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TEXT. 1. What shall we say then, that Abraham our father, as pertain.
ing to the flesh, hath found? 2 For, if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to
glory, but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it
was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
PARAPHRASE. 1 What then shall we say of Abraham our father, ac
cording to the flesh *, what has he obtained ? has 2 not he found matter of glorying? Yes; if he were
justified by works, he had matter of glorying t, he might then have gloried over the rest of the gentile world, in having God for his God, and he and his
family being God's people; but he had no subject of 3 glorying before God. As it is evident from sacred
scripture, which telleth us, that Abraham believed
God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. 4 Now there had been no need of any such counting,
any such allowance, if he had attained righteousness by works of obedience, exactly conformable, and coming up, to the rule of righteousness. For what reward a man has made himself a title to, by the performances, that he receives as a debt that is due, TEXT. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him, that justifieth
NOTES. 1 *“ Our father, according to the flesh.” St. Paul speaks here, as lineally descended from Abraham, and joins himself therein, with the rest of his nation, of whom he calls Abraham the father, according to the flesh, to distinguish the jews by birth, from those, who were Abraham's seed according to the promise, viz. those who were of the faith of Abraham, whether jews or gentiles, a dis. tinction, which he insists on, all through this chapter.
2 + Kbuynus, translated here, “ glorying,” I take to signify the same with xavyãoai, translated “ boasting,” chap, ii. 17, 23, in which places it is used to signify the jews valuing themselves, upon some national privileges, above the rest of the world, as if they had thereby some peculiar right to the favour of God, above other men. This the jewish nation, ihinking themselves, alone, to have a title to be the people of God, expressed, in their judging the gentiles, whom they despised, and looked on as onworthy and uncapable to be received into the kingdom of the Messias, and admitted into fellowship with their nation, under the gospel. This conceit of theirs St. Paul opposes here, and makes it his business to show the falsehood and groundlessness of it, all through the eleven first chapters of this epistle. I ask, whether it would not help the linglish reader the better to find and pursue the sense of St. Paul, if the Greek term were every-where rendered by the same English word ? whether “ boasting,” or “ glorying," I think of no great consequence, so one of them be kept to,
the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto
whom God imputeth righteousness without works. 7 Saying, Blessed are they, whose iniquities are forgiven, and
whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man, to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9 Cometh this blessedness, then, upon the circumcision only, or
upon the uncircumcision also ? for we say, that faith was
reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How was it, then, reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in
uncircumcision ? not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 And he received a sign of circumcision, a seal of righteousness
PARAPHRASE. 5 and not as a gift of favour. But to him, that by
his works attains not righteousness, but only believeth on God, who justifieth him, being ungodly *, to him justification is a favour of grace: because his
believing is accounted to him for righteousness, or 6 perfect obedience. Even as David speaks of the
blessedness of the man to whom God reckoneth † 7 righteousness without works, Saying, “ Blessed are
“ they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins 8 " are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the 9 “ Lord will not reckon sin.” Is this blessedness then
upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircum
cised also ? for we say that faith was reckoned to 10 Abraham for righteousness. When, therefore,
was it reckoned to him ? when he was in circum
cision, or in uncircumcision ? not in circumcision, 11 but in uncircumcision. For he received the sign
5 * Tov &oen, “ him being ungodly.” By these words St. Paul plainly points out Abraham, who was acséns, “ ungodly," i. e. a gentile, not a wosshipper of the true God, when God called him. Vid. note, ch. i. 18.
6+ Aoyioetas, “ reckoneth.” What this imputing or reckoning of righteousness is, may be seen in ver. 8, viz. the not reckoning of sin to any one, the not putting sin to his account: the apostle, in these twv verse:, using these two expressions, as equivalent. From hence the expression, of blotting out of ini. quity, so frequently used in sacred scripture, may be understood, i. e, striking it out of the account. Aoyideolar signifies to reckon, or account, and, with a dative case, to put to any one's account ; and accordingly, ver.3, 4, 5, it is translated, counted, or reckoned ; which word, for the sake of inglish readers, I have kept to in this, and ver. 9, 10, and 11.
TEXT. of the faith, which he had, being yet uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised ; that righteousness might be imputed unto them
also : 12 And the father of circumcision to them, who are not of the cir
cumcision only, but also walk in the steps of that faith of our
father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13 For the promise that he should be the heir of the world, was
not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
PARAPHRASE. of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith, which he had, being yet uncircumcised *, that he might be the father of all those who believed,
being uncircumcised, that righteousness might be 12 reckoned to them also; And the father of the cir
cumcised, that righteousness might be reckoned, not to those who were barely of the circumcision, but to such of the circumcision as did also walk in
the steps of the faith of our father Abraham, 13 which he had, being uncircumcised t. For the pro
NOTES, 11 * See Gen. xvii. 11.
11, 12 + What righteousness reckoned to any one, or as it is usually called, imputed rightevusness, is, St. Paul explains, ver. 6—9. Whom ibis blessing belongs 10, he inquires, ver. 9, and liere, ver. 11, and 12, be declares, who are the children of Abraham, that from him juherit this blessing ; ver. Il, he speaks of the gentiles, and there shows that Abraham, who was justitied by faith, before he was circumcised, (the want whereof, the jews looked on as a distinguisbing mark of a gentile) was the father of all those, among the gentiles, who should believe, without being circuncised. And here, ver. 12, he speaks of the jews, and says, that Abraham was their father ; but not that all should be justified, who were only circumcised: but those, who, to their cir. cumcision, added the faith of Abrahain, which he had, before he was circumcised. That which misled those who mistook the sense of St. Paul here, seems to be, their not observing that Tois óx &x wapotouñs, is referred to, and governed by sis To hoyosivos, which must be supposed repeated here, after WATÉPC DepTouūs. Or else the apostle's sense and argument will not stand in its full force, but the antithesis will be lost, by preserving of which the sense runs thus: and the father of the circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to those who, &c. Another thing, very apt to mislead them, was the joining of móvor only, to 8x not, as if it were å póvou tcīs, not only those who are of the circumcision; whereas it should be understood, as it stands joined το περιτομής, and s0 περιτομής μόνον are best translated barely circumciείου, and the a posile's sense runs thus : “ that he might be the father of the gentiles that “ believe, though they be not circumcised, that righteousness might be im" puted to them also: and the father of the jews, that righteousness might be
TEXT. 14 For if they, which are of the law, be heirs, faith is made void,
and the promise made of none effect. 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
PARAPHRASE. mise *, that he should be possessor of the world, was not that Abraham, and those of his seed, who were under the law, should, by virtue of their hav. ing and owning the law, be possessed of it; but by the righteousness of faith, whereby those who were, without the law, scattered all over the world, beyond the borders of Canaan, became his posterity,
and had him for their father t, and inherited the 14 blessing of justification by faith. For, if they only
who had the law of Moses given them, were heirs of Abraham, faith is made void and useless t, it receiv. ing no benefit of the promise, which was made to
the heirs of Abraham's faith, and so the promise 15 becomes of no effect. Because the law procures
them not justification, but renders them liable to the wrath and punishment of God ||, who, by the
“ imputed, not to them who have circumcision only, but to them who also " walk in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham, which he had being “ uncircumcised.” In which way of understanding this passage, not only the apostle's meaning is very plain, easy, and coherent; but the construction of the Greek exactly corresponds to that of ver. 11, and is genuine, easy, and natural, which any other way will be very perplexed.
13 * The promise, here meant, is that which he speaks of, ver. 11, whereby Abraham was made the father of all that should believe, all the world over ; and for that reason he is called xampóvouos xóols, “ heir, or lord of the world." For the believers, of all pations of the world, being given to him for a posierity, he becomes, thereby, lord and possessor (for so heir amongst the Hehrews signified) of the world. For it is plain the apostle, in this verse, pursues the argument he was upon, in the two former. And it is also plain, that St. Paul makes circumcision to be the seal of the promise made to Abraham, Gen. xii. as well as of that made to him, Gen, xvii. and so both these to le but one covenant, and that of ch. xvii, to be but a repetition and farther explication of the former, as is cvident from this chapter, cumpared with Gal. iii. In both which the apostle argues, that the gentiles were intended to be justified, as well as the jews ; and that both jews and gentiles, who are justified, are justified by faith, and not by the works of the law.
+ Gal. iii. 7. 14 I See Gal.iii. 18. 15 5 Ch. viii. 3, Gal. iii. 21. || See ch. iii. 19, 20, and v. 10, 13, 20, and vii. 7,8,10, I Cor. xv, 56, Gal. iji, 19, John ix, 41, and xv. 22.
TEXT. 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end
the promise might be sure to all the seed, not to that only, which is of the law, but to that also, which is of the faith of
Abraham, who is the father of us all. *17 (As it is written, “I have made thee a father of many nations”)
before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things, which be not, as though they
were ; 18 Who, against hope, believed in hope, that he might become the
PARAPHRASE. law, has made known to them what is sin, and what punishment he has annexed to it. For there is no
incurring wrath, or punishment, where there is no 16 law that says any thing of it *: Therefore the inhe
ritance † is of faith, that it might be merely of favour, to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed of Abraham; not to that part of it only, which has faith, being under the law; but to that part also, who without the law, inherit the faith of
Abraham, who is the father of us all who believe, 17 whether jews or gentiles, (As it is written *, “I
have made thee a father of many nations.") I say the father of us all (in the account of God, whom he believed, and who accordingly quickened the dead, i. e. Abraham and Sarah, whose bodies were dead :
and called things that are not, as if they were $ ;) 18 Who without any hope, which the natural course of
things could afford, did in hope believe, that he
NOTES. O8 oủx ésny róuos, si wapábapis, of that, concerning which there is no law, with the sanction of a punishment annexed, there can be no transgression, incurring wrath or punishment. Thus it may be rendered, if we read ou with an aspiration, as some do. But whether it be taken to signify where, or whereof, the sense will be the same. Tlapábavis here, to make St. Paul's argument of punishment, by the force and sanction of a law. And so the apostle's proposi. tion is made good, that it is the law alone, that exposes us to wrath, and that is all the law can do, for it gives us no power to perform.
16 + The grammatical construction does not seem much to favour “ inheri"tance,” as the word to be supplied here, because it does not occur in the preceding verses. But he, that observes St. Paul's way of writing, who more regards things, than forms of speaking, will be satisfied, that it is enough that he mentioned “heirs," ver. 13 and 14, and that he does mean inberitance here, Gal. iii. 13, puts it past doubt.
17 I See Gen. xvii, 16. $ Gen, xvi, 5.