Galatians 4:4-7

Galatians 4:4-7
Christmastide B5


But when the fullnessA of timeB had come, GodC sentD his Son, bornE of a woman,F born under the law,G 

Notes on verse 4

A “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.
B “time” = chronos. Time in the chronological sense, quantitative time or a duration of time.
C “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
D “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.
E “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.
F “woman” = gune. Perhaps related to “born” in v4. Perhaps from ginomai (see note E above). This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.
G “law” = nomos. From nemo (to parcel out). Literally, this is that which is assigned. It can be usage, custom, or law. This word can be used for human or divine law. It can be used specifically for the law of Moses or as a name for the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Sometimes it is used for scripture as a whole, used of the Gospel, or of any theology. It is also used for the “tradition of the elders,” which would be the oral Torah – the tradition of the laws plus their interpretations as they were passed down over time. We must carefully consider which meaning of “law” is meant when we interpret passages the word is found in.

in order to redeemH those who were under the law, so that we might receiveI adoption as children.J 

Notes on verse 5

H “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.
I “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.
J “adoption as children” = huiothesia. Related to “Son” in v4. 5x in NT. From huios (son, descendant; a son whether natural born or adopted; also used figuratively for other forms of kinship) + 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 making a son, adoption.

And because you are children,K God has sent the SpiritL of his Son into our hearts,M crying,N “Abba!O Father!” 

Notes on verse 6

K “children” = huios. Same as “Son” in v4 & related to “adoption as children” in v5. See note J above.
L “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.
M “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.
N “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.
O “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.

So you are no longer a slaveP but a child,Q and if a child then also an heir,R through God.

Notes on verse 7

P “slave” = 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).
Q “child” = huios. Same as “Son” in v4 & related to “adoption as children” in v5. See note J above.
R “heir” = kleronomos. Related to “law” in v4. 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 (see note G above}. This is heir, inheritor, or possessor – whether literal of figurative.

Image credit: “The Nativity” by Edward Burne-Jones, 1879

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