Galatians 4 English Standard Version (ESV)

Galatians 4 English Standard Version (ESV)

The big thing to remember here is our context goes back to Galatians 2:15. We have already gone over chapters two and three.

Where we left off was that the law was our schoolmaster, our guide as it were something to lead us to the new birth. A road to righteousness we could never truly follow because there was no way to make it work because of our sin nature.
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Galatians 3:21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.

If God could have brought righteousness by the law he would have. It is also stated that “no flesh shall be justified by the law”.

Galatians 3: 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Galatians 2:16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

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I find it hard to understand that anyone could read this book and come away with the belief that they could be saved by works of the law. It is infact very arrogant that man believes he can save himself. Man seems to want God and Jesus Christ out of their way so they can save themselves by following some rules. Those same people can not follow those rules they claim you have to live by to be saved they also do not follow hundreds of the laws and yet they consider themselves to be righteous. There is an adage that says in for a penny in for a pound, it means if you are in it you are in it all the way no halfway measures. If you are living by the law then you must live by the law.

It is much the same as people who will not associate with people they consider sinners yet they turn a blind eye to their own sin. Who did Jesus Christ hang out with? Prostitutes, thieves, tax collectors and publicans the scum of society. These people by the rules they claim to follow could not hang out with Jesus who is suppose to be our example.

Okay so let us get a running start into chapter 4 by going back to chapter 3 in verse 23.

23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.

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We were imprisoned held under the law. We were without God and without hope.

Ephesians 2:11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

We were what the word calls the natural man without the spirit and under the control of the devil.

1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

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We did not and could not understand the “deep”  things of God but we could understand love and we saw it it drew us to God’s and his word. We accepted Jesus Christ as our lord and savior and we got saved by the grace of God.

24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

We no longer have the guardian or the schoolmaster we have faith not some mysterious power but simple trust in what God says he means and if things should change he will inform us.

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

We are the seed of Abraham the seed of trust the seed of believers who take God at his word. That is what the Pharisees were missing in John 8.
John 8:33 They (Pharisees ) answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

Rom 10:3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.


First off they were under Roman rule at the time so they were lying and the assumed the bloodline connection was enough to make them children of Abraham never understanding it was all about faith and trust in God. They thought God was out of the equation.

We are Abraham's seed according to the promise not because of the flesh.

One last quick thing I wanted to mention is that the schoolmaster was a slave and that slave thing follows through.

4:1 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything,
This kind of makes me think of Bruce Wayne as a child. The butler Alfred was his guardian yet Bruce was the one to rule. As a child Bruce was accountable to Alfred but after a point Bruce became the the one in charge.
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2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.
Let’s look at the way the REV translates verse 3.
3  So we also, when we were minors, were enslaved to the basic principles of the world.
It is talking about the law.
4 But When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
This is how the REV translates this:

4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent his Son, coming from a woman, coming under the law,
From the REV commentary
“the fullness of the time.” The phrase means, the full or complete time, i.e., the proper time. God had been at work in history for many centuries preparing for His Son and the spread of the Good News. The almost universal knowledge of the Greek language made it easy to spread the Gospel even via letters, and preserve it in scrolls, and shortly thereafter, books. The world was prepared for the Gospel in written form. Roman roads and Roman law helped the spread of the Gospel in spite of its intolerance of it. What happened to Paul was a good example: his Roman citizenship and Roman justice helped him in most of his travels, including Philippi (Acts 16:37-40), Corinth (Acts 18:15), in Jerusalem (Acts 22:25), in Caesarea (Acts 25:12), and in Rome, where he was released after two years (Acts 28:30). The world was prepared for people to travel with the Gospel and teach it everywhere. Throughout the Roman Empire there were miserable conditions, tyranny, oppression, slavery, and profligate behavior. Centuries of war, destruction, and enslavement of the losers, had devastated the empire. Entertainment had become murder. The world was ready for a Savior. Greek and Roman philosophy had proven itself powerless to stop the downward spiral of the human mind, soul, and spirit, and Greco-Roman religion was “powerless, and worse than powerless, in checking their bad propensities” (Life and Epistles of St. Paul, p. 10). The world was ready for enlightenment and true purpose. There are other things, of course, and we cannot hope to understand all the things God had in mind when He said that it was the proper time for His Son to come into the world.
“God sent his Son.” The teaching that God sent Jesus Christ occurs over forty times in the New Testament, and can have different meanings in different contexts. For in-depth commentary on Jesus Christ having been sent by the Father, and its different meanings and nuances in context, see commentary on John 6:57.
5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
I want to remind you of the difference between an adopted son and a son by birth. A son by birth you could be disowned. Your parents were seen as not having a choice but they got you and you could be great or you could be a bum. Now with an adopted child that was by your choice. No one held a gun to your head and forced you to adopt this person. Once you adopted someone they were yours forever because you chose them.
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The word redeem means to buy or I ransom. It is used in 3 other places (Gal. 3:13, Gal. 4:5, Eph. 5:16, Col. 4:5 See more information )
6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
The word abba is Hebrew for Father.

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8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.
( Aramaic Bible in Plain English) Gal. 4:8 For then when you had not known God, you served those which by their nature were not gods.
This is talking about whatever you served other than the living God.
9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.
Some have twisted this to say you should not celebrate Christmas, the Fourth of July, or any sort of holiday. What is the context here? That we are no longer bound by the law but we live by faith , trusting God and living after the example of Jesus Christ. Living under the law of love.
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12 Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong. 13 You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first,
Let’s take a look at the REV:
Indeed, you know that because of an infirmity of the flesh I told you the Good News the first time,


“infirmity.” The Greek is astheneia, (#769 ἀσθένεια), “weakness, illness.” Paul preached where he did for the first time because of an infirmity. Many people have guessed about what this infirmity was, but the simple fact is that we do not know.
Some commentators have suggested that the translation should be, “despite my bodily illness,” instead of “because of my bodily illness.” Lenski points out that all the texts have the phrase with the accusative, and thus “because of” is correct. He points out that the proposal to have “despite…” is “due to the supposition that when Paul came from Paphos and landed at Perga and then continued on to Pisidian Antioch in Galatia, he had not intended to stop here but purposed to go on past this country [of Galatia]. But whither did he intend to go?” Lenski then shows how the geography is such that it seems clear that Paul always intended to go to Galatia, but likely not as fast as he was seemingly forced to go by his illness, which was likely helped by the higher altitudes of central Galatia. If he had not been sick, he may have stayed on and around the coast longer.
Some people believe that this sickness Paul refers to is the “thorn in the flesh” of 2 Corinthians 12:7. That cannot be because Paul’s “thorn” was permanent, while the sickness he mentions in Galatians got better. This record in Galatians should teach us a powerful lesson: we should not be ashamed of any sickness or weakness in our physical body. Our bodies are flesh, and people get sick. Getting sick is not a “bad witness;” it is a sign we are human. Certainly we need to use wisdom when it comes to diet and exercise, but even the most fit people get sick. Christ never tells us that Christians will have perfectly healthy bodies; he tells us that in the future we will have a body like his powerful body (Phil. 3:21).
“the first time.” Paul was on his first missionary journey when he preached in Galatia, and we believe he wrote Galatians shortly after that journey ended and before the Jerusalem counsel. If that is the case, what does Paul mean by the “first” time? After Paul preached in Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:14-50), he was driven out of the area and turned east. But then he retraced his steps and went back to the area of Antioch a second time (Acts 14:21). Another, but perhaps less likely way to understand “the first time” of Galatians 4:13 is in contrast with “have I [now] become your enemy” in verse 16. Paul’s first encounter with the Galatians was a warm welcome, but now he is being treated as an enemy.
14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. 15 What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me.16 Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?
I like how Bullinger handels vs 16:
16 Am I therefore become your enemy, dealing with you truly?
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17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. 18 It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, 19 my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! 20 I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written,
“Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
   break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
   than those of the one who has a husband.”
This is a figure of speech called a gnome. It is a quote from the Hebrew Scriptures it quotes Isaiah 54:1
Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.
28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say?“Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.
Again this is talking about the true children of Abraham the ones who live by faith. I want to include the next verse which starts chapter 5 but should be here in chapter 4. I will be using the KJV which translates this in a very powerful way.

5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

A good deal more powerful when read in context.

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