Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gal 3:20 - any clues?

Galatians 3:20 Now a mediator involves more than one party; but God is one.

I'm presenting a paper on Galatians 3-4 soon and I'm stumped. The most honest confession about this passage I can find is by F. F. Bruce.

The two statements in v 20 are completely intelligible if each is taken by itself. It goes without saying that a mediator requires at least two parties between which he is to mediate; he cannot mediate on behalf of one party only. That God is one is the theological basis of Judaism and Christianity alike… It is the relation between the two clauses that constitute the interpretive problem. In what way does the affirmation that God is one form an antithesis to what is said about the mediator? The number of solutions offered to the problem as been reckoned to exceed 300 – one might wonder, indeed , if this is Robert Browning’s ‘great text in Galatians’ with its ‘twenty-nine distinct damnations’ for the unwary exegete.

[Bruce, Commentary on Galatians, pg. 178]

Any other ideas? ANyone have a clue as to how this relates to the argument of Gal 3? Recommeded articles? Looking through Burton, Bruce, Hays, Longenecker, Witherinton and they don't seem to have much clue either... Desperation haunts this wary exegete...

1 comment:

Jim said...

Context is everything.

v19- the law exists in order to show us our failings. It was mediated by divine messengers.

v 20- intermediaries bring two parties together. But God is not in need of mediation with the law.

v21- do the law and God oppose one another as if they needed a mediator? Good grief no.

v22- But we need a mediator because the law points out our sin and our inability to deliver ourselves from it. So Christ does that for us.

In other words Paul is arguing that God is not in opposition to the law but that he uses the law to show us our need for Christ. V 20 merely reminds the Galatians that God is not mad at the law and in need of being reconciled with it. He uses it, he does not disdain it.