Barnes Against the Egalitarian
Interpretation of Galatians 3:28
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
“All are on a level; all are saved in the same way; all are entitled to the same privileges. There is no favoritism on account of birth, beauty, or blood. All confess that they are sinners; all are saved by the merits of the same Saviour; all are admitted to the same privileges as children of God.
The word “Greek” here is used to denote the Gentiles generally; since the whole world was divided by the Jews into “Jews and Greeks” — the Greeks being the foreign nation best known to them. The Syriac renders it here “Aramean,” using the word to denote the Gentiles generally. The meaning is, that whatever was the birth, or rank, or nation, or color, or complexion, all under the gospel were on a level. They were admitted to the same privileges, and endowed with the same hopes of eternal life.
This does not mean that all the civil distinctions among people are to be disregarded. It does not mean that no respect is to be shown to those in office, or to people in elevated rank. It does not mean that all are on a level in regard to talents, comforts, or wealth; but it means only that all people are on a level “in regard to religion.” This is the sole point under discussion and the interpretation should be limited to this.
It is not a fact that people are on a level in all things, nor is it a fact that the gospel designs to break down all the distinctions of society. Paul means to teach that no man has any preference or advantage in the kingdom of God because he is a rich man, or because he is of elevated rank; no one is under any disadvantage because he is poor, or because he is ignorant, or a slave. All at the foot of the cross are sinners; all at the communion table are saved by the same grace; all who enter into heaven, will enter clothed in the same robes of salvation, and arranged, not as princes and nobles, and rich men and poor men, in separate orders and ranks, but mingling together as redeemed by the same blood, and arranged in ranks according to their eminence in holiness; compare my notes at Isaiah 56:8.”
— Albert Barnes, Notes on the Bible