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January 26, 2012 / Daniel

Paul’s Use of Deuteronomy 27:26 in Galatians 3:10

Saint George Preca has been likened as a succe...

So I’m still thinking through Galatians 3:10-14.   A couple of days ago I posted on Paul’s use of Lev. 18:5.  Unfortunately, I still haven’t come to any conclusions which I feel real confident about.  So, I decided to take a step back and look at v. 10: Paul’s use of Deuteronomy 27:26.  Paul writes,

For all who are of 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.”

This is a puzzle.  At first glance, the prooftext doesn’t fit well with the premise of Paul’s argument.  Paul claims that the “works of law” people are under a curse.  However, Deut. 27 argues that people who don’t obey the Law are under a curse.   This suggests that Deut. 27:26 might have been a prooftext for the Judaizers to the effect of  “hey guys, if you don’t get circumcised, then God will curse you.”

So, Paul’s argument must take something for granted.  There is an unstated premise.  Paul assumes that the “works of law” people do not obey the Law (cf. Gal 5:3; 6:13; Rom. 2:17-24).   Their obedience to God is insufficient.  Like Jesus, Paul sums up the Law with the “love” commandment (Gal. 5:14; Rom. 13:9-10).   So, since no one loves God and neighbor as they should, no one keeps the Law in a sufficient manner.

In other words, Paul argues that possession of the Law is not enough.  Genuine obedience is required.  So, the agitators’ prooftext backfires.  They are the ones who stand condemned for disobeying the Law.

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2 Comments

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  1. Dennis / Jan 27 2012 5:18 pm

    Hey Daniel, it’s been a while! I hope you are doing well. I’m glad you’re blogging again and I’ll keep in touch. -Dennis

  2. Daniel / Jan 28 2012 12:25 am

    Dennis,

    It’s good to hear from you again. Yeah, I took a long break. Between school and work, I was pretty occupied when we were in Wheaton.

    I look forward to talking theology with you.

    Daniel

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