Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What is a "Paidagogos"? A Look at Gal. 3:21-25 and the Historical Meaning of a "Paidagogos" as a Preparatory Teacher Rather than a Finalizing Teacher

As I mentioned several posts ago, I recently awoke early one morning and began reading a wonderful article by J.K. McKee entitled "Galatians 3:24-25: 'To Messiah' or 'Until Messiah Came'?"

So I'd like to talk briefly about some things that this article covered.  First, here's the Scriptural passage we'll be examining:


"21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 
22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin [hupo hamartian], so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 
23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law [hupo nomon], imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.  
24 So then, the law was our guardian [paidagogos] until Christ came [eis Christon, "to Christ"], in order that we might be justified by faith.  
25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian," (Gal. 3:21-25)
 Here's the Christian vs. Messianic interpretation:

(1) the common Christian interpretation:  the Law was only useful before Christ came, functioning as a strict guardian/tutor.  But now that Jesus is here, we have no use for the Law anymore;

(2) a Messianic interpretation:  a paidagogos, historically, was a preparatory teacher responsible for delivering the child to the finalizing teacher:

"The paidagogos was 'Orig. 'boy-leader'...whose duty it was to conduct a boy or youth...to and from school and to superintend his conduct gener.; he was not a 'teacher'...When the young man became of age, the [paidagogos] was no longer needed' (BDAG).  In a classical sense, the paidagogos was a protector who was to guard young boys on their way to school until they reached a certain age," (from McKee's "'To Messiah' or 'Until Messiah Came'?").

And so the discipline/training instilled by the paidagogos was valuable!  We should never throw away this training.  And Paul even writes in 2 Timothy that the Law is useful for "training in righteousness" ("paideian ten en dikaiosune").  Thus, Gal. 3:24-25 does not question the value of the Torah

So that's a really quick overview.  My apologies to McKee if I butchered the message of the article.  But I recommend that readers purchase a copy of the book from which the article was adapted.  Here's a link to check out:

CLICK HERE FOR LINK


33 comments:

  1. The Law is like training wheels. They are until the fullness has come, the ability to ride without falling.

    The Law is like the instruction to nurse. It is until the baby grows enough to eat.

    The Law is until it is no longer needed, until its purpose is fulfilled.

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    1. which of the Ten Commandments is no longer needed?

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  2. "which of the Ten Commandments is no longer needed?"

    I guess you are saying, "since we break the ten commandments,weI still need them"

    Sounds right!

    But, are you saying the Law is only the ten commandments?

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    1. Re: "But, are you saying the Law is only the ten commandments?"

      No, that was just an illustration of the necessity of the Law.

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  3. Peter, do you believe you must build an ark of the covenant and teach your children to also build one?

    That law was fulfilled.

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    1. Anonymous,

      Were the dietary laws fulfilled? Was the Sabbath fulfilled?

      Note: you use the word "fulfilled" synonymously with "abolish." But if these words are synonymous then you'd have Yeshua saying, "Don't think I've come to abolish the Law, I've not come to abolish but rather to abolish." And that would make absolutely no sense. The truth is that Yeshua told us to both "do and teach" the Law and that the Law will continue in force until the heavens and the earth pass away. Have the heavens and earth passed away?

      Delete
  4. Peter, I absolutely did NOT use the word "fulfilled" to mean "abolish". This is what I mean. The Torah to Noah to build an ark is fulfilled, not abolished. The Torah to the Levites in the wilderness to take down and put up the tabernacle is fullfilled, not abolished. The Torah to Soloman to build the temple is fullfilled, not abolished.

    Now, for disclosuer, I believe like you do, that there IS Torah that we are obligated to, I have kept Shabbat, Dietary Laws from childhood, and I'm much older than you and have studied these things much longer.

    So, since I believe like you, what is my point?

    Every discussion on the Law boils down to one thing. What list should we follow? The options range from no list at all (which no true believer really thinks we can be totally lawless) to we have to keep every single law mentioned in the Torah, to some form of the Law of Moses such as Maimonides list or the Rabbinic lists.

    Now, my list seems to be much like yours, but it is curious that when I say some Torah is already fulfilled and no longer on my list, that you would imediately jump to the conclusion I am Torahless.

    The question remains, what list should we follow and who has the authority to decide what Torah goes on it?

    Steven


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    1. Steven,

      Your arguments are answered in the details, of what is applicable and what is not. For example, you brought up Noah building the ark, is there a commandment that says this is the be kept in all generations or was it specific to Noah. Torah, while clearly distinguishing between priest, judges, laymen, slaves, men and women, have these commandments enclosed within a continuation from generation to generation, thus it still applies within the details and context it is given. It is not a confusing mess as you suggest.

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  5. "there a commandment that says this is the be kept in all generations"

    Yes, here is one:

    "This is the thing which Jehovah hath commanded, saying,

    What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it without the camp,

    and hath not brought it unto the door of the tent of meeting, to offer it as an oblation unto Jehovah before the tabernacle of Jehovah: blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people:

    To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they sacrifice in the open field, even that they may bring them unto Jehovah, unto the door of the tent of meeting, unto the priest, and sacrifice them for sacrifices of peace-offerings unto Jehovah.

    And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of Jehovah at the door of the tent of meeting, and burn the fat for a sweet savor unto Jehovah.

    And they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices unto the he-goats, after which they play the harlot. This shall be a statute forever unto them throughout their generations."

    So, since there is no tent of meeting, how can you tell a Christian he has to keep this law? Isn't this law "for all generations?"

    Explain to me how "still applies within the details and context it is given"

    The details and the context are in the wilderness and the tent of meeting.

    Steven

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    1. You answered your own question, inside of a question:

      So, since there is no tent of meeting, how can you tell a Christian he has to keep this law? Isn't this law "for all generations?"

      Explain to me how "still applies within the details and context it is given"

      The details and the context are in the wilderness and the tent of meeting.


      If there is no Temple or Tent of Meeting, then the commandment cannot be fulfilled.. Again as I said above, it can all be seen in the details and context.

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  6. "If there is no Temple or Tent of Meeting, then the commandment cannot be fulfilled"

    So, you make my point. Begin your list of commandments that cannot be fulfilled.

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    1. Sorry to but in...but it seems obvious to me that, from the One Law perspective, any commandments that would be applicable and/or possible to be kept...could/should be kept. Why is that so difficult?

      Noah

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  7. So, you are keeping this one: "And this shall be the priests' due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep, that they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw"

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  8. "but it seems obvious to me that, from the One Law perspective, any commandments that would be applicable and/or possible to be kept...could/should be kept. Why is that so difficult?"

    So, Yeshua should have let the people stone the woman caught in the act of adultery?

    Steven

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    1. Here is a good one I'd like to know if you are going to keep?

      "every man shall be put to death for his own sin"

      Delete
    2. Steven,

      Yeshua didn't prevent the woman from being stoned. He merely said, "you who are without sin cast the first stone..." and no one did.
      It was likely illegal for them to execute her under Roman Law and so the question was meant as a trap. The point of the story (and the story is only found in much later manuscripts anyway) is that they were trying to trap Yeshua and he outwitted them while simultaneously demonstrating the hypocrisy of their hearts.

      "every man shall be put to death for his own sin"

      This is in the context of the Torah prohibition of executing children for their parents sin in a court of law. It is a principle of justice. Our system of justice is built on this. In addition, no one could be put to death without two or three witnesses, and the matter had to be settled in a court of law. We don't live in Israel with a nascent Beit Din.

      What part of the words "applicable and or possible" don't you get?

      Noah
      We

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    3. Woops forgot the "cheeks and the maw" one...:)

      First, there is no functioning temple. Secondly, again, "applicable" includes the fact that not all Mosaic commandments are applicable under the overarching umbrella of the New, this includes sacrifices.

      Noah

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    4. Noah, you can't have it both ways. The law says with 2 or more witnesses an adulterer is to be stoned. Your idea of Roman Law is a red herring. Their is no forgivenss for adultery in the law. You have to deal with the fact that what was required by the law was not done.

      Your straw man ofn our court system, living in Israel with a Beit Din is not the arugument. There is no law that stoneing requires a Beit Din and even in the New Testement writings you see people taking up stones right on the spot.

      Finally, there is no law that says sacrifices must take place in a temple.

      We will never make a good case for one law, for Gentiles required to keep the law, if we don't take the time to actually LEARN the law. Our arguments need to be better or we will just appear foolish.

      Steven

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  9. "the fact that not all Mosaic commandments are applicable"

    Again, you make my point. You must make a list of those that are applicable and one list of those that are not applicable. You might even need a list of those that are not applicable now, but may be applicable again one day. You also need a list of the Torah that came by Yeshua that was never in the Law of Moses.

    Everyone has their list, every list is not the same, who's list should we follow, who is able to determine what is applicable and who has the authority to decide?

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    1. The applicable commandments can be found in the Shulchan Aruch and ages ago the Sages, in particular the Rambam (Maimonides), have already made a list of the section of the 613 commandments of the Written Torah.

      The criteria for this list are mainly: Is the commandment in question given to the nation and its established authorities and is it dependent on the existence of a theocratic government? Can it be fulfilled at any historical time, or are special circumstances demanded or a special injunction of HaShem? Can it be fulfilled in the Diaspora or it is bound to the Holy Land? Is the commandment Temple-dependent or not, &c.

      Your example of building an Ark of the Covenant is an instance of a commandment that cannot be fulfilled except in circumstances when it is clear to the national religious authorities that the time has come for the rebuilding of the Temple. This is also an example of a commandment which never can be fulfilled in the Diaspora. An example of a commandment bound to the Holy Land is the observance of the Shemittah year, or bringing the first fruits.

      The Moadim, such as the Sabbath and the Yamim Tovim can be kept in the Diaspora, but they require additional instructions from the Oral Torah and rabbinic legislation. The Pesach Seder is an example of such an observance, and the regulation of Shabbat times for regions which are far removed from the Holy Land. Even the Kashrut laws, which are universally applicable, can not be explained without Oral Torah and rabbinic law.

      All these technical aspects concerning the applicability of the 613 commandments can be found in rabbinic literature and legal compendia. It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel here.

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    2. "Red Herring"

      First, it was forbidden for Jews to execute people under Roman Law. There is much evidence for this including the NT. (See John 18-28-32). Therefore they were never going to stone her and they were indeed attempting to trap him. Second, the adultery story itself doesn't show up in any manuscripts until the fifth century and there is debate even as to its historicity. Either way, the purpose of the story is polemical and parabolic for the reasons I have already stated.

      "Straw man"

      First, I have no idea why you think courts of law were not necessary in order to stone someone in Israel when they had self rule. If you don't like the term "Beit din", fine but there were definitely courts that decided these issues. And though people picked up stones in the new testament that does not mean it was Lawful for them to do so, It clearly wasn't from the Torah point of view. (See Exodus 23 for starters.)

      "there is no law that says that sacrifices had to take place in the Temple."

      The place the Torah says Israel had to offer sacrifices was wherever G-d said he would cause his name to dwell. (See Deuteronomy 12: 5, 11, and 13). In temple times, that was the temple (See 1 Kings 8).

      "Everyone has their list, every list is not the same, who's list should we follow, who is able to determine what is applicable and who has the authority to decide?"

      Now this issue, we agree upon. The problem of everybody doing what he wants is indeed real. And is the purpose, in part, of discussions like this.

      But though I agree with the premise that the problem exists. The difficulty I am having with you in this discussion is seeing the logic behind your assertions regarding the Torah itself. You seem to be One Law in theory, but then appear to argue against it at the same time.

      Noah

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    3. Noah, I think we should look at some of the things you are presenting.

      “First, it was forbidden for Jews to execute people under Roman Law.”

      Then how did they stone Stephen?

      “I have no idea why you think courts of law were not necessary in order to stone someone in Israel when they had self rule.”

      Show me the law in the Torah that says in order to stone someone they had to have a court. Torah POV requires Torah.

      “The place the Torah says Israel had to offer a sacrifice was wherever G-d said he would cause his name to dwell. (See Deuteronomy 12: 5, 11, and 13). In temple times, that was the temple (See 1 Kings 8)”

      Where did Elijah offer sacrifice?

      “The difficulty I am having with you in this discussion is seeing the logic behind your assertions regarding the Torah itself. You seem to be One Law in theory, but then appear to argue against it at the same time”
      You are right, I am trying to argue the OTHER side for this purpose: So that we can give an argument that is sound in reason, theology, and doctrine, and worth considering by the OTHER side.  Arguing one-law with misinformation about that law….
      It is important to understand that law, before trying to convince others to keep it.
      Shalom Brother,
      Steven

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    4. Steven,

      "Then how did they stone Stephen?"

      So I did a little research and apparently we are both right. It seems that it was (technically) illegal for the Jews to execute/stone those who they found guilty of crimes. However, they often did so and Rome looked the other way...provided...no riot or uprising would ensue. This is why they couldn't stone Yeshua. I do admit then, that the stoning of the woman caught in adultery was indeed possible.

      That being said, the grace/law contrast you stated concerns me. If someone breaks a law, do we automatically forgo punishment and apply grace? What if they had brought someone to Yeshua who had just murdered someone? What do you imagine Yeshua would have said? Grace cant suspend consequence/justice in this life. This is why I don't think the story is about stoning, or grace vs. law. I believe it is about the attitude of those who were confronting the both the woman and Yeshua. At issue was their own sinful hearts, their "holier than though" hearts.

      "Show me the law in the Torah that says in order to stone someone they had to have a court. Torah POV requires Torah."

      I don't think I could show you a verse. But we know from many places that there were elders and assemblies who were to determine cases and execute judgments and that matters needed to be established through witnesses. We see this throughout the Torah particularly in Exodus and Deuteronomy. We know there was a Sanhedrin in the New Testament and before. I just don't see any reason to think that vigilante justice was the way of the land in Israel when they ruled themselves. But I do concede that I can't show a specific verse.

      "Where did Elijah offer sacrifice?"

      Mount Carmel. But this was because the Temple had become corrupted by the prophets of baal. Also the sacrifice was part of a contest and not of the Levitical/Normative type.

      "You are right, I am trying to argue the OTHER side for this purpose: So that we can give an argument that is sound in reason, theology, and doctrine, and worth considering by the OTHER side.  Arguing one-law with misinformation about that law….
      It is important to understand that law, before trying to convince others to keep it."

      I completely agree though I am not always sure playing the "devils advocate always leads to truth. And I hold to know ones assumption, including yours, on who has greater knowledge/understanding of the Torah itself. Also, I am very open to Rabbinic tradition when seeking at least some explanation to these issues. I have tried however to make my cases without them. This said, I have enjoyed the discussion so far. I am a biochem guy by trade and understand the need to change ideas in response to new evidence. I have been challenged even though I hold to my main points.

      Shalom Steven! Have a good Shabbos!.

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    5. Shalom Noah, we are stronger already as one-law believers becasue we examine, search, explore.

      I believe the Messianic Movement has great possibility to significantly prepare the entire Christian community (the bride has prepared herself) and our effectiveness will be more evident when we are able to make the "best case". What is the best argument?

      I don't think "Christian's should all keep the 613", but I am all for using it as a place to start. One thing I have found is that most Christians stop listening before one-law teachers are able to present their case.

      Seeing how difficult it is to express and how hard it is to address every argument brought forth, how can we ever move forward, especially in light of the fact that mainstream Christian leaders have a solid grip on the doctirne's we cling to.

      Messianic's are making small in-roads, but must we only accept our place or will we make significant difference?

      Shabbat Shalom

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  10. "All these technical aspects concerning the applicability of the 613 commandments can be found in rabbinic literature and legal compendia. It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel here."

    Ah, so your argument to The Church is that they must keep the 613 and subject themselves to the legal compendia, Oral Torah, and Rabbinic Law?

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    1. Who were there first recipients of the Scriptures? Were it not the Jews? Is is not arrogant to take the Scriptures from them while not be willing to learn from their interpretational experience and expertise?

      Your entire approach betrays a modern Western individualistic mentality. You are probably not aware of the implicit secularism of this mentality.

      Genuine interpretation of the Scriptures is based on tradition and a task of the community, since the recognition of the Scriptures as being authoritative and inspired is itself an important aspect of the religious tradition of the believing community.

      It is the height of hubris to try to start from scratch in interpreting the Torah. A person who does will only heap error upon error.

      What is there so wrong, in your eyes, in learning from the Sages?

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    2. Messianic613, I can just hear you telling this to leaders of the largest Christian denominations, the Pope for instance.

      Do you think they will listen?

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    3. Perhaps they won't, but should we take them as a model?

      Or perhaps they will, in the end. The picture at least suggests that the Pope is listening. http://www.nostra-aetate.org/JP_II_JUIFS_2/28.jpg

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  11. I agree with Messianic613 as to the place to start.

    Noah

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  12. "Perhaps they won't, but should we take them as a model?"

    Kind Sir, too true! Perhaps they will, in the end...

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  13. A question for anyone who would consider it: If it became your task to prepare the entire Christian community (Catholic, Protestant, Messianic, etc.) and you had absolute knowledge that Yehsua would return within the next 10 years, where would you begin? What would be essinential and why? What might we set aside as less important to focus on? What would be the main focus?

    Steven

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    1. You can only "prepare" a group that wants your help. Most Christians haven't even heard the term "Messianic Non-Jew". And even the ones that have heard are not looking for our help.

      All we can do right now is: build strong Messianic families, try to grow a local Messianic community, build bridges where possible to the local Christian community.

      We have to be servant-leaders just like our Savior.

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  14. Peter, I do admit it is something of a Goliath...

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