Galatians 3:1-9, 23-29

Galatians 3:1-9, 23-29
Narrative Lectionary 345


1 You foolishA Galatians!B Who has bewitchedC you?D

Notes on verse 1a

A “foolish” = anoetos. 6x in NT. From a (not, without) + noieo (to perceive, think, understand); {from nous (mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect)}. This is not thinking or thoughtless. It is not using proper logic to think something through.
B “Galatians” = Galates. 1x in NT. From Galatia (Galatia); from gal (to be able; taken from the Gallic tribes who intermingled with Greeks by marriage). This is Galatian.
C “bewitched” = baskaino. 1x in NT. From baskanos (to bewitch, wish someone harm, cast a wicked spell). This is to slander, overpower, captivate, put someone under an evil spell. It can be associated with a curse that prevents someone from thinking or acting logically or with being envious.
D Some manuscripts read, “who bewitched you not to believe the truth?” “truth” = aletheia. From alethes (true, unconcealed; true because it is in concert with fact and reality – attested; literally, what cannot be hidden; truth stands up to test and scrutiny and is undeniable, authentic). {from a (not, without) + lanthano (unnoticed, concealed)}. Truth is literally that which is not or cannot be concealed. This word covers more than the sense of true versus false. It spoke of truth as that which corresponds to reality – reality as opposed to illusion. Thus, it includes, sincerity, straightforwardness, and reality itself. “believe” = peitho. This is to have confidence, to urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust. It is the root from which the Greek word for faith is drawn (pistis).

It was before your eyesE that JesusF ChristG was publicly exhibitedH as crucified!I 

Notes on verse 1b

E “eyes” = ophthalmos. From optanomai (to appear, be seen by). This is eye or sight. It is used figuratively for the mind’s eye, a vision, or for envy.
F “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
G “Christ” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
H “publicly exhibited” = prographo. 4x in NT. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier) + grapho (to write or describe). This is to write above or before, to designate earlier, to show openly, or figuratively to announce.
I “crucified” = stauroo. From stauros (upright stake, cross; literally the horizontal beam of a Roman cross, generally carried by the one convicted to die); from the same as histemi (to stand, cause to stand). This can be to attach someone to a cross or fencing with stakes. In a figurative sense, it could be to destroy, mortify, or subdue passions/selfishness.

The only thing I wantJ to learnK from you is this: Did you receive the SpiritL by doing the worksM of the lawN or by believingO what you heard?P 

Notes on verse 2

J “want” = thelo. This is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.
K “learn” = manthano. This is to learn, ascertain, understand. It is knowledge that one gets from personal experience and it implies reflecting on that experience. It can also focus on gaining knowledge by learning facts. This root is where the Greek word for disciple comes from (mathetes).
L “Spirit” = Pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
M “works” = ergon. From ergo (to work, accomplish, do). This is work, task, deed, labor, effort.
N “law” = nomos. From nemo (to parcel out). Literally, this is that which is assigned. It can be usage, custom, or law. This word can be used for human or divine law. It can be used specifically for the law of Moses or as a name for the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Sometimes it is used for scripture as a whole, used of the Gospel, or of any theology. It is also used for the “tradition of the elders,” which would be the oral Torah – the tradition of the laws plus their interpretations as they were passed down over time. We must carefully consider which meaning of “law” is meant when we interpret passages the word is found in.
O “believing” = pistis. Related to {untranslated} in v1. From peitho (see note D above). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.
P “heard” = akoe. From akouo (listen, hear, understand through hearing). This is hearing, ear, audience, fame, report, rumor.

3 Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now endingQ with the flesh?R 4 Did you experienceS so much for nothing?T—if it really was for nothing. 

Notes on verses 3-4

Q “ending” = epiteleo. 10x in NT. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + teleo (to complete, fulfill, accomplish, end); {from telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax; going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one)}. This is to complete or make perfect, execute, accomplish, undergo or finish.
R “flesh” = sarx. May be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).
S “experience” = pascho. Akin to penthos (mourning, sorrow). This is to be acted on for good or ill. It is often used for negative treatment. Properly, it means feeling strong emotions – especially suffering. It can also be the ability to feel suffering.
T “nothing” = eike. 6x in NT. Probably from eiko (to be weak, submit, yield, give way); probably akin to hekon (freely, voluntary). This is nothing, idly, for no reason.

Well then, does God supplyU you with the Spirit and workV miraclesW among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?

Notes on verse 5

U “supply” = epichoregeo. 5x in NT. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + choregeo (to be the leader of a performing group, to help pay the expenses of a chorus; thus, to supply, furnish); {from choros (a dance or chorus) + ago (lead, bring, carry, guide, drive, go)}. This is lavishly provide or supply. It can also mean to help, nourish, or contribute.
V “work” = energeo. Related to “works” in v2. From energes (active, effective, operative, energized, powerful); {from en (in, at, by, with, among) + ergon (see note M above)}. This is to be at work, accomplish, be mighty or effectual. This is where “energy” comes from.
W “miracles” = dunamis. From dunamai (to be able, have power or ability). This is might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power. It is force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself.

Just as AbrahamX “believedY God,Z and it was reckonedAA to him as righteousness,”BB 

Notes on verse 6

X “Abraham” = Abraam. From Hebrew Abraham (exalted father); from the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (father literal or figurative) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.
Y “believed” = pisteuo. Related to {untranslated} in v1 & “believing” in v2. From pistis (see note O above). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.
Z “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
AA “reckoned” = logizomai. From logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; here, word as an account or accounting; can also be a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); from lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is this is to compute or reckon up, to count; figuratively, it is coming to a conclusion or decision using logic; taking an inventory in a literal or figurative sense.
BB “righteousness” = dikaiosune. From dikaios (correct, righteous – implies innocent; this is that which conforms to God’s notion of justice, uprightness); from dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known). This is judicial or divine approval of character or action. This is righteousness, justice, justness, divine righteousness.

so, you see,CC those who believe are the descendantsDD of Abraham. And the scripture,EE foreseeingFF

Notes on verses 7-8a

CC “see” = ginosko. This is to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn. It is knowledge gained through personal experience.
DD “descendants” = huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.
EE “scripture” = graphe. Related to “publicly exhibited” in v1. From grapho (see note H above). This is literally writing, a document. In the New Testament, this is always used for scripture.
FF “foreseeing” = proorao. 4x in NT. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier) + horao (to see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience; to stare at, which implies clear discernment; by extension, attending to what was seen and learned; to see, often with a metaphorical sense, which can include inward spiritual seeing). This is to see previously, pay attention to, be mindful of, foresee.

that God would justifyGG the GentilesHH by faith,II declared the gospel beforehandJJ to Abraham, saying,

Notes on verse 8b

GG “justify” = dikaioo. Related to “righteousness” in v6. From dikaios (see note BB above). This is to be righteous, plead the cause of, justify, acquit. Properly, it is being approved, particularly carrying the weight of a legal judgment. It is upright, render just, or innocent.
HH “Gentiles” = ethnos. Probably from etho (a custom or culture). This is people who are united by having similar customs or culture. Generally, it is used to refer to Gentiles. This is a tribe, race, nation, or Gentiles in general. This is where the term “ethnicity” comes from.
II “faith” = pistis. Same as “believing” in v2. See note O above.
JJ “declared the gospel beforehand” = proeuaggelizomai. Related to “supply” in v5. 1x in NT. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier) + euaggelizo (to evangelize – literally to preach the good news; those who hear the news, the gospel); {from eu (well, good, rightly) + aggelos (angel, messenger; a messenger from God bringing news – whether a prophet or an angel) {from aggellos (to bring tidings); probably from ago (see note U above)}}. This is to evangelize beforehand, to foretell the good news.

“All the Gentiles shall be blessedKK in you.” 9 For this reason, those who believe are blessedLL with Abraham who believed.MM

Notes on verses 8c-9

KK “be blessed” = eneulogeo. Related to “declared the gospel beforehand” in v8 & “reckoned” in v6. 2x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + eulogeo (speaking well of – speaking so that the other is benefited; praise, bless, thank, or call for a blessing); {from eu (see note II above) + logos (see note AA above)}. This is to bless, speak well, one who God has shown favor to.
LL “blessed” = eulogeo. Related to “reckoned” in v6 & “be blessed” in v8. See note KK above.
MM “believed” = pistos. Related to {untranslated} in v1 & “believing” in v2 & “believed” in v6. From peitho (see note D above). This is faithful, trustworthy, reliable, sure, or true. It is a fullness of faith. This is the same root as the word “faith” in Greek.

23 Now before faith came, we were imprisonedNN and guardedOO under the law until faith would bePP revealed.QQ 

Notes on verse 23

NN “imprisoned” = phroureo. Related to “foreseeing” in v8. 4x in NT. From phrouros (a guard) OR from pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + horao (see note FF above). This is to guard, keep, or protect. It is to guard or keep watch as by a military sentinel. Figuratively, it is using active defensive or offensive tactics to guard.
OO “guarded” = sugkleio. 4x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + kleio (to close, lock, shut). This is to shut in, enclose, shut up completely. It can also mean to make subject to.
PP “would be” = mello. Perhaps from melo (something that one is worried or concerned about, something one pays attention to or thinks about). Properly, this is ready, about to happen, to intend, delay, or linger. This is just on the point of acting.
QQ “revealed” = apokalupto. From apo (from, away from) + kalupto (to cover, hide, conceal; figuratively, to keep hidden or secret) {related to kalube (hut, cabin)}. This is properly to uncover so it means revealing something that was hidden or obstructed. It particularly refers to revealing the essence of something. This is to make plain or manifest. This is the root verb that “apocalypse” comes from.

24 Therefore the law wasRR our disciplinarianSS until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all childrenTT of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptizedUU into Christ have clothedVV yourselves with Christ. 

Notes on verses 24-27

RR “was” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
SS “disciplinarian” = paidagogos. Related to “supply” in v5 & “declared the gospel beforehand” in v8. 3x in NT. From pais (child, youth, servant, slave); {perhaps from paio (to strike or sting)} + ago (see note U above). This is someone who trains boys, a tutor or guardian. It was a slave who raised, taught, and disciplined children. Figuratively, it could be any tutor. It is where the word “pedagogue” comes from.
TT “children” = huios. Same as “descendants” in v7. See note DD above.
UU “baptized” = baptizo. From bapto (to dip or dye; to entirely cover with liquid, to stain). This is to submerge, wash, or immerse. Used specially for baptism.
VV “clothed” = enduo. From en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + duno (to sink into, set like the sun); {from duo (to go down, sink, or set)}. This is to put on as when one puts on clothes. It is the idea of sinking into one’s clothing.

28 There is no longer JewWW or Greek,XX there is no longer slaveYY or free,ZZ there is no longer maleAAA and female;BBB for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 

Notes on verse 28

WW “Jew” = Ioudaios. From Ioudas (Judah, Juadas); from Hebrew Yehudah (Judah, son of Jacob, his tribal descendants, a name for the southern kingdom. Literally, it means praised); probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Jewish, a Jew, or Judea.
XX “Greek” = Hellen. From Hellas (Hellas, what Greeks called themselves); perhaps from helane (torch) OR from selene (moon). This is Greek, but was used for Gentiles, broader populations that spoke Greek and were a part of Greek culture regardless of their heritage. See
YY “slave” = doulos. Perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is used for a servant or for a slave, enslaved. It refers to someone who belongs to someone else. But, it could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay off debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved). It is used as a metaphor for serving Christ. Slavery was not inherited (i.e. the children of slaves were not assumed to be slaves) and slaves could buy their way to freedom. Slavery was generally on a contractual basis (that is for the duration of how long it took you to pay your debt and/or save up enough money to buy your freedom).
ZZ “free” = eleutheros. Probably from erchomai (to come or go). This is a free person, at liberty, not a slave. Properly, it is unshackled – figuratively, it is one who has the freedom to choose their destiny. Also, it is one who does not have obligation or liability.
AAA “male” = arren. 9x in NT. From arsen (male, man) OR perhaps from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove). This is male or man.
BBB “female” = thelus. 5x in NT. From thele (breast) OR from the- (to suckle) OR from the same as thelazo (to nurse, suckle, nursing baby); from thele (nipple). This is female or woman – a mature female.

29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring,CCC heirsDDD according to the promise.EEE

Notes on verse 29

CCC “offspring” = sperma. From speiro (to sow seed, spread, scatter); perhaps from spao (to pull, to draw a sword). This is something sown so it could be seed or offspring and descendants. This is where the word “sperm” comes from.
DDD “heirs” = kleronomos. Related to “law” in v2. 15x in NT. From kleros (lot, portion, heritage; that share assigned to you; also a lot used to determine something by fate, chance, or divine will); {perhaps from klero (casting a lot) or from klao (to break in pieces as one breaks bread)} + the same as nomos (see note N above)}. This is heir, inheritor, or possessor – whether literal of figurative.
EEE “promise” = epaggelia. Related to “supply” in v5 & “declared the gospel beforehand” in v8 & “disciplinarian” in v24. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + aggello (see note JJ above). This is a summons, promise, or message. It is a formal promise that is officially sanctioned. In the New Testament, this usually refers to a promise made in the Old Testament.

Image credit: “Jesus at a Wedding in Cana” by Sue Bentley, 2015.

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