3:19 Why then was the law given? 1 It was added 2 because of transgressions, 3 until the arrival of the descendant 4 to whom the promise had been made. It was administered 5 through angels by an intermediary. 6 3:20 Now an intermediary is not for one party alone, but God is one. 7 3:21 Is the law therefore opposed to the promises of God? 8 Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 9 3:22 But the scripture imprisoned 10 everything and everyone 11 under sin so that the promise could be given – because of the faithfulness 12 of Jesus Christ – to those who believe.
3:23 Now before faith 13 came we were held in custody under the law, being kept as prisoners 14 until the coming faith would be revealed. 3:24 Thus the law had become our guardian 15 until Christ, so that we could be declared righteous 16 by faith. 3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 17
1 tn Grk “Why then the law?”
2 tc For προσετέθη (proseteqh) several Western
3 tc παραδόσεων (paradosewn; “traditions, commandments”) is read by D*, while the vast majority of witnesses read παραβάσεων (parabasewn, “transgressions”). D’s reading makes little sense in this context. πράξεων (praxewn, “of deeds”) replaces παραβάσεων in Ì46 F G it Irlat Ambst Spec. The wording is best taken as going with νόμος (nomo"; “Why then the law of deeds?”), as is evident by the consistent punctuation in the later witnesses. But such an expression is unpauline and superfluous; it was almost certainly added by some early scribe(s) to soften the blow of Paul’s statement.
5 tn Or “was ordered.” L&N 31.22 has “was put into effect” here.
6 tn Many modern translations (NASB, NIV, NRSV) render this word (μεσίτης, mesith"; here and in v. 20) as “mediator,” but this conveys a wrong impression in contemporary English. If this is referring to Moses, he certainly did not “mediate” between God and Israel but was an intermediary on God’s behalf. Moses was not a mediator, for example, who worked for compromise between opposing parties. He instead was God’s representative to his people who enabled them to have a relationship, but entirely on God’s terms.
7 tn The meaning of this verse is disputed. According to BDAG 634 s.v. μεσίτης, “It prob. means that the activity of an intermediary implies the existence of more than one party, and hence may be unsatisfactory because it must result in a compromise. The presence of an intermediary would prevent attainment, without any impediment, of the purpose of the εἶς θεός in giving the law.” See also A. Oepke, TDNT 4:598-624, esp. 618-19.
8 tc The reading τοῦ θεοῦ (tou qeou, “of God”) is well attested in א A C D (F G read θεοῦ without the article) Ψ 0278 33 1739 1881 Ï lat sy co. However, Ì46 B d Ambst lack the words. Ì46 and B perhaps should not to be given as much weight as they normally are, since the combination of these two witnesses often produces a secondary shorter reading against all others. In addition, one might expect that if the shorter reading were original other variants would have crept into the textual tradition early on. But 104 (
9 tn Or “have been based on the law.”
10 tn Or “locked up.”
11 tn Grk “imprisoned all things” but τὰ πάντα (ta panta) includes people as part of the created order. Because people are the emphasis of Paul’s argument ( “given to those who believe” at the end of this verse.), “everything and everyone” was used here.
12 tn Or “so that the promise could be given by faith in Jesus Christ to those who believe.” A decision is difficult here. Though traditionally translated “faith in Jesus Christ,” an increasing number of NT scholars are arguing that πίστις Χριστοῦ (pisti" Cristou) and similar phrases in Paul (here and in Rom 3:22, 26; Gal 2:16, 20; Eph 3:12; Phil 3:9) involve a subjective genitive and mean “Christ’s faith” or “Christ’s faithfulness” (cf., e.g., G. Howard, “The ‘Faith of Christ’,” ExpTim 85 : 212-15; R. B. Hays, The Faith of Jesus Christ [SBLDS]; Morna D. Hooker, “Πίστις Χριστοῦ,” NTS 35 : 321-42). Noteworthy among the arguments for the subjective genitive view is that when πίστις takes a personal genitive it is almost never an objective genitive (cf. Matt 9:2, 22, 29; Mark 2:5; 5:34; 10:52; Luke 5:20; 7:50; 8:25, 48; 17:19; 18:42; 22:32; Rom 1:8; 12; 3:3; 4:5, 12, 16; 1 Cor 2:5; 15:14, 17; 2 Cor 10:15; Phil 2:17; Col 1:4; 2:5; 1 Thess 1:8; 3:2, 5, 10; 2 Thess 1:3; Titus 1:1; Phlm 6; 1 Pet 1:9, 21; 2 Pet 1:5). On the other hand, the objective genitive view has its adherents: A. Hultgren, “The Pistis Christou Formulations in Paul,” NovT 22 (1980): 248-63; J. D. G. Dunn, “Once More, ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ,” SBL Seminar Papers, 1991, 730-44. Most commentaries on Romans and Galatians usually side with the objective view.
sn On the phrase because of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, ExSyn 116, which notes that the grammar is not decisive, nevertheless suggests that “the faith/faithfulness of Christ is not a denial of faith in Christ as a Pauline concept (for the idea is expressed in many of the same contexts, only with the verb πιστεύω rather than the noun), but implies that the object of faith is a worthy object, for he himself is faithful.” Though Paul elsewhere teaches justification by faith, this presupposes that the object of our faith is reliable and worthy of such faith.
13 tn Or “the faithfulness [of Christ] came.”
14 tc Instead of the present participle συγκλειόμενοι (sunkleiomenoi; found in Ì46 א A B D* F G P Ψ 33 1739 al), C D1 0176 0278 Ï have the perfect συγκεκλεισμένοι (sunkekleismenoi). The syntactical implication of the perfect is that the cause or the means of being held in custody was confinement (“we were held in custody [by/because of] being confined”). The present participle of course allows for such options, but also allows for contemporaneous time (“while being confined”) and result (“with the result that we were confined”). Externally, the perfect participle has little to commend it, being restricted for the most part to later and Byzantine witnesses.
tn Grk “being confined.”
15 tn Or “disciplinarian,” “custodian,” or “guide.” According to BDAG 748 s.v. παιδαγωγός, “the man, usu. a slave…whose duty it was to conduct a boy or youth…to and from school and to superintend his conduct gener.; he was not a ‘teacher’ (despite the present mng. of the derivative ‘pedagogue’…When the young man became of age, the π. was no longer needed.” L&N 36.5 gives “guardian, leader, guide” here.
16 tn Or “be justified.”
17 tn See the note on the word “guardian” in v. 24. The punctuation of vv. 25, 26, and 27 is difficult to represent because of the causal connections between each verse. English style would normally require a comma either at the end of v. 25 or v. 26, but in so doing the translation would then link v. 26 almost exclusively with either v. 25 or v. 27; this would be problematic as scholars debate which two verses are to be linked. Because of this, the translation instead places a period at the end of each verse. This preserves some of the ambiguity inherent in the Greek and does not exclude any particular causal connection.