Galatians 4:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Galatians 4:2, NIV: The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.

Galatians 4:2, ESV: but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father.

Galatians 4:2, KJV: But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.

Galatians 4:2, NASB: but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.

Galatians 4:2, NLT: They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set.

Galatians 4:2, CSB: Instead, he is under guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.

What does Galatians 4:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul loves to teach through illustration and analogy. He began a useful comparison in the previous verse, describing the son of a wealthy Greek man of that era. Such a child may be the future owner of everything around him, and yet have no more freedom than a slave, while he is still a child. Prior to the agreed-upon time, the heir's rights are not much different from those of a servant.

Now Paul continues, explaining that this son lives under the authority of guardians and managers. While the managers oversee the estate and make decisions about property and investments, the guardians discipline the boy. His tutors guide and protect him until a specific date is reached. This date is when the boy's father has decided to allow him to inherit his portion of the family estate. Until that day arrives, the boy will continue to live as a slave, with limited freedom over his own life.

Paul will describe in the following verses how the experience of this child is similar to Israel's history, living under the law of Moses. In a separate, but related sense, this might apply, as well, to the Gentile believers' previous history under the pagan philosophies of their own culture.