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Galatians 3:19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made.

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Galatians 3:19 >

      19. "Wherefore then serveth the law?" as it is of no avail for justification, is it either useless, or contrary to the covenant of God? [CALVIN].
      added--to the original covenant of promise. This is not inconsistent with Ga 3:15, "No man addeth thereto"; for there the kind of addition meant, and therefore denied, is one that would add new conditions, inconsistent with the grace of the covenant of promise. The law, though misunderstood by the Judaizers as doing so, was really added for a different purpose, namely, "because of (or as the Greek, 'for the sake of') the transgressions," that is, to bring out into clearer view the transgressions of it (Ro 7:7-9); to make men more fully conscious of their "sins," by being perceived as transgressions of the law, and so to make them long for the promised Saviour. This accords with Ga 3:23, 24; Ro 4:15. The meaning can hardly be "to check transgressions," for the law rather stimulates the corrupt heart to disobey it (Ro 5:20; 7:13).
      till the seed--during the period up to the time when the seed came. The law was a preparatory dispensation for the Jewish nation (Ro 5:20; Greek, "the law came in additionally and incidentally"), intervening between the promise and its fulfilment in Christ.
      come--(Compare "faith came," Ga 3:23).
      the promise-- (Ro 4:21).
      ordained--Greek, "constituted" or "disposed."
      by angels--as the instrumental enactors of the law [ALFORD] God delegated the law to angels as something rather alien to Him and severe (Ac 7:53; Heb 2:2, 3; compare De 33:2, "He came with ten thousands of saints," that is, angels, Ps 68:17). He reserved "the promise" to Himself and dispensed it according to His own goodness.
      in the hand of a mediator--namely, Moses. De 5:5, "I stood between the Lord and you": the very definition of a mediator. Hence the phrase often recurs, "By the hand of Moses." In the giving of the law, the "angels" were representatives of God; Moses, as mediator, represented the people.

JFB.


Questions Related to this Verse

Where in Scripture do angels reveal prophecy to prophets?

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 say that the law was given because of transgressions until the Messiah comes?

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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)