Galatians 3:24-25 "the law was our SCHOOLMASTER to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."
Another Bible critic, with no inerrant Bible in any language, has recently published a long litany of alleged errors he thinks he's found in the King James Bible. His name is Dr. Theodore H. Mann, and his article is called Translation Problems in the KJV New Testament, copyrighted 2000.
In his article Mr. Mann writes: "Galatians 3:24 and 1 Corinthians 4:15: "Schoolmaster" and "instructor" are misleading. The Greek term (paidagwgo) refers to a male slave who had charge of the boy to take him to school."
This same example is also found at another well know anti-KJB site where he lists what he calls "Indisputable, Universally Recognized Errors in the KJV."
The only good thing I can say about those who criticize our beloved King James Bible, is that they do drive me to further study God's preserved and inerrant words as found in the King James Bible.
What I found to be of interest in this particular study is the wide variety of both opinions and translations of what this particular Greek word - paidagoogos - really means and how God applies it in the contexts of Galatians 3:24-25 and 1 Corinthians 4:15.
What one scholar adamantly affirms, another just as firmly denies. The polar opinions can be seen in these two quotes:
#1 - International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - "No English word renders paidagogos adequately. "Schoolmaster" IS QUITE WRONG, but Revised Version's "tutor"(compare 1 Corinthians 4:15) is little better in modern English."
#2 - Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testaments - "The Law is become our tutor ...THIS RENDITION IS UNFORTUNATE, for "The Law was our SCHOOLMASTER to bring us unto Christ" (KJV) IS FAR BETTER."
Likewise the Greek Lexicons, the Bible commentaries, and the Bible translations are constantly at odds with each other. I believe the clear difference is between Bible wisdom and scholarly stupidity.
First of all, the Greek word paidagoogos simply means a pedagogue or a teacher of the young. This is what the word means in the modern Greek language, and how the Modern Greek New Testament still reads.
We get our English word "pedagogue" directly from this Greek word. A pedagogue is defined as a teacher, a schoolteacher, or a schoolmaster. A schoolmaster is a male teacher of the young. Pedagogy is the function or work of a teacher, education, or instructional methods.
The Greek lexicons are all over the board on what the Greek word means and how it was applied in the context of the New Testament. Some lexicons agree with Mr. Mann's definition of "a male slave who had charge of the boy to take him to school", but others like Thayer, Robertson, and Moulton and Milligan, also tell us that the pedagogue was "a supervisor, censor and enforcer of morals" (Thayer), "watched his behaviour at home" (Robertson), and "he did not merely conduct the boy to school, but had a general charge of him as a tutor until he reached maturity" (Moulton and Milligan page 473, 1985)
Liddell and Scott's Abridged Greek-English Lexicon, 17th edition, 1887 page 511 says the word pedagoge means "generally, a tutor, teacher, or instructor."
Secondly, the clear Biblical context in both 1 Corinthians 4:15 and in Galatians 3:24-25 is that of a teacher or schoolmaster, and not that of "a male slave who had charge of the boy to take him to school."
In the CONTEXT of 1 Corinthians 4 the apostle Paul is talking about how he had planted the church and others like Apollos had later come along to further instruct them in the faith. He then writes: "For though ye have ten thousand INSTRUCTORS (pedagogues) in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel."
Most Bible translations, including the modern ones Mr. Mann might refer us to, translate the word in this passage as "instructors", "tutors" or "teachers". Not one of them has "a male slave who had charge of the boy to take him to school."
Likewise in the CONTEXT of Galatians 3:24-25 the apostle Paul is expounding upon the purpose of the law of Moses in contrast to the gospel of the grace of God in Christ. The law was "added because of transgressions, till the seed should come". By the law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20), and it is written "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in book of the law to do them." (Galatians 3:10, 19)
At this point in our study I would like to list the various ways different translations have rendered the word pedagoogos here in Galatians 3:24-25. Then I will follow up with what several Bible commentators have to say about how the law was our "schoolmaster" unto Christ.
In the King James Bible we read: "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our SCHOOLMASTER to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under A SCHOOLMASTER. For ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:22-26
Not only does the King James Bible correctly read SCHOOLMASTER, but so do the following Bible versions: Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, The Beza New Testament 1599, The Bill Bible 1671, Daniel Mace's N.T. 1729, Wesley's N.T. 1755, Whitson's N.T. 1745, Webster's 1833 translation, The Pickering N.T. 1840, The Longman Version 1841, The Morgan N.T. 1848, The Commonly Received Version 1851, the Calvin Bible 1855, The Revised N.T. 1862, Noyes Translation 1869, The Alford N.T. 1870, The Revised English Bible 1877, The Sharpe Bible 1883, William Godbey N.T. 1902, The Clarke N.T. 1913, the New Simplified Bible, The Word of Yah 1993, the KJV 21st Century version 1994, God's First Truth 1999, the Third Millennium Bible of 1998, the Tomson New Testament 2002, The Resurrection Life N.T. 2005 (Vince Garcia), A Conservative Version 2005, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, Bond Slave Version 2009, the Jubilee Bible 2010 and the Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, The New Matthew Bible 2016 - "the law was our SCHOOLMASTER to the time of Christ".
It is of interest that the 1979 edition of the NKJV reads "schoolmaster", but then in 1982 the NKJV changed this to read "tutor". Actually, the word schoolmaster is more accurate than "tutor". A schoolmaster is a teacher of the young and immature, and this fits the context of the argument in Galatians. A tutor is not limited to the young, but older persons can also have a tutor when learning something new.
The versions that render this word as "tutor", which is a TEACHER and not "a male slave who had charge of the boy to take him to school", are the following: The Douay, NKJV 1982 edition, the NASB, RV, ASV, Darby, the New English Bible and the 2012 Natural Israelite Bible.
The NIV 1984 edition paraphrases Galatians as "the law was PUT IN CHARGE", "UNDER THE SUPERVISION of the law", but has "guardians" in the 1 Corinthians 4:15 passage. However the 2011 "new" New International Version has changed this to read: "So the law was OUR GUARDIAN"..."we are no longer under A GUARDIAN."
The RSV of 1952 has "custodian" in Galatians and "guides" in 1 Cor.
The NRSV 1989 has "disciplinarian" in Galatians but "guardians" in 1 Cor.
The ESV 2001 has "guardian" in Galatians but "guide" in 1 Cor.
The Holman Standard has "guardian" in Galatians but "instructors" in 1 Cor.
The New Life Version 1977 has "teacher" in both.
The Bible in Basic English 1961 has "servant" in Galatians but "teachers" in 1 Corinthians 4:15.
The Contemporary English Version 1995 reads "the law was our TEACHER"
The Concordant Version 2006 - "The law has become our ESCORT to Christ"
Conservative Version 2011 - “So the law EDUCATED US to bring us to Christ, so we could be saved by faith.”
The Work of God's Children Bible 2011 - "So the law was our PEDAGOGUE in Christ..."
The New Testament for Everyone 2011 - “ Thus the law was like A BABYSITTER for us, looking after us until the coming of the Messiah”
The Passion Translation 2017- “The law becomes A GATEWAY to lead us to the Messiah so that we would be saved by faith.”
Foreign Language Bibles = KJB
There are also several foreign language versions which also read: "the law was our schoolmaster (or teacher) including the Spanish Biblia en Lenguage Sencillo 2000, the Reina Valera 1909-1960, the Reina Valera Gómez 2010 - "la ley nuestro ayo fué para llevarnos á Cristo" (the word "ayo" means a teacher or a tutor), Luther's German Bible 1545 - "Also ist das Gesetz unser Zuchtmeister" = "law was our schoolmaster", the German Schlachter bible 2000 - "So ist also das Gesetz unser Lehrmeister" = "teacher, tutor", the French Louis Segond 1910, the Italian Diodati 1649 - "la legge è stata nostro pedagogo", and Italian La Parola e Vita 1997, the Portuguese O Livro of 2000, the Portuguese Almeida, A Sagrada Biblia em Portugués - "De maneira que a lei nos serviu de aio", and even the NIV Portuguese version of 2000 Nova Versao Internacional.
When a Bible corrector like Mr. Mann tells us the King James Bible reading of "schoolmaster" or "instructor" is MISLEADING, and that it really means "a male slave who had charge of the boy to take him to school", he is merely giving us his own very flawed opinion and nothing more. He himself does not believe that any Bible in any language is the complete, inerrant and 100% true words of God, and he wants you to come to the same point of view he has on this vital subject.
Now for some thoughts from various Bible commentators who have a lot more spiritual sense about the context and meaning of the Galatians passage, than do men like Dr. Theodore Mann.
JOHN GILL comments: "the law was our SCHOOLMASTER" - the sense of the passage is, that the law performed this office of a SCHOOLMASTER until the coming of Christ; which shows that till that time the church was in its minority, that the Jews were but children in knowledge and understanding, and therefore stood in need, and were under the care of a SCHOOLMASTER, the law, by which the whole Mosaic administration is designed.
They were taught by the moral law, the letter, the writing on the two tables, with other statutes and judgments, their duty to God and men, what is to be done and to be avoided, what is righteousness and what is not, the nature of sin, its demerit and consequences;... besides the instruction the law gave, it made use of discipline as a SCHOOLMASTER does; it kept a strict eye and hand over them, and them close to the performance of their duty;...
Moreover, the law being called a SCHOOLMASTER, shows that the use of it was but temporary, and its duration but for a time; children are not always to be under, nor designed to be always under a SCHOOLMASTER, no longer than till they are come to a proper age for greater business and higher exercises of life; so the law was to continue, and did continue, to be of this use and service to the Jewish church during its minority, until Christ came, the substance of all it taught and directed to."
MATTHEW HENRY remarks: "he tells them, the law was their schoolmaster, to bring them to Christ, that they might be justified by faith. As it declared the mind and will of God concerning them, and at the same time denounced a curse against them for every failure in their duty, so it was proper to convince them of their lost and undone condition in themselves, and to let them see the weakness and insufficiency of their own righteousness to recommend them to God. And as it obliged them to a variety of sacrifices, etc., which, though they could not of themselves take away sin, were typical of Christ, and of the great sacrifice which he was to offer up for the expiation of it, so it directed them (though in a more dark and obscure manner) to him as their only relief and refuge. And thus it was their SCHOOLMASTER, to instruct and govern them in their state of minority."
JOHN WESLEY tersely comments: "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster unto Christ - It was designed to train us up for Christ. And this it did both by its commands, which showed the need we had of his atonement; and its ceremonies, which all pointed us to him. "
JOHN CALVIN comments: "Wherefore, the law was our schoolmaster" A SCHOOLMASTER is not appointed for the whole life, but only for childhood, as the etymology of the Greek word paidagoogos implies. Besides, in training a child, the object is to prepare him, by the instructions of childhood, for maturer years. The comparison applies in both respects to the law, for its authority was limited to a particular age, and its whole object was to prepare its students in such a manner, that, when its elementary instructions were closed, they might make progress worthy of manhood.
And so he adds, that it was our SCHOOLMASTER unto Christ. The grammarian, when he has trained a boy, delivers him into the hands of another, who conducts him through the higher branches of a finished education. In like manner, the law was the grammar of theology, which, after carrying its students a short way, handed them over to faith to be completed. Thus, Paul compares the Jews to children, and us to advanced youth."
MARTIN LUTHER, in his well known commentary on the book of Galatians, says: "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ. This simile of the SCHOOLMASTER is striking. SCHOOLMASTERS are indispensable. But show me a pupil who loves his SCHOOLMASTER. How little love is lost upon them the Jews showed by their attitude toward Moses. They would have been glad to stone Moses to death. (Ex. 17:4.) You cannot expect anything else. How can a pupil love a teacher who frustrates his desires? And if the pupil disobeys, the SCHOOLMASTER whips him, and the pupil has to like it and even kiss the rod with which he was beaten.
Do you think the schoolboy feels good about it? As soon as the teacher turns his back, the pupil breaks the rod and throws it into the fire. And if he were stronger than the teacher he would not take the beatings, but beat up the teacher. All the same, teachers are indispensable, otherwise the children would grow up without discipline, instruction, and training...The Law is like the good SCHOOLMASTER who trains his children to find pleasure in doing things they formerly detested."
The American Tract Society Bible Dictionary has this to say about the word "schoolmaster" - 1 Corinthians 4:15 Galatians 3:24,25, in Greek Paidagogos; a sort of attendant who took the charge of young children, TAUGHT THEM THE RUDIMENTS OF KNOWLEDGE (Caps are mine), and at a suitable age conducted them to and from school. Thus the law was the pedagogue of the nation, and a length conducting them through its types and prophecies to Christ. When a Jew came to a believing knowledge of Christ, this office of the law ceased."
The original Scofield notes say concerning the word "schoolmaster" - Greek - paidagogos , child-conductor. Among the Greeks and Romans, persons, for the most part slaves, who had it in charge TO EDUCATE (Caps are mine) and give constant attendance upon boys till they came of age."--H.A.W. Meyer.
The King James Bible is always right. Don't let some puffed up, misinformed "expert" turn you into a Bible agnostic and an unbeliever in the inerrancy of the Bible like he is.
All of grace, believing the Book - the Authorized King James Holy Bible,
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