1What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate.2The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.3So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world.4But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,5to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.6Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”7So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
Paul’s Concern for the Galatians
8Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.9But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?10You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!11I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.12I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you. You did me no wrong.13As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you,14and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.15Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?17Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them.18It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you.19My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,20how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!
Hagar and Sarah
21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says?22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman.23His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.24These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.27For it is written: “Be glad, barren woman, you who never bore a child; shout for joy and cry aloud, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.”28Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise.29At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.30But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”31Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
English Standard Version
Sons and Heirs
1I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything,2but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father.3In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. (Ga 2:4)4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, (Ge 3:15; Mr 1:15; Lu 2:21; Lu 2:27; Joh 1:14; Php 2:7; 1Ti 2:6; 1Ti 2:15)5to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Ro 8:15; Ga 3:13; Ga 3:26)6And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Ac 16:7; Ro 5:5; 2Co 3:17)7So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Ga 3:29)
Paul’s Concern for the Galatians
8Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. (2Ch 13:9; Isa 37:19; Jer 2:11; Jer 5:7; Jer 16:20; 1Co 1:21; 1Co 8:4; Eph 2:11; 1Th 1:9; 1Th 4:5; 2Th 1:8; 1Jo 4:8)9But 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? (Ro 8:3; 1Co 8:3; Ga 3:3; Heb 7:18)10You observe days and months and seasons and years! (Ro 14:5; Col 2:16)11I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain. (Ga 2:2; Ga 5:2; Ga 5:4; 1Th 3:5)12Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong. (2Co 2:5; 2Co 6:13)13You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, (1Co 2:3; Ga 1:6)14and 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. (1Sa 29:9; Mal 2:7; Mt 10:40; 2Co 5:20)15What 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.16Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? (Ga 2:5)17They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.18It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, (Ga 4:13)19my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! (Ro 8:10; 1Co 4:15; Phm 1:10; Jas 1:18)20I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
Example of Hagar and Sarah
21Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. (Ge 16:5; Ge 21:2)23But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. (Ge 17:16; Ge 18:10; Ge 18:14; Ge 21:1; Ro 9:7; Ga 4:28; Ga 4:29; Heb 11:11)24Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. (De 33:2; Ro 9:4)25Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.26But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. (Heb 12:22; Re 3:12; Re 21:2; Re 21:10)27For 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.” (Isa 54:1)28Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. (Ro 9:8; Ga 3:29; Ga 4:23)29But 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. (Ge 21:9; Ga 5:11)30But 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.” (Ge 21:10; Joh 8:35)31So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman. (1Pe 3:6)