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Galatians Chapter Four


I. Content of the Chapter


The Dialectics of the Truth of the Gospel

I. Since we have received the adoption as sons, we should not be controlled by the law any more:

  A. We were under the law in the past, just as the children who were controlled:

1. As long as he is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave (v.1).

2. Before the appointed time, he was controlled by the law (v.2-3).

  B. Today we who were under the law have been redeemed and received the adoption as sons:

1. God sent forth His son to redeem men who were under the law (v.4-5).

2. Today we have the Spirit of the Son in us and we are heirs of God (v.6-7).

  C. Since we have known God, we should not be the slaves of the law as much as before:

1. We were slaves in the past because we did not know God (v.8).

2. Since we have known God now, we should not be slaves again (v.9).

3. Observing the ceremonies and regulations are being in the bondage of the law (v.10-11).

II. We should remember the condition of our being saved and it is the clear proof that Christ lives in us:

  A. Becoming like Paul who did not change all the time (v.12a).

  B. When the Galatian believers were saved, they treated Paul as Christ Jesus (v.12b-15).

  C. Today the Galatian believers even treated Paula as the enemy:

1. Because Paul told them the truth (v.16)

2. They were cheated by the exclusion of the Judaizers (v.17-18)

  D. Paul hoped to labor in birth again for them until Christ is formed in them (v.19-20).

III. We should be children born through promise instead of the children born according to the flesh:

  A. Abraham had two sons:

1. It is written in the law that Abraham had two sons (v.21-22a).

2. He who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise (v.22b-23).

  B. Two women typified two covenants:

1. Hagar typified the covenant of the law from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage (v.24-25).

2. Sara typified the covenant of promise------who was barren and later gave birth through promise (v.26-27).

  C. Being the “right” sons:

1. Believers in the New Testament are children of promise (v.28).

2. The Judaizers who were born according to the flesh then persecuted those who were born according to the Spirit (v.29).

3. The bondwoman (the covenant of the law) and her son shall be cast out (v.30).

4. We are children of the free (the covenant of promise) (v.31).


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Gal. 4:1 “Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,

   YLT: “And I say, so long time as the heir is a babe, he differeth nothing from a servant -- being lord of all,”

   Meaning of Words: “child”: baby, an infant.

   The Background: according to the law and custom at that time, though a child has the position of the son, he still needs the care and supervision of the guardians and he cannot walk freely, just as a slave. He will legally inherit the possession of his father until he has grown up.

   Literal Meaning: to a child, legally he is the heir who shall inherit all the possessions of is father. However, in the reality his position in the house does not differ from that of the servants. Time is an essential factor to have the right of succession. Here Paul used the custom of the world to the possessions to explain when believers could inherit the possessions promised by God.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Though we have already had the life of God, if we do not grow up into maturity, we cannot fully enjoy the abundance of God’s life (See John. 10:10).

2) Satan utilizes various kinds of things, including the world, money, position, the religious ceremonies and etc, to enslave the children of God. The only way by which we could be exempted from its enslavement is to abide in the Lord and grow up in life rapidly.


Gal. 4:2 “but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.

   YLT: “but is under tutors and stewards till the time appointed of the father,”

   Meaning of Words: “guardians” refer to the custodians who generally take care of the children or orphans; “stewards” refer to those who mange the affairs in the family, accounts and possessions; “appointed”: set prior.

   The Background: according to the custom at that time, the children do not have the freedom of their own and possessions until a certain age. They are kept by “the guardians and stewards” and their possessions are managed by them.

   Literal Meaning: in this verse the helpless state of childhood is used to state that before the coming of the predestinated dispensation of grace (“the time appointed by the father”), His elect were guarded by the law temporarily: for one thing they were fully looked after by the law (“under guardians”) and for another they cannot enjoy the promised possessions (“under stewards”).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord works according to the appointed time and our time is always ready (John. 7:6). When working, we should learn to wait for the Lord’s time.

2) Thank God because He deals with us as with sons. And therefore we should be chastened by the hand of the Father of spirits, that we might be partakers of his holiness (Heb. 12:7-10).


Gal. 4:3 “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.

   YLT: “so also we, when we were babes, under the elements of the world were in servitude,”

  Meaning of Words: “be in bondage”: in servitude, make others obey; “elements”: characters, rudiments, principle, rules.

   Literal Meaning: when we were children” It refers to the time before we knew the truth of justification (Gal. 3:23) and the Son of God (Gal. 4:4). At that time we, just like the world, are all controlled by the principles of the world, the worldly superficial religious reasons and philosophical theories.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When we are spiritually naïve, we understand as children (1Cor. 13:11). We are easy to be deceived by men and be carried about with every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14).

2) Believers should depart from the stage of the spiritual babies and become full-grown men to discern both good and evil (Heb. 5:12-14).

3) The best way for the growth of the spiritual life is to desire the sincere milk of the word (1Pet. 2:2).


Gal. 4:4 “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

   YLT: “and when the fulness of time did come, God sent forth His Son, come of a woman, come under law,”

   Meaning of Words: “the fullness of the time”: the time fills up; “sent forth”: send away forth, dispatch.

   Literal Meaning: But when the fullness of the time had come” It refers to the time when God ordained to send Christ to be a man.

  “Born of a woman” It refers to the incarnation that Christ became a man (John. 1:14; Matt. 1:25; Luke. 2:6-7).

  “Born under the law” It means that He became a Jew and was controlled by the law (Luke. 2:21-24).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) God takes actions at His time (John. 2:4; 7:8). We must wait for God and look upon Him in everything and when the time has come, we shall experience His salvation of great power subjectively.

2) The Lord Jesus is already with God before His birth (John. 1:1). His coming makes men enjoy “God with us” (Matt. 1:23).

3) The Lord Jesus is both the true God (“His Son”) and a true man (“born of a woman”). He has both the divinity and the humanity.

4) The Lord not only bears our sins but also takes the yoke of the law for us.


Gal. 4:5 “to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

   YLT: “that those under law he may redeem, that the adoption of sons we may receive;”

   Meaning of Words: “the adoption as sons”: place the son in the position of a son.

   Literal Meaning: only the salvation of the Lord Jesus could set men free from the bondage of the law and make them receive the freedom of sons. Here the main idea is that it is God’s action to adopt sons.

   Enlightenment in the Word: we believers are redeemed from the law. However, we are not those who are “without” the law but those who “surpass” the law.


Gal. 4:6 “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, Abba, Father!’”

   YLT: “and because ye are sons, God did send forth the spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, `Abba, Father!'”

   Meaning of Words: “cry out”: cry loudly publicly; “Abba” is the intimate appellation in Aramaic (Rom. 8:14-15; Mark. 14:36); “Father” is the Greek.

   Literal Meaning: And because you are sons” Since the Galatian believers are Christians, they are sons of God.

  This verse shows that the position that believers have received from the Lord is not only an objective fact but also a subjective experience. The indwelling Holy Spirit makes us enjoy the close relation of life with God.


Gal. 4:7 “Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

   YLT: “so that thou art no more a servant, but a son, and if a son, also an heir of God through Christ.”

   Meaning of Words: “therefore”: consequently, so that; “through”: by, because of, by reason of; “son”: the grown-up son; “heir”: the one who inherits the possessions, inheritor.

   Literal Meaning: “therefore” It shows that this verse is the conclusion of the previous several verses.

  The singular word “you” in this verse (“you” are plural in the previous verses) shows more personal concern.

  “No longer” It shows the conclusion of God’s works: believers are no longer slaves but sons.

  “An heir of God through Christ” Men become heirs according to God’s promise instead of themselves (Gal. 3:29). All that men can do is to believe in God (Gal. 3:9).


Gal. 4:8 “But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.

   YLT: “But then, indeed, not having known God, ye were in servitude to those not by nature gods,”

   Meaning of Words: “know”: see, it is not merely the rational cognition and it also includes the relation based on experiences; “by nature”: nature.

   Literal Meaning: “which are not gods” refer to the false gods and idols (1Cor. 8:4).

  The word “but” draws forth the different contrast. Though the Gentiles are different from the Jews who are slaves under the law, they are slaves under the vanity and ignorance of idols.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Not knowing God is the greatest loss and ignorance and it is also the greatest danger of life.

2) If we do not know God, we will treat which are not gods as God.


Gal. 4:9 “But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?

   YLT: “and now, having known God -- and rather being known by God -- how turn ye again unto the weak and poor elements to which anew ye desire to be in servitude?”

   Meaning of Words: “know”: know well, approve, agree (the two “know”s in this verse are the same in the original, however, it is different from “know” in v.8); “turn to”: turn about, revert; “weak”: without strength, sick; “beggarly”: poor; “desire”: yearn for, intend.

   Literal Meaning: the first two sentences in this verse are the important revelation in the New Testament.

  “Or rather are known by God” The Galatian believers’ knowing God is the result of their being known by God. When they did not know God, God saved them.

  Paul called the law as “the weak and beggarly elements” because in the positive aspect the law can neither make men overcome sin----“weak” nor set men from sin----“beggarly” and in leading men to know God, the law is in the primary stage----“elements”. However, in the negative aspect the law could enslave men.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) It is not enough that we know God and we need to be known by God even more.

2) Only when what we do accords with the will of God shall we be reckoned to be truly known by God.

3) Today believers always forsake the freedom in the Spirit and would rather turn to being in the bondage of the religious ceremonies and regulations.


Gal. 4:10 “You observe days and months and seasons and years.

   YLT: “days ye observe, and months, and times, and years!”

   Meaning of Words: “observe”: inspect alongside.

   The Background: according to the custom of the Jews, they observe “days” (e.g. the Sabbath), “months” (e.g. the new moon), “seasons” (e.g. the Passover) and “years” (e.g. the sabbath). Since the Galatian believers were influenced by Judaizers, they probably turned to observing such Jewish custom.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Enjoying God’s grace does not lie in observing the external ceremonies but the inner spiritual reality.

2) Today believers who pay attention to Good Friday, Easter, Ascension Day, Christmas and other church festivals should take care and not recommit the same error of Judaism.


Gal. 4:11 “I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

   YLT: “I am afraid of you, lest in vain I did labour toward you.”

   Meaning of Words: “in vain”: without effect, fruitless; “labor”: work hard.

   Literal Meaning: Paul was afraid that the Galatian believers turned to the worldly elements and put themselves under the law. If so, what he had labored in Galatia would be in vain because they had fallen from grace.


Gal. 4:12 “Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you. You have not injured me at all.

   YLT: “Become as I [am] -- because I also [am] as ye brethren, I beseech you; to me ye did no hurt,”

   Meaning of Words: “urge”: beseech; “injure”: treat men wrongfully or unjust.

   Literal Meaning: you to become like me” Paul besought the Galatians to imitate him who gave up the way of being saved by the works of the law (Gal. 2:19-20).

  “For I became like you” It indicates that Paul disregarded his Jewish status for them and learned to be a Gentile (1Cor. 9:21).

You have not injured me at all” It could be seen in detail from v.13 to v.15. We could know that the Galatian believers treated Paul hospitably in the past and did not hurt him at all.


Gal. 4:13 “You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first.

   YLT: “and ye have known that through infirmity of the flesh I did proclaim good news to you at the first,”

   The Background: it is not stated in the Bible what disease Paul had. Some people surmised that it might be the sickness of eyes (Gal. 4:15; 6:11), the epilepsy or the injury that was left because of persecution. Though there is not the final conclusion, it is certain that it was the deep-rooted illness that was intolerable in the flesh (2Cor. 12:7).

   Literal Meaning: “at the first” shows that before Paul wrote this epistle, he has gone to Galatia more than two times.

  When a sick messenger of the gospel came to them, he needed their help in many things certainly and he might become their burden. It is a kind of trial to their love.


Gal. 4:14 “And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

   YLT: “and my trial that [is] in my flesh ye did not despise nor reject, but as a messenger of God ye did receive me -- as Christ Jesus;”

   Meaning of Words: “despise”: reject scornfully; “reject”: spite out, spurn, repel.

   The Background: at that time men regarded sickness as the punishment from the false gods (Acts. 28:4). However, the Galatians did not reject Paul and they even considered Paul and Barnabas Mercurius and Jupiter at first (Acts. 14:12) and later knew that they were God’s messengers.

   Literal Meaning: Paul’s sickness is a trial. On one hand it shows whether they love men and on the other it manifests whether they know the Lord. When a servant of the Lord is sick, the common believers might think that he is rejected by God.

  “But you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus” This sentence means that: 1) they regarded the reception of Paul as the reception of the Lord in order to love the Lord; 2) they received Paul with the attitude of receiving the Lord Himself and respecting God’s messenger. 

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Today God always uses brothers who are physically or spiritually weak to test how we give up ourselves for the Lord and our real state of love. 

2) The true love does not have respect to persons but loves men with the motive for loving the Lord.

3) The bad state of the Lord’s servants cannot be our excuse for coveting the world.


Gal. 4:15 “What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.

   YLT: “what then was your happiness? for I testify to you, that if possible, your eyes having plucked out, ye would have given to me;”

   Meaning of Words: “blessing”: happiness, wish, blessedness, prosperity.

   The Background: have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me” It was a common saying at that time. It was used to show love: one was even willing to give his most precious and irreplaceable thing to others.

   Literal Meaning: on that day the Galatian believers received the gospel that Paul preached earnestly and regarded it their satisfaction and blessing. On account of the Lord, they respected Paul who preached the gospel to them.

  “Have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me” Some people held that the words showed that Paul had the eye trouble.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) It is the blessed state to love men (especially in dealing with the Lord’s servants).

2) The love of the flesh is always not lasting. And one’s love today may turn into hate tomorrow.


Gal. 4:16 “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?

   YLT: “so that your enemy have I become, being true to you?”

   Meaning of Words: “tell you the truth”: speak the truth and do not lie.

   Literal Meaning: “the truth” has two meanings: 1) the truth of the gospel; 2) the true words of pointing out the real situation. Paul thought that it was the reason why they changed their attitude towards him and were hostile to him today.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) If believers treat the one who tells them the truth as their “enemy”, it proves that they do not have the heart of desiring the truth in them and they only mind the flesh.

2) A faithful servant of the Lord won’t be silent in telling the truth. He would rather suffer others’ persecution himself than let others distort the truth. He would rather sacrifice himself than sacrifice the truth.


Gal. 4:17 “They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them.

   YLT: “they are zealous for you -- [yet] not well, but they wish to shut us out, that for them ye may be zealous;”

   Meaning of Words: “zealously”: have warmth of feeling, be jealous over; “exclude”: shut out, keep out.

   Literal Meaning: “they” refer to Judaizers who preached the wrong doctrines.

  “Exclude” means to separate the Galatians from Paul and all believers.

  Judaizers hid their snares in love and therefore they harbored malicious intentions.

   Enlightenment in the Word: Christians should take heed and beware of men’s praise and the false love. We should learn to discern whether others love with the motive of loving the Lord.


Gal. 4:18 “But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you.

   YLT: “and [it is] good to be zealously regarded, in what is good, at all times, and not only in my being present with you;”

   Literal Meaning: zealousness out of good motive is good itself, however, it should last. One should be zealous before men and be still behind men.


Gal. 4:19 “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,

   YLT: “my little children, of whom again I travail in birth, till Christ may be formed in you,”

   Meaning of Words: “labor in birth”: travail in birth; “form”: the inner true change.

   Literal Meaning: “my little children” is an intimate appellation. Paul likened himself a mother who labored in birth.

  The word “again” shows that a servant of the Lord suffers two kinds of labors:

  1) He labors in leading men to turn to and believe in the Lord Jesus regardless of others’ indifference and opposition.

  2) He labors in cultivating men to grow up in life until “Christ is formed in them” regardless of others’ ignorance and naivety, i.e. letting Christ form and organize in us so that we shall be informed into the image of Christ.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Christ in many Christians seems to be likened the egg which has not been fully hatched: there is the life of chicken, however, the form of chicken cannot be seen in it

2) When the cross works in a believer and makes his old man decrease and the new man (Christ) be put on in his behavior, he is more and more like the Lord. It is the way that the life of Christ is formed in us.


Gal. 4:20 “I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone; for I have doubts about you.

   YLT: “and I was wishing to be present with you now, and to change my voice, because I am in doubt about you.”

   Meaning of Words: “tone”: voice, sound; “have doubts”: have no way out, be at a loss.

   Literal Meaning: the moment Paul remembered them, he had doubts and he was only too anxious to come there and lead them to the right way himself, so that he would no longer use such tone of rebuke. 

   Enlightenment in the Word: the true rebuke of love is forced to be done instead of the random severe reproach.


Gal. 4:21 “Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?

   YLT: “Tell me, ye who are willing to be under law, the law do ye not hear?”

   Literal Meaning: “desire” indicates that the Galatian believers seemed to have decided to go towards that direction.

  This verse means that those who desire to be under the law actually do not tally with the examples that are written in the law.

  The first “the law” in this verse refers to the commandments that were declared by Moses and the second refers to the Pentateuch in which these commandments were recorded. Judaizers respected the law of the commandments and paid no attention to receive the history and covenant of the commandments. They respected the law of commandments and could not see the broad thoughtfulness of the law----God’s way to show mercy to His people.


Gal. 4:22 “For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman.

   YLT: “for it hath been written, that Abraham had two sons, one by the maid-servant, and one by the free-woman,”

   The Background: The case that Abraham had sons was recorded in Gen. 16, 17. The Jews regarded Pentateuch as the law and therefore it is “it is written”.

  “A bondwoman” is the maidservant and it refers to the Egyptian maidservant Hagar and her son was named Ishmael.

  “A freewoman” refers to Sara the wife of Abraham and her son was named Isaac.

   Literal Meaning: in this verse the different positions of the two mothers are used to state that the positions of their sons are different: one gives birth to bondage and the other free.

   Spiritual Meaning: “a bondwoman” typifies the covenant of the law; “the one by a bondwoman” typifies men under the law.

  “A freewoman” typifies the covenant of promise; “the other by a freewoman” typifies believers of the New Testament.

  Paul used this example to give the comparison of “being in bondage under the law” and “being free under grace”.


Gal. 4:23 “But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise,

   YLT: “but he who [is] of the maid-servant, according to flesh hath been, and he who [is] of the free-woman, through the promise;”

   Literal Meaning: was born according to the flesh” It indicates that a man was born according to the physiologically natural phenomenon.

  “Through promise” It indicates that a man was born by the wonderful works that are manifested by God.

  In this verse the different states of two mothers’ childbirth are used to state that the nature of their sons is different (Gen. 17:15-21; 18:9-15; 21:1-8). Those who are under the law observe the law according to the flesh, however, believers of the New Testament enjoy grace through God’s promise.


Gal. 4:24 “which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar--

   YLT: “which things are allegorized, for these are the two covenants: one, indeed, from mount Sinai, to servitude bringing forth, which is Hagar;”

   Meaning of Words: “symbolic”: be an allegory.

   Literal Meaning: the two covenants” refer to the covenant of the law and the covenant of promise (grace).

  “From Mount Sinai” The law was made at the foot of Mount Sinai.

  “Hagar” represents the covenant of the law.

  “Gives birth to bondage” All those who are of the works of the law are indeed slaves of the law willingly and lose the freedom. 


Gal. 4:25 “for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children--

   YLT: “for this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and doth correspond to the Jerusalem that now [is], and is in servitude with her children,”

   Meaning of Words: “corresponds to”: file together, equal.

   Spiritual Meaning: Mount Sinai” symbolizes the law.

  Jerusalem which now is” refers to Judaism at that time.

  “Her children” refer to the Judaists and Christians who believed in Judaism at that time.

  “And is in bondage with…” It means that Judaists and Judaizers are all in bondage of the law.

   Enlightenment in the Word: today many nominal churches of Christ and Christians only pay attention to appearance and forms or want to observe ceremonies and regulations according to the flesh. They also correspond to Hagar and are in bondage.


Gal. 4:26 “but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.

   YLT: “and the Jerusalem above is the free-woman, which is mother of us all,”

   Spiritual Meaning: the Jerusalem above” refers to the heavenly Jerusalem. The heavenly Jerusalem on one hand refers to the coming holy city, new Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22; Rev. 3: 12; 21:2) and on the other refers to the present spiritual church. When we believers live in the world, we are children of the heavenly Jerusalem. It is not the coming thing but the thing at present (Eph. 2:6; Pill. 3:20).


Gal. 4:27 “For it is written: Rejoice, O barren, You who do not bear! Break forth and shout, You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children Than she who has a husband.’”

   YLT: “for it hath been written, `Rejoice, O barren, who art not bearing; break forth and cry, thou who art not travailing, because many [are] the children of the desolate -- more than of her having the husband.'”

   Literal Meaning: this verse is quoted from Is. 54:1 and it predicted that a kind of son was born when the mother was barren.

  O barren, You who do not bear!” refer to the women who have the physiological defects and cannot bear.

  You who are not in laborthe desolate” It indicates that even if the women who cannot bear have husbands, they are desolate and poor as if they did not have husbands.

   Spiritual Meaning: this verse predicts that under the Old Testament, “the Jerusalem above” was in the sate of vanity and barrenness for a long time. However, after the Lord Jesus died on the cross, the condition was fully reversed: believers of the New Testament who are born by the works of God’s grace shall be much more than Judaizers.


Gal. 4:28 “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.

   YLT: “And we, brethren, as Isaac, are children of promise,”

   Literal Meaning: as Isaac was born through promise, we Christians become God’s children fully according to God’s promise through faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:26) instead of the works of the flesh.


Gal. 4:29 “But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.

   YLT: “but as then he who was born according to the flesh did persecute him according to the spirit, so also now;”

   Meaning of Words: “persecute”: press forward, follow after.

   The Background: Ishmael once mocked Isaac. From the words of Sara to Abraham at that time, probably Ishmael’s attitude to Isaac was very bad and he even attempted to fight for the right of succession (Gen. 21:9-10).

   Literal Meaning: Isaac was despised by Ishmael and in like manner, now the promised children are persecuted by those who are born according to the flesh.

   Enlightenment in the Word: the nominal Christians always sneer at and persecute the true Christians.


Gal. 4:30 “Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.’”

   YLT: “but what saith the Writing? `Cast forth the maid-servant and her son, for the son of the maid-servant may not be heir with the son of the free-woman;'”

   The Background: the words in this verse were said by Sara to Abraham (Gen. 21:10) and God fully agreed on the words (Gen. 21:12).

   Enlightenment in the Word: all those who are of the works of the law cannot partake in the kingdom of God because they cannot be heirs of God with the true Christians.


Gal. 4:31 “So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.

   YLT: “then, brethren, we are not a maid-servant's children, but the free-woman's.”

  Literal Meaning: Christians are born to be free because Christ is the Lord who gives men freedom (Gal. 5:1). Christians are not slaves under the law but children born through promise who live in the freedom of Christ by faith.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


Children and Sons

I. Children refer to those who are under the law:

  A. they do not differ at all from slaves, though they are masters of all (v.1).

  B. they are under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by God (v.2).

  C. they are in bondage under the elements of the world (v.3).

II. Sons refer to those who are redeemed:

  A. Christ Jesus was born under the law to redeem us who were under the law (v.4-5).

  B. We have the Spirit of His Son in our hearts and we cry out, "Abba, Father!" (v.6).

  C. We are heirs of God through Christ (v.7).


God’s Actions When the Fullness of the Time Had Come

I. God sent forth His Son, born of a woman (v.4).

II. God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into the hearts of those who are redeemed (v.5-6).

III. God makes those who have been redeemed heirs (v.7).


The Blessings of Believers

I. We who are under the law are redeemed (v.5).

II. We receive the adoption as sons (v.5).

III. We have the Spirit of His Son in our hearts (v.6).

IV. We could call God “Abba, Father” (v.6).

V. We are no longer slaves but sons (v.7).

VI. We are heirs of God through Christ (v.7).



I. The slaves of the law (v.1, 5).

II. The slaves of idols (v.8).

III. The slaves of the elements of the world (v.3, 9).


The Differences between Those who did not Know God and Those who Knew God

I. When you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods (v.8).

II. Now you have known God, or rather are known by God, you could no longer be slaves (v.9).


The Features of the True Apostles

I. He was as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus (v.14).

II. He spoke bluntly and told men the truth (v.16).

III. He was willing to labor in birth again for others until Christ is formed in men (v.19).


Christians and Judaizers

I. Christians are born through promise and Judaizers are born according to the flesh (v.23).

II. Christians are free and Judaizers are in bondage (v.24-26).

III. Christians are of heaven ad Judaizers are of the earth (v.25-26).

IV. The former is more than the latter (v.27).

V. Christians could inherit the possessions and Judaizers cannot inherit the possessions (v.30).


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Sharon Ren