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Tue, July 23, 2024
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Galatians 4

Daily Prayer New Testament

American Bible

Verbatim Translation

We Are No Longer Slaves

1-3 Think about the eldest son of a great lord. When he is a child, he is little different from one of the servants, because he lives under the authority of nannies, teachers, and guardians - he has to do what they tell him to do. He has no actual power or property of his own until he inherits it, on the day set by his father.

4-7 We are like this. When we were children, we were under the authority of the visible world, little different from those who are slaves to sin. The Law was our guardian and disciplinarian – not the source of our inheritance. But when the time set by the Father arrived, He sent His Son to be born of a woman, a human like us, subject to the Law. As the rightful heir of God’s promise, He received the power to make us co-heirs by adoption, and thus we became the true children of God. And it is because we are God’s children that He sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts to cry, “Our Dear Father!” Brothers and sisters, you are servants no longer; you are grown sons and daughters, the rightful heirs of God through Jesus Christ.

Do Not Retreat from Salvation

3, 8-9 Humanity is born into slavery, its master the elemental forces of nature. These forces are not gods; people may dream up gods to explain them, but such gods are imaginary. It is nature, the nature around us and within us, that first enslaved us. We, however, were enslaved to a new master after our birth: the Law. This prepared us to know God, to be ready for the coming of Christ; but we were still slaves. Now, having come to know the true God – and to be known by God – how could you possibly want to return to slavery? Why would you want to call the spiritless urgings of nature your master, or chain yourselves to impotent, lifeless rules?

10-11 Yet that is just what you are doing, when you revert to the Law’s ritual observance of days (and months, and seasons, and years). I despair that you might be lost and that my time and effort will have been spent in vain.

I Urge You Not to Be Misled

12-14 I beg of you: Just as I, a Jew, became like one of you, now you must become like me. Remember how close we were? I was ill when I first came to you to preach the Gospel, but you bore my infirmity with me. Instead of losing patience, you welcomed me like an angel of God, like Christ Himself. I think you would have torn out your own eyes and given them to me, if you could.

15-17 What has become of your blessed devotion? Have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? These so-called evangelists certainly are not telling the truth. They seek prestige, not goodness. They strive to separate you from the saints so that you will be their followers.

18 To strive is good when you strive for goodness.

18-20 And by all means, do strive for good, my children; and not only when I am there with you. For even apart from you, I suffer for you. I suffer like a woman giving birth. I cannot even tell what tone to take in my letter; I am confused about how to explain all of this to you, because the second-hand reports I hear are confusing. How I wish I were there, so that I could hear your questions and problems myself. Then I could answer directly. But I cannot be, so perhaps this will help:

Slavery and Freedom

21-23 Those of you who think you want to be subject to the Law, listen to what the Law itself says. Abraham had two sons, one of them with a slave and one with a freewoman. The son born to the slave was conceived in the flesh, but the one born to the freewoman was conceived in God’s promise.

24-25 Their births create a natural allegory: the son born to Hagar, a slave, was born into slavery. They represent Mount Sinai, in the desert of Arabia, where the Law was conceived and where Hagar and her son were sent.

26-27 And does Scripture tell us that Hagar’s childbirth was fortunate? To the contrary, it says, “Rejoice, barren woman who does not give birth; break forth and cry out, you who do not have the pain of childbirth; for children of the wilderness number many more than children of she who has a husband.” Hagar and her children, Mount Sinai and the desert, Jerusalem today – all these are emblems of slavery.

27-28 But as freedom is superior to slavery, Sarah was superior to Hagar, and our mother is superior to Jerusalem. Her son Isaac was the child of God’s promise, the promise of conception, just as you are the children of God’s promise, the promise of freedom.

29-31 And today, just as in the past, those born of the flesh persecute those born of the Spirit. But who will prevail? Read the Scripture: “Cast out the slave and her son, for by no means will the son of the slave inherit with the son of the freewoman.” And we are “the sons of the freewoman” and thus, the true heirs of God.

1 Now I say, as long as the heir is a minor, he differs in no way from a slave, although being lord of all,

2 but he is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.

3 And we, similarly, were enslaved to the elements of the universe when we were children.

4 And when the time was complete, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

5 that He might redeem those under the law, in order that we might be adopted as sons.

6 And because you are sons, God sent out 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, also an heir through God.

8 But before, not knowing God, you were enslaved to thing that are not gods by nature.

9 But now that you have come to know God – or rather, having come to be known by God – how can you turn again to the impotent and inferior elements? Do you want to be enslaved to them yet again?

10 Days you observe, and months, and seasons and years.

11 You make me fear for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

12 I plead with you, brothers, become like me as I became like you. In no way have you wronged me.

13 For as you know, at first I preached the gospel to you during an infirmity of the flesh,

14 and you neither despised nor rejected the trial that my flesh created for you, but welcomed me like an angel of god, like Jesus Christ.

15 What, then, has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you, that if possible, you would have dug out your eyes and given them to me.

16 Have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?

17 They strive to attract you not from good motives, but to exclude you, so that you will seek after them.

18 Now to strive is good, if you strive for good; and not just when I am with you,

19 my children, for whom I suffer as if giving birth until Christ might be formed in you

20 I wish I were with you now, so that I might change my tone of voice, because I am confused by you.

21 Tell me, those who want to be subject to the law, do you not listen to the law?

22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one from a slave and one from a freewoman;

23 but the one from the slave had been born according to the flesh, while the one from the freewoman had been born of a promise.

24 These are allegorical, for they represent two covenants: One from Mount Sinai, giving birth into slavery, which is Hagar.

25 Hagar represents Sinai Mountain in Arabia and corresponds to present-day Jerusalem, for she is enslaved with her children.

26 But that above Jerusalem represents freedom, which is our mother;

27 For it is written, “Rejoice, barren woman who does not give birth; break forth and cry out, you who do not have the pain of childbirth; for children of the wilderness number many more than children of she who has a husband.

28 But you, brothers, like Isaac are ther children of promise.

29 But now, just as then, those born of the flesh persecute those born of the spirit.

30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for by no means will the son of the bondwoman inherit with the son of the freewoman.”

31 Therefore, brothers, we are not children of a slave but of a freewoman.

1 And I say, for so much time the heir child is, not-at-all he differs of slave a Translators imply the word despite here, so that the sentence makes sense; there is no grammatical clue. Perhaps a word was lost over the years. lord of all being,

2 but under guardians is and stewards until the appointed-time of the father.

3 And just so we, when we were children, under bUnder can mean physically under, or subordinate to, just as in English. the elements of the universe cThe meaning of this expression is heavily disputed. It has a range of meaning similar to English “elements”, but has also been taken by scholars to mean a) elemental religions (i.e. more primative pre-Christian religions, including Judaism and pointedly the Mosaic law); b) elemental spirits, the gods of ancient religions corresponding to earth, air, fire and water; c) stars in the sky and/or the zodiac. All of these are reasonably well attested and should be taken seriously. I take the simplest choice, a person responding to the “elements of nature” before knowing God, a person who reacts only to the visible world, as this is the plain lexical meaning, and the reader may supply the interpretation. we were enslaved

4 and when came the fullness dAlt. fulfillment. Greek, but not modern idiomatic English, commonly uses the word “fullness” to indicate the completion of a preordained amount of time; it helps to think of a measuring cup under a faucet becoming full. Using the English word “fullness” unfortunately gives it an artificial, ecclesiastical-Engish tone that few people really understand. The phrase means “when the correct (or established, or preordained) amount of time had passed.” of time, sent-forth god the son of him, being born from woman, being born under eOr subject to. the law,

5 that the under law he might redeem, so that the adoption we might receive.

6 And because you are sons, sent out god the spirit of the son of him into the hearts of us, crying, Abba the father.

7 So no longer you are servant but son and if son, also heir through god.

8 But then indeed not knowing god you were enslaved to the nature not being gods fThe phrase describing to whom they were enslaved is grammatically unclear. Most translators decide on “by those by nature not being gods,” meaning other non-godly human beings, but this translation is not totally convincing either in grammar or theology. “To nature (you) not being not gods” - i.e. we, not being gods, are enslaved to nature or our natural instiincts - is a bit more theologically sensible but more of a grammatical stretch.

9 but now having come to know g Or knowing. god, or rather having become known h This is the same verb in the same form, except passive, as the preceding one. It is inconceivable that Paul is saying that God had no knowledge of the person previously, or that we know God in the same way He knows us; and yet, the verb (akin to English “gnosis”) very clearly means to come to understand something. The eminent Frederick Danker struggled with it, cited dozens of ancient Greek and modern scholarly works, and decided that it is almost the equivalent of “elect”: “In this passage, the gnosis of God directed toward human beings is conceived of as the basis of and condition for their coming to know God.” by god, how turn you again to the impotent and inferior elements, to which again yet-again i As with not not, Paul uses two different words for “again” to strengthen the concept. We might hear this better orally in English, i.e. “again – yet again? – you want to be a slave?” to be enslaved want you?

10 Days you observe j In the sense of scrupulously observing a religious holiday, such as we might say, “I observe Good Friday by fasting.” and months and seasons and years.

11 I fear you not-perhaps k Idiom, lest. in vain I have l A future occurrence (“will have labored”) is implied. labored for you.

12 Become as I, as m Or because. also I as you, brothers, I plead of you. Nothing me you wronged.

13 For you know that during n Alt. through, because of. weakness of the flesh I evangelized to you formerly o This might be used in the sense of once, or the first time, but only if it were established elsewhere that there had been two or more visits.,

14 and the trial p Fyi, trial is in the case of a direct object, that is, they did not disdain their trial. Some translators infer that Paul means he was not spit upon, but the better reading is that they did not spit out their “trial”, i.e. send Paul away because his illness made him a burden. of you in the flesh of me neither you disdained nor spit-out q I have given the original, literal meaning here, although clearly it is intended as a metaphor for a disdainful rejection. The word is used only once in NT, i.e. it is hapax legomenon. , but like angel of god welcomed me, like Jesus Christ.

15 Therefore where the blessedness r Or blessing. of you? For I witness in s Or testify about, or testify to. you that if possible the eyes of you digging out you gave to me t The odd use of the simple past (aorist) indicative here, “you gave me” (instead of “would have given me”) might be construed to add to the certainty of the result: you certainly would have given to me. .

16 And so enemy of you I became telling-truth to you?

17 They zealously court you not goodly u This Greek adverbial form of “good” has no precise English equivalent. Our primary adverbial form of “good” is “well”, which generally focuses on (or at least includes) the notion of how effectively or successfully something is done. The Greek adverb here, however, addresses only the goodness of the intended outcome. The false prophets might be courting the Galatians “well”, in the sense that they are effectively converting them, but they are not courting them “goodly”, because the motive or outcome is not good. , but to exclude you they want, that them you seek.

18 And good to be striving for good always, and not only when present me with you,

19 children of me, whom I have-labor-pains-for until when might be transformed Christ in you.

20 and I am wanting to be present with you now, and to change the voice of me, because I am confused about you.

21 Tell me, the under law wishing to be, the law not you hear?

22 For it is written that Abraham two sons had, one from the slave girl and one from the free .

23 but the from-the-slave (masc.) had been born according to the flesh, while the from-the-freewoman had been born of a promise.

24 These are allegorical, for they represent two covenants: One from Mount Sinai, giving birth into slavery, which is Hagar.

25 And Hagar of Sinai mountain is in Arabia, and aligned with the now Jerusalem, for she is enslaved with the children of her.

26 But the above-Jerusalem free is, which is mother of us;

27 for is written, “Rejoice, barren one the not-giving-birth, break out and cry out, the not having-childbirth-pain; for many the children of wilderness more than of the having husband.”

28 But you, brothers, like Isaac of promise children are.

29 But now, just as then, those born of the flesh persecute those born of the spirit.

30 But what says the Scripture, “Cast out the slave and the son of her, for not not will inherit the son of the slave with the son of the free.

31 Therefore, brothers, not are we of slave children but of free.


Quickie Key (Text)

1. Italicized words are implied but not spelled out in the Greek.

2. Words are kept in original order, with rare exceptions.

3. Omissions are not noted and do not affect meaning.

4. Hyphenated terms represent either a single Greek word that must be translated as a phrase in English, or an adjectival phrase that has been moved in front of the noun it modifies (the not-knowing-god Gentiles) or both (the being-left-behind living).

Key (Footnotes)
1. or = indicates an alternate, equally sound translation.
2. alt. = alternately. A reasonable alternate translation, but the one given is slightly more sound.
3. poss. = possibly. A possible translation, but not as sound as the one used.
4. lit. = literal or literally. Used in cases where idiomatic English is used in the text, because it is simply too difficult to glean the meaning from direct translation.
5. by extension = indicates a meaning that is correct and fully understood in Greek and will be found as a meaning in a Greek-Engish lexicon, but was not the original meaning of the word. For example, the original Greek word unseen had been extended to mean unexpected by the time the NT was written.
6. by transfer = identical to “by extension”, but with a greater jump in meaning. Often an abstraction from a more concrete term.
7. most lit. = an older, more literal meaning; used when a Greek extension or transfer is given in the text. The opposite of “by extension/transfer,” i.e. the extended meaning is given in the text.
8. idiom = English meaning of a difficult Greek idiom. I.e. “not not” in Greek means “definitely not” in English. We translate the raw Greek “not not” and indicate the idiomatic meaning by footnote.
9. per ______ = an authority has another primary meaning; generally BDAG, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (3d ed.)
10. fyi = for your information; something that the reader might find interesting, not directly relevant to this translation.