Galatians 4:18
Parallel Verses
New International Version
It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you.

New Living Translation
If someone is eager to do good things for you, that's all right; but let them do it all the time, not just when I'm with you.

English Standard Version
It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you,

New American Standard Bible
But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable manner, and not only when I am present with you.

King James Bible
But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Now it is always good to be enthusiastic about good--and not just when I am with you.

International Standard Version
(Now it is always good to be devoted to a good cause, even when I am not with you.)

NET Bible
However, it is good to be sought eagerly for a good purpose at all times, and not only when I am present with you.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But it is good that you would imitate excellence always, and not only when I am with you.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
(Devotion to a good cause is always good, even when I'm not with you.)

Jubilee Bible 2000
It is good to be always zealous to do good, and not only when I am present with you.

King James 2000 Bible
But it is good to be zealous always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

American King James Version
But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

American Standard Version
But it is good to be zealously sought in a good matter at all times, and not only when I am present with you.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But be zealous for that which is good in a good thing always: and not only when I am present with you.

Darby Bible Translation
But [it is] right to be zealous at all times in what is right, and not only when I am present with you --

English Revised Version
But it is good to be zealously sought in a good matter at all times, and not only when I am present with you.

Webster's Bible Translation
But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

Weymouth New Testament
It is always an honourable thing to be courted in an honourable cause; always, and not only when I am with you, my children--

World English Bible
But it is always good to be zealous in a good cause, and not only when I am present with you.

Young's Literal Translation
and it is good to be zealously regarded, in what is good, at all times, and not only in my being present with you;
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 18. - But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you (καλὸν δὲ ζηλοῦσθαι, [Receptus, τὸ ζηλοῦσθαι] ἐν καλῷ παντότε καὶ μὴ μόνον ἐν τῷ παρεῖναί με πρὸς ὑμᾶς); but good it is to be admired, in what is good, at all times and not only when I am present with you. That is, but as to being admired and felicitated, the good kind of admiring felicitation is that which, being tendered on a good account, is enjoyed at all times, and not only, my little children, when 1 am with you, as on that first occasion when you were so full of mutual felicitation and joy in the newly found sense of God's adoption and love in Christ Jesus. In signification, this ζηλοῦσθαι, to be admired, is equivalent to μακαρίζεσθαι, to be congratulated, and was illustrated in the first note on ver. 17, especially by the reference to Aristophanes, 'Nubes,' 1188. Ζηλοῦσθαι ἐν τῷ παρεῖναι με πρὸς ὑμας, "to be objects of admiration when I am present with you," is manifestly a recital of the μακαρισμὸς ὑμῶν, "the gratulation of yourselves," of ver. 15. The vivid remembrance of the simple-hearted joy and frank sympathy with each other's happiness of those days comes back to the apostle's mind with fresh force, after his brief mention and rebuke of the false-hearted gratulations and compliments by which they were now in danger of being ensnared. With a gentle reprehension of their levity, in that they were now bartering that former well-founded happiness for this later poor gratification of being recipients of mere false flattery, he yearns to bring them back to what they were so senselessly casting away, and that they should hold it fast, a stable joy, whether he was with them or not. This would be the case if "Christ were truly formed in them." The phrase, ἐν καλῷ, "in what is good," is similar to ἐν κρυπτῷ (John 7:4); ὁ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ Ἰουδαῖος (Romans 2:28, 29). The sphere in which this admiring felicitation acts must be "what is good;" here that highest good which these Galatians were in danger of losing, if, indeed, they possessed it - being, and knowing themselves to be, sons of God. It is a doubtful point whether ver. 19 should be conjoined with this present verse, with a colon between vers. 19 and 20, and a comma only at the end of ver. 18; or whether the sentences should be separated as they appear in our Authorized Version. But at all events, the earnest, anxious, tender affectionateness which, as it were, wrings the apostle's heart in writing ver. 19, is to be felt already working in his soul in the writing of this eighteenth verse. The sense above given to the verb ζηλοῦν, though disallowed by Alford and Bishops Ellicott and Lightfoot, appears to be that recognized by the Greek commentators Chrysostom and Theophylact.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

But it is good to be zealously affected,.... A zealous affection when right is very commendable, as the instances of Phinehas, Elijah, John the Baptist, and our Lord Jesus Christ show, and a contrary spirit is very disagreeable. But then it must be expressed

in a good thing; in a good cause, for God, and the things of Christ; for the Gospel, and the ordinances of it, and for the discipline of God's house, and against immorality and profaneness, errors and heresies: and it should be "always"; not at certain times, and upon some particular accounts, but it should be constant, and always continue; it should be ever the same towards God, Christ, and his ministers:

and not only when I am present with you; by which the apostle suggests, that while he was with them they were zealously attached to him and truth; but no sooner was he gone from them, but their zealous affection abated, and was fixed on others, which discovered their weakness, fickleness, and inconstancy; whereas he was always the same to them, and bore the same love to them, as the following words show.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

18. good to be zealously affected—rather, to correspond to "zealously court" in Ga 4:18, "to be zealously courted." I do not find fault with them for zealously courting you, nor with you for being zealously courted: provided it be "in a good cause" (translate so), "it is a good thing" (1Co 9:20-23). My reason for saying the "not well" (Ga 4:17; the Greek is the same as that for "good," and "in a good cause," in Ga 4:28), is that their zealous courting of you is not in a good cause. The older interpreters, however, support English Version (compare Ga 1:14).

always—Translate and arrange the words thus, "At all times, and not only when I am present with you." I do not desire that I exclusively should have the privilege of zealously courting you. Others may do so in my absence with my full approval, if only it be in a good cause, and if Christ be faithfully preached (Php 1:15-18).

Galatians 4:18 Additional Commentaries
Context
Paul's Concern for the Galatians
17They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them. 18But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable manner, and not only when I am present with you. 19My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you--…
Cross References
Galatians 4:13
As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you,

Galatians 4:17
Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them.
Treasury of Scripture

But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

it is.

Numbers 25:11-13 Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned …

Psalm 69:9 For the zeal of your house has eaten me up; and the reproaches of …

Psalm 119:139 My zeal has consumed me, because my enemies have forgotten your words.

Isaiah 59:17 For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation …

John 2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of your …

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be you steadfast, unmovable, always …

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, …

Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

I am.

Galatians 4:20 I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for …

Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: …

Philippians 2:12 Why, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence …

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