Galatians 4
New American Bible Revised Edition

God’s Free Children in Christ.* 1I mean that as long as the heir is not of age,* he is no different from a slave, although he is the owner of everything, 2but he is under the supervision of guardians and administrators until the date set by his father. 3a In the same way we also, when we were not of age, were enslaved to the elemental powers of the world.* 4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,b 5to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.c 6As proof that you are children,* God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”d 7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.e

Do Not Throw This Freedom Away.* 8f At a time when you did not know God, you became slaves to things that by nature are not gods;* 9but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and destitute elemental powers? Do you want to be slaves to them all over again?g 10You are observing days,h months, seasons, and years.* 11I am afraid on your account that perhaps I have labored for you in vain.*

Appeal to Former Loyalty.* 12I implore you, brothers, be as I am, because I have also become as you are.* You did me no wrong;i 13you know that it was because of a physical illness* that I originally preached the gospel to you, 14and you did not show disdain or contempt because of the trial caused you by my physical condition, but rather you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. 15Where now is that blessedness of yours?* Indeed, I can testify to you that, if it had been possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16So now have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17They show interest in you, but not in a good way; they want to isolate you,* so that you may show interest in them.j 18Now it is good to be shown interest for good reason at all times, and not only when I am with you. 19My children, for whom I am again in labor until Christ be formed in you!k 20I would like to be with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed because of you.

An Allegory on Christian Freedom.* 21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the freeborn woman.l 23The son of the slave woman was born naturally, the son of the freeborn through a promise.m 24Now this is an allegory. These women represent two covenants. One was from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; this is Hagar.n 25Hagar represents Sinai,* a mountain in Arabia; it corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery along with her children. 26But the Jerusalem above is freeborn, and she is our mother.o 27For it is written:

“Rejoice, you barren one who bore no children;p

break forth and shout, you who were not in labor;

for more numerous are the children of the deserted one

than of her who has a husband.”*

28Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of the promise.q 29But just as then the child of the flesh persecuted the child of the spirit, it is the same now. 30But what does the scripture say?

“Drive out the slave woman and her son!

For the son of the slave woman shall not share the inheritance with the son”r

of the freeborn. 31Therefore, brothers, we are children not of the slave woman but of the freeborn woman.s

Book Introduction


Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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