In Galatians 3:23, Paul describes the law as a guarding and protecting force. To what does he liken it in verse 24, and what does that mean? 1
The word translated “schoolmaster” (KJV) comes from the Greek wordpaidagogos. Some versions translate it as “disciplinarian” (NRSV), “tutor” (NKJV),or even “guardian” (ESV), but no single word fully can encompass its meaning. The paidagogos was a slave in Roman society who was placed in a position of authority over his master’s sons from the time they turned six or seven until they reached maturity. [...]
Paul gives two basic conclusions about the law: (1) the law does not nullify or abolish God’s promise made to Abraham (Gal. 3:15–20); (2) the law is not opposed to the promise (Gal. 3:21, 22).1
What role does the law actually play then? Paul writes that it was added “because of transgressions” (Gal. 3:19), and he expands on this idea using three different words or phrases in connection to the law: kept (vs. 23), shut up (vs. 23), and schoolmaster (vs. 24).
Read prayerfully and carefully Galatians 3:19–24. What is Paul saying about the [...]
In Galatians 3:23, Paul writes that “before faith came, we were kept under the law.” By “we” Paul is referring to the Jewish believers in the Galatian churches. They are the ones acquainted with the law, and Paul has been speaking to them in particular since Galatians 2:15. This can be seen in the contrast between the “we” in Galatians 3:23 and the “you” in Galatians 3:26 (ESV). 1
Galatians 3:23 reads, “Before faith came”; but in the literal Greek it reads, “before the faith” came. Because Paul [...]
“Is the law then contrary to the promises of God?”(Gal. 3:21, ESV).
Sensing that his comments might lead his opponents to conclude he had a disparaging view of the law or that his comments about the priority of God’s promises were just a veiled put-down of Moses and the Torah, Paul asks the very question they were thinking: “Are you saying the law contradicts the promises of God?” To this Paul responds with an emphatic, “No!” Such a conclusion is impossible, [...]
Read for This Week’s Study:
Gal. 3:21–25; Lev. 18:5; Rom. 3:9–19; 1 Cor. 9:20; Rom. 3:1, 2; 8:1–4.
“Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe” (Galatians 3:22, ESV).
Homing pigeons long have been known for their ability to fly hundreds of miles a day and arrive at their destination with amazing accuracy. Yet, even the best homing pigeons at times have become disoriented, never returning to their starting point. The worst incident happened in [...]
“In their bondage the people had to a great extent lost the knowledge of God and of the principles of the Abrahamic covenant. In delivering them from Egypt, God sought to reveal to them His power and His mercy, that they might be led to love and trust Him. He brought them down to the Red Sea—where, pursued by the Egyptians, escape seemed impossible—that they might realize their utter helplessness, their need of divine aid; and then He wrought deliverance [...]
My family wasn’t religious until my aunt invited my mother to attend a spirit worship center. Mother was trying to find her way to God, so she went with my aunt. Mother didn’t really understand what she was getting into at the spirit center. She didn’t know that these spirits were not from God, though she was uncomfortable when people called upon the spirits.
My father didn’t like the spirit worship either and showed his disapproval by attending a traditional [...]
“ ‘He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us’ ” (Acts 7:38, NIV). 1
In Galatians 3:19, 20, Paul continues his train of thought about the law not nullifying the covenant of grace; this is important because, if the theology of his opponents were correct, the law would do just that. Think, then, what our position as sinners would [...]
Does Paul’s statement about the law being added at Mount Sinai mean that it did not exist previously? If not, what was the difference before and after Mount Sinai? Read Gen. 9:5, 6; 18:19; 26:5; 39:7–10; Exod. 16:22–26. 1
God did not need to reveal His law to Abraham with thunder, lightning, and a penalty of death (Exod. 19:10–23). Why, then, did God give the law to the Israelites in that manner? It was because, during their bondage in Egypt, the Israelites had lost sight of God’s greatness and His [...]
In Galatians 3:19–29 Paul makes multiple references to “the law.” What law is Paul primarily referring to in this section of Galatians? 1
Some, believing that the word until in verse 19 (ESV) indicates that this law was only temporary, have thought the passage must refer to the ceremonial law, because the purpose of that law was fulfilled at the cross and thus came to an end. Though this makes sense by itself, it does not appear to be Paul’s point in Galatians. While both the [...]