Are you a parent? Do you sometimes hate to have to discipline your kids? Have you ever wished that kids could come pre-trained and pre-disciplined? If so, you can probably sympathize with the ancient Roman parents, who purchased Greek slaves to take care of the nasty chores of parenthood. The name for this kind of slave was paidagogos (pie dah go GOSS), and the same word is used in the New Testament in a fascinating way.
The paidagogos was much like a British “nanny” and had the following responsibilities: (1) He had to punish the children when they were being bad. (2) He had to stay with the children to keep them out of trouble and to protect them from possible dangers. (3) He was to teach them certain basic things, such as their alphabet, their numbers, and physical exercises. (4) When the children were finally old enough, he was to escort them to school, to see that they arrived safely. Then their real education began.
In Galatians 3:24 Paul says the Law was our paidagogos until Christ, our real teacher, came. Consider the implications. For fifteen hundred years that Law had punished and protected the children of Israel. It taught them some basic facts about God and His righteousness, and it prepared the people for Christ. The Law was not an end in itself, however, and was never meant to be permanent. Just as normal kids outgrow their need for a babysitter, so God's children were finally ready for the Law to be taken a way.
The Law served as paidagogos, and was a good one, but “now that faith has come, we are no longer under a paidagogos” (Gal 3:25).