Galatians 4:3
New International Version
So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world.

New Living Translation
And that's the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world.

English Standard Version
In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.

Berean Study Bible
So also, when we were children, we were enslaved under the basic principles of the world.

Berean Literal Bible
So also, we when we were children, were held in bondage under the principles of the world.

New American Standard Bible
So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.

King James Bible
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

Christian Standard Bible
In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elements of the world.

Contemporary English Version
This is how it was with us. We were like children ruled by the powers of this world.

Good News Translation
In the same way, we too were slaves of the ruling spirits of the universe before we reached spiritual maturity.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world.

International Standard Version
It was the same way with us. While we were children, we were slaves to the basic principles of the world.

NET Bible
So also we, when we were minors, were enslaved under the basic forces of the world.

New Heart English Bible
So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental principles of the world.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
In this way also when we were children, we were enslaved under the principles of the world.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
It was the same way with us. When we were children, we were slaves to the principles of this world.

New American Standard 1977
So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Even so we, when we were children, were in slavery under the elements of the world,

King James 2000 Bible
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

American King James Version
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

American Standard Version
So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world:

Douay-Rheims Bible
So we also, when we were children, were serving under the elements of the world.

Darby Bible Translation
So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the principles of the world;

English Revised Version
So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world:

Webster's Bible Translation
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

Weymouth New Testament
So we also, when spiritually we were children, were subject to the world's rudimentary notions, and were enslaved.

World English Bible
So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental principles of the world.

Young's Literal Translation
so also we, when we were babes, under the elements of the world were in servitude,
Study Bible
Sons and Heirs
2He is subject to guardians and trustees until the date set by his father. 3So also, when we were children, we were enslaved under the basic principles of the world. 4But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,…
Cross References
Romans 7:14
We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

2 Corinthians 11:20
In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or exalts himself or strikes you in the face.

Galatians 2:4
This issue arose because some false brothers were brought in under false pretenses to spy on our freedom in Christ Jesus, in order to enslave us.

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

Galatians 4:8
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.

Galatians 4:9
But now that you know God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you are turning back to those weak and worthless principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?

Galatians 4:24
These things serve as illustrations, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children into slavery: This is Hagar.

Colossians 2:8
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, which are based on human tradition and the spiritual forces of the world rather than on Christ.

Colossians 2:20
If you have died with Christ to the spiritual forces of the world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its regulations:

Hebrews 5:12
Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to reteach you the basic principles of God's word. You need milk, not solid food!

Treasury of Scripture

Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

when.

Galatians 3:19,24,25
Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator…

in.

Galatians 4:9,25,31
But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? …

Galatians 2:4
And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

Galatians 3:23
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

elements.

Galatians 4:9
But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

Colossians 2:8,20
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ…

Hebrews 7:16
Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.







Lexicon
So
οὕτως (houtōs)
Adverb
Strong's Greek 3779: Thus, so, in this manner. Or (referring to what precedes or follows).

also,
καὶ (kai)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 2532: And, even, also, namely.

when
ὅτε (hote)
Adverb
Strong's Greek 3753: When, at which time. From hos and te; at which too, i.e. When.

we were
ἦμεν (ēmen)
Verb - Imperfect Indicative Active - 1st Person Plural
Strong's Greek 1510: I am, exist. The first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist.

children,
νήπιοι (nēpioi)
Adjective - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 3516: From an obsolete particle ne- and epos; not speaking, i.e. An infant; figuratively, a simple-minded person, an immature Christian.

we
ἡμεῖς (hēmeis)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Nominative 1st Person Plural
Strong's Greek 1473: I, the first-person pronoun. A primary pronoun of the first person I.

were
ἤμεθα (ēmetha)
Verb - Imperfect Indicative Middle - 1st Person Plural
Strong's Greek 1510: I am, exist. The first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist.

enslaved
δεδουλωμένοι (dedoulōmenoi)
Verb - Perfect Participle Middle or Passive - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 1402: To enslave. From doulos; to enslave.

under
ὑπὸ (hypo)
Preposition
Strong's Greek 5259: A primary preposition; under, i.e. of place, or with verbs; of place (underneath) or where (below) or time (when).

the
τὰ (ta)
Article - Accusative Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

basic principles
στοιχεῖα (stoicheia)
Noun - Accusative Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 4747: Neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of stoicheo; something orderly in arrangement, i.e. a serial constituent, proposition.

of the
τοῦ (tou)
Article - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

world.
κόσμου (kosmou)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2889: Probably from the base of komizo; orderly arrangement, i.e. Decoration; by implication, the world (morally).
(3) We.--That is, in the first instance, and specially, the Jews; but the Gentiles are also included. The Apostle is speaking from the point of view of the Christians: "all who are now Christians, whatever their antecedents." Before the coming of Christ both Jews and Gentiles had been subject to law; and what the Apostle says of the law of Moses applies more faintly to the law of conscience and of nature.

Elements of the world.--The word translated "elements" is peculiar. The simpler word from whence it is derived means "a row." Hence the derivative is applied to the letters of the alphabet, because they were arranged in rows. Thus it came to mean the "elements" or "rudiments" of learning, and then" elements" of any kind. The older commentators on this passage, for the most part, took it in the special sense of "the elements of nature," "the heavenly bodies," either as the objects of Gentile worship or as marking the times of the Jewish festivals. There is, however, little doubt that the other sense is best: "the elements (or rudiments, as in the margin) of religious teaching." These are called "the elements of the world" because they were mundane and material; they included no clear recognition of spiritual things. The earlier forms of Gentile and even of Jewish religion were much bound up with the senses; the most important element in them was that of ritual. The same phrase, in the same sense, occurs twice in the Epistle to the Colossians (Colossians 2:8; Colossians 2:20).

Verse 3. - Even so we (οὕτω καὶ ἡμεῖς); so we also. This "we" represents the same persons as before in Galatians 3:13, 24, 25 (see notes), namely, the people of God; a society preserving a continuous identity through successive stages of development, till now appearing as the Church of Christ. The plural pronoun recites, not individuals, but the community viewed as a whole, having the now subsisting "us" as its present representatives. Individually, Christians in general now, and many of those who then when the apostle wrote belonged to the Church, never were in the state of nonage or bondage here referred to. It is, however, notwithstanding this, quite supposable that St. Paul's account of the history of the whole society is in some degree tinted by the recollection of his own personal experiences. When we were children (ὅτε ῆμεν νήπιοι); that is, when we were in our nonage. The phrase is not meant to point to a state of immaturity in personal development, but simply to the period of our being withheld from the full possession of our inheritance. This is all that the course of thought now pursued requires; and we only create for ourselves superfluous embarrassment by carrying further the parallel between the figuring persons and the figured. The spiritual illumination enjoyed by the Christian Church, compared with that of the pre-Christian society, presents as great a contrast as that of a man's knowledge compared with a child's; but that is not the point here. Were in bondage under the elements (or, rudiments) of the world (ὑπὸ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου η΅μεν δεδουλωμένοι); were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world; or, were under the rudiments of the world brought into bond-service. This latter way of construing, separating η΅μεν from the participle δεδουλωμένοι to connect it with the words which precede, is recommended by the parallel, which the words, "were under the rudiments of the world," then present to the words," is under guardians and stewards," in ver. 2; while the participle "brought into bond-service" reproduces the notion expressed by the words, "is no better than a bond-servant," of ver. 1. The participle "brought into bond-service," then, stands apart, in the same way as the participle "shut up "does in Galatians 3:23. This, however, is only a question of style; the substantial elements of thought remain the same in either way of construing. The Greek word στοιχεῖα calls for a few remarks, founded upon the illustration of its use given by Schneider in his 'Greek Lexicon.' From the primary sense of "stakes placed in a row," for example, to fasten nets upon, the term was applied to the letters of the alphabet as placed in rows, and thence to the primary constituents of speech; then to the primary constituents of all objects in nature, as, for example, the four "elements" (see 2 Peter 3:10, 12 ); and to the "rudiments" or first "elements" of any branch of knowledge. It is in this last sense that it occurs in Hebrews 5:12, "What are the (στοιχεῖα) rudiments (of the beginning, or) of the first principles of the oracles of God" (on which compare the passage from Galen quoted by Alford at the place). This must be the meaning of the word here; it recites the rudimental instruction of children, as if the apostle had said "under the A, B, C, of the world." This is evidently intended to describe the ceremonial Law; for in ver. 5 the phrase, "those under the Law," recites the same persons as are here described as "under the rudiments of the world;" as again the "weak and beggarly rudiments," in ver. 9, are surely the same sort of" rudiments" as are illustrated in ver. 10 by the words, "Ye observe days, and months, and seasons, and years." Since the Law under which the people of God were placed was God's own ordinance, we must infer that, when it is here designated as "the A, B, C, of the world," the genitive can neither denote the origin of these rudiments nor yet any qualification of moral pravity, but only the qualification of imperfection and inferiority; that is, it denotes the ceremonial institution s of the Law as appertaining to this earthly material sphere of existence, as contrasted with a higher spiritual sphere. Thus "the A, B, C, of the world" is an expression as nearly as possible identical with that of "carnal ordinances" (literally, ordinances of the flesh), used to describe the external ceremonialism of the Law in Hebrews 9:10; which phrase, like the one before us, is used with a full recognition, in the word "ordinances" (δικαιώματα), of the Law as of Divine appointment, while the genitive "of the flesh" marks its comparative imperfection. They were, as Conybeare paraphrases, "their childhood's elementary lessons of outward things." This designation of Levitical ceremonies as being an "A, B, C," or "rudiments, of the world," appears to have become a set phrase with the apostle, who uses it again twice in the Colossians (Colossians 2:8, 20), where he appears, if we may judge from the context, to have in view a (perhaps mongrel) form of Jewish ceremonialism which, with circumcision (mentioned in ver. 11), conjoined other "ordinances" (δόγματα) mentioned in vers. 14, 20, relating to meats and drinks and observance of times, illustrated in vers. 16, 21. This, he tells the Colossians, might have been all very well if they were still "living in the world" (ver. 20); but now they were risen with Christ! - with Christ, who had taken that "bond" (χειρόγραφον, ver. 14) out of the way; and therefore were called to care for higher things than such merely earthly ones as these. Some suppose that the apostle has reference to the religious ceremonialisms of the idolatrous Gentiles, as well as those of the Mosaic Law. These former ceremonialisms belonged, indeed, to "the world," both in the sense above pointed out and as tinged with the moral pravity characterizing the "present evil world" in general. But these cannot be here intended, forasmuch as it was not to such that God's people were by his ordinance subjected. The other rendering of στοιχεῖα - "elements" - which the Authorized Version puts into the text, but the Revised Version into the margin, was probably selected in deference to the view of most of the Fathers, who, as Meyer observes, took the Greek word in its physical sense: Augustine referring it to the heathen worship of the heavenly bodies and the other cults of nature; Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Ambrose to the new moons and sabbaths of the Jews, viewed as determined by the motions of the sun and moon; Jerome, however, interpreting it rudimenta discipliner. On the other hand, in Colossians 2:8, 20, both of our Versions have "rudiments" in the text and "elements" in the margin; in 2 Peter 3:10, 12, "elements" only. "Brought into bend-service" (δεδουλωμένοι), namely, by the act of the supreme Father imposing upon us the yoke of his Law. 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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Alphabetical: also basic bondage children elemental held in of principles slavery So the things under we were when while world

NT Letters: Galatians 4:3 So we also when we were children (Gal. Ga) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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