Paul began his rebuke for foolishness with a series of searching questions that called the Galatian believers to reexamine their experience of God's miraculous work by his Spirit in their lives (3:1-5). He ends this section of his rebuke for foolishness in the same way. He has just reminded them that in their experience of the Spirit they have begun to communicate with God as their Abba, Father (v. 6). Now he asks his readers questions that point to the contrast between their present knowledge of God as his children and their former ignorance of God as slaves. The essence of the father-child relationship that they now enjoy is reciprocal knowledge: the Father knows his child; the child knows the Father. But in their attempt to observe the law they are actually turning from their intimate knowledge of God as his children and returning to the slavery they experienced in their former pagan way of life when they did not know God.
To help them see the foolishness of their ways, Paul first reminds them of their former condition of ignorance when they were enslaved by pagan idolatry (v. 8). Second, he draws their attention again to the knowledge of God which they now enjoy in their new relationship with God (v. 9). Third, he asks them why they are returning to slavery by observing the law (vv. 9-10). Finally, he expresses his deep concern for them (v. 11).
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Try Bible Gateway Plus, a brand-new service that lets you experience Bible Gateway free of banner ads! It also gives you instant access to over 40 Bible study and inspirational devotional books, including the NIV Study Bible. With Bible Gateway Plus, you can experience and understand God's Word in life-changing new ways, without the distraction of ads. Try it free for 30 days—you can cancel at any time. Following your 30-day free trial, Bible Gateway Plus is only $3.99/month.