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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Galatians 3

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

Galatians 3:1. , ο) He abruptly attacks the Galatians.— ἀνόητοι γαλάται, foolish Galatians) inasmuch as not having followed up, and held fast, a subject which had been most distinctly set before them, Galatians 3:3. He does not call them ἀγαπητοὺς, beloved, because they were not to be loved, but to be reproved; although He really loved them.— ἐβάσκανε, bewitched) [that is, produced in you a change so sudden, and at the same time so very great.—V. g.] What follows more closely agrees with this word, if the phrase, not to obey the truth, were to be laid aside;(18) for the eyes are so obstructed by fascination [that a man is either of opinion that he does not see what he sees, or thinks that he sees what does not exist.—V. g.]— κατʼ ὀφθαλμοὺς, before the eyes) Very clearly.— προεγράφη, hath been distinctly [evidently] set forth by writing) Things are said προγράφεσθαι, to be set forth, which are placed publicly in writing before the eyes of all, as H. Valesius shows, Not. in Harpocr, p. 116. Jesus Christ had been so written or portrayed before the eyes of the Galatians by the Gospel.— ἐν ὑμῖν ἐσταυρωμένος, crucified among you) The form of His cross exhibited in your heart by faith, that now henceforth you might also be crucified with Him, ch. Galatians 2:20; Galatians 4:19, note. This crucifixion with Christ is realized especially in the Lord’s Supper.

ABD corrected Liter ( δ), Gfg Vulg. (many MSS., but Cod. Amiat. the best, has “veritati non obedire”) omit τῇ ἀληθείᾳ μὴ πείθεσθαι. Rec. Text with C retains the words. Jerome 7, 418c writes, “Legitur in quibusdam codicibus, ‘Quis vos fascinavit non credere veritati.’ Sed hoc, quia in exemplaribus Adamantii non habetur, omisimus;” and 7, 487a, “licet et Græca exemplaria hoc errore confusa sint.”—ED.


Verse 2

Galatians 3:2. ΄όνον, only) A weighty argument.— μαθεῖν, learn) What it is that you think [what sentiment you entertain]. Here is the point of his questions: you have learned many things from me; I wish to learn this one thing alone from you.— ἐξ ἔργων νόμου, from the works of the law) In which you seek righteousness.— τὸ πνεῦμα, the Spirit) [in (through) whom you addressed GOD as Father.—V. g.], and whose presence [among the Galatians] was conspicuous by means of the gifts, which He bestowed; Galatians 3:5; Mark 16:17; Hebrews 2:4. The gift of the Spirit accompanies righteousness [justification], Galatians 3:14; Ephesians 1:13. Therefore the one is often put for the other; comp. note on Romans 6:18. This argument is repeated, Galatians 3:5 : and it receives additional weight by the verses interposed, viz. Galatians 3:3-4. Further, Paul, in this one epistle of his, although he so often names the Spirit, does not, however, even once add the epithet, Holy; and this he does not appear to have done without good reason; namely, the epithet ‘Holy’ is a very joyful one, but this epistle is decidedly severe.— , or) Two things directly opposed.— ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως, from [by] the hearing of faith) The nature of faith is thus exquisitely denoted—faith [consisting in] not working, but receiving.


Verse 3

Galatians 3:3. οὕτως ἀνόητοι, so foolish) οὕτως, makes an [Epitasis] emphatic addition [in Galatians 3:1 it was merely ἀνόητοι]; you not only neglect the evangelical portraiture of Christ [referring to προεγραφη, Galatians 3:1], but also the gift of the Spirit, which came much more under your notice; see at 1 Corinthians 1:6.— ἐναρξάμενοι, having begun) The progress corresponds to the commencement. There is no second [subsequent] justification given by the works of the law.— νῦν, now) Whereas having left the flesh, you ought to have become more and more spiritual.— σαρκὶ), in the flesh) Hebrews 9:10. [Philippians 3:2; Romans 2:28]. No doubt the Galatians thought that they were going more deeply into the Spirit. The flesh may be easily taken for the Spirit, even by those who have made progress, unless they continue to maintain a pure faith.— ἐπιτελεῖσθε, are you consummated [made perfect?]) when verging to [aiming at] the end [ τέλος, contained in ἐπιτελεῖσθε, the end or consummation], you follow the flesh. All things are estimated by the end and issue.


Verse 4

Galatians 3:4. ἐπάθετε) have you suffered? While you suffered and bore with me most patiently (and this patience is the fruit of the Spirit), when I portrayed before your eyes Christ and His cross, Galatians 3:1, note, and laboured among you in the weakness of the flesh; as he speaks more explicitly afterwards at Galatians 4:11 (where the word εἰκῆ, in vain, is repeated), 13, etc. He does not say, have you done (comp. 2 John Galatians 3:8), because he refutes in this passage those that work; but he says, have you suffered, with great propriety of language (for he suffers, who is brought to the birth(19) [in Christ], Galatians 4:19; as also, he who runs, Galatians 5:7); also appositely to his argument, in order to amplify the indignity of their loss. There is a use of this verb not dissimilar, at Amos 6:6; Zechariah 11:5. Sometimes εὐ πάσχειν, ἀγαθὸν πάσχειν, is to receive [to be favoured with] a benefit, Baruch 6:33 (34): but this is not the notion of the word adopted by Paul.— εἴγε καὶ εἰκῆ, if it be yet in vain) This is as it were a correction;(20) ye have not suffered so many things in vain; for God has given you the Spirit, and has wrought mighty works [‘virtutes,’ miracles, Galatians 3:5] in you. Comp. Hebrews 10:32.


Verse 5

Galatians 3:5. ἐπιχορηγῶνκαὶ ἐνεργῶν) He that ministered—and wrought [viz. God]: so Chrysost. For the participle of the imperfect tense is contained in the participle of the present: ἐπὶ, in the first of these participles, is emphatic; for he who preaches ministers ( χορηγεῖ). God, in the strict sense, ἐπιχορηγεῖ.(21)δυνάμεις, powers) miraculous.— ἐξ, by) Supply, did He it.— ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως, by the hearing of faith) This expression along with the following verse constitutes the proposition, and in καθὼς, even as, assumes the force of an affirmative.


Verse 6

Galatians 3:6. ἀβραὰμ, Abraham) See Romans 4:3, note. The genealogy [pedigree]—the armoury of Paul, Galatians 3:6; Galatians 3:8; Galatians 3:16; ch. Galatians 4:22; for we must have recourse to our origin [the first beginnings of things], Matthew 19:4.


Verse 7

Galatians 3:7. γινώσκετε, know ye) The imperative; comp. 2 Timothy 3:1. Neither the slowness of the Galatians nor the commencement of the discussion admitted of an indicative.— οἱ ἐκ πίστεως, those who are of faith) For Abraham believed.— οὗτοι) these, and these alone, the other descendants of Abraham being excluded.— νἱοὶ, sons) Galatians 3:29.


Verse 8

Galatians 3:8. προιδοῦσα δὲ, but [and moreover] foreseeing) δὲ, but [and moreover] being an emphatic addition ( ἐπιτατικὸν), extends the force of the argument to the Gentiles also. The term foreseeing implies divine foreknowledge, more ancient than the law. The great excellence of sacred Scripture is, that all the points likely to be controverted are foreseen and decided in it, even in the most appropriate language.— γραφὴ, scripture) A mode of expression abbreviated and condensed in a manifold degree, as will be evident to him who evolves the ideas involved in it, thus; it is God who has given testimony to these things; God foreknew that He would act in this manner with the Gentiles; God therefore already at that time acted in a similar manner with Abraham; God also caused it to be consigned to writing, and that too when at the time that it was written, it was still future. All these things are included in that expression, foreseeing —— All these ideas could not be so briefly expressed in our mode of speaking, otherwise [or if they could] they might be considered obscure. But the ardour of the apostle’s mind, which, being filled with the Spirit, was directed to one topic, and that too of principal importance, produces this effect [the combination of great brevity with freedom from obscurity]. What was spoken to Abraham, was written out in the time of Moses.— ἐκ πίστεως, by faith) not by works.— δικαιοῖ, justifies [instead of would justify]) The present, in respect of Paul then writing; so, they have the blessing [are blessed, εὐλογοῦνται], Galatians 3:9.— προευηγγελίσατο, preached the Gospel before) A word, which very sweetly approaches to a Catachresis.(22) The Gospel was preached to Abraham before the times of the Gospel. The Gospel is therefore older than the law.— ἐνευλογηθήσονται) ונברכו Genesis 12:3 : then more expressly והתברכו Genesis 22:18; Psalms 72:17. There is the mere promise of blessing; nothing is said as to works. Moreover, justification and blessing are conjoined. At the same time the nature of faith is evident from the form of the Hebrew verb: they shall bless themselves, they shall congratulate themselves regarding the blessing. Isaiah 65:16; comp. Deuteronomy 29:18.— ἐν σοὶ, in thee) as in the father of the Messiah; therefore much more in Messiah [Himself]. The Gentiles, as believers in Christ, are the seed of Abraham. Seed first, then blessing, was promised to Abraham. Add note to Galatians 3:16.


Verse 9

Galatians 3:9. οἱ ἐκ πίστεως) they who are of faith, all, and they alone; as is evident from its opposite in the following verse.— σὺν τῷ πιστῷ, with the faithful) The blessing was conferred on Abraham himself by faith; with whom those, who believe, are blessed. Observe, he says now, σὺν, with, not ἐν, in. In thee was said before Christ was born of the seed of Abraham; subsequently to that event, with, nay even previously; compare the heirs with him, Hebrews 11:9.


Verse 10

Galatians 3:10. ὑπὸ κατάραν, under the curse) Sub, Under, here and afterwards, is joined to the accusative with great force. The curse and the blessing are opposed.— εἰσὶν, are) This verb is repeated with great force.— γέγραπται, it is written) Deuteronomy 27:26 : ἐπικατάρατος πᾶς ἄνθρωπος, ὅστις οὐκ ἐμμένει πᾶσι τοῖς λόγοις τοῦ νόμου τούτου, ποιῆσαι αὐτούς; where πᾶς and πᾶσι are not in the Hebrew, but in the Samaritan. Perfect obedience is required by the expression, in all things, and continual obedience by the expression, continueth ( ἐμμένει). No man renders this obedience.— τοῖς γεγραμμένοις ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ, written in the book) Paul adds this as a paraphrase.


Verse 11

Galatians 3:11. ἐν νόμῳ, in the law) Paul somewhat eagerly urges this matter, lest any one should say, I acknowledge that righteousness is not by the works of the law, but yet it is by the law itself. Many depended on the law, although they did not keep it, Romans 2:17; Romans 2:23. He answers, it is of no advantage to them that do it not, Galatians 3:12.— παρὰ τῷ θεῷ, before God) whatever it may be before men, Romans 4:2.— δῆλον, ὅτι, it is evident, because [or that]) The phrase refers to what follows: 1 Timothy 6:7; 1 Corinthians 15:27. δηλονότι is used by the Greeks as one word, corresponding to the Latin id est. As concerns the fact, that no one is justified in [by] the law before God, it is beyond all doubt true, that the just shall live by faith. The former is alleged [referred to] as if still open to doubt, but the latter is τὸ δῆλον, a thing quite manifest, by which even the former ought to be placed beyond a doubt.— δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως, the just by faith [he who stands just by faith]) See Romans 1:17.— ζἠσεται, shall live) The same word is in the following verse.


Verse 12

Galatians 3:12. οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ πίστεως, is not of faith) It does not act the part of faith; it does not say, believe, but do.— ποιήσας αὐτὰ, the man that doeth them) Romans 10:5.


Verse 13

Galatians 3:13. χριστὴς, Christ) Christ alone. This is an abrupt exclamation without a conjunction, and with some degree of indignation against the doers of the law. There is an Asyndeton not unlike this, Colossians 3:4 : where the apostle is likewise speaking of Christ.— ἡμᾶς, us) The curse chiefly pressed upon the Jews; for the blessing also was nearer to them. The antithesis is, on the Gentiles, Galatians 3:14 : comp. Galatians 4:3; Galatians 4:6.— ἐξηγόρασεν, hath redeemed) He set us free by purchase from the state in which we were held. The same word occurs, Galatians 4:5.— ἐκ τῆς κατάρας, from the curse) under which they lie, who trust either to the law, or the works of the law.— γενόμενος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν κατάρα, being made a curse for us) We have here the abstract, not the concrete noun. Who would dare without the fear of blasphemy so to speak, if the apostle had not led the way? The word curse, κατάρα, means more than anathema, Romans 9:3 : for the curse is inflicted by another, the anathema is spontaneously incurred. In like manner יכרת, ἐξολοθρευθήσεται, shall be cut off, is said of Christ, Daniel 9:26 : comp. Galatians 3:24 with the annot. of C. B. Michaelis. ὑπὲρ, for, instead of, is also used here with the utmost propriety; for Christ became the curse, which we were, in our stead, that we might cease to be a curse.— γέγραπται, it is written) Deuteronomy 21:23, κεκατηραμένος ὑπὸ θεοῦ πᾶς κρεμάμενος ἐπὶ ξύλου.— ἐπὶ ξύλου, on a tree) between heaven and earth. Our mother-tongue calls it the gallows. The apostles, in treating of redemption, mention the cross, rather than the agony on the Mount of Olives, 1 Peter 2:24. Had not the punishment of the cross been long ago abolished, the stupendous power of the cross of Christ would be more obviously before our eyes.


Verse 14

Galatians 3:14. ἵναἵνα, that—that) The first that corresponds to, being made (a curse), the last to, hath redeemed us; comp. that occurring twice, Galatians 4:5, note.— εἰς τὰ ἔθνη) on the Gentiles, who were afar off, Galatians 3:8.— τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ πνεύματος, the promise of the Spirit) Luke 24:49, note.— λάβωμεν, we might receive) we Jews, nearly related in Christ to the blessing. The nature of faith is expressed by this word; the promise and faith stand in relation to each other.— διὰ τῆς πίστεως, by faith) not of works, for faith depends on the promise alone. “The Spirit from without kindles within us some spark of faith, whereby we lay hold of Christ, and even the Spirit Himself, that He may dwell within us.”—Flacius.


Verse 15

Galatians 3:15. ὅμως) yet; although it be only a man’s testament or covenant, from which the comparison is taken.— ἀνθρώπου, of a man) whose purpose it is of far less importance to maintain.— κεκυρωμένην, confirmed) when once all things have been ratified, for example, by the death of the testator, Hebrews 9:16. So καὶ ἐκυρώθη ἀγρὸς, ויקם, Genesis 23:20.— οὐδεὶς) no man, not even the author himself, unless some unexpected cause either in his own mind or from without should happen (such a cause as cannot occur to God): much less any other person [since he is here indeed speaking of a point of equity (the matter of right), for in point of fact testaments or bequests made by men are sooner or later infringed not without incurring heavy guilt.—V. g.]; and to that other person the law corresponds in the Apodosis. For νόμος, the law, is here considered also, as a second person distinct from the promise of God, as it were by personification, in the same way that sin and the law are opposed to God, Romans 6:13; Romans 8:3; and Mammon, as if it were a master, is opposed to God, Matthew 6:24 : and the elements of the world are compared with the tutors, and the law is called a schoolmaster, presently after, Galatians 3:24, ch. Galatians 4:2-3. The promise is looked upon as more ancient, and as spoken by God: the law, as more recent, and as distinguished from God the lawgiver; because the promise more peculiarly belongs to God; the law is, as it were, something more extraneous; see Galatians 3:17-18; Galatians 3:21-22.— ἀθετεῖ ἐπιδιατάσσεται, disannuls or adds to it) in whole or in part: by abolishing, taking away legacies, or adding new charges or conditions. Makes of none effect, Galatians 3:17, corresponds to both words.


Verse 16

Galatians 3:16. ἐῤῥεθησαν, were spoken) a weighty expression.— αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι, the promises) In the plural; the promise frequently repeated [Galatians 3:17-18]: and it was twofold, of things on earth and things in heaven; of the land of Canaan, and of the world, and of all the good things of God, Romans 4:13. But the law was given once for all.— καὶ, and) Genesis 13:15; Genesis 12:7; Genesis 15:18; Genesis 17:8.— λέγει, He says) God.— ὡς ἐπὶ πολλῶν, as of many) as if there was one seed before the law, another under the law.— ὡς ἐφʼ ἑνὸς, as of one) See how Paul draws a conclusion of great weight from the grammatical accident, number; and this is the more wonderful, because זרע is never put in the plural, unless in 1 Samuel 8:15, where it however denotes lands, not seeds. Indeed, in the LXX. Int. the force of the singular number is more apparent. Moreover, Paul has not here determined that seed denotes one single offspring alone, and that seeds, and they alone [i.e. that it is the plural alone, which must], signify a numerous offspring: for seed in the singular very often implies a multitude; but he means to say this, that there is one seed, i.e. one posterity, one family, one race of the sons of Abraham, to all of whom the inheritance falls by promise, [after Moses, as well as before Moses; of the uncircumcision not less than of the circumcision.—V. g.] not to some by promise, to others by the law, Romans 4:16. But you will do well to distinguish between the promise of the blessing and the promise of the inheritance of the world or of the earth; in the former, not in the latter, the appellation, seed, has regard to Christ. For the blessing is accomplished in Abraham, not by or in himself (per se), inasmuch as he died before the Gentiles obtained the blessing, but inasmuch as he has the seed; and it is accomplished in the seed of Abraham, not because that seed is innumerable; for Abraham himself did not bless, but received the blessing; how much less can his posterity bless, who only receive with him the blessing by faith. Therefore the blessing is accomplished in Christ, who is the one Seed most excellent and most desired, who in and by Himself bestows the blessing. But yet, because all the posterity of Abraham are akin to Him [Christ], therefore, the blessing is said to be accomplished in the seed of Abraham in common, but to come to the Gentiles, Galatians 3:14. The promise of the earth, and therefore of the inheritance, was given to Abraham and his seed, i.e. to his numerous posterity, Galatians 3:19; Galatians 3:22, not, however, to Christ, but in relation to Christ [in Christum, “until Christ should come,” Galatians 3:19; “with a view to Christ,” Galatians 3:24, εἰς χριστὸν, and Galatians 3:17 in Rec. Text].— ὅς ἐστι χριστὸς, who is Christ) ὅς, who, is not to be restrictedly referred to the expression, to the seed, but to the whole of the foregoing words in this sense: [all of which God says in reference to Christ] that which God says is wholly in reference to [with a view to] Christ.(23) [i.e. to Abraham and his seed belong the promises, or, in other words, the blessing promised in Christ.—V. g.] For Christ upholds all the promises, 2 Corinthians 1:20. In Greek and Latin the gender of the pronoun often corresponds to the substantive that follows. Cic. Ignes quœ (attracted to the gender of sidera, instead of that of ignes) sidera vocatis. [So here ὅς, attracted to the gender of χριστὸς, instead of , referring to the whole antecedent discourse.]


Verse 17

Galatians 3:17. τοῦτο δὲ λέγω, but this I say) He shows to what the comparison, Galatians 3:15, refers.— διαθήκην) The word is taken here in a sense a little more extensive than that of a testament, for διαθέμενος, the party entering into an arrangement, who is referred to here, is the immortal(24) [undying] God. And yet the term testament is more consonant with this passage than covenant, Galatians 3:18, at the end. Comp. note on Matthew 26:28.— προκεκυρωμένην,(25) confirmed before) Confirmed, Galatians 3:15, corresponds to this: but πρὸ, before, is added on account of those four hundred and thirty years. The testament was confirmed by the promise itself, and that promise repeated, and by an oath, and that too many years before: ἔτι, in Galatians 3:18, agrees with this word before.— μετὰ, after) It will be said: The epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 7:28, note) everywhere prefers to the law those things which were confirmed μετὰ, after the law; how then is that preferred here, after which the law was given? Ans. Those things are noticed there, in which the new confirmation [thing confirmed, covenant] was expressly derogatory to the old confirmation [thing confirmed, covenant]: but that the law was derogatory to the promise, which is here urged, was added neither in the time of Abraham, nor of Moses. τὸ ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς, that which was from the beginning, is preferred in both cases: comp. Matthew 19:8. Everywhere Christ prevails.— ἔτη, years) The greatness of the interval increases the authority of the promise.— γεγονὼς, which was, came into existence) This also has the effect of attributing inferiority to the law, and of imparting elegance to the personification. He does not say, given, as if the law had existed before it was given; nor does he add, by God, as he had said concerning the testament or covenant. There is another reason for these words, John 1:17.— νόμος, the law) He speaks in the nominative case; so that God who promises, and the law which does not detract from that promise, may be distinctly opposed to each other, and the hinge of this antithesis is the personification previously noticed.— οὐκ ἀκυροῖ, does not make void) A metonymy of the consequent [for the antecedent], i.e. the law does not confer the inheritance.— εἰς τὸ καταργῆσαι) to make of no effect the promise. But it is rendered vain or of no effect, if the power of conferring the inheritance be transferred from it to the law.

DGfg Vulg. and both Syr. Versions support the addition in Rec. Text εἰς χοιστόν. But ABC, some of the best MSS. of Vulg., Memph., and Syr. reject the addition.—ED.


Verse 18

Galatians 3:18. εἰ, if) A conditional syllogism, of which, when the consequent is taken away, the antecedent is taken away; so that the conclusion is, therefore the inheritance is not from the law.— θεὸς, God) Here the promise is expressly predicated of God.


Verse 19

Galatians 3:19. τί οὖν νόμος;) Some use this punctuation, τί οὖν; νόμος, κ. τ. λ. Indeed τί οὖν is often put by itself; sometimes, however, the interrogation is given at length, τί οὖν φημι; 1 Corinthians 10:19 : τί οὖν τὸ περισσὸν τοῦ ἰουδαίου; Romans 3:1. What then is [the use of] the law, i.e., one might say, was the law therefore given in vain?— τῶν παραβάσεων χάριν, because of transgressions) that they might be acknowledged and might gain strength. Transgressions committed by men are noticed not so much before, Romans 5:13, as after the giving of the law. The same word occurs at Romans 4:15, where see the note; and in the plural at Hebrews 9:15. The antithesis is continueth, Galatians 3:10. The thing itself is explained at Galatians 3:21-22 : namely, all are “concluded under sin.”— ἐτέθη, it was put, given) He does not say, put instead of, substituted [for the promise]. Many have προσετέθη,(26) but ἐτέθη is more consistent with Galatians 3:15.— ἔλθῃ, should come) comp. came, Galatians 3:23.— τὸ σπέρμα, the seed) viz., believers of the New Testament, to whom is given the fulfilment of the promise; Galatians 3:22.— ἐπήγγελται, to whom the promise was made) or rather to whom God promised; comp. ἐπήγγελται, Romans 4:21; Hebrews 12:26.— διαταγεὶς, ordained) not ἐπιδιαταγεὶς;(27) comp. Galatians 3:15, [ ἐπιδιατάσσεται, addeth thereto any new ordinance].— διʼ ἀγγέλων, ἐν χειρὶ ΄εσίτου, by angels, in the hand of a mediator) A double mediation. Angels being the representatives of God, Hebrews 2:2 : a mediator standing as representative of the people. God delegated the law to angels as something rather alien to Him and severe: He reserved the promise to Himself, and gave and dispensed it according to His own goodness. Moses was the mediator; hence it is frequently said, ביד משה, by the hand of Moses. We have the definition of a mediator, Deuteronomy 5:5. Moses, as a mediator, is quite different from Christ—the one keeps back [repels]—the other brings forward [attracts].


Verse 20

Galatians 3:20. δὲ μεσίτης, now a Mediator) The article has the meaning of the relative. That Mediator, Moses, who was far later than the promise, and at the same time severe.— ἑνὸς, of one) The middle term of the syllogism, of which the major and minor proposition is expressed, the conclusion is understood, One does not make use of that Mediator (that is, whosoever is one [one and the same unchanging being] does not transact first without a mediator, then the same one through a mediator; nor does he afterwards withdraw himself [after having first dealt with His people immediately and directly], so as to transact through a mediator; for familiar acquaintance does not generally decrease, but increase): but God is one. Therefore God did not transact first without a mediator, then through a mediator. Therefore that party, to which the mediator belonged, is not one and the same with God, but different from God, namely the law.(28) δὲ θεὸς εἷς ἐστιν, but God is one) There is not one God before and another after the giving of the law, but one and the same God. Before the law He transacted without a mediator; therefore the mediator at Mount Sinai does not belong to God, but to the law; whereas the promise belongs to God; comp. on the unity of God, in reference to the same subject, Romans 3:30; also 1 Timothy 2:5 : and the oneness of God before and after the law agrees most beautifully with the oneness of the seed before and after the law. Thus Paul infers from the very manner of giving the law, that the law was given on account of sin; and thus the new objection in the following verse is in consonance.


Verse 21

Galatians 3:21. οὖν, then) This objection may be taken from the circumstance, that the law is said to have been given because of transgressions. The answer is, that the law is not against the promises, and in regard to the answer two considerations are presented: The one is, the law in itself, though it were willing, cannot give the life that has been promised, Galatians 3:21; the other is, nevertheless, as a schoolmaster, it assisted the promise of life; Galatians 3:22 to Galatians 4:7. The first consideration is proved by this Enthymeme(29) (of the same sort as at Galatians 3:18): If the law could give you life, righteousness would be by the law; but righteousness is not by the law; supply [the conclusion], therefore the law cannot give life. The major proposition is evident, for only the just shall live, Galatians 3:11. The minor proposition, and at the same time the second consideration itself, is proved by Galatians 3:22 : and that too by Epanodus;(30) for of these four terms, to give life, righteousness, sin, promise, the first and fourth, the second and third, have respect to each other.— νόμος, the law) It is called the law, not the law of God: but we say, the promises of God, not, the promises absolutely.— εἰ γὰρ, for if) The conditional force does not fall upon was given, for the law was certainly given, but upon was able (could have).— δυνάμενος, that was able) The article shows that the emphasis is on δύναμαι. The law would wish [to give life], Galatians 3:12, for it says, he shall live, but it is not able.— ζωοποιῆσαι, to give life) In this expression death is taken for granted as threatened [by the law] against the sinner, and therefore the language becomes very distinct. The law offers life conditionally, Galatians 3:12; but does not confer it, because it cannot, being deprived of all power to do so by sin.— ὄντως, verily) not merely in the opinion of those maintaining justification by works. The matter in hand [justification] is a serious one [the question at issue is a serious reality], although it be now beyond the power of the law.— δικαιοσύνη, righteousness) For righteousness is the foundation of life. The antithesis is sin, Galatians 3:22.


Verse 22

Galatians 3:22. ἀλλὰ, but) So far is righteousness from being of the law, that the acknowledgment of sin is rather what comes of the law.— συνέκλεισεν, hath concluded) It has comprehended sinners, that were formerly unconcerned [free from all alarm], and has concluded them all together; comp. inclosed [ συνέκλεισεν, of the multitude of fishes in the net], Luke 5:6.— γραφὴ, the Scripture) The Scripture, not God, is said to have concluded all under sin; although a ‘concluding’ of that sort is elsewhere ascribed to God, Romans 11:32. Moreover, it is worthy of notice, that he says, the Scripture, not the law. Scripture began to be written, not at the time when the promise was made, but at the time when the law was given; for God stands to His promises even without writing: but it was necessary, that the perfidy [faithlessness to God’s commands] of the sinner should be rebuked by the written letter. Furthermore, in the subsequent clause also, that, etc., Paul touches upon something, which goes beyond the sphere of the law, not beyond that of Scripture.(31)τὰ τάντα, all) Not only all men, but also all the things, which they are and have in their possession.


Verse 23

Galatians 3:23. τὴν πίστιν, the faith of Jesus Christ) So the following verses.— ἐφρουρούμεθα συγκεκλεισμένοι, we were kept shut up) These two words elegantly disjoin the law and faith. The being ‘kept’ in custody is the consequence of the shutting up. Wisdom of Solomon 17:16 : ἐφρουρεῖτο εἰς τὴν ἀσίδηρον εἱρκτὴν κατακλεισθείς, he was kept shut up in a prison without iron bars.— συγκεκλεισμένοι εἰς) So the LXX., συγκλείειν εἰς θάνατον, Psalms 78:50, Psalms 31:9; Amos 1:6; Amos 1:9. But it is an abbreviated phrase: shut up, and therefore reserved and forced to the faith, etc. [so that there remained to us no refuge but faith.—V. g.] Polybius says, εἰς αὐτὰς συνεκλείσθη τὰς ἐν ἰδίοις οἰκέταις καὶ φίλοις ἐλπίδας, “he was shut up to those very hopes which were among [which depended on] his own domestics and friends;” and so it often occurs in the same writer.—See Raphelius. Irenaeus has, the sons of God are shut up to the belief of His coming: l. iii. c. 25.


Verse 24

Galatians 3:24. παιδαγωγὸς, a schoolmaster) who has kept us under discipline, lest we should slip from his hands.— νήπιοι, infants [‘children’], need such discipline, Galatians 4:3. There is again a personification of the law.


Verse 26

Galatians 3:26. υἱοὶ) Sons, emancipated, the keeper being removed.


Verse 27

Galatians 3:27. χριστὸν ἐνδύσασθε, ye have put on Christ) Christ is to you the toga virilis.(32) You are no longer estimated by what you were, you are all alike in Christ and of Christ; see the following verses [Galatians 3:28, There is neither Jew nor Greek, etc., for ye are all one in Christ]. Christ is the Son of God, and ye are in Him the sons of God. Tho. Gataker says, if a person were to ask me to define a Christian, I would give him no definition more readily than this: A Christian is one, who has put on Christ: l. 1, misc. c. 9.


Verse 28

Galatians 3:28. οὐκ ἔνι, there is not) These were formerly differences, now they are at an end, along with their causes and signs: ἔνι for ἔνεστι, with the preposition to which ἐν presently corresponds.— ἰουδαῖος, κ. τ. λ, the Jew, etc.) Colossians 3:11, note.— ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ, male and female) In the circumcision there was the male: for the weaker sex, by which the transgression began, was without it.— εἷς, one) A new man, who has put on Christ, Ephesians 2:15.— ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ, in Christ Jesus) construed with one.


Verse 29

Galatians 3:29. ἆρα, therefore) Christ sanctifies the whole posterity of Abraham.— ἐπαγγελίαν, the promise) given to Abraham.

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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Galatians 3:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/galatians-3.html. 1897.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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