Galatians 4:1
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate.

New Living Translation
Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had.

English Standard Version
I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything,

Berean Study Bible
What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he is the owner of everything.

Berean Literal Bible
Now I say, for as long a time as the heir is a child, he differs not from a slave, though being owner of everything.

New American Standard Bible
Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything,

King James Bible
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Now I say that as long as the heir is a child, he differs in no way from a slave, though he is the owner of everything.

International Standard Version
Now what I am saying is this: As long as an heir is a child, he is no better off than a slave, even though he owns everything.

NET Bible
Now I mean that the heir, as long as he is a minor, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything.

New Heart English Bible
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;

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
I say that as long as the heir is a child, he is not distinct from the Servants, though he is Master over all of them;

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Let me explain further. As long as an heir is a child, he is no better off than a slave, even though he owns everything.

New American Standard 1977
Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything,

Jubilee Bible 2000
Now I say That the heir, as long as he is a child differs in nothing from a slave, though he be lord of all,

King James 2000 Bible
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

American King James Version
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

American Standard Version
But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant though he is lord of all;

Douay-Rheims Bible
Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

Darby Bible Translation
Now I say, As long as the heir is a child, he differs nothing from a bondman, though he be lord of all;

English Revised Version
But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant, though he is lord of all;

Webster's Bible Translation
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he is lord of all;

Weymouth New Testament
Now I say that so long as an heir is a child, he in no respect differs from a slave, although he is the owner of everything,

World English Bible
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;

Young's Literal Translation
And I say, so long time as the heir is a babe, he differeth nothing from a servant -- being lord of all,
Study Bible
Sons and Heirs
1What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he is the owner of everything. 2He is subject to guardians and trustees until the date set by his father.…
Cross References
Galatians 3:29
And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 4:2
He is subject to guardians and trustees until the date set by his father.

1 John 5:10
Whoever believes in the Son of God has this testimony within him; whoever does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about His Son.
Treasury of Scripture

Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

That.

Galatians 4:23,29 But he who was of the female slave was born after the flesh; but …

Genesis 24:2,3 And Abraham said to his oldest servant of his house, that ruled over …

2 Kings 10:1,2 And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and …

2 Kings 11:12 And he brought forth the king's son, and put the crown on him, and …

2 Kings 12:2 And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all …

(1-7) A further description, continued from the last chapter, of the state of wardship, with its restraints and servitude, compared with that Christian freedom--the freedom of sons--to which the Galatians had been admitted through their adoption into the Messianic family by adhesion to Christ.

It may be observed that the allusions to the condition of minors are not in strict accordance either with Jewish or Roman law. It has been suggested that they have reference to a special code current in Galatia. It is, however, far more probable that the Apostle is referring exclusively to neither, but has in his mind a sort of abstraction of the law of minority, such as would present itself to one who had not himself had a legal education.

(1) Now I say.--This phrase introduces a further and fuller explanation of what is involved in the state of nonage, as compared with that of adult freedom.

A child--i.e., an infant, a minor; though the term is not technically chosen.

Differeth nothing from a servant.--Both the child and the slave were incapable of any valid act in a legal sense; the guardian was as entirely the representative of the one as the master of the other. Both the child and the slave were subject to the same restraint, discipline, correction.

Though he be lord of all.--Strictly speaking, the inference from this would be that the father was dead. This, however, is a point that does not really enter into the Apostle's thoughts. The illustration does not hold good in all particulars, but in the chief particulars--viz., the state of constraint and subordination in which the minor is placed so long as he is a minor.

Verse 1. - Now I say (λέγω δέ). A form of expression usual with the apostle when introducing a new statement designed either to explain or elucidate something before said (cf. Galatians 3:17; Galatians 5:16; Romans 15:8, according to the Received Text; 1 Corinthians 1:12. So τοῦτο δέ φημι, 1 Corinthians 7:29; 1 Corinthians 15:50). It is intended apparently to quicken attention: "Now I wish to say this." In the present case the apostle designs to throw further light upon the position taken in Galatians 3:24, that God's people, while under the Law, were under a bondage from which they have now been emancipated. Compare the somewhat similar process of illustration adopted in Romans 7:2-4. In both passages it is not a logical demonstration that is put forward, but an illustratively analogous case in human experience. A metaphor, though not strictly an argument, yet frequently helps the reader to an intuitive perception of the justness of the position laid down. That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all (ἐφ ὅσον χρόνονὁ κληρονόμος νήπιός ἐστιν οὐδὲν διαφέερει δόλου κύριος πάντων ὤν); so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant, though he is lord of all. The article before κληρονόμος, heir, is the class article, as before μεσίτης, mediator (Galatians 3:20) - "an heir." In the word νήπιος the apostle evidently has in view one who as yet is in his nonage - as in English law phrase, "an infant." In Roman law language, infans is a child under seven, the period of minority reaching to twenty-five. In Attic Greek, the correlate to one registered amongst "men" was a παῖς. It does not appear that the apostle means to use a technical legal expression. He contrasts νήπιος with ἀνὴρ in 1 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 4:13, 14. "Differeth nothing from a bond-servant;" i.e. is nothing better than a bond-servant, as Matthew 6:26; Matthew 10:31; Matthew 12:12. The verb διαφέρειν seems used only in the sense of your differing from another to your advantage, so that τὰ διαφέροντα are things that are more excellent. "Lord," "proprietor;" the title to the property inheres in him, though he is not yet fit to handle it. Now I say,.... To illustrate what he had said of the law's being a schoolmaster to the Jews until the coming of Christ, and then ceasing as such, he proposes the case of an heir during his minority, till he come to the proper time of enjoying his estate.

that the heir, as long as he is a child; anyone that is an heir to his father's estate, or another's, whilst under age, being reckoned as a child, as he is from his infancy to his manhood,

differeth nothing from a servant: he is not his own man, nor at his own dispose; he cannot do as he pleases; he is under restraint; he is kept to school or to business, and is liable to correction and chastisement according as he behaves; nor can he have the free use of his father's estate,

though he be Lord of all, of all the servants, according to the Arabic version; or of the whole estate his father left him, of which he is Lord in right, but not in possession; he is right heir to it, though as yet it is not in his hands, nor can he do with it as he will. CHAPTER 4

Ga 4:1-31. The Same Subject Continued: Illustration of Our Subjection to the Law Only till Christ Came, from the Subjection of an Heir to His Guardian till He Is of Age. Peter's Good Will to the Galatians Should Lead Them to the Same Good Will to Him as They Had at First Shown. Their Desire to Be under the Law Shown by the Allegory of Isaac and Ishmael to Be Inconsistent with Their Gospel Liberty.

1-7. The fact of God's sending His Son to redeem us who were under the law (Ga 4:4), and sending the Spirit of His Son into our hearts (Ga 4:6), confirms the conclusion (Ga 3:29) that we are "heirs according to the promise."

the heir—(Ga 3:29). It is not, as in earthly inheritances, the death of the father, but our Father's sovereign will simply that makes us heirs.

child—Greek, "one under age."

differeth nothing, etc.—that is, has no more freedom than a slave (so the Greek for "servant" means). He is not at his own disposal.

lord of all—by title and virtual ownership (compare 1Co 3:21, 22).4:1-7 The apostle deals plainly with those who urged the law of Moses together with the gospel of Christ, and endeavoured to bring believers under its bondage. They could not fully understand the meaning of the law as given by Moses. And as that was a dispensation of darkness, so of bondage; they were tied to many burdensome rites and observances, by which they were taught and kept subject like a child under tutors and governors. We learn the happier state of Christians under the gospel dispensation. From these verses see the wonders of Divine love and mercy; particularly of God the Father, in sending his Son into the world to redeem and save us; of the Son of God, in submitting so low, and suffering so much for us; and of the Holy Spirit, in condescending to dwell in the hearts of believers, for such gracious purposes. Also, the advantages Christians enjoy under the gospel. Although by nature children of wrath and disobedience, they become by grace children of love, and partake of the nature of the children of God; for he will have all his children resemble him. Among men the eldest son is heir; but all God's children shall have the inheritance of eldest sons. May the temper and conduct of sons ever show our adoption; and may the Holy Spirit witness with our spirits that we are children and heirs of God.
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