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1.9: Galatians 4-1-11

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    Instructions: Translate the Greek text with help from the reader notes. Complete the MYON (Make Your Own Note) and Discussion Question if you desire.

    1 Λέγω δέ, ἐφ’ ὅσον χρόνον ὁ κληρονόμος νήπιός ἐστιν, οὐδὲν διαφέρει δούλου κύριος πάντων ὤν, 2 ἀλλὰ ὑπὸ ἐπιτρόπους ἐστὶ καὶ οἰκονόμους ἄχρι τῆς προθεσμίας τοῦ πατρός. 3 οὕτως καὶ ἡμεῖς, ὅτε ἦμεν νήπιοι, ὑπὸ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου ⸀ἤμεθα δεδουλωμένοι· 4 ὅτε δὲ ἦλθεν τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου, ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ, γενόμενον ἐκ γυναικός, γενόμενον ὑπὸ νόμον, 5 ἵνα τοὺς ὑπὸ νόμον ἐξαγοράσῃ, ἵνα τὴν υἱοθεσίαν ἀπολάβωμεν. 6 ὅτι δέ ἐστε υἱοί, ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ θεὸς τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὰς καρδίας ⸀ἡμῶν, κρᾶζον· Αββα ὁ πατήρ. 7 ὥστε οὐκέτι εἶ δοῦλος ἀλλὰ υἱός· εἰ δὲ υἱός, καὶ κληρονόμος ⸂διὰ θεοῦ⸃. 8 Ἀλλὰ τότε μὲν οὐκ εἰδότες θεὸν ἐδουλεύσατε τοῖς ⸂φύσει μὴ⸃ οὖσι θεοῖς· 9 νῦν δὲ γνόντες θεόν, μᾶλλον δὲ γνωσθέντες ὑπὸ θεοῦ, πῶς ἐπιστρέφετε πάλιν ἐπὶ τὰ ἀσθενῆ καὶ πτωχὰ στοιχεῖα, οἷς πάλιν ἄνωθεν ⸀δουλεύειν θέλετε; 10ἡμέρας παρατηρεῖσθε καὶ μῆνας καὶ καιροὺς καὶ ἐνιαυτούς. 11 φοβοῦμαι ὑμᾶς μή πως εἰκῇ κεκοπίακα εἰς ὑμᾶς. SBLGNT


    [SN] Ἐφ᾿ὅσον χρόνον is a #temporal prepositional phrase that implies a period or stretch of time (i.e., “for as long as” or “for the extent of time”).

    [SN] Ὁ κληρονόμος is the stated subject of ἐστιν, with νήπιός as the #predicate adjective. Ὁ κληρονόμος is also the implied subject of διαφέρει.

    [SN] Οὐδὲν (NSA) is an #accusative of extent (“to no extent” or “in no way/regard”).

    [LN] Διαφέρει (PAI3S LF: διαφέρω) here means “to differ.”

    [SN]Δούλου is a #genitive of comparison. The genitive case works with the phrase οὐδὲν διαφέρει to describe the relationship between δούλου and ὁ κληρονόμος (“he differs in no way from a slave”).

    [SN] Here ὤν (PPMSN LF: εἰμί) is a #concessive participle that modifies the verb διαφέρει.

    [SN] With ὤν functioning as an equative verb, κύριος is a #predicate nominative.


    [SN] Ὁ κληρονόμος (4:1) is the implied subject of ἐστὶν.

    [SN] The preposition ὑπὸ with the accusative means that the implied subject (κληρονόμος) is subordinate to (“under”) the ἐπιτρόπους and οἰκονόμους.

    [LN, SN] Ἐπιτρόπους (MPA LF: ἐπίτροπος) . . . καὶ οἰκονόμους (MPA LF: οἰκονόμος): These two nouns are similar in meaning. The former can refer to one who guides, supervises, or manages (e.g., the manager of an estate), while the latter refers to a manager, steward, or administrator. Because of their similarity in meaning and their linkage via καὶ, it is possible that this is an instance of #hendiadys, where a single idea is expressed by two linked terms.

    [SN] Ἄχρι with the genitive suggests #temporal contingency (“until”).

    [GMN, LN] Προθεσμίας (FSG LF: προθεσμία) is a NT #hapax legomenon formed by the preposition πρό (“before”) and the stem of the verb τίθημι (θε; “to set/establish”). It refers to a “designated time” at which the νήπιός (cf. 4:1) is considered an adult inheritor of the father’s estate.

    [SN] Tοῦ πατρός is a #subjective genitive (“the time appointed by the father”).


    [SN] The coordinating conjunction οὕτως (“so/in this way”) links the following scenario with that presented in 4:1–2 as analogous.

    [SN] The καὶ is adverbial (“also”).

    [SN] Ἡμεῖς is the subject of the verbal phrase ἤμεθα δεδουλωμένοι.

    [LN] Στοιχεῖα (NPA LF: στοιχεῖον) has three main meanings: (1) the natural elements of which the world and universe are comprised (always occurring in the plural); (2) supernatural powers/forces that have control over the earth (always occurring in the plural); and (3) basic principles that undergird the nature of something. There are seven occurrences in the NT, including four in Paul (see Gal 4:9; Col 2:8, 20).

    [SN] Here ἤμεθα (II1P LF: εἰμί) δεδουλωμένοι (RPPMPN LF: δουλόω) is a pluperfect #periphrastic construction.


    [SN] Tὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου: τοῦ χρόνου is a #genitive of content. “The fullness of time” is an idiomatic phrase that essentially means “the right/proper time.”

    MYON [GMN] Ἐξαπέστειλεν (LF: ἐξαποστέλλω): Parse this verb, and explain the changes in its morphology.

    [GMN] Ἐξαπέστειλεν (AAI3S LF: ἐξαποστέλλω) is a compound verb made up of the preposition ἐξ with the common compound verb ἀποστέλλω. The verb ἐξαποστέλλω is also a #liquid verb, which explains the #compensatory lengthening (ει).

    [SN] Ὁ θεὸς is the subject of the main verb ἐξαπέστειλεν, making τὸν υἱὸν the direct object.

    [GMS, SN] Γενόμενον (ADPMSA LF: γίνομαι) takes a second aorist form (note the stem change, γιν → γεν) and then follows the AMP morphology. Both occurrences modify τὸν υἱὸν, making them #anarthrous attributive participles.


    [SN] Τούς ὑπὸ νόμον is the object of the verb ἐξαγοράσῃ. The prepositional phrase ὑπὸ νόμον is nominalized by the accusative plural article (“those/the ones under Law”).

    [SN] Here ἵνα introduces a #purpose clause and expects a subjunctive verb.

    [GMN]Ἐξαγορασῃ (AAS3S LF: ἐξἀγορἀζω): In the subjunctive mood, the aorist is is not augmented but rather is identifiable by its σ formative.

    [LN]Υἱοθεσίαν (FSA LF: υἱοθεσία) has been formed by combining the noun υἱός (“son”) with the verb τίθημι (“to bring about/establish/cause to be”). It is used five times in the Pauline corpus, including three times in Romans (8:15, 23; 9:4) and once in Ephesians (1:5).

    [GMN] Ἀπολαβωμεν (AAS1P LF: ἀπολαμβάνω): In its second aorist form, λάμβανω and its various cognates undergo a stem change.


    [SN] Ὅτι in this verse is causal (“Now, because you are sons/children . . . “).

    [GMN] Ἐξαπέστειλεν is AAI3S (LF: ἐξαποστέλλω).

    [GMN] Κρᾶζον (PAPNSA LF: κράζω) is an #anarthrous attributive participle modifying τὸ πνεῦμα (“the spirit . . . [which is] crying”).

    [LN]Ἀββα is an Aramaic transliteration, related to the Hebrew noun ab (“father”). It occurs three times in the NT (cf. Mk 14:36; Rom 8:15), each time followed by the Greek translation ὁ πατήρ. In the NT, the Aramaic transliteration is usually maintained (“Abba, father”).


    [SN] Here ὥστε is a conjunction that introduces a #result clause.

    [SN] Ἐἰ introduces the #protasis of a #first-class conditional statement.

    [SN] Καὶ functions adverbially (modifying an implied εἶ) and should be translated “also.”

    [SN] Διὰ θεοῦ here expresses #agency.


    [SN]Ἀλλὰ is a strong adversative conjunction best translated here as “however.”

    [SN]Τότε μὲν (and subsequent use of νῦν δὲ in v. 9) highlights the contrasting situations in 4:8–9. The use of τότε gives a #temporal reference (“then”), which correlates with νῦν (“now”) in v. 9. Likewise, μέν correlates with δέ and is sometimes translated “on the one hand . . . on the other” or can be left untranslated.

    [SN]Εἰδότες (RAPMPN LF: οἶδα) is an adverbial participle modifying the controlling verb ἐδουλεύσατε and is #temporal in meaning (“you were slaves while you did not know God”) or #causal (“because you did not know God”).

    [GMN]᾽Εδουλεύσατε is AAI2P (LF: δουλεύω).

    [SN] Τοῖς . . . οὖσιν (PPMPD LF: εἰμί) is a #substantival participle that functions as the #dative direct object of ἐδουλεύσατε.

    [LN, SN] Φύσει (FSD LF: φύσις), “nature,” is a #dative of reference.

    [SN] Θεοῖς (MPD) is a #predicate dative.


    [SN] Νῦν δὲ connects what follows to the previous clause and introduces a contrasting state of affairs (see note on τότε μὲν in v. 8).

    [SN] Γνόντες (AAPMPN LF: γινώσκω): γινώσκω is often used interchangeably with οἶδα (cf. εἰδότες in v. 8), though they are not exact synonyms.

    [SN] Γνόντες and γνωσθέντες (APPMPN LF: γινώσκω) are #concessive participles (“how do you turn . . . though you know . . . though you are known . . . ?”).

    [LN] Ἐπιστρέφετε (PAI2P LF: ἐπιστρέφω) is a term used often for conversion, but here it has to do with apostasy (cf. 2 Pt 2:21–22).

    [LN] Ἀσθενῆ (NPA LF: ἀσθενής) can mean “powerless,” “weak,” or “ill,” with the first two options being more preferable here.

    [LN] Πτωχὰ (NPA LF: πτωχός) means “poor,” usually with economic connotations. Here, however, there seem to be undertones of worthlessness. It occurs thirty-four times in the NT only four times in Paul, two of which are in Galatians (cf. 2:10; see also Rom 15:26; 2 Cor 6:10).

    [LN] Στοιχεῖα: See LN on 4:3 for possible meanings.

    [LN] Ἄνωθεν is an adverb that can mean “from above” or “again/anew” (see John 3:3, in which a double meaning is intended). Here Paul has the second meaning in mind (“again/anew”).

    [SN] Δουλεύειν (PAN LF: δουλεύω) is a #complementary infinitive, which completes the action of the main verb θέλετε (PAI2P LF: θέλω).


    [SN] Ἡμέρας (FPA LF: ἡμέρα), μῆνας (MPA LF: μήν), καιροὺς (MPA LF: καιρός), and ἐνιαυτούς (MPA LF: ἐνιαυτός) are all direct objects of the main verb παρατηρεῖσθε.

    [GMN, LN] Παρατηρεῖσθε (PMI2P LF: παρατηρέω) is formed from the preposition παρά and the verb τηρέω (“to keep”) and refers to diligent observance of something. Forms of παρατηρέω occur six times in the NT, with this being the only usage in the Pauline epistles. This is the only time the word is used in association with forms of worship rather than careful observations of individuals in order to trap them (cf. Mk 3:2).

    [TN] It is likely that the language of μέρας . . . καὶ μῆνας καὶ καιροὺς καὶ ἐνιαυτούς recalls that of the creation of the sun and moon in LXX Gen 1:14 (εἰς σημεῖα καὶ εἰς καιροὺς καὶ εἰς ἡμέρας καὶ εἰς ἐνιαυτοὺς). If so, however, Paul has exchanged the word σημεῖα (“signs”) for μῆνας (“months,” perhaps referring to new moon festivals).


    [GMN] Φοβοῦμαι (PDI1S LF: φοβέομαι) is a #contract verb; note the contraction indicated by the circumflex accent (εο → οῦ).

    [SN] ᾽Υμᾶς is an #accusative of reference (“I am afraid concerning/with reference to you”).

    [SN] When μή is used with a verb that denotes fear, it refers to the feared outcome (εἰκῇ κεκοπίακα εἰς ὑμᾶς).

    [LN] The combination μή πως is best translated here as “lest somehow.”

    [LN] The adverb εἰκῇ occurs earlier (see 3:4) and is best understood to mean “in vain” or “for nothing.”

    [LN] Κεκοπίακα (RAI1S LF: κοπιάω): The verb κοπιάω means “to engage in difficult work” or “to toil,” but can also figuratively mean “to be disheartened/discouraged” because of the emotional toll of the work.

    Discussion Question (4:1–11)

    [4:5] Both uses of ἵνα in this verse likely introduce #purpose clauses, but are their respective clauses meant to be read as consecutive or parallel/simultaneous? That is, is Paul saying that redemption from the Law is meant to result in adoption, or are the two simply expressions of the same phenomenon?

    This page titled 1.9: Galatians 4-1-11 is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Nijay K. Gupta & Jonah M. Sandford.

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