Galatians 3:23-4:7

Galatians 3:23-4:7
A Women’s Lectionary – Palm Sunday 20


3:23 Now before faithA came,B we were imprisonedC

Notes on verse 3:23a

A “faith” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). 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.
B “came” = erchomai. This is to come or go.
C “imprisoned” = phroureo. 4x in NT. From phrouros (a guard) OR from pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + 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 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.

and guardedD under the lawE until faith would beF revealed.G 

Notes on verse 3:23b

D “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.
E “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.
F “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.
G “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 wasH our disciplinarianI until ChristJ came, so that we might be justifiedK by faith. 

Notes on verse 3:24

H “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.
I “disciplinarian” = paidagogos. 3x in NT. From pais (child, youth, servant, slave); {perhaps from paio (to strike or sting)} + ago (lead, bring, carry, guide, drive, go). 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.
J “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.
K “justified” = dikaioo. 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 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.

25 But now that faith has come, we areL no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ JesusM you are allN childrenO of GodP through faith. 

Notes on verses 3:25-26

L “are” = eimi. This is to be or exist.
M “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.
N “all” = pas. This is all or every.
O “children” = huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.
P “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

27 As many of you as were baptizedQ into Christ have clothedR yourselves with Christ. 28 There isS no longer JewT or Greek,U

Notes on verses 3:27-28a

Q “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.
R “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.
S “there is” = eni. Related to “law” in v3:23 & “are” in v3:25. 6x in NT. From eneimi (to be in); {from en (in, on, at, by, with) + eimi (see note L above)} OR from ennomos (under the law); {from en (in, on, at, by, with) + nomos (see note E above)} + eimi (see note L above). This is there is or can be.
T “Jew” = Ioudaios. From Ioudas (Judah, Judas); 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.
U “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

there is no longer slaveV or free,W there is no longer maleX and female;Y for all of you are oneZ in Christ Jesus. 

Notes on verse 3:28b

V “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).
W “free” = eleutheros. Related to “came” in v3:23. Probably from erchomai (see note B above). 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.
X “male” = arren. 9x in NT. From arsen (male, man) OR perhaps from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove). This is male or man.
Y “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.
Z “one” = heis. This is one, a person, only, some.

29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’sAA offspring,BB heirsCC according to the promise.DD

Notes on verse 3:29

AA “Abraham’s” = 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.
BB “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.
CC “heirs” = kleronomos. Related to “law” in v3:23 & “there is” in v3:28. 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 E above)}. This is heir, inheritor, or possessor – whether literal of figurative.
DD “promise” = epaggelia. Related to “disciplinarian” in v3:24. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + aggello (to announce, report); {from aggelos (angel, messenger); probably from ago (see note I 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.

4:1 My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors,EE are no betterFF than slaves, though they are the ownersGG of all the property;HH 

Notes on verse 4:1

EE “minors” = chronos + ho + kleronomos + nepios. Literally, “time the heir is a child.” Chronos is time in the chronological sense, quantitative time or a duration of time. Kleronomos is the same as “heir” in v3:29. See note CC above. Nepios is 15x in NT – used in 1 Corinthians 13 (“when I was a child…”). This may be from ne (not) + epos (word; by extension, to speak) {from epo (to answer, bring word, command). This is an infant, child, minor, or immature person. It can also be used figuratively for someone who is childish or unlearned.
FF “are…better” = diaphero. 13x in NT. From dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + phero (to bear, bring, lead, make known publicly; to carry in a literal or figurative sense). This is to carry through as in all the way to the end. It is differing or fully distinguishing – separating by comparison. Literally, it means transport – figuratively it can mean report or surpass.
GG “owners” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
HH “property” = eimi. Same as “are” in v3:25. See note L above.

2 but they remainII under guardiansJJ and trusteesKK until the date setLL by the father.MM 

Notes on verse 4:2

II “remain” = eimi. Same as “are” in v3:25. See note L above.
JJ “guardians” = epitropos. 3x in NT. From epitrepo (to allow, permit, yield, entrust, give license); {from epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + the same as trope (turning, change, shifting); {from trepo (to turn)}}. This is a someone who has authority like an administrator, foreman, guardian, or steward. It could also be someone who has care over a child under 14.
KK “trustees” = oikonomos. Related to “law” in v3:23 & “there is” in v3:28 & “heirs” in v3:29. 10x in NT. From oiokos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple) + nemo (to manage) OR from oikos (see above) + the base of nomos (see note E above). This is a steward, manager, or guardian. It refers to someone whose job it is to oversee a house. It can also be a treasurer or other fiscal agent. Figuratively, this can mean someone who preaches the good news.
LL “date set” = prothesmia. 1x in NT. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier) + thesmios (fixed, settled); {from tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position)}. This is previously appointed, foreordained, date set.
MM “father” = pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.

3 So with us; while we were minors, we were enslavedNN to the elemental spiritsOO of the world.PP 

Notes on verse 4:3

NN “enslaved” = douloo. Related to “slave” in v3:28. 8x in NT.  From doulos (see note V above). This is to enslave, cause something to be subject or bound. It focuses on the impact or result of being enslaved. It can be literal or figurative.
OO “elemental spirits” = stoicheion. 7x in NT. From the same as stoicheo (walking in rows, according to a uniform cadence; it can be marching in military style; figuratively, it is one’s walk of life, living piously); from stoichos (a row) or from steicho (in a line). This is part of a row. So, it could be a letter in the alphabet, something rudimentary or a fundamental element of something else. Figuratively, it is primary principles that are orderly. It can also refer to heavenly bodies or core sensibility.
PP “world” = kosmos. Perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants. Literally, this is something that is ordered so it can refer to all creation. It can also refer to decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and, thus, made more beautiful. This is where “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.

But when the fullnessQQ of timeRR had come, God sentSS his Son, bornTT of a woman,UU born under the law, 

Notes on verse 4:4

QQ “fullness” = pleroma. 18x in NT. From pleroo (to fill, make full or complete; properly, filling something up to the maximum extent or induvial capacity; used figuratively for furnish, influence, satisfy, finish, preach, perfect, and fulfill); from pleres (to be full, complete, abounding in, occupied with). This is fullness, supply, completion, superabundance, or multitude.
RR “time” = chronos. Same as “minors” in v4:1. See note EE above.
SS “sent” = exapostello. 13x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + apostello (to send, send away, send forth as a messenger, to commission); {from apo (from, away from) + stello (to set, arrange, prepare, provide for)}. This is to send away, dismiss, send someone for a mission.
TT “born” = ginomai. Same as “was” in v3:24. See note H above.
UU “woman” = gune. Related to “was” in v3:24. This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.

5 in order to redeemVV those who were under the law, so that we might receiveWW adoption as children.XX 

Notes on verse 4:5

VV “redeem” = exagorazo. 4x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + agorazo (to go and buy something at market with a focus on goods being transferred; to purchase or redeem.); {from agora (assembly, forum, marketplace, town square, thoroughfare); from ageiro (to gather)}. This is to buy up, purchase, redeem, ransom. Figuratively, it is to save something from loss, take an opportunity fully, making the most of something.
WW “receive” = apolambano. 10x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + lambano (active acceptance/taking of what is available or what has been offered; emphasizes the choice and action of the individual). This is to receive back, separate, to get one’s due.
XX “adoption as children” = huiothesia. Related to “children” in v3:26 & “date set” in v4:2. 5x in NT. From huios (see note O above) + tithemi (see note LL above). This is making a son, adoption.

6 And because you are children, God has sent the SpiritYY of his Son into our hearts,ZZ crying,AAA “Abba!BBB Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

Notes on verses 4:6-7

YY “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.
ZZ “hearts” = kardia. Literally the heart, but figuratively mind, character, inner self, will, intention, thoughts, feelings. Also, the center of something. The word heart is only used figuratively in the Old and New Testaments. This is where “cardiac” comes from.
AAA “crying” = krazo. This is to cry out, scream, shriek. It is onomatopoeia for the sound of a raven’s call. Figuratively, this means crying out urgently without intelligible words to express something that is deeply felt.
BBB “Abba” = abba. Related to “Abraham’s” in v3:29. 3x in NT. From Aramaic ab (father); corresponding to Hebrew ab (see note AA above). This is abba, which means father – not a diminutive daddy.

Image credit: “Zebras and Wildebeest” by William Warby, 2008.

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