Q R 1-. The child. S -1. The bond-servant. T 2-. Tutors, &c. U -2-. The appointed time. V -2. The father. R 3-. The children. S -3-. Bondage. T -3. The elements. U 4-. The appointed time. V -4-6. The Father [God].
1 Now I say, That the heir, for such times as he is a child,
differs nothing from a servant, though he be owner of all; (Until the child matures, he is no different than a servant even though he stands to inherit everything. You stand to inherit the universe as a joint-heir. Do you think you are ready to run it? I think not.)
2 But is under tutors and governors
until the time appointed
of the father.
3 So we also, when we were children,
under the elements (Gr. stoicheion. See Col. 2:8,20. Heb. 5:12. 2 Pet. 3:10,12. Cp. Rom. 2:14,15) of the world: (Gr. kosmos. The element are the rudiments, or evil of this world.)
4 But when the foulness of the time came,
V j -4. The Son sent forth. k 5-. Redemption of the sons. k -5. Adoption of the sons. j 5. The Spirit sent forth.
God sent forth his Son, made of a woman (see John 1:14), made under law,
5 In order that He might redeem them that were under law,
that we might receive in full son-ship. (See Rom. 8:15.)
6 And because you are sons (by begetting from above. Cp. James 1:18), God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, "Abba, Father." (Jesus was born in the flesh under the laws of nature just as you and I were born of women. As a member of the family, you have that Holy Spirit within you that makes you want to cry out to your Father and Love Him.)
7 Wherefore you art no longer a servant, but a son; and if a son, an heir also of God through Christ. (The inheritance is your, if you claim it.)
Q W 8-. Ignorance of God. X -8. Unprofitable service. W 9-. Knowledge of God. X -9-11. Relapse to unprofitable service.
8 However then, when you knew not God,
you did service to them which by nature are not gods.
9 But now, after that you have come to known God, or rather are known of God,
X l -9-. Elements of the world. General. m -9. These are bondage. l 10. Elements of the world. Particular. m 11. Paul's labor in vain.
how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements,
to which you desire again (emphatic) to be in bondage?
10 You observe (see Acts 9:24. Cp. Col. 2:16) days, and months, and times, and years.
11 I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed upon you labor in vain. (Cp. Rom. 16:6.)
C2 n 12. Conformity to him besought. o 13-18. His former ministry. n 19. Conformity to Christ desired. o 20. His future ministry.
12 Brethren, I beseech you, become as I am; for I was as you are: you in nothing wronged me at all.
13 You know how on account of infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel to you before.
14 And my temptation which was in my flesh you despised not, nor rejected (lit. spat out.); but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. (The malady [2 Cor. 12:7] which led to his presence among them was a test to them, a temptation to reject him and his message.)
15 Where is then your blessedness? (see Rom. 4:6) for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, you would have plucked out (lit. dug out) your own eyes, and have given them to me.
16 Am I therefore become your enemy, dealing truly with you?
17 They zealously affect you (either for good or bad), but not well; yes, they wish to exclude you (see Rom. 8:27), that you might affect them.
18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
19 My little children (cp. John 2:1,&c.), of whom I travail (Rev. 12:2) in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
20 I desire to be present with you now, and to change my tone; because I stand in doubt of you. (See Acts 25:20)
21 Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bond-maid, and one by a free-woman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was begotten according to the flesh; but he of the free-woman was by promise. (See Luke 24:49)
24 Which things are an allegory: for these [two women] are (i.e. represent) the two covenants (see Matt. 26:28); one indeed from the mount Sinai (see Ex. 16:1), which bears children to bondage, which is Hagar (= a stone, is a name for Mt. Sinai).
25 For this Hagar is (i.e. represents) mount Sinai in Arabia, and stands in rank with Jerusalem which now is, and serves with her children.
26 But Jerusalem which is above (see John 9:23) is free, which is the mother of us all.
27 For it is written, "Rejoice, you barren that bears not; break forth and cry, you that travails not: for many are the children of the desolate rather than her that has the husband." (Quoted from Isa. 54:1.)
28 Now we, brethren, according to Isaac (i.e. after the type of Isaac. Cp. Rom.4:19), are the children of promise.
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, so it is now also.
30 Nevertheless what says the scripture? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall by no means inherit with the son of the free-woman." (Quoted from Gen. 21:10.)
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.