3 In the same way we also, when we were not of age, were enslaved to the elemental powers of the world. 3
6 As proof that you are children, 4 God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, ＂Abba, Father!＂
10 You are observing days, months, seasons, and years. 7
11 I am afraid on your account that perhaps I have labored for you in vain. 8
13 you know that it was because of a physical illness 11 that I originally preached the gospel to you,
15 Where now is that blessedness of yours? 12 Indeed, I can testify to you that, if it had been possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.
17 They show interest in you, but not in a good way; they want to isolate you, 13 so that you may show interest in them.
25 Hagar represents Sinai, 15 a mountain in Arabia; it corresponds to the present
27 For it is written: ＂Rejoice, you barren one who bore no children; break forth and shout, you who were not in labor; for more numerous are the children of the deserted one than of her who has a husband.＂ 16
1 [1-7] What Paul has argued in Gal 3:26-29 is now elaborated in terms of the Christian as the heir (Gal 4:1, 7; cf Gal 3:18, 29) freed from control by others. Again, as in Gal 3:2-5, the proof that Christians are children of God is the gift of the Spirit of Christ relating them intimately to God.
2 [1,3] Not of age: an infant or minor.
3  The elemental powers of the world: while the term can refer to the ＂elements＂ like earth, air, fire, and water or to elementary forms of religion, the sense here is more likely that of celestial beings that were thought in pagan circles to control the world; cf Gal 4:8; Col 2:8, 20.
5 [8-11] On the basis of the arguments advanced from Gal 3:1 through Gal 4:7, Paul now launches his appeal to the Galatians with the question, how can you turn back to the slavery of the law (Gal 4:9)? The question is posed with reference to bondage to the elemental powers (see the note on Gal 4:3) because the Galatians had originally been converted to Christianity from paganism, not Judaism (Gal 4:8). The use of the direct question is like Gal 3, 3-5.
6  Things that by nature are not gods: or ＂gods that by nature do not exist.＂
7  This is likely a reference to ritual observances from the Old Testament, promoted by opponents: sabbaths or Yom Kippur, new moon, Passover or Pentecost, sabbatical years.
10  Because I have also become as you are: a terse phrase in Greek, meaning ＂Be as I, Paul, am,＂ i.e., living by faith, independent of the law, for, in spite of my background in Judaism (Gal 1:13), I have become as you Galatians are now, a brother in Christ.
11  Physical illness: because its nature is not described, some assume an eye disease (Gal 4:15); others, epilepsy; some relate it to 2 Cor 12:7-9. Originally: this may also be translated ＂formerly＂ or ＂on the first (of two) visit(s)＂; cf Acts 16:6; 18:23.
12  That blessedness of yours: possibly a reference to the Galatians' initial happy reception of Paul (Gal 4:14) and of his gospel (Gal 1:6; 3:1-4) and their felicitation at such blessedness, but the phrase could also refer ironically to earlier praise by Paul of the Galatians, no longer possible when they turn from the gospel to the claims of the opponents (Gal 4:17-18; 1:7). If the word is a more literal reference to a beatitude, Gal 3:26-28 may be in view.
13  Isolate you: that is, from the blessings of the gospel and/or from Paul.
14 [21-31] Paul supports his appeal for the gospel (Gal 4:9; 1:6-9; 2:16; 3:2) by a further argument from scripture (cf Gal 3:6-18). It involves the relationship of Abraham (Gal 3:6-16) to his wife, Sarah, the freeborn woman, and to Hagar, the slave woman, and the contrast between the sons born to each, Isaac, child of promise, and Ishmael, son of Hagar (Genesis 16; 21). Only through Isaac is the promise of God preserved. This allegory (Gal 4:24), with its equation of the Sinai covenant and Mosaic law with slavery and of the promise of God with freedom, Paul uses only in light of previous arguments. His quotation of Genesis 21:10 at Gal 4:30 suggests on a scriptural basis that the Galatians should expel those who are troubling them (Gal 1:7).
15  Hagar represents Sinai . . . : some manuscripts have what seems a geographical note, ＂For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia.＂
16  Isaiah 54:1 in the Septuagint translation is applied to Sarah as the barren one (in Genesis 15) who ultimately becomes the mother not only of Isaac but now of numerous children, i.e., of all those who believe, the children of the promise (Gal 4:28).