Galatians 4:3
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.

King James Bible
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

American Standard Version
So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world:

Douay-Rheims Bible
So we also, when we were children, were serving under the elements of the world.

English Revised Version
So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world:

Webster's Bible Translation
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

Weymouth New Testament
So we also, when spiritually we were children, were subject to the world's rudimentary notions, and were enslaved.

Galatians 4:3 Parallel
Commentary
Vincent's Word Studies

We

Not Jewish Christians only, but all Christians. For in Galatians 4:5, Jewish Christians are distinctly characterized as those under the law, while the following we, subjects of Christian adoption, points back to the we in this verse. Again, elements of the world is too wide a conception to suit the law, which was given to Israel only.

Elements of the world (τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου)

For the word στοιχεῖα in N.T. see Colossians 2:8, Colossians 2:20; Hebrews 5:12; 2 Peter 3:10, 2 Peter 3:12.

See on 2 Peter 3:10. Interpretations differ. 1. Elements of knowledge, rudimentary religious ideas. See Hebrews 5:12. The meaning of world will then be, the material as distinguished from the spiritual realm. Elements of the world will be the crude beginnings of religion, suited to the condition of children, and pertaining to those who are not Christians: elementary religious truths belonging to mankind in general. Thus the Jewish economy was of the world as appealing to the senses, and affording only the first elements of a spiritual system. The child-heir was taught only faint outlines of spiritual truth, and was taught them by worldly symbols. 2. Elements of nature - of the physical world, especially the heavenly bodies. See 2 Peter 3:10, 2 Peter 3:12; Wisd. 7:17. According to this explanation, the point would be that the ordering of the religious life was regulated by the order of nature; "the days, months, times," etc. (Galatians 4:10), as well as the heathen festivals, being dependent on the movements of the heavenly bodies. This was the patristic view (Ambrose, Augustine, Chrysostom, Theodoret). 3. The elements of the world are the personal, elemental spirits. This seems to be the preferable explanation, both here and in Colossians 2:8. According to Jewish ideas, all things had their special angels. In the Book of Jubilees, chapter 2, appear, the angel of the presence (comp. Isaiah 63:9); the angel of adoration; the spirits of the wind, the clouds, darkness, hail, frost, thunder and lightning, winter and spring, cold and heat. In the Book of Enoch, 82:10-14, appear the angels of the stars, who keep watch that the stars may appear at the appointed time, and who are punished if the stars do not appear (18:15). In the Revelation of John we find four angels of the winds (14:18); the angel of the waters (16:5); the angel in the sun (19:17). In Hebrews 1:7 we read, "who maketh his angels winds." Paul also recognizes elemental forces of the spiritual world. The thorn is "a messenger of Satan" (2 Corinthians 12:7); Satan prevents his journey to Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 2:18); the Corinthian offender is to be "delivered to Satan" (1 Corinthians 5:5); the Kingdom of God is opposed by "principalities and powers" (1 Corinthians 15:24); Christians wrestle against "the rulers of the darkness of this world; against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the upper regions" (Ephesians 6:12). In this passage the elements of the world are compared with overseers and stewards. This would seem to require a personal interpretation. In Galatians 4:8, "did service to them which by nature are no gods," appears to be equals "in bondage under the elements," suggesting a personal interpretation of the latter. The Galatians had turned again to the observance of times and seasons (Galatians 4:10), which were controlled by the heavenly bodies and their spirits.

Galatians 4:3 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

when.

Galatians 3:19,24,25 Why then serves the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made...

in.

Galatians 4:9,25,31 But now, after that you have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements...

Galatians 2:4 And that because of false brothers unawares brought in, who came in privately to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus...

Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up to the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed;

Acts 15:10 Now therefore why tempt you God, to put a yoke on the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

Romans 8:15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba...

elements. or, rudiments.

Galatians 4:9 But now, after that you have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements...

Colossians 2:8,20 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world...

Hebrews 7:16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

Cross References
Romans 7:14
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.

2 Corinthians 11:20
For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.

Galatians 2:4
Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in--who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery--

Galatians 4:2
but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father.

Galatians 4:8
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.

Galatians 4:9
But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

Galatians 4:24
Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar.

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