect. Paul is not alluding to a national characteristic of the Galatians. 56 Hath bewitched [εβασκανεν] . N. T. o. In Class. with accusative, to slander, malign; with dative, to envy, grudge, use ill words to another, bewitch by spells. 57 Gor the verb in LXX, see Deuteronomy 28:54, Deuteronomy 28:56; Sir. 14 6, 8. The noun baskania (not in N. T.) in LXX, Wisd. 4 12 (the bewitching); 4 Macc. 1 26 (the evil eye); 4 Macc. 2 15 (slander). See also Plato, Phaedo, 95 B (evil eye). The adjective baskanov (not in N. T.) appears in LXX, Proverbs 23:6; Proverbs 28:22 (having an evil eye); Sir 14 3; 18 18; 37 11 (envious). See also Aristoph. Knights, 103; Plut. 571 (slanderous, a calumniator). Ignatius (Romans 3:0) uses it of grudging the triumph of martyrdom. The two ideas of envy or malice and the evil eye combine in the Lat. invidere, to look maliciously. The ojfqalmov evil eye is found Mark 7:22. Paul 's metaphor here is : who hath cast an evil spell upon you? Chrysostom, followed by Lightfoot, thinks that the passage indicates, not only the baleful influence on the Galatians, but also the envious spirit of the false teachers who envy them their liberty in Christ. This is doubtful.

Before whose eyes [οις κατ οφθαλμους] . The Greek is stronger : unto whom, over against your very eyes. The phrase kat' ojfqalmouv N. T. o, but quite frequent in LXX Comp. kata proswpon to the face, Galatians 2:11.

Hath been evidently set forth [προεγραφη] . The different explanations turn on the meaning assigned to pro : either formerly, or openly, publicly. Thus openly portrayed. The use of prografein in this sense is more than doubtful. Previously written. In favor of this is the plain meaning in two of the three other N. T.. passages where it occurs : Romans 14:4; Ephesians 3:3. Was posted up, placarded. It is the usual word to describe public notices or proclamations. 58 The more probable sense combines the first and third interpretations. Rend. openly set forth. This suits before whose eyes, and illustrates the suggestion of the evil eye in bewitched. Who could have succeeded in bringing you under the spell of an evil eye, when directly before your own eyes stood revealed the crucified Christ ?

Crucified among you [εν υμιν εσταυρωμενος] . En uJmin among you is omitted in the best texts. Crucified emphatically closes the sentence. Christ was openly set forth as crucified.

Verse 2

This only. I will convince you of your error by this one point. Do you owe the gifts of the Spirit to the works of the law, or to the message of faith ?

Received ye, etc. The answer lies in the question. You cannot deny that you received the gifts of the Spirit by the message of faith.

The hearing of faith [ακοης πιστεως] . See on chapter Galatians 1:23. For hearing, render message. So, often in N. T. See Matthew 4:24; Matthew 14:6; John 12:38. LXX, 1 Samuel 2:24; 2 Samuel 13:30; Tob. 10 13; Habakkuk 3:2. Habakkuk 3:5 Habakkuk 3:9

Verse 3

So foolish. Explained by what follows. Has your folly reached such a pitch as to reverse the true order of things? Comp. 1 Corinthians 14:46. Having begun. [εναρξαμενοι] . P o. Comp. Philippians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 8:6. Having commenced your Christian life. The verb is common in Class. in the sense of the beginning a sacrifice or other religious ceremony; but it is not likely that any such figurative suggestion is attached to it here, as Lightfoot.

In the Spirit [πνευματι] . Or, by means of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit, as the inspirer and regulator of the life.

Are ye made perfect [επιτελεισθε] . The word is found in connection with ajnarcesqai to begin, in 2 Corinthians 8:6; Philippians 1:6. The A. V. and Rev. render here in the passive voice. The active voice, always in N. T. with the object expressed, means to bring to completion. See Romans 14:28; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 8:5. The passive only 1 Peter 5:9. It is true that the verb in the middle voice is not found in either N. T. or LXX; but it is not uncommon in Class. and answers better to the middle ajnarxamenoi having begun. It implies more than bringing to an end; rather to a consummation. Rend. : having begun in the spirit are ye coming to completion in the flesh ? The last phrase has an ironical tinge, suggesting the absurdity of expecting perfection on the Jewish basis of legal righteousness. The present tense indicates that they have already begun upon this attempt.

The flesh. The worldly principle or element of life, represented by the legal righteousness of the Jew.

Verse 4

Have ye suffered [επαθετε] . Or, did ye suffer. The exact sense is doubtful. By some it is held that the reference is to sufferings endured by the Galatian Christians either through heathen persecutions or Judaising emissaries. There is, however, no record in this Epistle or elsewhere of the Galatians having suffered special persecutions on account of their Christian profession. Others take the verb in a neutral sense, have ye experienced, or with a definite reference to the experience of benefits. In this neutral sense it is used in Class. from Homer down, and is accordingly joined with both kakwv evilly, and eu well. Paul habitually used it in the sense of suffering evil, and there is no decisive instance, either in N. T. or LXX, of the neutral sense. In Class., where it is used of the experience of benefits, it is always accompanied by some qualifying word. When it stands alone it signifies to suffer evil. The evidence on the whole makes very strongly for the meaning suffer; in which case the reference is, probably, to the annoyances suffered from Judaising Christians. It must be said, on the other hand, that a reference to such annoyances seems far - fetched. If we could translate did ye experience (so Weizsacker, Lipsius, Sieffert), the reference would be to the impartation of the gifts of the Spirit.

In vain [εικη] . So that ye have fallen from the faith and missed the inheritance of suffering and the rich fruitage of your spiritual gifts. See Matthew 5:10-12; Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 4:17.

If it be yet in vain [ει γε και εικη] . The A. V. misses the force of the particles. Kai should be closely joined with eijkh, with the sense of really. If, that is, it be really in vain.

Verse 5

Therefore [ουν] . Resumes the thought of verse 2 (Leviticus 3:4 being, practically, parenthetical), in order to adduce the example of Abraham as a proof of justification by faith. The thought of verse 2 is further emphasized. The gift of the Spirit, and the bestowment of miraculous powers, is a purely divine operation in believers, which is not merited by legal works, but can be received and experienced only through the message of faith.

He that ministereth [ο επιχορηγων] . Or supplieth. See 2 Corinthians 9:10; Colossians 2:19; 2 Peter 1:5. The idea of abundant supply (Lightfoot), if conveyed at all, resides, not in the preposition ejpi, which indicates direction, but in the simple verb, which is used of abundant, liberal supply. He that ministereth is God.

Worketh [ενεργων] . See on 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

Miracles [δυναμεις] . See on Matthew 11:20. Either miracles, as Mark 6:2; 1 Corinthians 12:10, or miraculous powers, as 1 Corinthians 12:6; Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 2:2. The analogy of these latter passages favors the second meaning.

Among you [εν υμιν] . So, if dunameiv is explained as miracles. If miraculous powers, render in you.

Verse 6

Even as [καθως] . The answer to the question of verse 5 is so obvious that it is not given. Paul proceeds at once to the illustration - the argument for the righteousness of faith furnished in the justification of Abraham. The spiritual gifts come through the message of faith, even as Abraham believed, etc.

Believed God [επιστευσεν τω θεω] . See on Romans 4:5. Believed God 's promise that he should become the father of many nations. See Romans 4:18-21. The reference is not to faith in the promised Messiah. It was accounted to him for righteousness [ελογισθη αυτω εις δικαιοσυνην] . See on Romans 4:5. Eiv does not mean instead of, but as. His faith was reckoned as righteousness - as something which it really was since all possibilities of righteousness are included in faith.

Verse 7

Know ye [γινωσκετε] . Imperative. It may also be rendered as indicative, ye know, but the imperative is livelier, and the statement in the verse is one of the points which the writer is trying to prove.

They which are of faith [οι εκ πιστεως] . Ek pistewv from or out of faith, is found with the verb to justify (Romans 3:26, Romans 3:30; Romans 5:1) : with other verbs, as live (Romans 1:17); eat (Romans 14:23) : with the noun dikaiosunh righteousness (Romans 1:17; Romans 9:30; Romans 10:6) : with other nouns, as promise (Galatians 3:22), law (Galatians 3:12). For parallels to the phrase oiJ ejk pistewv, see Romans 3:26; Romans 4:16; Romans 14:23; Galatians 3:9. It denotes believers as sprung from, or receiving their spiritual condition from that which specially characterizes them. Comp. oiJ ejx ejriqiav they who are of faction, Romans 2:8; oiJ ejk nomou they who are of the law, Romans 4:14; oJ ejk thv ajlhqeiav he who is of the truth, John 18:37.

Verse 8

The scripture [η γραφη] . See on 1 Timothy 5:18. The particular passage cited below. See on Mark 12:10; 2 John 1:5:47 footnote. Foreseeing [προιδουσα] . The passage of Scripture is personified. Comp. hath concluded, verse 22. The Jews had a formula of reference, "What did the Scripture see?" Would justify [δικαιοι] . Better justifieth. The present tense. The time foreseen was the Christian present. Comp. 1 Corinthians 3:13; Matthew 26:2.

Preached before the gospel [προευηγγελισατο] . N. T. o. An awkward translation. Better, preached the gospel before - hand.

All nations [παντα τα εθνη] . From Genesis 18:18; comp. Genesis 22:18, LXX Genesis 12:3 reads pasai aiJ fulai all the tribes. Ta eqnh was the collective term by which all non - Jews were denoted, and is more suitable to Paul 's Gentile audience.

Shall be blessed [ενευλογηθησονται] . In N. T. only here. LXX, Genesis 12:3; Genesis 18:18; Genesis 22:18; Genesis 26:4; Sir 64 21. The blessing is the messianic blessing of which the Gentiles are to partake - the imparting of the Spirit as the new life principle and the pledge of future blessedness in Christ. This blessing Abraham shared on the ground of his faith, and believers shall share it as the true spiritual children of Abraham.

In thee [εν σοι] . Not, through thy posterity, Christ, but in the fact that thou art blessed is involved the blessedness of the Gentiles through faith, in so far as they shall be justified by faith, and through justification receive the Holy Spirit.

Verse 9

With [συν] . Not = like or as, but in fellowship with. Believers are regarded as homogeneous with Abraham, and as thus sharing the blessing which began in him.

Faithful [πιστω] . Or believing, as Acts 16:1; 2 Corinthians 11:15; 1 Timothy 5:16. Those who are of the faith are one in blessing with him whose characteristic was faith.

Verse 10

Under the curse (uJpo kataran). Better, under curse. There is no article. The phrase is general = accursed. Comp. uJf' aJmartian under sin, Romans 3:9. The specific character of the curse is not stated. It is not merely the wrath of God as it issues in final destruction (Meyer); but it represents a condition of alienation from God, caused by violation of his law, with all the penalty which accrues from it, either in this life or the next.

Cursed [επικαταρατος] . Only here and verse 13. o Class. In LXX, see Genesis 3:14, Genesis 3:17; Deuteronomy 27:16-20; Isaiah 65:20; Wisd. 3 12; 14 8, etc.

Continueth - in [εμμενει] . The expression is figurative, the book of the law being conceived as a prescribed district or domain, in which one remains or out of which he goes. Comp. continue in the faith, Acts 14:22; in the covenant, Hebrews 13:9; in the things which thou hast learned, 2 Timothy 3:14.

Verse 11

But [δε] . Better, now. The de continues the argument, adding the scripture testimony.

By the law [εν νομω] . Rather, in the sphere of the law; thus corresponding with continueth in, verse 10.

The just shall live by faith [ο δικαιος εκ πιστεως ζησεται] . Better, the righteous. Quoted from Habakkuk 2:4, and appears in Romans 1:17, and Hebrews 10:28. The LXX has mou my, either after dikaiov, "my righteous one shall live, etc.," or after pistewv, "by my faith or faithfulness." 60

Verse 13

Hath redeemed [εξηγορασεν] . P o. Better redeemed. Comp. Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5. In LXX once, Daniel 2:8. See on Colossians 4:5.

Us Referring specially to Jews.

Being made a curse [γενομενος καταρα] . Better, having become. See on chapter Galatians 2:20.

It is written. From LXX of Deuteronomy 21:23, with the omission of uJpo qeou by God after cursed. Paul, as Lightfoot justly says, instinctively omits these words, since Christ was in no sense accursed by God in his crucifixion. The statement does not refer to Christ 's enduring the curse in our stead, but solely to the attitude in which the law placed Christ by subjecting him to the death of a malefactor. The law satisfied its demand upon him, and thus thrust him out of the pale of the legal economy. We, by our fellowship with him, are likewise cast out, and therefore are no longer under curse.

Upon a tree [επι ξυλου] . Originally wood, timber. In later Greek, a tree. In Class. used of a gallows (Aristoph. Frogs, 736). Often of the stocks (Aristoph. Clouds, 592; Lysistr. 680; Knights, 367). So Acts 16:24. Of the cross, Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39; 1 Peter 2:24. Ignatius (Smyrn. 1) says that Christ was nailed up for our sakes - of which fruit are we. That is, the cross is regarded as a tree, and Christians as its fruit. Comp. Trall. 2. See the interesting remarks of Lightfoot on the symbolism of the tree of life in Paradise (Apostolic Fathers, Part 2, Volume 2, page 291).

Verse 14

That [ινα] Marking the purpose of Christ in redeeming from the curse of the law.

That we might receive, etc. The second ina is parallel with the first. The deliverance from the curse results not only in extending to the Gentiles the blessing promised to Abraham, but in the impartation of the Spirit to both Jews and Gentiles through faith. The eujlogia blessing is not God 's gift of justification as the opposite of the curse; for in vv. 10, 11, justification is not represented as the opposite of the curse, but as that by which the curse is removed and the blessing realized. The content of the curse is death, verse 13. The opposite of the curse is life. The subject of the promise is the life which comes through the Spirit. See John 7:39; Acts 2:17, Acts 2:38, Acts 2:39; Acts 10:45, Acts 10:47; Acts 14:7, Acts 14:8; Romans 5:5; Romans 8:2, Romans 8:4, Romans 8:6, Romans 8:11; Ephesians 1:13.

Verse 15

After the manner of men [κατα ανθρωπον] . According to human analogy; reasoning as men would reason in ordinary affairs. The phrase is peculiar to Paul. See Romans 3:5; 1 Corinthians 3:3; 1 Corinthians 9:8; 1 Corinthians 14:32; Galatians 1:11. Comp. ajnqrwpinov as a man, Romans 6:19.

Though it be - yet. The A. V. and Rev. give the correct sense, but the order of the Greek is peculiar. %Omwv yet properly belongs to ouJudeiv no man : "Though a man's covenant yet no man disannulleth it." But omwv is taken out of its natural place, and put at the beginning of the clause, before ajnqrwpou, so that the Greek literally reads : "Yet a man's covenant confirmed no one disannulleth, etc." A similar displacement occurs 1 Corinthians 14:7.

Covenant [διαθηκην] . Not testament. See on Matthew 26:28, and Hebrews 9:16.

Confirmed [κεκυρωμενην] . P o. See 2 Corinthians 2:8. In LXX, Genesis 23:20; Leviticus 25:30; Leviticus 4:0 Macc. 7 9. From kurov supreme power. Hence the verb carries the sense of authoritative confirmation, in this case by the contracting parties.

Disannulleth [αθετει] . See on bring to nothing, 1 Corinthians 1:19. Rev. maketh void.

Addeth thereto [επιδιατασσεται] . N. T. o. Adds new specifications or conditions to the original covenant, which is contrary to law. Comp. ejpidiaqhkh a second will or codicil, Joseph B. J. 2 2, 3; Ant 17:9, 4. The doctrine of the Judaisers, while virtually annulling the promise, was apparently only the imposing of new conditions. In either case it was a violation of the covenant.

Verse 16

The course of thought is as follows. The main point is that the promises to Abraham continue to hold for Christian believers (verse 17). It might be objected that the law made these promises void. After stating that a human covenant is not invalidated or added to by any one, he would argue from this analogy that a covenant of God is not annulled by the law which came afterwards. But before reaching this point, he must call attention to the fact that the promises were given, not to Abraham only, but to his descendants. Hence it follows that the covenant was not a mere temporary contract, made to last only up to the time of the law. Even a man's covenant remains uncancelled and without additions. Similarly, God 's covenant - promises to Abraham remain valid; and this is made certain by the fact that the promises were given not only to Abraham but to his seed; and since the singular, seed, is used, and not seeds, it is evident that Christ is meant.

The promises [αι επαγγελιαι] . Comp. Romans 9:4. The promise was given on several occasions. 61 Were made [ερρεθησαν] . Rend. were spoken.

To his seed [τω σπερματι αυτου] . Emphatic, as making for his conclusion in verse 17. There can be no disannulling by the law of a promise made not only to Abraham, but to his seed.

Not - to seeds [ου - τοις σπερμασιν] . He means that there is significance in the singular form of expression, as pointing to the fact that one descendant (seed) is intended - Christ. With regard to this line of argument it is to be said,

1. The original promise referred to the posterity of Abraham generally, and therefore applies to Christ individually only as representing these : as gathering up into one all who should be incorporated with him.

2. The original word for seed in the O. T., wherever it means progeny, is used in the singular, whether the progeny consists of one or many. In the plural it means grains of seed, as 1 Samuel 8:15. It is evident that Paul 's argument at this point betrays traces of his rabbinical education (see Schoettgen, Horae Hebraicae, Volume 1, page 736), and can have no logical force for nineteenth century readers. Even Luther says : "Zum stiche zu schwach." 62 Of many [επι πολλων] . Apparently a unique instance of the use of ejpi with the genitive after a verb of speaking. The sense appears in the familiar phrase "to speak upon a subject," many being conceived as the basis on which the speaking rests. Similarly ejf' eJnov of one.

Verse 17

And this I say [τουτο δε λεγω] . Now I mean this. Not strictly the conclusion from vv. 15, 16, since Paul does not use this phrase in drawing a conclusion (comp. 1 Corinthians 1:12, and touto de fhmi, 1 Corinthians 7:29; 1 Corinthians 14:50). It is rather the application, for which the way was prepared in verse 16, of the analogy of verse 15 to the inviolable stability of God 's covenant.

Four hundred and thirty years after. Bengel remarks : "The greatness of the interval increases the authority of the promise." 63 To make of none effect [καταργησαι] . See on Romans 3:3.

Verse 18

In the analogy of verse 15 there was contemplated the double possibility of invalidation or addition. With relation to God 's promise, the Judaisers insisted on addition; since, while they preached faith in the promise and in its fulfillment in Christ, they made the inheritance of the promise dependent upon the fulfilling of the law. Paul, on the other hand, holds that the Judaistic addition involves invalidation. Salvation must rest either upon the promise or upon the law. The Judaiser said, upon the promise and the law. For God gave the inheritance to Abraham by promise. It has been shown that the law did not abrogate the promise. Hence, if the inheritance be of the law it is no more of the promise. Comp. Romans 4:14.

Gave [κεχαρισται] . Freely bestowed as a gracious gift. See on Luke 7:21.

Verse 19

Wherefore then serveth the law ? [τι ουν ο νομος] . Lit. what then is the law, or, why then the law ? What is its meaning and object? A natural question of an objector, since, according to Paul 's reasoning, salvation is of promise and not of law.

It was added [προσετεθη] . Comp. pareishlqen came in beside, Romans 5:20. Not as an addition to the promise, which is contrary to verse 18, but as a temporary, intermediate institution, in which only a subordinate purpose of God was expressed.

Because of transgressions [των παραβασεων χαριν] . In order to set upon already existing sins the stamp of positive transgression of law. Comp. Romans 4:5; Romans 5:13. Note the article, the transgressions, summing them up in one mass. Not, in order to give the knowledge of sins. This, it is true, would follow the revelation of sins as transgressions of law (Romans 3:20; Romans 7:13); but,

1. the phrase because of transgressions does not express that thought with sufficient definiteness. If that had been his meaning, Paul would probably have written thv ajpignwsewv twn parabasewn carin on account of the knowledge of transgressions.

2. He meant to describe the office of the law as more than giving the knowledge of sins. Its office was, in revealing sin as positive transgression, to emphasize the objective, actual, contrary fact of righteousness according to the divine ideal, and to throw sin into contrast with that grand ideal. The seed. Christ, whose advent was to introduce the fulfillment of the promise (verse 16).

Ordained [διαταγεις] . The verb means to arrange, appoint, prescribe. Of appointing the twelve, Matthew 11:1; of enjoining certain acts, Luke 8:55; Luke 17:10; 1 Corinthians 7:17; of the decree of Claudius, Acts 18:2. Here, describing the form or mode in which the law was added; the arrangement made for giving it.

By angels [δι αγγελων] . Better, through angels as agents and intermediaries. Comp. eijv diatagav ajggelwn with reference to arrangements of angels; or as it was ordained by angels, Acts 7:53. The tradition of the giving of the law through angels appears first in Deuteronomy 33:2 (but comp. LXX and the Hebrew). See Hebrews 2:2; Acts 7:53. In the later rabbinical schools great importance was attached to this tradition, and it was not without influence in shaping the doctrine of angelic mediation which formed one of the elements of the Colossian heresy. Josephus (Ant. 14 5, 3) relates that Herod excited the Jews to battle by a speech, in which he said that they had learned the holiest of laws from God through angels. It is a general O. T. idea that in great theophanies God appears surrounded with a heavenly host. See Habakkuk 3:8; Isaiah 66:15; Zechariah 14:5; Joel 3:11. The idea of an angelic administration is also familiar. See Exodus 23:20; Exodus 32:34; Exodus 33:14; Isaiah 63:9; Joshua 5:14. The agency of angels indicates the limitations of the older dispensation; its character as a dispensation of the flesh.

In the hand of a mediator [εν χειρι μεσιτου] . En ceiri by the agency of. A Hebraism. In this sense, not elsewhere in N. T. See LXX, Genesis 38:20 Leviticus 16:21. In the hand of Moses, Leviticus 26:46; Numbers 4:37, Numbers 4:41, Numbers 4:45, Numbers 4:49. Comp. sun ceiri ajggelou with the hand of the angel, Acts 7:35. For mesithv mediator, see on 1 Timothy 2:5, and comp. Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 12:24. It is a later Greek word signifying also umpire, arbitrator, and appears in LXX only in Job 9:33. The mediator here is Moses, who is often so designated by rabbinical writers. The object is not (as Meyer) to enable the reader to realize the glory of the law in the dignity and formal solemnity of its ordination, but to indicate the inferior, subordinate position held by the law in comparison with the promise, not the gospel. A glorification of the law cannot be intended, since if that were contemplated in the mention of angels and the mediator, the statement would tend to the disparagement of the promise which was given without a mediator. Paul, in the section 3 6 - 9, 7, aims to show that the law does not, as the Judaisers assume, stand in a relation to the divine plan of salvation as direct and positive as does the promise, and that it has not, like the promise and its fulfillment, an eternal significance. On the contrary, it has only a transitory value. This estimate of the law does not contradict Paul 's assertions in Romans 7:12-25. In representing the law as subordinate and temporary he does not impugn it as a divine institution.

Verse 20

Now a mediator is not a mediator of one [ο δε μεσιτης ενος ουκ εστιν] . Observe,

1. De is explanatory, not antithetic. The verse illustrates the conception of mediator.

2. The article, the mediator, has a generic force : the mediator according to the general and proper conception of his function. Comp. the apostle (2 Corinthians 12:12); the shepherd, the good (John 10:11).

3. Enov of one, is to be explained by the following ei=v, so that it is masculine and personal.

We are not to supply party or law. The meaning is : the conception of mediator does not belong to an individual considered singly. One is not a mediator of his single self, but he is a mediator between two contracting parties; in this case between God and the people of Israel, as Leviticus 26:46; thus differing from Christ, who is called the mediator of a new covenant (Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 12:24). The new covenant, the gospel, was not a contract. Accordingly verse 20 serves to define the true conception of a mediator, and through this definition to make clearer the difference between the law, which required a mediator, and the promise, which is the simple expression of God 's will. The very idea of mediation supposes two parties. The law is of the nature of a contract between God and the Jewish people. The validity of the contract depends on its fulfillment by both parties. Hence it is contingent, not absolute.

But God is one [ο δε θεος εις αστιν] . God does not need a mediator to make his promise valid. His promise is not of the nature of a contract between two parties. His promise depends on his own individual decree. He dealt with Abraham singly and directly, without a mediator. The dignity of the law is thus inferior to that of the promise.

Verse 21

Against the promises [κατα των επαγγελιων] . Does it follow from the difference between the law and the promises that they are in antagonism? Paul supposes this objection on the part of a Jewish Christian.

God forbid [μη γενοιτο] . See on Romans 3:4. This could only be true in case the law gave life, for life must come either through the promises or through the law. If the law is against the promises, and makes them invalid, it follows that life must come through the law, and therefore righteousness, without which there is no life, would verily [οντως] , just as the Judaisers claim, be through the law.

By the law. Tisch., Rev. T., Weiss, retain ejk nomou from, resulting from the law. WH. read ejn nomw in the law. The meaning is substantially the same with either reading : in the one case proceeding from, in the other residing in the law.

Verse 22

But it is not true that the law gives life, for the law, according to scripture, condemned all alike.

The scripture [η γραφη] . Scripture is personified. See on verse 8. Hath concluded [συνεκλεισεν] . Better, hath shut up, as a jailer. Only in Paul, with the exception of Luke 5:6. Frequent in LXX Not included with others, but confined as within an enclosure, as Luke 5:6, of the net enclosing the fish. Comp. Exodus 14:3; Joshua 6:1; Joshua 1:0 Macc. 4 31. Scripture, in its divine utterances on the universality and guilt of sin, is conceived as a jailer who shuts all up in sin as in a prison. Comp. Romans 3:10-19; Romans 11:32.

All [τα παντα] . Neuter, all things collectively : = all men. For the neuter in a similar comprehensive sense, see 1 Corinthians 1:27; Colossians 1:20; Ephesians 1:10.

That [ινα] . In order that. That which is represented through a personification as the act of Scripture, is the act of God, according to a definite purpose that the promise should be inherited by believers only, through faith in Jesus Christ.

The promise [η επαγγελια] . That is, the thing promised; the inheritance, verse 18.

By faith [εκ πιστεως] . Const. with the promise, not with might be given. The promised gift which is the result of faith. The false teachers claimed that it was the result of works.

To them that believe [τοις πιστευουσιν] . Not tautological. Even the Judaisers held that salvation was intended for believers, but also that legal obedience was its procuring cause; against which Paul asserts that it is simply for those that believe.

Verse 23

But the office of the law as a jailer was designed to be only temporary, until the time when faith should come. It was to hold in custody those who were subjected to sin, so that they should not escape the consciousness of their sins and of their liability to punishment. Faith [την πιστιν] . The subjective faith in Christ which appropriates the promise. See on chapter Galatians 1:23.

We were kept [εφρουρουμεθα] . Better, kept in ward, continuing the figure in shut up, verse 22. The imperfect tense indicates the continued activity of the law as a warder.

Under the law [υπο νομον] . Const. with were kept in ward, not with shut up. We were shut up with the law as a warder, not for protection, but to guard against escape. Comp. Wisd. 17 15. The figure of the law as pedagogue (verse 24) is not anticipated. The law is conceived, not as the prison, but as the warder, the Lord or despot, the power of sin (see 1 Corinthians 14:56; Romans 7:0), by whom those who belong to sin are kept under lock and key - under moral captivity, without possibility of liberation except through faith.

Shut up unto the faith [συνκλειομενοι εις την πιστιν] . Eijv unto or for expresses the object of keeping in ward. It is not temporal, until, which is a rare usage in N. T., but with a view to our passing into the state of faith. Which should afterwards be revealed [μελλουσαν - αποκαλυφθηναι] . The position of mellousan emphasizes the future state of things to which the earlier conditions pointed. The faith was first revealed at the coming of Christ and the gospel.

Verse 24

Wherefore [ωστε] . Better, so that. Theological consequence of the previous statements.

Our schoolmaster [παιδαγωγος ημων] . Our. Paul speaks as a Jew of Jews especially. Schoolmaster [παιδαγωγος π] is an error. The word means an overseer or guardian. See on 1 Corinthians 9:15. Tutor (Rev.) is defensible on the ground of etymology, tueri to look upon, thence to guard. In civil law a tutor is a person legally appointed for the care of the person and property ===Galatians 4:0

CHAPTER IV

The last words of chapter iii, "heirs according to the promise," are now further discussed. It is shown that the capability of heirship, which was first conferred through Christ, could not enter earlier into the history of mankind, because mankind was still in its minority; and its majority, its sonship, was first entered upon through Christ. The way of the law was not, as the Jews supposed, a direct way to the fulfillment of the divine promise. At the same time, it did not utterly lead away from the true goal. It was a roundabout way to it. Sabatier (l' Apotre Paul) observes : "The law is neither absolutely identical with the promise, nor absolutely opposed to it. It is not the negation of the promise, but is distinct from it and subordinate to it. Its final purpose lies in the promise itself. It is an essential but transitional element in the historical development of humanity. It must disappear on attaining its goal. 'Christ is the end of the law. '" But why was this way necessary? Why did not God open the way of faith leading to the inheritance of the promise immediately after the promise was given? The answer to this was indicated in Galatians 3:24-26. It is now given more fully.

Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Galatians 3". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/galatians-3.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.
 
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