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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Galatians 4

Verse 1

1) "Now I say (lego de) "But I say," introducing a contrast between the infant and adult, the slave and freeman, the law and grace, works and faith, Galatians 3:24.

2) "That the heir, as long as he is a child...ever so long a time (as long as) the infant exists as an heir," (eph’ hoson chronon ho kleronomoi nepios estin). The heir (a prospective possessor of property), while an infant, a minor, under legal age to hold and administer property.

3) "Differeth nothing from a servant," (ouden diapherei doulou) "he differs not one bit from a servant or slave;” he does what he is told and receives only what his guardian instructs or provides for him. He is not a major decision maker for his own life and well being while yet a minor.

4) "Though he be lord of all," (kurios panton on) "Being or existing as lord of all," by right of birth and condition, the heir is lord possessor though not administrator of all his father has willed to him, 1 Corinthians 3:21-23.

Verse 2

1) "But is under tutors and governors," (Alla hupo epitropous estin kai oikonomous) "but he is under guardians and house rules or house rulers, stewards," who superintend, guide, help, provide for, and protect the child in his childhood minority. Tutors were teachers and stewards were managers of material things needed and provided for the child.

2) "Until the time appointed of the fathers," (achri tes prothesmias tou patros) "Until the time previously appointed of the fathers," as prescribed in a will, John 4:23. At this point of time, as prescribed or appointed by the Father, the father’s life possessions passed by law, according to the father’s testamentary will, to the heir’s sole possession and administration, at age 14 under Roman Law and 18 or 25, at different times, under Greek Law.

Verse 3

1) "Even so we, when we were children," (houtos kai hemeis hote hemen nepioi) "So also we when we were infants)." Spiritually immature children under the law of Moses, during the law era of rituals, deeds, and ceremonies of the law " we who were Jews, when infants."

2) "Were in bondage", (emetha dedoulomenoi) "We were having been enslaved," to the daily doing of the law deeds that reminded them of their sinfulness and pointed in type to the coming Redeemer.

3) "Under the elements of the world," (hupo ta stoicheia tou kosmou) "Under the elements of the world," the world-order of persons and things, in spiritual darkness, guided by the moral precepts of the ten commandments, and civil and social forms of Greek and Roman laws. These were referred to as "weak and beggarly," Verse 9. Enslaved attachment to the social, moral, and ethical standards and elements of the World order to obtain Divine righteousness is to be considered a conflict with Christian and Divine Standards, Colossians 2:8; Colossians 2:20; 1 John 2:15-17; James 1:27.

Verse 4

REDEMPTION TO HEIRSETTING THRU CHRIST V. 4,5

1) "But when the fulness of the time was come," (hote de elthen to pleroma tou chronou) "But when the fulness of the running, fulfilling time came;" when the chronological order of time events became fulfilled, the prophecied events of his coming, Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 53:1-12; Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:16-18; Malachi 3:1.

2) "God sent forth his Son," (eksapisteilen ho theon ton huion autou) "The God sent forth (by his own commission) his Son;" John 3:17; John 3:34; John 20:9; John 3:26; 1 John 4:9-10. From His throne God sent His Son Jesus as His representative to show His love and care for mankind.

3) "Made of a woman," (genomenon ek gunaikos) "becoming of a Woman," not of a man (Gk. aner), in prophetic fulfillment by which He assumed human nature, Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Hebrews 2:14, by the Will of God through the Virgin birth, John 1:14.

4) "Made under the law," (genomenon hupo nomon) "Becoming under law," not only under the Jewish law, but also under Roman Law, and under the law of sin and death that reigned in the world and in the flesh, Hebrews 9:27; Ecclesiastes 3:20; Ecclesiastes 9:5; Luke 2:21-27; Matthew 3:13-15; Matthew 3:17.

Verse 5

1) "To redeem them that were under the law," (hina tous hupo nomon eksagorase) "In order that he might redeem those under the law," both the law of Moses and those under the eternal law of sin and death! Matthew 20:28. To redeem means to ransom, to buy out of slavery, oppression, and bondage, to return a birthright, Galatians 3:13; Titus 2:14; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12; 1 Peter 1:18-19.

2) "That we might receive the adoption of sons," (hina ten huiothesian apolabomen) "In order that we might receive the heirsetting of sons," not merely become children of God, but also children of God who might receive heir-setting possessions of, for, and with Christ, to reign on earth, through His grace and obedience to Him, thru His church, Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 3:6; Ephesians 3:10-11; Ephesians 3:21; Romans 8:15; Romans 8:17-18; Romans 8:23.

Verse 6

THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT V. 6,7

1) "And because ye are sons" (hoti de este huioi) "And because ye are (exist as) sons," as heirs, Romans 8:15-17; Romans 8:23.

2) "God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son," (eksapesteilen ho theos to pneuma tou huiou autou) "God sent forth the spirit of his Son," the Holy Spirit, into the heart of believers, Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 4:30; Romans 8:9.

3) "Into your hearts, crying Abba Father," (eis tas kardias hemon, krazon abba ho pater) "Into our hearts crying: Abba Father;" Romans 8:15 The Aramaic term “ abba" is an affectionate term for Father. The Spirit of God enables His children to call upon Him with affectionate love, care, and obedient trust, Proverbs 3:3-5.

Verse 7

1 ) "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son," (hoste oukete ei doulos alla huios) "So that thou art not at all a slave-servant but a son, an heir," no more, not at all hereafter are you all in slave-bondage to any deeds of law, Jewish law, or religious ceremonies, but are an heir or heirs of Jesus Christ.

2) "And if a son," (ei de huios) "and if an heir-son"; one restored to birth-rights as heirs of Abraham and joint-heirs and coming administrators of Christ in the Millennial Age- Romans 8:17; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:6.

3) "Then an heir of God through Christ," (Kai kleronomos dia Theou) "Even an heir-set one through (Christ) of God," not through the law of Moses or compliance with its processes and requirements. Though to Abraham, and his heirs thru the Law, repossession of the Promised Land was committed under the Old Testament; A supplemental administrative reign-right was pledged by Jesus Christ to the twelve apostles and His church; that is to be fulfilled in a literal manner when Jesus returns, Luke 22:30; Luke 19:12-19; Romans 8:16-17.

HE REDEEMED US

A gentleman was once passing through the auction mart of a Southern Slave State, when he noticed the tears of a little girl who was just going to be put up for sale. The other slaves of the same group did not seem to care about it, while each knock of the hammer made her shake. The kind man stopped to inquire why she alone wept. He was told that the others were used to such things, and might be glad of a change from hard harsh homes, but that she had been brought up with much care by a good owner, and she was terrified to think who might buy her. The stranger asked her price. It was a great sum, but he paid it down. The tears fell fast on the signed parchment which her deliverer brought to prove to her freedom. She only looked at him with fear. She had been born a slave and knew not what freedom meant. When the gentleman was gone, it began to dawn upon her what her freedom was. With the first breath she said, "I will follow him! I will follow him! I will serve him all my days," and when reasoned with against it, she only cried, "He redeemed me! He redeemed me! He redeemed me!" -Cunningham

Verse 8

TO REVERT TO LEGALITY IS UNTHINKABLE V. 8-12

1) "Howbeit then, when ye knew not God," (alla tote men ouk eidotes theon) "But then indeed (at that time) not (even) perceiving God," who God was. While in slavery to heathen gods, they had not recognized who God was. They had once been in a state of ignorance, non-comprehension of God, Acts 17:29-30.

2) "Ye did service," (edouleusate) "You all served as slaves, bondservants," spent about all you had of things and devotions, Romans 1:25; 1 Corinthians 7:4; 1 Corinthians 12:2; Ephesians 2:11-12.

3) "Unto them which by nature are no gods," (tois phusei me ousin theois) "to the ones (living flesh creatures) not (even) existing as gods by nature". To follow false gods, that are described by David as deaf, dumb, blind, lifeless, insensitive, is to live and walk in Spiritual darkness, deafness, and ignorance; but such is no more offensive to God than to turn from Jesus Christ to trust in forms and legal ceremonies of the law as a media of hope for salvation, 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:19; Acts 4:12; Acts 13:38-39.

Verse 9

1) "But now, after that ye have known God," (nun de gnontes theon) ’’Yet now and hereafter knowing or having recognized God", Who He is and the true gospel of redemption from sin-slavery and law-bondage, Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. To know God after an academic order is not enough. It did not satisfy Nicodemus or Paul, John 3:1-7; Acts 9:5-7.

2) "Or rather are known of God," (mallon de gnosthentes hupo theou) "But rather being known or recognized by God," after you are known as His own, with the seal and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Acts 15:8; Romans 8:14; Romans 8:16; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 8:3; 1 Corinthians 13:12; "The Lord knoweth them that are his," progressively, 2 Timothy 2:19.

3) "How turn ye again," (pos epistrephete palin) "How (can) you all turn again (turn back)," as if renouncing your freedom and liberty from the bondage of slavery when you served not God but demons; children of God may be, but should not let themselves be, servants of the devil, Romans 6:16-18; Colossians 2:20-23.

4) "To the weak and beggarly elements," (epi ta asthene kai ptoka stoicheia) "To or to rely upon the poor and sickly elements," of the law or of earthly things, like heathens do, Romans 8:3; Hebrews 7:18-19.

5) "Whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage," (ois palin anothen douleusai thelete;) "To which again you all strongly wish anew to be bond-slaves?" Why yield ye again to the carnal cravings, why surrender to the old, unprofitable natural desires of the flesh? In such, there is no gain; 1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Romans 6:12-13.

Verse 10

1 ) "Ye observe days," (heneras paratereisthe) "You all observe days," ceremonially, with a bad implication; Religious, ceremonial observances, with the wrong motive, is offensive to God. To observe any ordinance of God with the wrong motive or for the wrong purpose displeases God. Salvation is neither obtained or retained by media of outward observance of Divine laws.

2) "And months, and times, and years:" (kai menas kai kairos kai emiautous) "And (even) months, and special seasons, and years;" It is not the observance but misobservance of these times Paul condemns, Romans 14:5; Colossians 2:16. In like manner, people who think to acquire or retain pardon from sin and Salvation by baptismal observance, the Lord’s Supper, and or tithing observance every Lord’s day are wrong in motive, as the Pharisees and Sadducees, Matthew 5:20; Romans 9:31; Romans 10:3.

Verse 11

1) "I am afraid of you," (phoboumai humas) "I hold a fear (for) you all," or I am apprehensive regarding your stability, the direction or course of your drifting; as a father or mother cares for their child, so the true minister of God cares for the new believers, 1 Corinthians 10:31.

2) "Lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain," (me pos eike kekopiaka eis humas) "lest in vain (unfruitfulness) emptiness, for naught I have labored among you all," a sad thought for a laborer who has given his best, as missionary, pastor, teacher or layman to help others to know and follow Christ, then see them turn back into the world, Galatians 5:24; 1 Thessalonians 3:5.

Verse 12

1) "Brethren, I beseech you," (adelphoi deomai humon) "Brethren, I appeal to you all (beg you all), of my own accord, with a longing desire;" Paul placed himself in affection as a faithful elder brother sitting down beside and among the Galatians, appealing to them to be true to Christ, Acts 13:38-39.

2) "Be as I am," (ginesthe hos ego) "You all become willingly, as I am;" or as I am become, free from the trammels, and entanglements of all ceremonials and any compulsory obligations to the Law or Judaizing teachers, Colossians 2:14-18; Romans 6:15; Acts 13:40-43.

3) "For I am as ye are," (hoti kago hos humeis) "Because I am even as you all are," free from the law, liberated from its jurisdiction through the freedom that is in Jesus Christ, to whom the law prophetically and ceremonially pointed, John 8:32; John 8:36; Acts 26:29.

4) "Ye have not injured me at all," (ouden me edikesate) "You all did not wrong me (in) one thing," in any personal offence way, you did me no personal wrong, 2 Corinthians 2:5.

Verse 13

1) "Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh," (oidate de hoti di’ astheneian tes sarkos) "Moreover you all understand well that through a weakness, infirmity, or sickness of the flesh," what I am by natural birth, subject to physical weakness and maladies, 1 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 11:30; 2 Corinthians 12:7; 2 Corinthians 12:9. In weakness, fear, and trembling, buffeted by a thorn in the flesh, he kept on keeping on as an example for believers after him, 1 Corinthians 11:1-2.

2) "I preached the gospel unto you at the first," (euengelisamen humin to proteron) "I preached the gospel (good tidings) to you all formerly, when I first came among you," Galatians 1:6. Tho physically afflicted with bodily weakness, sickness of recurring, or continuing nature, he heralded the gospel to and among them, as his desire was always deep, Romans 1:16; Galatians 6:14.

Verse 14

1) "And my temptation which was in my flesh," (kai ton peirasmon humon en te sarki mou) "And the trial of you all (which was) in my flesh;" Paul’s infirmity or sickness appears to have caused him to have stayed with the Galatians longer than he had intended.

2) "Ye despised not, nor rejected," (ouk eksouthenesate oude ekseptusate) "You all neither despised nor disdained," looked down upon. You did not take it lightly or reject me with contempt and disgust because of my infirmity or diseased condition, Galatians 6:1.

3) "But received me as an angel of God," (alla hos angellon theou edeksasthe me) "You all took me in as a messenger of God." This apostolic acceptance was in the Spirit of Christ, and as Abraham and Lot received Angelic Messengers, Genesis 18:1-33; Genesis 19:1-3; Hebrews 13:1-2; Malachi 2:7; Matthew 10:40-42.

4) "Even as Christ Jesus," (hos Christon lesoun) "As if I were Christ Jesus," (hos Christon lesoun) "As if I were Christ Jesus;" What affection! What love! To be accepted, even in sickness or infirmity, as if one were Jesus Christ, reflects noble affection and veneration in the receiver, Matthew 25:40-45; 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

Verse 15

PAUL SHOCKED BY THEIR TURN AROUND V. 15-18

1) "Where is then the blessedness ye spake of?" (pou oun ho makarismos humon); "Where therefore (is) exists, the blessedness (felicitations) of You?" the ones you once expressed; the blessedness of new found joy they experienced and showed when they were first saved or new converts. It had grown cold and complacent, a condition that was displeasing to God, Revelation 3:15-16; Acts 1:8.

2) "For I bear you record," (maturo gar humin) "For I witness to you all," I go on the witness stand regarding you all, your earnestness, early Christian zeal and devotion, expressed when he left them as he boarded the ship in Ephesus, Acts 20:37-38; Romans 4:6-7.

3) "That if it had been possible," (hoti ei dunaton) "That if it had been in the realm of possibility," to have helped remove his affliction.

4) "Ye would have plucked out your own eyes," (tous ophthalmous humon eksoruksantes) "You all -would once have been gouging out your own eyes;" their eyes of good vision, in contrast with his that were perhaps afflicted with an incurable malady, perhaps his "thorn in the flesh," 2 Corinthians 12:6-10.

5) "And have given them to me," (edokate moi) "And given them over to me," Galatians 6:1; Romans 14:1; Acts 20:35.

Verse 16

1) "Am I therefore become your enemy," (hoste echthros humon gegona) "So then have I become your enemy," as one hostile toward you all, Galatians 2:5; Galatians 2:14. Paul was not Peter’s enemy nor was Nathan David’s enemy, when each of the former, reprimanded each of the latter for sin, 2 Samuel 12:1-14.

2) "Because I tell you the truth?" (aletheuon humin) "For speaking the truth to you ?" To flatter or hold back an unpalatable truth, is the mark of an enemy, not a friend, 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; James 4:4. True freedom from sin and slavery comes from friends, not enemies, John 8:32; John 8:36; John 14:6.

Verse 17

1) "They zealously affect you," (zelousin humas) "They are zealous of you all;" The real enemies of the Galatians were those who came to frustrate them from following Jesus Christ and would have them entangled in the ceremonies of Moses Law and in heathen rituals again, Romans 10:2; Matthew 23:13; Matthew 23:15.

2) "But not well," (ou kallos, alla) "but not well," or it is "not well," or in no good way or purpose; they court you to mislead you, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.

3) "Yea, they would exclude you," (ekkleisai humas thelousin) "They wish (strongly) to exclude you all," or exclude us from influencing you all and exclude them from association with other churches and companions who hold to the Word of truth, John 9:22; John 9:28; John 9:35-38.

4) "That ye might affect them," (hina autos zeloute) "In order that ye may be zealous them," of their party, their schismatic teachings regarding the keeping of the ceremonies of the Law. They had the Scribes and Pharisees as their forbears, whose attitude to build their party our Lord exposed, Matthew 5:20; Matthew 23:5-7.

Verse 18

1) "But it is good to be zealously affected," (kalon de zelousthai) "Yet it is good (a good thing) to be zealous," or zealously affected or influenced, 2 Corinthians 9:2; Colossians 4:13.

2) "Always in a good thing," (en kalo pantote) "in a good thing always;" our Lord came to purify a people, (His church) in particular, unto good works Titus 2:14; Revelation 3:19.

3) "And not only when I am present with you," (kai me monon en to pareinai me pros humas) "And not only (just) when I am present with you;" whether on the Asian continent in Galatia, or the European continent in Philippi, Paul desired that Christians be true light-bearers in his absence as well as in his presence, Philippians 2:12; Matthew 5:14-16.

WORK AIDS ZEAL

When Dr. Kane was in the Arctic regions he one day wanted to light a fire, and being away from camp where he could not get matches, he took a piece of ice, clear as crystal, and cutting it into the shape of a convex lens, he held it up to the sun, and in a few moments kindled a pile of dry leaves and sticks into a blaze. I presume the ice in its turn was melted in the fire it had kindled. If any one of us is in a cold state religiously; if in the place of a heart glowing with the love of Christ which we once had, we have only a frozen lump of religious respectability in our bosom, I wish we could go among the lost and sinning and impenitent, and just tell them as best we can how Christ died to save them, and I believe it would open their hearts as the sunlight opens the frozen bulbs. And in Him our own hearts would be thawed and melted.

-A. J. Gordon

ZEAL IN THE RIGHT

The faster a man rides, if he be in the wrong road, the farther he goes out of the way. Zeal is the best or worst thing in a duty; if the end be right, it is excellent; if wrong, worthless."

-Gurnall

Verse 19

TWO SYSTEMS-LAW AND GRACE CAN NOT COEXIST

1) "My little children, for whom I travail in birth again," (tekna mou, ous palin odino) "My little children, (for) whom I travail again in birth," this is an affectionate manner of address as a devoted teacher, nurse, or father would address those to whom they were emotionally, compassionately attached, 1 Thessalonians 2:5-9.

2) "Until Christ be formed in you," (mechris ou’ morphothe Christos en humin) "Until Christ is formed in you all," 1 Corinthians 4:15; James 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:24-26.

The Christ formed in the believer is to be in his body, mind, and spirit, Colossians 1:27-29; Colossians 3:9-10; Philippians 2:5-8.

Verse 20

1) "I desire to be present with you now," (ethelon de pareinai pros humas arti) "I even wished very strongly to be with you all, at this very moment," 1 Corinthians 4:21; 2 Corinthians 13:1-2.

2) "And to change my voice-," (kai allaksai ten phonen mou) "And to change (the tone of) my voice," to reprove and rebuke, to turn them from wrong to truth, 2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Timothy 4:2-5.

3) "For I stand in doubt of you," (hoti aporoumai en humin) "Because I am perplexed in you all," or about your attitude toward the law. Their fickle turn to lend an ear, to even give seeming credence to the law-teaching, gospel perverting doctrine of Phariseeism disturbed Paul, even as it did our Lord. Matthew 23:13-29; Mark 7:1-9; Galatians 4:11; Galatians 5:7-12.

Verse 21

1) "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law," (legete moi hoi hipo nomon thelontes einai) "Tell me, the ones (of you) who desire to be under the law;" It has a curse, a condemnation, can you hear it? Galatians 3:10; Galatians 3:13. Answer me, have you done or are you trying to do, "all things" written in the law? If not and you are under it, you are cursed, See: Luke 24:44-45.

2) "Do ye not hear the law?" (ton nomon ouk akouete) "Hear ye not the law?" Romans 3:19-20. For the law indicts of sin guilt and speaks of the need of a redeemer, in types, shadows, and object lessons, all of which pointed to and were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, Galatians 3:19; Galatians 3:24-25.

Verse 22

1) "For it is written," (gegraptai gar) "For it has been written," in the law, recorded and recounted for our profit, 1 Corinthians 9:10; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Romans 15:4. This refers, not to a direct quotation, but to a summary of facts that follow.

2) "That Abraham had two sons," (hoti Abraam duo huios eschen) "That Abraham had two sons," two sons of prominence, Ishmael and Isaac Genesis 16:15; Genesis 21:2. The latter, Isaac was one through whom the covenant was kept, Genesis 17:21.

3) "The one by a bondmaid," (hena ek tes paidiskes) "One out of the maidservant," the Egyptian handmaid of Hagar, brought back from Egypt when he and Sara fled there because of a famine. They went down to Egypt of their own accord, without God’s bidding, found and picked up lasting grief and age-long trouble, Genesis 12:10; Genesis 16:1-6.

4) "The other by a freewoman," (kai hena ek tes eleutheras) "And one out of the freewoman," Genesis 21:1-13.

The term "Egypt" means "black" and is a type of sin into which men voluntarily enter of their own accord, and once entering, find trouble. Abraham was no exception to the principle.

Verse 23

1) "But he who was of the bondwoman," (all’ ho men ek tes pardiskes) "but the one indeed (was) out of the maidservant," that one being Ishmael, Genesis 16:1; Genesis 16:15.

2) "Was born after the flesh," (kata sarka gegennetai) "has been born according to flesh;" according to the lust purpose, course, or plan of the flesh, in contrast with the plan or purpose of the Spirit, John 1:13; Galatians 5:17.

3) "But he of the freewoman was by promise," (ho de ek tes eleutheras dia tes epangelias) "and the one (was) out of the free woman, through the promise;" this one was Isaac, the Son of promise, who came to Abraham and Sara in their old age, Genesis 21:2-3; Genesis 17:21; Genesis 18:10-14; Romans 9:7-8. The specific births of Ishmael and Isaac, and both human and Divine history relating to them, attest the accuracy of Revelation and surety of all God’s promises, Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18. He, by nature, can not lie.

TRIED AND PROVED

A clergyman, visiting a poor Christian woman, found her Bible marked here and there with the letters T. and P. Wondering what the letters stood for, he inquired of her their meaning. "Oh!" said she, "those are the promises in my precious Bible. There are many of them, you see, I have tried; so I marked them T; and many I’ve proved, and I know that they are true; so I marked them P."

-Bowes

Verse 24

1) "Which things are an Allegory," (atina estin alleg-oroumena) "Which things are being (herewith) allegorized;" for purposes of historical truth and clarity.

2) "For these are the two covenants," (hautai gar eisin duo diathekai) "For these exist as two covenants;" the Law covenant and the New Testament church covenant, Matthew 16:18-19; Matthew 28:18-20.

3) "The one from the Mount Sinai," (mai men apo orous Sina) "one indeed from Mount Sinai;" where the law was given, in Arabia, Exodus 20:1-26.

4) ’Which gendereth to bondage," (eis douleian gennosa) "bringeth forth unto slavery;" slavery or bondage to the law.

5) "Which is Agar," (hetis estin Hagar) ’Which is (exists as) Hagar, as a person a bondwoman, She was cast out and found a home for herself and her children in Arabia. Hagar was a provincial name for Sinai.

Verse 25

1) "For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia," (to de Hagar Sina oros en te Arabia) "The Hagar (now) is (exists as) Mount Sinai in the (land of) Arabia." As Hagar was rejected by Sara, so the church was rejected by Israel, yet the church is free, lives on to do the service of Christ, to all the World, Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8.

2) "And answereth to Jerusalem which now is," (sustoichei de te nun lerousalem) "and corresponds to the now and hereafter Jerusalem;” now trodden down of the Gentiles, till the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled and the church, called from among the Gentiles for his name’s sake, Luke 21:24; Matthew 4:12-17; Acts 10:37; Acts 15:14; Ephesians 3:5-10; Ephesians 3:21.

3) "And is in bondage with her children," (douleuei gar meta ton teknon autes) "For she serves as a slave with her children"; blinded in part till the fulness of the Gentiles be come in," Romans 11:25.

Verse 26

1) "But Jerusalem which is above is free," (he de ano lerousalem eleuthera estin) "But the Jerusalem above is free"; heaven, our homeland is free, admissible, not by works of law, but by faith in Jesus Christ, Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Galatians 3:26; Galatians 5:13; John 8:32; John 8:36.

2) "Which is the mother of us all," (hetis estin meter hemon) "who is (exists as) our mother," of all who are born from above, John 3:5-7, with an heavenly citizenship, Philippians 3:20-21; Ephesians 2:19-22. The Jerusalem from above, Spiritual realm of peace, is the believers true homeland, motherland of all true children of God.

Verse 27

1 ) "For it is written," (gegraptai gar) "For it has been written," Isaiah 54:1-10.

2) "Rejoice, thou barren, that bearest not," (euphrantheti steira he ou tiktousa) "Be thou glad, 0 barren, the one not bearing;" this alludes to Israel, barren of the Redeemer, the Messiah, for so long in Gentile captivity, but not to remain forever. The waiting of Abraham and Sara was long for the true son, yet he came, So did Israel wait long for the Christ, Luke 2:25-32; Luke 2:36-38.

3) "Break forth and cry, thou that travailest not," (hrekson kai boeson he ouk odinousa) "Break forth (explode) and shout, the one not travailing," or thou that dost not travail, Israel and her Judah who was to bring forth the Redeemer, Genesis 49:10; Galatians 4:4-5.

4) "For the desolate hath many more children", (hoti polla ta tekna tes eremou) "Because many are the children of the desolate;" Hagar the Gentile-or the bondage woman; So is it with the church today, while the Jews are scattered among the nations, as the masses from Gentiles are by faith grafted in, Romans 11:11-12; Romans 11:20.

5) "Then she which hath an husband," (mallon e tes echouses ton andra) "Rather than the one having the husband;" Sara, the Jewish people even today, Romans 11:13-14; God is husband of Israel. He has given her a "bill of divorcement," but will take her to Himself again, to fulfill His covenant of Land grant to Abraham, to possess in peace, when Christ shall rule over it on David’s throne, and when Jesus shall take His bride-wife as a joint-heir administrator during the Millennium, when the twelve apostles shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel, Isaiah 54:1-2; Jeremiah 3:8; Jeremiah 3:14; Jeremiah 3:22-23; Luke 1:32-33; Luke 22:28-30; 2 Corinthians 11:1-2; Revelation 19:7-9.

Verse 28

1 ) "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was", (humeis de adelphoi kata Isaak) "Now brethren, you all according to Isaac" as surely as Isaac was a gift from God to Abraham, through promise, so are we as redeemed Gentiles and heirs with Abraham through Christ and His church, Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 8:17; Ephesians 3:6; Ephesians 3:9-10; Ephesians 3:21.

2) "Are the children of promise," (epangelias tekna este) "Are children of promise;” Romans 9:24-26; Galatians 3:29; As through the seed and promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all the nations were to be blessed, Genesis 12:1-3; John 3:16; Acts 20:28.

Verse 29

1 ) "But as then," (all’ hosper tote) "But even as at that time," when Isaac was young, born to Abraham and Sara in fulfillment of the promise, Genesis 17:15-19.

2) "He that was born after the flesh," (ho kata sarka gennetheis) "The one born according to the flesh," Genesis 16:1-16. The birth of Ishmael and occasion of his birth was of the flesh-plan and flesh will of Abraham and Sarah, from their first going into Egypt where they apparently got Hagar, to the birth of Ishmael, Genesis 12:19; Genesis 16:1-5.

3) "Persecuted him that was born after the Spirit," (edioken ton kata pneuma) "persecuted the one born according to the spirit;" This seems to allude to the early conflict between the two when Ishmael, a young teenager of Hagar "made fun" of Isaac who was nursing at the end time of his weaning from Sarah’s breast, at perhaps four or five years of age, Genesis 21:7-11.

4) "Even so it is now," (houtos kai nun) "So also it exists and shall now hereafter continually," according to the flesh. Those who, after or according to the will and works of the law and the flesh deeds, seek salvation and lay claim thereby to enter a universal, invisible church body of Christ, persecute, and make fun of those who accept the View of salvation by promise of faith in Jesus Christ as Abraham, while yet an heathen received it, Galatians 3:8; Romans 4:1-5; Galatians 3:26. Through faith in Christ Gentile believers become children of God, as Abraham. And through obedience in the fellowship of His church worship and service they become joint-heirs with Christ, Romans 8:17.

Verse 30

1) "Nevertheless what saith the Scripture?" (alla ti legei he graphe) "But what does the Scripture say?" What the Scripture says, understood in its context setting is what counts, in time and eternity, in life and in death, Genesis 21:10.

2) "Cast out the bondwoman," (ekbale ten paidisken)

cast or toss out the maidservant," Hagar, the Egyptian slave held for ten years- punish her without mercy- this is law-bondage Genesis 21:9-13; Genesis 16:3-6.

3) "And her son," (kai ton huion autes) "And the son of her," Ishmael. The expulsion of Ishmael is here used as a warning that those who observed the law only have no abiding inheritance in the Father’s House, Matthew 5:20.

4) "For the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir," (ou gar me kleronomesei ho huios tes padiskes) "For by no means shall the son of the maidservant inherit;" The law is superseded (replaced) by the gospel; only those born of the Spirit receive, either the Spirit, or an inheritance of heirship with Jesus Christ, John 3:7; Romans 8:9; Romans 8:17.

5) "With the son of the freewoman," (meta tou huiou tes eleutheras) "With the heir (son) of the freewoman;" mere circumcision of the flesh, required for temporary abiding in households of Israel, did not qualify Gentiles or heathens for inheritance rights, nor does baptism or practice of the ordinances of the church without the spiritual birth prepare one for heaven’s entrance or the earthly reign with Christ, Genesis 17:9-27; Matthew 5:20; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Galatians 4:26; Ephesians 2:8-10.

Verse 31

1) "So then, brethren," (dio adelphai) "Wherefore or in the light of this allegory, brethren"; This is the logical and truthful or correct conclusion of the issue, drawn from the allegory.

2) "We are not children of the bondwoman", (ouk esmen paidiskes tekna) "We are not children of a maidservant," as the law was a maidservant to Israel till the true heir came. Soon thereafter, after Christ came, it was put away, fulfilled, tossed out; Just as Ishmael was "tossed out" of Abraham’s household soon after Isaac was born, See? Genesis 21:8-14; Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 24:44; 2 Corinthians 3:7-11; Colossians 2:14-17.

3) "But of the free," (alla tes eleutheras) "but of the free woman"; Though Gentiles, under bondage of sin and. the flesh, heathens away from God, we are "born free", free-born when born again, by the quickening Spirit, John 3:6; John 6:63; John 8:32; John 8:36. This liberty from the yoke and bondage of sin calls us to the yoke of voluntary service to Christ, Matthew 11:29-30; Ephesians 2:10; Mark 8:34. For voluntary service to Him each free-born child and voluntary obedient servant shall receive special rewards, positions of honor and service to Him in His millennial kingdom, 1 Corinthians 3:8; Matthew 25:14-23; Luke 19:12-19.

LIBERTY APPROVED OF GOD

Three hundred years ago, in Holland, about one million people stood for Protestantism and freedom in opposition to the mightiest empire of that age, whose banners the Pope had blessed. William, the Prince of Orange, a man who feared God, was the champion of the righteous cause. In the heat of the struggle, when the young republic seemed about to be overwhelmed, William received a message from one of his generals, then in command of an important post, inquiring, among other things, if he had succeeded in effecting a treaty with any foreign power, as France or England, such as would secure aid. His reply was, "You ask me if I have made a treaty for aid with any great foreign power; and I answer, that before I understood the cause of the oppressed Christians in these provinces, I made a close alliance with the King of kings; and I doubt not that He will give us the victory." And so it proved.

-Gray-Adams

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Galatians 4". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/galatians-4.html. 1985.