Dr. Bahnsen on Galatians 3:28

One of the most often misquoted verses of scripture by our alienist friends, is Galatians 3 verse 28:

There is neither jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Any of my readers brave enough to challenge the alienist will likely hear this verse cited as proof that God not only allows, but ordains and encourages wholesale mixing of the races.  I’ve heard this verse appealed to as a support for grotesque sexual sins (homosexuality) as well.

But as Dr. Bahnsen shows, no serious Bible scholar can use this verse to imply the righteousness of wholesale race-mixing.  Even one of the most theologically-rigorous alienists out there, J. Daniel Hays, in his book “From Every People and Nation” admits that the verse does not abrogate physical distinctions among the church (see page 186).

It seems only the naive alienist, who isn’t interested in fair exegesis, or perhaps the lay-egalitarian who isn’t very systematic in his position, allude to this verse as the first volley in their attack against the walls of traditional European Christendom.  Dr. Bahnsen is no Kinist by any means (though his work has proven invaluable in helping form a Kinist case against Modernism) and has no intention of refuting the alienist in the following commentary.  If anything, he’s more concerned with upholding his theonomic interpretation of the NT and only makes a few brief concluding remarks about the passage.  However, these remarks are important and demonstrate a refreshing attitude towards the text, even though Dr. Bahnsen makes unfortunate concessions to contemporary whims.

The following citation is transcribed from Dr. Bahnsen’s lecture on Galatians 3:23 through chapter 4.  The file can be purchased at Covenant Media Foundation and is named: GB1162-Gal3.23-4.7.  The transcript begins at 30:55 into the lecture:


Back in chapter 3, verse 28:

There can be neither jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ and have become the seed with Him.  The seed of Abraham and the children of God.  He tells us, there cannot be distinctions of rank within the household of God.

And he refers to three particular ones, but I think there are only three chosen examples because they were so prominent in Paul’s culture and day.  There are no distinctions within the household of God that puts one or another person ahead of the other in terms of spiritual privilege.

You know?  Whether you’re fat or thin or rich or poor or whether you’re black or white.  We can think about any number.  But the three Paul talks about are jew Greek, bond free, male female.  These are obvious distinctions, especially in jewish culture.  Jews prided themselves in being better than the Greeks and better than the Gentiles.

In Romans 2, Paul goes on and on about how, you know, “you pride yourselves in the law and you think you’re a teacher of the ignorant,” and on and on and on.  But the jews clearly thought of themselves as superior.  Paul now crushes jewish pride.  He says in Christ, jew or greek: makes no difference.

In Christ being master or slave, being freeman or bond servant means nothing.  In fact, we know in the days of the New Testament that some bond servants were spiritually much further along; saved or more mature than their masters. See?  Spirituality is not tied to privilege in this world.

And then he comes to another one which has been the source of unending controversy, it seems like, in my generation.  There’s neither male nor female.  You see?  To be a man, to be a male, is no better than to be a female if you’re in the household of God.  There’s no better or worse spiritually because of sexual differentiation.  Peter tells us in 1 Peter, that husbands and wives are co-heirs in the grace of life.  That they are on a par, spiritually, with one another.

Now, what conclusions — what inferences, can be logically drawn from this?  Can we conclude that, since in Christ there is neither Greek nor jew, that all ethnic distinctions have been biologically and sociologically eliminated?  That would be silly, wouldn’t it?

Would we conclude that, because in Christ, in terms of spiritual privilege in the House of God, there’s neither bond nor free, that therefore, slaves are not really slaves, and masters are not really masters?  Do we believe that all sexual differentiation has been removed because spiritually those that have these differentiations are one in Christ?   It doesn’t follow at all, does it?

When someone says “well, since there’s neither male nor female, then men can no longer have dominion over women.  Men cannot exercise authority over women in the church and husbands cannot have the dominance in the home!”

That just does not follow from what Paul is saying at all.  That isn’t what Paul is talking about.  Well, what is Paul talking about?  Our position of privilege in the Household of God.  And on that, though we are quick, and I am quick, to defend conservative theology against the intrusions of women’s liberation, I should be, and all of us should be, quick to insist that women ought not to be considered second class citizens.  And I do think there is that tendency to be rebuked among us.

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3 Responses to Dr. Bahnsen on Galatians 3:28

  1. Maggie says:

    The next time a negro or misguided guilty white Christian starts in with the slavery bit, we can answer, “Don’t be ridiculous! You know Galatians 3:28 says there haven’t been slaves for two thousand years!”

  2. shotgunwildatheart says:

    Hahaha! I love it! There is neither bond servant nor free!

  3. rjp says:

    I think it is impossible to understand that quote outside of the paragraph to which blongs:

    23 But before the faith came, we were kept under the law shut up, unto that faith which was to be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our pedagogue in Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after the faith is come, we are no longer under a pedagogue. 26 For you are all the children of God by faith, in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you be Christ’s, then are you the seed of Abraham, heirs according to the promise.

    seed of Abraham, children of God by faith, in Christ Jesus, baptized in his name.

    Jews are not baptized in the name of Christ. negroes are not from the seeds of Abraham.


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