[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Galatians: 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
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
. 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
(\energōn dunameis\). On the word \energeō\ see 1Th
2:13; 1Co 12:6. It is a great word for God's activities (Php
. "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
. 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
. "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
(\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
(\tōi pistōi\). Rather, "the believing" (cf. verse

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,

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\
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
. 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
. \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

3:14 {That upon the Gentiles} (\hina eis ta ethnē\). Final clause
(\hina\ and \genētai\, aorist middle subjunctive). {That we might
(\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}
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
. 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\,
. 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
(\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
(\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
(\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
. 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
(\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
. 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

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
, 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
. See on ¯Ac 9:24; 2Co 11:32. It was a long progressive
imprisonment. {Unto the faith which should afterwards be
(\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
. Genitive absolute, "the faith (the time of the faith
spoken of in verse 23)
having come." {Under a tutor} (\hupo
. 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
. Both Jews and Gentiles (3:14) and in the same way
"through faith in Christ Jesus" (\dia tēs pisteōs en Christōi
. 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.

[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Galatians: Chapter 3)