New American Standard Bible
Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man's covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it.
King James Bible
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.
Darby Bible Translation
Brethren, (I speak according to man,) even man's confirmed covenant no one sets aside, or adds other dispositions to.
World English Bible
Brothers, speaking of human terms, though it is only a man's covenant, yet when it has been confirmed, no one makes it void, or adds to it.
Young's Literal Translation
Brethren, as a man I say it, even of man a confirmed covenant no one doth make void or doth add to,
Galatians 3:15 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men - I draw an illustration from what actually occurs among people. The illustration is, that when a contract or agreement is made by people involving obligations and promises, no one can add to it or take from it. It will remain as it was originally made. So with God. He made a solemn promise to Abraham. That promise pertained to his posterity. The blessing was connected with that promise, and it was of the nature of a compact with Abraham. But if so, then this could not be effected by the Law which was four hundred years after, and the Law must have been given to secure some different object from that designed by the promise made to Abraham, Galatians 3:19. But the promise made to Abraham was designed to secure the "inheritance," or the favor of God; and if so, then the same thing could not be secured by the observance of the Law, since there could not be two ways so unlike each other of obtaining the same thing.
God cannot have two ways of justifying and saving people; and if he revealed a mode to Abraham, and that mode was by faith, then it could not be by the observance of the Law which was given so long after. The main design of the argument and the illustration here (Galatians 3:15 ff) is to show that the promise made to Abraham was by no means made void by the giving of the Law. The Law had another design, which did not interfere with the promise made to Abraham. That stood on its own merits, irrespective of the demands and the design of the Law. It is possible, as Rosenmuller suggests, that Paul may have had his eye on an objection to his view. The objection may have been that there were important acts of legislation which succeeded the promise made to Abraham, and that that promise must have been superseded by the giving of the Law. To this he replies that the Mosaic law given at a late period could not take away or nullify a solemn promise made to Abraham, but that it was intended for a different purpose.
Though it be but a man's covenant - A compact or agreement between man and man. Even in such a case no one can add to it or take from it. The argument here is, that such a covenant or agreement must be much less important than a promise made by God. But even that could not be annulled. How much less, therefore, could a covenant made by God be treated as if it were vain. The word "covenant" here (διαθήκη diathēkē) is in the margin rendered "Testament;" that is, will. So Tyndale renders it. Its proper Classical signification is will or testament, though in the Septuagint and in the New Testament it is the word which is used to denote a covenant or compact; see the note at Acts 3:25. Here it is used in the proper sense of the word covenant, or compact; a mutual agreement between man and man. The idea is, that where such a covenant exists; where the faith of a man is solemnly pledged in this manner, no change can be made in the agreement. It is ratified, and firm, and final. "If it be confirmed." By a seal or otherwise.
No man disannulleth ... - It must stand. No one can change it. No new conditions can be annexed; nor can there be any drawing back from its terms. It binds the parties to a faithful fulfillment of all the conditions. This is well understood among people; and the apostle says that the same thing must take place in regard to God.
LibraryThe Universal Prison
'But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.'--GAL. iii. 22. The Apostle uses here a striking and solemn figure, which is much veiled for the English reader by the ambiguity attaching to the word 'concluded.' It literally means 'shut up,' and is to be taken in its literal sense of confining, and not in its secondary sense of inferring. So, then, we are to conceive of a vast prison-house in which mankind is confined. …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
A Call to the Unconverted
The Ordinance of Covenanting
Letter iv. You Reply to the Conclusion of My Letter: "What have we to do with Routiniers?...
At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said,
I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.
But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.)
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.
For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,
For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.
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