1Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,
2but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.
3Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.
4But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born4:4 Or made of a woman, born under the law,
5to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, 4:6 Lit., in Aram., Father“Abba, Father!”
7Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir 4:7 NU through Godof God 4:7 NU omits through Christthrough Christ.
Fears for the Church
8But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.
9But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
10You observe days and months and seasons and years.
11I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.
12Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you. You have not injured me at all.
13You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first.
14And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an 4:14 Or messengerangel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
154:15 NU WhereWhat then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.
16Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?
17They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them.
18But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you.
19My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,
20I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone; for I have doubts about you.
Two Covenants
(Gen. 21:8–21; Is. 54:1)
21Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?
22For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman.
23But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise,
24which things are symbolic. For these are 4:24 NU, M omit thethe two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar—
25for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children—
26but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.
27For it is written:
“Rejoice, O barren,
You who do not bear!
Break forth and shout,
You who are not in labor!
For the desolate has many more children
Than she who has a husband.”
28Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.
29But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.
30Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.”
31So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.