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Galatians 4:1

    Galatians 4:1 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant though he is lord of all;

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    But I say that as long as the son is a child, he is in no way different from a servant, though he is lord of all;

    Webster's Revision

    But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant though he is lord of all;

    World English Bible

    But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a bondservant, though he is lord of all;

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant, though he is lord of all;

    Clarke's Commentary on Galatians 4:1

    The heir, as long as He is a child - Though he be appointed by his father's will heir of all his possessions yet till he arrive at the legal age he is master of nothing, and does not differ from one of the common domestics.

    Barnes' Notes on Galatians 4:1

    Now I say - He had before said Galatians 3:24-25 that while they were under the Law they were in a state of minority. This sentiment he proceeds further to illustrate by showing the true condition of one who was a minor.

    That the heir - Any heir to an estate, or one who has a prospect of an inheritance. No matter how great is the estate; no matter how wealthy his father; no matter to how elevated a rank he may be raised on the moment that he enters on his inheritance, yet until that time he is in the condition of a servant.

    As long as he is a child - Until he arrives at the age. The word rendered "child" (νήπιοι nēpioi) properly means an infant; literally, "one not speaking" (νη nē insep. un, ἔπος epos), and hence, a child or babe, but without any definite limitation - Robinson. It is used as the word "infant" is with us in law, to denote "a minor."

    Differeth nothing from a servant - That is, he has no more control of his property; he has it not at his command. This does not mean that he does not differ in any respect, but only that in the matter under consideration he does not differ. He differs in his prospects of inheriting the property, and in the affections of the father, and usually in the advantages of education, and in the respect and attention shown him. but in regard to property, he does not differ, and he is like a servant, under the control and direction of others.

    Though he be lord of all - That is, in prospect. He has a prospective right to all the property, which no one else has. The word "lord" here (κύριος kurios), is used in the same sense in which it is often in the Scriptures, to denote master or owner. The idea which this is designed to illustrate is, that the condition of the Jews before the coming of the Messiah was inferior in many respects to what the condition of the friends of God would be under him - as inferior as the condition of an heir was before he was of age, to what it would be when he should enter on his inheritance. The Jews claimed, indeed, that they were the children or the sons of God, a title which the apostle would not withhold from the pious part of the nation; but it was a condition in which they had not entered on the full inheritance, and which was far inferior to that of those who had embraced the Messiah, and who were admitted to the full privileges of sonship. They were indeed heirs. They were interested in the promises. But still they were in a condition of comparative servitude, and could be made free only by the gospel.

    Wesley's Notes on Galatians 4:1

    4:1 Now - To illustrate by a plain similitude the preeminence of the Christian, over the legal, dispensation. The heir, as long as he is a child - As he is under age. Differeth nothing from a servant - Not being at liberty either to use or enjoy his estate. Though he be lord - Proprietor of it all.