Why the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
A schoolmaster nowadays is not at all like the personage Paul intended. He speaks of a pedagogue, an official seldom if ever now seen among men. This was not a person who actually officiated as master in the school, and gave instruction in the school itself; but one — a slave generally — who was set to take the boys to school, and to watch over them, and to be a sort of general supervisor of them, both in school and Out of school, and at all times. A pedagogue was very generally employed in the training of the young; indeed, it was a common and customary thing for the sons of the Greek and Roman nobility to have appointed over them some trustworthy servant who took them in charge. The boys were entirely under these servants; and thus had their spirits broken in, and their vivacity restrained. As a rule these pedagogues were very stern and strict — they used the rod freely, not to say cruelly, and the condition of the boys was sometimes no better than slavery. The boys (as it was supposed to be for their good) were kept in perpetual fear. Their recreations were restricted; even their walks were under the surveillance of the grim pedagogue. They were sternly held in check in all points, and were thus disciplined for the battle of life. Now Paul, taking up this thought, says the law was our pedagogue, our guardian, our custodian, ruler, tutor, governor, until Christ came.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.