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Chapter 3

3:1 Who did bewitch you? [tis humas ebaskanen?]. Somebody “fascinated” you. Some aggressive Judaizer (5:7), some one man (or woman). First aorist active indicative of [baskainō], old word kin to [phaskō] [baskō], to speak, then to bring evil on one by feigned praise or the evil eye (hoodoo), to lead astray by evil arts. Only here in the N.T. This popular belief in the evil eye is old (De 28:54) and persistent. The papyri give several examples of the adjective [abaskanta], the adverb [abaskantōs] (unharmed by the evil eye), the substantive [baskania] (witchcraft). Before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth crucified [hois kat’ ophthalmous Iēsous Christos proegraphē estaurōmenos]. Literally, “to whom before your very eyes Jesus Christ was portrayed as crucified.” Second aorist passive indicative of [prographō], old verb to write beforehand, to set forth by public proclamation, to placard, to post up. This last idea is found in several papyri (Moulton and Milligan’s Vocabulary) as in the case of a father who posted a proclamation that he would no longer be responsible for his son’s debts. [Graphō] was sometimes used in the sense of painting, but no example of [prographō] with this meaning has been found unless this is one. With that idea it would be to portray, to picture forth, a rendering not very different from placarding. The foolish Galatians were without excuse when they fell under the spell of the Judaizer. [Estaurōmenos] is perfect passive participle of [stauroō], the common verb to crucify (from [stauros], stake, cross), to put on the cross (Mt 20:19), same form as in 1Co 2:2.

3:2 This only [touto monon]. Paul strikes at the heart of the problem. He will show their error by the point that the gifts of the Spirit came by the hearing of faith, not by works of the law.

3:3 Are ye now perfected in the flesh? [nun sarki epiteleisthe?]. Rather middle voice as in 1Pe 5:9, finishing of yourselves. There is a double contrast, between [enarxamenoi] (having begun) and [epiteleisthe] (finishing) as in 2Co 8:6; Php 1:6, and also between “Spirit” [pneumati] and flesh [sarki]. There is keen irony in this thrust.

3:4 Did ye suffer? [epathete?]. Second aorist active indicative of [paschō], to experience good or ill. But alone, as here, it often means to suffer ill [tosauta], so many things). In North Galatia we have no record of persecutions, but we do have records for South Galatia (Ac 14:2,5,19,22). If it be indeed in vain [ei ge kai eikēi]. On [eikēi] see 1Co 15:2; Ga 4:11. Paul clings to hope about them with alternative fears.

3:5 Supplieth [epichorēgōn]. It is God. See on 2Co 9:10 for this present active participle. Cf. Php 1:19; 2Pe 1:5. Worketh miracles [energōn dunameis]. On the word [energeō] see 1Th 2:13; 1Co 12:6. It is a great word for God’s activities (Php 2:13). “In you” (Lightfoot) is preferable to “among you” for [en humin] (1Co 13:10; Mt 14:2). The principal verb for “doeth he it” [poiei] is not expressed. Paul repeats the contrast in verse 2 about “works of the law” and “the hearing of faith.”

3:6 It was reckoned unto him for righteousness [elogisthē eis dikaiosunēn]. First aorist passive indicative of [logizomai]. See on 1Co 13:5 for this old word. He quotes Ge 15:6 and uses it at length in Ro 4:3ff. to prove that the faith of Abraham was reckoned “for” [eis], good Koinē idiom though more common in LXX because of the Hebrew) righteousness before he was circumcised. James (Jas 2:23) quotes the same passage as proof of Abraham’s obedience to God in offering up Isaac (beginning to offer him). Paul and James are discussing different episodes in the life of Abraham. Both are correct.

3:7 The same are sons of Abraham [houtoi huioi eisin Abraham]. “These are.” This is Paul’s astounding doctrine to Jews that the real sons of Abraham are those who believe as he did, “they which be of faith” [hoi ek pisteōs], a common idiom with Paul for this idea (verse 9; Ro 3:26; 4:16; 14:23), those whose spiritual sonship springs out of [ek] faith, not out of blood. John the Baptist denounced the Pharisees and Sadducees as vipers though descendants of Abraham (Mt 3:7; Lu 3:7) and Jesus termed the Pharisees children of the devil and not spiritual children of Abraham (not children of God) in Joh 8:37-44.

3:8 Foreseeing [proidousa]. Second aorist active participle of [prooraō]. The Scripture is here personified. Alone in this sense of “sight,” but common with [legei] or [eipen] (says, said) and really in verse 22 “hath shut up” [sunekleisen]. Would justify [dikaioi]. Present active indicative, “does justify.” Preached the gospel beforehand [proeuēggelisato]. First aorist middle indicative of [proeuaggelizomai] with augment on [a] though both [pro] and [eu] before it in composition. Only instance in N.T. It occurs in Philo. and Schol. Soph. This Scripture announced beforehand the gospel on this point of justification by faith. He quotes the promise to Abraham in Ge 12:3; 18:18, putting [panta ta ethnē] (all the nations) in 18:18 for [pāsai hai phulai] (all the tribes) of the earth. It is a crucial passage for Paul’s point, showing that the promise to Abraham included all the nations of the earth. The verb [eneulogeō] (future passive here) occurs in the LXX and here only in N.T. (not Ac 3:25 in correct text). In thee [en soi]. “As their spiritual progenitor” (Lightfoot).

3:9 With [sun]. Along with, in fellowship with. The faithful [tōi pistōi]. Rather, “the believing” (cf. verse 6).

3:10 Under a curse [hupo kataran]. Picture of the curse hanging over them like a Damocles’ blade. Cf. Ro 3:9 “under sin” [huph’ hamartian]. The word for “curse” [katara] is an old one [kata], down, [ara], imprecation), often in LXX, in N.T. only here and 13; Jas 3:10; 2Pe 2:14. Paul quotes De 27:26, the close of the curses on Mt. Ebal. He makes a slight explanatory modification of the LXX changing [logois] to [gegrammenois en tōi bibliōi]. The idea is made clearer by the participle [gegrammenois] and [bibliōi] (book). The curse becomes effective only when the law is violated. Cursed [epikataratos]. Verbal adjective from [epikataraomai], to imprecate curses, late word, common in LXX. In N.T. only here and verse 13, but in inscriptions also (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 96). The emphasis is on “continueth” [emmenei] and “all” [pāsin].

3:11 In the sight of God [para tōi theōi]. By the side of [para] God, as God looks at it, for the simple reason that no one except Jesus has ever kept all the law, God’s perfect law.

3:12 The law is not of faith [ho nomos ouk estin ek pisteōs]. Law demands complete obedience and rests not on mercy, faith, grace.

3:13 Redeemed us [hēmas exēgorasen]. First aorist active of the compound verb [exagorazō] (Polybius, Plutarch, Diodorus), to buy from, to buy back, to ransom. The simple verb [agorazō] (1Co 6:20; 7:23) is used in an inscription for the purchase of slaves in a will (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 324). See also Ga 4:5; Col 4:5; Eph 5:16. Christ purchased us from the curse of the law [ek tēs kataras tou nomou]. “Out from [ek] repeated) under [hupo] in verse 10) the curse of the law.” Having become a curse for us [genomenos huper hēmōn katara]. Here the graphic picture is completed. We were under [hupo] a curse, Christ became a curse over [huper] us and so between us and the overhanging curse which fell on him instead of on us. Thus he bought us out [ek] and we are free from the curse which he took on himself. This use of [huper] for substitution is common in the papyri and in ancient Greek as in the N.T. (Joh 11:50; 2Co 5:14f.). That hangeth on a tree [ho kremamenos epi xulou]. Quotation from De 21:23 with the omission of [hupo theou] (by God). Since Christ was not cursed by God. The allusion was to exposure of dead bodies on stakes or crosses (Jos 10:26). [Xulon] means wood, not usually tree, though so in Lu 23:31 and in later Greek. It was used of gallows, crosses, etc. See Ac 5:30; 10:39; 1Pe 2:24. On the present middle participle from the old verb [kremannumi], to hang, see on Mt 18:6; Ac 5:30.

3:14 That upon the Gentiles [hina eis ta ethnē]. Final clause [hina] and [genētai], aorist middle subjunctive). That we might receive [hina labōmen]. Second final clause coordinate with the first as in 2Co 9:3. So in Christ we all (Gentile and Jew) obtain the promise of blessing made to Abraham, through faith.

3:15 After the manner of men [kata anthrōpon]. After the custom and practice of men, an illustration from life. Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet when it hath been confirmed [homōs anthrōpou kekurōmenēn diathēkēn]. Literally, “Yet a man’s covenant ratified.” On [Diathēkē] as both covenant and will see on Mt 26:28; 1Co 11:25; 2Co 3:6; Heb 9:16f. On [kuroō], to ratify, to make valid, see on 2Co 2:8. Perfect passive participle here, state of completion, authoritative confirmation. Maketh it void [athetei]. See on 2:21 for this verb. Both parties can by agreement cancel a contract, but not otherwise. Addeth thereto [epidiatassetai]. Present middle indicative of the double compound verb [epidiatassomai], a word found nowhere else as yet. But inscriptions use [diatassomai, diataxis, diatagē, diatagma] with the specialized meaning to “determine by testamentary disposition” (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 90). It was unlawful to add [epi] fresh clauses or specifications [diataxeis].

3:16 But as of one [all’ hōs eph’ henos]. But as in the case of one. Which is Christ [hos estin Christos]. Masculine relative agreeing with [Christos] though [sperma] is neuter. But the promise to Abraham uses [sperma] as a collective substantive and applies to all believers (both Jews and Gentiles) as Paul has shown in verses 7-14, and as of course he knew full well Here Paul uses a rabbinical refinement which is yet intelligible. The people of Israel were a type of the Messiah and he gathers up the promise in its special application to Christ. He does not say that Christ is specifically referred to in Ge 13:15 or 17:7f.

3:17 Now this I say [touto de legō]. Now I mean this. He comes back to his main point and is not carried afield by the special application of [sperma] to Christ. Confirmed beforehand by God [prokekurōmenēn hupo tou theou]. Perfect passive participle of [prokuroō], in Byzantine writers and earliest use here. Nowhere else in N.T. The point is in [pro] and [hupo tou theou] (by God) and in [meta] (after) as Burton shows. Four hundred and thirty years after [meta tetrakosia kai triakonta etē]. Literally, “after four hundred and thirty years.” This is the date in Ex 12:40 for the sojourn in Egypt (cf. Ge 15:13). But the LXX adds words to include the time of the patriarchs in Canaan in this number of years which would cut the time in Egypt in two. Cf. Ac 7:6. It is immaterial to Paul’s argument which chronology is adopted except that “the longer the covenant had been in force the more impressive is his statement” (Burton). Doth not disannul [ouk akuroi]. Late verb [akuroō], in N.T. only here and Mt 15:6; Mr 7:13 (from [a] privative and [kuros], authority). On [katargēsai] see 1Co 1:28; 2:6; 15:24,26.

3:18 The inheritance [hē klēronomia]. Old word from [klēronomos], heir [kleros], lot, [nemomai], to distribute). See on Mt 21:38; Ac 7:5. This came to Israel by the promise to Abraham, not by the Mosaic law. So with us, Paul argues. Hath granted [kecharistai]. Perfect middle indicative of [charizomai]. It still holds good after the law came.

3:19 What then is the law? [ti oun ho nomos?]. Or, why then the law? A pertinent question if the Abrahamic promise antedates it and holds on afterwards. It was added because of transgressions [tōn parabaseōn charin prosetethē]. First aorist passive of [prostithēmi], old verb to add to. It is only in apparent contradiction to verses 15ff., because in Paul’s mind the law is no part of the covenant, but a thing apart “in no way modifying its provisions” (Burton). [Charin] is the adverbial accusative of [charis] which was used as a preposition with the genitive as early as Homer, in favour of, for the sake of. Except in 1Jo 3:12 it is post-positive in the N.T. as in ancient Greek. It may be causal (Lu 7:47; 1Jo 3:12) or telic (Tit 1:5, 11; Jude 1:16). It is probably also telic here, not in order to create transgressions, but rather “to make transgressions palpable” (Ellicott), “thereby pronouncing them to be from that time forward transgressions of the law” (Rendall). [Parabasis], from [parabainō], is in this sense a late word (Plutarch on), originally a slight deviation, then a wilful disregarding of known regulations or prohibitions as in Ro 2:23. Till the seed should come [achris an elthēi to sperma]. Future time with [achris an] and aorist subjunctive (usual construction). Christ he means by [to sperma] as in verse 16. The promise hath been made [epēggeltai]. Probably impersonal perfect passive rather than middle of [epaggellomai] as in II Macc. 4:27. Ordained through angels [diatageis di’ aggelōn]. Second aorist passive participle of [diatassō] (see on Mt 11:1). About angels and the giving of the law see on De 33:2 (LXX); Ac 7:38,52; Heb 2:2; Josephus (Ant. XV. 5. 3). By the hand of a mediator [en cheiri mesitou]. [En cheiri] is a manifest Aramaism or Hebraism and only here in the N.T. It is common in the LXX. [Mesitēs], from [mesos] is middle or midst, is a late word (Polybius, Diodorus, Philo, Josephus) and common in the papyri in legal transactions for arbiter, surety, etc. Here of Moses, but also of Christ (1Ti 2:5; Heb 8:6; 9:15; 12:24).

3:20 Is not a mediator of one [henos ouk estin]. That is, a middleman comes in between two. The law is in the nature of a contract between God and the Jewish people with Moses as the mediator or middleman. But God is one [ho de theos heis estin]. There was no middleman between God and Abraham. He made the promise directly to Abraham. Over 400 interpretations of this verse have been made!

3:21 Against the promises [kata tōn epaggeliōn]. A pertinent question again. Far from it [mē genoito]. Which could make alive [ho dunamenos zōopoiēsai]. First aorist active infinitive of [zōopoieō], late compound [zōos], alive, [poieō], to make) verb for which see 1Co 15:22. Spiritual life, he means, here and hereafter. Verily [ontōs]. “Really” (cf. Mr 11:32; Lu 24:34). Condition and conclusion [an ēn] of second class, determined as unfulfilled. He had already said that Christ died to no purpose in that case (2:21).

3:22 Hath shut up [sunekleisen]. Did shut together. First aorist active indicative of [sunkleiō], old verb to shut together, on all sides, completely as a shoal of fish in a net (Lu 5:6). So verse 23; Ro 11:32. Under sin [hupo hamartian]. See [hupo kataran] in verse 10. As if the lid closed in on us over a massive chest that we could not open or as prisoners in a dungeon. He uses [ta panta] (the all things), the totality of everything. See Ro 3:10-19; 11:32. That [hina]. God’s purpose, personifying scripture again. Might be given [dothēi]. First aorist passive subjunctive of [didōmi] with [hina].

3:23 Before faith came [pro tou elthein tēn pistin]. “Before the coming (second aorist active infinitive of [erchomai], definite event) as to the Faith” (note article, meaning the faith in verse 22 made possible by the historic coming of Christ the Redeemer), the faith in Christ as Saviour (verse 22). We were kept in ward under the law [huper nomon ephrouroumetha]. Imperfect passive of [phroureō], to guard (from [phrouros], a guard). See on Ac 9:24; 2Co 11:32. It was a long progressive imprisonment. Unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed [eis tēn mellousan pistin apokaluphthēnai]. “Unto the faith (verse 22 again) about to be revealed.” [Mellō] and the first aorist passive infinitive (regular idiom).

3:24 Our tutor unto Christ [paidagōgos humōn eis Christon]. See 1Co 4:15 for the only other N.T. example of this old and common word for the slave employed in Greek and Roman families of the better class in charge of the boy from about six to sixteen. The paedagogue watched his behaviour at home and attended him when he went away from home as to school. Christ is our Schoolmaster and the law as paedagogue kept watch over us till we came to Christ. That we might be justified by faith [hina ek pisteōs dikaiōthōmen]. This is the ultimate purpose of the law as paedagogue. Now that faith is come [elthousēs tēs pisteōs]. Genitive absolute, “the faith (the time of the faith spoken of in verse 23) having come.” Under a tutor [hupo paidagōgon]. The pedagogue is dismissed. We are in the school of the Master.

3:26 For ye are all sons of God [pantes gar huioi theou este]. Both Jews and Gentiles (3:14) and in the same way “through faith in Christ Jesus” [dia tēs pisteōs en Christōi Iēsou]. There is no other way to become “sons of God” in the full ethical and spiritual sense that Paul means, not mere physical descendants of Abraham, but “sons of Abraham,” “those by faith” (verse 7). The Jews are called by Jesus “the sons of the Kingdom” (Mt 8:12) in privilege, but not in fact. God is the Father of all men as Creator, but the spiritual Father only of those who by faith in Christ Jesus receive “adoption” [huiothesia] into his family (verse 5; Ro 8:15,23). Those led by the Spirit are sons of God (Ro 8:14).

3:27 Were baptized into Christ [eis Christon ebaptisthēte]. First aorist passive indicative of [baptizō]. Better, “were baptized unto Christ” in reference to Christ. Did put on Christ [Christon enedusasthe]. First aorist middle indicative of [enduō] [-nō]. As a badge or uniform of service like that of the soldier. This verb is common in the sense of putting on garments (literally and metaphorically as here). See further in Paul (Ro 13:14; Col 3:9f.; Eph 4:22-24; 6:11,14). In 1Th 5:8 Paul speaks of “putting on the breastplate of righteousness.” He does not here mean that one enters into Christ and so is saved by means of baptism after the teaching of the mystery religions, but just the opposite. We are justified by faith in Christ, not by circumcision or by baptism. But baptism was the public profession and pledge, the soldier’s sacramentum, oath of fealty to Christ, taking one’s stand with Christ, the symbolic picture of the change wrought by faith already (Ro 6:4-6).

3:28 There can be neither [ouk eni]. Not a shortened form of [enesti], but the old lengthened form of [en] with recessive accent. So [ouk eni] means “there is not” rather than “there cannot be,” a statement of a fact rather than a possibility, as Burton rightly shows against Lightfoot. One man [heis]. No word for “man” in the Greek, and yet [heis] is masculine, not neuter [hen]. “One moral personality” (Vincent). The point is that “in Christ Jesus” race or national distinctions (“neither Jew nor Greek”) do not exist, class differences (“neither bond nor free,” no proletarianism and no capitalism) vanish, sex rivalry (“no male and female”) disappears. This radical statement marks out the path along which Christianity was to come in the sphere [en] and spirit and power of Christ. Candour compels one to confess that this goal has not yet been fully attained. But we are on the road and there is no hope on any way than on “the Jesus Road.”

3:29 If ye are Christ’s [ei de humeis Christou]. This is the test, not the accident of blood, pride of race or nation, habiliments or environment of dress or family, whether man or woman. Thus one comes to belong to the seed of Abraham and to be an heir according to promise.

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