Could Someone Please Explain this Scripture?


On Wednesday, the scripture reading for the Office of Readings was as follows:

Galatians 3:15-4:7

Concerning the gift of the Law


Consider, brothers, what happens in ordinary life. If a will has been drawn up in due form, no one is allowed to disregard it or add to it. Now the promises were addressed to Abraham and to his descendants – notice, in passing, that scripture does not use a plural word as if there were several descendants, it uses the singular: to his posterity, which is Christ. But my point is this: once God had expressed his will in due form, no law that came four hundred and thirty years later could cancel that and make the promise meaningless. If you inherit something as a legal right, it does not come to you as the result of a promise, and it was precisely in the form of a promise that God made his gift to Abraham.

What then was the purpose of adding the Law? This was done to specify crimes, until the posterity came to whom the promise was addressed. The Law was promulgated by angels, assisted by an intermediary. Now there can only be an intermediary between two parties, yet God is one. Does this mean that there is opposition between the Law and the promises of God? Of course not. We could have been justified by the Law if the Law we were given had been capable of giving life, but it is not: scripture makes no exceptions when it says that sin is master everywhere. In this way the promise can only be given through faith in Jesus Christ and can only be given to those who have this faith.

Before faith came, we were allowed no freedom by the Law; we were being looked after till faith was revealed. The Law was to be our guardian until the Christ came and we could be justified by faith. Now that that time has come we are no longer under that guardian, and you are, all of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptised in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus. Merely by belonging to Christ you are the posterity of Abraham, the heirs he was promised.
Let me put this another way: an heir, even if he has actually inherited everything, is no different from a slave for as long as he remains a child. He is under the control of guardians and administrators until he reaches the age fixed by his father. Now before we came of age we were as good as slaves to the elemental principles of this world, but when the appointed time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law and to enable us to be adopted as sons. The proof that you are sons is that God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts: the Spirit that cries, ‘Abba, Father’, and it is this that makes you a son, you are not a slave any more; and if God has made you son, then he has made you heir.


I had trouble understanding this scripture passage. Could someone kindly interpret it in accordance with the teachings of the Church?

Thank you kindly for your help, and God Bless.

IDK about interpreting it in accordance with the teachings of the Church, but I can give you my opinion on it.

Paul is saying, in an analogy of an inheritance from father to son, that God gave Abraham and his descendants an inheritance (the kingdom of heaven) but that his descendants (Jews) were still children and not able to attain the inheritance. They had to live under the Fathers rules (the Mosaic law). Jesus then comes as the maturation of Israel, and so now Israel can attain the inheritance. And not just Israel but anyone who accepts the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ into their hearts will receive the inheritance.

What I find interesting is the inheritance analogy is used even though, after Jesus, the inheritance is open to anyone even people outside of Israel. I suppose that theology is in keeping with the Church’s doctrine of people still inheriting the kingdom of heaven outside of the visible Church.


It seems to me that Paul repeats the point he made in Romans 3:21-8:9.

His point is the following: that we are condemned under the law because it is impossible for us sinners to fully keep the law. The law works in a certain way : under the law, the person who break the law is condemned. Since we are sinners and we cant fully help it, the law therefore condemns us to death. But thanks to Jesus we are no longer under the law, we are under grace. Thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice, we receive forgiveness and righteousness.

Now if you find any official Catholic commentary on this passage, I would be curious to know.

The second reading for that office was an explanation of the above passage by St Ambrose.

I’ll locate and post it tonight.

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One needs to read all of Galatians 3:

In a nutshell … it speaks of The New Covenant by which Faith In Jesus - is THE Way to Salvation . .

aka - The Mosaic law can never do…

An excerpt :

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?[a] 4 Have you experienced[b] so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[c]

7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[d] 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[e] 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”[f] 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”[g] 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”[h] 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

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