The Law was our
Gal 3:24 "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster
to bring us unto Christ, that we might be
justified by faith."
The Law Was Our "Schoolmaster" To Bring Us Unto Christ
The Trustworthy Greek
Paul, the writer of Galatians, shifts gears in this verse
using a metaphor about the Jewish Law, the Greek word
"paedagogos" which was in ancient Greece, a trustworthy
attendant for children.
The "schoolmaster" in the historical context of this
Scripture was not the teacher, but rather the slave, who
cared for his master's son's from around the age of 6 or 7
until they reached puberty. The servant (usually elderly)
would escort the child to school and care for his safety in
his immaturity making sure he was instructed, seeing that
this child too was his master. Once the child grew up, he
was no longer required to obey his servant.
The technical duty of the attendant, according to
historians, was to guard the children from evil, both
physical and moral, rather than instruction. He went with
them to and from the school and the gymnasium, and was
personally responsible for their safety and protected them
from any bad company. (See Smith's "Dictionary of
Antiquities" about Paedagogus).
The Law Pointed to Jesus,
the Real Teacher
This is a striking imagery of how the Law was primarily
given for a certain purpose as an attendant to lead us to
Jesus, who is the real teacher. Paul makes it clear that the
Law was never given to teach us (we could never obey it),
but rather it was a finger pointing to the One who is the
only teacher, Jesus.
Bibliography on Ancient Customs
The Art of Ancient Egypt, Revised
by Robins, 272 Pages, Pub. 2008
Return to Ancient Customs
Bible History Online
© Bible History Online (https://www.bible-history.com)