Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Galatians 5:3

And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.
New American Standard Version

Adam Clarke Commentary

He is a debtor to do the whole law - Lays himself, by receiving circumcision, under the obligation to fulfill all its precepts, ordinances, etc.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/galatians-5.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For I testify again - Probably he had stated this when he had preached the gospel to them first, and he now solemnly bears witness to the same thing again. Bloomfield, however, supposes that the word “again” here ( πάλιν palin) means, on the other hand, or, “furthermore,” or, as we would say, “and again.”

That he is a debtor to do the whole law - He binds himself to obey all the Law of Moses. Circumcision was the distinguishing badge of the Jews, as baptism is of Christians. A man, therefore, who became circumcised became a professor of the Jewish religion, and bound himself to obey all its special laws. This must be understood, of course, with reference to the point under discussion; and means, if he did it with a view to justification, or as a thing that was necessary and binding. It would not apply to such a case as that of Timothy, where it was a matter of mere expediency or prudence; see the note at Galatians 5:2.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/galatians-5.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Galatians 5:3

For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

The great dilemma

I. Justification by the law.

1. What this means.

2. Its utter impossibility.

II. Salvation by grace.

1. This is now the only appointed way.

2. This is a perfectly possible way: what man cannot do God does for him.

3. This is a very simple way: accept by faith what God has provided.

III. To reject the latter in favour of the former, therefore, is to fall from grace. Christ is thus--

The comprehensiveness of the claims of the law

Tell me, then, ye who desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? Does it say anything to you, but “do this and thou shalt live:” Does it set before you any alternative but “cursed is he that continueth not” (Galatians 3:10)? Do this, this wrath-working law proclaims, do it all--all without exception--continue in it from first to last, and you shall live; but a curse, an everlasting curse, awaits you if you offend in one particular. Plead what you will, these denunciations are irreversible--its terms cannot be changed. You may say, “I wish to obey;” and it answers you; “tell me not of your wishes, but do it.” “I have endeavoured to obey.” “Tell me of no endeavours, but do it or you are cursed.” “I have done it in almost every particular.” “Tell me, not what you have done almost, have you obeyed it altogether? Have you obeyed it in all things; if not, you are cursed.” “I have for many years obeyed it, and but once only have I transgressed.” “Then you are cursed; if you have offended in one point you are guilty of all.” “But I am very sorry for my transgressions.” “I cannot regard your sorrow; you are under a curse.” “But I will reform, and never transgress again.” “I care nothing for your reformation; the curse remains upon you.” “But I will obey perfectly in the future, if I can find mercy for the past.” “I can have no concern with your determinations for the future; I know no such word as mercy; my terms cannot be altered for any one. If you rise to these terms you will have a right to life, and need no mercy. If you fall short in any one particular, nothing remains for you but punishment!” (C. Simeon)
.

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Galatians 5:3". The Biblical Illustrator. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/galatians-5.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Yea, I testify again to every man that receiveth circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

So it was no small thing at all the Judaizers had in mind. They would impose the whole corpus of Jewish law-keeping on the Christian converts of Galatia; and in the process, the gospel of Christ would be totally neglected and replaced.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/galatians-5.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For I testify again to every man,.... This is the form of an oath, a calling God to witness, swearing by the living God, and declaring as in his presence to every man, whether Jew or Gentile, whoever he be:

that is circumcised; in order to obtain salvation, and as necessary to it:

that he is a debtor to do the whole law; and this it is that made circumcision an insupportable yoke, for that itself might be bore, and was bore by children of eight days old; but the fulfilling of the whole law cannot be done by any man; and yet everyone that is circumcised, in order to procure righteousness and life, is bound to keep the whole law; because the law is only his righteousness, when he observes all that is required in it, and as the Lord has commanded; if he does not, he is pronounced accursed: and this proves what was before said, that Christ is of no profit to such persons; because they reject him and his righteousness, and, as much as in them lie, make void his obedience, sufferings, and death: hence the same thing is repeated, though not in the same words, in the next verse.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/galatians-5.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

ForGreek, “Yea, more”; “Moreover.”

I testify  …  to every man — as well as “unto you” (Galatians 5:2).

that is circumcised — that submits to be circumcised. Such a one became a “proselyte of righteousness.”

the whole law — impossible for man to keep even in part, much less wholly (James 2:10); yet none can be justified by the law, unless he keep it wholly (Galatians 3:10).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/galatians-5.html. 1871-8.

Martin Luther's Commentary on Galatians

For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
The first fault with circumcision is that it makes Christ unprofitable. The second fault is that it obligates those who are circumcised to observe the whole Law. Paul is so very much in earnest about this matter that he confirms it with an oath. "I testify," he says, "I swear by the living God." Paul's statement may be explained negatively to mean: "I testify to every man who is being circumcised that he cannot perform the Law in any point. In the very act of circumcision he is not being circumcised, and in the very act of fulfilling the Law he fulfills it not." This seems to be the simple meaning of Paul's statement. Later on in the sixth chapter he explicitly states, "They themselves which are circumcised keep not the law. The fact that you are circumcised does not mean you are righteous and free from the Law. The truth is that by circumcision you have become debtors and servants of the Law. The more you endeavor to perform the Law, the more you will become tangled up in the yoke of the Law."

The truth of this I have experienced in myself and in others. I have seen many work themselves down to the bones in their hungry effort to obtain peace of conscience. But the harder they tried the more they worried. Especially in the presence of death they were so uneasy that I have seen murderers die with better grace and courage.

This holds true also in regard to the church regulations. When I was a monk I tried ever so hard to live up to the strict rules of my order. I used to make a list of my sins, and I was always on the way to confession, and whatever penances were enjoined upon me I performed religiously. In spite of it all, my conscience was always in a fever of doubt. The more I sought to help my poor stricken conscience the worse it got. The more I paid attention to the regulations the more I transgressed them.

Hence those that seek to be justified by the Law are much further away from the righteousness of life than the publicans, sinners, and harlots. They know better than to trust in their own works. They know that they cannot ever hope to obtain forgiveness by their sins.

Paul's statement in this verse may be taken to mean that those who submit to circumcision are thereby submitting to the whole Law. To obey Moses in one point requires obedience to him in all points. It does no good to say that only circumcision is necessary, and not the rest of Moses' laws. The same reasons that obligate a person to accept circumcision also obligate a person to accept the whole Law. Thus to acknowledge the Law is tantamount to declaring that Christ is not yet come. And if Christ is not yet come, then all the Jewish ceremonies and laws concerning meats, places, and times are still in force, and Christ must be awaited as one who is still to come. The whole Scripture, however, testifies that Christ has come, that by His death He has abolished the Law, and that He has fulfilled all things which the prophets have foretold about Him.

Some would like to subjugate us to certain parts of the Mosaic Law. But this is not to be permitted under any circumstances. If we permit Moses to rule over us in one thing, we must obey him in all things.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website
Bibliographical Information
Luther, Martin. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "Martin Luther's Commentary on Galatians". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/mlg/galatians-5.html. Zondervan. Gand Rapids, MI. 1939.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

A debtor (οπειλετηςopheiletēs). Common word from οπειλωopheilō to owe for one who has assumed an obligation. See note on Matthew 6:12. See note on Galatians 3:10. He takes the curse on himself.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/galatians-5.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Again ( πάλιν )

Probably with reference to what he had said at his last visit.

Every man

Emphasizing and particularising the general to you, you, in Galatians 5:2.

A debtor ( ὀφειλέτης )

In N.T. mostly of one under moral obligation. So in the sense of sinner, Matthew 6:12; Luke 13:4. Comp. Romans 1:14; Romans 8:12. Similarly the verb ὀφείλειν toowe, as Luke 11:4; Luke 17:10; Romans 15:1, etc., though it is frequent in the literal sense.

To do the law ( ποιῆσαι )

Rare in N.T. See John 7:19; Romans 2:13, Romans 2:25( πράσσῃς ). Τηρεῖν toobserve the law, the tradition, the commandment, Matthew 19:17; Mark 7:9; John 14:15; Acts 15:5James 2:10: πληροῦν tofulfill the law, Romans 13:8; Galatians 5:14; comp. ἀναπληροῦν Galatians 6:2: φυλάσσειν tokeep or guard the law, Acts 7:53; Acts 21:24; Galatians 6:13: also with commandments, word of God or of Christ, ordinances of the law, Matthew 19:20; Mark 10:20; Luke 11:28; John 12:47; Romans 2:26. Τελεῖν tocarry out the law, Romans 2:27; James 2:8. Ποιῆσαι is to perform what the law commands: τηρεῖν toobserve, keep an eye on with the result of performing: φυλάσσειν toguard against violation: τελεῖν tobring to fulfillment in action.

The whole law ( ὅλον )

Comp. James 2:10. Submission to circumcision commits one to the whole law. It makes him a party to the covenant of the law, and the law requires of every one thus committed a perfect fulfillment, Galatians 3:10.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/galatians-5.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

I testify to every man — Every gentile.

That is circumcised — He thereby makes himself a debtor - Obliges.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/galatians-5.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

He is a debtor, &c.; that is, if he depends upon the law for justification, he must obey it in full.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/galatians-5.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Еще свидетельствую. Доказательство предыдущего положения, но с противоположной стороны. Тот, кто должен исполнить весь закон, никогда не избежит смерти, всегда оставаясь в ее власти. Ведь нельзя найти никого, кто удовлетворил бы всему закону. Значит обязательство перед законом означает неминуемое осуждение человека. В этом случае Христос никак ему не поможет. Итак, мы видим, сколь противны друг другу эти два утверждения: мы являемся причастниками Христовой благодати, и мы снова обязаны соблюдать весь закон. Однако отсюда как будто следует, что никто из отцов не спасся. Более того, отсюда следует, что Павел погубил Тимофея, повергнув его обрезанию. Горе нам, покуда мы не избавлены от закона. Но где обрезание, там и подчинение закону.

Следует отметить, что Павел говорит об обрезании в двух смыслах. Это легко заметить каждому даже посредственно знакомому с посланиями Павла. Ибо в Послании к Римлянам 4:11 Павел называет обрезание печатью праведности по вере. Таким образом, в знаке обрезания он видит Христа и обетование незаслуженного спасения. Ныне же он противопоставляет его Христу, вере, Евангелию и благодати, разумея под ним законническое соглашение, основанное на заслугах дел. Отсюда явствует то, что я уже сказал: Павел говорит об обрезании не всегда в одном и том же смысле. Здесь следует принять во внимание причину такой двусмысленности. Скажу так: Павел, рассматривая обрезание в его собственной природе, заслуженно делает его символом благодати, поелику именно таким оно и было установлено Богом.

Однако, ведя спор с лжеапостолами, злоупотреблявшими обрезанием для уничтожения Евангелия, Павел говорит не о том, для чего установил обрезание Господь, но нападает на извращенное понимание обрезания некоторыми людьми. Пример этого мы и видим в настоящем отрывке. Когда Аврааму было дано обетование о Христе, о незаслуженной праведности, о вечном спасении, для подтверждения всего этого была добавлена заповедь об обрезании. Итак, по установлению Божию обрезание было таинством, призванным помогать вере. Но пришли лжеапостолы, вообразившие, что обрезание несет с собой заслугу. Они восхваляли соблюдение закона и делали обрезание началом своей религиозной практики. И апостол критикует здесь не установление Божие, но именно это измышление лжеапостолов.

Кто-нибудь возразит: каким бы ни было злоупотребление нечестивых, оно никак не умаляет священные божественные установления. Отвечаю: обрезание было заповедано Богом лишь на определенное время. После пришествия Христова оно перестало быть божественно установленным таинством, поелику на его место заступило крещение. Итак, зачем же был обрезан Тимофей? Конечно же, не ради самого себя, но ради братьев, чьей немощи тогда была сделана уступка. И чтобы лучше стало ясно, насколько учение папистов совпадает с тем, которое критикует в этом месте Павел, отметим, что таинства, принятые искренно, являются делом Бога, а не людей. Ибо в крещении, в святой вечери, мы сами ничего не делаем, мы лишь приносим себя Богу для восприятия его благодати. Значит крещение в отношении нас является чисто пассивным делом. Ибо мы не приносим ничего, кроме веры, ищущей все в Иисусе Христе. Что же делают паписты? Они измышляют «совершенное дело», коим люди заслуживают благодать Божию. Что еще они делают, как не угашают истину божественного таинства? Мы продолжаем удерживать и крещение и вечерю Господню, поелику Христос восхотел, чтобы оба эти таинства употреблялись постоянно. Но все подобные нечестивые выдумки мы, как и подобает, решительно отвергаем.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/galatians-5.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

Ver. 3. That he is a debtor] viz. If he be circumcised with an opinion of meriting thereby. Christ will be our sole Saviour, or none; he will not mingle his precious blood with our puddle stuff. Those that will look unto him must look off all things else, as the apostle’s word αφορωντες importeth, Hebrews 12:2.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/galatians-5.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

He that urges the necessity of circumcision, is a debtor to the law, in a double respect, namely, in regard of duty, and in regard of penalty.

First, he is a debtor in regard of duty; because he that thinks himself bound to keep the whole ceremonial law, yea, and the whole moral law too, without deficiency, and that under the penalty of condemnation.

Again, Secondly, As he is a debtor in point of duty, so he must needs be a debtor in regard of penalty; because he is not able to keep any part of it perfectly.

Hence we may infer, 1. How endearing our obligations are to Christ, who as our Surety paid both these debts for us, namely, our debt of duty, and our debt of penalty to the law of God: by fulfilling all righteousness, he paid our debt of duty, and by suffering the punishment due to transgressors, he paid our debt of penalty.

We may also, infer, 2. That as he that is circumcised, is bound to keep the whole law; so he that is baptized, is obliged to obey all the commands of the gospel, to make conscience of the duties of both tables, as an argument of his sincerity, and as an ornament to his profession.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/galatians-5.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

3.] δέ, moreover, introduces an addition, and a slight contrast—‘not only will Christ not profit … but …’

On μαρτύρομαι (usually, in this sense, - ροῦμαι;— - ρομαι having an accusative, whence Bretschn., al., supply τὸν θεόν here, but wrongly), see reff. πάλιν, once more: applies to the verb, not to the μαρτυρία which follows, for that is not a repetition. Thus it will refer to παντὶ ἀνθρ. as ‘a more extended application of ὑμῖν’ (Ellic.), not, as Meyer, to a former inculcation of this by word of mouth at his second visit. περιτεμν ομένῳ, not - τμηθέντι, see above—to every man who receives circumcision,—‘submits to be circumcised,’ as Ellic. The emphasis is on παντί, substantiating, and carrying further, the last verse. ὅλον has the stress. The circumcised man became a ‘proselyte of righteousness,’ and bound to keep the whole law. “This true and serious consequence of circumcision the false Apostles had probably at least dissembled.” Mey.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/galatians-5.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Galatians 5:3. With regard to the judgment just expressed, χριστὸς οὐδὲν ὑμᾶς ὠφελήσει, Paul now, with increasing emotion ( μαρτύρομαι, παντὶ ἀνθρ. περιτ.), gives an explanation (Galatians 5:3-4) which clearly discloses the entire certainty of this negation.

The δέ is not potius (Schott), because it is not preceded by any antagonistic assertion, but is the autem which leads on to more detailed information (Herm. ad Viger. p. 845).

μαρτύρομαι] in the sense of μαρτυρῶ, as in Acts 20:26; Ephesians 4:17; Joseph. Bell. iii. 8. 3; and also Plat. Phil. p. 47 D, while in classical authors it usually means to summon as a witness and obtestor. Paul testifies that which with divine certainty he knows. The context does not warrant us to supply θεόν, with Bretschneider and Hilgenfeld.

πάλιν] not contra (Erasmus, Er. Schmid, Koppe, Wahl; comp. Usteri), which is never its meaning (see Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 166 f.), but again, not however in the sense that Galatians 5:3 is described as a repetition of what was said in Galatians 5:2 (Calvin, Castalio, Calovius, Wolf, Zachariae, Paulus, and others), which it is not; nor in the sense that Paul is thinking merely of the testifying in itself, and not of its purport (Hofmann; comp. Fritzsche, Winer, de Wette),—an interpretation which cannot but be the less natural, the more necessarily that which is attested πάλιν stands in essential inner connection with the axiom which had been previously expressed (“probatio est proximae sententiae sumta ex loco repugnantium,” Calvin); but in the sense that Paul calls to the remembrance of his readers his last presence among them (the second), when he had already orally assured them of what he here expresses (Moldenhauer, Flatt, Rückert, Olshausen, Wieseler). Comp. on Galatians 1:9, Galatians 4:16.

παντὶ ἀνθρ. περιτ.] stands in a climactic relation to the foregoing ὑμῖν, remorselessly embracing all: to every one I testify, so that no one may fancy himself excluded from the bearing of the statement. According to Chrysostom and Theophylact, with whom Schott and others agree, Paul has wished to avoid the appearance κατʼ ἔχθραν ταῦτα λέγεσθαι; but in this view the whole climactic force of the address is misunderstood.

ὅλον] has the emphasis; comp. James 2:10. Circumcision binds the man who accepts it to obey the whole law, because it makes him a full member of the covenant of the law, a proselyte of righteousness, and the law requires from those who are bound to it its entire fulfilment (Galatians 3:10). Probably the pseudo-apostles had sought at least to conceal or to weaken this true and—since no one is able wholly to keep the law (Acts 13:38; Acts 15:10; Romans 8:3)—yet so fearful consequence of accepting circumcision, as if faith in Christ and acceptance of circumcision might be compatible with one another. On the contrary, Paul proclaims the decisive aut … aut. The state of the man who allows himself to be circumcised stands in a relation contradictory to the state of grace (comp. Romans 6:14 f., Romans 11:6).

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/galatians-5.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Galatians 5:3. ὀφειλέτης, a debtor) Endangering salvation.— ὅλον, the whole) A task which he will never be able to perform.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/galatians-5.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible

This must be understood either of the Gentiles only, who were never under any obligation to circumcision, or of such as were circumcised, with an opinion that it was necessary at this time to justification and salvation. Of these the apostle saith, that by this they made themselves debtors to do the whole law; they were obliged to one part of the law, they must also be obliged to all the other parts of it. Besides that circumcision was an owning and professing subjection to the whole law; as the receiving the sacrament of baptism is a professed subjecting ourselves to the whole gospel.

Objection. But (may some say) ought not then all Christians to observe the law?

Answer.

1. Not the ceremonial and political law, which were peculiar to the Jewish church and state.

2. It is one thing to be under an obligation to our utmost to fulfil the law, another thing to acknowledge ourselves debtors to the law.

Objection. But did not the fathers, then, by being circumcised, acknowledge themselves debtors to the law?

Answer. Yes, they did acknowledge themselves bound to the observation of the law, and to endure (upon the breaking it) the curse of it: but they were discharged from this obligation by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was made a curse for them, that he might redeem them from the curse of the law. But if any disclaimed Christ, (which, whosoever added any thing to his righteousness and to faith in him, as to the justification of the soul, did, as the apostle had said in the former verse), they laid themselves under an obligation to fulfil the whole law of God, if they would be saved.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/galatians-5.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

должен исполнить весь закон Божьей нормой является абсолютная праведность, таким образом малейшее нарушение означает несоблюдение этой нормы (см. пояснение к 3:10).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/galatians-5.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

He is a debtor to do the whole law; for by circumcision he professes his dependence on his works for salvation, and must therefore perfectly obey the whole law. Salvation, if obtained, will then be of debt, not of grace. Chap Galatians 3:12; Romans 4:4.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "Family Bible New Testament". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/galatians-5.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians

Galatians 5:3. ΄αρτύρομαι δὲ πάλιν παντὶ ἀνθρώπῳ περιτεμνομένῳ—“Yea, I testify again to every man getting himself circumcised”-circumcidenti se, Vulgate, the chief stress being on παντί. Acts 20:26; Ephesians 4:17. But Chrysostom's explanation dilutes the sense, “Lest you suspect that I say it of enmity, I testify not to you only, but to every one.” The particle δέ is more than transitional (Wieseler), but is neither enim nor potius; according to Hermann, ad Vigerum, No. 343, it is in this connection represented by autem, as in the Vulgate. Hilgenfeld supposes that θεόν is understood after μαρτύρομαι, as if he called God to witness. But such an accusative is not necessary. “I obtest”-I solemnly do testify. Josephus, Galatians 3:8; Galatians 3:3. In πάλιν reference is not made, as Meyer and Wieseler suppose, to previous oral warnings when he was with them, but plainly to the λέγω of the previous verse—“I say”—“once more I testify.” It is out of the question to give it the meaning of porro with Borger, or contra with Koppe and Wahl. The verse does not indeed repeat the statement of the preceding one; but the apostle makes an extended affirmation, which is also an additional one- πάλιν, the second verb being a solemn repetition of the preceding one. He has said, if ye be circumcised; and now he obtests to every one not as having been circumcised, but as now submitting to circumcision; not simply assuming the possibility of the occurrence, or regarding it as actually accomplished, but vividly representing every one who gets himself circumcised as putting himself under covenant to obey the whole law. The obtestation is not to the Jews who may have been circumcised in infancy, nor to the heathen who may at any earlier period, and prior to the introduction of the gospel, have become proselytes; but to the Gentile converts who might persist in undergoing the rite on the principles and with the motives of the Judaizing teachers. And his solemn averment is-

῞οτι ὀφειλέτης ἐστὶν ὅλον τὸν νόμον ποιῆσαι—“that he is a debtor to do the whole law.” Circumcision, as the initiatory rite-inaugurale sacramentum (Dickson)-is to be regarded not merely in itself, but in the connected obligations under which it brought one. It was a pledge to obey the whole law. The person who on purpose submitted to circumcision did by that act place himself under the law, as he who is baptized is brought into a similar relation to the law of Christ, or as a foreigner whose naturalization pledges him to observe the law of the land. And such circumcision bound a man not to obey this or that department of ordinances, but to do the “whole law”-the emphasis being on ὅλον. The law is a code one and indivisible in origin and authority, however ramified its statutes; therefore an elective obedience to preferred precepts is not to be permitted. Chrysostom thus illustrates the obligation in reference to the ceremonial law: A man circumcised is bound to offer sacrifices, and such oblations necessitate the observance of sacred seasons and the visitation of sacred places. The precise allusion or inference which the apostle has in his mind has been disputed. Some, as Usteri and Rückert, suppose it thus: A debtor to obey the whole law, which you can never do, so that you are under the curse. But in order to such an application, the apostle did not need to emphasize ὅλον, for law in no sense can justify: Galatians 3:1. Winer brings out this conclusion, Debetis totam legem recipere, h. e. religionem Christianam omnem abjicere. But the object of the apostle seems to be, not to prove that by being circumcised a man places himself under stipulation to obey the whole law-an impossibility, and therefore subjects himself to the curse,-but rather to show the utter incompatibility between the law and the gospel, or that any one so acting places himself under the very yoke from which Christ came to redeem him. He has spoken of this bondage in the previous section, which is wound up with “stand fast, and be not entangled again in the yoke of bondage.” It is the bondage rather than the curse of the law which at the moment is uppermost in his mind; and this voluntary circumcision is a first step toward self-subjugation, for it binds a man to do the whole law. Perhaps, as Estius has remarked, the Judaists disguised or evaded this inference of the apostle, that circumcision puts a man under covenant to do the whole law, as indeed their own conduct seems to have illustrated. See Galatians 6:13. Compare Romans 2:25.

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Eadie, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/jec/galatians-5.html.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Galatians 5:3. Nay, I testify again to every man that is circumcised (suffers himself to be circumcised), that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Circumcision is an initiatory rite by which the person circumcised becomes a Jew, and assumes the solemn obligation to keep the whole law of Moses, moral and ritual; just as the baptismal vow is a pledge of obedience to the gospel of Christ. The sacramental rite implies all the responsibilities and duties as well as privileges of membership. ‘I testify,’ I bear witness, I solemnly assert as in court (In classical Greek the verb usually means to summon as a witness, to call to witness.) ‘Again’ refers to ‘I say’ in Galatians 5:2. ‘To every man,’ without exception, stronger than the preceding general ‘ye.’

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/galatians-5.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Galatians 5:3. . This verb, which in Attic Greek denotes the calling of witnesses, is applied in Pauline language to the Apostle’s own testimony.— , . The use of the present tense intimates that the warning is not aimed at isolated acts, but at the introduction of a systematic practice involving a virtual transfer of allegiance from Christ to the Law.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/galatians-5.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

false teachers had insisted on the observance of circumcision and a few other rites only, as necessary for salvation; but St. Paul assures them, that the receiving of circumcision is an open profession of Judaism, and that he that makes this profession, binds himself to the observance of every part of the law, since a curse is pronounced against those that do not keep it in all its parts. If then circumcision be necessary for salvation, the whole law is necessary also. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/galatians-5.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

testify. Greek. marturomai. See Acts 20:26,

man. Greek. anthropos. App-123.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/galatians-5.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

For, [ de (Greek #1161)] - 'Yea, not only "Christ shall profit you nothing," BUT you will be debtors to the whole law.'

I testify again to every man - as well as "unto you" (Galatians 5:2).

That is circumcised (present participle) - allowing himself to be circumcised. Such a one became a 'proselyte of righteousness.'

The whole law - impossible for man to keep in part, much less wholly (James 2:10); yet none can be justified by it, unless he keep it wholly (Galatians 3:10).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/galatians-5.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) For I testify again.—Translate rather, Nay, I protest again, introducing a further argument. He who allows himself to be circumcised thereby commits himself wholly to the Law, just as, it might be said, he who is baptised commits himself wholly to Christ. The act of circumcision placed a man under the legal system, just as the act of baptism placed him under the Christian system. From that time forward he could not choose one part and refuse another, but was bound alike by all.

He is a debtor.—He is under an obligation.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/galatians-5.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
testify
Deuteronomy 8:19; 31:21; Nehemiah 9:29,30,34; Luke 16:28; Acts 2:40; 20:21; Ephesians 4:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:6; 1 John 4:14
a debtor
3:10; Deuteronomy 27:26; Matthew 23:16,18; *Gr:; James 2:10,11
Reciprocal: Genesis 17:10 - Every;  Leviticus 12:3 - GeneralNehemiah 13:15 - I testified;  Acts 13:39 - from which;  Romans 2:25 - circumcision;  Romans 9:31 - hath;  Romans 10:3 - to establish;  Galatians 5:6 - in;  1 Timothy 1:7 - to

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/galatians-5.html.

Stanley Derickson - Notes on Selected Books

For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

Wonder if anyone has counted the ways that Paul has already stated this concept to the Galatians, and still he pounds it home one more time. If you place yourself in attempting to obey one part of the law, you are bound to do the whole law.

The suggestion is and it is truth, that if you even decide to keep the Sabbath as your day before God, because the law requires it, you are debtor to follow every single letter of the law. What a total burden to take upon oneself, yet many of the Galatians evidently were contemplating it or had already done it.

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Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "Stanley Derickson - Notes on Selected Books". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/sdn/galatians-5.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3.Debtor to do the whole law—Debtor, or obligated thus, because the act of circumcision made the man not a “proselyte of the gate,” but a “proselyte of righteousness,” thereby taking upon him all the obligations of the Jew, rejecting Christ, (Acts 6:1,) and so making him debtor, not only to the ritual law, but the moral. So Galatians 3:10, “As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/galatians-5.html. 1874-1909.

The Bible Study New Testament

3. To be circumcised. That is, with the idea of this being part of his salvation. As a national sign (Acts 16:3)or a health practice, everyone can be circumcised with no change at all in their relationship to Christ. But when a Gentile is circumcised to show he is placing himself under The Law, it cuts him off from the blessings of Christ. To obey the whole Law. Because the Law of Moses was so complicated and required expensive travel back to Jerusalem at certain times of the year, the false teachers told the Gentiles that they would only have to keep certain parts of The Law such as holydays (Galatians 4:10), Kosher dietary rules, not fraternizing with the uncircumcised, etc. Paul says plainly that if you place yourself under The Law, you are obligated to keep the entire mass of rules and regulations!!! Compare James 2:10and note.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/galatians-5.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

3.For I testify again. What he now advances is proved by the contradiction involved in the opposite statement. He who is a debtor to do the whole law (82) will never escape death, but will always continue to be held as guilty; for no man will ever be found who satisfies the law. (83) Such being the obligation, the man must unavoidably be condemned, and Christ can render him no service. We see then the contradictory nature of the two propositions, that we are partakers of the grace of Christ, and yet that we are bound to fulfill the whole law. But will it not then follow, that none of the fathers were saved? Will it not also follow that Timothy was ruined, since Paul caused him to be circumcised? (Acts 16:3.) Wo to us then, till we have been emancipated from the law, for subjection is inseparable from circumcision!

It ought to be observed that Paul is accustomed to view circumcision in two different aspects, as every person who has best, owed a moderate degree of attention on his writings will easily perceive. In the Epistle to the Romans, (Romans 4:11,) he calls it “a seal of the righteousness of faith;” and there, under circumcision, he includes Christ and the free promise of salvation. But here he contrasts it with Christ, and faith, and the gospel, and grace, — viewing it simply as a legal covenant, founded on the merit of works.

The consequence is, as we have already said, that he does not always speak about circumcision in the same way; but the reason of the difference must be taken into account. When he views circumcision in its own nature, he properly makes it to be a symbol of grace, because such was the appointment of God. But when he is dealing with the false apostles, who abused circumcision by making it an instrument for destroying the Gospel, he does not there consider the purpose for which it was appointed by the Lord, but attacks the corruption which has proceeded from men.

A very striking example occurs in this passage. When Abraham had received a promise concerning Christ, and justification by free grace, and eternal salvation, circumcision was added, in order to confirm the promise; and thus it became, by the appointment of God, a sacrament, which was subservient to faith. Next come the false apostles, who pretend that it is a meritorious work, and recommend the observance of the law, making a profession of obedience to it to be signified by circumcision as an initiatory rite. Paul makes no reference here to the appointment of God, but attacks the unscriptural views of the false apostles.

It will be objected, that the abuses, whatever they may be, which wicked men commit, do not at all impair the sacred ordinances of God. I reply, the Divine appointment of circumcision was only for a time. After the coming of Christ, it ceased to be a Divine institution, because baptism had suceeeded in its room. Why, then, was Timothy circumcised? Not certainly on his own account, but for the sake of weak brethren, to whom that point was yielded. To show more fully the agreement between the doctrine of the Papists and that which Paul opposes, it must be observed, that the sacraments, when we partake of them in a sincere manner, are not the works of men, but of God. In baptism or the Lord’s supper, we do nothing but present ourselves to God, in order to receive his grace. Baptism, viewed in regard to us, is a passive work: we bring nothing to it but faith; and all that belongs to it is laid up in Christ. But what are the views of the Papists? They contrive the opus operatum, (84) by which men merit the grace of God; and what is this, but to extinguish utterly the truth of the sacrament? Baptism and the Lord’s supper are retained by us, because it was the will of Christ that the use of them should be perpetual; but those wicked and foolish notions are rejected by us with the strong abhorrence which they deserve.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/galatians-5.html. 1840-57.