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Galatians 3:6-18

Context

3:6 Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, 1  3:7 so then, understand 2  that those who believe are the sons of Abraham. 3  3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time, 4  saying, “All the nations 5  will be blessed in you.” 6  3:9 So then those who believe 7  are blessed along with Abraham the believer. 3:10 For all who 8  rely on doing the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not keep on doing everything written in the book of the law. 9  3:11 Now it is clear no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous one will live by faith. 10  3:12 But the law is not based on faith, 11  but the one who does the works of the law 12  will live by them. 13  3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming 14  a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”) 15  3:14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles, 16  so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.

Inheritance Comes from Promises and not Law

3:15 Brothers and sisters, 17  I offer an example from everyday life: 18  When a covenant 19  has been ratified, 20  even though it is only a human contract, no one can set it aside or add anything to it. 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his descendant. 21  Scripture 22  does not say, “and to the descendants,” 23  referring to many, but “and to your descendant,” 24  referring to one, who is Christ. 3:17 What I am saying is this: The law that came four hundred thirty years later does not cancel a covenant previously ratified by God, 25  so as to invalidate the promise. 3:18 For if the inheritance is based on the law, it is no longer based on the promise, but God graciously gave 26  it to Abraham through the promise.

1 sn A quotation from Gen 15:6.

2 tn Grk “know.”

3 tn The phrase “sons of Abraham” is used here in a figurative sense to describe people who are connected to a personality, Abraham, by close nonmaterial ties. It is this personality that has defined the relationship and its characteristics (BDAG 1024-25 s.v. υἱός 2.c.α).

4 tn For the Greek verb προευαγγελίζομαι (proeuangelizomai) translated as “proclaim the gospel ahead of time,” compare L&N 33.216.

5 tn The same plural Greek word, τὰ ἔθνη (ta eqnh), can be translated as “nations” or “Gentiles.”

6 sn A quotation from Gen 12:3; 18:18.

7 tn Grk “those who are by faith,” with the Greek expression “by faith” (ἐκ πίστεως, ek pistew") the same as the expression in v. 8.

8 tn Grk “For as many as.”

9 tn Grk “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all the things written in the book of the law, to do them.”

sn A quotation from Deut 27:26.

10 tn Or “The one who is righteous by faith will live” (a quotation from Hab 2:4).

11 tn Grk “is not from faith.”

12 tn Grk “who does these things”; the referent (the works of the law, see 3:5) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

13 sn A quotation from Lev 18:5. The phrase the works of the law is an editorial expansion on the Greek text (see previous note); it has been left as normal typeface to indicate it is not part of the OT text.

14 tn Grk “having become”; the participle γενόμενος (genomenos) has been taken instrumentally.

15 sn A quotation from Deut 21:23. By figurative extension the Greek word translated tree (ζύλον, zulon) can also be used to refer to a cross (L&N 6.28), the Roman instrument of execution.

16 tn Or “so that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus.”

17 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:11.

18 tn Grk “I speak according to man,” referring to the illustration that follows.

19 tn The same Greek word, διαθήκη (diaqhkh), can mean either “covenant” or “will,” but in this context the former is preferred here because Paul is discussing in vv. 16-18 the Abrahamic covenant.

20 tn Or “has been put into effect.”

21 tn Grk “his seed,” a figurative extension of the meaning of σπέρμα (sperma) to refer to descendants (L&N 10.29).

22 tn Grk “It”; the referent (the scripture) has been specified in the translation for clarity. The understood subject of the verb λέγει (legei) could also be “He” (referring to God) as the one who spoke the promise to Abraham.

23 tn Grk “to seeds.” See the note on “descendant” earlier in this verse. Here the term is plural; the use of the singular in the OT text cited later in this verse is crucial to Paul’s argument.

24 tn See the note on “descendant” earlier in this verse.

sn A quotation from Gen 12:7; 13:15; 17:7; 24:7.

25 tc Most mss (D F G I 0176 0278 Ï it sy) read “ratified by God in Christ” whereas the omission of “in Christ” is the reading in Ì46 א A B C P Ψ 6 33 81 1175 1739 1881 2464 pc co. The shorter reading is strongly supported by the ms evidence, and it is probable that a copyist inserted the words as an interpretive gloss. However, this form of the “in Christ” expression is somewhat atypical in the corpus Paulinum (εἰς Χριστόν [ei" Criston] rather than ἐν Χριστῷ [en Cristw]), a fact which tempers one’s certainty about the shorter reading. Nevertheless, the expression is used more in Galatians than in any other of Paul’s letters (Gal 2:16; 3:24, 27), and may have been suggested by such texts to early copyists.

26 tn On the translation “graciously gave” for χαρίζομαι (carizomai) see L&N 57.102.



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