Wednesday, June 7, 2023

The importance of reading Scripture in context (using Galatians 3:19 as an example)

One example is Galatians 3:19 which myriads use to prove that Torah isn't necessary. That is truly an unfortunate train of thought, brought on by the fact that most will stop at verse 19, without reading the rest of the passage:

Galatians 3:19. Why then Torah? It was added because of apostasy, until the coming of the heir to whom the promise was made, and Torah was given by Messengers, by the hand of a mediator. (AENT)

See the problem? It looks as if Rav Shaul (Paul) is anti-Torah! However, Paul - as Peter explains in 2 Peter 3:15 - often had a hard time explaining deep Hebrew concepts to pagan audiences:

2 Peter 3:15 And think of our Lord’s patience as deliverance, just as our dear brother Sha’ul also wrote you, following the wisdom God gave him. 16 Indeed, he speaks about these things in all his letters. They contain some things that are hard to understand, things which the uninstructed and unstable distort, to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. (CJB)

(WOW! Isn't it interesting to discover that Peter, way back then, was already warning people that Paul's letters would often be misinterpreted or misunderstood? 2 Peter 3:15 reveals that Paul's writings had already been turned into a Torahless fiasco, even in Peter’s day! We must also understand that it was not the Pharisees who were renouncing Torah Observance, but the humanist, pagan and materialist, “modernists” who were attempting to renounce anything that smacked of Judaism.)

Returning to the REST of the passage in Galatians 3 - let's read that whole passage, in context:

Galatians 3:19. Why then Torah? It was added because of apostasy, until the coming of the heir to whom the promise was made, and Torah was given by Messengers, by the hand of a mediator. 20. Now a mediator does not represent one alone, but Elohim is one.

21. Is the Torah we received against the promises of Elohim? Elohim forbid! For if Torah had been given, which was able to give life, then truly righteousness would have come as a result of Torah.[1] 22. But the Scripture has encircled all things and put them under sin, that the promise in the faith of Y’shua the Mashiyach might be given to those who believe.

23. But before faith came, Torah[2] was guarding[3] us while we were confined from the faith about to be revealed. 24. Torah was therefore a tutor for us, going towards the Mashiyach that we, by faith, might be made righteous. 25. But since faith came, we are no longer under tutors.[4] 26. For you are all the children of Elohim by faith in Y’shua the Mashiyach.

27. For those who have been immersed in Mashiyach have been clothed[5] with Mashiyach. 28. For there is neither Jew nor Aramean, nor slave nor free, nor male nor female, but you are all one in Y’shua the Mashiyach. 29. And if you are of the Mashiyach then you are seeds of Awraham and inheritors by the promise. (AENT)

Please take a moment to check out these important footnotes for the passage above:

[1] Torah is a very big deal in the Rabbinical Jewish world from which Rav Shaul (Rabbi/Apostle Paul) came. The point that he makes over and over is that while Torah is a very big deal, the giver of Torah is even bigger, meaning the following:

YHWH gave Torah as a Faith component of Covenant (terms and conditions) between Him and His people, so don’t disregard YHWH and put Him on the shelf because you think yourself a Torah scholar.

Worse yet, don’t put up fences and traditions that become more important to yourselves than YHWH and His Mashiyach (Messiah). Sadly, most will ask others extremely important questions about YHWH and Yeshua, long before they even consider going to YHWH Himself. Faith demands a person enter into an active relationship with YHWH and His Mashiyach, regardless if a person is Christian or Jewish.

[2] In this regard “Torah” can be compared with any righteous values a soul voluntarily imposes upon himself. However, as a spiritual relationship is established with YHWH and Yeshua, one is elevated to much higher levels of spiritual awareness and accountability. Therefore, it is a complete farce when people claim to follow Mashiyach, yet willfully violate Torah according to their denominational authorities. (See Matthew 7:23.)

[3] Most Greek translations have “kept in(ward) under the law” which is indicative of popular anti-Torah theology. However, many fail to understand that without the Torah of YHWH, there would be NO Standard with which to prove Mashiyach; therefore NO Mashiyach...

[4] In the most ancient manuscripts in the Peshitta, taraa is ‘tutors’; however, it was translated as the singular ‘tutor’ in Greek. Although the word taraa has the same spelling for both singular and plural, there are times such as here, when the grammar of the sentence does not directly reveal whether it is singular or plural. To correct this problem, the earliest scribes of the Peshitta inserted two dot plural markers called a syame above such words, as in this case.

A Greek redactor could easily miss these and mistake a singular word for a plural, or vice versa. Aramaic texts are unanimous for when the syames appear, making these readings highly reliable.

That being so, what we have here is the true tutor, Torah, being contrasted against false tutors, the Pharisees, who put their oral tradition above the written code of Moses and the Prophets. Such is a common refrain of Y’shua as well in places such as Matthew 15. Unfortunately, this passage was twisted into a “proof text” by anti-Torah types who wanted to distance themselves from the Faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

[5] That is, as a garment wraps a person inside, which is a very common idiom in both Hebrew and Aramaic. Paul uses it elsewhere in Ephesians when talking about putting on the armor of Elohim and the breastplate of righteousness. A very similar idiomatic usage, “clothed with zeal like a cloak”, is found in Isaiah 59:17.

...In closing, you can surely see that it's a huge mistake to take one single part of a particular passage, and attempt to prove your own theology. In the case of Galatians 3:19, many read just this and conclude Torah is a BAD thing. But when you look at the REST of of Galatians 3, you can see that the opposite is true: Torah was NOT abolished and it was never a "bad thing!"

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are moderated.