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Galatians 3:21 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— [Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— [Is] the law then against the promises of God? By no means: for if there had been a law given which could give life, verily righteousness would have been by the law.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— [Is] then the law against the promises of God? Far be the thought. For if a law had been given able to quicken, then indeed righteousness were on the principle of law;
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Is, the law, then, against the promises [of God]? Far be it! For, if a law had been given, which had been able to give life, verily, in law, would have been our righteousness;
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— the law, then, [is] against the promises of God?—let it not be! for if a law was given that was able to make alive, truly by law there would have been the righteousness,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Was the law then against the promises of God: God forbid! For if there had been a law given which could give life, verily justice should have been by the law.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Is the Lawe then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had beene a Lawe giuen which could haue giuen life, verily righteousnesse should haue bene by the Law.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— Is the law therefore against the promise of Aloha? Impossible: for if a law had been given which could make [guilty man] to live, certainly righteousness would have been by the law.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— Is the law then opposed to the promise of God? Far be it. For if a law had been given, which could make alive, certainly, righteousness would have been by the law.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
[Is] the x3588
(3588) Complement

ho
{ho}
The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
law 3551
{3551} Prime
νόμος
nomos
{nom'-os}
From a primary word νέμω [[nemo]] (to parcel out, especially food or grazing to animals); law (through the idea of prescriptive usage), generally (regulation), specifically (of Moses [including the volume]; also of the Gospel), or figuratively (a principle).
then 3767
{3767} Prime
οὖν
oun
{oon}
Apparently a primary word; (adverbially) certainly, or (conjugationally) accordingly.
against 2596
{2596} Prime
κατά
kata
{kat-ah'}
A primary particle; (preposition) down (in place or time), in varied relations (according to the case [genitive, dative or accusative] with which it is joined).
the x3588
(3588) Complement

ho
{ho}
The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
promises 1860
{1860} Prime
ἐπαγγελία
epaggelia
{ep-ang-el-ee'-ah}
From G1861; an announcement (for information, assent or pledge; especially a divine assurance of good).
of God? 2316
{2316} Prime
θεός
theos
{theh'-os}
Of uncertain affinity; a deity, especially (with G3588) the supreme Divinity; figuratively a magistrate; by Hebraism very.
God forbid: 3361
{3361} Prime
μή
me
{may}
A primary particle of qualified negation (whereas G3756 expresses an absolute denial); (adverbially) not, (conjugationally) lest; also (as interrogitive implying a negative answer [whereas G3756 expects an affirmative one]); whether.
1096
{1096} Prime
γίνομαι
ginomai
{ghin'-om-ahee}
A prolonged and middle form of a primary verb; to cause to be ('gen' -erate), that is, (reflexively) to become (come into being), used with great latitude (literally, figuratively, intensively, etc.).
z5636
<5636> Grammar
Tense - Second Aorist (See G5780)
Voice - Middle Deponent (See G5788)
Mood - Optative (See G5793)
Count - 18
for 1063
{1063} Prime
γάρ
gar
{gar}
A primary particle; properly assigning a reason (used in argument, explanation or intensification; often with other particles).
if 1487
{1487} Prime
εἰ
ei
{i}
A primary particle of conditionality; if, whether, that, etc.
there had been y1325
[1325] Standard
δίδωμι
didomi
{did'-o-mee}
A prolonged form of a primary verb (which is used as an alternate in most of the tenses); to give (used in a very wide application, properly or by implication, literally or figuratively; greatly modified by the connection).
z0
<0000> Grammar
The original word in the Greek or Hebrew is translated by more than one word in the English. The English translation is separated by one or more other words from the original.
a law 3551
{3551} Prime
νόμος
nomos
{nom'-os}
From a primary word νέμω [[nemo]] (to parcel out, especially food or grazing to animals); law (through the idea of prescriptive usage), generally (regulation), specifically (of Moses [including the volume]; also of the Gospel), or figuratively (a principle).
given 1325
{1325} Prime
δίδωμι
didomi
{did'-o-mee}
A prolonged form of a primary verb (which is used as an alternate in most of the tenses); to give (used in a very wide application, properly or by implication, literally or figuratively; greatly modified by the connection).
z5681
<5681> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Passive (See G5786)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 602
which y3588
[3588] Standard

ho
{ho}
The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
could 1410
{1410} Prime
δύναμαι
dunamai
{doo'-nam-ahee}
Of uncertain affinity; to be able or possible.
z5740
<5740> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Middle or Passive Deponent (See G5790)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 544
have given life, 2227
{2227} Prime
ζῳοποιέω
zoopoieo
{dzo-op-oy-eh'-o}
From the same as G2226 and G4160; to (re-) vitalize (literally or figuratively).
z5658
<5658> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Infinitive (See G5795)
Count - 516
verily 3689
{3689} Prime
ὄντως
ontos
{on'-toce}
Adverb of the oblique cases of G5607; really.
x302
(0302) Complement
ἄν
an
{an}
A primary particle, denoting a supposition, wish, possibility or uncertainty.
righteousness 1343
{1343} Prime
δικαιοσύνη
dikaiosune
{dik-ah-yos-oo'-nay}
From G1342; equity (of character or act); specifically (Christian) justification.
should y302
[0302] Standard
ἄν
an
{an}
A primary particle, denoting a supposition, wish, possibility or uncertainty.
have been 2258
{2258} Prime
ἦν
en
{ane}
Imperfect of G1510; I (thou, etc.) was (wast or were).
z5713
<5713> Grammar
Tense - Imperfect (See G5775)
Voice - No Voice Stated (See G5799)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 532
by 1537
{1537} Prime
ἐκ
ek
{ek}
A primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence motion or action proceeds), from, out (of place, time or cause; literally or figuratively; direct or remote).
the law. 3551
{3551} Prime
νόμος
nomos
{nom'-os}
From a primary word νέμω [[nemo]] (to parcel out, especially food or grazing to animals); law (through the idea of prescriptive usage), generally (regulation), specifically (of Moses [including the volume]; also of the Gospel), or figuratively (a principle).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Galatians 3:21

_ _ “Is the law (which involves a mediator) against the promises of God (which are without a mediator, and rest on God alone and immediately)? God forbid.”

_ _ life — The law, as an externally prescribed rule, can never internally impart spiritual life to men naturally dead in sin, and change the disposition. If the law had been a law capable of giving life, “verily (in very reality, and not in the mere fancy of legalists) righteousness would have been by the law (for where life is, there righteousness, its condition, must also be).” But the law does not pretend to give life, and therefore not righteousness; so there is no opposition between the law and the promise. Righteousness can only come through the promise to Abraham, and through its fulfillment in the Gospel of grace.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

See commentary on Galatians 3:19-29.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Galatians 3:21

Will it follow from hence that the law is against, opposite to, the promises of God? By no means. They are well consistent. But yet the law cannot give life, as the promise doth. If there had been a law which could have given life — Which could have entitled a sinner to life, God would have spared his own Son, and righteousness, or justification. with all the blessings consequent upon it, would have been by that law.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Galatians 3:21

(25) [Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

(25) The conclusion uttered by a manner of asking a question, and it is the same that was uttered before in (Galatians 3:17), but proceeding from another principle, so that the argument is new, and is this: God is always like himself: therefore the Law was not given to abolish the promises. But it would abolish them if it gave life, for by that means it would justify, and therefore it would abolish that justification which was promised to Abraham and to his seed by faith. No, it was rather given to bring to light the guiltiness of all men, to the end that all believers fleeing to Christ, might be freely justified in him.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
the law:

Matthew 5:17-20 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. ... For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Romans 7:7-13 What shall we say then? [Is] the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. ... Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

God forbid:

Galatians 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, [is] therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
Romans 3:6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?

for:

Galatians 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin.

righteousness:

Romans 3:21-22 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; ... Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Romans 9:31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Romans 10:3-6 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. ... But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down [from above]:)
Philippians 3:6-9 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. ... And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
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Mt 5:17. Ro 3:4, 6, 20, 21, 31; 7:7; 9:31; 10:3. Ga 2:17, 19, 21. Php 3:6. He 11:7.

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