Biblical Studies/New Testament Commentaries/Galatians/Chapter 3
- 1 Galatians Chapter 3
- 2 Maps of Paul's Missions
- 3 Outline of Galatians 3
- 4 Paraphrase of Galatians 3
- 5 Overview of Galatians 3
- 6 History of Galatians 3
- 7 Verse-by-Verse Analysis
- 8 Word Study
- 9 Application for Today
- 10 Bibliography
Galatians Chapter 3
|Galatians 3:1-29 (New International Version)|
Faith or Observance of the Law
1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
6Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." 7Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." 9So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
10All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." 11Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith." 12The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them." 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
The Law and the Promise
15Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ. 17What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
19What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.
21Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
Sons of God
26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Maps of Paul's Missions
This map shows all the places that the Apostle Paul went his Mission.
This map shows all Four of Paul's missions []
Outline of Galatians 3
Faith or Observance of the Law
Vss. 1: Paul writes to the Galatians: Vss. 2-5: Paul questioned:
- How did you receive the Spirit? By obeying the law or by believing what you have heard?
- Paul asks, “Are you so foolish to try to become perfect with your own power?”
- “Have suffered for nothing?”
- “Does God give you his Spirit and does miracles because you obey the law or because you believe?”
Vss. 6-9: Consider Abraham:
- "He believed God."
- Understand people who believe are children of Abraham.
- The Scripture foresaw that God would tell Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you."
- People who have faith are blessed along with Abraham.
Vss. 10-12: Paul states:
- People who observe the law are curse, it is written:
- "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."
- No one is right before God by the law because:
- "The righteous will live by faith."
- The law is not based on faith:
- "The man who does these things will live by them."
Vss. 13-14: Christ redeemed us:
- From the curse of the law:
- By becoming a curse for us, it is written:
- "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."
- By becoming a curse for us, it is written:
- So that the blessing given to Abraham might come true.
- So that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
The Law and the Promise
Vss. 15-18: An example from everyday life:
- The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Meaning one person, Christ.
- Meaning: The law doesn’t set aside the covenant made by God and as a result do away with the promise.
- If the inheritance depends on the law not on the promise but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
Vss. 19-21: What was the purpose of the law?
- It was added because of misbehavior until Christ the promise referred to had come.
- The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.
- A mediator does not represent just one side; but God is one.
- The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.
- The law does not contradict to the promises of God.
- For if a law had been made to pass on life,
- Then righteousness would have been made by the law.
- For if a law had been made to pass on life,
Vss. 22-25: Scripture:
- Scripture says the whole world is a prisoner of sin.
- So that the promised could be given through the faith in Jesus Christ
- Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law.
- The law was made to lead us to Christ so that we could have faith.
- Now faith has come!
- We are no longer under the command of the law.
Sons of God
- You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
- All of you who were baptized into Christ are with Christ.
- You are all one in Christ Jesus.
- If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and are part of the promise.
Paraphrase of Galatians 3
Obeying the Law
v.1 Terrible Galatians! Who has tricked you? Jesus was crucified right in front of you. v.2 Tell me this: did you encounter the spirit by obeying the law or did you just hear it? v.3 How terrible are you? Are you trying to get to your goal through human effort and not the spirit? v.4 What have you suffered for – was it for nothing? v.5 Why does God give you his spirit and miracles? Is it because you obey the law or just hear it?
v.6 Think about Abraham: “He believed in God and because of this he was considered righteous.” v.7 Then, those who believe in God are children of Abraham. v.8 Scripture told us that God would confirm the Gentiles through his faith, and gave way to the gospel through Abraham: “You will bless all the nations.” v.9 So have faith and you will be blessed like Abraham.
v.10 All who just hear the law are to be cursed, for it is written: “Everyone is cursed who do not obey everything in the Book of the Law.” v.11 No one if confirmed by God just by the law, because, “Those who live by faith are righteous.” v.12 The law is not by faith; but instead, “The man who obeys these things will live by them.” v.13 Christ gave us a second chance to not be cursed by the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed.” v.14 He gave us a second chance so that the blessing of Abraham could come to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, so by faith we may receive the covenant of the Spirit.
The Law and the Covenant
v.15 Siblings, let me give you an illustration from everyday life. Just like no one can add or take away from the human covenant that has been established, it is in this scenario as well. v.16 The covenant was spoken to Abraham and his kin. The scripture does not say, “and to your seeds” but “ and to your seed” meaning one person. This person is Christ. v.17 This is what I am saying: the law, 430 years later, does not subside the covenant that was established by God and therefore doing away with the promise. v.18 For if the estate depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the covenant; but God gives his grace to Abraham through a covenant.
v.19 What is the purpose of the covenant? It was an addition because of the transgressions that is until Christ had come. The covenant was put into motion through angels by a mediator. v.20 A mediator does not represent only one person; but God is one.
v.21 Is the law against the Covenant of God? Definitely not! For if the law could have imparted life then the righteous would have come to the law. v.22 The Scripture says that everyone is condemned to sin, so that the covenant, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, may be given to those who have faith.
v.23 Before faith came, we were held condemned by the law until faith was revealed. v.24 So the law was put in place to lead us to Christ that we may be justified by faith. v.25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer condemned to the law.
Children of God
v.26 You are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, v.27 for all of you who were baptized were also clothed in Christ. v.28 There is not Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, because everyone is one in Christ. v.29 Providing you belong to Christ, then you are Abrahams kin, and inheritors of the covenant.
Overview of Galatians 3
Faith or Observance of the Law
Verses 1-14 ask a lot of questions of whether or not we were obeying the law of Christ or if we were just listening to the law of Christ. It asks whether or not we are true followers of Christ and if we know what he did for us on the cross. This part of the scripture gives an account of a faithful and righteous man, Abraham. We are told to look at his life and try to model it. If one is to only listen to the law then they are cursed but if the obey the law then they are righteous. It explains that by faith we can receive the promise made by the Holy Spirit.
The Law and the Promise
Verses 15-25 give us insight into what is more important, the law or the promise? According to the scripture, the promise is what we should value. God gave a promise to Abraham and it is much more powerful than the law given 430 years later. The law was only added due to the transgression we had but since Jesus Christ came to give us another chance we should not have to worry about the law anymore. However, we are to keep in mind that the law does not oppose the promise of God. The rest of this section discusses how we were prisoners to the law and when we got our second chance through Christ we no longer were prisoners.
Sons of God
This last little section is composed of verses 26-29. It is a short section, but it is also a very important section. It explains how we are all children of God if we have faith in him. There are no distinctions between people that make one better over the other. Instead everyone is equal and everyone has an equal chance of salvation. If we believe in Christ then we belong to him and if we belong to him then we will inherit the promise he has given.
History of Galatians 3
Paul starts off this letter with the remark, “foolish Galatians!” We now know that the letter is addressed to the Galatians. This is significant because it is the first time that Paul refers to them by name. As Jervis pointed out the Galatians were considered barbaric and as Paul said, foolish (78). This chapter is about experiences and teaching the Galatians that turning away from what they know is in fact foolish. Paul takes the time in this letter to show the Galatians that what they are doing is wrong. We believe this is the reason for this letter. At this point in the journey the foolish Galatians were turning away from what they knew; that Jesus was portrayed as crucified. This letter was a chance for Paul to evangelize and bring them back to reality. The reality is that Christ came and redeemed us through God’s promise through Abraham. He clearly points out that it is not the law but through Abraham that we know the promise. He ends his letter reminding the foolish Galatians that they are all Sons of God. We are all saved through Christ and we should be following His promise through Abraham and not the law, which is what the Galatians were doing.
- v 1
When Paul talks about the foolish Galatians he is telling them that they are fools for trying to find justification in the works of the law and that the law can not save a man (Guthrie 91). Paul calls them by name, because they need to see the need not to be misled (91).
When Paul asks them who has bewitched you, he is wondering if there is some magical power on them because of how foolish the Galatians where (Guthrie 92).
Paul reminds the Galatians of the graphic depiction he had given them of Jesus on the cross. They had the light, but they turned their backs on it (Guthrie 92).
Paul's description of the Galatians as foolish is an "assertive demonstration that he is passionately experiencing deep anguish and concern for them" (Longman 589). The Galatians are not being rational by just rejecting the truth and the grace of God (590). Paul wants to bring the Galatians back to the truth (590). The designation foolish "appears to have been a common one for the Galatian tribes who were often considered barbarians and 'foolish'" (Jervis 78).
Paul reminded the Galatians not to listen to rival evangelists so they would not stray from their new life in Christ (Jervis 78). "Paul is using language that will go straight to the pagan heart of his converts and thereby distance them somewhat from Jewish influence" (78).
"For Paul, the death of Christ proves his point: the death of Christ means that the law is not longer the means by which to live for God or to live righteously" (78). Paul is not talking about a lack of intelligence, "but a failure to exercise even a modicum of spiritual discernment" (Longenecher 99).
Paul is saying "you foolish and slow of heart is the expression used to stress lack of discernment regarding the prophetic word"( Longenecker 100).
The language of being bewitched "was part of the rhetoric of the day for characterizing opponents and their strategies" (Longenecher 100). "The phrase 'Christ crucified' was on Paul's lips an abbreviated form of the gospel by metonymy such associated terms as 'cross' and 'death' also were used to represent the basic Christian kerygma" (Longenecher 101).
"Paul addresses the Galatians not as 'brothers' but as Galatians" (Williams 82). Paul is suggesting the Galatians are being inexplicable, unreasonable, and deleterious because of how foolish they are (Williams 83).
- v 2
Paul talks about how he wants to learn from the Galatians (Guthrie 92). Paul is certain that they received the Holy Spirit. He asks the Galatians to recall the circumstances of this (92). Paul knows that the Galatians do not associate the law with the Holy Spirit, but Paul wonders what flawed logic led to their present folly (92). Paul also wonders if the Galatians have given any thought to what their present plans have to do with faith (92-93). "The gift of the Spirit comes when faith gives its response to the preaching of the gospel"(93).
Paul wants to learn from the Galatians, but "having just called them "foolish," this is a remarkable rhetorical move"(Jervis 79).
Paul also wants the Galatians to know that he is on their side and is committed to helping them even though there actions are not the greatest(Jervis 79).
Paul also is trying to contrast the difference between observing the law and believing(Jervis 79).
This is the first time in the book of Galatians that Paul talks about the Spirit(Jervis 79). "He will remind them not only that they received the Spirit at the beginning of their Christian life but also that this is to be understood as a sign of a new stage in God's plan of salvation"(Jervis 79).The fact is that "the spirit is the life and guide of the Christian"'(Jervis 80).
Paul really does not need to know anything from the Galatians, but his purpose in this is to make them confront their "most undeniable feature of their personal history as believers"(Williams 83).
When Paul is talking about is the Galatians receive the Spirit in doing the works of the law in different translations can mean different things(Williams 83). Some of the means are the message of faith, the hearing of faith or hearing called faith(Williams 83). "Paul's phrase, then, is richly suggestive: faith is like hearing; indeed, faith is a kind of hearing/heeding"(Williams 84).
"Faith is the engaged response, the yielding of the self, to an enthralling, captivating word, the gospel of Christ crucified ans raised"(Williams 84). "Faith is the state of being captivated, but in a way that involves all one's faculties"(Williams 84).
Paul"is convinced that if they would but recall their own experience of having received God's Spirit at the time when they accepted Paul's proclamation of the gospel, then no further argument from him would be necessary ans no enticement from the Judaizers would be possible"'(Longenecher 101). Paul does not argue with the Galatians about if they received the spirit or not(Longenecher 102).
For having faith in verse two can mean faith or faithfulness or both of them(Longencher 103).
Paul wants to "presses the point of the Galatians' experience of God's grace to help them recognize their mistake in giving credence to the gospel of the Judaizers"'(Longman 590).
Paul wants the Galatians to understand that the gospel is "not law observance to which divine activity in their midst must be attributed"'(Longman 590).
Then Paul wonders again why the Galatians are so foolish(Guthrie 93). In some why Paul is trying to remind the Galatians of their foolish behavior(93).
The next part of the verse is about how the Galatians started out with knowing the Lord, but ending it with the flesh(93)."The Galatians were "foolish" to ensnare themselves in the self-contradiction of moving back into the realm of the flesh ("works") after having been delivered through faith in Christ into the realm of the Spirit"(Longman 591).
Paul wants to teach the Galatians to observe the law so they can perfect the salvation in Christ(591). "Paul consistently insists, not through human effort of any type but by the gracious activity of God now displayed in the person and work of Christ"(591).
"Paul speaks so scathingly because of his converts' lack of spiritual discernment in not perceiving the contradiction and imminent disaster of their own situation"(Longenecher 103). In verse three Paul is talking about the Spirit not the flesh(103). "The main point of Paul's rhetorical question here, however, has to do with the incongruity of beginning one's Christian life on one basis ("with the Spirit") ans then shifting somewhere in progress to another basis ("by human effort")"(103). "Paul wants his converts to see is that the Christian life is one that starts, is maintained, and comes to culmination only through dependence on the activity of God's Spirit"(104).
Flesh is limited to the weak, humans are contrast to the spirit "more so when we catch the pointed allusion to the rite of circumcision, the sign of God's covenant "in your flesh"'(Williams 84).
"Paul could be alluding to the agitators' claim that circumcision brings to completion the religious journey that began with hearing the gospel and experiencing the Spirit"(Williams 84).
"The Spirit is central to the Galatians' self-understanding of their Christian life"(Jervis 80)."This may be one of the features of the Christian life upon which Paul and the Galatians can still agree, and so on the basis of the Galatians' experience of the Spirit Paul seeks to persuade them not to adopt the law"(Jervis 80).
"Hearing means more than noting that something has been spoken; it means understanding and responding to what is heard"(Jervis 80).
Then Paul wonders if the reason why the Galatians were being foolish was because someone made them suffered because of their faith in Christ(Guthrie 93). Guthrie reminds us that there are many places were people were suffering because of there faith in Christ (93).
Paul wants to make sure that his work there was not in vain as in pointless(93).
"To follow the direction of these people will mean that the spiritual journey begun with ans characterized by the divine Spirit will be reduced to mere human effort"(Jervis 81).In some translations suffer means experience(Williams 85).
In this verse "there is no suggestion that the Galatians Christians had ever actually suffered ans form of external persecution"(Longenecher 104).
"Paul is calling to mind for the Galatians their positive experiences with regard to the gospel and the activity of the Spirit among them"(Longman 591).
Paul is bringing up the point that if someone like the Galatians do not have the fruit of the Spirit then that person turn there back on God(Guthrie 93). Paul also brings up the point that the gifts of the spirit are also a part of miracles too(93-94).
In the last part of verse five Paul talks about how the Galatians keep putting the gift of God's grace into the law(94). Paul is trying so hard to make sure that that the Galatians understand that they do not need to work for God's grace but that it is a gift(94).
The word suffer "has two possible meanings: neutral experience, and suffering"'(Jervis 81).
Paul "hopes that they will recognize the significance of the fact that God's miraculous activity among them did not result from following the law"'(81). "God as giver of the Spirit ans source of miraculous deeds"'(Williams 85).
Verse 5 is a summery of verse 2-4.(Longenecher 105).
In the last part of verse Paul give the Galatians "rhetorical questions he has caused them to recall their previous salvation experiences ans to recognize that their salvation was a result of believing his gospel, and not by adhering to the observance of the law"'(Longman 592).
In six Paul unexpectedly brings Abraham in to the verse(Guthrie 94). This way Paul can give an example of a person that the Galatians know and show them how Abraham believed in God(94).
Paul is using Abraham to show that faith is over works(94).
"Paul makes a tremendous assumption here, i.e. that all true faith in God is a unity"(Guthrie 94). From this Paul hopes that because of Abraham's belief the Galatians will believe that God is the common element of all true faith(94).
In this verse Paul brings up Abraham and his Jewish exegetical argumentation(Longman 594). "This allows Paul to structure his poof more convincingly, using both conventional persuasive patterns and scriptural proofs to shape his reasoning"(594).
"Abraham's faith was not specifically faith in Jesus Christ, but faith in God and his promise"(Longenecher 113).
Paul makes the connection between Abraham and Christians(Williams 85).
"First, the Galatians' "hearing of faith" mirrors Abraham's believing/trusting God"(85). "God regarded Abraham's faith as "righteousness," that state necessary for divine favor and right relation with human beings; upon the Galatians God poured out the divine Spirit ans worked miracles among them"(86).
"It was essential for Paul to counter this straightforward and seemingly irrefutable argument if he was to convince the Galatians of the truth of his law-free gospel"(Jervis 83).
In this verse Paul still goes through and talks about Abraham and how we need to focus of the faith of Abraham(Guthrie 95). In this chapter Paul does not talk about faith because Paul see Abraham's faith as the Christian Faith(94).Paul is also telling the Galatians that you do not need to fellow the physical side of Abraham's faith, but the spiritual side(95). This way the Galatians that are Gentiles do not need to worry about circumcision(95).
In this verse Paul "stresses that it is a faith that replicates Abraham's faith which brings righteousness before God"'(Longman 594).
"Paul contends that what make persons children of Abraham is not circumcision but faith: as Abraham had faith, so do his true descendants"(Williams 87).
"In a subjective context here should be taken as "rely on," for faith is not the objective basis for human redemption but man's subjective response to what has been done by Christ and proclaimed by his messengers"(Longenecher 114).
When the rival evangelists said that if the Galatians where not circumcised they where not children of Abraham, but "Paul turns this around and says that those who believe are children of Abraham"'(Jervis 85).
In this verse Paul is making sure to watch what he says when his is answering the Judaizers(Guthrie 95).Paul wants to make sure that the Judaizers take scripture so that "they would have regarded as authoritative in common with all the early Christians"'(Guthrie 95).
Paul also makes sure that scripture is shown as foreseeing, because Abraham's day was a foreshadowing of the future(95). Abraham was the foreseeing of the gospel, which is one reason why Paul makes the connection between Abraham's faith and the Christian faith(96).This is like it says it verse 7.
Paul also brings up the point that the bring of the gospel to the nations is what is blessing the nations, not other nations being blessed through Israel(96).
"The Judaizers' teaching no doubt included the necessity of circumcision for Gentile converts as the means of demonstrating a relationship to Abraham"(Longman 594).
In verse 8 "Paul's answer to the Judaizers' insistence that if all nations are to be blessed in Abraham, then the Galatian Christians must be related to Abraham"'(Longenecher 115).
"The gospel proclaimed beforehand to Abraham announces the inclusion of all people in the people of God"(Williams 87).
In Paul's own language he "would say, "Abraham believed/trusted God, and he was justified by his faith"(88).
"Paul could find Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith"(Jervis 85).
In this verse Paul makes sure to show all of Abraham's promises for their situation(Guthrie 96).
Abraham is a man of faith(96). "Paul adds that all who believe as Abraham did are blessed through justification as a result of their faith"(Longman 594).
Paul's missionary experiences of God's direct, redemptive dealings with Gentiles, of course, had sensitized him to reading Scripture with Gentiles in mind"'(Longenecher 115).
"Paul found the term "blessed" congenial with the next movement of his argument wherein he sets out proofs from Scripture for the antithesis of law and curse versus faith, righteousness, and blessing"(Longencher 116). "In Paul's interpretation of the Scriptures, Abraham is the first recipient of the gospel that Paul now preaches- a gospel in which " God would justify the Gentiles by faith"(Jervis 86).
When Paul is talking about being under a curse, his is pretty much making the connection that the curse is being separated from God(Guthrie 96).
Paul also says in this verse is just reassuring how the scripture is so authoritative like he was trying to do in previous verses (97).
"Paul indicates here that all who rely on law observance to justify themselves before God are under a curse"(Longman 595).
Verse 10 also talks about how "no human being can fulfill the Law perfectly ans consistently; thus even those identified by their commitment to the Law stand, unavoidably, under the Law's own curse"'(Williams 88). The people who work under the law are cursed because they are under the law(89). "Paul removes all who adhere to the observance of the Mosaic law for righteousness before God from the "mode of existence" conditioned by faith"(Longenecher 116).
Paul brings up the justification before God(Guthrie 97).
In this verse "Paul is not denying the function of law but only a legalistic interpretation of it"'(Guthrie 97)."Paul wants to make: "that as over against the verdict of law set forth in the preceding sentence he is now speaking of the actual attitude of God."(Longenecher 118).
"Thus 'faith' becomes faith in Christ, 'righteous' means accounted righteous in God's sight, 'living' refers to the highest from of life, embracing eternal life" (Guthrie 97)."Paul's scriptural argument, then, essentially continues along the lines of the preceding verses: "righteousness" is the domain of faith, while "curse" is the stronghold of law"(Longman 595). Paul is telling the Galatians to live by faith(Williams 91).
Paul's argument is based on the assumption that Scripture has something to say to the problem at hand, on the conviction that he rightly understands what it says, and on the desire to discredit whatever his opponents may have said on the basis of these Scriptures" (Jervis 90).
Paul wants to make the connection that law is not apart of faith, but you have faith then you follow the law(Guthrie 97). Paul brings up the point that Jesus is the only person who can fully live by the law(98).Paul in this verse "is undoubtedly thinking here of the concept of the guarantee of that life in the land based on faithful obedience to the law"'(Longman 596).
"Paul, however, in the last days persons "live" not because of their response-he calls it "faith"- to what God has done, through Christ, to fulfill the promise to Abraham"(Williams 91).
Paul makes two reason why not to follow the law(Longenecher 120). The first one is that "the law was given in salvation history to uncover sin, at times even by rousing it to action, and so functions for another purpose and on a different level than faith(120). The last one is that "the law has no power to make alive"'(120).
Paul wants to make sure that the Galatians know that faith is not part of the law (Jervis 91). "Now the law has been separated from faith, and it is with faith, not the law, that righteousness comes" (91).
Covenant: 1: a usu. formal, solemn, and binding agreement: COMPACT 2 a: a written agreement or promise usu. under seal between two or more parties esp. for the performance of some action
- b: the common-law action to recover damages for breach of such a contract — cov•e•nan•tal
- 2Cov•e•nant: to promise by a covenant: PLEDGE vi : to enter into a covenant : CONTRACT
In the Old Testament the word covenant (בְּרִית) in different variations is used Gn 9:13 + 199 times; sf. בְּרִיתִי Gn 6:18 + 50 times; בְּרִיתְךָ Dt 33:9; בְּרִיחֶ֑ךָ ψ 44:18 + 11 times; בְּרִיתְכֶם
In the New Testament the Greek meaning of the word covenant διαθήκη, ης, ἡ basically settlement and can be more defined in three way: (1) as a legal technical term in settling an inheritance, as common in the Greek and Roman world last will and testament (probably HE 9.16, 17) (2) between two or more persons, a binding contract, agreement, treaty (GA 3.15) (3) predominately in the NT, as in the Old Testament and Septuagint, a declaration of the will of God concerning his self-commitment, promises, and conditions by which he entered into relationship with man covenant, agreement (LU 1.72; MK 14.24; possibly HE 9.16, 17) (Friberg, 109). Throughout the Bible the Greek meaning of the word covenant is used 33 times; AV translates as “covenant” 20 times, and “testament” 13 times. 1 a disposition, arrangement, of any sort, which one wishes to be valid, the last disposition which one makes of his earthly possessions after his death, a testament or will. 2 a compact, a covenant, a testament. 2A God’s covenant with Noah, etc.(Strong, J.)
Application for Today
As we have learned, Paul writes this letter for the Galatians to evangelize in a way of teaching them the promise. It is a little ridiculous that Paul even had to retell the Galatians about the promise made by God through Abraham. They knew that Christ was crucified and so they should have known to follow the promise instead of the law. I feel that we can all take away something from this letter that Paul had written. The ways that we follow the law instead of God's promise is by following politics, government, polity of the Church, and the laws in the Bible that are no longer in effect due to God's promise through Abraham. We tend to forget that we don't need to always follow all those other laws but ultimately the knowledge of God's promise made through Abraham. We are all children of Christ and we all deserve to be in remembrance of His promise. Let us take some time today and the following days to remember the promise that was made through Christ. Let us take in account the lesson that Paul was teaching us. Let us remember.
Guthrie, Donald.Galatians.The New Century Bible Commentary.Marshall,Morgan&Scott. London,England:1973.
Jervis, L. Ann.Galatians. New International Biblical Commentary.Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. Peabody: Massachusetts. 1999.
Longenecker, N. Richard. Galatians.Word Biblical Commentary. Word Books, Publisher. Dallas: Texas. 1990.
Longman III, Tremper, and Garland,E. David. The Expositor's Bible Commentary. Rev. ed. Zondervan. Grand Rapids: Michigan, 2008.
Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible :(electronic ed.) (G1242). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.
Williams, K. Sam. Galatians. Abingdon New Testament Commentaries. Abingdon Press. Nashville: Tennessee. 1997.