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Galatians 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as [referring] to many, but [rather] to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ.

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Galatians 3:16 >

      16. This verse is parenthetical. The covenant of promise was not "spoken" (so Greek for "made") to Abraham alone, but "to Abraham and his seed"; to the latter especially; and this means Christ (and that which is inseparable from Him, the literal Israel, and the spiritual, His body, the Church). Christ not having come when the law was given, the covenant could not have been then fulfilled, but awaited the coming of Him, the Seed, to whom it was spoken.
      promises--plural, because the same promise was often repeated (Ge 12:3, 7; 15:5, 18; 17:7; 22:18), and because it involved many things; earthly blessings to the literal children of Abraham in Canaan, and spiritual and heavenly blessings to his spiritual children; but both promised to Christ, "the Seed" and representative Head of the literal and spiritual Israel alike. In the spiritual seed there is no distinction of Jew or Greek; but to the literal seed, the promises still in part remain to be fulfilled (Ro 11:26). The covenant was not made with "many" seeds (which if there had been, a pretext might exist for supposing there was one seed before the law, another under the law; and that those sprung from one seed, say the Jewish, are admitted on different terms, and with a higher degree of acceptability, than those sprung from the Gentile seed), but with the one seed; therefore, the promise that in Him "all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Ge 12:3), joins in this one Seed, Christ, Jew and Gentile, as fellow heirs on the same terms of acceptability, namely, by grace through faith (Ro 4:13); not to some by promise, to others by the law, but to all alike, circumcised and uncircumcised, constituting but one seed in Christ (Ro 4:16). The law, on the other hand, contemplates the Jews and Gentiles as distinct seeds. God makes a covenant, but it is one of promise; whereas the law is a covenant of works. Whereas the law brings in a mediator, a third party (Ga 3:19, 20), God makes His covenant of promise with the one seed, Christ (Ge 17:7), and embraces others only as they are identified with, and represented by, Christ.
      one . . . Christ--not in the exclusive sense, the man Christ Jesus, but "Christ" (Jesus is not added, which would limit the meaning), including His people who are part of Himself, the Second Adam, and Head of redeemed humanity. Ga 3:28, 29 prove this, "Ye are all ONE in Christ Jesus" (Jesus is added here as the person is indicated). "And if ye be Christ's, ye are Abraham's SEED, heirs according to the promise."

JFB.


Questions Related to this Verse

Where in scripture does it mention God's covenant with Abraham?

Where In Scripture Does It Talk About Faith?

Where in Scripture does it talk about having faith in Jesus Christ?

Where In Scripture does it talk about God becoming a man?

Where in Scripture does it talk about the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ?

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Galatians Images and Notes

The Book of Galatians

Galatians 1:11-12 - But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 4:4 - But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians in The New Testament - A Brief Overview

Painting of the Apostle Paul by Rembrandt - 1657
Painting of Paul the Apostle by Rembrandt - 1657

Introduction to The Book of Galatians

Brief Summary. Paul instructs the churches that he established in Galatia. He defends his apostleship against the Judaizers who wanted to mix Christianity with the Law of Moses. Paul says that salvation is by grace and not by law.

Summary of The Book of Galatians

Purpose. Paul was so well received by the Galatians that they even looked upon him as an angel or God himself (Galatians 4:14). The churches that he established had become strong churches, yet they were severely affected by the false teaching of the Judaizers. Paul deals with their false doctrines and their attacks at his apostleship, and shows clearly how Christianity cannot be mingled with Jewish laws and circumcision. He reminds them that his authority and ministry was not passed on through the other apostles, but came directly through Jesus Christ. Regarding Christianity he uses sound doctrine, Scripture, and allegory to show how Christianity is greater than the law. The true purpose of the law was to point to Jesus Christ, and the gospel does not see any difference between the Jew, the Greek, the free man, the slave, nor male nor female. Paul's message in the book of Galatians regarding Christianity and its relationship to the law of Moses is theologically brilliant, and some have referred to it as the Christian Declaration of Independence.

Audience. Scholars agree that paul was writing to the churches in Galatia which he established on his  first missionary journey.

Authorship. Paul the Apostle was the author of the book of Galatians. Scholars agree that Paul was the author of the epistle to the Galatians. Paul refers to his own name as "Paul" twice in Galatians (Galatians 1:1 and 5:2). The second reference is very conclusive that it was Paul writing. There were several references to the life of Paul which can easily be harmonized with the Book of Acts.

Date. it is very difficult to be certain about the date of the epistle to the Galatians. Most scholars give it a 50 or 55 AD date.

Place Written. It is also difficult to be certain about the location where Paul wrote his epistle to the Galatians. Most likely it was written from either Syrian Antioch before the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) or it could have been written from Ephesus on Paul's second or third missionary journey.

Outline of the Book of Galatians

Paul's Message of the Gospel - Chapter 1:1-10
Paul Defends Justification by Faith -  Chapters 1:11-2:21
Paul Explains Justification by Faith - Chapters 3:1-4:31
Paul Explains Applying Justification by Faith 5:1-6:18

Jesus written in Hebrew
The Name Jesus In Ancient Hebrew Text
"Yeshua" in First Century Hebrew Text. This is how the name "Jesus" would have been written in ancient Hebrew documents. The four letters or consonants from right to left are Yod, Shin, Vav, Ayin (Y, SH, OO, A). Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew name Joshua or Y'shua which means "The LORD or Yahweh is Salvation".

Galatians Maps and Resources

Map of the Roman Empire (14 A.D.) - This map reveals the Roman Empire during the time shortly after the birth of Jesus, in 14 AD at the time of the death of Augustus. The order which prevailed in this extensive empire, the good military roads, and the use of Koine Greek as the general language of culture throughout the area were among the factors which multiplied the rapid spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's First Missionary Journey (48 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia Minor where Paul visited in his first missionary journey. Around 48 AD, in the springtime, Paul and his companions Barnabas and Mark were sent on a mission from the church in Antioch. This would be the first of Paul's Missionary Journey's. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's Second Missionary Journey (51 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia and Greece where Paul visited in his second missionary journey. Paul re-visits a couple cities in Asia, one of which was Lystra where he was stoned and left for dead a few years earlier. He later has a vision that leads him over to Greece and Paul and his companions travel and minister in various cities in Greece (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens and Corinth. Later Paul returns to Ephesus and finally to Caesarea and Antioch. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's Third Missionary Journey (54 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia and Greece where Paul visited in his third missionary journey. On Paul's third missionary journey he returned to the cities he had first visited on his first missionary journey. During this time he decided to remain in Ephesus for about 3 years, and this city was the main focus of his activities and an important Christian community (Acts 19). (Color Map)

Map of the New Testament World - This map reveals the "Nations" within the ancient world during the first century A.D., the time of the New Testament. The map includes the areas of Israel, Asia, Greece, and Italy. (Color Map)

Map of New Testament Asia - This map shows the cities within Asia Minor during the first century A.D., the time of the New Testament. The map includes the principal cities of Asia including Tarsus, Ephesus, and Colossae, and provinces like Galatia and Pamphilia. (Color Map)