Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. – Galatians 3:23-26 (NRSV)

The Bible has had many translations over the centuries. The ELCA currently prefers the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation because we helped fund its creation. The NRSV is an update of the Revised Standard Version (RSV), and if you were to look through the translators’ notes on the RSV, you will find that it was meant to correct some of the mistakes from the Kings James Version (KJV).

For the most part, I like the NRSV. However, in this passage, the translators poorly render one word. When we hear or read the word “Disciplinarian” it is fair to say that most people associate that with “punishment.”. The RSV translates the same Greek word as “custodian.”. The KJV renders it as “schoolmaster.” The word that is being translated here is παιδαγωγός (paidagogos). This word means “teacher” (it is also the etymological origin of “pedagogy”). There might be some out there who associate “teacher” with “punishment,” but most of us have had teachers who don’t have this association.

If St Paul were writing the same idea as a metaphor today, he might compare this to graduation or adoption: no longer under the guard of a school or the state, but free. Free of legal expectation; living in the freedom of a loving family. The information we learned in school or experienced before adoption still holds value and we get to take that knowledge into our new station.

God continue to be with you!
Yours in Christ, Pastor Paul+

Postscript: This Sunday at 9:30AM we will be having a simple service of Morning Prayer (Matins). The entire liturgy is spoken and it will have as sermon and the day’s psalm and readings. If you cannot make it to our 10:45 service, this earlier option might be what you are looking for. Morning Prayer and the service of Holy Communion have a multiplying effect with one another and joys increase.

Post-Postscript: You might have noticed a few slight changes to this webpage. Someone recently pointed out to me that these “Friday Night Faith” posts, that I have been writing for almost three years, are basically blog posts. They also informed me that it is sometimes hard to find them. As such, I am calling these what they are: blog posts. Also, the homepage now has a feed to make it easier to navigate to my past postings.

Because some of my early “Friday Night Faith Moments” did not make it onto the website, I will be doing reruns to get those included on the web.