Sons and Heirs

I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave,[a] though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, (A)were enslaved to the elementary principles[b] of the world. But (B)when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, (C)born (D)of woman, born (E)under the law, (F)to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive (G)adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent (H)the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then (I)an heir through God.

Paul's Concern for the Galatians

Formerly, when you (J)did not know God, you (K)were enslaved to those that by nature (L)are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather (M)to be known by God, (N)how can you turn back again to (O)the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 (P)You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid (Q)I may have labored over you in vain.

12 Brothers,[c] (R)I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. (S)You did me no wrong. 13 You know it was (T)because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you (U)at first, 14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me (V)as an angel of God, (W)as Christ Jesus. 15 What 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. 16 Have I then become your enemy by (X)telling you the truth?[d] 17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. 18 It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and (Y)not only when I am present with you, 19 (Z)my little children, (AA)for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ (AB)is formed in you! 20 I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

Example of Hagar and Sarah

21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, (AC)one by a slave woman and (AD)one by a free woman. 23 But (AE)the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while (AF)the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two (AG)covenants. (AH)One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia;[e] she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But (AI)the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written,

(AJ)“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.”

28 Now you,[f] brothers, (AK)like Isaac, (AL)are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh (AM)persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, (AN)so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? (AO)“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.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but (AP)of the free woman.

Christ Has Set Us Free

For (AQ)freedom Christ has (AR)set us free; (AS)stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to (AT)a yoke of (AU)slavery.

Look: I, Paul, say to you that (AV)if you accept circumcision, (AW)Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that (AX)he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are (AY)severed from Christ, (AZ)you who would be justified[g] by the law; (BA)you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly (BB)wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus (BC)neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but (BD)only faith working through love.

(BE)You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying (BF)the truth? This persuasion is not from (BG)him who calls you. (BH)A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 (BI)I have confidence in the Lord that you will (BJ)take no other view, and (BK)the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers,[h] still preach[i] circumcision, (BL)why am I still being persecuted? In that case (BM)the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish (BN)those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. (BO)Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love (BP)serve one another. 14 For (BQ)the whole law is fulfilled in one word: (BR)“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you (BS)bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

Keep in Step with the Spirit

16 But I say, (BT)walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify (BU)the desires of the flesh. 17 For (BV)the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, (BW)to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are (BX)led by the Spirit, (BY)you are not under the law. 19 Now (BZ)the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, (CA)divisions, 21 envy,[j] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that (CB)those who do[k] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But (CC)the fruit of the Spirit is (CD)love, joy, peace, patience, (CE)kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 (CF)gentleness, (CG)self-control; (CH)against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus (CI)have crucified the flesh with its (CJ)passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, (CK)let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 (CL)Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.


  1. Galatians 4:1 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface; also verse 7
  2. Galatians 4:3 Or elemental spirits; also verse 9
  3. Galatians 4:12 Or Brothers and sisters; also verses 28, 31
  4. Galatians 4:16 Or by dealing truthfully with you
  5. Galatians 4:25 Some manuscripts For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia
  6. Galatians 4:28 Some manuscripts we
  7. Galatians 5:4 Or counted righteous
  8. Galatians 5:11 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 13
  9. Galatians 5:11 Greek proclaim
  10. Galatians 5:21 Some manuscripts add murder
  11. Galatians 5:21 Or make a practice of doing

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