Galatians 4:19
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) My little children.—The form is a diminutive, not found elsewhere in the writings of St. Paul, though common in St. John. It is used to heighten the tenderness of the appeal. The simple form, however, “my children,” is found in some of the best MSS., and perhaps should be adopted. St. Paul regards as his spiritual children all who first received the gospel from him.

Of whom I travail in birth again.—The struggle which ends in the definite winning over of his converts to Christ, the Apostle compares to the process of birth by which “a man is born into the world.” In the case of the Galatians, after their relapse, this struggle has all to be gone through again.

Until Christ be formed in you.—Just as the formless embryo by degrees takes the shape of man, so the unformed Christian by degrees takes the likeness of Christ. As he grows in grace that likeness becomes more and more defined, till at last the Christian reaches the “stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). There is some question as to the punctuation of this verse: whether it should be divided from the last by a full stop, and from the next by a comma, as is usually done; or from the last by a comma, and from the next by a full-stop. It is a nice question of scholarship, in which the weight or preponderance of authority seems, perhaps, rather to incline to the usual view, though some good commentators take the other side. It has been thought best not to alter the punctuation of the English text, though without a clear conviction that it is right.

Galatians 4:19-20. My little children — Converted to the faith by my ministry. He speaks as a parent, both with authority and the most tender sympathy toward weak and sickly children: of whom I travail in birth again — As I did before, (Galatians 4:13,) in vehement pain, sorrow, desire, prayer; till Christ be formed in you — Till you be made fully acquainted with, and established in, the belief of every part of his doctrine; and till you be so endowed with the graces of his Spirit, that all the mind is in you that was in him. The image here used by the apostle is beautiful and expressive. He alludes to a mother, who, having undergone the labour and pains of childbearing, cannot but be concerned for the safety and welfare of the children, in the birth of which she had suffered so much: and if the life or health of any of them be in imminent danger, suffers distress and anguish of mind, nearly, if not altogether, equal or even superior, to the pain and torture of body she endured in bearing them. So the apostle, who had once before suffered labour and pains like those of childbearing, when he converted the Galatians to the truth, now suffered those pangs a second time, while he endeavoured to bring them back to that faith of the gospel from which they had departed. It is not possible by words to express the anxiety of desire and affection which he felt on this occasion more strongly than he has done by this image; and what a lesson does this teach every minister of the gospel, intrusted with the care of immortal souls! What distress ought they to feel, how deeply ought they to be concerned, when they observe any of the souls that they had gained, backsliding from the truth and grace of God, and drawing back unto perdition! and what anxiety should they manifest, and what pains should they take, to recover and restore them. I desire — Or I could wish; to be present with you now — Particularly in this exigence; and to change my voice — To adapt my manner of speaking to the state you are in; for I stand in doubt of you — So that I am at a loss how to speak at this distance; for though I do not absolutely despair of your recovery and establishment, yet I am not without very discouraging apprehensions, lest, after all the pains that I have taken with you, the good effects of my labours among you should in a great measure be lost.

4:19,20 The Galatians were ready to account the apostle their enemy, but he assures them he was their friend; he had the feelings of a parent toward them. He was in doubt as to their state, and was anxious to know the result of their present delusions. Nothing is so sure a proof that a sinner has passed into a state of justification, as Christ being formed in him by the renewal of the Holy Spirit; but this cannot be hoped for, while men depend on the law for acceptance with God.My little children - The language of tender affection, such as a parent would use toward his own offspring; see the note at 1 Corinthians 4:15; compare Matthew 18:3; John 13:33; 1 John 2:1, 1 John 2:12-13; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:21. The idea here is, that Paul felt that he sustained toward them the relation of a father, and he had for them the deep and tender feelings of a parent.

Of whom I travail in birth again - For whose welfare I am deeply anxious: and for whom I endure deep anguish; compare 1 Corinthians 4:15. His anxiety for them he compares to the deepest sufferings which human nature endures; and his language here is a striking illustration of what ministers of the gospel should feel, and do sometimes feel, in regard to their people.

Until Christ be formed in you - The name Christ is often used to denote his religion, or the principles of his gospel; see the note at Romans 13:14. Here it means, until Christ reigns wholly in your hearts; until you wholly and entirely embrace his doctrines; and until you become wholly imbued with his spirit; see Colossians 1:27.

19. My little children—(1Ti 1:18; 2Ti 2:1; 1Jo 2:1). My relation to you is not merely that of one zealously courting you (Ga 4:17, 18), but that of a father to his children (1Co 4:15).

I travail in birth—that is, like a mother in pain till the birth of her child.

again—a second time. The former time was when I was "present with you" (Ga 4:18; compare Note, see on [2353]Ga 4:13).

Christ be formed in you—that you may live nothing but Christ, and think nothing but Christ (Ga 2:20), and glory in nothing but Him, and His death, resurrection, and righteousness (Php 3:8-10; Col 1:27).

By calling them little children, he both hints to them that he was their spiritual father, and had begotten them to Christ; and that they were as yet weak in the faith, not grown men, but as yet little children: and also hints to them, the tender affection he had towards them, which was the same as of a mother to her little children: though they did not own and honour him as their spiritual father, yet he loved them as his

little children.

Of whom I travail in birth again; for whom I am in as great pain, through my earnest desire for the good of your souls, as the woman is that is in travail for the bringing forth of a child.

Until Christ be fully and perfectly formed in you; that is, till you be brought off from your Judaism, and opinion of the necessity of superadding the works of the law to the faith of Christ in order to your justification, and be rooted in the truth and established in the liberty of the gospel, witIt which Christ hath made you free.

My little children,.... A soft and tender way of speaking, used by Christ to his disciples, and frequently by that affectionate and beloved disciple, John. It is expressive of the apostle's strong love and affection for them, and points out their tenderness in the faith, and that small degree of spiritual light and knowledge they had, as well as signifies that he had been, as he hoped, and in a judgment of charity believed, an instrument of their conversion, and was their spiritual parent: hence it follows,

of whom I travail in birth again; he compares himself to a woman with child, as the church in bringing forth souls to Christ sometimes is; and all his pains and labours in the ministry of the word to the sorrows of a woman during the time of childbearing, and at the birth. When he first came among them, he laboured exceedingly; he preached the Gospel in season, and out of season; he followed his indefatigable endeavours with importunate prayers; and his ministry among them was attended with much weakness of body, and with many reproaches, afflictions, and persecutions, comparable to the birth throes of a woman in travail: however, as he hoped he was the means of their being born again, of the turning of them from Heathenism to Christianity, and from serving idols to serve the living God, and believe in his Son Jesus Christ; but the false apostles coming among them had so strangely wrought upon them, and they were so much gone back and degenerated, that they seemed to be like so many abortions, or as an unformed foetus; wherefore he laboured again with all his might and main, by writing to them, using arguments with them, sometimes giving them good words, at other times rough ones, and fervently praying for them, if possible, to recover them from Judaism, to which they were inclined, to the pure Gospel of Christ.

Until Christ be formed in you; which is the same as to be created in Christ, to be made new creatures, or new men in him; or, in other words, to have the principle of grace wrought in the soul, which goes by the name of Christ formed in the heart; because it is from him, he is the author of it, and it bears a resemblance to him, and is that by which he lives, dwells, and reigns in the souls of his people. Now though, as he hoped, this new man, new creature, or Christ, was formed in them before, when he first preached the Gospel to them; yet it was not a perfect man; particularly their knowledge of Christ, of his Gospel, and Gospel liberty, was far from being so, in which they went backwards instead of forwards; and therefore he was greatly concerned, laboured exceedingly, and vehemently endeavoured, which he calls travailing in birth again, to bring them to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. It is also the same as to be conformed to the image of Christ, which in regeneration is stamped upon the saints, and is gradually increased, and will be perfected in heaven; and that this might more manifestly appear, over which a veil was drawn, by their departure in any degree from the truths of the Gospel, was what he earnestly sought after: once more, it is the same as to have the form of Christ; that is, of the Gospel of Christ upon them, or to be cast into the form of doctrine, and mould of the Gospel, and to receive a Gospel impression and spirit from it; which is to have a spirit of liberty, in opposition to legal bondage; to live by faith on Christ, and not on the works of the law; to derive comfort alone from him, and not from any services and duties whatever; to have repentance, and the whole course of obedience, influenced by the grace of God, and love of Christ; and to be zealous of good works, and yet have no dependence on them for justification and salvation. This is what the apostle so earnestly desired, when, instead of it, these Galatians seemed to have the form of Moses, and of the law.

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Galatians 4:19. This verse is not to be attached to the preceding (Bos, Bengel, Knapp, Lachmann, Rückert, Usteri, Schott, Ewald, Hofmann),—a construction which makes this earnest, touching address appear awkward and dissimilar in character to what is previously said,—but the words are to be separated from what precedes by a full stop, and to be joined with what follows, the tender affection of which is quite in harmony with this loving address. Difficulty has been felt as to δέ in Galatians 4:20 (which therefore is omitted in Chrysostom and some min.); but only from inattention to the Greek use of δέ after the address, when the writer turns to a new thought, and does so with a tacit antithesis, which is to be recognised from the context. It is found so not merely with questions (Hom. Il. xv. 244; Plat. Legg. x. p. 890 E; Xen. Mem. i. 3. 13, ii. 1. 26; Soph, O. C. 323. 1459), but also in other instances (Herod. 1. 115; Xen. Anab. v. 5. 13, vi. 6. 12). Here the slight antithetic reference lies, as the very repetition of παρεῖναι πρὸς ὑμᾶς indicates, in his glancing back to καὶ μὴ μόνον κ.τ.λ., namely: “Although zeal in a good cause ought not to be restricted merely to my presence with you, I yet would wish to be now present with you,” etc. The δέ of the apodosis, which Wieseler here assumes, is not suitable, because ἤθελον δέ κ.τ.λ. does not stand in any kind of antithesis to τεκν. μου οὓς πάλ. ὠδίνω κ.τ.λ.; and besides, no connected construction would result from it; for the idea: “Because ye are my children … I would wish,” does not correspond with the words. According to Hilgenfeld, that which the address is intended to introduce (viz. to move the readers to return) is wholly suppressed, and is supposed to be thereby the more strikingly suggested. Comp. also Reithmayr. But the affectionate tenor of the wish which follows in Galatians 4:20 harmonizes so fully with the tender address in Galatians 4:19, that that hypothesis, which Calvin also entertained (“hic quasi moerore exanimatus in medio sententiae tractu deficit”), does not seem warranted. Nevertheless Buttmann also, neut. Gr. p. 331, assumes an anacoluthon.

τεκνία μου] The word τεκνία, so frequent in John, is not found elsewhere in Paul’s writings. But Lachmann and Usteri ought not to have adopted (following B F G א*) the reading τέκνα, since it is just in this passage, where Paul compares himself to a mother in childbirth, that the phrase “my little children” finds a more special motive and warrant than in any other passage where he uses τέκνα (1 Corinthians 4:14; 2 Corinthians 6:13 : comp. also 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:1).

οὕς] The well-known constructio κατὰ σύνεσιν. Winer, p. 133 [E. T. 176].

πάλιν ὠδίνω] whom I once more travail with. Paul represents himself, not, as elsewhere (1 Corinthians 4:15; Philemon 1:10), as a father, but in the special emotion of his love, as a mother who is in travail, and whose labour is not brought to an end (by the actual final birth) until nothing further is requisite for the full and mature formation of the τεκνίον. So long as this object is not attained, according to the figurative representation, the ὠδίνειν still continues.[207] Bengel remarks very correctly: “Loquitur ut res fert, nam in partu naturali formatio est ante dolores partus.” The point of comparison is the loving exertion, which perseveres amidst trouble and pain in the effort to bring about the new Christian life. This metaphorical ὠδίνειν had been on the first occasion easy and joyful, Galatians 4:13 ff. (although it had not had the full and lasting result; see afterwards, on ἌΧΡΙς ΟὟ Κ.Τ.Λ.); but on this second occasion it was severe and painful, and on this account the word ὨΔΊΝΩ is chosen (and not ΤΊΚΤΩ or ΓΕΝΝῶ), which, however, is also appropriate to the earlier act of bearing intimated in ΠΆΛΙΝ, since the idea of pains is essential to the conception of a birth, however slight and short they may be. The sense, when stripped of figure, is: “My beloved disciples! at whose conversion I am labouring for the second time with painful and loving exertion, until ye shall have become maturely-formed Christians.” This continuous οὓς πάλιν ὠδίνω is to be conceived as begun, so soon as Paul had learned the apostasy of his readers and had commenced to counteract it; so that his operations during his second visit (comp. ἀληθεύων ὑμῖν, Galatians 4:16) are thus also included: hence we cannot, with Fritzsche (l.c. p. 244) and Ulrich (in the Stud. u. Krit. 1836, p. 459), consider Galatians 4:18-19 as intimating that Paul had only once visited Galatia. According to Wieseler, πάλιν ὠδίνω is intended to express the idea of the ΠΑΛΙΓΓΕΝΕΣΊΑ, Titus 3:5; Paul had regenerated his readers already at their conversion, and here says that he is still continuously occupied in their regeneration, until they should have attained the goal of perfection on the part of the Christian—similarity with Christ. This is incorrect, because πάλιν must necessarily denote a second act of travail on the part of Paul. Paul certainly effected the regeneration of his readers on occasion of the first ὠδίνειν, which is presupposed by ΠΆΛΙΝ; but because they had relapsed (Galatians 1:6, Galatians 3:1, Galatians 4:9 f., et al.), he must be for the second time in travail with them, and not merely still continuously (an idea which is not expressed) their regenerator, so that the idea of the πάλιν, the repetition, would be on the part of the readers. Theophylact (comp. Chrysostom) aptly defines the sense of πάλιν ὠδίνω not as that of a continued ἈΝΑΓΈΝΝΗΣΙς, but as that of ΠΆΛΙΝ ἙΤΈΡΑς ἈΝΑΓΕΝΝΉΣΕΩς. The sense, “whose regeneration I am continuing,” would have been expressed by Paul in some such form as ΟὛς Οὐ ΠΑΎΟΜΑΙ ἈΝΑΓΕΝΝῶΝ or ΟὛς ἜΤΙ ΚΑῚ ΝῦΝ ἈΝΑΓΕΝΝῶ.

ἌΧΡΙς ΟὟ ΜΟΡΦΩΘῇ ΧΡΙΣΤῸς ἘΝ ὙΜῖΝ] A shadow is thus thrown on the result of the first conversion (birth), which had undergone so sudden a change (Galatians 1:6). The reiterated labour of birth is not to cease until, etc. This meaning, and along with it the emphasis of the ἄχρις οὗ κ.τ.λ., has been missed by Hofmann, who, instead of referring ΠΆΛΙΝ to ὨΔΊΝΩ only, extends it also to ἌΧΡΙς ΟὟ Κ.Τ.Λ. In connection with the general scope of the passage, however, the stress is on ΜΟΡΦΩΘῇ: “until Christ shall have been formed, shall have attained His due conformation, in you,” that is, until ye shall have attained to the fully-formed inner life of the Christian. For the state of “Christ having been formed in man” is by no means realized “so soon as a man becomes a Christian” (Hofmann), but, as clearly appears from the notion of the ἄχρις οὗ, is the goal of development which the process of becoming Christian has to reach. When this goal is attained, the Christian is he in whom Christ lives (comp. on Galatians 2:20); as, for instance, on Paul himself the specific form of life of his Master was distinctly stamped. So long, therefore, as the Galatians were not yet developed and morally shaped into this complete inward frame, they were still like to an immature embryo, the internal parts of which have not yet acquired their normal shape, and which cannot therefore as yet come to the birth and so put an end to the ὠδίνειν. In the Christian, Christ is to inhabit the heart (Ephesians 3:17): in him there is to be the ΝΟῦς of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), the ΠΝΕῦΜΑ of Christ (Romans 8:9), the ΣΠΛΆΓΧΝΑ of Christ (Php 1:8); and the body and its members are to be the body and members of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:13; 1 Corinthians 6:15). All this, which is comprehended in the idea ΧΡΙΣΤῸς ἘΝ ὙΜῖΝ, is in our passage rendered intelligible by the representation that Christ is to be formed in us, or to become present in the life-form corresponding to His nature. This view is not different in reality, although it is so in the mode of representation, from that of spiritual transformation after the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18); for, according to our passage, Christ Himself is in Christians the subject of the specific development. Bengel moreover, well remarks: “Christus, non Paulus, in Galatis formandus.”

μορφόω] occurs here only in the N.T.; but see LXX. Isaiah 44:13 (ed. Breit.); Symmachus, Psalm 34:1; Arat. Phaen. 375; Lucian, Prom. 3; Plut. de anim. general, p. 1013; Theophr. c. pl. v. 6, 7. See also Jacobs, ad Anthol. VI. p. 345.

[207] Heinsius, Grotius, Koppe, Rückert, and others, erroneously hold that ὠδίνειν here means to be pregnant, which it never does, not even in the LXX., Isaiah 26:17; Psalm 7:15; Song of Solomon 8:5; Philo, quod Deus immut. p. 313 B; Plat. Theaet. p. 148 C, 210 B. On ὠδίνειν with the accusative of the person, comp. parturire aliquem, Isaiah 51:2; Song of Solomon 8:5; Eur. Iph. A. 1234.

Galatians 4:19. τεκνία μου. This is an accusative in apposition to ὑμᾶς, not a vocative introducing a fresh appeal. It is clear from the addition of the connecting particle δέ after ἤθελον that that word begins a new sentence. τεκνία is usually a term of maternal endearment; and though addressed by John in his first Epistle to his children in Christ, is not used elsewhere by Paul, who prefers to address them as children (τέκνα), rather than as babes. But in this passage he is adopting the figure of a child-bearing mother; he is in travail for the spiritual birth of Christ within them (as he says), and straining all his powers to renew once more the spiritual life which had died in them until he could succeed in shaping their inner man afresh into the image of Christ.

19. In the preceding verse the metaphor seems to be taken from the affection of husband and wife (see 1 Corinthians 11:2-3). Now it is changed to that from a mother in travail.

My little children] A form of address expressive of great tenderness, common with St John, but used only here by St Paul. This verse may be a continuation of the preceding. But it is better to take it as an apostrophe, and to regard the particle ‘but’ (see note) at the beginning of Galatians 4:20 as resumptive of the train of thought from Galatians 4:18.

again] This had first taken place at their conversion.

until Christ be formed in you] The indwelling of Christ in the believer’s soul is the principle of his new life. To restore this after a relapse is a task of deep anxiety to the Apostle. Calvin sees here an illustration of the efficacy of the Christian ministry. God ascribes to His ministers that work which He Himself performs through the power of His Spirit, acting by human instruments.

Galatians 4:19. Τεκνία μου, my little children) A father should be ζηλωτὸς, i.e. affectionately and zealously honoured by his children. This closely agrees with [Galatians 4:17, they zealously affect] you, as δὲ, but, which occurs in the following verse [Galatians 4:18] shows. Paul addresses the Galatians, not as a rival, but as a father, comp. 1 Corinthians 4:15, with authority and the tenderest sympathy towards his little children—children that were weak and alienated from him. The pathetic style often accumulates figurative expressions. Here, however, the figure, derived from the mother prevails. In the note on ζηλοῦσθαι, conjugal affection (ζῆλος) was assumed from the parallelism. Even in spiritual things, love sometimes descends, rather than ascends; 2 Corinthians 12:15.—πάλιν, again) as formerly; Galatians 4:13.—ὠδίνω, I travail) with the utmost affection (zeal); 2 Corinthians 11:2; accompanied with crying [referring to φωνήν, voice], Galatians 4:20. [When Paul wrote these very words, he exerted himself to the utmost, straining every nerve.—V. g.] He speaks according to the exigencies of the case, for in the natural birth, formation precedes the pains of labour.—ἄχρις οὗ, until) We must not cease to strive. Always is the correlative, Galatians 4:18.—μορφωθῇ, be formed) that you may live nothing but Christ, and think nothing but Christ, Galatians 2:20, and His sufferings, death, life, Php 3:10-11. This is the highest beauty. This form is opposed στοιχειώσει to worldly formation [the στοιχεῖα of the world, Galatians 4:9].—Χριστὸς, Christ) He does not say here Jesus, but Christ; and this too by metonymy of the concrete for the abstract. Christ, not Paul, was to be formed in the Galatians.—ἐν ὑμῖν, in you) Colossians 1:27.

Verse 19. - My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you (τεκνία μου [or, τέκνα μου] οὔς πάλιν ὠδίνω ἄρχις οῦ μορφωθῇ Ξριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν); my little children (or, my children) of whom I am again in travail, until Christ be formed in you. It has been above remarked to be doubtful whether this verse should be conjoined with the preceding verse or with that which follows. The objection to the latter arrangement, presented by the δὲ at the commencement of ver. 20, is thought by many to be obviated by a number of instances which have been alleged in which this conjunction is used with a sentence following a vocative compellation (see Alford, Ellicott). But such cases appear marked by a tone of vivacity and surprise which is not present here. On the other hand, the tone of loving affectionate anxiety breathing in this verse links it more closely with the preceding than with the following one, in which such pathos is no longer discernible, but is replaced by a deliberative attitude of mind. The word τεκνία occurs as a compellation here only in St. Paul's writings, though repeatedly in St. John's Epistle and once in his Gospel (John 13:33), where it appears as used by our Lord in an access of deeply moved affectionate-ness. St. Paul addresses Timothy as "his child" (τέκνον) in 2 Timothy 2:1 and 1 Timothy 1:18, not only as a term of endearment, but as denoting also his having been spiritually begotten by him (comp. Philemon 1:10; 1 Corinthians 4:15). Here the like sense attaches to the word, as is clear from the following clause, "of whom I am again in travail;" but the diminutive form of the noun, agreeing well with the notion of a child at its birth, combines in this case apparently a tender allusion also to the extremely immature character of their Christian discipleship .(compare "babes (νήπιοι) in Christ," 1 Corinthians 3:1) - so immature, in fact, that the apostle is travailing of them afresh, as if not yet born at all. This particular shade of meaning, however, must be sacrificed, if we accept the reading τέκνα μου, "my children," which is highly authenticated. The verb ὠδίνω cannot be understood as pointing to gestation merely; it can only denote the pangs of parturition. The apostle by this figure describes himself as at this hour in an anguish of desire to bring the souls of his converts both to a complete state of sonship in Christ Jesus, and to a complete consciousness of that state - now at length bring them thereto, though that former travail had seemingly been in vain. In 1 Corinthians 4:15 and Philemon 1:10 he refers to himself as a spiritual father of his converts, and this too with touching pathos. Great is the pathos too of his reference to himself as, in his fostering care of his Thessalonian converts, like a tender "nursing mother cherishing her own children," and also as of a "father" of them (1 Thessalonians 2:7, 11). But neither of those passages equals the present in the expression of intense, even anguished, longing to effect, if only he might be able to effect it, a real transformation in the spiritual character of these Galatian converts. "Until" - I cannot rest till then! - "Christ be formed in you." The verb μορφόω, form, occurs only here in the New Testament in its uncompounded shape. A passage is cited from 'Const. Apost.,' 4:7, in which it occurs in the phrase, "formed man in the womb." In the Septuagint of Exodus 21:22 we have ἐξεικονισμένον of the unborn infant. It certainly seems as if the apostle used the word as one belonging to the same region of thought as the ὠδίνω, but, with the like bold and plastic touch as elsewhere characterizes his use of imagery, refusing to be tied to thorough-going consisteney in its application. Compare for example 2 Corinthians 3:2. When the hour of ὠδῖνες is come, the period of the" formation" of the babe has expired. Further, as showing the freedom of the writer's use of imagery, the easiest way of taking ἐν ὑμῖν is to suppose that "Christ" is here viewed as "within" them, and not as a likeness to which they are to be conformed: camp. Galatians 2:22, "Christ liveth in me;" and Colossians 1:27, where the "mystery" of the gospel is summed up in the words, "Christ in you the hope of glory." He cannot rest, he means, till the image, thought, of Christ as the Object of their sole and absolute trust, as the complete ground of their acceptance with God and their sonship, shall be perfectly and abidingly formed in their hearts. The hour in which a perfectly formed "Christ," that fair' Divine Child of joy and hope, has come to be there, in their hearts, will be the hour in which the apostle's travailing pangs have issued in their birth. No doubt the apostle is writing to persons baptized into Christ and thus clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27); persons, in the language of the Church, "born again." But however straitly we choose to be restrained in the use of such images, solidifying into rigid dogma similitudes used for such passing illustration as the occasion of the moment requires, the sacred writers themselves recognize no such restriction. As Chrysostom observes in his 'Commentary,' the apostle's language in effect is, "Ye need a fresh new-birth, a fresh remoulding (ἀναγεννήσεως ἑτέρας ὑμῖν δεῖ καὶ ἀναπλάσεως)." Baptized into Christ as those Galatians were, they were, however, in his view no true sons of God, until Christ had been really formed in their hearts. Galatians 4:19My little children (τεκνία μου)

Only here in Paul, but often in John. See John 13:33; 1 John 2:1, 1 John 2:12, 1 John 2:28; 1 John 3:7, 1 John 3:18, etc. See on Galatians 3:26.

I travail in birth again (πάλιν ὠδίνω)

Better as Rev. of whom I am again in travail. Ὡδίνω only here and Revelation 12:2. Galatians 4:27 is a quotation. The metaphorical use of the word is frequent in O.T. See Psalm 7:14; Sir. 19:11; 31:5; 43:17; Micah 4:10; Isaiah 26:18; Isaiah 66:8. Paul means that he is for the second time laboring and distressed for the Galatian converts, with the same anguish which attended his first efforts for their conversion. The metaphor of begetting children in the gospel is found in 1 Corinthians 4:15; Plm 1:10. It was a Jewish saying: "If one teaches the son of his neighbor the law, the Scripture reckons this the same as though he had begotten him."

Until Christ be formed in you (μέχρις οὗ μορφωθῇ Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν)

The forming of Christ in them, their attainment of the complete inner life of Christians, is the object of the new birth. By their relapse they have retarded this result and renewed Paul's spiritual travail. The verb μορφοῦν N.T.o. The idea under different aspects is common. See Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 2:16; 1 Corinthians 6:15; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:27.

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