Galatians, The Torah & Legalism
Home / Contents
Galatians 1
Galatians 2
Galatians 3
Galatians 4
Galatians 5
Galatians 6
1. Background to Paul & Galatians
2. Introduction to Paul & Galatians
3. What Was The Galatian Heresy ?
4. Circumcision or Non-Circumcision
5. Paul's Uncircumcised Brethren
6. First Century Jewish Torah-Law
7. Written Torah-Law - A Blessing
8. Paul and The Oral Torah-Law
9. Jesus Christ & The Oral Torah-Law
10. Was the Oral Torah-Law All Bad ?
11. Legalism: The Works of The Law"
12. "Under The Law"
13. "The Curse of the Law"
14. Paul's Criticism of Peter
15. "Days & Months & Times & Years"
16. Conclusion: Galatians, Paul etc.
17. Related Sites
      Gentile Circumcision Acts 15
      Paul's Temple Sacrifices
      The Tithe Debate

The Curse of The Law

The "Curse of The Law"

When Paul writes in Galatians "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law" is he saying that the written torah (Pentateuch), the law in the first five books of the Bible written by Moses, and given to the descendants of Abraham by God Himself was a curse?

We've already discussed that Paul believed "EVERYTHING WRITTEN in the law and the prophets" and that Jews delight in the written Torah law - remember Psalm 19: and Psalm 119. So in Galatians 3:10 when Paul writes

Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse... NKJV

and a few verses later when he writes:

Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the CURSE OF THE LAW.

...what does he mean if, as we assert, it's inconceivable that with his Jewish heritage Paul would have called the written Mosaic Torah Law a curse.

The answer could well be that Paul is simply referring to a specific curse recorded in Deuteronomy in Galatians 3:10

Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." NKJV

Take a minute to look at this. In a wide margin KJV/AV the margin says that Paul is citing this from Deuteronomy 27:26 which says.

Deuteronomy 27:26 'Cursed is he who doth not establish the words of this law, to do them, - and all the people have said, Amen. (Young's Literal Translation)


Deuteronomy 27:26 Cursed be he that confirmeth not the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say: Amen.' (Jewish Publication Society)

As an aside - if Paul’s supposed to be doing away with the written Torah, why does he cite it so much in his epistles? Just look down the centre margin of your Bible and count the number of times that Paul quotes from the written Torah Law (even in Galatians).

So arguably, when Paul is referring to "the curse of the law", he could beb referring to a specific curse for those who don't keep some aspect of God's written Torah Law (presumably also in Deuteronomy?).

What aspect of the written Torah could be being broken for this curse to become valid?

Yes you've guessed it - we've already discussed it in the page on First Century Jewish Torah Law and the Oral Torah Law. Answer: Deuteronomy 4:2

Deuteronomy 4:2

2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Arguably then, Paul is saying: Standard Pharisaic Judaism emphasizes legalistic "works of law", but by doing so adds oral torah-law to the written Torah Law which contravenes Deuteronomy 4:2 and thereby brings them under the curse of Deuteronomy 27:

Having tried to clear that issue up, let's now take a look at Galatians 2:11-16 Paul's criticism of Peter.

Return to the start of Galatians, Paul, The Torah-Law and Legalism a Judianity website ?

One small and predictable change to an "Old Testament" law about circumcising gentile proselytes in Acts caused massive turmoil in the predominantly Jewish first century church. If most of the other Old Testament laws were "done away" - why then isn't any comparable disturbance recorded in the New Testament ? Why also do many christian theologians believe even after the crucifixion, that Paul kept Nazirite vows & offered sacrifices at the temple?

Let's take a closer look at Paul's Criticism of Peter & Barnabus in Galatians 2:11
© Jan 2006.