Galatians 4:19
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,

New Living Translation
Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I'm going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives.

English Standard Version
my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!

Berean Study Bible
My children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,

Berean Literal Bible
My children, of whom I travail again until that Christ shall have been formed in you,

New American Standard Bible
My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you--

King James Bible
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

Christian Standard Bible
My children, I am again suffering labor pains for you until Christ is formed in you.

Contemporary English Version
My children, I am in terrible pain until Christ may be seen living in you.

Good News Translation
My dear children! Once again, just like a mother in childbirth, I feel the same kind of pain for you until Christ's nature is formed in you.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
My children, I am again suffering labor pains for you until Christ is formed in you.

International Standard Version
My children, I am suffering birth pains for you again until the Messiah is formed in you.

NET Bible
My children--I am again undergoing birth pains until Christ is formed in you!

New Heart English Bible
My children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ is formed in you--

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
My children, those for whom I am in labor again until The Messiah shall be formed in you,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
My children, I am suffering birth pains for you again until Christ is formed in you.

New American Standard 1977
My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you—

Jubilee Bible 2000
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ is formed in you,

King James 2000 Bible
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

American King James Version
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

American Standard Version
My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you--

Douay-Rheims Bible
My little children, of whom I am in labour again, until Christ be formed in you.

Darby Bible Translation
my children, of whom I again travail in birth until Christ shall have been formed in you:

English Revised Version
My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you,

Webster's Bible Translation
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you,

Weymouth New Testament
you for whom I am again, as it were, undergoing the pains of childbirth, until Christ is fully formed within you.

World English Bible
My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ is formed in you--

Young's Literal Translation
my little children, of whom again I travail in birth, till Christ may be formed in you,
Study Bible
Paul's Fears for the Galatians
18Nevertheless, it is good to be zealous if it serves a noble purpose—at any time, and not only when I am with you. 19My children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you.…
Cross References
1 Corinthians 4:15
Even if you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

2 Corinthians 12:14
See, I am ready to come to you a third time, and I will not be a burden, because I am not seeking your possessions, but you yourselves. For children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.

Ephesians 4:13
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 2:7
On the contrary, we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother caring for her children.

1 John 2:1
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate before the Father--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

3 John 1:4
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Treasury of Scripture

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,


1 Corinthians 4:14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.

1 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from …

Titus 1:4 To Titus, my own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, …

Philemon 1:10 I beseech you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:

James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should …

1 John 2:1,12 My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. …

1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.


Numbers 11:11,12 And Moses said to the LORD, Why have you afflicted your servant? …

Isaiah 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: …

Luke 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was …

Philippians 1:8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels …

Philippians 2:17 Yes, and if I be offered on the sacrifice and service of your faith, …

Colossians 2:1 For I would that you knew what great conflict I have for you, and …

Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you, always …

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh…

Revelation 12:1,2 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with …


Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed …

Romans 13:14 But put you on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for …

Ephesians 4:24 And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness …

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of …

Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after …

(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.

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. 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. 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).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.
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