| Back to Home Page | Back to Book Index |


Galatians Chapter Four


Galatians 4

The relative position therefore of the Jew (even though he were godly) before the coming of Christ, and of the believing Jew or Gentile when Christ had been revealed, is clearly set forth; and in the commencement of chapter 4 the apostle sums up that which he had said. He compares the believer before the coming of Christ to a child under age, who has no direct relation with his father as to his thoughts, but who receives his father's orders, without his accounting for them to him, as a servant would receive them. He is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Thus the Jews, although they were heirs of the promises, were not in connection with the Father and His counsels in Jesus, but were in tutelage to principles that appertained to the system of the present world, which is but a corrupt and fallen creation. Their walk was ordained of God in this system, but did not go beyond it. We speak of the system by which they were guided, whatever divine light they might receive from time to time to reveal heaven to them, to encourage them in hope, while making the system under the rule of which they were placed yet darker. Under the law then, heirs as they were, they were still in bondage. But when the time was fulfilled and ripe for it, God sent forth His Son-an act flowing from His sovereign goodness for the accomplishment of His eternal counsels, and for the manifestation of all His character. It was God who did it. It was He who acted. The law required man to act, and it manifested man to be just the contrary of that which he ought to have been according to the law. But the Son of God comes from God. He requires nothing. He is manifested in the world in relation with men under the double aspect of a man born of woman, and a man under law.

If sin and death came in by the woman, Christ came into this world by the woman also. If through law man is under condemnation, Christ puts Himself under law also. Under this double aspect He takes the place in which man was found; He takes it in grace without sin, but with the responsibility that belonged to it-a responsibility which He alone has met. But still the object of His mission went much farther than the manifestation in His Person of man without sin, in the midst of evil, and having the knowledge of good and evil. He came to redeem those that were under the law, in order that believers (be they who they may) should receive the adoption. Now that the Gentile believers had been admitted to share the adoption was proved by the sending of the Spirit who made them cry, "Abba, Father." For it is because they are sons, that God sent the Spirit of His Son into their heart, as well as into that of the Jews without distinction. The Gentile, a stranger to the house, and the Jew, who under age differed in nothing from a servant, had each taken the position of a son in direct relation with the Father-a relation of which the Holy Ghost was the power and the witness-in consequence of the redemption wrought in their behalf by the Son; the Jew under the law needing it as much as the Gentile in his sins. But its efficacy was such that the believer was not a bondman but a son, and if a son, an heir also of God by Christ. Previously the Gentiles had been in bondage, not indeed to the law, but to that which, in its nature, was not God. They knew not God, and were the slaves of everything that boasted of the name of God, in order to blind the heart of man alienated from Him who is the true God and from His knowledge.

But what were these Gentiles, become Christians, now doing? They desired to be again in bondage to these wretched elements, worldly and carnal, to which they had formerly been in subjection; these things of which the carnal man could form his religion, without one moral or spiritual thought, and which placed the glory due to God, in outward observances which an unbeliever and a heathen ignorant of God could call his religion and glory in it.

As figures, which God used to bear testimony beforehand to the realities that are in Christ, they had their true value. God knew how to reconcile the employment of these figures, which are profitable to faith, with a religious system that tested man in the flesh, and that served to answer the question, whether, with every kind of help, man was able to stand before God and to serve Him. But to go back to these ordinances made for man in the flesh, now that God hadshewn man's incapability of becoming righteous before Him-now that the substance of these shadows was come, was to go back to the position of men in the flesh, and to take that standing without any command of God that sanctioned it. It was to go back to the ground of idolatry, that is to say, to a carnal religion, arranged by man without any authority from God, and which in no way brought man into connection with Him. For things done in the flesh had certainly not that effect. "Ye observe days and months and seasons and years." This the heathen did in their human religion. Judaism was a human religion ordained of God, but, by going back to it when the ordinance of God was no longer in force, they did but go back to the paganism out of which they had been called to have part with Christ in heavenly things.

Nothing can be more striking than this statement of what ritualism is after the cross. It is simply heathenism, going back to man's religion, when God is fully revealed: "I fear concerning you," said the apostle, "that I have laboured in vain." But they reproached the apostle with not being a faithful Jew according to the law, with freeing himself from its authority. "Be ye then," says he, "as I am; for I am as ye are" (namely, free from the law). Ye have done me no wrong in saying so. Would to God ye were as much so! He then reminds them of his thorn in the flesh. It was some circumstance adapted to make him contemptible in his ministry. Nevertheless they had received him as an angel of God, as Jesus Christ. What was become of that blessedness? Had he become their enemy because he had told them the truth? Zeal was good; but if it had a right thing for its object, they should have persevered in their zeal, and not merely have maintained it while he was with them. These new teachers were very zealous to have the Galatians for their partisans, and to exclude them from the apostle, that they might be attached to themselves. He laboured again, as though travailing in birth, in order that Christ should be formed as if anew in their hearts-a touching testimony of the strength of his christian love. This love was divine in its character; it was not weakened by the disappointment of ingratitude, because its source was outside the attraction of its objects. Moses said, "Have I conceived all this people, that I should carry them in my bosom?" Paul is ready to travail in birth with them a second time.

He does not know what to say. He would like to be present with them, that he might, on seeing them adapt his words to their condition, for they had really forsaken christian ground. Would they then, since they desired to be under the law, hear the law? In it they might see the two systems, in the type of Hagar and Sarah: that of law, gendering to bondage; and that of grace, to liberty; not that only, but the positive exclusion of the child of bondage from the inheritance. The two could not be united; the one shut out the other. The bond-child was born according to the flesh, the free-child according to promise. For the law and the covenant of Sinai were in connection with man in the flesh. The principle of man's relationship with God, according to the law (if such relations had been possible), was that of a relationship formed between man in the flesh and the righteous God. As to man, the law and the ordinances were only bondage. They aimed at bridling the will without its being changed. It is all-important to understand, that man under the law is man in the flesh. When born again, dead and risen again, he is no longer under law, which has only dominion over man in that he is alive here below. Read "Jerusalem which is above is our mother"-not "the mother of us all." It is in contrast with Jerusalem on earth, which in its principle answered to Sinai. And observe that the apostle is not here speaking of the violation of the law, but of its principle. The law itself puts man in a state of bondage. It is imposed on man in the flesh, who is opposed to it. By the very fact that he has self-will, the law and that will are in conflict. Self-will is not obedience.

Verse 27 presents some difficulty to many minds, because it is generally confounded with Hagar and Sarah. But it is a separate consideration, suggested by the idea of Jerusalem above. The verse is a quotation from Isaiah 54, which celebrates the joy and glory of the earthly Jerusalem at the beginning of the millennium. The apostle quotes it to shew that Jerusalem had more children during the time of her desolation than when she had a husband. In the millennium Jehovah, the Lord, will be her husband. He had been so before. At present she is desolate, she bears not. Nevertheless there are more children than previously when she was married. Such were the marvellous ways of God. All Christians are reckoned, when earth takes its course again, as the children of Jerusalem, but of Jerusalem with no husband and desolate, so that the Galatians were not to own it as if God did still. Sarah was not without a husband. Here is a different order of thought. Without a husband and desolate (so that, properly speaking, she has none) Jerusalem has more children now than in the best days of her career, when Jehovah was a husband to her. For, as regards the promise, the gospel came forth from her. The assembly is not of promise. It was a counsel hid in God, of which the promises had never spoken. Its position is a yet higher one; but in this place the apostle's instruction does not rise to that height. But we are also the children of promise, and not of the flesh. Israel after the flesh had no other pretension than to be the children of Abraham after the flesh; we are so only by promise. Now the word of God cast out the child of the bondwoman, born after the flesh, that he might not be heir with the child of promise. As to us, we are the children of promise.

── John DarbySynopsis of Galatians


Galatians 4

Chapter Contents

The folly of returning to legal observances for justification. (1-7) The happy change made in the Gentile believers. (8-11) The apostle reasons against following false teachers. (12-18) He expresses his earnest concern for them. (19,20) And then explains the difference between what is to be expected from the law, and from the gospel. (21-31)

Commentary on Galatians 4:1-7

(Read Galatians 4:1-7)

The apostle deals plainly with those who urged the law of Moses together with the gospel of Christ, and endeavoured to bring believers under its bondage. They could not fully understand the meaning of the law as given by Moses. And as that was a dispensation of darkness, so of bondage; they were tied to many burdensome rites and observances, by which they were taught and kept subject like a child under tutors and governors. We learn the happier state of Christians under the gospel dispensation. From these verses see the wonders of Divine love and mercy; particularly of God the Father, in sending his Son into the world to redeem and save us; of the Son of God, in submitting so low, and suffering so much for us; and of the Holy Spirit, in condescending to dwell in the hearts of believers, for such gracious purposes. Also, the advantages Christians enjoy under the gospel. Although by nature children of wrath and disobedience, they become by grace children of love, and partake of the nature of the children of God; for he will have all his children resemble him. Among men the eldest son is heir; but all God's children shall have the inheritance of eldest sons. May the temper and conduct of sons ever show our adoption; and may the Holy Spirit witness with our spirits that we are children and heirs of God.

Commentary on Galatians 4:8-11

(Read Galatians 4:8-11)

The happy change whereby the Galatians were turned from idols to the living God, and through Christ had received the adoption of sons, was the effect of his free and rich grace; they were laid under the greater obligation to keep to the liberty wherewith he had made them free. All our knowledge of God begins on his part; we know him because we are known of him. Though our religion forbids idolatry, yet many practise spiritual idolatry in their hearts. For what a man loves most, and cares most for, that is his god: some have their riches for their god, some their pleasures, and some their lusts. And many ignorantly worship a god of their own making; a god made all of mercy and no justice. For they persuade themselves that there is mercy for them with God, though they repent not, but go on in their sins. It is possible for those who have made great professions of religion, to be afterwards drawn aside from purity and simplicity. And the more mercy God has shown, in bringing any to know the gospel, and the liberties and privileges of it, the greater their sin and folly in suffering themselves to be deprived of them. Hence all who are members of the outward church should learn to fear and to suspect themselves. We must not be content because we have some good things in ourselves. Paul fears lest his labour is in vain, yet he still labours; and thus to do, whatever follows, is true wisdom and the fear of God. This every man must remember in his place and calling.

Commentary on Galatians 4:12-18

(Read Galatians 4:12-18)

The apostle desires that they would be of one mind with him respecting the law of Moses, as well as united with him in love. In reproving others, we should take care to convince them that our reproofs are from sincere regard to the honour of God and religion and their welfare. The apostle reminds the Galatians of the difficulty under which he laboured when he first came among them. But he notices, that he was a welcome messenger to them. Yet how very uncertain are the favour and respect of men! Let us labour to be accepted of God. You once thought yourselves happy in receiving the gospel; have you now reason to think otherwise? Christians must not forbear speaking the truth, for fear of offending others. The false teachers who drew the Galatians from the truth of the gospel were designing men. They pretended affection, but they were not sincere and upright. An excellent rule is given. It is good to be zealous always in a good thing; not for a time only, or now and then, but always. Happy would it be for the church of Christ, if this zeal was better maintained.

Commentary on Galatians 4:19,20

(Read Galatians 4:19,20)

The Galatians were ready to account the apostle their enemy, but he assures them he was their friend; he had the feelings of a parent toward them. He was in doubt as to their state, and was anxious to know the result of their present delusions. Nothing is so sure a proof that a sinner has passed into a state of justification, as Christ being formed in him by the renewal of the Holy Spirit; but this cannot be hoped for, while men depend on the law for acceptance with God.

Commentary on Galatians 4:21-27

(Read Galatians 4:21-27)

The difference between believers who rested in Christ only, and those who trusted in the law, is explained by the histories of Isaac and Ishmael. These things are an allegory, wherein, beside the literal and historical sense of the words, the Spirit of God points out something further. Hagar and Sarah were apt emblems of the two different dispensations of the covenant. The heavenly Jerusalem, the true church from above, represented by Sarah, is in a state of freedom, and is the mother of all believers, who are born of the Holy Spirit. They were by regeneration and true faith, made a part of the true seed of Abraham, according to the promise made to him.

Commentary on Galatians 4:28-31

(Read Galatians 4:28-31)

The history thus explained is applied. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bond-woman, but of the free. If the privileges of all believers were so great, according to the new covenant, how absurd for the Gentile converts to be under that law, which could not deliver the unbelieving Jews from bondage or condemnation! We should not have found out this allegory in the history of Sarah and Hagar, if it had not been shown to us, yet we cannot doubt it was intended by the Holy Spirit. It is an explanation of the subject, not an argument in proof of it. The two covenants of works and grace, and legal and evangelical professors, are shadowed forth. Works and fruits brought forth in a man's own strength, are legal. But if arising from faith in Christ, they are evangelical. The first covenant spirit is of bondage unto sin and death. The second covenant spirit is of liberty and freedom; not liberty to sin, but in and unto duty. The first is a spirit of persecution; the second is a spirit of love. Let those professors look to it, who have a violent, harsh, imposing spirit, towards the people of God. Yet as Abraham turned aside to Hagar, so it is possible a believer may turn aside in some things to the covenant of works, when through unbelief and neglect of the promise he acts according to the law, in his own strength; or in a way of violence, not of love, towards the brethren. Yet it is not his way, not his spirit to do so; hence he is never at rest, till he returns to his dependence on Christ again. Let us rest our souls on the Scriptures, and by a gospel hope and cheerful obedience, show that our conversation and treasure are indeed in heaven.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Galatians


Galatians 4

Verse 1

[1] Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

Now — To illustrate by a plain similitude the preeminence of the Christian, over the legal, dispensation.

The heir, as long as he is a child — As he is under age.

Differeth nothing from a servant — Not being at liberty either to use or enjoy his estate.

Though he be lord — Proprietor of it all.

Verse 2

[2] But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.

But is under tutors — As to his person.

And stewards — As to his substance.

Verse 3

[3] Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

So we — The church of God.

When we were children — In our minority, under the legal dispensation.

Were in bondage — In a kind of servile state.

Under the elements of the world — Under the typical observances of the law, which were like the first elements of grammar, the A B C of children; and were of so gross a nature, as hardly to carry our thoughts beyond this world.

Verse 4

[4] But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

But when the fulness of the time — Appointed by the Father, Galatians 4:2.

Was come, God sent forth — From his own bosom. His Son, miraculously made of the substance of a woman - A virgin, without the concurrence of a man.

Made under the law — Both under the precept, and under the curse, of it.

Verse 5

[5] To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

To redeem those under the law — From the curse of it, and from that low, servile state.

That we — Jews who believe.

Might receive the adoption — All the privileges of adult sons.

Verse 6

[6] And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

And because ye — Gentiles who believe, are also thus made his adult sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts likewise, crying, Abba, Father - Enabling you to call upon God both with the confidence, and the tempers, of dutiful children. The Hebrew and Greek word are joined together, to express the joint cry of the Jews and gentiles.

Verse 7

[7] Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Wherefore thou — Who believest in Christ.

Art no more a servant — Like those who are under the law.

But a son — Of mature age. And if a son, then an heir of all the promises, and of the all-sufficient God himself.

Verse 8

[8] Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.

Indeed then when ye knew not God, ye served them that by nature — That is, in reality.

Are no gods — And so were under a far worse bondage than even that of the Jews. For they did serve the true God, though in a low, slavish manner.

Verse 9

[9] But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

But now being known of God — As his beloved children.

How turn ye back to the weak and poor elements — Weak, utterly unable to purge your conscience from guilt, or to give that filial confidence in God.

Poor — incapable of enriching the soul with such holiness and happiness as ye are heirs to.

Ye desire to be again in bondage — Though of another kind; now to these elements, as before to those idols.

Verse 10

[10] Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

Ye observe days — Jewish sabbaths.

And months — New moons.

And times — As that of the passover, pentecost, and the feast of tabernacles.

And years — Annual solemnities. it does not mean sabbatic years. These were not to be observed out of the land of Canaan.

Verse 11

[11] I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

The apostle here, dropping the argument, applies to the affections, Galatians 4:11-20, and humbles himself to the Galatians, with an inexpressible tenderness.

Verse 12

[12] Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.

Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am — Meet me in mutual love.

For I am as ye were — I still love you as affectionately as ye once loved me. Why should I not? Ye have not injured me at all - I have received no personal injury from you.

Verse 13

[13] Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.

I preached to you, notwithstanding infirmity of the flesh — That is, notwithstanding bodily weakness, and under great disadvantage from the despicableness of my outward appearance.

Verse 14

[14] And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

And ye did not slight my temptation — That is, ye did not slight or disdain me for my temptation, my "thorn in the flesh."

Verse 15

[15] Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.

What was then the blessedness ye spake of — On which ye so congratulated one another.

Verse 17

[17] They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.

They — The judaizing teachers who are come among you.

Zealously affect you — Express an extraordinary regard for you.

But not well — Their zeal is not according to knowledge; neither have they a single eye to your spiritual advantage.

Yea, they would exclude you — From me and from the blessings of the gospel.

That ye might affect — Love and esteem them.

Verse 18

[18] But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

In a good thing — In what is really worthy our zeal. True zeal is only fervent love.

Verse 19

[19] My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

My little children — He speaks as a parent, both with authority, and the most tender sympathy, toward weak and sickly children.

Of whom I travail in birth again — As I did before, Galatians 4:13, in vehement pain, sorrow, desire, prayer.

Till Christ be formed in you — Till there be in you all the mind that was in him.

Verse 20

[20] I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.

I could wish to be present with you now — Particularly in this exigence.

And to change — Variously to attemper.

My voice — He writes with much softness; but he would speak with more. The voice may more easily be varied according to the occasion than a letter can.

For I stand in doubt of you — So that I am at a loss how to speak at this distance.

Verse 21

[21] Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?

Do ye not hear the law — Regard what it says.

Verse 22

[22] For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.

Genesis 21:2,9.

Verse 23

[23] But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.

Was born after the flesh — In a natural way.

By promise — Through that supernatural strength which was given Abraham in consequence of the promise.

Verse 24

[24] Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

Which things are an allegory — An allegory is a figurative speech, wherein one thing is expressed, and another intended. For those two sons are types of the two covenants. One covenant is that given from mount Sinai, which beareth children to bondage - That is, all who are under this, the Jewish covenant, are in bondage. Which covenant is typified by Agar.

Verse 25

[25] For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

For this is mount Sinai in Arabia — That is, the type of mount Sinai. And answereth to - Resembles Jerusalem that now is, and is in bondage - Like Agar, both to the law and to the Romans.

Verse 26

[26] But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

But the other covenant is derived from Jerusalem that is above, which is free - Like Sarah from all inward and outward bondage, and is the mother of us all - That is, all who believe in Christ, are free citizens of the New Jerusalem.

Verse 27

[27] For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.

For it is written — Those words in the primary sense promise a flourishing state to Judea, after its desolation by the Chaldeans.

Rejoice. thou barren, that bearest not — Ye heathen nations, who, like a barren woman, were destitute, for many ages, of a seed to serve the Lord. Break forth and cry aloud for joy, thou that, in former time, travailedst not: for the desolate hath many more children than she that hath an husband - For ye that were so long utterly desolate shall at length bear more children than the Jewish church, which was of old espoused to God. Isaiah 54:1.

Verse 28

[28] Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

Now we — Who believe, whether Jews or Gentiles.

Are children of the promise — Not born in a natural way, but by the supernatural power of God. And as such we are heirs of the promise made to believing Abraham.

Verse 29

[29] But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

But as then, he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, so it is now also — And so it will be in all ages and nations to the end of the world.

Verse 30

[30] Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

But what saith the scripture — Showing the consequence of this.

Cast out the bondwoman and her son — Who mocked Isaac. In like manner will God cast out all who seek to be justified by the law; especially if they persecute them who are his children by faith. Genesis 21:10.

Verse 31

[31] So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

So then — To sum up all.

We — Who believe.

Are not children of the bondwoman — Have nothing to do with the servile Mosaic dispensation.

But of the free — Being free from the curse and the bond of that law, and from the power of sin and Satan.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Galatians


Chapter 4. Two Covenants

Born in the Ordinary Way
Born as the Result of a Promise

I. From a Child to a Son

  1. Children Subject to Guardians
  2. The Time Is Full
  3. The Rights of Sons

II. The Galatians Turn Back

  1. Turn Back to Slaves
  2. Turn to the Others
  3. The Pains of Childbirth

III. Representation of the Two Women

  1. Bear Children to be Slaves
  2. By Virtue of Promise
  3. No Sharing in the Inheritance
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament
Chapter Four General Review
1) To appreciate the significance and blessedness of receiving the 
   Spirit in our hearts (cf. Jn 7:37-39; Ac 2:38; 5:32; Ro 5:5; 
   8:11-17; 15:13; 2 Co 1:22; 5:5; Ep 1:13-14; 3:16; 4:30)
2) To understand Paul's concern over the Galatians' observance of holy
   days (cf. Co 2:16-17; Ga 5:4)
3) To comprehend the implications of the allegory of Hagar and Sarah
In this chapter Paul continues and concludes his defense of the gospel 
of justification by faith in Christ, in contrast to seeking
justification by the works of the Law.  The previous chapter ended with
Paul making a practical argument, how that by faith they had become the
sons of God, the true seed of Abraham and heirs of the promise, when
they put on Christ in baptism.
The practical argument continues in the first part of chapter four as 
Paul describes the condition of those under the Law prior to the coming
of Christ.  They were "children", and really no different than slaves.
But when Christ came, He redeemed those under the Law and made it
possible for them to receive the adoption as "sons".  A special
blessing of this sonship was receiving the Spirit in their hearts, and
now they are no longer as a slave but as a son and a heir of God 
through Christ (1-7).
Paul then argues along sentimental lines.  After having come to know 
the true God and being recognized by Him, their observance of holy days
is indicative of a desire to return to bondage.  That greatly concerns
Paul, who would have them become like him.  He reminds them of their 
reception of him in the past, and he hopes that by telling them the 
truth he has not become their enemy.  Wishing he could be with them in
person and use a different tone, he feels like a woman going through 
labor again as he seeks to ensure that Christ is formed in them.  All
of this because he has doubts about them (8-20).
His final argument is an appeal to the Law itself, addressed directly 
to those who desire to be under it.  He reminds them of Abraham's two 
sons by Sarah and Hagar, and contends there are allegorical 
implications concerning the two covenants.  Hagar, the bondwoman who
gave birth to Ishmael, represents the covenant given at Mt. Sinai, and
corresponds to physical Jerusalem and the bondage of those under the
Law.  Sarah, Abraham's wife who gave birth to Isaac, represents the new
covenant and corresponds to the heavenly Jerusalem which offers freedom
to all who accept it.  With a reminder that those born of the Spirit 
can expect persecution by those born according to the flesh, Paul 
concludes his defense of the gospel of justification by faith in Christ
by proclaiming that those in Christ are of not of the bondwoman but of 
the free (21-31).
      1. The illustration of an heir (1-2)
         a. While a child, is no different than a slave, even though a
            "master" (1)
         b. Under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by
            the father (2)
      2. In like manner, they had been as children, in bondage to the
         elements of the world (3)
      1. At the right time, God sent His Son, born of woman, born under
         the Law (4)
         a. To redeem those under the Law (5a)
         b. That they might receive the adoptions as sons (5b)
      2. Because they are now "sons" (and not just "children")...
         a. God sent the Spirit into their hearts, crying out "Abba, 
            Father!" (6)
         b. No longer are they as "slaves", but as "sons", thus heirs 
            of God through Christ (7)
      1. They had come to know God, and to be known by God (8-9a)
      2. But they seem to desire to be in bondage again, returning to
         weak and beggarly elements (9b)
      3. Their observance of holy days gives Paul fear that his labor
         was in vain (10-11)
      1. A plea for them to be as he is (12)
      2. A reminder of their past relations with him (13-15)
         a. They had not allowed his physical infirmities to hinder
            their reception of him and his gospel (13-14)
         b. They were even willing to pluck out their own eyes for him
      3. Has he become their enemy because he tells them the truth? 
      4. They are being zealously courted by others, but zeal is good
         only when for the right cause (17-18)
      5. He labors over them again, that Christ might be formed in 
         them, wishing he could change his tone, but he has doubts 
         about them (19-20)
      1. For those who wish to be under the law, will you hear what the
         law says? (21)
      2. For we read Abraham had two sons (22-23)
         a. One of a bondwoman (Hagar), born according to the flesh 
         b. The other of a freewoman (Sarah), born through promise 
      3. These things are symbolic (24a)
   B. THE TWO COVENANTS (24b-31)
      1. The two women represent two covenants (24b-26)
         a. Hagar represents the covenant from Mount Sinai (the Law), 
            physical Jerusalem, and the bondage shared with her 
         b. Sarah represents a new covenant from Jerusalem above 
            (spiritual Jerusalem), which offers freedom to all
      2. As prophesied, the barren woman (Sarah) would have more 
         children (27)
      3. Those under the new covenant are like Isaac, children of 
         promise (28)
      4. Those born of the Spirit can expect animosity from those born
         of the flesh (29)
      5. But the Scripture says that the children of the free woman 
         (Sarah, the Jerusalem above) will be the heir (30)
      6. We are not children of the bondwoman but of the free (31)
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Justification by faith:  The practical argument, continued (1-7)
   - Justification by faith:  The sentimental argument (8-20)
   - Justification by faith:  The allegorical argument (21-31)
2) What is the condition of a child, even though an heir? (1-2)
   - No different from a slave
   - Under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the
3) What was the condition of those under the Law? (3)
   - As children, in bondage under the elements of the world
4) When did God send His Son?  Why? (4-5)
   - When the fullness of time had come
   - To redeem those under the Law, that they might receive the 
     adoption as "sons"
5) As sons of God, what do we receive?  What is our condition? (6-7)
   - The Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying "Abba, Father!"
   - No longer a slave, but a "son" and an "heir" of God through Christ
6) What indication was there that the Galatians sought to be in bondage
   again? (8-10)
   - Their observance of days, months, seasons, and years
7) What did Paul fear? (11)
   - That his labor with them had been in vain
8) How had the Galatians received Paul when he first preached the 
   gospel to them? (14)
   - As an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus Himself
9) What were they apparently willing to do when Paul was with them?
   - They would have plucked out their own eyes and given them to Paul
10) What concern did Paul have in telling them the truth? (16)
   - Had he become their enemy?
11) Why did Paul wish he could be with them and change his tone? (20)
   - He had doubts about them
12) For those who desired to be under the Law, what story from the Law
    does Paul relate? (21-23)
   - That of Hagar and Sarah, and their sons
13) What do the two women represent? (24-26)
   - Two covenants
   - Hagar represents the covenant given at Mt. Sinai which gives birth
     to bondage, and relates to physical Jerusalem
   - Sarah represents the covenant in Christ, corresponding to the
     Jerusalem above which gives freedom to all
14) How are Christians like Isaac? (28,31)
   - We are children of promise
   - We are children of the freewoman, not of the bondwoman who
     represents the Law


--《Executable Outlines