Scripture: Galatians 4

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A Son and An Heir

Galatians 4:1-7 (WEB) But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a bondservant, though he is lord of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed by the father. So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental principles of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent out his Son, born to a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as children. And because you are children, God sent out the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Questions and Answers:

1. Why did Paul use “bondservant” and “bondage” when speaking of a child (Galatians 4:1-3)? My Bible notes: Paul used the illustration of slavery to show that before Christ came and died for sins, people were in bondage to the law. Thinking they could be saved by it, they became enslaved to trying and failing to keep it.

2. What did Paul mean by “the basic principles of the world” (Galatians 4:3)? My Bible notes: The “basic principles of the world” are the elementary stages of religious practice, whether in the Jewish or pagan religion.

3. When the time had fully come what did God do and why (Galatians 4:4-5)? When the fullness of the time came, God sent His Son to earth. God did this so that He might redeem those who were under the law, that they might receive the adoption as children.

4. What did God send into our hearts (Galatians 4:6)? Because we are children, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba Father.”

5. So what are we no longer and who are we now (Galatians 4:7)? We are no longer a bondservant, but are now a son, an heir of God through Christ.

Paul’s Concern for the Galatians

Galatians 4:8-20 (WEB) However at that time, not knowing God, you were in bondage to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, why do you turn back again to the weak and miserable elemental principles, to which you desire to be in bondage all over again? 10 You observe days, months, seasons, and years. 11 I am afraid for you, that I might have wasted my labor for you.12 I beg you, brothers, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong, 13 but you know that because of weakness in the flesh I preached the Good News to you the first time. 14 That which was a temptation to you in my flesh, you didn’t despise nor reject; but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.  15 What was the blessing you enjoyed? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. 16 So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They zealously seek you in no good way. No, they desire to alienate you, that you may seek them. 18 But it is always good to be zealous in a good cause, and not only when I am present with you.  19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ is formed in you 20 but I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

Questions and Answers:

1. At one time, to whom did Paul say the Galatians were in bondage (Galatians 4:8)? Paul said they didn’t know God and were in bondage to those who by nature were not gods.

2. Who came to know the Galatians (Galatians 4:9a)? God came to know the Galatians.

3. To what did Paul say the Galatians had turned back to again (Galatians 4:9b)? Paul said the Galatians turned again to the weak and miserable elemental principles, to which they desired to be in bondage all over again.

4. Why do you believe Paul said he might have wasted his labor on the Galatians  (Galatians 4:11-20)? My Bible notes: Paul sensed that the Galatians had lost the joy of their salvation because of legalism. Legalism can take away joy.

Hagar and Sarah

Galatians 4:21-31 (WEB) 21 Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, don’t you listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the servant, and one by the free woman. 23 However, the son by the servant was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman was born through promise. 24 These things contain an allegory, for these are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage, which is Hagar. 25 For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to the Jerusalem that exists now, for she is in bondage with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, “Rejoice, you barren who don’t bear.      Break out and shout, you who don’t travail.  For the desolate have more children than her who has a husband.”  28 Now we, brothers, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But as then, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 However what does the Scripture say? “Throw out the servant and her son, for the son of the servant will not inherit with the son of the free woman.”  31 So then, brothers, we are not children of a servant, but of the free woman.

Questions and Answers:

1.Why do you believe Paul shared the story of Hagar and Sarah (Galatians 4:21-23)? My Bible notes: Paul contrasted those who are enslaved to the law (represented by Harar, the slave woman) with those who are free from the law (represented by Sarah, the free woman).  Hagar’s abuse of Sarah (see Genesis 16:4) was like the persecution that the Gentile Christians were getting from the Judaizers who insisted on keeping the law in order to be saved.  Eventually Sarah triumphed because God kept His promise to give her a son, just as those who worship Christ in faith will also triumph.

2.What was the meaning of the allegory (Galatians 4:24-27)? My Bible notes: What happened to Sarah and Hagar is an allegory or picture of the relationship between God and mankind.

3. Who does Paul say the brothers (the Galatians) are (Galatians 4:28) The brothers are children of promise.

4. Whose children were the Galatian brothers (Galatians 4:29-31)? They were children of the free woman.


Galatians 4:15 (NIV) What has happened to all your joy? …


Ponder the above verse.  My Bible notes: Legalism can take away joy because (1) it makes people fear guilty rather than loved (2) it produces self-hatred rather than humility (3) it stresses performance over relationship (4) it points out how far short we fall rather than how far we’ve come because of what Christ did for us.


Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV) But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.


We can come boldly into God’s presence, knowing that He will welcome us as a member of His family.


Encourage others that they can trust God.


Lord, thank You for sending Your Son to redeem us so we might receive the full rights of sons (Galatians4:4-5).  Lord, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit into our hearts (Galatians 4:6a).  Lord, thank You for giving us the privilege of calling you Abba, Father (Galatians 4:6b). Lord, thank You for making us heirs (Galatians 4:7). Lord, I pray we will stay far from those who would alienate us (Galatians 4:17).  Lord, thank You for children of promise (Galatians 4:28).  Lord, thank You for making us children of the free woman (Galatians 4:31).  In Christ Jesus’ name I pray.  AMEN.  


“May you and I stay free.” <>< Dona