4 1 Being delivered from the bondage of the Law, 4 by Christ’s coming, who is the end thereof, 9 it is very absurd to slide back to beggarly ceremonies: 13 He calleth them again therefore to the purity of the doctrine of the Gospel, 21 confirming his discourse with a fine allegory.
1 Then [a]I say, that the heir as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be Lord of all,
2 But is under tutors and governors, [b]until the time appointed of the Father.
3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the [c]rudiments of the world.
4 [d]But when the [e]fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a [f]woman, and made under the Law,
5 That he might redeem them which were under the Law, that we might receive the [g]adoption of the sons.
6 [h]And because ye are sons, God hath [i]sent forth the [j]Spirit of his Son into your hearts, which crieth, Abba, Father.
7 Wherefore, thou art no more a [k]servant, but a son: now if thou be a son, thou art also the [l]heir of God through Christ.
8 [m]But even then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them, which by nature are not gods:
9 But now seeing ye know God, yea, rather are known of God, how turn ye again unto impotent and [n]beggarly rudiments, whereunto as from the beginning ye will be in bondage [o]again?
10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
11 I am in fear of you, lest I have bestowed on you labor in vain.
12 [p]Be ye as I (for I am even as you) brethren, I beseech you: ye have not hurt me at all.
13 And ye know, how through [q]infirmity of the flesh, I preached the Gospel unto you at the first.
14 And the [r]trial of me which was in my flesh, ye despised not, neither abhorred: but ye received me as an Angel of God, yea, as [s]Christ Jesus.
15 [t]What was then your felicity? for I bear you record, that if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them unto me.
16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
17 They are jealous over you [u]amiss: yea, they would exclude you, [v]that ye should altogether love them.
18 But it is a good thing to love [w]earnestly always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you,
19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you.
20 And I would I were with you now, that I might [x]change my voice: for I am in doubt of you.
21 [y]Tell me, ye that [z]will be under the Law, do ye not hear the Law?
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, one by a servant, and one by a free woman.
23 But he which was of the servant, was born after the [aa]flesh: and he which was of the free woman, was born by [ab]promise.
24 By the which things another thing is meant: for [ac]these mothers are the [ad]two Testaments, the one which is Hagar of mount [ae]Sinai, which gendereth unto bondage.
25 (For Hagar or Sinai is a mountain in Arabia, and it [af]answered to Jerusalem which now is) and [ag]she is in bondage with her children.
26 But Jerusalem, which is [ah]above, is free: which is the mother of us all.
27 [ai]For it is written, Rejoice thou barren that bearest no children: break forth, and cry, thou that travailest not: for the [aj]desolate hath many more children, than she which hath an husband.
28 Therefore, brethren, we are after the [ak]manner of Isaac, children of the [al]promise.
29 But as then he that was born after the [am]flesh, persecuted him that was born after the [an]Spirit, even so it is now.
30 But what saith the Scripture? Put out the servant and her son: for the son of the servant shall not be heir with the son of the free woman.
31 [ao]Then brethren, we are not children of the servant, but of the free woman.
Galatians 4:1He declareth that by another double similitude, which he said before concerning the keeper and schoolmaster. For he saith, that the Law, (that is, the whole government of God’s house according to the Law) was as it were a tutor or overseer appointed for a time, until such time as that protection and overseeing which was but for a time, being ended, we should at length come to be at our own liberty, and should live as children, and not as servants. Moreover, he showeth by the way, that that governance of the Law, was as it were an ABC, and as certain principles in comparison of the doctrine of the Gospel.
Galatians 4:2This is added, because he that is always under a tutor or governor, may hardly be counted a freeman.
Galatians 4:3The Law is called rudiments, because that by the Law God instructed his Church as it were by rudiments, and afterward poured out his holy Spirit most plentifully in the time of the Gospel.
Galatians 4:4He uttereth and declareth many things at once, to wit, that this tutorship was ended at his time, that curious men may leave to ask, why that schoolmastership lasted so long. And moreover, that we are not sons by nature, but by adoption, and that in that Son of God, who therefore took upon him our flesh, that we might be made his brethren.
Galatians 4:4The time is said to be full, when all parts of it are past and ended, and therefore Christ could not have come either sooner or later.
Galatians 4:4He calleth Mary a woman, in respect of the sex, and not as the word is used in a contrary sense to a virgin still.
Galatians 4:5The adoption of the sons of God, is from everlasting, but is revealed and showed in the time appointed for it.
Galatians 4:6He showeth that we are in such sort free and set at liberty, that in the mean season we must be governed by the Spirit of Christ, which reigning in our hearts, may teach us the true service of the Father. But this is not to serve, but rather to enjoy true liberality, as it cometh sons and heirs.
Galatians 4:6By that that followeth he gathereth that that went before: for if we have his spirit, we are his sons, and if we are his sons, then are we free.
Galatians 4:6The holy Ghost, who is both of the Father and of the Son: but there is a peculiar reason why he is called the Spirit of the Son, to wit, because the holy Ghost sealeth up our adoption in Christ, and maketh us a full assurance of it.
Galatians 4:7The word, servant, is not taken here for one that liveth in sin, which is proper to the infidels, but for one that is yet under the ceremonies of the Law, which is proper to the Jews.
Galatians 4:8He applieth the former doctrine to the Galatians, with a peculiar reprehension: for in comparison of them, the Jews might have pretended some excuse as men that were born and brought up in that service of the Law. But seeing the Galatians were taken and called out of idolatry to Christian liberty: what pretence might they have to go back to those impotent and beggarly rudiments?
Galatians 4:9They are called impotent and beggarly ceremonies, being considered apart by themselves without Christ: and again, for that by that means they gave good testimony that they were beggars in Christ, when as notwithstanding, for men, to fall back from Christ to ceremonies, is nothing else, but to cast away riches, and to follow beggarly.
Galatians 4:12He mitigateth and qualifieth those things wherein he might have seemed to have spoken somewhat sharply, very artificially and divinely, declaring his good will towards them in such sort, that the Galatians could not but either be utterly desperate when they read these things, or acknowledge their own lightness with tears, and desire pardon.
Galatians 4:21Because the false apostles always urged this, that unless the Gentiles were circumcised, Christ could profit them nothing at all, and this dissension of them which believed of the circumcision against them which believed of the uncircumcision, was full of offense: the Apostle, after divers arguments whereby he hath refuted their error, bringeth forth an allegory, wherein he saith the holy Ghost did shadow not unto us, all these mysteries: to wit, that it should come to pass, that two sorts of sons should have Abraham a father common to them both, but not with like success: for as Abraham begat Ishmael, by the common course of nature, of Hagar his bondmaid and a stranger, and begat Isaac of Sarah a free woman by the virtue of the promise and by grace only, and the first was not only not heir, but also persecuted the heir: So there are two covenants, and as it were two sons born to Abraham of those two covenants, as it were of two mothers. The one was made in Sinai, without the land of promise according to which covenant Abraham’s children according to the flesh were begotten: to wit, the Jews which seek righteousness by that covenant, that is, by the Law: but they are not heirs, nay they shall at length be cast out of the house, as they that persecute the true heirs. The other was made in that high Jerusalem or in Zion (to wit, by the sacrifice of Christ) which begetteth children of promise, to wit, believers by the virtue of the holy Ghost which children (as Abraham) do rest themselves in the free promise, and they only by the right of children shall be partakers of the father’s inheritance, and those servants shall be shut out.
Galatians 4:27He showeth that in this allegory, he hath followed the steps of Isaiah, who foretold that the Church should be made and consist of the children of barren Sarah, that is to say, of them which only spiritually should be made Ahraham’s children by faith, rather than of fruitful Hagar, even then foreshowing the casting off of the Jews, and calling of the Gentiles.
Geneva Bible, 1599 Edition. Published by Tolle Lege Press. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations in articles, reviews, and broadcasts.
Bible Gateway Plus
Advance your knowledge of Scripture with this resource library of over 40 reference books, including commentaries and Study Bible notes. Try it for 30 days FREE.
You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more
You must be logged in to view your newly purchased content. Please log in below or if you don't have an account, creating one is easy and only takes a few moments. After you log in your content will be available in your library.
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 choose a monthly or yearly subscription, and then 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, click the button below.
Upgrade, and get the most out of your new account. An integrated digital Bible study library - including complete notes from the Believer's Bible Commentary and the Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (NIV and NRSV) - is just a step away! Try it free for 30 days.