Galatians 3:21
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Is 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.

New Living Translation
Is there a conflict, then, between God's law and God's promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it.

English Standard Version
Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.

New American Standard Bible
Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.

King James Bible
Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Is the law therefore contrary to God's promises? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly be by the law.

International Standard Version
So is the Law in conflict with the promises of God? Of course not! For if a law had been given that could give us life, then certainly righteousness would come through the Law.

NET Bible
Is the law therefore opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Is therefore The Written Law contrary to The Promise of God? God forbid! For if a law had been given which was able to give life, truly righteousness would have been by The Written Law.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Does this mean, then, that the laws given to Moses contradict God's promises? That's unthinkable! If those laws could give us life, then certainly we would receive God's approval because we obeyed them.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Is the law then against the promises of God? No, in no wise, for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

King James 2000 Bible
Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

American King James Version
Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness should have been by the law.

American Standard Version
Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Was the law then against the promises of God? God forbid. For if there had been a law given which could give life, verily justice should have been by the law.

Darby Bible Translation
[Is] then the law against the promises of God? Far be the thought. For if a law had been given able to quicken, then indeed righteousness were on the principle of law;

English Revised Version
Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law.

Webster's Bible Translation
Is the law then against the promises of God? By no means: for if there had been a law given which could give life, verily righteousness would have been by the law.

Weymouth New Testament
God, however, is only one. Is the Law then opposed to the promises of God? No, indeed; for if a Law had been given which could have conferred Life, righteousness would certainly have come by the Law.

World English Bible
Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could make alive, most certainly righteousness would have been of the law.

Young's Literal Translation
the law, then, is against the promises of God? -- let it not be! for if a law was given that was able to make alive, truly by law there would have been the righteousness,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

3:19-22 If that promise was enough for salvation, wherefore then serveth the law? The Israelites, though chosen to be God's peculiar people, were sinners as well as others. The law was not intended to discover a way of justification, different from that made known by the promise, but to lead men to see their need of the promise, by showing the sinfulness of sin, and to point to Christ, through whom alone they could be pardoned and justified. The promise was given by God himself; the law was given by the ministry of angels, and the hand of a mediator, even Moses. Hence the law could not be designed to set aside the promise. A mediator, as the very term signifies, is a friend that comes between two parties, and is not to act merely with and for one of them. The great design of the law was, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to those that believe; that, being convinced of their guilt, and the insufficiency of the law to effect a righteousness for them, they might be persuaded to believe on Christ, and so obtain the benefit of the promise. And it is not possible that the holy, just, and good law of God, the standard of duty to all, should be contrary to the gospel of Christ. It tends every way to promote it.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 21. - Is the Law then against the promises of God? (ὁ οϋν νόμος κατὰ τῶν ἐπαγγελιῶν τοῦ Θεοῦ;). "Against" (κατά), as Galatians 5:23; Romans 8:31; Matthew 12:30. Since the apostle has already (vers. 15-18) disposed of the notion that the Law may have superseded or essentially qualified the promise, this word "against" can hardly intend adverse action of that kind, but rather imports simply contrariety of spirit or purpose. This objection the apostle meets by stating that the spirit and purpose of the Law were not contrary to the promises, inasmuch as the Law did not offer to interfere with the work which the promises were to do, but was designed, to be auxiliary to their function by preparing the way for its discharge. God forbid (μὴ γένοιτο). The tone of abhorrence with which the apostle negatives the inference (see note on Galatians 2:17) is due, not so much to its mere unreasonableness, as to the almost blasphemous character which he feels to attach to the notion. To think that one unquestionable revelation of the faithful, unchangeable God can be contrary in spirit or purpose to another equally unquestionable revelation of his! For if there had been a Law given which could have given life (εἰ γὰρ ἐδόθη νόμος ὁ δυνάμενος ζωοποιῆσαι,); for if a Law had been given such as could make alive. The construction of the article in the phrase, νόμος ὁ δυνάμενος, is similar to that in ἔθνη τὰ μὴ ἔχοντα (Romans 2:14); μάρτυσι τοῖς προκεχειροτονημένοις (Acts 10:41). The noun is first put undetermined, a narrowing determination with the article being then added: "If [in the Law of Moses] had been given a Law such as," etc. By fastening attention upon the Law as unable "to make alive," the apostle marks its character as contrasted with the new covenant, the characteristic function of which is that of imparting a life-giving Spirit. The Law made men feel their sin, their spiritual incapacitation, "the body of death" which enthralled them (Romans 7.); but the grace which should instil into their souls the life of love which they lacked, it had not to bestow. So far only reaches the unfavourable estimate of the Law's function given here: it was not "able to make alive." Verily righteousness should have been by the Law (ὄντως α}ν ἐκ νόμου η΅ν ἡ δικαιοσύνη); in very deed then from the Law would have accrued righteousness. "In very deed then." But as the case now stands, it is a delusion to think it can, as the unbelieving Jews do, and as some of you seem minded to do. Ὄντως, as Luke 23:47; 1 Corinthians 14:25. If the Law could have quickened men with spiritual life it would have brought them justification. This is what the apostle here affirms. But why so? That in the economy of grace there is no justification without spiritual quickening, nor spiritual life without justification, we are clearly apprised by many passages of St. Paul's own writings, notably by Romans 8:1-10. The explanation, however, is probably this: in the apostle's view, the gift of the indwelling Spirit, to sanctify us and enable us for living a spiritual life, is conditioned by a state of acceptableness with God; until we have been brought into a state of grace, we are not qualified to receive this the supreme proof of Divine love. It is "because we are sons that God sends the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father" (Galatians 4:6). If, then, the Law can be supposed capable of imparting the Spirit of life, it must be supposed capable of antecedently imparting righteousness. The "inheritance" of Abraham's seed includes both, both accruing to them from faith. So far was the Law from having these gifts to bestrew, that on the one hand, Moses' ministering of the Law to the people was a ministration of condemnation (2 Corinthians 3:6-9), and on the other, it brought quickening, indeed, but not to the sinner's spirit, but to his sin (Romans 7:9). intensifying its malignity and working death (ibid., vers. 10-13). These views, so explicitly expressed by the apostle in the two nearly contemporaneous Epistles just cited, reveal to us what was in his mind when writing, the words before us, and may be properly adduced to explain them.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Is the law then against the promises of God?.... If the law was added because of transgressions, and curses for them, and if the inheritance is not of it, but by promise, were it, it would not be by promise, then, says an objector, it is against the promises: these are contrary to one another, and God, in giving the one and the other, must contradict himself: to which it is replied,

God forbid; a way of speaking the apostle uses, when he would express his abhorrence and detestation of anything, as here; for though the law and promises are distinct things, and have their separate uses, yet they are not contradictory to each other; the law has its use, and so have the promises; the promises do not set aside the law as useless on all accounts, nor does the law disannul the promises, but is subservient to them:

for if there had been a law which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law; but the law cannot give life, spiritual life to a dead sinner; God only can do this, Father, Son, and Spirit; so far is the law from giving it efficiently, that it is not so much as the means of it; it is not made use of this way; God makes use of the law to kill, but not to make alive; he makes use of the law to strike dead all a man's hopes of happiness, by the deeds of it; but it is the Gospel he uses to quicken and comfort; that is the Spirit that giveth life. The law requires as much of a dead sinner, as it did of Adam in innocence, but gives him no life, activity, and strength to perform; could it quicken him, and enable him to do all its demands perfectly, then there would be righteousness, and so justification by it, as by the promise; whence it appears that there is no contrariety in the law to the promises: the reason why there is no righteousness is, because it cannot give life, spiritual life and strength; and if so, then not eternal life; which is the free gift of God, and not the merit of men's works: this is directly contrary to a notion of the Jews, who cry up the law as a life giving law; say they (n),

"great is the law, , "for it giveth life to them that do it", in this world, and in the world to come:''

and elsewhere (o),

"the law is a tree of life to all that study in it,

, "to give unto them life" in this world, and "to give unto them life" in the world to come.''

(n) Pirke Abot, c. 6. sect. 6. (o) Zohar in Gen. fol. 70. 3. & in Num. fol. 62. 1.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

21. "Is the law (which involves a mediator) against the promises of God (which are without a mediator, and rest on God alone and immediately)? God forbid."

life—The law, as an externally prescribed rule, can never internally impart spiritual life to men naturally dead in sin, and change the disposition. If the law had been a law capable of giving life, "verily (in very reality, and not in the mere fancy of legalists) righteousness would have been by the law (for where life is, there righteousness, its condition, must also be)." But the law does not pretend to give life, and therefore not righteousness; so there is no opposition between the law and the promise. Righteousness can only come through the promise to Abraham, and through its fulfilment in the Gospel of grace.

Galatians 3:21 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Purpose of the Law
20Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. 21Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.…
Cross References
Luke 20:16
He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others." When the people heard this, they said, "God forbid!"

2 Corinthians 3:7
Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was,

Galatians 2:17
"But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn't that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!

Galatians 2:21
I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

Galatians 6:14
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Hebrews 7:18
The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless

Hebrews 7:19
(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
Treasury of Scripture

Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness should have been by the law.

the law.

Matthew 5:17-20 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am …

Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yes, we establish …

Romans 7:7-13 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. No, I had not …

God forbid.

Galatians 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also …

Romans 3:4,6 God forbid: yes, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is …

for.

Galatians 2:19,21 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live to God…

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified …

righteousness.

Romans 3:21,22 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being …

Romans 9:31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, has not …

Romans 10:3-6 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to …

Philippians 3:6-9 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness …

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved …

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