Galatians 4:1-7; 5:16-26

Galatians 4:1-7; 5:16-26
Narrative Lectionary 346


4:1 My point is this: heirs,I as long asII they are minors,III

Notes on verse 4:1a

I “heirs” = kleronomos. 15x in NT. From kleros (lot, portion, heritage; that share assigned to you; also a lot used to determine something by fate, chance, or divine will); {perhaps from klero (casting a lot) or from klao (to break in pieces as one breaks bread)} + the same as nomos (what is assigned – usage, law, custom, principle; used for the law in general or of God’s law; sometimes used to refer to the first five books of the Bible or the entire Old Testament; also used to refer to theology or the practice and tradition of interpreting and implementing the law of God); {from nemo (to parcel out, assign)}}. This is heir, inheritor, or possessor – whether literal of figurative.
II {untranslated} = chronos. Time in the chronological sense, quantitative time or a duration of time.
III “minors” = nepios. 15x in NT – used in 1 Corinthians 13 (“when I was a child…”). This may be from ne (not) + epos (word; by extension, to speak) {from epo (to answer, bring word, command). This is an infant, child, minor, or immature person. It can also be used figuratively for someone who is childish or unlearned.

are no betterIV than slaves,V though they are the ownersVI of all the property; 

Notes on verse 4:1b

IV “are…better” = diaphero. 13x in NT. From dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + phero (to bear, bring, lead, make known publicly; to carry in a literal or figurative sense). This is to carry through as in all the way to the end. It is differing or fully distinguishing – separating by comparison. Literally, it means transport – figuratively it can mean report or surpass.
V “slaves” = doulos. Perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is used for a servant or for a slave, enslaved. It refers to someone who belongs to someone else. But, it could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay off debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved). It is used as a metaphor for serving Christ. Slavery was not inherited (i.e. the children of slaves were not assumed to be slaves) and slaves could buy their way to freedom. Slavery was generally on a contractual basis (that is for the duration of how long it took you to pay your debt and/or save up enough money to buy your freedom).
VI “owners” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.

but they remain under guardiansVII and trusteesVIII until the date setIX by the father. 

Notes on verse 4:2

VII “guardians” = epitropos. 3x in NT. From epitrepo (to allow, permit, yield, entrust, give license); {from epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + the same as trope (turning, change, shifting); {from trepo (to turn)}}. This is a someone who has authority like an administrator, foreman, guardian, or steward. It could also be someone who has care over a child under 14.
VIII “trustees” = oikonomos. Related to “heirs” in v4:1. 10x in NT. From oiokos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple) + nemo (to manage) OR from oikos (see above) + the base of nomos (see note I above). This is a steward, manager, or guardian. It refers to someone whose job it is to oversee a house. It can also be a treasurer or other fiscal agent. Figuratively, this can mean someone who preaches the good news.
IX “date set” = prothesmia. 1x in NT. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier) + thesmios (fixed, settled); {from tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position)}. This is a previously appointed time, a date set earlier or foreordained.

So with us; while we were minors, we were enslavedX to the elemental spiritsXI of the world.XII 

Notes on verse 4:3

X “enslaved” = douloo. Related to “slaves” in v4:1. 8x in NT. From doulos (see note V above). This is to enslave, cause something to be subject or bound. It focuses on the impact or result of being enslaved. It can be literal or figurative.
XI “elemental spirits” = stoicheion. 7x in NT. From the same as stoicheo (walking in rows, according to a uniform cadence; it can be marching in military style; figuratively, it is one’s walk of life, living piously); from stoichos (a row) or from steicho (in a line). This is part of a row. So, it could be a letter in the alphabet, something rudimentary or a fundamental element of something else. Figuratively, it is primary principles that are orderly. It can also refer to heavenly bodies or core sensibility.
XII “world” = kosmos. Perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants. Literally, this is something that is ordered so it can refer to all creation. It can also refer to decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and, thus, made more beautiful. This is where “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.

But when the fullnessXIII of timeXIV had come, GodXV sentXVI his Son,XVII

Notes on verse 4:4a

XIII “fullness” = pleroma. 18x in NT. From pleroo (to fill, make full or complete; properly, filling something up to the maximum extent or induvial capacity; used figuratively for furnish, influence, satisfy, finish, preach, perfect, and fulfill); from pleres (to be full, complete, abounding in, occupied with). This is fullness, supply, completion, superabundance, or multitude.
XIV “time” = chronos. Same as {untranslated} in v4:1. See note II above.
XV “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
XVI “sent” = exapostello. 13x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + apostello (to send, send away, send forth as a messenger, to commission); {from apo (from, away from) + stello (to set, arrange, prepare, provide for)}. This is to send away, dismiss, send someone for a mission.
XVII “Son” = huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.

bornXVIII of a woman,XIX born under the law,XX 

Notes on verse 4:4b

XVIII “born” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
XIX “woman” = gune. Perhaps related to “born” in v4:4. Perhaps from ginomai (see note XVII above). This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.
XX “law” = nomos. Related to “heirs” in v4:1 & “trustees” in v4:2. See note I above.

in order to redeemXXI those who were under the law, so that we might receiveXXII adoption as children.XXIII 

Notes on verse 4:5

XXI “redeem” = exagorazo. 4x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + agorazo (to go and buy something at market with a focus on goods being transferred; to purchase or redeem.); {from agora (assembly, forum, marketplace, town square, thoroughfare); from ageiro (to gather)}. This is to buy up, purchase, redeem, ransom. Figuratively, it is to save something from loss, take an opportunity fully, making the most of something.
XXII “receive” = apolambano. 10x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + lambano (active acceptance/taking of what is available or what has been offered; emphasizes the choice and action of the individual). This is to receive back, separate, to get one’s due.
XXIII “adoption as children” = huiothesia. Related to “date set” in v4:2 & “son” in v4:4. 5x in NT. From huios (see note XVII above) + tithemi (see note IX above). This is making a son, adoption.

And because you are children,XXIV God has sent the SpiritXXV of his Son into our hearts,XXVI crying,XXVII “Abba!XXVIII Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

Notes on verses 4:6-7

XXIV “children” = huios. Same as “Son” in v4:4. See note XVII above.
XXV “Spirit” = Pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
XXVI “hearts” = kardia. Literally the heart, but figuratively mind, character, inner self, will, intention, thoughts, feelings. Also, the center of something. The word heart is only used figuratively in the Old and New Testaments. This is where “cardiac” comes from.
XXVII “crying” = krazo. This is to cry out, scream, shriek. It is onomatopoeia for the sound of a raven’s call. Figuratively, this means crying out urgently without intelligible words to express something that is deeply felt.
XXVIII “Abba” = Abba. 3x in NT. From Aramaic ab (father); corresponding to Hebrew ab (father in a literal or figurative sense – grandfather, chief, ancestor). This is abba, which means father – not a diminutive daddy.

5:16 LiveXXIX by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratifyXXX the desiresXXXI of the flesh.XXXII 

Notes on verse 5:16

XXIX “live” = peripateo. From peri (about, concerning, around, encompassing) + pateo (to read, trample on; to trample literally or figuratively); {from patos (trodden) OR from paio (to strike, smite, sting; a hit like a single blow)}. This is to walk. Going from Hebrew figurative language, to walk referred to how you conducted your life, how you chose to live. This word is most literally walking around. Figuratively, it is living, behaving, following, how you occupy yourself. This is where “peripatetic” comes from.
XXX “gratify” = teleo. From telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax; going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one). This is to complete, fulfill, accomplish, end.
XXXI “desires” = epithumia. From epithmueo (long for, set one’s heart on, yearn, desire); {from epi (on, upon, at, what is fitting) + thumos (passion, wrath; actions emerging from passion or impulse) {from thuo (to rush along, breathe violently, offer sacrifice)}}. This is desire, a longing built on passionate emotion or urges. This can be a positive or a negative passion (lust or eagerness).
XXXII “flesh” = sarx. May be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).

17 For what the flesh desiresXXXIII is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed toXXXIV each other, to prevent you from doingXXXV what you want.XXXVI 

Notes on verse 5:17

XXXIII “desires” = epithumeo. Related to “desires” in v5:16. 16x in NT. See note XXXI above.
XXXIV “are opposed to” = antikeimai. 8x in NT. From anti (opposite, instead of, against) + keimai (to lie, recline, set, be appointed, be destined). This is to resist, oppose, or withstand. It can also be opposition, adversary, or enemy. This is to lie opposite or place against – being in irreconcilable opposition. Figuratively, it can be repugnant.
XXXV “doing” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
XXXVI “want” = thelo. This is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.

18 But if you are led byXXXVII the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. 19 Now the worksXXXVIII of the flesh are obvious:XXXIX fornication,XL impurity,XLI licentiousness,XLII 

Notes on verses 5:18-19

XXXVII “led by” = ago. This is lead, bring, carry, guide, drive, go.
XXXVIII “works” = ergon. From ergo (to work, accomplish, do). This is work, task, deed, labor, effort.
XXXIX “obvious” = phaneros. 18x in NT. From phos (light, a source of light, fire, or radiance; light with specific reference to what it reveals; luminousness whether natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative); from phao (to shine or make visible, especially with rays of light); from the same as phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is visible, apparent, clear, shining.
XL “fornication” = porneia. From porneuo (to fornicate – used figuratively for practicing idolatry or doing immoral things); from porne (prostitute, whore); from pornos (fornicator or immoral person); perhaps from pernemi (to sell off or export); related to piprasko (to sell with travel involved; to sell into slavery; to be devoted to); from perao (to travel); from peran (over, beyond). This is sexual immorality or unchastity. It could include adultery or incest.
XLI “impurity” = akatharsia. 10x in NT. From akathartos (unclean or impure, whether a thing or a person; something that is not mixed with something that would taint; unclean in a ritual or moral sense; also demonic or foul); {from a (not, without) + kathairo (to cleanse or purify by purging out unwanted elements); {from katharos (clean, clear, pure, unstained; clean in a literal, ritual, or spiritual sense; so, also guiltless, innocent or upright; something that is pure because it has been separated from the negative substance or aspect; spiritually clean because of God’s act of purifying)}. This is uncleanness or impurity. It can be physical, ritual, or moral.
XLII “licentiousness” = aselgeia. 10x in NT. From aselges (brutal) OR from a (not) + selges (temperate). This is wantonness, shocking behavior, wanton violence, acting in an unrestrained and capricious way.

20 idolatry,XLIII sorcery,XLIV enmities,XLV strife,XLVI

Notes on verse 5:20a

XLIII “idolatry” = eidololatria. 4x in NT. From eidolon (image, idol, worship or an idol); {from eidos (form, shape, sight, appearance); from eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate)} + latreia (service, divine worship, ministering to God); {from latreuo (giving good, technical service because qualified or equipped to do so; to serve, minister, worship, or give homage); from latris (a hired servant; someone who is qualified to perform a technical task)}. This is worship of an image or idol in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “idolatry” comes from.
XLIV “sorcery” = pharmakeia. 2x in NT. From pharmakeuo (to give drugs) OR from pharmakeus (sorcerer; one who gives drugs, plants, potions, or poisons – sometimes accompanied by an incantation; also, a sorcerer or magician); {from pharmakos (someone who gives drugs or medicines to people – a poisoner or magician); from pharmakon (a drug)}. This is magic, enchantment – using drugs or spells to do magic in a literal or figurative sense. It shares a root with “pharmacy.”
XLV “enmities” = echthra. 6x in NT. From echthros (hated, an enemy; someone at enmity – deep, personal hatred that cannot be reconciled because it is determined to cause harm; often refers to Satan); from echthos (hatred). This is enmity, hostility, or alienation.
XLVI “strife” = eris. 9x in NT. This is strife, quarreling, wrangling. Figuratively, it is debate or one who likes to dispute.

jealousy,XLVII anger,XLVIII quarrels,XLIX dissensions,L factions,LI 

Notes on verse 5:20b

XLVII “jealousy” = zelos. 16x in NT– 6x in a positive sense (zeal for God) & 10x in a negative sense (jealousy/strife). Perhaps from zeo (to boil, be hot, ferment, bubble, boil, or glow; used figuratively for being fervent or earnest). This is eagerness or zeal on the one hand or rivalry and jealousy on the other. The verb is meant to echo the sound of boiling water and so it depicts burning emotion that bubbles over. So, burning anger or burning love.
XLVIII “anger” = thumos. Related to “desires” in v5:16 & “desires” in v5:17. 18x in NT. See note XXXI above.
XLIX “quarrels” = eritheia. Related to “strife” in v5:20. 7x in NT. From erithos (day-laborer); from eritheuo (work for hire) OR perhaps from the same as erethizo (to provoke, irritate, exasperate; to stir to anger); from eretho (to provoke to anger) or from eris (see note XLVI above). This is ambition, dispute, selfishness, self-seeking, strife. It is work done for selfish or self-serving motivations. It can imply intrigue or a faction.
L “dissensions” = dichostasia..2x in NT. From dichostateo (to stand apart) OR from dis (twice, utterly, again); {from duo (two, both)} + stasis (standing – the act of standing, a place, an uprising, insurrection, dissension, or controversy); {from the base of histemi (to make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand by, stand still, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast)}. This is standing apart, division, creating meaningless factions.
LI “factions” = hairesis. 9x in NT. From haireo (to take, choose, or prefer); {probably related to airo (raise, take up, lift, remove)}. This is a choice, contention, heresy, or sect. It is making a person choice so, by implication, choice of a separate party or faction. It is where the word “heresy” comes from.

21 envy,LII drunkenness,LIII carousing,LIV and things like these.

Notes on verse 5:21a

LII “envy” = phthonos. 9x in NT. Perhaps from phtheiro (to destroy, corrupt, ruin, deteriorate, wither; also used of moral corruption); from phthio (perish, waste away). This is jealousy, spite, or ill-will. It can also be feeling glad when misfortune befalls another (akin to Schadenfreude).
LIII “drunkenness” = methe. 3x in NT. This is heavy drinking – to the point of drunkenness. Always referenced as a negative.
LIV “carousing” = komos. Related to “are opposed to” in v5:17. 3x in NT. From kome (a village as contrasted with a city that has a wall); perhaps from keimai (see note XXXIV above). This was originally a festival in a village that involved drinking, carousing, and letting loose.

I am warningLV you, as I warned you before:LVI those who doLVII such things will not inheritLVIII the kingdomLIX of God.

Notes on verse 5:21b

LV “warning” = prolego. 14x in NT. From pro (before, earlier than, ahead, prior) + lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is to forewarn, state clearly, predict. It is saying ahead of time.
LVI “warned…before” = prolego. Same as “warning” in v5:21. See note LV above.
LVII “do” = prasso. This is to do or practice – something done on an on-going basis or by habit. It can also mean to accomplish, attend, or commit.
LVIII “inherit” = kleronomeo. Related to “heirs” in v4:1 & “trustees” in v4:2. 18x in NT. From kleronomos (see note I above). This is to acquire or get by inheriting.
LIX “kingdom” = basileia. From basileus (king, emperor, sovereign); probably from basis (step, hence foot; a pace); from baino (to walk, to go). This is kingdom, rule, authority, sovereignty, royalty, a realm.

22 By contrast, the fruitLX of the Spirit is love,LXI joy,LXII peace,LXIII

Notes on verse 5:22a

LX “fruit” = karpos. Perhaps related to “factions” in v5:20. Perhaps from harpazo (to seize by force, snatch away); from haireo (see note LI above). This is a fruit or vegetable, through sometimes it refers to an animal. Figuratively, it is deeds, results, profits, or gain.
LXI “love” = agape. From agapao (to love, take pleasure in, esteem; to prefer). This is love, goodwill, benevolence. It is God’s divine love or human love that mirrors God’s love.
LXII “joy” = chara. From chairo (to rejoice, be glad or cheerful; a greeting); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is joy, delight, gladness. Can be understood as the feeling you get when you are aware of grace.
LXIII “peace” = eirene. Perhaps from eiro (to join, tie together to form a whole). This is one, peace, quietness, rest, peace of mind, harmony. Peace was a common farewell among Jews (i.e. shalom) and this well-wishing included a blessing of health and wholeness for the individual. This word also indicates wholeness and well-being – when everything that is essential is joined together properly. This is peace literally or figuratively. By implication, it is prosperity (but not in the sense of excessive wealth. Prosperity would have meant having enough from day to day.)

patience,LXIV kindness,LXV generosity,LXVI faithfulness,LXVII 

Notes on verse 5:22b

LXIV “patience” = makrothumia. Related to “desires” in v5:16 & “desires” in v5:17 & “anger” in v5:20. 14x in NT. From makros (long, long lasting) {from mekos (length); probably related to megas (great or large)} + thumos (see note XXXI above). Properly, this is long-passion or long-suffering – one who waits the needed amount of time before expressing anger. This is also patience, perseverance, and fortitude.
LXV “kindness” = chrestotes. 10x in NT. From chrestos (useful, good, well-fitted, benevolent, kind, gracious; also a name given to slaves in the ancient world); from chraomai (to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request). This is properly useable, good or ready for service – just what one needs to meet real needs. Figuratively, this speaks of moral excellence, strong character, uprightness, kindness, integrity.
LXVI “generosity” = agathosune. 4x in NT. From agathos ((good, a benefit, or a good thing; good by its very nature, inherently good). This is goodness as an intrinsic quality in the sense of being kind/good-natured rather than good verses evil.
LXVII “faithfulness” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.

23 gentleness,LXVIII and self-control.LXIX There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to ChristLXX JesusLXXI have crucifiedLXXII the flesh with its passionsLXXIII and desires. 

Notes on verses 5:23-24

LXVIII “gentleness” = prautes. 12x in NT. From praus (gentle, meek, which implies humility); related to praios (meek, gentle, kind); related to praotes (mildness kindness, meekness; being temperate – gentle, but strong; implies humility). This is gentleness, mildness, meekness, or humility. It is strength mixed with gentleness.
LXIX “self-control” = egkrateia. 4x in NT. From egkrates (self-controlled, one who has power over, controlling, temperate); {from en (in, on, at, by, with, within) + kratos (strength, power, dominion; vigor in a literal or figurative sense; power that is exercised)}. This is self-control – mastery coming from within, dominion. It can also be continence or temperance.
LXX “Christ” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
LXXI “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
LXXII “crucified” = stauroo. Related to “dissensions” in v5:20. From stauros (upright stake, cross; literally the horizontal beam of a Roman cross, generally carried by the one convicted to die); from the same as histemi (see note L above). This can be to attach someone to a cross or fencing with stakes. In a figurative sense, it could be to destroy, mortify, or subdue passions/selfishness.
LXXIII “passions” = pathema. 16x in NT. From pathos (passion, lust, suffering, something that happens to you, strong feelings); from pascho (to be acted on for good or ill; often used for negative treatment; properly, feeling strong emotions – especially suffering; can also be the ability to feel suffering). This is something that happens to you such as suffering, affliction, passion, or emotion. It can also be one’s capacity for deep feelings or enduring. Further, it can be hardship or pain.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guidedLXXIV by the Spirit. 26 Let us not becomeLXXV conceited,LXXVI competing againstLXXVII one another, envyingLXXVIII one another.

Notes on verses 5:25-26

LXXIV “guided” = stoicheo. Related to “elemental spirits” in v4:3. 5x in NT. See note XI above.
LXXV “become” = ginomai. Same as “born” in v4:4. See note XVIII above.
LXXVI “conceited” = kenodoxos. 1x in NT. From kenos (properly, something empty or void; hence, worthless, foolish, ineffective, morally void, pretentious, unreal, or false) + doxa (glory, opinion, praise, honor, renown; particularly used as a quality of God or manifestation of God – splendor); { from dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion)}. This is boastful, having empty glory, conceited. It is someone who boasts when they have no justification for their boasting – empty pride.
LXXVII “competing against” = prokaleo. 1x in NT. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier) + kaleo (to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud); {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}. This is to call out or to. It can be to challenge, provoke, or irritate.
LXXVIII “envying” = phthoneo. Related to “envy” in v5:21. 1x in NT. From phthonos (see note LII above). This is to envy, be bitter or jealous. It is to have sour when someone else is successful.

Image credit: “Fruits of the Spirit Fire Tree” by Tyler Neyens, 2014.

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