BARNES' NOTES ON THE NEW TESTAMENT:
CHAP.3:22 But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that
the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that
'But the Scripture.'
The Old Testament, (Note, John 5:39,) - containing the law
'Hath concluded all under sin.'
Has shut up (Barnes gives the Greek word here - Keith Hunt)
all under the condemnation of sin; that is has declared all men,
no matter what their rank and external character, to be sinners.
Of course they cannot be justified by the law which declares them
to be guilty, and which condemns them, any more than the law of
the land will acquit a murderer, and pronounce him innocent, at
the same time that it holds him to be guilty...
'That the promise by faith of Jesus Christ,' etc.
That the promise referred to in the transaction with
Abraham, the promise of justification and life by faith in the
Messiah. Here we see ONE design of the law. It was to show that
they could not be justified by their own works, to HEDGE UP THEIR
WAY in regard to justification by their own righteousness, and to
show them their need of a better righteousness. The law
accomplishes the same end now. It shows men that they are guilty;
and it does it in order that they may be brought under the
influence of the pure system of the gospel, and become
interested in the promises which are connected with eternal
[CHAP. 3:22. Paul's most amplified discourse on the true way of
JUSTIFICATION is found in Rom.chap.3;4;5. There he clearly shows
that forgiveness of sins (justification) can not be EARNED
through works of law by oneself, but can only be by the free
undeserved GRACE of God given to us through the redemption that
is in the blood of Jesus. Faith in the sacrifice of Christ
secures our justification. But Paul never taught that FAITH "did
away" with the commandments - ON THE CONTRARY he says "Do we then
make VOID THE LAW through faith? God forbid!! Yea, we ESTABLISH
the law" (Rom.3:31) - Keith Hunt]
CHAP.3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law...
'But before faith came.'
That is, the system of salvation by Faith in the Lord Jesus.
Faith here denotes the Christian religion, because faith is its
'We were kept under the law.'
We, who were sinners; we; who have violated the law. It is a
general truth, that before the gospel was introduced, men were
under the condemning of the law.
'Shut up unto the faith.'
Enclosed by the law with reference to the full and glorious
revelation of a system of salvation by faith. The design and
tendency of the law was to shut us up to that as the only
method of salvation. All other means failed. The law condemned
ever other mode, and the law condemned all who attempted to be
justified in any other way. Man, therefore, was shut up to that
as his last hope; and could look only to that for any possible
prospect of salvation. The word which in this verse is rendered
"were kept," (Barnes gives the Greek - Keith Hunt) usually means
to guard or watch, as in a castle, or as prisoners are guarded;
and though the word should not be pressed too far in the
interpretation, yet it implies that there was a rigid scrutiny
observed; that the law guarded them; that there was no way of
escape; and that the were shut up, prisoners and under sentence
of death, to the only hope, which was that of PARDON.
'Unto the faith,' etc.
That was the only Hope. The law condemned them, and offered
no hope of escape. Their only hope was in a system which was to
be revealed through the Messiah, the system which extended
forgiveness on the ground of faith in his atoning blood....
CHAP.3:24,25 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us
unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that
faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
'Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster.'
The word rendered Schoolmaster, (Barnes gives the Greek -
Keith Hunt) PEDAGOGUE, referred Originally to a slave or
freedman, to whose care boys were committed, and who accompanied
them to the public schools. The idea here is NOT that of
INSTRUCTOR, but there is reference to the office and duty of the
PEDAGOGUS among the ancients.
The office was usually intrusted to slaves or freedmen. It
is true, that when the pedagogus was properly qualified, he
assisted the children committed to his care in preparing their
lessons. But still his MAIN DUTY was NOT INSTRUCTION, but it was
to WATCH OVER the boys; to RESTRAIN them from EVIL and
temptation; and to conduct them TO the schools, where they might
RECEIVE instruction. See,for illustrations of this, Wetstein,
In the passage before us, the proper notion of pedagogue is
retained. In our sense of the word schoolmaster, Christ is the
schoolmaster, and not the law. The LAW performs the OFFICE of the
ancient PEDAGOGUE, to LEAD US to the TEACHER or the instructor.
That teacher or instructor is CHRIST.
The ways in which the law does this may be the following:
(1) It RESTRAINS us and REBUKES us, and keeps us as the ancient
pedagogue did his boys.
(2) The whole law was designed to be introductory to Christ. The
sacrifices and offerings were designed to shadow forth the
Messiah, and to introduce him to the world.
(3) The moral law - the law of God shows men their sin and
danger, and thus leads them to the Saviour. It condemns them, and
thus prepares them to welcome the offer of pardon through a
(4) It STILL does this. The whole economy of the Jews was
designed to do this; and under the preaching of the gospel it is
still done. Men see that they are condemned; they are convinced
by the law that they cannot save themselves, and thus they are
led to the Redeemer. The effect of the preached gospel is to show
men their sins, and thus to be preparatory to the embracing of
the offer of pardon. Hence the IMPORTANCE OF PREACHING THE LAW
STILL; and hence it is needful that men should be made feel that
they are sinners, in order that they may be prepared to embrace
the offers of MERCY. Note on Rom.10:4.
'But after that faith is come.'
The scheme of salvation by faith. After that is revealed.
See Note on verse 23.
'We are no longer under a schoolmaster.'
Under the PEDAGOGUS, or pedagogue. We are not kept in
restraint, and under bondage, and led along to another to receive
instruction. We are directly under the great Teacher, the
Instructor himself; and have a kind of freedom which we were
not allowed before. The bondage and servitude have passed away;
and wear free from the burdensome ceremonies and expensive
rites (comp, Note on Acts 15:10) of the Jewish law, and from
the sense of condemnation which it imposes. This was true of the
converts from Judaism to Christianity - that the became free from
the burdensome rites of the law; and it is true of all converts
to the faith of Christ, that, having been made to see their sin
by the law, and having been conducted by it to the cross of the
Redeemer, they are now made free.....
End quotes from Barnes
Albert Barnes knew it all so very well. The whole Old Covenant,
with its ceremonies, rites, sacrifices, circumcision, and all its
many laws, was brought into being by God and given to Israel, to
show them sin, to shown them a sacrifice would be needed to
pardon sin, to forgive sin, to justify them. All the Old Covenant
laws - ceremonial or moral - could never TAKE AWAY SIN! But it
was to be for them the PEDAGOGUE, the one, the thing, the
Covenant, that would LEAD them to the MESSIAH, to the school-
master who would be THE SACRIFICE for sins, the ONE head-teacher,
who would shed HIS BLOOD (no animal blood could ever take away
sin as explained in the book of Hebrews), and who would be THE
HEAD-TEACHER of the New Covenant.
The Old Covenant was to show in no uncertain way, that all were
sinners, that all needed to be saved from sin, to be justified,
to be forgiven. In so seeing this, mankind could then be led to
THE redeemer, to the ONE that was promised through Abraham, via
his physical line, to come to earth, from the Godhead in heaven,
to live in the flesh, to overcome Satan, to conquer sin, to live
a sinless life, and then to die on the cross, to shed HIS blood
for the sins of all who have ever lived or will live, and so make
justification possible for the human race.
The Old Covenant, the laws of Moses, could ONLY show what sin
was, it could never take away sins, could never blot them off the
record of each persons life. Paul has shown them that to be
justified with God, you would have to observe and obey the laws
of Moses PERFECTLY all your life, and so be sinless before God.
And this not one person has ever achieved, being sinless, except
So, Paul's argument is, that those who had come among them after
he had preached this truth to them, the way to justification and
salvation, and were now teaching them that they really did not
need the shed blood of this man called Jesus Christ, but could
obtain justification with God, by observing the whole Old
Covenant, and especially circumcision (and we'll see in part
eleven of this study what those Jews taught about the blood of
circumcision), WERE OUT IN LEFT FIELD, out on ANOTHER PATHWAY
that would NEVER LEAD TO SALVATION for anyone. Paul's stance was
that serving and obeying the Old Covenant, the "law of Moses" ANY
part of it, to obtain justification with God, and leaving Christ
out of the picture, was a futile error of mass proportions.
As we read through the last part of this letter to the Galatians,
we see that Paul PULLED NO PUNCHED in denouncing these "no blood
of Christ" but "law of Moses" teachers, as they taught people a
totally wrong way to be forgiven of sins and justified before
TO BE CONTINUED