Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Galatians 4:19 - 4:23

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Galatians 4:19 - 4:23


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

An urgent appeal to an Old Testament example:

v. 19. My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.

v. 20. I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.

v. 21. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the Law, do ye not hear the Law?

v. 22. For it is written that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.

v. 23. But he who was of the bond-woman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.

The love of the apostle for his deluded Galatians here flashes forth in a passage in which he, for once, uses the endearing designation of a mother for the children which she has born. He once more feels the pangs for the spiritual birth of Christ within them, until Christ be formed in them, until the new spiritual life be shaped anew in the image of Christ. In this eager love the apostle states: I would fain be with you now and change my form of communication, for I am perplexed about you. Instead of expressing himself to them by means of writing, which is necessarily formal, unpliable, unsatisfactory, not so well suited to make an impression upon the heart and mind, he would much prefer to be with them personally, to speak to them face to face. For he does not know what to make of them; he cannot understand their coldness, their defection from the truth, and therefore he feels that a personal interview with them may enable him to find the right arguments to make them change their minds and to accept the truth once more.

The apostle, therefore, uses another line of argument. in the hope of convincing the Galatians in this way, with the intention of showing them that not the religion of the Law, but that of the Gospel alone teaches the way of salvation. in doing so, he meets the Judaizing teachers on their own ground: Tell me, you that want to be under the Law, do you not pay any attention to the Law? He addresses himself to men that make their boast of upholding the authority of the Mosaic Law in all its particulars, that acknowledge the Law as the supreme master, that expect salvation through its fulfillment. He accuses them outright of being indifferent to the lessons which are found in the book of the Law, in the books of Moses; for these were designated by the one word "Law. " See Luk_24:44; Act_13:15; Rom_3:21. If their zeal for the Law is of the right kind, Paul means to say, then they would soon find in it that which ought to convince them how unsound and dangerous it is to follow the false teachers.

Paul does not quote verbally, but refers to facts as recorded in the Book of Genesis: For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one from the slave and one from the freewoman. Ishmael was the son of Hagar, the bond-woman, and Isaac was the son of Sarah, the mistress, the freewoman, Gen_16:15; Gen_21:2. Both bops were Abraham's sons; however, they had not only entirely different mothers, but mothers also of entirely different conditions. Paul purposely chose the example of Abraham, since it was this patriarch of whom the Jews loved to boast. The chief point of difference in the two sons of Abraham was that the one, Ishmael, was born according to the flesh, according to the usual course of nature, Abraham having taken Hagar as his concubine, and the other, Isaac, through the promise, by virtue of the divine promise, according to which God restored to Sarah the ability to bear this son, Gen_17:16; Gen_17:19; Gen_18:18; Heb_11:11.