Galatians 4:13
Parallel Verses
New International Version
As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you,

New Living Translation
Surely you remember that I was sick when I first brought you the Good News.

English Standard Version
You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first,

New American Standard Bible
but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time;

King James Bible
Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
you know that previously I preached the gospel to you because of a physical illness.

International Standard Version
You know that it was because I was ill that I brought you the gospel the first time.

NET Bible
But you know it was because of a physical illness that I first proclaimed the gospel to you,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For you know that in the illness of my flesh from the first I have preached The Good News to you.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
You know that the first time I brought you the Good News I was ill.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Ye know how through weakness of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.

King James 2000 Bible
You know how through weakness of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.

American King James Version
You know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel to you at the first.

American Standard Version
but ye know that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you the first time:

Douay-Rheims Bible
And you know, how through infirmity of the flesh, I preached the gospel to you heretofore: and your temptation in my flesh,

Darby Bible Translation
But ye know that in weakness of the flesh I announced the glad tidings to you at the first;

English Revised Version
but ye know that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you the first time:

Webster's Bible Translation
Ye know that in infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel to you at the first.

Weymouth New Testament
And you know that in those early days it was on account of bodily infirmity that I proclaimed the Good News to you,

World English Bible
but you know that because of weakness of the flesh I preached the Good News to you the first time.

Young's Literal Translation
and ye have known that through infirmity of the flesh I did proclaim good news to you at the first,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

4:12-18 The apostle desires that they would be of one mind with him respecting the law of Moses, as well as united with him in love. In reproving others, we should take care to convince them that our reproofs are from sincere regard to the honour of God and religion and their welfare. The apostle reminds the Galatians of the difficulty under which he laboured when he first came among them. But he notices, that he was a welcome messenger to them. Yet how very uncertain are the favour and respect of men! Let us labour to be accepted of God. You once thought yourselves happy in receiving the gospel; have you now reason to think otherwise? Christians must not forbear speaking the truth, for fear of offending others. The false teachers who drew the Galatians from the truth of the gospel were designing men. They pretended affection, but they were not sincere and upright. An excellent rule is given. It is good to be zealous always in a good thing; not for a time only, or now and then, but always. Happy would it be for the church of Christ, if this zeal was better maintained.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 13. - Ye know (οἴδατε δέ); and ye know. The apostle very often uses the verb οἵδαμεν, or οἴδατε, conjoined with either δέ, γάρ, or καθώς, when recalling some circumstance of personal history (1 Corinthians 16:15; Philippians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:1, 2, 5, 11; 1 Thessalonians 4:4; 2 Timothy 1:15) or to introduce the statement of a doctrine as one which would be at once recognized as certain or familiar (Romans 2:2; Romans 3:19; Romans 8:28; 1 Timothy 1:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:6). The phrase as so used is equivalent to "We [or, 'you'] do not need to be told," etc.; and with δὲ is simply a formula introducing such a reminiscence, this conjunction having in such cases head versative force, but being simply the δὲ of transition (meta-batic); equivalent to "now" or "and," or not needing to be represented at all in translation; so that the Authorized Version is perfectly justified in omitting it in the present instance. The phrase may be taken as meaning "And you will well remember." If the apostle had intended to introduce a statement strongly adversative to the last preceding sentence, he would probably have written ἀλλὰ τοὐναντίον (ch. 2:7) or some such phrase. How through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you (ὅτι δἰ ἀσθένειαν τῆς σαρκὸς εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you. "An infirmity of the flesh;" that is, a bodily illness. The noun ἀσθένεια is used for "illness" in John 11:4; Acts 28:9; 1 Timothy 5:23; Matthew 8:17. It also denotes a nervous disablement, as Luke 13:11, 12; John 5:5. The verb ἀσθενέω is the common word for "being sick," as Luke 4:40; Luke 7:10; John 11:3, etc. It is possible that the apostle meant to say that the Galatians might not unnaturally have thought themselves treated slightingly in that his remaining among them so long was owing to illness and not to his own choice; but that yet, for all that, they had shown themselves most eager in welcoming their involuntary visitor. The words, however, do not require to be thus construed, and in all probability intend no more than to bring back to their remembrance the disorder under which he was then suffering. The illness would seem to have been of a nature to make his personal appearance in some way unsightly, and even repulsive; for the ἐξεπτύσατε, spat out, of the next verse suggests even the latter idea. Evidently this disorder, as also the one noted in 2 Corinthians 12:7, 8, did not disqualify him for ministerial work altogether. He adverts to the circumstance, as making it yet more remarkable and more grateful to his feelings, that, notwithstanding the disagreeable aspect which in some way his disorder presented to those about him, they had cherished his presence among them with so much kindness as they did and also with such reverential respect. How it was that his illness brought about this protracted stay, whether it was that he fell ill while journeying through the country so as to be unable to pursue his way to his ulterior destination, or whether the remarkable healthiness of the climate either first attracted him thither or detained him there for convalescence (see Bishop Lightfoot, 'Galatians,' p. 10, note 2, for the character of the climate at Angora, the ancient Ancyra), it is impossible for us to determine. It is noticeable that St. Chrysostom's comments on the passage appear to show that he considered the apostle to be simply stating the circumstances under which and not those in consequence of which he preached the gospel to them; and so also OEcumenius and Theophylact paraphrase δἰ ἀσθένειν by μετὰ ἀσθενείας, suggesting the conjecture that they and St. Chrysostom understood the words as equivalent to "during a period of infirmity of the flesh." But this gives to διὰ with an accusative a sense which, to say the least, is not a common one. Is this illness of body to be connected with the affliction, most probably a bodily affliction, mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12:7, 8, "the stake in the flesh"? This latter affliction has been discussed very fully by Dean Stanley and Meyer on the Corinthians, by Bishop Lightfoot in his commentary on the Galatians, and by Dr. Farrar in his ' Life of St. Paul.' It appears to have first befallen the apostle after the "revelations" accorded to him fourteen years before he wrote his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, which he is supposed to have done in the autumn of A.D. . This would bring us back to about A.D. . The apostle's first visit to Galatia, according to Bishop Lightfoot, p. 22, took place about A.D. . When we consider that no doubt many of those wearing labours and hardships, interspersed with frequent suffering of gross personal outrage, recounted in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27, had been undergone in the eight first of those fourteen years (the stoning at Lystra certainly had), it must seem very precarious to conjecture that the malady here referred to was a recurrence of just that particular disorder experienced eight years before. How many other ailments might not the apostle have been subject to, amid the cruel allotment of suffering and hardship which prevailingly marked his course! It is quite as probable, to say the least, that he may then have been suffering in health or in limb from some assault of personal violence recently undergone. St. Luke gives no particulars whatever of this portion of St. Paul's journey, which is only just mentioned in Acts 16:6. The apostle visited Corinth for the first time not many months after this first sojourn in Galatia; and it is interesting to observe that he speaks of his having then ministered to them in "feebleness" (ἀσθενείᾳ, 1 Corinthians 2:3), in a manner strongly suggestive of bodily weakness. At the first (τὸ πρότερον); the first time - an expression plainly implying that there had been a subsequent sojourn. Respecting this latter visit, all we know is what we have so cursorily stated in Acts 18:23; unless, perchance, we may be able to draw some inferences relating to it from what we read in this Epistle itself. Chronologers are pretty well agreed in placing the commencement of this third apostolical journey about three years after the commencement of the second.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Ye know how, through infirmity of the flesh,.... Meaning either their infirmity, to which the apostle accommodated himself in preaching the Gospel to them, delivering it in such a manner as suited with their capacities, feeding them with milk, and not with strong meat; or his own infirmity, respecting either some particular bodily infirmity and disorder, as the headache, with which he is said to be greatly troubled; or the weakness of his bodily presence, the mean outward appearance he made, the contemptibleness of his voice, and the great humility with which he behaved; or rather the many reproaches, afflictions, and persecutions which attended him, when, says he,

I preached the Gospel unto you at the first; not the law, but the Gospel; and this he did at his first entrance among them, and was the first that preached it to them, and was the means of their conversion; and therefore, being their spiritual Father, they ought to be as he was, and follow him as they had him for an example.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

13. how through infirmity—rather, as Greek, "Ye know that because of an infirmity of my flesh I preached," &c. He implies that bodily sickness, having detained him among them, contrary to his original intentions, was the occasion of his preaching the Gospel to them.

at the first—literally, "at the former time"; implying that at the time of writing he had been twice in Galatia. See my [2349]Introduction; also see on [2350]Ga 4:16, and [2351]Ga 5:21. His sickness was probably the same as recurred more violently afterward, "the thorn in the flesh" (2Co 12:7), which also was overruled to good (2Co 12:9, 10), as the "infirmity of the flesh" here.

Galatians 4:13 Additional Commentaries
Paul's Concern for the Galatians
12I beg of you, brethren, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong; 13but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time; 14and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself.…
Cross References
Matthew 4:23
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

2 Corinthians 10:10
For some say, "His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing."

Galatians 4:12
I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you. You did me no wrong.

Galatians 4:14
and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.

Galatians 4:18
It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you.
Treasury of Scripture

You know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel to you at the first.


1 Corinthians 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

2 Corinthians 10:10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily …

2 Corinthians 11:6,30 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have …

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance …

2 Corinthians 13:4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he lives by the …


Galatians 1:6 I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into …

Acts 16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, …

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