ISSL Reflections October 29 2023 Galatians 3:23–4:7 Post 2

Let’s look at this passage again and notice how Paul writes about being “imprisoned,” “enslaved,” “minors,” and even “heirs.”

Galatians 3:23-4:7 (NRSVue)

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be reckoned as righteous by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek; there is no longer slave or free; there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than those who are enslaved, though they are the owners of all the property, but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir through God.

Yes, he speaks of prisons and slavery but he also speaks of law as our “disciplinarian.”

What images does that bring to mind for you, especially as you think about “the law,” i.e. The Torah?

What is translated in the New Revised Standard Version as “disciplinarian,” other translations have “guardian,” “tutor,” “schoolmaster,” and “custodian.”

Here is how it is presented in the Phillips translation:

“… the Law was like a strict governess in charge of us until we went to the school of Christ and learned to be justified by faith in him. Once we had that faith we were completely free from the governess’s authority.”

What has it been like for you to attend the “school of Christ”?

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *