ICC New Testament Commentary
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?III. REFUTATORY PORTION OF THE LETTER
THE DOCTRINE THAT MEN, BOTH JEWS AND GENTILES, BECOME ACCEPTABLE TO GOD THROUGH FAITH RATHER THAN BY WORKS OF LAW, DEFENDED BY THE REFUTATION OF THE ARGUMENTS OF THE JUDAISERS, AND CHIEFLY BY SHOWING THAT THE “HEIRS OF ABRAHAM” ARE SUCH BY FAITH, NOT BY WORKS OF LAW (CHAPS. 3, 4).
1. Appeal to the early Christian experience of the Galatians (3:1-5)
Leaving the defence of his doctrine through the assertion of his own direct divine commission, the apostle now takes up that defence by refuting the objections to it brought by his opponents, the judaisers. Vv. 1-5 begin that refutation by appealing to the early Christian experience of the Galatians, which, as both they and he well knew, was not in the sphere of law, but of faith.
Oh foolish Galatians, who bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was placarded crucified? 2This only would I learn from you, Received ye the Spirit on ground of works of law or of a hearing of faith? 3Are ye so foolish? Having begun with Spirit are ye now finishing with flesh? 4Did ye suffer so many things in vain? If it really is to be in vain. 5He therefore that supplied the Spirit richly to you and wrought miracles among you, did he do these things on ground of works of law or of a hearing of faith?
1. Ὦ ἀνόητοι Γαλάται, τίς ὑμᾶς ἐβάσκανεν, οἷς κατʼ ὀφθαλμοὺς Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς προεγράφη ἐσταυρωμένος; “Oh foolish Galatians, who bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was placarded crucified?” Returning to the situation in Galatia itself, which he had left behind in 1:9, but still having in mind what he had just said in 2:21 to the effect that the legalistic teaching of the judaisers makes the death of Christ a fact without significance, a useless tragedy, the apostle breaks forth, somewhat as in 1:6, in an expression of surprise touched with indignation that the Galatians were turning away from his gospel of Christ crucified (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:17, 1 Corinthians 1:23, 1 Corinthians 1:2:2). To this great fact, which Paul had set forth before the Galatians with the clearness of a public proclamation on a bulletin-board, and which it should, therefore, have been impossible for them ever to forget, the preaching of the judaisers tends to blind them as by malicious magic. The verb βασκαίνω (see below) is doubtless used tropically with the meaning “lead astray,” and the question, which is, of course, rhetorical, refers to the same persons who in 1:7 are spoken of as troubling them and seeking to pervert the gospel of the Christ. On the people here designated Galatians, see Introd. pp. xxi-xliv.
The addition of τῇ ἀληθείᾳ μὴ πείθεσθαι after ἐβάσκανεν by CDcKLP al. pler., is a manifest corruption under the influence of 5:7.
Ἀνόητος, a classical word from Sophocles and Herodotus down, is found in N. T., besides here and v. 3, in Luke 24:25, Romans 1:14, 1 Timothy 6:9, Titus 3:2. Properly a passive, “unthinkable,” it has in N. T., as also ordinarily in classical writers and regularly in the Lxx, the active sense, “foolish,” “lacking in the power of perception.” 1 Timothy 6:9 is not a real exception, the word properly describing a person being applied by easy metonymy to his desires. The usage of the word, both classical and biblical, suggests failure to use one’s powers of perception rather than natural stupidity, and the context, especially v. 3, clearly points to the former sense for the present passage. See Hdt. 1:87 8:24; Xen. An. 2. 1:13; Mem. 1. 3:9; Plat. Protag. 323D; Php_12D; Legg. III 687D; Proverbs 15:21, Proverbs 17:28, Sir. 42:8, 4 Mac. 5:9, 8:17, Luke 24:25, Romans 1:14, 1 Timothy 6:9, Titus 3:3.
The verb βασκαίνω, signifying in classical authors, to slander (Dem. 94:19 291:22), “to envy” (Dem. 464:24), “to bewitch” (Theocr. 5:13 6:39; Arist. Probl. 20. 34 [926 b:21]; Herodian 2. 4:11) is used in the Lxx and Apocr. (Deuteronomy 28:54, Deuteronomy 28:56, Sir. 14:6, 3) with the meaning, “to envy,” but very clearly has here, as in Aristot. and Theocr. loc. cit., the meaning “to bewitch.” For the evidence that the possibility of one person bewitching, exercising a spell upon another was matter of current belief both among Gentiles and Jews, see HDB, arts. “Magic,” esp. vol. III, p. 208a, and “Sorcery,” vol. IV, p. 605b; M. and M. Voc. s. v. See also Ltft. ad loc.; Jastrow, The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, pp. 253-293; Blau, Das altjüdische Zauberwesen, pp. 23 ff. Concerning the practice of magic arts in general, cf. φαρμακία, chap. 5:20, Acts 19:19, and Deissmann, Bible Studies, pp. 273 ff., 323 f., 352 ff. It would be over-pressing the facts to infer from Paul’s use of this word that he necessarily believed in the reality of magical powers, and still more so to assume that he supposed the state of mind of the Galatians to be the result of such arts. It is more probable that the word, while carrying a reference to magical arts, was used by him tropically, as we ourselves use the word “bewitch,” meaning “to pervert,” “to confuse the mind.”
On οἶς κατʼ ὀφθαλμούς cf. Aristoph. Ran. 625, ἵνα σοι κατʼ ὀφθαλμοὺς λέγη, and chap. 2:11: κατὰ πρόσωπον αὐτῷ ἀντέστην.
Προγράφω occurs in Greek writers in three senses: (1) “to write beforehand,” the προ- being temporal (Romans 15:4, Ephesians 3:2); (2) “to write publicly,” “to register” (Judges 1:4, but by some assigned to the previous sense); (3) “to write at the head of the list.” The third meaning does not occur in biblical writers and may be dismissed as wholly inappropriate to the context. To take it in the first sense as referring to O. T. prophecy, though consistent with current usage, is excluded by κατʼ ὀφθαλμούς; to take it in this sense and refer it to Paul’s own presentation of Christ to the Galatians is forbidden by the inappropriateness of γράφω to describe the apostle’s viva voce preaching; for if προ- be taken temporally, ἐγράφη alone remains to describe the act itself. Many commentators on this passage give to the word the sense “to paint publicly,” “to depict before, or openly.” So Th. Jowett, and Sief., the last-named citing, also, Calv. deW. Holst. Phil. Lips. Zöckl. et al. The argument for this meaning rests not upon extant instances of προγράφω in this sense, but upon the usage of the simple γράφω in the sense “to paint” and the appropriateness of the meaning “to depict publicly” to this context. But in view of the absence of vouchers for this meaning—even the instances of γράφω in the sense “to paint” are, so far at least as cited by lexicographers or commentators on this passage, much earlier than the N. T. period—and of the fact that taking προεγρ· in the meaning “to write publicly,” “to placard,” yields a meaning more suitable to ἐσταυρωμένος (see below), it is best to accept this latter meaning for this passage, and to understand the apostle as describing his preaching to the Galatians under the figure of public announcement or placarding of Jesus before them.
Ἐσταυρωμένος means “having been crucified,” and doubtless in the sense of “having been put to death on the cross”; the perfect participle expresses an existing (in this case permanent) result of the past fact of crucifixion. To express the idea “in the act of being crucified” would require a present participle, if the thought were “in the act of being affixed to the cross,” and probably if it were “hanging on the cross.” For while the verb σταυρόω may be used of the affixing to the cross (Matthew 27:35), yet it seems usually to refer to the putting to death on the cross as a whole (Acts 2:36, Acts 4:10, etc.) and the participle ἐσταυρωμένος is used in N. T. of Jesus, not as having been affixed to the cross and hanging there, but invariably of him as one who was put to death on the cross, and thenceforth, though risen from the dead, the crucified one. See Matthew 28:5, Mark 16:6, 1 Corinthians 1:23, 1 Corinthians 2:2. The tense of the participle, therefore, constitutes a strong objection to taking προγράφω in the sense of “paint before,” and in favour of the meaning “to placard, to post publicly”; a picture would doubtless present Jesus on the cross; the crucifixion as an accomplished fact would be matter for public writing, announcement, as it were, on a public bulletin.
Σταυρός (root: sta) occurs from Homer down, meaning a stake, used for fencing (Obadiah 1:14:11) or driven into the ground for a foundation (Hdt. 5:16). σταυρόω used in Thuc. 7. 25:7, meaning “to fence with stakes,” first appears in Polybius with reference to a means of inflicting death (1. 86:4), where it probably means “to crucify.” Polybius also uses ἀνασταυρόω apparently in the same sense (1. 11:5; 1. 24:6; 1. 79:4), but also with the meaning “to impale” (a dead body, 5. 54:6; 8. 23:3), which is its meaning in Hdt. 3:125; 6:30; 9:78, etc.; Thuc. 1. 110:3; Plato Gorg. 473C; Xen. An. 3. 1:17. In Esther 7:9, Esther 8:13 line 34 (Swete 16:18) it is used of the hanging of Haman upon a gallows (עַץ, ξύλον), said in 5:14 to be fifty cubits high. In 7:9 σταυρόω translates תָּלָה, “to hang,” elsewhere in this book translated with reference to the same event by κρεμάννυμι. Impalement or hanging as a method of inflicting death, or as applied to the dead body of a criminal, was practised by various ancient nations, e. g., the Assyrians (cf the Lexicons of Delitzsch and Muss-Arnolt under Zagapu and Zagipu; Schrader, Keilinschriften des A. T. 3, pp. 387 f.; Code of Hammurabi, Statute 153, in Winckler, Die Gesetze Hammurabis in Umschrift u. Uebersetzung, p. 45, or R. F. Harper, The Code of Hammurabi, p. 55); the Egyptians (cf. Genesis 40:22 Jos. Ant. 2. 73 [5:3]); the Persians (cf. Ezra 6:11); but it is not possible always to determine precisely what method is referred to. Among the Jews the bodies of certain criminals were after death hanged upon a tree or impaled (Joshua 8:29, Joshua 8:10:26, 2 Samuel 4:12), but there is no sufficient evidence that these methods were used for inflicting death, 2 Samuel 21:6-9 being too obscure to sustain this conclusion. Hanging in the modern sense, of suspension causing immediate death by strangulation, is referred to as a means of committing suicide, Hdt. 2:131; Thuc. 3:81; 2 Samuel 17:23, Tob. 3:10, Matthew 27:5, but was probably unknown in ancient times as a means of inflicting the death penalty. Crucifixion, i. e., the affixing of the body of the criminal, while still living, to an upright post (with or without a crosspiece) to which the body was nailed or otherwise fastened, death resulting from pain and hunger after hours of suffering, was not a Jewish method of punishment; though employed by Alexander Jannæus, Jos. Bell. 1:17 (4:6), it was inflicted upon Jews, as a rule, only by the Romans. With what nation or in what region this peculiarly cruel form of death penalty originated is not wholly certain. Diod. Sic. 17. 46:4, speaking of Alexander the Great before Tyre, says: ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς … τοὺς … νέους πάντας, ὄντας οὐχ ἐλάττους τῶν δισχιλίων, ἐκρέμασε. Romans of the later days of the republic and early days of the empire ascribed its origin to Punic Carthage, but perhaps without good evidence. Among the Romans crucifixion was for a time (but perhaps not originally) practised only in the case of slaves and the worst of criminals. When the use of it was gradually extended, especially in the provinces (Jos. Ant. 17. 295 [10:10]; Bell. 5. 449-51 [11:1]) to others than these, it retained the idea of special disgrace.
The word σταυρός, properly referring to the upright stake, came through its use with reference to the implement of crucifixion to designate what we now know as a cross (in N. T. the word ξύλον is still used, Acts 5:30, Acts 5:10:39, 1 Peter 2:24; cf. Galatians 3:13), and through the fact that it was on the cross that Jesus suffered death, came to be employed by metonymy for the death of Jesus, carrying with it by association the thought of the suffering and the disgrace in the eyes of men which that death involved and of the salvation which through it is achieved for men. See chap. 5:11, 6:14, 1 Corinthians 1:18, Php 3:18, Colossians 1:20.
On the cross and crucifixion in general, and the crucifixion of Jesus in particular, see Cremer, Bibl.-Theol. Wörterb. s. v.; Zöckler, Das Kreuz Christi; Fulda, Das Kreuz und die Kreuzigung; W. W. Seymour, The Cross in Tradition, History, and Art, esp. the bibliography, pp. XXI-XXX; the articles “Cross” and “Hanging” in Encyc. Bibl. and HDB, and those on “Kreuz” and “Kreuzigung” in PRE., and in Wetzer and Welte, Kirchenlexikon; Mommsen, Römisches Strafrecht, pp. 918 ff; Hitzig, art. “Crux” in Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyclopädie d. klassischen Altertumswissenschaft (with references to literature). On the archæology of the cross Zöckler refers especially to Lipsius, De Cruce, Antwerp, 1595; Zestermann, Die bildliche Darstellung des Kreuzes u. der Kreuzigung Jesu Christi historisch entwickelt, Leipzig, 1867; Degen. Das Kreuz als Strafwerkzeug u. Strafe der Alten, Aachen, 1873; the Code of Hammurabi, Statute 153 (in Winckler or Harper); Birch and Pinches, The Bronze Ornaments of the Palace Gates of Balawat, London, 1902, Plates B2. D4 and J3.
2. τοῦτο μόνον θέλω μαθεῖν ἀφʼ ὑμῶν, ἐξ ἔργων νόμου τὸ πνεῦμα ἐλάβετε ἢ ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως; “This only would I learn from you, Received ye the Spirit on ground of works of law or of a hearing of faith?” A forcible appeal to the experience of the Galatians. The implication of μόνον is that an answer to the question about to be asked would itself be a decisive argument. For μανθάνῳ in the general sense here illustrated, “to ascertain,” “to find out,” see Acts 23:27, Colossians 1:7. On ἐξ ἔργων νόμον, see detached note on Νόμος and note on 2:16. ἀκοὴ πίστεως is a hearing (of the gospel) accompanied by faith (see detached note on Πίστις), in other words, a believing-hearing, acceptance, of the gospel. τὸ πνεῦμα undoubtedly refers to the Spirit of God (see detached note on Πνεῦμα and Σάρξ, and especially III B. 1 (a) in the analysis of meanings on p. 490). The receiving of the Spirit here referred to is evidently that which marked the beginning of their Christian lives; cf. ἐναρξάμενοι v. 3 and see Romans 8:23, 2 Corinthians 1:22, 2 Corinthians 5:5. That the apostle has especially, though not necessarily exclusively, in mind the charismatic manifestations of the Spirit evidenced by some outward sign, such as speaking with tongues or prophesying, is indicated by the reference to δυνάμεις in v. 5. See also Acts 8:14-17, 10:44-47, Acts 8:11:16, Acts 8:17, 19:Acts 8:1-6, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. The two contrasted phrases ἐξ ἔργων νονμου and ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως express the leading antithesis of the whole epistle, and by this question Paul brings the issue between the two contrasted principles of religious life to the test of experience. The answer which the experience of the Galatians would supply, and which therefore did not require to be expressed, was of course ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως. The testimony of these vv. that Paul in his preaching in Galatia and doubtless elsewhere, since he more than once in this epistle implicitly claims always to have preached the same gospel (see on 1:11 and 2:2), presented his message to the Gentiles wholly divorced from any insistence upon the acceptance of O. T. teachings as such, is of capital importance, both in defining for us the content of his gospel (cf. also 1 Thessalonians 1:10) and as showing how completely he had early in his career as an apostle, and not simply when forced to it by controversy, repudiated the principle of scripture authority.
3. οὔτως ἀνόητοί ἐστε; ἐναρξάμενοι πνεύματι νῦν σαρκὶ ἐπιτελεῖσθε; “Are ye so foolish? having begun with Spirit, are ye now finishing with flesh?” The antithesis is twofold: beginning … completing; spirit … flesh. ἐναρξάμενοι πν. recalls ἐλαβ. πν., but instead of following up their assumed mental answer to his question, viz.: “we received the Spirit by a hearing of faith,” in which faith would have been the emphatic term, the apostle transfers the emphasis to πνεῦμα, which his previous question took for granted, as an element in their early Christian experience. Apparently it seems to him that the antithesis “spirit” and “flesh” is at this point a more effective one for his purpose than “faith” and “works of law.” On the meaning of the words πνεῦμα and σάρξ, see detached note, pp. 486 ff., especially the discussion of the use of these terms in antithesis, p. 494. πνεύματι doubtless refers, as does τὸ πνεῦμα above, to the Spirit of God, and σαρκί is used in a purely material sense, meaning “flesh” or “body,” as that which is circumcised. That the antithesis between πνεῦμα and σάρξ is quite different in chap. 5 is no objection to this interpretation here; for in view of the fact that the precise aim of the judaisers was to induce the Galatians to be circumcised, a reference to the flesh would be naturally taken by them as referring to this, and no other meaning would be likely to occur to them. That σαρκί has a relation to ἔργα νόμου in that circumcision falls in the category of “works of law” is, of course, obvious, but σαρκί is not, therefore, to be taken as equivalent to that phrase or as denoting the natural powers of men apart from the divine Spirit, (1) because ἔργα νόμου does not in the preceding sentence stand in antithesis with πνεῦμα, and (2) because there is nothing in the context to suggest the introduction of this meaning of σάρξ. The absence of the article with both πν. and σαρ. gives them a qualitative force, and heightens the contrast between the two possible agencies of salvation: (divine) Spirit, and (material) flesh. That πνεῦμα is to be taken in a wider sense, as including both the divine Spirit which operates and the human spirit as the sphere of operation, is possible, but improbable in view of the nearness of τὸ πνεῦμα with its express reference to the divine Spirit. πνεύματι and σαρκί are doubtless instrumental datives, which is, however, no objection to taking the latter as referring to the flesh, in the material sense, for though the flesh is, strictly speaking, passive in circumcision, that aspect of the fact is a matter of indifference for the purpose of the argument.
On ἐναρξ. and ἐπιτελ. cf. Php 1:6. ἐπιτελ. occurs elsewhere in N. T. in the active (Romans 15:28, 2 Corinthians 7:1, 2 Corinthians 7:8:6, 2 Corinthians 7:11, Php 1:6, Hebrews 8:5, Hebrews 9:6) in the sense “to accomplish,” “to complete,” and in 1 Peter 5:9 in the form ἐπιτελεῖσθαι, which is probably to be taken as a middle (see Bigg ad loc.). The Lxx use the word in active and passive, not in middle. But the existence of a middle usage in Greek writers (Plat. Php_27C; Xen. Mem. 4.8:8; Polyb. 1. 40:16; 2. 58:10; 5. 108:9 cited by Sief.) and the antithesis of ἐναρξ. a word of active force, favours taking ἐπιτελ. also as a middle form with active sense, “to finish, to complete.”
4. τοσαῦτα ἐπάθετε εἰκῇ εἴ γε καὶ εἰκῇ. “Did ye suffer so great things in vain? If it really is to be in vain.” A reference to the great experiences through which the Galatians had already passed in their life as Christians, and in effect an appeal to them not to let these experiences be of no avail. The word ἐπάθετε is, so far as our evidence enables us to decide, a neutral term, not defining whether the experiences referred to were painful or otherwise. εἴ γε καὶ εἰκῇ shows that the question whether these experiences are to be in vain is still in doubt, depending on whether the Galatians actually yield to the persuasion of the judaisers or not. Cf., as illustrating the alternation of hope and fear in the apostle’s mind, 4:11, 20, 5:10. γέ emphasises the contingency and suggests that the condition need not be fulfilled.
The verb πάσχω is in itself of neutral significance, “to experience,” εὗ πάσχειν meaning “to be well off,” “to receive benefits,” and κακῶς or κακὰ πάσχειν, “to suffer ills”; yet πάσχω has in usage so far a predilection for use in reference to ills that πάσχειν alone signifies “to suffer” (ills), and to express the idea “to experience” (good) requires as a rule the addition of εὖ or an equivalent indication in the context. There is indeed nothing in the immediate limitations of the word in Jos. Ant. 3. 312 (15:1): τὸν θεὸν ὑπομνῆσαι μέν, ὅσα παθόντες ἐξ αὐτοῦ (i. e., θεοῦ) καὶ πηλίκων εὐεργεσιῶν μεταλαβόντες ἀχάριστοι πρὸς αὐτὸν γένοιντο, to indicate that it is employed in a good sense, but it is relieved of its ambiguity by the closely following πηλίκων εὐεργεσιῶν, if not, indeed, in part by ἐξ αὐτοῦ. Since there is nothing in the context of the Galatian passage distinctly to suggest a beneficial meaning, the presumption is in favour of the more usual adverse meaning; and this would undoubtedly be the meaning conveyed to the Galatians if they had in fact been exposed to severe sufferings in connection with their acceptance of the gospel. On the other hand, if they had suffered no such things this meaning would evidently be excluded, and the word would refer to the benefits spoken of in vv. 1, 2. If we adopt the opinion that the letter was addressed to people of southern Galatia, we may find in Acts 14:22 an intimation of persecutions or other like sufferings to which the present passage might refer; but no evidence that they were of sufficient severity to merit the term τοσαῦτα. If the churches were in northern Galatia we are unable to say whether they had suffered or not. For lack of knowledge of the circumstances, therefore, we must probably forego a decision of the question whether the experiences were pleasant or painful, and for this very reason understand the term πάθετε in a neutral sense, or, more exactly, recognise that the term is for us ambiguous, though it could hardly have been so to Paul and the Galatians. This leaves the meaning of εἰκῇ also somewhat in doubt. If the τοσαῦτα are the preaching of the gospel and the gift of the Spirit, then εἰκῇ means “without effect” (as in 4:11); if the reference is to persecutions it probably means “needlessly,” “without good cause” (Colossians 2:18), the implication being that if they give up the gospel which Paul preached they will have abandoned Christ (5:2-4) and might just as well have remained as they were (note the implication of 4:11); or if the persecutions were instigated by the Jews, that they might have escaped them by accepting Judaism, with its legalism, which they are now on the point of taking on.
Τοσαῦτα in a large preponderance of cases means in the plural “so many” (see L.&S., Th.) and, with the possible exception of John 12:37, always has that meaning elsewhere in N. T. The meaning “so great” is, however, possible (see Preusch: s. v.), and in view of the fact that it is manifestly more natural for Paul to appeal to the greatness than simply to the number of the experiences of the Galatians is perhaps to be adopted here. So Wies. and Preusch.
Sief. finds in εἰ … εἰκῇ a reason for taking τοσαῦτα … εἰκῇ not as a question but an exclamation, which is, of course, possible, but not necessary because of the conditional clause; for this is, in any case, not a true protasis of a preceding apodosis, but is to be mentally attached to some such supplied clause as, “which I am justified in saying.” The dictum that εἴ γε introduces an assumption that the writer believes to be true (Vigerus, ed. Hermann, p. 831, cited by Th.), is not regarded by recent authorities as true for classical Greek (see L.&S. sub. γέ 3, Kühner-Gerth, II 1, pp. 177 f.), and certainly does not correspond to the usage of N. T. writers. Where the assumption is one that is regarded as fulfilled (Romans 5:6, 2 Corinthians 5:3, Ephesians 4:21), it is the context that conveys the implication. In Colossians 1:23 there is no such implication, and perhaps not in Ephesians 3:2. See WM. p. 561, fn. 6, and Ell. Ltft. Sief. In the present passage the conditional clause must be understood without implication as to its fulfilment, since the context, indeed the whole letter, shows that while the apostle fears that the Galatians are about to turn back and so prove themselves τοσαῦτα παθεῖν εἰκῇ, yet he hoped, and was in this very appeal seeking, to avert this disaster. See esp. 4:11, 5:7-10.
5. ὁ οὖν ἐπιχορηγῶν ὑμῖν τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ ἐνεργῶν δυνάμεις ἐν ὑμῖν ἐξ ἔργων νόμου ἢ ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως; “He therefore that supplied the Spirit richly to you, and wrought miracles among you, did he do these things on ground of works of law or of a hearing of faith?” This sentence in effect repeats the question of v. 2, and, like that, is doubtless to be understood as referring to the experiences of the Galatians in connection with and shortly after their conversion. The two participles, ἐπιχορηγῶν and ἐνεργῶν, limited by one article evidently refer to the same person, and describe related activities affecting the same persons (ὑμῖν … ἐν ὑμῖν). It is obvious, therefore, that the two parts of the phrase are to be regarded as mutually interpretative. This, in turn, implies that the apostle has in mind chiefly the charismatic manifestation of the Spirit (see detached note on Πνεῦμα and Σάρξ, I D III B. 1 (a), p. 490), which attests itself in δυνάμεις and other kindred manifestations (see 1 Corinthians 12:10, 2 Corinthians 12:12, and for the use of the word δύναμις Mark 6:2, Luke 10:13, Acts 2:22, etc.). Yet it must also be borne in mind that in the view of the apostle it was one Spirit that produced alike the outward χαρίσματα and the inward moral fruit of the Spirit (chap. 5:22, 23), and hence that the latter though not included in δυνάμεις is not necessarily excluded from the thought expressed by ἐπιχορηγῶν ὑμῖν τὸ πνεῦμα; the words ἐνεργῶν … ὑμῖν may be narrower in scope than the preceding phrase. The whole phrase ὁ οὖν … ἐν ὑμῖν is a designation of God (cf. chap. 4:6, 1 Thessalonians 4:8, 2 Corinthians 1:22, and especially Romans 5:5, where the idea of abundant supply, here expressed by ἐπιχορηγῶν, is conveyed by ἐκκέχυται). θεός is omitted and left to be supplied in thought as in 2:8 and probably in 1:15 also. δυνάμεις referring to outward deeds, ἐν ὑμῖν naturally takes the meaning “among you” (cf. on ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, 1:16, 2:2); yet in view of the dative ὑμῖν after ἐπιχορηγῶν the δυνάμεις must be supposed to have been wrought not principally by Paul but by the Galatians themselves, as 1 Corinthians 12:10, 1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Corinthians 12:29 imply was the case among the Corinthians. 2 Corinthians 12:12 indeed suggests that such things were signs of the apostle, yet probably not in the sense that he only wrought them, but that the δυνάμεις of the apostle were in some way more notable, or that they constituted a part of the evidence of his apostleship. The phrases ἐξ ἔργων νόμου and ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως are, of course, to be taken as in the similar question in v. 2.
Ἐπιχορ·, comp. of ἐπί and χορηγέω, expresses strongly the idea “to supply abundantly.” The simple verb means to defray the expense of providing a “chorus” at the public feast. In view of 2 Peter 1:5, ἐπιχορηγήσατε ἐν τῇ πίστει ὑμῶν τὴν ἀρετήν, and Php 1:19 ἐπιχορηγίας τοῦ πνεύματος, the preposition ἐπί is to be interpreted not as directive (so Ell. Beet, Sief.), but, with Ltft., as additive and hence in effect intensive, and, therefore, as still further emphasising the idea of abundance. Cf. 2 Corinthians 9:10, Colossians 2:19, 2 Peter 1:5, 2 Peter 1:11. From these participles, ἐπιχορ· and ἐνεργ·, the unexpressed verbs of the sentence are to be supplied, but they afford no clue to the tense of such verbs. To this the only guide is the fact that the apostle is still apparently speaking of the initial Christian experience of the Galatians and, in effect, repeating here the question of v. 2. This would suggest aorists here also, ἐπεχορήγησε and ἐνήργησε. The participles may be either general presents (BMT 123), in effect equivalent to nouns, “the supplier,” “the worker,” or progressive presents, and in that case participles of identical action, since they refer to the same action as the unexpressed principal verbs (BMT 120). The choice of the present tense rather than the aorist shows that the apostle has in mind an experience extended enough to be thought of as in progress, but not that it is in progress at the time of writing (Beet), or that the participle is an imperfect participle (Sief.; cf. BMT 127).
2. Argument from the faith of Abraham, refuting the contention of his opponents that only through conformity to law could men become sons of Abraham (3:6-9)
Passing abruptly, in a subordinate clause, from the early experience of the Galatians to the case of Abraham, the argument of the apostle revolves, from this point to the end of chap. 4, mainly around the subject of the blessing to Abraham and the conditions on which men may participate in it. In these verses he affirms at the outset his fundamental contention that Abraham was justified by faith, and that so also must all they be justified who would inherit the blessing promised to his seed.
6As “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him for righteousness.” 7Know, therefore, that the men of faith, these are sons of Abraham. 8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles on ground of faith, announced the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In thee shall all the nations be blessed.” 9So that the men of faith are blessed with the faithful (believing) Abraham.
6. καθὼς “Ἀβραὰμ ἐπίστευσεν τῷ θεῷ, καὶ ἐλογίσθη αὐτῷ εἰς δικαιοσύνην.” “as Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness.” The apostle assumes that to his question of v. 5 his readers will, in accordance with the historic facts, answer: ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως. To this answer he attaches a comparison between the faith of the Galatians and that of Abraham. The next two chapters, in which the argument revolves largely around Abraham and Abraham’s sons (see 3:7, 8, 14, 16, 18, 29, 4:22-31), show that this is no mere incidental illustration, but fills a vital place in his argument. The fact itself suggests, what an examination of the argument confirms, that Paul is here replying to an argument of his opponents. This argument, we may safely conjecture, was based on Gen. chaps. 12 and 17, especially 17:10-14, and most especially v. 14, and was to the effect that according to O. T. no one could participate in the blessings of God’s covenant with Abraham, and so in the messianic salvation that is inseparably associated with it, who was not circumcised. Neither the usage of δικαιοσύνη (see detached note on Δίκαιος, Δικαιοσύνη and Δικαιόω, pp. 469 ff.), nor that of λογίζεται εἰς (see below), is decisive as between the two meanings: (1) “it was attributed to him as right conduct,” i. e., “he was accounted to have acted righteously,” and (2) “it was reckoned to him as ground of acceptance.” The general context, however, dealing predominantly with righteousness in the forensic aspect, acceptance with God, decides for the latter meaning. Against the argument probably advanced by his opponents in Galatia to the effect that under the covenant with Abraham no one is acceptable to God who is not circumcised (Genesis 17:14; cf. Jub. chap. 15, esp. v. 26.), Paul points out that, according to the scripture, to Abraham himself it was his faith that was accounted as ground of acceptance.
Λογίζομαι is used in Greek writers frequently and in a variety of applications of the general meaning “to reckon, to calculate, to deem, to consider.” To express the idea “to credit or charge something to one’s account, to put it to his account,” the Greeks used λογ· τινι· (Dem. 264:16; Leviticus 7:8(18). According to Cremer, “to account a thing as being this or that, or having a certain value,” was expressed by λογ· with two accusatives (Xen. Cyr. 1. 2:11, μίαν ἄμφω τούτω τὼ ἡμέρα λογίζονται). In the Lxx λογίζομαι is the translation of חָשַׁב, “to reckon,” “to account.” In N. T. it is used with much the same variation of meanings as in cl. Gr., and the idea “to credit or charge to one” is expressed in the same way. (Romans 4:4, Romans 4:6, 2 Corinthians 5:19; cf. Proverbs 17:28). “To reckon a thing or person to be this or that,” or “to account a thing as having a certain value,” is expressed as it is in the Lxx, who translate the Heb. חָשַׁבלְ by λογ· εἰς. The examples show that this form of expression may have either of the above-named meanings; “to think (one) to be this or that,” or “to count as having the value of this or that.” Thus in 1 Samuel 1:13: ἐλογίσατο αὐτὴν Ἡλὶ εἰς μεθύουσαν, it clearly bears the former meaning; so also Romans 9:8, τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἐπαγγελίας λογίζεται εἰς σπέρμα. But in Acts 19:27: κινδυνεύει … ἱερὸν εἰς οὐθὲν λογισθῆναι, and in Romans 2:26: οὐχ ἡ ἀκροβυστία αὐτοῦ εἰς περιτομὴν λογισθήσεται, the latter is apparently the meaning. See also Genesis 15:16, Psa_105 (106) 31, Isaiah 29:17, Isaiah 32:15, Isaiah 40:17, Lamentations 4:2, Hosea 8:12, Wisd. 2:16, 3:17, 9:6, Jam 2:23. Even in this second class of cases, however, the word itself conveys no implication of a reckoning above or contrary to real value, as Cremer maintains. If this thought is conveyed it must be by the limitations of the word, not by the word itself. There being in the present passage no such limitations, the idea of estimation contrary to fact can not legitimately be discovered in the passage. Nor can it be imported into this passage from Romans 4:1-6, concerning which see in detached note on Δικαιοσύνη, p. 470.
7. Γινώσκετε ἄρα ὅτι οἱ ἐκ πίστεως, οὗτοι υἱοί εἰσιν Ἀβραάμ. “Know therefore that the men of faith, these are sons of Abraham.” πίστις is here not specifically faith in Jesus Christ, but, as the absence of the article suggests, and the context with its reference on the one hand to Abraham’s faith in God and on the other to the faith of believers in Jesus clearly indicates, faith qualitatively thought of and in a sense broad enough to include both these forms of it. Here, as in Romans 3:31ff., Paul distinctly implies the essential oneness of faith, towards whatever expression or revelation of God it is directed. The preposition ἐκ describes source, yet not source of being—they do not owe their existence to faith—but source of character and standing, existence after a certain manner. The expression οἱ ἐκ πίστεως, therefore, means “those who believe and whose standing and character are determined by that faith”; men of faith in the sense of those of whose life faith is the determinative factor. Here appears for the first time the expression “sons of Abraham,” which with its synonyme, “seed of Abraham,” is, as pointed out above, the centre of the argument in chaps. 3 and 4. ἄρα marks this statement as a logical consequence of the preceding. Abraham believed God, and was on that ground accepted by God; therefore, the sons of Abraham are men of faith. The sentence itself shows that “sons of Abraham” is not to be taken in a genealogical, but, in the broad use of the term, an ethical sense. The context indicates clearly that by it Paul means those who are heirs of the promise made to Abraham, and to be fulfilled to his seed (vv. 16, 29).
The unexpressed premise of this argument is that men become acceptable to God and heirs of the promise on the same basis on which Abraham himself was accepted. The ground of this premise in Paul’s mind was doubtless his conviction that God deals with all men on the same moral basis; in other words, that there is no respect of persons with God (chap. 2:6; cf. Romans 2:11, Romans 2:3:29, 30, Sir. 35:12). The expressed premise, derived from scripture, is that this basis was faith. Those who put forth the argument to which this was an answer would have accepted the apostle’s definition of sons (or seed) of Abraham, and would probably not have directly contradicted either the expressed or the unexpressed premise of his argument, but would practically have denied the expressed premise. They had probably reached their conclusion, that to be sons of Abraham men must be circumcised, by ignoring faith as the basis of Abraham’s justification, and appealing to the express assertion of scripture that the seed of Abraham must be circumcised, and that he who will not be circumcised shall be cut off from God’s people, having broken his covenant (Genesis 17:9-14). The apostle in turn ignores their evidence, and appeals to Genesis 15:6. In fact the whole passage, Gen. chaps. 12-17, furnishes a basis for both lines of argument. The difference between Paul and his opponent is not in that one appealed to scripture and the other rejected it, but that each selected his scripture according to the bent of his own prejudice or experience, and ignored that which was contrary to it.
Ramsay’s explanation of v. 7 as grounded in Greek customs and usages respecting adoption, and as meaning that because among the Gentiles is found the property of Abraham, viz., his faith, therefore they must be his sons, since only a son can inherit property, ignores all the evidence that Paul is here answering judaistic arguments, and is, therefore, moving in the atmosphere not of Greek but of Old Testament thought, and goes far afield to import into the passage the farfetched notion of faith as an inheritable property of Abraham. See his Com. on Gal. pp. 338 ff.
SONS OF ABRAHAM
It has been suggested above that in the employment of this phrase Paul is turning against his judaising opponents a weapon which they have first endeavoured to use against him, rather than himself introducing the term to the Galatians and founding on it an argument intended to appeal to their unprejudiced minds. It is in favour of this view that the evidence that has been left us does not indicate that it was Paul’s habit to commend Christ to the Gentiles either on O. T. grounds in general or in particular on the ground that through the acceptance of Jesus they would become members of the Jewish nation. See, e. g., the reports of his speeches in Acts, 1 Thes., esp. 1:2-10, 1 Corinthians 2:2, Php 3:2-9. There is, indeed, an approximation to this form of argument in Rom. chaps. 4 and 11. But in both these chapters the apostle is rebutting an argument put forth (or anticipated as likely to be put forth) from the side of the judaisers; chap. 4 contending that in the case of Abraham there is nothing to disprove, but on the contrary much to establish, the principle of the justification of uncircumcised Gentiles through faith, and chap. 11 maintaining that the purpose of God does not come to nought because of the rejection of Israel from its place of peculiar privilege, but finds fulfilment in the elect people, whether Jews or Gentiles. Moreover, precisely in respect to the Galatians do the testimonies of vv. 1-5 and 28, 26 of this chapter, and 5:2-4, indicate with special clearness that Paul’s preaching to them and their acceptance of Christ had been on an independently Christian basis—Christ crucified, faith in him, Christian baptism, the gift of the Spirit manifested in charismatic powers.
An examination of chaps. 3 and 4, moreover, reveals that Paul’s argument here is mainly of the nature of rebuttal. Thus the recurrent expressions, “sons of Abraham” (3:7), “blessed with faithful Abraham” (3:9), “blessing of Abraham” (3:14), “the covenant” and “the seed” (3:15-17), “Abraham’s seed” (3:29), all of which have their basis in Gen_12 and 17 (cf. Genesis 12:3, Genesis 17:2-10), and the express quotation in 3:8 of the words of Genesis 12:3, all combine to indicate that the O. T. background of the discussion is largely that furnished by Gen. chaps. 12, 17. But if we turn to these chapters it is at once clear not only that they furnish no natural basis for a direct argument to the effect that the Gentiles may participate in the blessing of the Abrahamic salvation without first becoming attached to the race of his lineal descendants, but that they furnish the premises for a strong argument for the position which Paul is here combating. Thus in Genesis 17:2-9 there is repeated mention of a covenant between God and Abraham, an everlasting covenant with Abraham and his seed throughout their generations, a covenant of blessing on God’s part and obligation on their part, which he and his seed after him are to keep throughout their generation, and it is said: “This is my covenant which ye shall keep between me and you and thy seed after thee; every male among you shall be circumcised” (v. 10) …“and it shall be a token of a covenant betwixt you and me” (v. 11). V. 12, moreover, states that this shall apply both to him that is born in the house and to him that is bought with money of any foreigner, and v. 14 declares that “the uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people—he hath broken my covenant.” In 12:3, indeed, it is stated that in Abraham all the nations of the earth shall be blessed (so Paul interprets the sentence), yet there is nothing in this to intimate that they are to receive this blessing apart from a racial relation to Abraham, and chap. 17 seems to exclude such a thought. Indeed, it requires neither perversity nor rabbinic exegesis, but only a reasonable adherence to the obvious meaning of the passage, to find in these chapters the doctrine that God’s covenant of blessing was with Abraham and his seed, that none could be included in that covenant save those who being of the blood of Abraham were sealed as his seed by circumcision, or who being adopted into the nation from without also received the seal of circumcision, and that any who refused thus to receive circumcision could have no part in the people of God or the blessing to Abraham’s seed, since they had “broken God’s covenant.” “The covenant with Abraham,” “the seed of Abraham,” “blessed with faithful Abraham” (cf. Jub. 17:18, 19:8, 9), “in Abraham (with an emphasis on ‘in’) shall all the nations of the world be blessed”—these are apparently the premises and stock phrases of the judaiser’s argument—to which was doubtless added, as we can see from Galatians 5:1 ff., the obvious inference that to enjoy these blessings one must be circumcised, as Genesis 17:1 ff. says. To the judaiser, whose arguments Paul is answering, “seed of Abraham” meant, as to the Pharisaic author of the book of Jubilees (see chap. 15, esp. v. 26), the circumcised descendant of Abraham, with whom might also be included the circumcised proselyte; and to these he limited the blessing of the covenant with Abraham, and so in effect the blessing of God.
That all this would be directly contrary to Paul’s position is also evident (cf. 5:1-6). It is scarcely less evident that in this third chapter, confronted by substantially such an argument as this, he was aiming to refute it from the same source from which it was drawn. This he does by appeal to Genesis 15:6, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness,” which though it lay between the two passages which they had used, we may be sure the judaisers had not quoted. On the basis of this passage he puts into their favourite phrases, “seed of Abraham,” “blessed with Abraham,” a different content from that which they had given to them, and finds for the blessing with which all the nations were to be blessed a different ground and condition. The substitution of “sons of Abraham” for “seed of Abraham” contributes somewhat to that end, even if the former phrase, which is not in Genesis, is not original with Paul (cf. Jub. 15:30). Affirming on the basis of Genesis 15:6 that the characteristic thing about Abraham is his faith, and taking the expression “sons of Abraham” in a sense by no means foreign to Semitic use of the term “son” as meaning those who walk in his footsteps (Romans 4:12), those who are like him (cf. sons of God in Matthew 5:45, Romans 8:14), he maintains that the men of faith are sons of Abraham. The various arguments by which the apostle endeavours to substantiate this ethical definition of sons of Abraham as against the physical definition of the judaiser, and in general to show that men obtain God’s blessing not by works of law, but by faith, are to be found in this and the following chapter.
As concerns the apostle’s method of refuting the argument of his opponents, it is clear that he does not resort to a grammatico-historical exegesis of Genesis, chap. 17. Aside from the fact that on such a basis his opponents must have won, such an argument would scarcely have appealed to his Galatian readers. Instead, while retaining the terminology of the Abrahamic narrative of Genesis, as the exigencies of the situation and the necessity of answering the arguments of his opponents compelled him to do, he makes his appeal to the assertions of Genesis 15:6 that it was faith that was accounted by God as righteousness, and to the teaching of O. T. as a whole concerning the basis of acceptance with God. Circumcision, which was the chief point of contention, he does not mention, perhaps because the argument of his opponents on this point could not be directly answered. Instead he discusses the larger and underlying question, what is the real nature of God’s demands on men and the basis of acceptance with him, contending that not by the fulfilment of legal statutes but by faith does a man become acceptable to God. How he would have dealt with one who admitting this central position should still have asked, “But is not circumcision nevertheless required by God?” these chapters do not show. That despite the explicit teaching of Gen_17, he nevertheless did maintain not only that it is faith that justifies, but that circumcision was no longer required or, indeed, permissible among Gentiles, and even went further than this and denied the authority of the O. T. statutes as such, shows that he had found some means of discovering on the basis of experience what portions of O. T. were still of value for the religious life. But what kind of experience he conceived to be necessary for this purpose, and whether that kind of experience specifically called by him revelation was requisite, is not by this passage indicated.
8. προϊδοῦσα δὲ ἡ γραφὴ ὅτι ἐκ πίστεως δικαιοῖ τὰ ἔθνη ὁ θεὸς προευηγγελίσατο τῷ Ἀβραὰμ ὅτι “Ἐνευλογηθήσονται ἐν σοὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη.” “And the scripture foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles on ground of faith, announced the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed.” This is doubtless Paul’s answer to an argument put forth by the judaisers to the effect that inasmuch as it is in Abraham that all the nations are to be blessed, the Gentiles to be blessed must be in Abraham, i. e., incorporated in his descendants by circumcision. Appealing to the fact that Abraham was justified by faith (the particle δέ connects this v. with v. 7, itself deduced from v. 6), he finds the ground and explanation of the promise that the Gentiles would be blessed in Abraham in the foreseen fact of their justification by faith after the pattern of his justification. He thus converts the very oracle which his opponents have cited (Genesis 12:3) into an announcement, in advance, of his own doctrine that God will justify the Gentiles by faith. This is obviously an interpretation after the fact. For the nature of the reasoning, see fine print below.
Ἡ γραφή (sing.), usually at least, denotes a particular passage of scripture (see Luke 4:21, 2 Timothy 3:16 and cf. note on 3:22), and there is no reason to depart from this usage here. The passage referred to is Genesis 12:3 (cf. 18:18). The participle is causal, “because the scripture foresaw.” Attributing foresight to the scripture is, of course, a figure of speech for the thought that the divine foresight is expressed in the scripture in question. Cf. Philo. Leg. alleg. III 118 (40), εἰδὼς γοῦν ὁ ἱερὸς λόγος. On ἐκ πίστεως δικαιοῖ, see detached notes on Πίστις and Δικαιόω and notes on 2:14 ff., δικαιοῖ is a present for a future (as is demanded by προϊδοῦσα) in indirect discourse. The choice of the present may be due in a measure to the feeling that what is here stated as then future is, in fact, a general principle, God’s rule of action in all time. τὰ ἔθνη is clearly “the Gentiles,” not “the nations” inclusively, since it is the former whose justification is under discussion. Had he meant to employ an inclusive phrase covering the Gentiles, he must have taken over the full phrase πάντα τὰ ἔθνη from the quotation, where it has the more inclusive sense, ἔθνη meaning “nations.” προευηγγελίσατο, found neither elsewhere in N. T. nor in the Lxx or Apocr., but in Philo, Opif. mund. 34 (9); Mutat. nom. 158 (29); Schol. Soph. Trach. 335 (cf. Th. s. v., and Sief. ad loc.), is probably to be taken here specifically in the sense “announced the gospel”; this meaning accords with the usual N. T. usage of εὑαγγέλιον and its cognates, and with the fact that what Paul here represents as fore-announced, ὅτι, etc., is that which was to him the distinctive and central message of the εὐαγγέλιον.
The quotation follows the Lxx of Genesis 12:3, but for πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαί substitutes πάντα τὰ ἔθνη of Genesis 18:18, doubtless for the purpose of bringing in the word ἔθνη, which Paul desires because of its current use in the sense of Gentiles. For a similar reason τῆς γῆς found in both passages is omitted. No violence is, however, thereby done to the meaning of the passage, since what is true of all the families (or nations) of the earth is, of course, true of the Gentiles. But in following the Lxx with the passive ἐνευλογηθήσονται the apostle has probably missed the meaning of the Hebrew, which is, “In thee shall all the families of the earth bless themselves,” i. e., shall make thee the standard of blessing, saying, “May God bless us as he blessed Abraham.” He doubtless takes ἐν in its causal, basal sense, meaning “on the basis of what he is or has done,” and interprets it as having reference to his faith. By virtue of his faith and the establishment in connection with it of the principle of justification by faith a blessing is conferred on all the Gentiles, since to them also faith is possible. Whether the apostle has specifically in mind here the fact that Abraham, when he believed and had his faith accounted as righteousness, was himself uncircumcised and, therefore, himself a “Gentile” (as in Romans 4:10, Romans 4:11) is doubtful. There is no reference to that aspect of the matter.
Paul’s discovery in the language of Genesis 12:3 of the fact that God will justify the Gentiles on ground of faith, and that, therefore, this statement is a pre-evangelic announcement of the gospel (of justification by faith) is not, of course, based on a verbal exegesis of the sentence as it stands either in Heb. or Lxx. The language itself and alone will sustain neither his view nor that which we have above supposed the judaisers to have found in it. But the effort to discover a more definite meaning than the words themselves conveyed was on both sides legitimate. The passage meant to the original author more than its words simply as words expressed. The phrase ἐν σοί, in particular, is a condensed and ambiguous expression which calls for closer definition. The judaiser doubtless found the basis of his view in a genealogical sense of ἐν, reinforced by Genesis 17:9-14. Paul may have based his interpretation in part on the context of Genesis 12:3. In its reference to Abraham’s response to the divine command to leave his father’s house and go out into another land (see Hebrews 11:8 for évidence that this act of Abraham was in Paul’s day accounted one of faith and cf. v. 9 for evidence that Paul had that phase of it in mind here) he may have found ground for interpreting ἐν σοί as meaning, “in thee, because by this exercise of faith in God thou hast given occasion to the establishment and announcement of the principle that God’s approval and blessing are upon those that believe.” If this principle is established in Abraham’s case it follows not only that the blessing that the Gentiles are to receive is divine acceptance, but that such acceptance is on ground of faith. Secondly, he may have found in the fact that the blessing was extended to all the nations evidence of the fact that it was not to be bestowed on the basis of the law, since the Gentiles were not under the law. Yet this reasoning would be precarious, since it was easy to reply that Gen_17 made it clear that the nations could partake in the Abrahamic blessing only in case they joined the seed of Abraham by circumcision. Thirdly, he may have reasoned that the oracle ought to be interpreted in view of the fact, to him well established by his own observation, that God was accepting Gentiles on the basis of faith without works of law in general or circumcision in particular. This consideration doubtless had great weight with him, and was probably the decisive one. It must be remembered, of course, that he is not so much proving by original argument that his doctrine is sustained by scripture as refuting the argument of his opponents that the scripture sustains their view.
9. ὥστε οἱ ἐκ πίστεως εὐλογοῦνται σὺν τῷ Ἀβραάμ. “So that the men of faith are blessed with the faithful (believing) Abraham.” A definite statement of what Paul wishes to prove by his previous argument. The emphasis is on οἱ ἐκ πίστεως as against οἱ περιτετμημένοι, or οἱ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου, of whom the judaisers affirmed that they only could inherit the blessings of the promise made to Abraham. That he here says “blessed with … Abraham” instead of “justified” is doubtless due to the fact that he is still using the language of his opponents. Note the similarity of this verse to v. 7 and compare notes on that v. “Blessed with Abraham” is clearly equivalent to “sons of Abraham.” By the addition of the word πιστῷ (cf. Jub. 17:18, 19:8,9) the apostle reminds his readers that the important thing about Abraham is the fact of his faith. No undue stress must be laid on the use of σύν instead of the ἐν of the quotation. It may have been his opponents’ form of expression; but it was, in any case, congenial to his own thought. It is his constant contention that they who inherit the blessing promised to Abraham must do so on the same basis on which he was blessed, viz., faith, and in that sense “with” him. A reference to the fact that all who should afterwards exercise faith were in the blessing of Abraham proleptically blessed, εὐλογοῦνται being in that case a historical present, is less probable because εὐλογ seems obviously to refer to the same fact as ἐνευλογ. of the quotation, and because to express this thought unambiguously would have required an aorist.
The adjective πιστῷ is manifestly to be taken in its active sense, as is required by ἐπίστευσεν of v. 6. See Th. s. v. 2 and esp. Ephesians 1:1. The English word “believing” would more exactly express its meaning, but would obscure the relation between this word and ἐκ πίστεως. The translation, “Those that believe are blessed with believing Abraham,” is in some respects better but does not do full justice to οἱ ἐκ πίστεως. See note on v. 7.
3. Counter-argument that those whose standing is fixed by works of law are by the logic of the legalists under a curse, the curse of the law; yet that their logic is perverse, for O. T. teaches that men are justified by faith, and from the curse of the law Christ redeemed us when he died on the cross (3:10-14)
The apostle now carries his attack directly into the camp of the enemy, contending on the basis of passages from Deut. and Lev. that those who claim on the basis of scripture that justification is by law must on the same basis admit that the actual sentence of law is one of condemnation; but maintaining that their contention is unjustified, since the scripture itself affirms that the righteous man shall live by faith, and declaring that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, in order that on the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham (not by law but by faith).
10For as many as are of works of law are under a curse. For it is written, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all the things that are written in the book of the law to do them.” 11And that no man is justified in law before God, is evident, because, “The righteous man shall live by faith”; 12and the law is not of faith; but, “He that doeth them shall live in them.”; 13Christ delivered us from the curse of the law, becoming a curse for us, because it is written, “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree”; 14that upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
10. Ὅσοι γὰρ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου εἰσὶν ὑπὸ κατάραν εἰσίν, “For as many as are of works of law are under a curse.” By this sentence the apostle introduces a new weapon for the refutation of his opponents, an argument e contrario by which he seeks to prove that instead of men being blessed by coming under law they must, according to their own premises, come under a curse. There might have been prefixed to it the words of 4:21: “Tell me, ye that desire to be under law, do ye not hear the law?” The word νόμου is, as always in the phrase ἔργα νόμου, used in its legalistic sense (see on 2:16), and ὅσοι ἐξ ἔργων νόμου are not οἱ ποιηταὶ νόμου, of whom Paul says in Romans 2:13 that they will be justified, but men whose standing and character proceed from (ἐκ) works of legalistic obedience to statutes. ὑπὸ κατάραν is a qualitative phrase, equivalent to [ἐπι]κατάρατος. While this sentence undoubtedly represents the apostle’s real conviction, in the sense that a man who has only works of law and not faith to commend him to God will actually fail of the divine approval (cf. 2:16), yet it is most important for the purposes of its interpretation to notice that this is not what it is intended to affirm, but rather that the principle of legalism (which he contends is not the basis of God’s actual judgment of men) leads logically to universal condemnation, by bringing all under the condemnation of the law. This appears clearly from the fact that the sentence by which he supports the assertion (see below) is one which does not express the apostle’s own conviction as to the basis of God’s judgment of men, but the verdict of the law. The curse of which the verse speaks is not the curse of God, but as Paul expressly calls it in v. 13, the curse of the law.
γέγραπται γὰρ ὅτι “Ἐπικατάρατος πᾶς ὃς οὐκ ἐμμένει πᾶσιν τοῖς γεγραμμένοις ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τοῦ νόμου τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτά.” “For it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all the things that are written in the book of the law to do them.” The quotation is from Deuteronomy 27:26, with variations that do not materially affect the sense, viz., the omission of ἂνθρωπος after πᾶς, and of ἐν (which, however, many Western and Syrian authorities insert) before πᾶσιν and the substitution of γεγραμμένοις ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τοῦ νόμου for λόγοις τοῦ νόμου τούτου, and of αὐτά for αὐτούς. The unexpressed premise of the argument, necessary to make this passage prove the preceding proposition, is that no one does, in fact, continue in all the things that are written in the book of the law to do them. This is not quite identical with the expressed proposition of Romans 3:9, this being a legalistic, that an ethical, affirmation; but the failure which the apostle here assumes may nevertheless be precisely in the moral requirements of the law.
It is of capital importance for the understanding of the apostle’s argument to observe that the sentence which he here quotes does not at all express his own conception of the basis of God’s judgment, but a verdict of law. This sentence, though stated negatively, implies the corresponding affirmative, viz., that he who faithfully performs all the things written in the book of the law lives thereby, and this is actually so stated as the principle of law in v. 12: “He that doeth them shall live in them.” That this is the principle of God’s action towards men, Paul expressly denies both directly and indirectly: directly in the immediately following v., as also before in 2:16; indirectly in that he declares in vv. 15-18 that the principle of faith established under Abraham was not displaced by the subsequent incoming of law, law having for its function not to justify men, but to increase transgression. It is necessary, therefore, throughout the passage, to distinguish between the verdicts of law and the judgments of God, and to recognise that the former are, for Paul, not judgments which reflect God’s attitude now or at any time or under any circumstances, but those which the legalist must, to his own undoing, recognise as those of the law interpreted as he interprets it, and which on the basis of his legalism he must impute to God. Those that are of works of law are under the curse of the law, which falls on all who do not fully satisfy its requirements. This being so, Paul argues, the assumption of the legalist that the law is the basis of the divine judgment involves the conclusion that all men are accursed, and must be false. On the harmony of this position with the apostle’s belief that the law is of God, see in detached note on Νόμος, pp. 451 ff., and comment on v. 22b below.
11. ὅτι δὲ ἐν νόμῳ οὐδεὶς δικαιοῦται παρὰ τῷ θεῷ δῆλον, “And that no one is justified in law before God is evident.” δέ introduces an additional argument for the position maintained in v. 10. νόμῳ is manifestly in the legalistic sense; on the force of ἐν, see on 2:17. παρὰ τῷ θεῷ is a most significant element of the sentence. By it the apostle makes clear that as over against the verdict of law set forth in the preceding sentence he is now speaking of the actual attitude of God. Cf. notes on v. 10.
That the clause preceding δῆλον is the subject of the proposition δῆλόν ἐστι, and the following clause the proof of it, rather than the reverse, which is grammatically possible, is proved by the fact that the following clause is a quotation from O. T., and, therefore, valuable for proof of the apostle’s assertion while not itself requiring to be proved.
ὅτι “Ὁ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεω̣ς ζήσεται,” “because, The righteous man shall live by faith.” On the use of ὅτι, see on ὅτι … δῆλον above. In the quotation from Habakkuk 2:4 the apostle finds an affirmation of his own doctrine of justification by faith. The particular sense which the words bore for Paul and which he intended them to convey to his readers is undoubtedly to be determined rather by Pauline usage in general, and by the part which the sentence plays in the apostle’s argument, than by the meaning which the original Heb. had for the prophet. By these considerations ὁ δίκαιος is shown to be a forensic rather than an ethical term, the man approved of God, rather than the morally righteous; πίστεως bears its usual active sense, required by the context, “faith.” ζήσεται, “shall live,” refers either to the obtaining of eternal life (cf. Romans 8:6, Romans 8:10, Romans 8:11, Romans 8:13) as the highest good and goal to which justification looks, or, by metonymy, to justification itself. It is justification, in any case, that is chiefly in mind. Cf. the other instances of quotation from O. T., in which the word occurs (v. 12, Romans 1:17, Romans 10:5). The terms δίκαιος and ζήσεται thus combine to express the idea of divine approval, and the sentence in effect means, “It is by faith that he who is approved of God is approved (and saved).” Cf. Romans 1:17, where the same passage is quoted and the context requires the same meaning. On the relation of this meaning to the original sense of Habakkuk 2:4, see below.
For defence of the view that ξήσεται refers to “life,” but, as always when Paul speaks of life, to physical life, see Kabisch, Eschatologie des Paulus, pp. 52 ff.
The Hebrew of Habakkuk 2:4 read: וְ֖צ֖דִּיק בּֽאֶמוּנָתֻוׄ יִחְֽיֶהֽ. The Lxx read: ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεώς μου ξήσεται. אֱמוּנָה signifies “faithfulness,” “steadfastness,” “integrity.” The prophet confronted by the apparent triumph of the wicked Babylonian nation over Israel affirms his conviction that in the end righteous Israel will for her steadfastness prosper. The use of the passage with the active sense of πίστις involves no radical perversion of its meaning, since faith in this sense might easily be conceived to be an ingredient or basis of faithfulness. Yet there is no definite evidence that Paul arrived at the active meaning by such an inferential process. It is, perhaps, quite as likely that he took the passage at what was for him the face value of the Lxx translation.
12. ὁ δὲ νόμος οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ πίστεως, “and the law is not of faith.” That is, the principles of legalism and of faith are mutually exclusive as bases of justification. It would have been formally more exact to have used ὁ νόμος and ἡ πίστις or ἐξ ἔργων νόμου and ἐκ πίστεως. But with essential clearness the apostle employs in the predicate the prepositional phrase that was the watchword of the one doctrine, though for the other he had used in the subject a nominative in preference to the grammatically harsh prepositional expression. By this assertion the apostle excludes the thought of compromise between the two principles. Faith is one thing, legalism another, and as bases of justification they can not be combined. No doubt there were those who sought to combine them, admitting that justification was by faith, but claiming that obedience to law was nevertheless requisite to salvation; as a modern Christian will affirm that religion is wholly a spiritual matter, yet feel that he is surer of salvation if he has been baptised.
ἀλλʼ “Ὁ ποιήσας αὐτὰ ξήσεται ἐν αὐτοῖς.” “but, He that doeth them shall live in them.” The ἀλλά marks the antithesis between this statement of O. T. (Leviticus 18:5), which the apostle takes as a statement of the principle of legalism, and the possibility just denied that this principle and that of faith might somehow be reconciled or reduced to one. One must mentally supply after ἀλλʼ “the law says.” Thus to the principle of legalism stated in its negative from in v. 10 and set over against the quotation from Habakkuk with its affirmation of the principle of faith, the apostle adds an assertion of the principle of legalism in its positive form, also taken like that in v. 10 from O. T. On the point of view from which the apostle thus quotes O. T. for both doctrines, see on v. 10, and more fully in fine print below.
13. Χριστὸς ἡμᾶς ἐξηγόρασεν ἐκ τῆς κατάρας τοῦ νόμου “Christ delivered us from the curse of the law.” “The curse of the law” here spoken of can consistently with the context be none other than that which is spoken of in v. 10, viz., the curse which the legalistic passages of O. T. pronounce on those who do not perfectly obey its statutes. As pointed out above on v. 10, this is not the judgment of God. To miss this fact is wholly to misunderstand Paul. But if the curse is not an expression of God’s attitude towards men, neither is the deliverance from it a judicial act in the sense of release from penalty, but a release from a false conception of God’s attitude, viz., from the belief that God actually deals with men on a legalistic basis. The work here ascribed to Christ is, therefore, of the same nature as that spoken of in Romans 3:21 ff., and there said to be accomplished by Christ in his death, viz., a revelation of the way of achieving acceptance with God, a demonstration of the divine character and attitude towards men.
The verb ἐξαγοράζω, found in late writers only from the Lxx (Daniel 2:8 only) down, is used in two senses: (1) “to buy up,” or, figuratively, “to secure” (by adroitness): Diod. Sic. 36. 2:2; and (2) “to redeem, to deliver at cost of some sort to the deliverer.” The middle occurs once in Eph. and once in Col. in the former sense in the phrase ἐξαγοράζεσθαι τὸν καιρόν. The active occurs in the same sense in Daniel 2:8. The active is found in the second sense in Galatians 4:5, ἵνα τοὺς ὑπὸ νόμου ἐξαγοράσῃ. The meaning here is evidently the same as in 4:5, “to deliver, to secure release for one,” probably with the implication conveyed in the etymological sense of the word (the simple verb ἀγοράζω means “to buy,” and is frequently used in this sense in the Lxx) that such deliverance involves cost of some kind (effort, suffering, or loss) to him who effects it. The question to whom the price is paid is irrelevant, unless demanded by the context, intruding into later usage of the word an idea left behind in its earlier development.
It requires no argument to show that in the phrase ἐκ τῆς κατάρας τοῦ νόμου the apostle has in mind some phase, aspect, or conception of the law of God, not civil law or law in an inclusive sense of the word. It has been maintained above that he refers to law legalistically understood, and to deliverance from the curse which God is falsely supposed to pronounce upon men on the basis of such a law. In support of this interpretation and against the view, that the law here spoken of is law in any other sense of the word (see detached note on Νόμος, esp. V 2a, b, c, d), or that the deliverance is the forgiveness of the individual, are the following considerations.
(a) Throughout this passage Paul is speaking of law legalistically understood, law as a body of statutes for failure to obey any of which men are under a curse. This is especially clear in vv. 10-12 (q. v.). In the phrase κατάρα τοῦ νόμου itself there is, indeed, no insuperable obstacle to taking νόμος in the abstract-historical sense (cf. Romans 2:13, and detached note on Νόμος V 2 b), and understanding by it the condemnation which God actually pronounces upon those who not simply fall short of perfect obedience to the statutes of the law, but hold down the truth in iniquity (Romans 1:13), who disobey the truth and obey iniquity (2:8), who though they may be hearers of the law are not doers of it (2:13). κατάρα would in that case represent substantially the idea expressed by ὀργή in Romans 1:10, Romans 2:8, to which it is practically equivalent. Nor is an abrupt change to law in another sense in itself impossible. It might easily occur if the change of sense were made evident, as it is in Romans 3:21 and in various other passages, or if the argument were such and the two meanings so related that the logic of the passage would be but little affected, whether the meaning be retained or changed, as in Romans 2:12, Romans 2:13. But in the present passage these conditions do not exist. The continuity and validity of the argument depend on the word in the present verse meaning the same as in the preceding verses. Indeed, there is no place in the whole chapter for a change in the meaning or reference of the word νόμος. Yet, it must also be recognised that the law of which the apostle speaks is not legalism in the abstract, but a concrete historical reality.It came four hundred and thirty years after Moses (v. 17); its fundamental principle is expressed in a definite passage of O. T. (v. 10).
(b) The tense of the verb ἐξηγόρασεν is itself an argument for taking the deliverance referred to not as an often repeated individual experience but as an epochal event. But there are other more decisive considerations. Thus (i) it is achieved by Christ on the cross; (ii) its primary effect is in relation to the Jews; for the use of the article with νόμου in v. 13, excluding a qualitative use of the noun, and the antithesis of ἡμᾶς in v. 13 to τὰ ἔθνη in v. 14, necessitate referring the former primarily to the Jews; and (iii) the purpose of the redemptive act is to achieve a certain result affecting the Gentiles as a class. These facts combine to indicate that the apostle is speaking not, e. g., of the forgiveness of the individual, his release from the penalty of his sins, but of a result once for all achieved in the death of Christ on the cross. It is, therefore, of the nature of the ἀπολύτρωσις of Romans 3:24 rather than of the λύτρωσις of 1 Peter 1:18.
But the fact that the deliverance is an epochal event confirms our judgment that it is law in a legalistic sense that is here referred to. Condemnation for failure to fulfil law in the ethical sense is not abolished by the death of Christ. Cf. chap. 5:13ff. Romans 2:1-16, Romans 8:1-4. Nor can the reference be to the law as a historic régime, the Mosaic system as such. For though Romans 10:4 might be interpreted as meaning that Christ is the end of the law in this sense, and though the apostle undoubtedly held that those who believe in Christ are not under obligation to keep the statutes of the Law of Moses as such, yet (i) release from obligation to obey statutes is not naturally spoken of as release from the curse of the law, and (ii) the idea of the abolition of statutes is foreign to this context. It remains, therefore, to take the term in its legalistic sense, yet as referring to an actual historically existent system.
Yet the release from the curse of the law can not be the abolition of legalism in the sense that the divine government before Christ having been on a legalistic basis is henceforth of a different character Against any interpretation that makes the curse of the law a divine condemnation of men on grounds of legalism, in force from Moses to Christ, it is a decisive objection that the apostle both elsewhere and in this very chapter insists that God had never so dealt with men, but that the principle of faith established before law was not set aside by it (see esp. v. 17).
Neither can we suppose that Paul, though admitting that legalism had historic existence in the O. T. period and concrete expression in O. T., denied to it all value and authority, as if, e. g., it were a work of the devil. For he elsewhere declares that the law is holy and righteous and good (Romans 7:12) and in this chap. (vv. 19f.) implies that it had its legitimate divinely appointed function. Exalting the older principle of faith above the later law, the apostle yet sees value and legitimacy in both.
The only explanation that meets these conditions is that in the historic legalism of O. T. Paul saw a real but not an adequate disclosure of the divine thought and will, one which when taken by itself and assumed to be complete gave a false notion of God’s attitude towards men.
The curse of the law is the verdict of a reality, of the law isolated from the rest of the O. T. revelation. But so isolated it expressed, according to Paul, not the truth but a fraction of it; for the law, he held, was never given full possession of the field, never set aside the previously revealed principle of faith (3:17). Its function was never that of determining the standing of men with God. The curse of the law was, therefore, an actual curse in the sense that it expressed the verdict of legalism, but not in the sense that he on whom it fell was accursed of God. It was a disclosure of the status of a man on a basis of merit estimated by actual achievement, not of God’s attitude towards him. The latter, Paul maintained, was determined by other than legalistic considerations, by his faith (v. 6), by his aspiration, his striving, the fundamental character of his life and conduct (Romans 2:6-11).
But if this is the meaning of the phrase, “the curse of the law,” and if deliverance from it was an epochal event accomplished by the death of Christ on the cross, it must have been achieved through the revelatory value of the event, by that which God through that event revealed; and this either in the sense that God thereby announced the end of that system of legalism which in the time of Moses came in to achieve a temporary purpose, or in that he thereby revealed his own attitude towards men, and so gave evidence that legalism never was the basis of his judgment of men. It is the first of these thoughts that Paul has apparently expressed in Romans 10:4, and it is not impossible here. Yet it is more consonant both with the fact that Paul speaks of deliverance from the curse of the law rather than from the law, and with what follows (see below on γενόμενος … κατάρα, etc.) to suppose that, as in Romans 3:25, Romans 3:26, Romans 3:5:8, he is speaking of a disclosure of the unchanged and unchangeable attitude of God.
If, indeed, and in so far as the law is thought of as brought to an end, it is probably in the sense that this results from the revelation of God’s character rather than by anything like a decree in terms abolishing it. This is also not improbably the thought that underlies Romans 10:4.
γενόμενος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν κατάρα, “becoming a curse for us.” κατάρα, literally “a curse,” “an execration,” “an expression or sentence of reprobation” (as in the preceding clause and v. 10), is evidently here used by metonymy, since a person can not become a curse in a literal sense. Such metonymy is common in Paul. Cf. the use of περιτομή for the circumcised, and ἀκροβυστία for Gentiles in 2:7, 9 and Romans 3:30. Cf. also 1 Corinthians 1:30, “who became wisdom to us from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption”; but esp. 2 Corinthians 5:21 “Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf (ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν), that we might become righteousness of God in him.” As there ἁμαρτία stands in a sense for ἁμάρτωλος and δικαιοσύνη for δίκαιος, so doubtless here κατάρα stands for [ἐπι]κατάρατος as the ἐπικατάρατος in the following quotation also suggests. More important is the fact, which the close connection with the phrase ἐκ τῆς κατάρας τοῦ νόμου indicates, that κατάρα here refers to a curse of the law, which, as we have seen above, is not to be understood as a curse of God. γενόμενος is probably a participle of means, the whole phrase expressing the method by which Christ redeemed us from the curse. ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν means “on our behalf.” It can not be pressed to mean “in our place” (ἀντί.) See further on 1:3, ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν. Precisely in what sense and how Christ came under the curse of the law, and how this availed to deliver us from that curse, must appear from a consideration of the quotation by which Paul supports his affirmation.
The following are conceivable meanings of the phrase γενόμενος … κατάρα, taken by itself: (1) Christ became a curse in that he was the object of divine reprobation, personally an object of divine disapproval. (2) He became the actual object of divine reprobation vicariously, enduring the penalty of others’ sins. (3) He experienced in himself God’s wrath against sinners, not as himself the object of divine wrath, but vicariously and by reason of his relation to men. (4) He was the object of human execration—cursed by men. In this case γενόμενος would be a participle not of means, but of accompanying circumstance, the phrase suggesting the cost at which Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law. How he did so would be left entirely unsaid. (5) He fell under the curse of the law, not of God or of men. The first of these five interpretations is easily excluded by its utter contrariety to Paul’s thought about God’s attitude towards Christ and the righteousness of his judgments. The second, though often affirmed, is not sustained by any unambiguous language of the apostle. The third is probably quite consistent with the apostle’s thought. As in 2 Corinthians 5:21 he says that “him who knew no sin he made to be sin for us, that we might become righteousness of God in him,” not meaning that Christ actually became sinful, but that by reason of his relation to men he experienced in himself the consequences of sin. so by this language he might mean that Jesus by reason of his sympathetic relation with men experienced in himself the curse of God upon men for their sin. But there is no expression of this thought in the context, and it is, on the whole, inharmonious with the meaning of the word κατάρα throughout the passage. The fourth is equally possible in itself, but, like all the preceding, is open to the objection that it does not, as the context suggests, make the curse that of the law. The fifth, though without support in any other passage of the apostle’s writings, is most consonant with the context, if not actually required by it.
ὅτι γέγραπται, “Επικατάρατος πᾶς ὁ κρεμάμενος ἐπὶ ξύλου,” ‘because it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” The quotation, from Deuteronomy 21:23, is introduced to support the statement that Christ became a curse, not that he hereby “delivered us from the curse of the law,” or that it was “for us.” The original passage refers to the body of a criminal which, after the man had been put to death, was hanged upon a tree. In such a case it is said, “Thou shalt surely bury him the same day; for he that is hanged is the curse of God, that thou defile not thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” Between this passage and the fact of which the apostle is speaking there seems to be only a superficial connection. On the question whether the apostle found a more real connection, see below.
Deuteronomy 21:23, which in the Lxx reads ὅτι κεκατηραμένος ὑπὸ θεοῦ πᾶς κρεμάμενος ἐπὶ ξύλου, may be supposed to furnish support to Paul`s previous statement that Christ became a curse for us in several ways: (1) γενόμενος κατάρα being understood to have any of the first three meanings suggested above, the O. T. passage may be quoted purely for its verbal resemblance to the assertion which the apostle has made; there is manifestly nothing in its real meaning to support the assertion that Christ, who died not for his own sins but as an innocent man, came in any sense under the curse of God. Its use for this purpose would be verbalism pure and simple. (2) If γενόμενος κατάρα be supposed to refer to the reprobation of men, the passage may be used to explain that reprobation, men naturally looking upon one who died the death of a criminal as actually such and under the curse of God. (3) If κατάρα refers to the curse of the law, then the quotation may be understood to define precisely how and in what sense he became a curse of the law. Inasmuch as the law affirms that whoever is hanged on a tree is accursed, and Jesus died on the cross, he falls under this verdict and the curse of the law. But inasmuch as this verdict is manifestly false and monstrous, in it the law does not so much condemn Christ as itself, and thereby, since false in one it may be so in all, it emancipates us from the fear of its curse. Or, (4), with somewhat less of literalism κατάρα may be supposed to refer to the curse of the law, the O. T. quotation, however, being cited not solely with reference to the fact of hanging on the tree, but to all that the crucifixion represents. Law and he who takes his stand on law, must say that Christ, having died on the cross, is a sinner—i. e., that under law no one could come to such a death who was not himself guilty of sin—as vividly the law says in the words of the quotation. But in that verdict of legalism it condemns itself, and in the fact that Christ the righteous died the death of the cross it is evident that the government of God is not one of legalism, but of love and of vicarious suffering, the righteous for the wicked.
Of these various interpretations the last two alone comport with the fact that it is the curse of the law of which Paul is speaking throughout the passage, and the last is preferable because more consonant with the fact that for Paul generally the cross signifies not the outward fact that Jesus died by crucifixion or on a tree, but all that the fact stood for as a revelation of God and the principles of his dealings with men. See 1 Corinthians 1:17, 1 Corinthians 1:18, 1 Corinthians 1:23. So understood, the quotation serves the same purpose as those in vv. 10, 12, viz., to show the impossible position in which the logic of legalism lands its advocates. The argument is akin, also, to that of 2:21, in that it uses the fact of the death of Christ to refute the legalist, Paul there saying that legalism makes that death needless, here that it proves Christ accursed. The omission of ὑπὸ θεοῦ is probably due, as Ltft. suggests, to a shrinking of the apostle from the suggestion that Christ was the object of God’s reprobation.
If both the latter interpretations be rejected because it seems impossible that under these words there lies so much thought not directly expressed (though this objection will hold against any interpretation that seeks to ascertain the real thought of the apostle) our choice of a substitute would probably be among the following combinations of views already separately objected to: (1) The curse of the law may be supposed to be a real curse, the death on the cross a penal expiation of it, and the O. T. passage a proof of its penal character. The serious objection to this interpretation is not that the O. T. passage is related to the fact which it is supposed to sustain in a purely verbal and external way, for in view of 3:16, 20 and 4:24 (on which, however, see the possibility that these are early scribal glosses) it can not be assumed that Paul was incapable of such a use of scripture, but that in making the curse of the law a real curse (of God) this interpretation makes the apostle directly contradict the very proposition which he is maintaining in this chapter, viz., that men are not judged by God on a basis of legalism. Or (2) we may suppose that the phrase “the curse of the law” bears the meaning required by the context, but that after the first clause of v. 13 the apostle abandons thought for words, and seeks to substantiate his assertion that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by affirming that Christ took upon him the curse of our sin, and that he sustains this statement by an O. T. passage which supports it in sound but not in sense. As in the preceding case, the real difficulty of the interpretation lies in the method of reasoning which it imputes to Paul. Having in Χριστός … νόμου affirmed our release from the curse of the law, according to this interpretation he substantiates this statement by affirming that Christ became a curse in a quite different sense of the words, and one really remote from the context. That the scripture that he quotes supports this statement only in appearance is a secondary matter. It remains to consider as a final possibility (3) the view that the apostle follows up his affirmation that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, not with proof or explanation, but with a statement intended to suggest the cost at which he achieved the deliverance of men from the curse of the law, γενόμενος … κατάρα, referring to the reprobation of Christ by men. Cf. Hebrews 12:2; see (4) on p. 172. The O. T. passage then explains why the death on the cross led men to look on him with reprobation as one accursed. To this interpretation the only serious objection is that the transition from the idea “cursed by the law” to “cursed by men” is expressed only negatively, and it would seem inadequately, by the absence of any limiting phrase after κατάρα; the omission of the ὑπὸ θεοῦ of the Lxx naturally implies the carrying forward of a reference to the law. In order of probability this view stands next after the fourth in the preceding list.
The choice between interpretations must be made, not on the ground that one does and the other does not supply unexpressed elements of thought, or that one does and the other does not take O. T. scripture in its historic sense, but on the answer to the question whether it is more consistent with the apostle’s usual methods of thinking to argue illogically, dealing in words rather than thoughts, or to express reasonably consistent thought in brief and obscure language.
14. ἵνα εἰς τὰ ἔθνη ἡ εὐλογία τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ γένηται ἐν Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ, “that upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Jesus Christ.” In this clause and the following one the apostle states the purpose not of any of the subordinate elements of v. 13, but of the whole fact, especially the principal element, ἐξηγόρασεν … τοῦ νόμου. By ἡ εὐλογία τοῦ Ἀβραάμ must be understood, in the light of vv. 8, 9, the blessing of justification by faith, which, according to Paul’s interpretation of Genesis 12:3 (cf. Genesis 28:4), was promised beforehand to the Gentiles, and which they shared with him. This blessing came to the Gentiles in Jesus Christ in that it was through him that the purpose of God to accept men by faith was revealed, and that through faith in him they enter into actual participation in the blessing.
εἰς is probably to be taken as marking its object as the destination of a movement. Cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:5. In ἐν Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ the preposition is doubtless used in its basal sense; cf. on 2:17.
Ἐν Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ is the reading of אB Syr. (psh.) Aeth., most authorities reading ἐν Χ. Ἰ. The facts stated in the textual note on 2:16 with reference to the tendency of the mss., together with the high authority of אB, leave no room for doubt that ἐν Χριστῷ̔́ Ἰησοῦ is a corruption due to assimilation of the text to the usual form. Cf. the other instances of אB and secondary authorities against the other uncials in 3:7, 10, 4:10, 5:21, 6:10.
ἵνα τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ πνεύματος λάβωμεν διὰ τῆς πίστεως. “that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ πνεύματος is a metonymic phrase meaning the promised Spirit. Cf. Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4, Acts 26:6, Hebrews 9:15 and especially Acts 2:33. See also the similar cases of ἐλπίς meaning “that which is hoped for,” chap. 5:5, Colossians 1:5. This second ἵνα-clause is probably to be taken, not as dependent on the first, but as co-ordinate with it, and the implied subject ἡμεῖς as referring to Christians as such, rather than to believing Jews, as is probably the case in v. 13; for it is difficult to see how the reception of the Spirit by the Jews could be conditioned upon the Gentiles obtaining the blessing of Abraham; and if the two clauses referred to Gentiles and Jews respectively this antithesis would probably have been indicated by an expressed ἡμεῖς in the second clause. Obviously the latter can not refer to the Gentiles only. Christ’s redemption of us from the curse of the law had then as co-ordinate ends the opening of the door of faith and justification through faith apart from works of law, to the Gentile, and the bestowment of the promised Spirit on those that have faith. The adaptation of means to end as respects this second clause seems obviously to lie in the fact that the redemption of men from the curse of the law by their enlightenment as to God’s true attitude to them carries with it the revelation of faith as the means by which men become acceptable to God, and that through such faith they receive the Spirit. Cf. v. 2; also vv. 24-26 and 4:6. These final clauses, therefore, with their double statement of the purpose of Christ’s redemptive work, confirm the conclusion already reached that the redemption from the curse of the law was an epochal event, having its significance and its redemptive power in the revelation which it conveys of the true attitude of God towards men.
Whether in speaking of the promise of the Spirit the apostle has in mind the prophecy of Joel 2:28, Ezekiel 36:27, or, being acquainted with the tradition underlying Acts 1:5, refers to a promise of Jesus can not be stated with certainty. It is possible that the second final clause is to be taken as, to this extent, epexegetic of the first that the Holy Spirit is a definition of the blessing of Abraham. In that case the apostle refers to the promise to Abraham and has learned to interpret this as having reference to the gift of the Spirit. This possibility is in a measure favoured by the use of ἐπαγγελία in vv. 16, 17 of the promise to Abraham.
4. Argument from the irrevocableness of a covenant and the priority of the covenant made with Abraham to the law, to the effect that the covenant is still in force (3:15-18)
Drawing his argument from the common knowledge of men that contracts once agreed to can not be modified (except by mutual consent), the apostle applies this thought to the covenant with Abraham, contending that the law coming centuries afterwards can not modify it.
15Brethren, I speak from the point of view of men. Though it be man’s, yet a covenant once established no one annuls or adds to. (16Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, “and to his seed.” He saith not, “And to the seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to thy seed,” which is Christ.) 17Now this I mean: A covenant previously established by God, the law, which came four hundred and thirty years afterwards, does not annul so as to make inoperative the promise. 18For if the inheritance is of law, it is no longer of promise; but to Abraham God granted it by promise.
15. Ἀδελφοί, κατὰ ἄνθρωπον λέγω. “Brethren, I speak from the point of view of men.” On the use of ἀδελφοί, see on 1:2. Its use here is probably due to the apostle’s feeling that he is now addressing the Galatians more directly than in the preceding paragraph, in which he was really speaking to the judaisers whose argument he was refuting, and to his desire to secure their friendly attention. On κατὰ ἄνθρωπον, see on 1:11. The regular meaning of the phrase after a verb is, “as men do,” the specific point of resemblance being indicated in the context. Here this general meaning naturally becomes, “I speak as men do about their affairs” (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:8), i. e., “I draw an illustration from common human practice.” A reference to human authority such as is suggested in 1 Corinthians 9:8 is improbable here, both because there is no suggestion of it in the context and because the depreciation of the value of the argument which such a reference would imply is uncalled for and without value for the apostle’s purpose.
ὅμως ἀνθρώπου κεκυρωμένην διαθήκην οὐδεὶς ἀθετεῖ ἢ ἐπιδιατάσσεται. “Though it be man’s, yet a covenant once established no one annuls or adds to.” Of the force of ὅμως two views are possible: (1) It may mark an antithesis between κατὰ ἄνθρωπον λέγω and what follows. In this case, since ἀνθρώπου, etc., is not directly adversative to κατὰ … λέγω, the second member of the antithesis must be supposed to be suggested by, rather than expressed in, the words that follow; most probably by the whole argument of vv. 15b, 17. The thought will then be, “Though I speak from the point of view of men’s affairs, yet what may be so said is not without force: a man’s ratified covenant,” etc. (So substantially Rück.. Olsh., cited by Wies.) (2) The antithesis may be between ἀνθρώπου and what follows. This involves a trajection by which ὅμως stands not in its natural place before the second member of the antithesis, but before the first. Cf. 1 Corinthians 14:7: ὅμως τὰ ἄψυχα φωνὴν διδόντα … ἐὰν διαστολὴν τοῖς φθόγγοις μὴ δῷ … where ὅμως indicates an antithesis between ἄψυχα and φωνὴν διδόντα, or more probably between φωνὴν διδόντα and ἐὰν διαστολὴν … μὴ δῷ. With this passage have been compared also Plat. Phaed. 91C (φοβεῖται μὴ ἡ ψυχὴ ὅμως καὶ θειότερον καὶ κάλλιον ὂν τοῦ σώματος προαπολλύηται ἐν ἁρμονίας εἴδει οὖσα), Thuc. 7.77:3, and Xen. Cyr. 5. 1:26 (νῦν δʼ αὖ οὕτως ἔχομεν ὡς σὺν μὲν σοὶ ὅμως καὶ ἐν τῇ πολεμίᾳ ὄντες θαρροῦμεν). Cf. WM. p. 693, Kühner-Gerth, II 2, p. 85. In this case the contrast is between the διαθήκη as man-made and its irrevocability after its ratification. The first view has the advantage of grammatical simplicity. But in view of the instances of trajection, including the only other instance of ὅμως in Paul, and of the greater logical simplicity of the second view, it is probably to be preferred. κεκυρωμένην, characterising the supposed covenant as having been executed and hence actually in force, expresses a thought which is implied in διαθήκην, but adds to the clearness of the sentence. It clearly belongs to the second element of the antithesis, with οὐδεὶς ἀθετεῖ. The validation of the covenant is evidently in the apostle’s mind not, like ἀνθρώπου, a fact in spite of which no one annuls it or adds to it, but the ground of the irrevocability, as is implied in the re-expression of the idea in the word προκεκυρωμένην in v. 17. By διαθήκη must be understood not “testament” (as Th. Cremer, Sief. Ram. Zahn, ERV.mg. Behm, Lohmeyer, et al.) nor “stipulation,” “arrangement,” in a sense broad enough to cover both will and covenant (Hauck in Th. St. u. Kr., 1862, pp. 514 ff., Segond, and Bous.), but as the usage of N. T. in general and of Paul in particular and the context here require, “covenant” in the sense of the O. T. בֵּרית (so Mey. Alf. Ell. Ltft. ERV.text, ARV. Beet). Cf. on v. 17, and for fuller statement of the evidence, see detached note on Διαθήκη, pp. 496 ff.
Ἀνθρώπου. The singular number of this noun furnishes no argument against the meaning “covenant” (a) because, as will appear below, the covenant as conceived of in Hebrew thought, though constituting a relation between two persons often proceeds from one, and (b) because the noun is here most naturally understood as qualitative as in the phrase κατὰ ἄνθρωπον. Cf. 1:1 διʼ ἀνθρώπου and other examples given there.
Κεκυρωμένην from κυρόω, cognate with κύριος (cf. the adjectival use in 1 Mac. 8:30 in the sense “established”) means “validated,” “effected,” “executed,” referring neither to the drafting of an agreement or will preceding its execution nor to a confirmation which follows the actual execution (the latter sense though occurring is infrequent; see Æsch. Pers. 521, and 4 Mac. 7:9; Plut. Orat. vit. Lys.), but to the execution itself, that without which it would not be in force at all. The prefixing of the participle to διαθήκην, therefore, simply emphasises what is implied in the word itself, pointing out that what is referred to is a διαθήκη actually in force, not simply under consideration or written out but not yet agreed to and therefore still subject to modification. Cf. Thuc. 8. 6:9: ἡ ἐκκλησία … κυρώσασα ταῦτα διελύθη. Polyb. 1. 11:1: καὶ τὸ μὲν συνέδριον οὐδʼ εἰς τέλος ἐκύρωσε τὴν γνωμήν … Boeckh, C. I. G. 1570 a. 45. τὸ ψήφισμα τὸ κυρωθέν. Genesis 23:20: καὶ ἐκυρώθη ὁ ἀγρὸς … τῷ Ἀβραὰμ εἰς κτῆσιν τάφου παρὰ τῶν υἱῶν Χέτ. (Aq. uses the same word in v. 17). Daniel 6:9 (Lxx): καὶ οὕτως ὁ βασιλεὺς Δαρεῖος ἔστησε καὶ ἐκύρωσεν. Plut. Alcib. 33:1: τὸ μὲν οὖν ψήφισμα τῆς καθόδου πρότερον ἐκεκύρωτο. See also Plut. Sol. 30:5; Peric. 32:3; Pomp. 48:3.
οὐδεὶς ἀθετεῖ ἢ ἐπιδιατάσσεται is to be taken without qualification, least of all with the qualification, “except the contractor” (so Schm., Encyc. Bib. II 1611; cf. Zahn, Bous. ad loc.). That a compact may be modified by common consent of both the parties to it is, of course, not denied, but simply assumed and ignored. But to assume that either party alone is excepted is to deprive the statement of all meaning. For evidence that this assertion itself shows that the διαθήκη ἀνθρώπου, which Paul uses, κατὰ ἄνθρωπον, to prove the unchangeableness of the διαθήκη of God is a covenant, not a will, see detached note on Διαθήκη, pp. 496 ff.
Ἀθετέω, “to render ἄθετος” ( = without place or standing, invalid), occurs from Lxx and Polybius down, signifying in respect to laws and the like “to disregard,” “to violate” (Polyb. 8. 2:5; Mark 7:9, Hebrews 10:28), or “to annul,” “to abrogate” (1 Mac. 11:36, 2 Mac. 13:25); of persons “to set at nought,” “to reject,” “to rebel against” (Deuteronomy 21:14, Isaiah 1:2). Cf. also M. and M. Voc. s. v. “To annul” is clearly the meaning here.
Ἐπιδιατάσσεται furnishes the only extant instance of this word, but διατάσσω is frequent both in Greek writers and N. T. in the sense “to arrange,” “to prescribe”; the middle occurring in Plut. in the sense “to make a will,” “to order by will.” The compound ἐπιδιατάσσω evidently signifies “to make additional prescriptions” (cf. ἐπιδιατίθημι, Dio Cass. 62:15 and ἐπιδιαθήκη, “codicil,” Jos. Ant. 17. 226 (9:4) and examples cited by Norton, A Lexicographical and Historical Study of Διαθήκη … Chicago, 1908). Whether such prescriptions are contrary to the original compact (they of course modify it or they would not be added) is beside the mark; a compact once executed can not be changed.
16. τῷ δὲ Ἀβραὰμ ἐρρέθησαν αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι “καὶ τῷ σπέρματι” αὐτοῦ· “Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, ‘and to his seed.’” For the evidence that this proposition and the next (v. 16) are parenthetical, see on τοῦτο δὲ λέγω, v. 17. The promises here spoken of are those which accompanied the covenant and which constituted it on the side of divine grace. On the relation of promise and covenant, see detached note on Διαθήκη, p. 497, and cf. Genesis 9:12ff.; but esp. Genesis 17:1-8. See also Cremer10, p. 1062. The apostle more commonly uses the singular ἐπαγγελία (see vv. 17, 18, 22, 29, Romans 4:13, Romans 4:14, Romans 4:16, Romans 4:20), but also without marked difference of thought employs the plural (see v. 21 and Romans 9:4), the basis for which is in the repeated occasions on which the promise was made to Abraham, and the various forms in which it was expressed. See Genesis 12:2ff. 13:Genesis 12:14-17, Genesis 12:15:1, Genesis 12:5, Genesis 12:18, 17:Genesis 12:2-8. On Paul’s definition of the content of the promise as interpreted in the light of subsequent events, see on κληρονομία, v. 18. From a strictly grammatical point of view τῷ σπέρματι is a dative of indirect object after ἐρρέθησαν. But it is only by a rhetorical figure that the promises are said to be uttered to the seed. In the original passage, Genesis 13:15, Genesis 13:17:7, Genesis 13:8, and in this sentence by intent the seed are included with Abraham in those to whom the promises are to be fulfilled.
οὐ λέγει “Καὶ τοῖς σπέρμασιν, ” ὡς ἐπὶ πολλῶν, ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐφʼ ἑνός “Καὶ τῷ σπέρματί σου, ” ὅς ἐστιν Χριστός. “He saith not, And to the seeds, as of many, but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” The subject of λέγει to be supplied in thought is doubtless ὁ θεός as implied in ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ (v. 17). ὡς indicates that the following expressions refer to the point of view of the speaker, ὁ θεός, so that it is equivalent to “meaning this.” Cf. Th. s. v. 3. ἐπί with the genitive in the sense “in respect to,” apparently occurs here only in N. T., but is found in classical writers. Cf. Th. s. v. A I. 1. e. If these words are from the apostle it must be supposed that for the purpose of heightening the impression of the dignity and inviolability of the covenant and suggesting the impossibility of its having already received its fulfilment before the law came in, he avails himself of an unusual use of σπέρμα in the singular as meaning, or applied to, an individual descendant, and founds on this fact an argument for referring the O. T. passage to Christ; yet probably to him not as an individual, but as the head of a spiritual race; cf. the use of Israel as meaning the race of Israel, Romans 9:6, Romans 9:31, but especially 9:28 and 1 Corinthians 12:12. This is, of course, not the meaning of the original passage referred to (Genesis 13:15, or 17:7 or 8). But neither is there any other interpretation which will satisfy the requirements both of the Gen. passages and of the context here. The latter must, therefore, decide the apostle’s meaning; cf. on v. 11. It is not probable, indeed, that the apostle derived the meaning of the promise from the use of the singular σπέρματι. He is well aware of the collective sense of the word σπέρμα in the Gen. passage (see v. 29 and Romans 4:13-18). He doubtless arrived at his thought, not by exegesis of scripture, but from an interpretation of history, and then availed himself of the singular noun to express his thought briefly. It should be observed that ὅς ἐστιν Χριστός is in any case an assertion of the apostle, for which he claims no evidence in O. T. beyond the fact that the promise refers to one person. On the possibility that the words οὐ λέγει … Χριστός are the work of an early editor of the epistles of Paul, see end of detached note on Σπέρματι and Σπέρμασιν, p. 509.
17. τοῦτο δὲ λέγω· “Now this I mean.” The function of this phrase is to take up for further argument or explanation a thought already expressed. Cf. 1 Corinthians 1:12 and similar phrases in 1 Corinthians 7:29, 1 Corinthians 10:29, 16:50. The following phrase, διαθήκην προκεκυρωμένην ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ, shows that the reversion of thought here intended is to the ὅμως ἀνθρώπου κεκυρωμένην διαθήκην of v. 15. V. 16 is, therefore, parenthetical.
διαθήκην προκεκυρωμένην ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ μετὰ τετρακόσια καὶ τριάκοντα ἔτη γεγονὼς νόμος οὐκ ἀκυροῖ, εἰς τὸ καταργῆσαι τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν. “A covenant previously established by God, the law which came four hundred and thirty years afterwards does not annul so as to make inoperative the promise.” The word διαθήκη is itself ambiguous, meaning either (a) “covenant,” “agreement,” or (b) “will,” “testament.” But the διαθήκη here referred to is manifestly that spoken of in Gen., chap. 17, and this alike in the thought of the O. T. writer, of the Lxx translators, and of Paul was essentially a covenant. Its fulfilment lay, indeed, in part in the distant future, pertaining even to generations yet unborn. In it God took the initiative, and it was primarily an expression of his grace and authority, not a bargain between equals. Yet none of these things contravene the character of a covenant, while its mutuality, its irrevocability (see v. 15), and the practical exclusion of the idea of the death of the testator, mark it as essentially a covenant and not a will. See on διαθήκη in v. 15 and detached note on Διαθήκη, p. 502. The emphatic elements of the sentence on which the argument turns are the προ- in προκεκυρωμένην, the phrase ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ, and μετά. The major premise of the argument is in κεκυρωμένην διαθήκην οὐδεὶς … ἐπιδιατάσσεται of v. 15; the minor premise is in the ὁ μετὰ … νόμος of this verse, while ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ over against the ἀνθρώπου of v. 15 heightens the force of the argument, giving it an a minori ad majus effect. If a covenant once in force can not be modified or annulled by any subsequent action, the covenant with Abraham can not be set aside by the subsequent law. If this is true of a man’s covenant, much more is it true of a covenant made by God with Abraham, since God must be more certainly true to his promises than man. Cf. Romans 3:4. The apostle is especially fond of arguments of this type. See the several illustrations in Rom., chap. 5.
The words εἰς Χριστόν after θεοῦ, found in the leading Western mss., and adopted by most Syrian authorities, are an interpretative addition, akin to and doubtless derived from v. 16.
The verb προκυρόω occurs elsewhere only in much later writers (Eus. Prœp. Evang. X 4, etc.). The προ- is temporal, and in this context means “before the law.” On the use of γίνομαι in the sense “to come,” “to appear in history,” see Mark 1:4, John 1:6, John 1:17, 1 John 2:18. The perfect tense marks the coming of the law as something of which an existing result remains, in this case evidently the law itself. BMT 154. This phase of the meaning can not well be expressed in English. Cf. BMT 82.
The number four hundred and thirty is evidently derived by the apostle from Exodus 12:40, where, though according to the Hebrew text, “the time that the children of Israel dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years,” the Vatican ms. of the Lxx, with which agrees, also the Samaritan Pentateuch, reads: ἡ δὲ κατοίκησις τῶν υἱῶν Ἰσραὴλ ἥν κατῴκησαν ἐν γἥ Αἰγύπτῳ καὶ ἐν γῆ Χανάαν ἔτη τετρακοσία τριάκοντα πέντε, but AF, perhaps also the second hand of B, omit πέντε (so Tdf.), and A adds αὐτοὶ καὶ οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν. The expression καὶ ἐν γῆ Χανάαν, for which there is no equivalent in Hebrew, evidently refers to the residence in Canaan previous to that in Egypt, so that the whole period covered is, roughly speaking, from Abraham to Moses. On the comparison between this datum and Genesis 15:13, quoted in the speech of Stephen, cf. Alf. on Gal. ad loc. For the apostle’s argument the length of the period has, of course, no significance, save that the longer the covenant had been in force, the more impressive is his statement.
That ὁ νόμος is the law promulgated by Moses, the participial phrase clearly shows; yet the presumption is that the apostle is still thinking of that law in the same light, or of the same aspect of it, as in 3:13 (q. v.); and there is the less reason to depart from that presumption because it is the supreme place which Paul’s opponents had given, in their doctrine of the basis of acceptance with God, to the legalistic element of the law that leads Paul to make the affirmation οὐκ ἀκυροῖ. The legalistic aspect is, therefore, though less in the foreground than in vv. 10, 12, 13, still present. See detached note on Νόμος, p. 457.
Ἀκυρόω, a late Greek word (1 Esd. 6:23; Dion. Hal. Antiq. 2. 72:43; Matthew 15:6, Mark 7:13, Mark 7:4.Malachi 2:1, Malachi 2:5:18, Malachi 2:7:14, Malachi 2:17:2; Plut. Dio, 48:2; Apoph. lacon. 3), signifying “to make invalid,” whether by rescinding or by overriding, or otherwise (in Plut. Cic. 49:3, apparently in a more material sense, “to destroy”), is here used in the first sense. Cf. ἀθετεῖ, v. 15; M. and M. Voc. on ἀκυρόω and ἀθέτησις; and De.BS. p. 228, quoting from papyri the phrase εἰς ἀθέτησιν καὶ ἀκύρωσιν. Paul would not have denied that in the thought and practice of men law had displaced the covenant, but that law legitimately did so (as a new law may specifically repeal previous legislation). εἰς τό with the infinitive expresses the measure of effect or conceived result of ἀκυροῖ (BMT 411). καταργέω (of rare occurrence in Greek authors, in Lxx only 2 Ezra 4:21; Ezr 4:23; Ezr 5:5; Ezr 6:8; in N. T. frequent in Paul, elsewhere only in Luke 13:7, Hebrews 2:14) means “to make ineffective, inoperative” (α-εργον). τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν signifies the same as αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι in v. 16, the singular here reflecting the substantial identity of the promises made on the several occasions, as the plural there recalls the various occasions and utterances.
18. εἰ γὰρ ἐκ νόμου ἡ κληρονομία, οὐκέτι ἐξ ἐπαγγελίας· “For if the inheritance is of law, it is no longer of promise.” As in v. 12, the apostle excludes the possibility of a compromise between the two principles, and so justifies the use of the strong terms ἀκυροῖ and καταργῆσαι. I say “annul” and “make of no account,” for if the law affects the promise at all, it annuls it. It can not be added to it; it destroys it. The previous reference to the διαθήκη and the ἐπαγγελία make it clear that ἡ κληρονομία—note the restrictive article—refers to the possession promised in the covenant (Genesis 13:15, Genesis 13:15:7, Genesis 13:17:8; cf. Romans 4:13, Romans 4:14), which was with Abraham and his seed. This promised possession, while consisting materially in the promised land, was the expression of God’s favour and blessing (cf., e. g., 2 Chronicles 6:27, Ps. Song of Solomon 7:2, 9:2, 14:3, ὅτι ἡ μέρις καὶ ἡ κληρονομία τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν Ἰσραήλ, 17:26), and the term easily becomes in the Christian vocabulary a designation of the blessing of God which they shall obtain who through faith become acceptable to God (see Acts 20:32, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Corinthians 6:10, 1 Corinthians 6:15:50, Galatians 5:21, Ephesians 5:5, Colossians 3:24), of which blessing the Spirit, as the initial gift of the new life (v. 2) is the earnest (2 Corinthians 1:22, 2 Corinthians 5:5, Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 1:14, Ephesians 1:4:30), and so the fulfilment of the promise (v. 14). Such a spiritualised conception in general doubtless underlies the apostle’s use of it here. Cf. Romans 4:14 and the suggestion of v. 14 above, that he thought of the promise to Abraham as a promise of the Spirit. But for the purposes of his argument at this point, the content of the κληρονομία is not emphasised. It was whatever the covenant promised to Abraham and to his seed. His opponents would concede that this was a spiritual, not simply a material, blessing.
Κληρονομία (κλῆρος, “a share,” νέμω, “to distribute”), found in Isocrates, Demosthenes, and other classical writers, is in their writings usually a possession obtained by inheritance, but sometimes possession without the idea of inheritance (Aristot. Nic. Eth. 7. 14:6 [1153 b32]). In the papyri it is used either of one’s estate, which is to pass to one’s heirs, or of that which one receives by inheritance: Pap. Amh. II 72:6, 8; BGU. I 19, II 3, 350:4, 5; Pap. Tebt. II 319:5, 29, et freq. It occurs very often in the Lxx, in the great majority of cases as the translation of נַחֲלָה. This Hebrew word, originally signifying “gift,” then “possession,” or “share,” often refers to the possession given to Israel in Canaan (Deuteronomy 12:9, Deuteronomy 19:14, Jdg 20:6, Isaiah 58:14, 1 Chronicles 16:16-18; cf. Genesis 17:7, Genesis 17:8, where, however, the Heb. has אֲחֻזָה and the Lxx κατάσχεσις); or to the share of a particular tribe (Josh. chap. 19); or to Israel, or the land of Israel, as the possession of God (Deuteronomy 4:20, Psa_781). Sometimes it denotes an inheritance, usually, however, not in the sense of property received by inheritance, but of property which is left by one at death, or which will by usage pass to one’s descendants (Numbers 27:7-11, 36:Numbers 27:2-4, Numbers 27:7, Numbers 27:8). Rarely, if ever, does it refer to property transmitted by will; but see Job 42:15. κληρονομία in the Lxx has the same range of meaning. See also Sir. 44:19-23, Ps. Song of Solomon 7:2, Song of Solomon 7:9:2, 14:3, Song of Solomon 7:6, 15:12, 17:26. In N. T., though always translated “inheritance” in E. V., only in Luke 12:13 does it refer strictly to property received or transmitted by inheritance. In Matthew 21:38, Mark 12:7, Luke 20:14, Acts 7:5, Hebrews 11:8 it means “property,” “possessions” in the material sense. In Acts 20:32, Ephesians 1:14, Ephesians 1:18, Ephesians 1:5:5, Colossians 3:24, Hebrews 9:15, 1 Peter 1:4, it is used figuratively of a spiritual blessing which men are to receive from God. It is in this sense of “promised possession” that it is doubtless to be taken here, consistently with the use of διαθήκη in the sense of “covenant.” Nor is there anything in the usage of κληρονομία to combat this sense of δικθήκη.
The anarthrous nouns νόμου and ἐπαγγελίας are both to be taken qualitatively: the actual things referred to are ὁ νόμος and ἡ ἐπαγγελία (see on v. 17), but are by these phrases presented not individually as the law and the promise, but qualitatively as law and promise. The legalistic aspect of the law is a shade more in thought here than in v. 17. ἐκ denotes source, specifically that on which something depends (Th. s. v. II 6), and ἐκ νόμου is substantially equivalent to ἐν νόμῳ in v. 11. οὐκέτι is to be taken not temporally but logically, as in Romans 7:17, Romans 7:20, Romans 7:11:6 (Galatians 2:20, cited as an example of this usage by Grimm, is probably not such, but suggests how the logical use might grow out of the temporal). The conditional clause, as in chap. 2:21, sets forth as a simple supposition what the apostle in fact regards as a condition contrary to fact. See BMT 243.
τῷ δὲ Ἀβραὰμ διʼ ἐπαγγελίας κεχάρισται ὁ θεός. “but to Abraham God granted it by promise.” The implied object of the verb is evidently τὴν κληρονομίαν. κεχάρισται emphasises the gracious, uncommercial, character of the grant, and the perfect tense marks the grant as one still in force, thus recalling the argument of vv. 15-17. The statement as a whole constitutes the minor premise of which the preceding sentence is the major premise. If the inheritance is by law, it is not by promise; but it is by promise; therefore it is not by law.
Χαρίζομαι is used from Homer down in the general sense “to do something pleasant or agreeable” (to another), “to do one a favour”; in N. T. with the meanings (a) “to forgive” and (b) “to grant graciously”; cf. Romans 8:32, etc.
5. Answer to the objection that the preceding argument leaves the law without a reason for being (3:19-22)
The apostle’s strong and repeated insistence on the inferiority of law to the promise, and its inability to justify, naturally raises the question, weighty for one who was not prepared to deny to the law all divine authority, What, then, is the law for? This Paul answers by ascribing to it the function of producing transgressions, denying to it power to give life, and making it simply temporary and preparatory to the gospel.
19What then is the significance of the law? For the sake of the transgressions it was added, to continue until the seed should come to whom the promise still in force was made, being enacted through the agency of angels in the hand of a mediator. 20But the mediator is not of one; but God is one. 21Is the law, then, contrary to the promises of God? By no means. For if there had been given a law that could give life, righteousness would indeed be by law. 22But the scripture shut up all things under sin that, on ground of faith in Jesus Christ, the promise might be given to those who believe.
19. τί οὖν ὁ νόμος; “What then is the significance of the law?” A question obviously raised by the argument advanced in vv. 15-18, which seemed to leave the law without function. ὁ νόμος is, of course, the same law there spoken of; see on v. 17 and on v. 13.
There is no perfectly decisive consideration to enable us to choose between the translations “why is” and “what is,” “what signifies.” Paul frequently uses τί adverbially (Romans 3:7, Romans 3:14:10, 1 Corinthians 4:7, Galatians 5:11, etc.), yet never elsewhere in the phrase τί οὖν. On the other hand, while τί οὖν elsewhere signifies “what then,” not “why then” (Romans 3:1, Romans 3:9, Romans 3:4:1, Romans 3:6:1, Romans 3:15, etc.), yet when the thought “what signifies” is to be expressed, the copula is usually inserted, not left to be supplied. See 1 Corinthians 3:5 τί οὖν ἐστιν Ἀπολλώσ; τί δέ ἐστιν Παῦλος; John 6:9: ταῦτα δὲ τί ἐστιν; but cf. other examples of a similar sense, without copula in Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 336. The difference of meaning is not great; the question, “Why the law?” is included in the more general question “What signifies the law, how is it with the law?” and this, as the context shows, is in any case the most prominent element of the thought in the apostle’s mind. οὖν connects this question with what precedes, signifying “in view, then, of these statements.”
τῶν παραβάσεων χάριν προσετέθη, “For the sake of the transgressions it was added.” προσετέθη marks the law as supplementary, and hence subordinate to the covenant. The statement is not in contradiction with vv. 15ff., because the law in the apostle’s thought forms no part of the covenant, is a thing distinct from it, in no way modifying its provisions. It is the apparent contradiction that probably gave rise to the reading ἐτέθη, which occurs in this v. in D*FG and other Western authorities.
In itself χάριν may be either telic as in Titus 1:5, Titus 1:11, Judges 1:16, Proverbs 17:17, perhaps also Ephesians 3:1, Ephesians 3:14, or causal as in Luke 7:47, 1 John 3:12; Clem. Hom. 11:16: τῶν παραπτωμάτων χάριν ἡ τιμωρία ἕπεται (cited by Ell. and Ltft.). The context and Paul’s usual conception of the functions of the law are both in favour of the telic force. For, since it is clearly the apostle’s usual thought that where there is no law, though there may be sin, there is no transgression (παράβασις, see Romans 4:15, Romans 5:13), his choice of the word παραβάσεων here must be taken to indicate that he is speaking not of that which is antecedent but of that which is subsequent to the coming of law. The phrase is, therefore, by no means the equivalent of αμαρτιῶν χάριν, and since the distinguishing feature of παράβασις is that it is not simply the following of evil impulse, but violation of explicit law, it naturally suggests, as involved in the παραβάσεων, the recognition of the sinfulness of the deeds, which otherwise might have passed without recognition. Nor can it be justly said that this interpretation involves the supplying of the phrase, “knowledge of” (cf. Sief. “so hätte doch Paulus, um verstanden zu werden, schreiben müssen τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τῶν παραβάσεων χάριν”), but only the discovery in the expression τῶν παραβάσεων of its implicate, τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τῆς ἁμαρτίας. For the evidence that the latter was in Paul’s thought a function of the law and that he probably conceived of it as brought about through the conversion of sin into transgression, see Romans 3:20, Romans 3:4:15, Romans 3:5:13, Romans 3:14, Romans 3:20, 7:Romans 3:7-12. The article before παραβάσεων is restrictive, but not retrospective. The thought probably is, “the transgressions which will thereby be produced.”
ἄχρις ἅν ἔλθῃ τὸ σπέρμα ᾧ ἐπήγγελται, “to continue until the seed should come to whom the promise still in force was made.” τὸ σπέρμα is, doubtless, to be taken in the same sense as in v. 16b, viz., Christ, if v. 16b is from Paul (cf. p. 182); otherwise as in v. 29, those who are Christ’s. ἐπήγγελται, perfect tense, referring to a past fact and its existing result, marks the promise as being still in force. The whole clause, ἄχρις, etc., sets the limit to the period during which the law continues. Thus the covenant of promise is presented to the mind as of permanent validity, both beginning before and continuing through the period of the law and afterwards, the law on the other hand as temporary, added to the permanent covenant for a period limited in both directions. That the relation of men to God was different after the period of law was ended from what it had been under the law is implied in v. 23. But that the promise with its principle of faith was in no way abrogated or suspended in or after the period of the law is the unequivocal affirmation of vv. 15-18, and clearly implied in the quotation in v. 11 of Habakkuk 2:4, which the apostle doubtless ascribed to this period.
Ἄχρις ἄν is the reading of B33, 1912 Clem. Eus. All others apparently read ἄχρις οὗ. Both ἄχρις ἄν and ἄχρι οὗ are current forms in the first century (M. and M. Voc. s. v.), but Paul elsewhere reads ἄχρι[ς] οὗ (Romans 11:25, 1 Corinthians 11:26, 1 Corinthians 15:25). In Romans 11:25 and 1 Corinthians 15:25 mss. vary between ἄχρι and ἄχρις before οὗ and in 1 Corinthians 11:26, 1 Corinthians 15:25 a considerable group add ἄν after οὗ, yet none apparently read ἄχρις ἄν. It is improbable, therefore, that this reading is the work of the scribes.
διαταγεὶς διʼ ἀγγέλων ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτου· “being enacted through the agency of angels in the hand of a mediator.” The mediator is self-evidently Moses; the expression ἐν χειρί is probably, as Sief. suggests, intended literally; see Exodus 31:18, Exodus 32:19. Concerning the tradition that angels were concerned in the giving of the law, see Deuteronomy 33:2 (Lxx not Heb.), ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ ἄγγελοι μετʼ αὐτοῦ. Jos. Ant. 15. 136 (5:3); Test. XII Pat. Dan_6; Jub. 1:29; Hebrews 2:2, Acts 7:38, Acts 7:52 and Talmudic passages cited by Dib. Gwt. p. 27. The intent of the whole phrase is to depreciate the law as not given directly by God.
On διατάσσω, with reference to the enactment of a law, cf. Hes. Op. 276; Plato, Legg. XI 931 E. The participle is an aor. of identical action, describing one phase of the fact denoted by προσετέθη (BMT 139f.).
Μεσίτης, “mediator,” belongs to late Greek. Job 9:33: εἴθε ἧν ὁ μεσίτης ἡμῶν καὶ ἐλέγχων καὶ διακούων ἀνὰ μέσον ἀμφοτέρων. Polyb. 28. 15 (17)8: ἐβούλετο τοὺς Ῥοδίους προνύξας μεσίτας ἀποδεῖξαι. Diod. Sic. 4. 54, τοῦτον γὰρ μεσίτην γεγονότα τῶν ὁμολογιῶν. Cremer, s. v., and Riggenbach, “Der Begriff der Διαθήκη im Hebräerbrief,” in Theologische Studien Th. Zahn … dargebracht, p. 307, interpret the word in this passage and in Jos. Ant. 4. 133 (6:7)—see below—as meaning “surety,” “guarantor.” But while this meaning would give reasonable sense to the passages, there is nothing in the context to require it, and these passages can not, therefore, be regarded as vouchers for it. Philo De Somn. I 142 (22); Vita Mosis, III 163 (19): Μωυσὴς … μεσίτης καὶ διαλλάκτης … Assumpt. Mos. 1:14 (quoted by Gelasius): καὶ προεθεάσατό με (Μωυσὴν) ὁ θεὸς πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου εἷναί με τῆς διαθήκης αὐτοῦ μεσίτην. See Charles, Apoc. and Pseud., ad loc. (cf. 3:12): itaque excogitavit et invenit me, qui ab initio orbis terrarum prœparatus sum, ut sim arbiter testamenti illius; Test. XII Pat. Dan_6, μεσίτης θεοῦ καὶ ἀνθρώπου (cf. Charles on Jub. 1:29); Jos. Ant 4. 133 (6:7), ταῦτα δὲ ὀμνύντες ἔλεγον καὶ θεὸν μεσίτην ὧν ὑπισχνοῦντο. Ant. 16. 24 (2:2). Pap. Gd. Cairo, p. 30: ἐάν σοι δόξη μεσείτην ἡμεῖν δός (the passage is from the second century a. d. ἡμεῖν refers to two rival claimants for an estate between whom the μεσίτης was to be arbiter). Plut. De Is. et Osir. 46: διὸ καὶ Μίθρην Πέρσαι τὸν μεσίτην ὀνομάζουσιν. See other reff. in Th. s. v. In N. T., besides the present passage, the word occurs in Hebrews 8:6, Hebrews 8:9:15, Hebrews 8:12:24, 1 Timothy 2:5, in all of which it is a title of Jesus, though in Hebrews 8:6 there is also a suggestion of Moses as the mediator of the old covenant, meaning the law.
20. ὁ δε μεσίτης ἑνὸς οὐκ ἔστιν, ὁ δὲ θεὸς εἱς ἐστίν. “But the mediator is not of one; but God is one.” This is a part of the argument in depreciation of the law as compared with the covenant of promise, reiterating in part what has already been said in v. 19. The first clause is a general statement deduced from the very definition of a mediator. From the duality of the persons between whom the mediator acts and the fact that God is but one person, the inference intended to be drawn is that the law, being given through a mediator, came from God indirectly. That the promise came directly is not affirmed, but assumed to be in mind. To find here the thought that the law is conditional while the promise is unconditional, or a reference to the unchangeableness of God, is to go beyond the implication of the words or the context.
For the interpretation of this perplexing verse, of which. according to Fricke, Das exegetische Problem Galatians 3:20, Leipzig, 1879, about three hundred interpretations have been proposed, the following data seem determinative. 1. ὁ μεσίτης is in this clause generic, lit., “The mediator of one does not exist,” or “the mediator is not [a mediator] of one.” To make it refer directly and exclusively to a specific mediator is to make the whole sentence simply assertion, lacking even the appearance of argument, and to render the second half of the sentence superfluous. It would, indeed, come to the same thing to make ὁ μεσίτης refer to the mediator of v. 19, if the assertion of v. 20 be understood to be true of the mediator of v. 19 because true of the mediator as such. But this is unnecessarily to complicate the thought. 2. This generic statement of v. 20: ὁ δὲ μεσίτης ἑνὸς οὐκ ἔστιν, is intended to be applied to Moses, the mediator, referred to in v. 19. To introduce the conception of some other mediator, as, e. g., Christ (Jerome Chrys. et al.), or the law itself (Holsten), is to exceed the indications of the context without warrant. 3. ἑνός must be taken as masculine, and, accordingly, as personal, the plurality affirmed in ἑνὸς οὐκ ἔστιν referring to the contracting parties to a transaction effected through a mediator; no other interpretation is consistent with the use of εἶς in the clause ὁ δὲ θεὸς εἶς ἐστίν. 4. The plurality affirmed in ἑνὸς οὐκ is not a plurality of persons constituting one party to the transaction effected through a mediator, but a duality of parties: in other words, ὁ μεσίτης ἑνὸς οὐκ ἔστιν affirms not that the party for whom the mediator acts must consist of a plurality of persons, but that there must be two parties to the transaction between whom the mediator acts as go-between. However attractive the interpretation which is built upon this definition of μεσίτης as the single person acting as the representative of a group, Paul being thus made to say that since a mediator can not be the representative of one, and God is one, Moses as mediator was not the representative of God, but of the angels (Vogel in Stud. u. Krit. 1865, pp. 524-38) or of the people (B. Weiss, Die paul. Briefe im berichtigten Text, ad loc.), it must be rejected on the clear evidence of usage (see the passages above): a μεσίτης by no means uniformly acted for a plurality of persons (constituting one party), but always, however, he may be thought of as specially representing the interests of one party, stood, as both the term itself and usage show, as the middleman between two parties, the latter consisting each of one person or of more, as the case might be. 5. ὁ δὲ θεὸς εἷς ἐστίν is most naturally taken as the minor premise to ὁ δὲ μεσίτης ἑνὸς οὐκ ἔστιν. The unexpressed but self-evident conclusion from these premises applied to the concrete case referred to in v. 19 is that to the giving of the law, in which Moses was mediator, there was, besides God, a second party. This in itself serves to emphasise the statement of v. 19, that the law was given through a mediator and to intimate that the covenant, in which God acted alone, without a mediator, is in this particular different from the law and superior to it.* So in the main, Fricke, op. cit. The reasoning is not indeed characteristically Pauline; like that of v. 16b it reads more like the gloss of a later commentator than a part of the original argument; and such it quite possibly is. Yet we have no decisive proof that Paul himself could not have added such a rabbinic re-enforcement of his own argument.
Ell.’s view, which while supplying “in the promise” makes the clause ὁ δὲ θεὸς εἷς ἐστίν, thus supplemented, a minor premise, the argument then running, A mediator is not of one party, but in the promise God is one; therefore, in the promise there is no mediator, only arrives by a laboured process at the point from which it started. Rendall’s view, Expositor’s Grk. Test.: The mediator, Moses, is not of one seed, but many (= the law was not like the promise for a single chosen family, but to many families of Abraham’s children after the flesh), but God is nevertheless one (= the God of Sinai is one with the God of promise), is singularly regardless of the requirements alike of the language itself and of the context.
21. ὁ οὖν νόμος κατὰ τῶν ἐπαγγελιῶν τοῦ θεοῦ; μη γένοιτο. “Is the law, then, contrary to the promises of God? By no means.” The question is suggested by the whole argument from v. 10, esp. v. 15 on, which obviously suggests an affirmative answer. That Paul returns a negative answer signifies, however, not that he has forgotten and is now denying what he has up to this time affirmed, nor probably that he is using the word “law” in a different sense. It would, indeed, resolve the seeming contradiction and take the words in a sense not improbable in itself to suppose that he here means the law simply as a historical fact. But it is more likely that as he means here by the promises those of the covenant (vv. 16, 17, 18), so he uses law in the same sense as throughout the
passage, and that he affirms that they are not in conflict (on κατά, cf. chap. 5:16, 17, 2 Corinthians 13:8, Romans 8:31), because they have distinct functions. Notice that it is this of which the next clause speaks. Paul admits, even affirms, that the law judges a man on a basis of works of law, and the promises on a basis of faith—in this they are different the one from the other, but he contends, as against his opponents who hold that men are actually justified by law, that the law, whose sentence is always one of condemnation, was not intended to express God’s attitude towards men, is not the basis of God’s actual judgment of men, but is a revelation of a man’s legal standing only. He will presently add that it is thus a means of bringing us to Christ (v. 24). At present he is content to affirm that they are not in conflict, because they operate in different spheres. Thus one may rightly say that the courts are not in conflict with the pardoning power; for though one sentences and the other releases, each is operative in its own sphere, the one saying whether the accused is guilty, the other whether he shall be punished; or that a father who first ascertains by careful inquiry whether his child has disobeyed his commands, and pronounces him guilty, and then using this very sentence of guilty to bring him to repentance, and discovering that he is repentant assures him of forgiveness and fellowship, is in no conflict with himself.
Τοῦ θεοῦ is omitted by B d e Victorin. Ephrem. (?) Ambrst. only. Despite the intrinsic improbability of the reading τοῦ θεοῦ (the sentence is equally clear, more terse, and more in Paul’s usual style without the words), the evidence for the insertion of the words and the possibility that the omission by the few witnesses on this side is an accidental coincidence, is too strong to permit rejection of the words.
εἰ γὰρ ἐδόθη νόμος ὁ δυνάμενος ζωοποιῆσαι, ὄντως ἐκ νόμου ἂν ἦν ἡ δικαιοσύνη. “For if there had been given a law that could give life, righteousness would indeed be by law.” νόμος, without the article, is a law, and undoubtedly, as the context shows, a divine law, which the participial phrase ὁ δυνάμενος ζωοποιῆσαι further describes as “a law that could give life.” The form of the sentence marks it as a supposition contrary to fact (BMT 248). Such a sentence is often used to prove the falsity of the hypothesis from the unreality of the apodosis. Cf. chap. 1:10, 1 Corinthians 2:8, 1 John 2:19. In this case the unreality of the apodosis, righteousness by law, is for the present assumed, to be proved later, in v. 22. The fact thus established, that no law had been given that could give life, hence that this was not the purpose of the law of Moses, is adduced as proof (γάρ is argumentative) that μὴ γένοιτο is the right answer to the question just asked, i. e., that the law is not against the promises. The validity of this proof for its purpose lies in the implication, not that the two are in agreement, being of the same intent and significance, but that they are in separate realms, established for different purposes, hence not conflicting.
Ἐκ νόμου is attested by all authorities except B and Cyr., who read ἐν νόμῳ; ἧν is attested by all authorities except FG 429, 206; ἄν is read by ABC Cyr. before ἧν; by א33, 218, 1912, 436, 462 after ἧν; by 429, 206 without ἧν; by Db et c KLP al. pler. Chr. Thdrt. before ἐκ νόμου; it is omitted by D* 88, 442, 1952 al. Dam. and, together with ἧν, by FG. Alike external evidence and intrinsic and transcriptional probability point to ἐκ νόμου ἂν ἧν as the original reading. While 4:15 shows that Paul might omit ἄν, yet he more commonly inserts it, and when inserting it, places it before the verb; cf. chap. 1:10, 1 Corinthians 2:8, 1 Corinthians 11:31. Out of this reading arise in transcription that of א, etc., and that of the Syrian authorities KLP, etc., by transposition of ἄν; that of the Western authorities D*, etc., by the omission of ἄν (cf. the evidence on 4:15); that of B Cyr. by the substitution for ἐκ νόμου of the equally familiar ἐν νόμῳ; and that of FG 429, 206 by the accidental omission of ἧν, the two former from the Western reading, the two latter from the original reading. It will be observed that the insertion of ἄν in some position is attested by all non-Western authorities, and ἐκ νόμου by all authorities except B Cyr. The assumption of ἐν νόμῳ as original (WH.), necessitating the derivation of the reading of AC from this original and then the derivation of all other variants from this secondary form, involves a genealogical relationship distinctly more difficult than that above proposed, as well as the adoption of a sub-singular reading of B against all other pre-Syrian authorities.
On an attributive with the article after an indefinite substantive, see W. XX 4 (WM p. 174); Rad. p. 93; Gild.Syn. p. 283; Rob. p. 777; BMT 424. Cf. chap. 1:7, 2:20, Acts 4:12, etc.
Ζωοποιέω occurs in the Lxx in the sense, “to cause to live,” “to give life”: Nehemiah 9:6: σὺ (θεός) ζωοποιεῖς τὰ πάντα. 2 Kings 5:7; “to save alive”: Jdg 21:14, Psalm 71:20. In N. T. it means “to cause to live,” “to germinate” (of a seed): 1 Corinthians 15:36; “to bring to life” (the dead); Romans 8:11, 1 Corinthians 15:22; “to give spiritual life”: John 6:63, 2 Corinthians 3:6. In the last passage it stands in antithesis to the death sentence of the law, and thus acquires a certain forensic sense. It is probable that this is the prominent clement in the thought of the word here; that it is, in fact, the causative of ζάω as used in v. 12 (see note on ζήσεται there) and in effect means “to justify.” That there is an associated idea of the ethical life which is imparted by the Spirit of God, as in 2:20, 5:25 (cf. 5:16, 18) and Romans 8:2-9, or of the eternal life after death, as in Romans 8:10, Romans 8:11 (note esp. 11), is not improbable. Ell. and Sief. make the reference exclusively to the latter, and interpret the argument as one from effect to cause: If there were a law that could give eternal life, then justification, which is the condition precedent of such life, would be in law. This, also, is possible, but less probable than a more direct reference to justification in ζωοποιῆσαι. ἐκ νόμου (cf. textual note above), here as in v. 18 (q. v.), expresses source—righteousness would have proceeded from law, had its origin in law. It is a qualitative phrase, but that which is referred to is the Mosaic law as a legalistic system. The emphasis of ἡ δικαιοσύνη is doubtless upon the forensic element in the meaning of the word (see detached note on Δικαιοσύνη VI B 2, and cf. esp. 2:21). The article reflects the thought that there is but one way of acceptance with God, the sentence meaning not, “there would be a way of acceptance with God on a basis of legalism” (cf. 2:21), but “the way of acceptance would be,” etc.
22. ἀλλὰ συνέκλεισεν ἡ γραφὴ τὰ πάντα ὑπὸ ἁμαρτίαν “But the scripture shut up all things under sin.” ἀλλὰ marks the contrast between the unreal hypothesis of v. 21 and the actual fact as here stated, which furnishes the proof that the apodosis of v. 21 b, “righteousness would have been of law,” and hence also the protasis, “if a law had been given that could give life,” which that verse by its form implies to be contrary to fact, are actually such. That the proof is drawn from the O. T. law implies that the latter is the only law actually in question, or that if the O. T. law could not justify no law could. The scripture is probably Deuteronomy 27:26, referred to in v. 10—a passage from the law, and cited here as embodying the verdict of the law. The reference to v. 10 and the context in general give to ὑπὸ ἁμαρτίαν the meaning “under condemnation of sin,” equivalent to ὑπὸ κατάραν in v. 10. All this refers, it must be noted, not to God’s sentence against men, but to the verdict of law. Paul is still arguing that from law comes no righteousness, no justification; that for this one must come to God in faith. See the next clause.
Συνκλείω is found in Greek writers from Herodotus down in various senses, but primarily with the meaning “to shut up,” “to confine,” either inceptive, “to put in confinement,” or continuative, “to hold confined.” So also in the Lxx, Psalm 30:9 (31:8): οὐ συνέκλεισάς υε εἰς χεῖρας ἐχθροῦ. 77 (78)50; likewise in N. T., Luke 5:6, Romans 11:32.
In the usage of the N. T. writers in general and of Paul in particular the singular γραφή refers to a particular passage of the O. T. Note the expressions ἡ γραφὴ αὕτη (Acts 8:35), ἑτέρα γραφή (John 19:37) πᾶσα γραφή (2 Timothy 3:16), and the fact that elsewhere in the Pauline epistles the singular is uniformly accompanied by a quotation (chap. 3:8, 4:30, Romans 4:2, Romans 9:17, Romans 10:11, Romans 11:2). See also 1 Timothy 5:18. In 2 Timothy 3:16, πᾶσα γραφή, a specific passage is, of course, out of the question. Deuteronomy 27:26, quoted in v. 10, and Psalm 143:2, quoted in 2:16, would both be appropriate to the apostle’s purpose in this v., but the remoteness of the latter passage makes against its being the one here meant. A reference to a passage itself in the law is, moreover, more probable in view of the fact that it is the function of this law that is under discussion.
Τὰ πάντα, equivalent to τοὺς πάντας in Romans 11:32, refers to all who were under ὁ νόμος (v. 21), i. e., the Jews, since at this point the question pertains simply to the function or reason for existence of the law. On the neuter used of persons, the rhetorical effect being somewhat to obliterate the thought of individuals and to present those referred to as a solidarity, see 1 Corinthians 1:27, Colossians 1:20, Ephesians 1:10, John 17:10. ὑπὸ ἁμαρτίαν in Romans 7:14 (cf. 6:14, 15) means “under the power of sin” and in Romans 3:2 “sinful” (though some interpreters take it in the sense of “under condemnation”). But these single instances of the phrase in different specific senses are not sufficient to set aside the clear evidence of the context in favour of the meaning, “under condemnation for sin,” which is in itself equally possible.
ἵνα ἡ ἐπαγγελία ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοθῇ τοῖς πιστεύουσιν. “that, on ground of faith in Jesus Christ, the promise might be given to those who believe.” This clause expresses the purpose of the shutting up, referred to in the preceding clause: a purpose which, as the mention of Jesus Christ as the object of faith shows, is to be achieved not for each individual in the period of law as he learns the lesson that law teaches, but in the historic establishment of the new principle; and a purpose of God, as is shown by the fact that the result described is that which is achieved in the gospel, which is for Paul the gospel of God. But this, in turn, implies that the shutting up was itself an act of God, or, more exactly, that the declaration of the scripture expressed something which God desired men to learn from the experience under law. In other words, though to isolate the law and understand it as defining the way of salvation is wholly to misunderstand God’s attitude towards men, yet the law was given by God to accomplish a certain work preparatory to the giving of the gospel, viz., to demonstrate that men can not be justified on grounds of merit. Thus it is that Paul finds a way to reconcile his rejection of the legalism which he found in the law, with the divine origin of the law; instead of denying the latter, as Marcion later in effect did (Iren. Haer. 1. 27:2).
Ἡ ἐπαγγελία is manifestly, as in vv. 14, 18, the promise to Abraham, involved in the covenant, and, as in v. 14, is used by metonymy for the thing promised. See reff. there. Whether the reference is as in v. 14 specifically to the Spirit, or more generally to acceptance with God with all that this involves, is impossible to say with certainty. On ἐκ πίστεως cf. 2:16, and notes and reff. there. It here expresses the ground on which the giving (δοθῆ) takes place. Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ is, as always after πίστις, an objective genitive. See notes on διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ Ἱσησοῦ, 2:16. τοῖς πιστεύουσιν, a general present participle (BMT 123) with generic article—to believers—is the indirect object of δοθῇ. It is necessary to complete the sense, though the thought has been in effect expressed by ἐκ πίστεως. The repetition emphasises the fact that only through faith could the promise be fulfilled.
6. Characterisation of the condition under law, and, in contrast with it, the condition since faith came; then we were held in custody under law, now we are all sons of God, heirs of the promise (3:23-29)
In further confirmation of the temporariness of the law and the inferiority of the condition under it the apostle describes the latter as one of custody, and that of a child under a pedagogue. Now, however, that that period is over and the full Christian experience of faith has come, we are no longer in subjection. Ye are sons of God, and all alike, without distinction of race, status, or sex, one in Christ Jesus; but if in him, and his, then also seed of Abraham. Thus the argument returns to its starting point in v. 7.
23 But before the faith came, we were kept guarded under law, shut up for the obtaining of the faith that was to be revealed. 24 So that the law has been for us a pedagogue to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But the faith having come we are no longer under a pedagogue. 26 For ye are all sons of God, through your faith, in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptised unto Christ did put on Christ. 28 There is no Jew nor Greek, no slave nor free, no male and female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye are Christ’s, then are ye seed of Abraham, heirs according to promise.
23. πρὸ τοῦ δὲ ἐλθεῖν τὴν πίστιν ὑπὸ νόμον ἐφρουρούμεθα “But before the faith came, we were kept guarded under law.” By τὴν πίστιν is meant not faith qualitatively; the article excludes this; not generically; Paul could not speak of this as having recently come, since, as he has maintained, it was at least as old as Abraham; nor the faith in the sense “that which is believed” (cf. on 1:23); but the faith in Christ just spoken of in v. 22. That this was, in the apostle’s view, fundamentally alike in kind with the faith of Abraham is clear not chiefly from the use of the same word, but from the apostle’s definite defence of the Christian faith on the ground that the principle was established in the case of Abraham. That it was specifically different is indicated by the use of the definite article, the frequent addition of Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, and by the assertion of this verse that the faith came at the end of the reign of the law. The phrase ὑπὸ νόμον is a qualitative phrase, “under law,” but the law referred to is, of course, that spoken of in v. 19, and this in turn the same as in v. 13 (q. v.). That the subjection referred to in this phrase was not absolute, excluding the possibility or privilege of faith, or justification by it, is shown by v. 11, and the argument of vv. 15 ff. The law has a real function, but that function is not the displacement of faith. Cf. on v. 22b. That the apostle has so far modified his thought of that function since v.19 as to be speaking here in ἐφρουρούμεθα of protection against transgressions is wholly improbable, for though φρουρέω in itself may be used of a protective guarding (2 Corinthians 11:32, Php 4:7, 1 Peter 1:5, and examples in classical writers) yet the proximity of v. 19 and the participle συνκλειόμενοι compel us to understand it here of a restrictive guarding.
συνκλειόμενοι εἰς τὴν μέλλουσαν πίστιν ἀποκαλυφθῆναι. “shut up for the obtaining of the faith that was to be revealed.” On the meaning of συνκλειόμενοι, see συνέκλεισεν, v. 22. It is here a present participle of identical action, hence used in its continuative sense, “to hold in confinement,” as in Aristot. Part. Animal. II 9. 8 (654 b35): αἱ συνκλείουσαι πλευραὶ τὸ στῆθος. The sense “having been put into confinement” would demand an aor. or perfect participle, the latter of which some mss., most of them late, have. The participle μέλλουσαν, limiting πίστιν, marks the latter as future from the point of view of the verb ἐφρουρούμεθα (BMT 142); the revelation is at the time of the writing already past. εἰς may be either temporal, as in Php 1:10, Php 2:16, or telic, “in order to produce, give, or obtain” (in this case the latter), as in 1 Corinthians 5:5, Romans 3:25, Colossians 1:29, Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 1:3, 1 Peter 1:4. So Th. for this passage, interpreting it “that we might the more readily embrace the faith when its time should come.” Of similar ambiguity and interestingly parallel to this passage 1 Peter 1:5, φρουρουμένους διὰ πίστεως εἰς σωτηρίαν ἑτοίμην ἀποκαλυφθῆναι ἐν καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ (cf. vv. 3, 4), which may mean “guarded until (we obtain) a salvation,” etc., or “that we may obtain.” The temporal meaning is the simpler, finding in the phrase less that is not certainly expressed by it, but in view of the fact that εἰς with temporal force is usually followed by a term of time, and that the thought which the telic sense implies is expressed both in v. 20 above and v. 24 below, it is probably best to suppose it to be intended here also. On ἀποκαλυφθῆναι, see detached note, p. 433, and cf. esp. Romans 1:17, Romans 1:8:18, 1 Corinthians 2:10, Ephesians 3:5, 1 Peter 1:5.
24. ὥστε ὁ νόμος παιδαγωγὸς ἡμῶν γέγονεν εἰς Χριστόν, “So that the law has been for us a pedagogue to bring us to Christ.” ὁ νόμος has the same significance as in v. 23, except that it is here definitely instead of qualitatively spoken of. A παιδαγωγός was a slave employed in Greek and Roman families to have general charge of a boy in the years from about six to sixteen, watching over his outward behaviour and attending him whenever he went from home, as e. g. to school. See exx. below. By describing the law as having the functions of a παιδαγωγός Paul emphasises both the inferiority of the condition of those under it, analogous to that of a child who has not yet arrived at the freedom of a mature person, and its temporariness (cf. v. 25). εἰς Χριστόν may be temporal (cf. on εἰς τὴν … πίστιν, v. 23) or may be pregnantly used. For exx. of a somewhat similar though not identical pregnant force, see Romans 8:18, Romans 8:21, Matthew 20:1, 1 Peter 1:11, τὰ εἰς Χριστὸν παθήματα. In view of the fact that εἰς temporal usually takes a temporal object, and of the final clause, ἵνα…δικαιωθῶμεν, the pregnant use is here the more probable. Yet it does not follow, nor is it probable that it is to Christ as a teacher that men are thought of as coming; the functions of the παιδαγωγός were not so exclusively to take the boy to school as to suggest this, and the apostle’s thought of Christ both in general and in this passage is not of him as a teacher but as one through faith in whom men were to be saved. Nor is the reference to the individual experience under law as bringing men individually to faith in Christ. For the context makes it clear that the apostle is speaking, rather, of the historic succession of one period of revelation upon another and the displacement of the law by Christ. See esp. vv. 23 a, 25 a. How the law accomplished its task is in no way intimated in this word or phrase, but appears in the final clause following, and the repeated intimations of the entire context. See esp. v. 19. Cf. Th. s. v. παιδαγωγός.
On the use of the word παιδαγωγός, see Hdt. 8:75: Σίκιννος, οἰκέτης δὲ καὶ παιδαγωγὸς ἦν τῶν Θεμιστοκλέος παίδων. Eur. Ion, 725, ὦ πρέσβυ παιδαγώγʼ Ἐρεχθέως πατρός τοὐμοῦ ποτʼ ὄντος, and esp. the following passage quoted by Ltft. ad loc. from Plato, Lysis, 208C:σὲ αὐτὸν ἐῶσιν ἄρχειν σεαυτοῦ, ἤ οὐδὲ τοῦτο ἐπιτρέπουσί σοι; Πῶς γάρ, ἔφη, ἐπιτρέπουσιν; Ἀλλʼ ἄρχει τίς σου; Ὅδε παιδαγωγός, ἔφη. Μῶν δοῦλος ὤν; Ἀλλὰ τί μήν; ἡμέτερός γε, ἔφη. Ἠ δεινόν, ἦν δʼ ἐγώ, ἐλεύθερον ὄντα ὑπὸ δούλου ἄρχεσθαι. τί δὲ ποιῶν αὖ οὖτος ὁ παιδαγωγός σου ἄρχει; Ἄγων δήπου, ἔφη, εἰς διδασκάλου. See also Xen. Laced. 3:1: ὅταν γε μὴν ἐκ παίδων εἰς τὸ μειρακιοῦσθαι ἐκβαίνωσι, τηνικαῦτα οἱ μὲν ἄλλοι παύουσι μὲν ἀπὸ παιδαγωγῶν, παύουσι δὲ καὶ ἀπὸ διδασκάλων, ἄρχουσι δὲ οὐδένες ἔτι αὐτῶν, ἀλλʼ αὐτονόμους ἀφιᾶσιν. Plut. Fab. 5:4: οἱ τὸν μὲν Φάβιον σκώπτοντες καὶ καταφρονοῦντες Ἀννίβου παιδαγωγὸν ἀπεκάλουν. The word is frequent in Plutarch’s Lives. With the παιδαγωγία of Plut. Numa, 15:1 (cf. Ltft.) in the sense of “moral education” this passage has little or no connection. For further treatment and references, see Becker, Charicles, E. T. 4th ed., pp. 226 f.; Becker and Marquardt, Röm. Alt. vol. I, pp. 114, 122, 164; Girard, L’Education Athénienne, pp. 114 ff.; Cramer, De Educatione Puerorum apud Athenienses, Marburg, 1823. Harper’s Dictionary of Classical Lit. and Antiq., art. “Education”; HDB, art. “Schoolmaster”; further references to sources in L. & S. s. v.
ἵνα ἐκ πίστεως δικαιωθῶμεν· “that we might be justified by faith.” The clause expresses the ultimate purpose of the law in its function as παιδαγωγός, as v. 19 expresses the immediate intended result. The emphasis of the expression is on δικαιωθῶμεν, not on ἐκ πίστεως, as if there were different ways of justification, and the purpose of the law was that we might be justified in this rather than in some other way; for the apostle maintains that there is no other way. Cf. ἐκ πίστεως Χριστοῦ in 2:16b, which is similarly added for completeness, and with descriptive rather than restrictive force. On the meaning of ἐκ πίστεως, cf. also on 2:16b (pp. 121, 123), and on δικαιωθῶμεν see detached note on Δίκαιος, etc., p. 473.
25. ἐλθούσης δὲ τῆς πίστεως οὐκέτι ὑπὸ παιδαγωγόν ἐσμεν. “But the faith having come we are no longer under a pedagogue.” The article with πίστεως is restrictive, and the reference is as in v. 24 (q. v.) to the faith in Christ. οὐκέτι is temporal, contrasting the two periods of time, with possibly a suggestion of consequence, the post hoc being also a propter hoc. Cf. on 3:18. The phrase ὑπὸ παιδαγωγόν is equivalent, as concerns the fact referred to, to ὑπὸ νόμον, the epithet being substituted for the name; but conveys more clearly than ὑπὸ νόμον the idea of subjection and inferior standing. The coming of the faith is a historic event, identical with the giving of the gospel (see 4:4, 5, Romans 1:16, Romans 1:17), not an experience of successive individuals. Cf. on v. 24. How far this historic event was itself conditioned on personal experience, or how far it repeats itself in the experience of each believer is remote from the apostle’s thought here.
26. Πάντες γὰρ υἱοὶ θεοῦ ἐστὲ διὰ τῆς πίστεως ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. “For ye are all sons of God, through your faith, in Christ Jesus.” By the change from the first person of v. 25, with its reference to the Jewish Christians, to the second person in this v. the apostle applies the thought of that v. directly to his readers. One must supply as the connecting thought to which γάρ is, as often, directly related, some such phrase as, “And this applies to all of you.” That πάντες is emphatic is indicated by its position, but esp. by the continuation of the thought of universality in v. 28. It may then mean “all you Gentiles,” so including the Galatians; or if, as is possible, there were some Jews in the Galatian churches, it may mean “all you Galatians,” emphasising the fact that the statements of v. 25 apply to all the Christians of Galatia, Gentiles as well as Jews. In either case υἱοὶ θεοῦ, a qualitative expression without the article, repeats and explicates the idea of οὐκέτι ὑπὸ παιδαγωγόν (cf. the use of various phrases for the related idea “sons of Abraham” in vv. 7, 9, 29). The emphasis of the expression is, therefore, upon “sons of God” as objects of God’s favour, men in filial favour with God. See detached note on Titles and Predicates of Jesus, V, p. 404. Cf. 4:4, 5 for the expression of the thought that subjection to law and sonship to God are mutually exclusive. That ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ does not limit πίστεως is evident because Paul rarely employs ἐν after πίστις (see, however, Colossians 1:4, Ephesians 1:15), and in this letter always uses the genitive (2:16, 20, 3:22), but especially because vv. 27, 28 take up and dwell upon the fact that the Galatians are in Christ Jesus. And this fact in turn shows that, unless Paul shifts his thought of the meaning of ἐν after he has used it before Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, it has here its metaphorical spatial sense, marking Christ as one in whom the believers live, with whom they are in fellowship. This does not of necessity exclude the thought that Christ is the basis of their sonship to God, but makes this a secondary and suggested thought. For a similar instance of a phrase introduced by ἐν standing after πίστις but limiting an earlier element of the sentence, see ἐν … αἳματι Romans 3:25. τῆς πίστεως, standing then without limitation, the article may refer specifically to the Christian type of faith, as in vv. 23, 25, or to the faith of the Galatians, meaning “your faith”; cf. 2 Corinthians 1:24. The latter is more probable because of the personal character of the statement as against the impersonal, historical, character of vv. 23, 25.
On θεός without the article in υἱοὶ θεοῦ, see on chap. 4:8.
27. ὅσοι γὰρ εἰς Χριστὸν ἐβαπτίσθητε, Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε· “For as many of you as were baptised unto Christ did put on Christ.” The fact that the verbs are in the second person, requires the insertion of the words “of you” into the translation, though they are not in the Greek. But it must not be supposed that ὅσοι includes only a part of the πάντες; for this would be itself in effect to contradict the preceding v. By ἐβαπτίσθητε the apostle undoubtedly refers to Christian baptism, immersion in water. See Th. s. v. II; Preusch. s. v.; M. and M. Voc. s. v. This is the uniform meaning and application of the term in Paul (1 Corinthians 1:13-17, 1 Corinthians 12:13, 1 Corinthians 15:29, Romans 6:3), with the single exception of 1 Corinthians 10:2, where he speaks of the baptism of the Israelites into Moses in the cloud and in the sea as a thing of similar character and significance with Christian baptism. Nowhere does he use the term in a figurative sense as in Mark 1:8b, Mark 1:10:38, Mark 1:39, John 1:33b, Acts 1:5b. εἰς Χριστόν is probably to be taken here and in Romans 6:3 in the sense “with reference to Christ” (on this use of εἰς see Th. B II 2 a), and as equivalent to εἰς τὸ ὄνομα Χριστοῦ. See more fully in fine print below. “To put on Christ” is to become as Christ, to have his standing; in this context to become objects of the divine favour, sons of God, as he is the Son of God. Cf. 4:6, 7. By the whole sentence the apostle reminds his readers that they, who have been baptised, in confession of their acceptance of Christ, already possess all that it is claimed that circumcision and works of law could give them, viz., the divine favour, a relation to God like that which Christ sustains to God. It is a substantiation (γάρ) of the assertion of v. 26, that they are sons of God, drawn from an interpretation of the significance of their baptism.
The idiom ἐνδύεσθαι with a personal object is found in late Greek writers. Thus in Dion. Hal. Antiq. 11. 5:2, τὸν Ταρκύνιον ἐκεῖνον ἐνδυόμενοι, “playing the part of that Tarquinius”; Libanius, Ep. 968 (350 A. D.), ῥίψας τὸν στρατιώτην ἐνέδυ τὸν σοφιστήν: “He laid aside the character of the soldier, and put on that of the sophist.” It occurs once in the Lxx with a somewhat different force: Isaiah 49:18: πάντας αὐτοὺς ὡς κόσμον ἐνδύσῃ, καὶ περιθήσεις αὐτοὺς ὡς κόσμον, ὡς νύμφη, and several times in N. T.: Romans 13:14: ἀλλὰ ἐνδύσασθε τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν. Colossians 3:9-10, ἀπεκδυσάμενοι τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον σὺν ταῖς πράξεσιν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν νέον τὸν ἀνακαινούμενον. Ephesians 4:22-24, ἀποθέσθαι … τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον … καὶ ἐνδύσασθαι τὸν καινὸν ἄνθρωπον. The related figure of clothing one’s self with strength, righteousness, glory, salvation, occurs frequently in O. T.: Proverbs 31:25, Job 8:22, Job 29:14, Job 39:19, Psalm 92:1, 103(104):1, 131(132):9, 16, 18, Isaiah 51:9, 52:1, 61:10, Isaiah 51:1 Mac. 1:28; and a similar figure with a variety of objective limitations in N. T.: Romans 13:12: ἐνδυσώμεθα τὰ ὅπλα τοῦ φωτός. 1 Corinthians 15:53: ἐνδύσασθαι ἀφθαρσίαν … ἐνδύσασθαι ἀθανασίαν. 15:54: ἐνδύσηται ἀθανασίαν. Ephesians 6:11: ἐνδύσασθε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ. 6:14, ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν θώρακα τῆς δικαιοσύνης. Colossians 3:12: ἐνδύσασθε … σπλάγχνα οἰκτιρμοῦ. 1 Thessalonians 5:8, ἐνδυσάμενοι θώρακα πίστεως καὶ ἀγάπης. These passages show that the idiom conveyed no suggestion of putting on a mask, but referred to an act in which one entered into actual relations. Used with an impersonal object, it means “to acquire,” “to make a part of one’s character or possessions” (1 Thessalonians 5:8, 1 Corinthians 15:53, 1 Corinthians 15:54, Romans 13:12, Colossians 3:12); with a personal object it signifies “to take on the character or standing” of the person referred to, “to become,” or “to become as.” See Romans 13:14, Colossians 3:10; note in each case the adjacent example of the impersonal object and cf. the exx. from Dion. Hal. (where the context makes it clear that τὸν Ταρ. ἐκ. ἐνδυόμενοι means “acting the part of Tarquinius,” “standing in his shoes,”) and Libanius. This meaning is appropriate to the present passage. The fact that the Galatians have put on Christ is cited as proof that they are sons of God as Christ is the Son of God.
The preposition εἰς with βαπτίζω signifies (a) literally and spatially “into,” followed by the element into which one is plunged: Mark 1:9; cf. 1:8 a; (b) “unto” in the telic sense, “in order to obtain”: Acts 2:38; (c) followed by ὄνομα, “with respect to,” specifically, “with mention or confession of”: 1 Corinthians 1:13, 1 Corinthians 1:15, Matthew 28:19, Acts 8:16, Acts 8:19:5; with similar force but without the use of ὄνομα: Acts 19:3. It was formerly much discussed whether here and in Romans 6:3 the meaning is the same as in 1 Corinthians 1:13, 1 Corinthians 1:15, etc., or whether εἰς signifies “into fellowship with,” Th. (cf. βαπτίζω, II b. aa) Ell., S. and H. on Rom., et al. hold; Sief. combines the two views. As between the two the former is to be preferred, for, though the conception of fellowship with Christ in his death is expressed in the context of Romans 6:3, neither general usage of the phrase nor that passage in particular warrant interpreting βαπτίζω εἰς as having other than its usual meaning, “to baptise with reference to.” But if this is the case with Romans 6:3, then usage brings to the present passage no warrant for finding in it any other than the regular meaning of the phrase, and the context furnishing none, there is no ground for discovering it here. More recent discussion, however, has turned upon the question whether in both groups of passages (1 Corinthians 1:13, 1 Corinthians 1:15, Acts 8:16, Acts 19:5, as well as Romans 6:3 and here) there is a reference to the use of the name in baptism with supposed magical effect, as in the mystery religions. See Preusch. s. v. βαπτίζω and literature there referred to, esp. Heitmüller, Taufe und Abendmahl; also Lake, The Earlier Epistles of St. Paul, pp. 383-391; Case, The Evolution of Early Christianity, pp. 347 f. For the purposes of this commentary it must suffice to point out the following outstanding facts affecting the interpretation of Paul’s thought: (a) The use of βαπτίζω εἰς τὸ ὄνομα was in all probability derived from the usage of the mystery religions, and to one familiar with that usage would suggest the ideas associated with such phraseology. (b) The apostle constantly lays emphasis on faith and the Spirit of God (see, e. g., 5:6, 16, 18, 22) as the characteristic factors of the Christian experience. It would seem that if, denying all spiritual value to such a physical rite as circumcision, he ascribed effective force to baptism, his arguments should have turned, as they nowhere do, on the superiority of baptism to circumcision. (c) 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 makes it probable that the Corinthians were putting upon their Christian baptism the interpretation suggested by the mystery religions, viz., that it secured their salvation. Against this view Paul protests, using the case of the Israelites passing through the Red Sea, which he calls a baptism into Moses, to show that baptism without righteousness does not render one acceptable to God. This may, of course, signify only that he conceived that the effect of baptism was not necessarily permanent, or that to baptism it is necessary to add a righteous life. But it is most naturally interpreted as a protest against precisely that doctrine of the magical efficiency of physical rites which the mystery religions had made current. If this is the case and if the thought of the apostle here is consistent with that in 1Co_10, the relation between the fact referred to in the relative clause and that of the principal clause is not (as in 3:7, Romans 8:14) causal, but that of symbol and symbolised fact. The requirement of the passage that there shall be a natural connection of thought both between this v. and the preceding, and between the two clauses of this, is met by supposing (1) that the exceptional mention of baptism in this passage (as, e. g., instead of faith) was suggested by its relation as the initiatory Christian rite to circumcision (cf. Colossians 2:11, Colossians 2:12) which the Galatians were being urged to accept, and (2) that there was something in the act of baptism as thought of by the apostle which suggested the figure of being clothed with Christ. This may have been that in baptism one was, as it were, clothed with the water, or, possibly, that the initiate was accustomed to wear a special garment. To such a relation in thought between fact and outward symbol there can be, despite Lake’s statement that such a thought was almost unknown to the ancients, no serious objection in view of Galatians 2:20, Romans 5:14, 1 Corinthians 11:26. If, indeed, the relation is causal, the apostle must have changed his conception of the matter between the writing of Gal. and 1 Cor., or he conceived of the rite as having no necessarily permanent effect and its value as conditioned upon the maintenance of a morally pure life.
28. οὐκ ἔνι Ἰουδαῖος οὐδὲ Ἕλλην, οὐκ ἔνι δοῦλος οὐδὲ ἐλεύθερος, οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ· “There is no Jew nor Greek, no slave nor free, no male and female.” Following the previous sentence without connective either causal or illative, these words do not demand to be closely joined in thought to any specific element of what immediately precedes. With the thought of the basis of acceptance with God in mind, expressed in v. 26 in the form that through faith men become sons of God, and in v. 27 in a different form, the sweep of his thought carries him beyond the strict limits of the question at issue in Galatia to affirm that all distinctions are abolished, and to present an inspiring picture of the world under one universal religion. ἐν Χριστῷ, expressed in the similar passage 5:6, and implied in Colossians 3:11, is doubtless to be mentally supplied here also. It is only in the religion of Christ that Paul conceives that men can thus be brought together. That he is speaking of these distinctions from the point of view of religion is evident from the context in general, but especially from his inclusion of the ineradicable distinction of sex. The passage has nothing to do directly with the merging of nationalities or the abolition of slavery. Cf. 1 Corinthians 7:17-24. Nor are the passages from ancient writers, quoted, e. g., by Zahn ad loc. (p. 187), in which these distinctions are emphasised, directly antithetical to this affirmation of the apostle. Yet that the principle had its indirect social significance is shown in the implications of the Antioch incident 2:11-14, and in Philemon 1:15, Philemon 1:16, Colossians 4:1.
On Ἕλλην, meaning Gentile, not specifically Greek, see on 2:4. ἔνι, not a contracted form of ἔνεστι, but a lengthened form of ἐν, ἐνί with recessive accent, but having the force of ἔνεστι or ἔνεισι, as παρά and ἐπί are used with the force of ἔπεστι and πάρεστι, may, like the form ἔνεστι itself, mean either “it is present,” “there is,” or “it is possible.” See W. § XIV 1 (older Exo_2); Bl.-D. 98; Hatzidakis, Einleitung in die neugriechische Grammatik, 207, and the examples of both meanings given in L.&S. Ltft., without assigning reasons, maintains that οὐκ ἔνι must here negative “not the fact only but the possibility,” and RV. adopts this interpretation in all the N. T. instances: Jam 1:17, 1 Corinthians 6:5, Colossians 3:11, and the present passage. But in none of these passages does the context demand this meaning, and in 1 Corinthians 6:5 it is a distinctly difficult meaning. In 4 Mac. 4:22 the meaning is clearly “it is possible,” but in Sir. 37:2 as clearly “there is (in it).” It seems necessary therefore to make choice between the two meanings for the present passage solely by the context. And this favours the meaning “there is” (so Sief. Bous.) rather than “there can be.” There is nothing in the sentence to suggest that Paul has passed from the statement of fact to that of possibilities. On the other hand, it is apparently true that the word never quite loses the force derived from ἐν as a preposition of place, and that one must mentally supply after it a prepositional phrase introduced by ἐν, or the like: in this case not ἐν ὑμῖν, for which the context furnishes no basis, but ἐν Χριστῷ, as suggested by Χριστὸν ἐνεδύνασθε and 5:6.
πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστὲ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. “for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” These words confirm, by repeating it in another form, the thought of the preceding sentence. εἷς may be taken distributively and qualitatively, or inclusively and numerically. In the former case the meaning is: once in Christ Jesus, whether you be Jew or Gentile, slave or master, man or woman, all these distinctions vanish (there is no respect of persons with God); it is as if it were always the same person reappearing before him. Cf. 1 Corinthians 3:8. In the latter case the thought is that all those in Jesus Christ merge into one personality. Cf. 1 Corinthians 10:17, 1 Corinthians 10:12:12, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Romans 12:4, Romans 12:5, Colossians 3:15. There is little ground for a choice between the two ideas. Both are equally Pauline and equally suitable to the immediate context. Only in the fact that the second interpretation furnishes a sort of middle term between the assertion of v. 16b that Christ is the seed, and that of v. 29 that those who are Christ’s are seed of Abraham is there a ground of preference for the second interpretation, and this only in case 16b is from Paul. ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ is doubtless to be understood substantially as in v. 26, describing Jesus Christ as the one in whom they live, by whom their lives are controlled, with the added suggestion that by this fact their standing before God is also determined.
εἷς ἐστὲ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ: so אeBCDKLP al. pler. Syr. (psh.) Boh. (but some mss. omit Ἰησοῦ) Clem. Athan. Chrys. Euthal. Thdrt. al.; ἓν ἐστέ: FG 33, d e f g Vg. Or. Athan Bas. al.; ἐστὲ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, omitting εἰς: אA, but A has ἐν deleted after ἐστέ. א is thus a witness to ἐν X. I. as well as to the genitive. With practically all the witnesses, except A, attesting ἐν X. I. against אA for the genitive there can be no doubt that the reading of the latter is derivative, due to assimilation to v. 29. Before ἐστέ, εἷς is clearly the original reading, changed by Western authorities to ἕν, as in 3:16 ὅς is changed to ὅ by a part of the Western documents.
29. εἰ δὲ ὑμεῖς Χριστοῦ, ἄρα τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ σπέρμα ἐστέ, κατʼ επαγγελίαν κληρονόμοι. “And if ye are Christ’s, then are ye seed of Abraham, heirs according to promise.” δέ is continuative, the new sentence adding fresh inferences from what has already been said. The conditional clause, expressing in itself a simple supposition, refers, as is frequently the case, to something assumed to be true. BMT 244. ὑμεῖς Χριστοῦ is assumed to have been previously affirmed or implied, and doubtless in εἷς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ or in ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ alone. Of these latter alternatives the second is more probable, since there is nothing to indicate that in this v. the apostle is intending to carry forward the idea of the unity of believers in one body, or their equal standing before God. Had this been his purpose, he must have employed some such phraseology as that of 1 Corinthians 12:12, 1 Corinthians 12:27, or Romans 12:5, e. g., εἷς [or ἓν σῶμα] ἐν Χριστῷ, or τὸ σῶμα Χριστοῦ. More probably, therefore, the genitive is to be taken, as in 1 Corinthians 3:23; cf. vv. 21, 22; also Romans 8:8, Romans 8:9, with its implication that those who have the spirit of Christ are pleasing to God, and Romans 8:17, Romans 8:32, with the suggestion that believers are sharers in the possessions of Christ, objects of God’s love. In the words τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ σπέρμα the apostle reverts abruptly to the thought first expressed in v. 7 but repeated in variant phraseology in vv. 9, 13. The prize which the opponents of Paul had held before the eyes of the Galatians, and by which they hoped to persuade them to accept circumcision and become subjects of the law, was the privilege of becoming seed of Abraham, and so heirs of the promise to him and to his seed. This prize, the apostle now assures the Galatians, belongs to them by virtue of the fact that they are Christ’s, as in v. 7 he had said it belongs to those who are of faith. In the phrase κατʼ ἐπαγγελίαν κληρονόμοι both nouns are qualitative, but the substance of the thought recalls the previous mention of the promise and the inheritance in vv. 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, and emphasises the aspect of Abrahamic sonship that is important to the apostle’s present purpose. On the use of κληρονόμος, see detached note on Διαθήκη, p. 503. The κληρονομία is, doubtless, as in v. 18 (q. v; and cf. v. 14), the blessing of justification. The absence of the article before σπέρμα is significant. Paul does not say to his readers, “Ye are the seed of Abraham,” as he might perhaps have done if, having written v. 16b, he wished now to identify the followers of Christ with Christ as the seed of Abraham. Observe, also, that in the preceding clause he has not said, “ye are Christ,” but “ye are Christ’s.” Though the article before Ἀβραάμ is restrictive, as in Romans 4:13, directing the thought to a preceding mention of him and probably to vv. 7, 9, 16a, yet σπέρμα, being without the article, is indefinite or qualitative. It may designate its subject as included in the seed (as distinguished from constituting it, which would have required the article) or, like υἱοὶ Ἀβραάμ in v. 7, ascribe to them the standing and privilege of Abrahamic seed. Cf. Ἰουδαῖος Romans 2:28, Romans 2:29. If we suppose that Paul wrote v. 16b, the reasoning is probably to this effect:“If you belong to Christ, who is the seed of Abraham, you share his standing as such.” If v. 16b is not from him the thought may be more akin to that of the passages cited above (1 Corinthians 3:21-23, Romans 8:17, Romans 8:32): “If ye are Christ’s then by virtue of that fact you are objects of God’s approval,” which for the purposes of argument against his opponents he translates into “seed of Abraham,” since in their vocabulary that phrase really means “acceptable to God.” In either case the phrase “seed of Abraham” is a synonym for objects of God’s approval; the occasion of its employment was its use by those whose views and arguments Paul is opposing; and the ground of its application to the Gentiles is in their relation to Christ. The matter of doubt is whether a previous designation of Christ as the seed of Abraham (v. 16b) furnished the ground for applying the term qualitatively to those who being in Christ are Christ’s, or the reasoning is independent of a previous application of the phrase to Christ.
C C. Codex Ephrœmi Rescriptus. Fifth century. In National Library, Paris. As its name implies, it is a palimpsest, the text of the Syrian Father Ephrem being written over the original biblical text. New Testament portion edited by Tischendorf, 1843. Contains Galatians 1:21, ἔπειτα to the end, except that certain leaves are damaged on the edge, causing the loss of a few words. So e. g. ξῆλος or ξῆλοι, Galatians 5:20.
D D. Codex Claromontanus. Sixth century. In National Library, Paris. Greek-Latin. Edited by Tischendorf, 1852.
K K. Codex Mosquensis. Ninth century. In Moscow.
L G. Codex Bærnerianus. Ninth century. In Royal Library, Dresden. Greek-Latin. Edited by Matthæi, 1791; photographic reproduction issued by the Hiersemann publishing house, Leipzig, 1909.
P P. Codex Porphyrianus. Ninth century. In Imperial Library, Petrograd. Published by Tischendorf in Mon. Sac. Ined. Bd. V, 1865.
Lxx The Old Testament in Greek according to the Septuagint. Quotations are from the edition of H. B. Swete. 3 vols. Cambridge, 1887-94.
H Dictionary of the Bible. Edited by James Hastings. 5 vols Edinburgh and New York, 1898-1905.
M. and M. Moulton, J. H., and Milligan, G., Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament. 1914-.
Ltft. Lightfoot, Joseph Barber, Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. London, 1865. 2d ed., revised, 1866. Various later editions.
Th. Thayer, Joseph Henry, A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament. New York, 1886. Rev. edition, 1889.
Sief. Sieffert, F. Galatien und seine ersten Christengemeinden, in Zeitschrift für nistorische Theologie., vol. XLI, 1871.
Calvin, J., Commentarii in quatuor Pauli Epistolas (Gal. Eph. Phil. Col.). Geneva, 1548.
——, In omnes Pauli Apostoli Epistolas Commentarii. Geneva, 1565. Various later editions and translations.
Cremer Cremer, H., Biblisch-theologisches Wörterbuch der neutestamentlichen Gräcität. Zehnte völlig durchgearbeitete Auflage herausgegeben von Julius Kögel. Gotha, 1911-15.
PRE. Real-Encyclopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche. Dritte Auflage, herausgegeben von A. Hauck, 1896-1913.
Cf. Confer, compare.
L.&S. Liddell, H. G., and Scott, R., Greek English Lexicon. Seventh edition revised. New York, 1882.
Wies. Wieseler, Karl, Commentar über den Brief Pauli an die Galater. Göttingen, 1859.
Preusch. Preuschen, Erwin, Vollständiges -Griechisch- Deutsches Handwörterbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der übrigen urchristlichen Literatur. Giessen, 1910.
Kühner-Gerth Kühner, Raphael, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache. Dritte Auflage in neuer Bearbeitung, besorgt von Bernhard Gerth. 2 vols. Leipzig, 1898, 1904.
Ell. Ellicott, Charles John, A Critical and Grammatical Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. London, 1854. Various subsequent editions.
B Burton, Ernest De Witt, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek. Third edition. Chicago, 1898.
Cyr. Cyril of Alexandria. † 444. See Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects, and Doctrines. Edited by Wm. Smith and Henry Wace. 4 vols. London 1877-87.
q. quod vide, which see.
אԠא. Codex Sinaiticus. Fourth century. In Imperial Library, Petrograd. Edited by Tischendorf, 1862; photographic reproduction by H. and K. Lake, Oxford, 1911.
B B. Codex Vaticanus. Fourth century. In Vatican Library, Rome. Photographic facsimile by Cozza-Luzi, 1889; and a second issued by the Hoepli publishing house, 1904.
Rück. Rückert, Leopold Immanuel, Commentar über den Brief Pauli an die Galater. Leipzig, 1833.
RV. The Holy Bible, Revised Oxford, N.T., 1881, O.T.1884.
Bous. Bousset, Wilhelm, in Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments. Göttingen, 1907. 2te Aufl., 1908.
Mey. Meyer, Heinrich August Wilhelm, Kritisch-exegetisches Handbuch über den Brief an die Galater. Göttingen, 1841, in Kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar über das Neue Testament, 1832-59. E. T., with bibliography, by Venables and Dickson. Edinburgh, 1873-85. Various later editions. See also under Sieffert, F. Galatien und seine ersten Christengemeinden, in Zeitschrift für nistorische Theologie., vol. XLI, 1871.
Boeckh, Corpus Inscriptionum Grœcarum edidit Augustus Boeckius, Berlin, 1828-77.
Schm. Schmiedel, P. W.
Encyc. Bib. Encyclopedia Biblica. Edited by T. K. Cheyne and J. S. Black. 4 vols. London, 1899-1903.
Tdf. Tischendorf, Constantin, Novum Testamentum Grœce. Editio octava crit. maj. Leipzig, 1869-72.
A A. Codex Alexandrinus. Fifth century. In British Museum, London. Edited by Woide, 1786; N. T. portion by Cowper, 1860; Hansell, 1864; in photographic facsimile, by E. Maunde Thompson, 1879; and again in photographic simile by F. G. Kenyon in 1909.
Pap. Amh. The Amherst Papyri. 2 vols. Edited by B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt. London 1900-1.
BGU. Ägyptische Urkunden aus den königlichen Museen zu Berlin: Griechische Urkunden I-IV. Berlin, 1895.
Pap. Tebt. The Tebtunis Papyri. Vol. I edited by B. P. Grenfell, A. S. Hunt, and J. G. Smyly; vol. II by B. P. Grenfell, A. S. Hunt, and E. J. Goodspeed. London, 1902-7.
Grimm Grimm, C. L. W., Lexicon Grœco-Latinum in Libros Novi Testamenti. (Based on the Clavis Novi Testamenti Philologica of C. G. Wilke.) Editio secunda, emendata et aucta. Leipzig, 1879.
F F. Codex Augiensis. Ninth century. In Trinity College, Cambridge. Greek-Latin. Edited by Scrivener, 1859. Closely related to Codex Bærnerianus. See Gregory, Textkritik des Neuen Testaments, vol. II, Leipzig, 1902, pp. 113 f.
33 33 (Tischendorf, Constantin, Novum Testamentum Grœce. 17). Ninth or tenth century. In National Library, Paris. Called by Eichhorn “the queen of the cursives.” Cited by Tischendorf in Galatians more frequently than any other cursive. Contains the Prophets as well as Gospels, Acts, Cath. Epp. and Paul.
Pap. Gd. Cairo Greek Papyri from the Cairo Museum. Edited by E. J. Goodspeed. Chicago, 1902.
Chrys. Joannes Chrysostomus. † 407. See Lightfoot, Joseph Barber, Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. London, 1865. 2d ed., revised, 1866. Various later editions., p. 228.
It comes to nearly the same result to take ὁ δὲ θεὸς εἷς ἐστίν as referring directly to the promise, meaning, in effect: “But God, who gave the promise, is one, acted without a mediator”; in which fact the inferiority of the law to the promise is evident. So Ltft. But if this were the thought intended to be directly conveyed by this clause, it could hardly have failed to be expressed. It seems more reasonable to take the words ὁ δὲ θεὸς εἷς ἐστίν as in themselves expressing only what they directly say, and to assume that the thought to be supplied is the conclusion which the expressed premises support.
It may be objected to the view advocated above and equally to that of Ltft. that on the supposition that διαθήκην is a covenant. Paul’s argument in v. 17 turns on the fact of the two parties to it, and thus that the law and the covenant are in that fact placed on the same basis. But this ignores the fact that the argument concerning the mediator is in reality to the effect that the mediator stands between the two parties, making a third, separating as well as joining them, while in the covenant, God, the one, comes into direct relation with man. Moreover if, as is probably the case, and as is indicated by his use of ἐπαγγελία for what he also calls the διαθήκη, he shared the O. T. thought of the covenant as predominantly one-sided, God taking the initiative, this fact would still further tend in his mind to depreciate the law as compared with the covenant.
B B. Codex Vaticanus. Fourth century. In Vatican Library, Rome. Photographic facsimile by Cozza-Luzi, 1889; and a second issued by the Hoepli publishing house, 1904.
Victorin. C. Marius Victorinus. Ca. 360 a.d. See Lightfoot, Joseph Barber, Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. London, 1865. 2d ed., revised, 1866. Various later editions., p. 231; Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects, and Doctrines. Edited by Wm. Smith and Henry Wace. 4 vols. London 1877-87
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
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.
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.