I have encountered a Messianic Jewish teaching that states that only the Jewish people are obligated to keep Torah, because they are circumcised. Is this what Galatians 5:2-3 really communicates? I am confused.
This article addresses the clause “under the Law” (Grk. hupo nomon), how it is used, and what it means in its appropriate context in view of what both the Tanach and Apostolic Scriptures tell us about the significance of God’s Torah.
Literally speaking, the genitive clause (genitive is the Greek case indicating possession) dia pisteōs Iēsou Christou should be rendered as “through faith of Jesus Christ” (YLT). Some modern study Bibles are having to place footnotes for verses like Galatians 2:16, indicating the alternative rendering, “Or by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.”
Anyone who enters into Pauline theological studies today will easily encounter the fact that there are scholars and exegetes who think that the term “works of law” or ergōn nomou—appearing first in Galatians (2:16[3x]; 3:2, 5, 10), and then appearing again in Romans (3:20, 28)—actually does designate something other than “works/deeds/actions required by the Mosaic Law,” or at least something a bit more specific than just “observing the law” (NIV) in general. These proposals, though, have been met with a great deal of criticism, and even some hostility, by those of particular theological traditions. Alternatives to the customary meaning of “works of law” have been proposed more frequently, as New Testament theologians, over the past fifty years or so, have had greater access to ancient Jewish literature and resources, and this information has had to be considered in their exegesis.
This further study, of what “under the Law” really means, will consider some of the strengths and weaknesses today’s Messianic Believers have, especially when a Christian family member or friend exclaims “We’re not under the Law!” Not only will this analysis provide some more detailed answers to those who are skeptical of a Messianic’s Torah obedience, but it is engaged with contemporary thought and opinion surrounding the terminology “under the Law,” and why “under the Law” meaning “obedient to the Torah of Moses” is a poor conclusion.
Mark Huey of Outreach Israel Ministries delivers the following Apostolic Scriptures Reflection for Ki-Teitzei: Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3-12; 22:23-32; Mark 10:2-12; 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-38; 1 Corinthians 9:4-18; Galatians 3:9-14; 1 Timothy 5:17-18