Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Galatians 3:1-14, Law or Faith (The Study of Galatians)

     1 O,1 foolish Galatians, who bewitched2 you3 , to whom Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed4 before your eyes as having been crucified? 2 I only want to learn one thing from you; did you receive the Spirit by performing the works of the law or by hearing the faith5? 3 Are you so foolish in this manner that after beginning in the Spirit6, are you now finishing in the flesh7? 4 Have you endured so many things to no avail8? If indeed it even was to no avail9 . 5 Therefore, is the One who is supplying10 the Spirit to you and working powers in you by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith11 ? 6 Just as Abraham believed12 in God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness13.
     7 Then understand that the ones who have faith, these people are Abraham’s decedents14. 8 Now the Scripture, foreseeing that God justifies15 the gentiles by faith, preached the Gospel in advanced to Abraham that “In you, all nations will be blessed”16 . 9 So then, the ones who have faith are bless with Abraham, the faithful one. 10 For as many as are living by the works of the law17 are under a curse18, for it has been written that, “Cursed are all who don’t abide in all things which have been written in the book of the Law, to do them”19 . 11 But since no one is justified by the law in the presence of God, it is evident that “The just will live by faith”20 . 12 But the law is not based on21 faith, but “The one who does them, will live by them”22. 13 Christ redeemed23 us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it has been written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree2425, 14 so that the blessing of Abraham might come to the gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit by 


Paul now moves into why faith in Christ is superior to the Jewish law.  Christ became a curse to "buy us out" of the Jewish law!

1 Ὦ (O)

Not only is this the last letter of the Greek alphabet, it also can serve has introduction to direct speech. It also brings with it emotion or astonishment.

2 ἐβάσκανεν (bewitched)

According to BDAG, “to exert an evil influence through the eye”. With this in mind, it can somewhat translated “who has influenced you by giving you the evil eye?”

3 The Textus Receptus adds τῇ ἀληθείᾳ μὴ πείθεσθαι (that you are not persuaded by the truth). It was probably added here because this praise appears in 5:7. It can be found in the KJV, but it is not original to this section of the letter.

4 προεγράφη (was vividly portrayed) 

The verb have two meanings: one, as portrayed in the translation, and two, it can also be translated “was written before hand”.

5 Represents the Gospel that was preached to them by Paul. The true Gospel of faith.

6 They had received the Spirit by believing that Jesus was crucified and had been raised from the dead on behalf of them and their sins. Receiving the Spirit here indicates that they had received entry into salvation only to be “bewitched” into believing that receiving the Spirit was not enough.

7 σαρκὶ (in the flesh)

Since Paul have been discussing circumcision, this praise points to that. In other words, Paul is asking the Galatians if becoming circumcised will complete their salvation.

8 εἰκῇ (to no avail)

or “in vain”. In other words, “Did you suffer all of these things for no reason?” Suffering here must refer to the things that the Galatians had endured because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Since no description has been give here, we must leave it at that.

9 See above note.

10 ὁ οὖν ἐπιχορηγῶν (Therefore, is the One who is suppling)

This is referring to God.

11 In other words, “Are you (Galatians) being supplied the Spirt and working powers by God because you are performing the works of the law or because you have faith in Jesus that you heard from me (Paul)? Paul is trapping them the Galatians because they know that they received the Spirit and was working powers before they started performing the law. They received these things from God when they believed what they had heard from Paul.

12 ἐπίστευσεν (believed) 

or “had faith in”.

13 εἰς δικαιοσύνην (as righteousness) 

or “into righteousness”. Abraham became righteous because he believed what God told him.

14 υἱοί (decedents) 

Greek: “Sons”.

15 δικαιοῖ (justifies) 

or “pronounces righteous”.

16 ἐνευλογηθήσονται ἐν σοὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη (In you, all nations will be blessed)

The quote is taken from Genesis 12:3.

17 Or "who are relying on the the works of the law".

18 κατάραν (curse)

This is not the same word that Paul used in verse 1:8-9. This word is use because it is used in the Septuagint in the following OT quote.

19 The quote is taken from Deuteronomy 27:26. 

The reason that Paul includes this quote is because no one is able to keep the law perfectly. Therefore, people who try to keep the law are cursed as a result of not being able to keep the law perfectly. In other words, they can’t help be to be cursed if they are only relying on keeping the law to be “pronounced righteous”.

20 The quote is taken from Habakkuk 2:4b.

21 ἐκ (based on)

Greek: “from”.

22 The quote is taken from Leviticus 18:5. Any blessing that can come from performing the law can only come by actually FULLY performing the law. In other words, you have to do them completely in order to live. In using this phrase, Paul may also be providing a gloss from Psalms 143:2b (142 in the Septuagint): ὅτι οὐ δικαιωθήσεται ἐνώπιόν σου πᾶς ζῶν (because all life is not justified before you) See Bruce’s The Epistle to the Galatians (The New International Greek Testament Commentary), pg 162. If Paul’s view is right that no one is justified before God, then trying to perform the works of the law will not justify a person either since that person can’t completely keep them.

23 ἐξηγόρασεν (redeemed) 

or “bought out” or “bought back”. In other words, Jesus bought us out
of the curse of the law by becoming a curse.

24 ξύλου (tree)

or “wood”. Not necessarily a tree, but something made of wood. It was used to refer to gallows in some instances in the OT. In the case of Jesus, it refers to a cross.

25 The quote is taken for Deuteronomy 21:23f. It was not the placing of Jesus on a tree (cross) that make him a curse. Being executed was what made his a curse because in that execution, he became the sacrifice for all sin.

Paul is also setting up for something that he is about to write in this letter in Chapter 4. Christ, being born under the law, was born under the curse of the law, but since he was able to completely keep the law, he fulfilled the law while setting all people free from the law.

26 The law was given to Jews, but not to Gentiles. The promise was given to Abraham before the law existed. The promise extents to all people, Jews and Gentiles alike, from Abraham.

The Greek

Γαλάτας 3·1 Ὦ ἀνόητοι Γαλάται, τίς ὑμᾶς ἐβάσκανεν, οἷς κατ ̓ ὀφθαλμοὺς Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς προεγράφη ἐσταυρωμένος; 2 τοῦτο μόνον θέλω μαθεῖν ἀφ ̓ ὑμῶν· ἐξ ἔργων νόμου τὸ πνεῦμα ἐλάβετε ἢ ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως; 3 οὕτως ἀνόητοί ἐστε, ἐναρξάμενοι πνεύματι νῦν σαρκὶ ἐπιτελεῖσθε; 4 τοσαῦτα ἐπάθετε εἰκῇ; εἴ γε καὶ εἰκῇ. 5 ὁ οὖν ἐπιχορηγῶν ὑμῖν τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ ἐνεργῶν δυνάμεις ἐν ὑμῖν, ἐξ ἔργων νόμου ἢ ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως;
Γαλάτας 3·6 Καθὼς Ἀβραὰμ ἐπίστευσεν τῷ θεῷ, καὶ ἐλογίσθη αὐτῷ εἰς δικαιοσύνην· 7 γινώσκετε ἄρα ὅτι οἱ ἐκ πίστεως, οὗτοι υἱοί εἰσιν Ἀβραάμ. 8 προϊδοῦσα δὲ ἡ γραφὴ ὅτι ἐκ πίστεως δικαιοῖ τὰ ἔθνη ὁ θεός, προευηγγελίσατο τῷ Ἀβραὰμ ὅτι ἐνευλογηθήσονται ἐν σοὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη· 9 ὥστε οἱ ἐκ πίστεως εὐλογοῦνται σὺν τῷ πιστῷ Ἀβραάμ. Γαλάτας 3·10 Ὅσοι γὰρ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου εἰσίν, ὑπὸ κατάραν εἰσίν· γέγραπται γὰρ ὅτι ἐπικατάρατος πᾶς ὃς οὐκ ἐμμένει πᾶσιν τοῖς γεγραμμένοις ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τοῦ νόμου τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτά. 11 ὅτι δὲ ἐν νόμῳ οὐδεὶς δικαιοῦται παρὰ τῷ θεῷ δῆλον, ὅτι ὁ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται· 12 ὁ δὲ νόμος οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ πίστεως, ἀλλ ̓ ὁ ποιήσας αὐτὰ ζήσεται ἐν αὐτοῖς. 13 Χριστὸς ἡμᾶς ἐξηγόρασεν ἐκ τῆς κατάρας τοῦ νόμου γενόμενος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν κατάρα, ὅτι γέγραπται· ἐπικατάρατος πᾶς ὁ κρεμάμενος ἐπὶ ξύλου, 14 ἵνα εἰς τὰ ἔθνη ἡ εὐλογία τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ γένηται ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, ἵνα τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ πνεύματος λάβωμεν διὰ τῆς πίστεως.

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