St. Paul says that the Law in the Old Testament was like a custodial guide (pedagogue), someone who sets boundaries around us to ensure that we live in peace with one another. However, in Christ, St. Paul argues that we no longer need this custodial guide. So, how do we over come our violent tendencies? How do we live in peace with our enemies? And, why would St. Paul claim that this breaks down divisions between people?
Bottom Line: Because the gospel has revealed our tendency towards violence and the true intent of the Law (to love our neighbor, which ensures peace within the community), we no longer need the Law as a custodial guide (pedagogue) looking after us.
1 - In Galatians 3, Paul understands the Law to be a sort of custodial guide (in Greek, pedagogue). In the ancient world, this was a slave who played the role of the parent. They were responsible for the education of a child: teaching them to read and write, and taking them to school. They were often strict and formed a life-long relationship with the children they raised.
Photo: Relief found in Neumagen near Trier, a teacher with students (photograph by Shakko, distributed under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license).
What is The Way?
Fr. Dustin Lyon explores scripture to rediscover Christianity so that we can walk in the Way of the Lord.