Galatians 4:8-20

Galatians 4:8-11-18-20 The Message (MSG)

Earlier, before you knew God personally, you were enslaved to so-called gods that had nothing of the divine about them. But now that you know the real God—or rather since God knows you—how can you possibly subject yourselves again to those paper tigers? For that is exactly what you do when you are intimidated into scrupulously observing all the traditions, taboos, and superstitions associated with special days and seasons and years. I am afraid that all my hard work among you has gone up in a puff of smoke! My dear friends, what I would really like you to do is try to put yourselves in my shoes to the same extent that I, when I was with you, put myself in yours. You were very sensitive and kind then. You did not come down on me personally. You were well aware that the reason I ended up preaching to you was that I was physically broken, and so, prevented from continuing my journey, I was forced to stop with you. That is how I came to preach to you. And don’t you remember that even though taking in a sick guest was most troublesome for you, you chose to treat me as well as you would have treated an angel of God—as well as you would have treated Jesus himself if he had visited you? What has happened to the satisfaction you felt at that time? There were some of you then who, if possible, would have given your very eyes to me—that is how deeply you cared! And now have I suddenly become your enemy simply by telling you the truth? I can’t believe it. Those heretical teachers go to great lengths to flatter you, but their motives are rotten. They want to shut you out of the free world of God’s grace so that you will always depend on them for approval and direction, making them feel important. It is a good thing to be ardent in doing good, but not just when I am in your presence. Can’t you continue the same concern for both my person and my message when I am away from you that you had when I was with you? Do you know how I feel right now, and will feel until Christ’s life becomes visible in your lives? Like a mother in the pain of childbirth. Oh, I keep wishing that I was with you. Then I wouldn’t be reduced to this blunt, letter-writing language out of sheer frustration.

Galatians 4:8-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist. So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing. Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles—free from those laws. You did not mistreat me when I first preached to you. Surely you remember that I was sick when I first brought you the Good News. But even though my condition tempted you to reject me, you did not despise me or turn me away. No, you took me in and cared for me as though I were an angel from God or even Christ Jesus himself. Where is that joyful and grateful spirit you felt then? I am sure you would have taken out your own eyes and given them to me if it had been possible. Have I now become your enemy because I am telling you the truth? Those false teachers are so eager to win your favor, but their intentions are not good. They are trying to shut you off from me so that you will pay attention only to them. If someone is eager to do good things for you, that’s all right; but let them do it all the time, not just when I’m with you. Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives. I wish I were with you right now so I could change my tone. But at this distance I don’t know how else to help you.

Galatians 4:8-20 New Century Version (NCV)

In the past you did not know God. You were slaves to gods that were not real. But now you know the true God. Really, it is God who knows you. So why do you turn back to those weak and useless rules you followed before? Do you want to be slaves to those things again? You still follow teachings about special days, months, seasons, and years. I am afraid for you, that my work for you has been wasted. Brothers and sisters, I became like you, so I beg you to become like me. You were very good to me before. You remember that it was because of an illness that I came to you the first time, preaching the Good News. Though my sickness was a trouble for you, you did not hate me or make me leave. But you welcomed me as an angel from God, as if I were Jesus Christ himself! You were very happy then, but where is that joy now? I am ready to testify that you would have taken out your eyes and given them to me if that were possible. Now am I your enemy because I tell you the truth? Those people are working hard to persuade you, but this is not good for you. They want to persuade you to turn against us and follow only them. It is good for people to show interest in you, but only if their purpose is good. This is always true, not just when I am with you. My little children, again I feel the pain of childbirth for you until you truly become like Christ. I wish I could be with you now and could change the way I am talking to you, because I do not know what to think about you.

Galatians 4:8-20 Amplified Bible (AMP)

But at that time, when you did not know [the true] God and were unacquainted with Him, you [Gentiles] were slaves to those [pagan] things which by [their very] nature were not and could not be gods at all. Now, however, since you have come to know [the true] God [through personal experience], or rather to be known by God, how is it that you are turning back again to the weak and worthless elemental principles [of religions and philosophies], to which you want to be enslaved all over again? [For example,] you observe [particular] days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored [to the point of exhaustion] over you in vain. Believers, I beg of you, become as I am [free from the bondage of Jewish ritualism and ordinances], for I have become as you are [a Gentile]. You did me no wrong [when I first came to you; do not do it now]. On the contrary, you know that it was because of a physical illness that I [remained and] preached the gospel to you the first time; and even though my physical condition was a trial to you, you did not regard it with contempt, or scorn and reject me; but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus Himself. What then has become of that sense of blessing and the joy that you once had [from your salvation and your relationship with Christ]? For I testify of you that, if possible, you would have torn out your own eyes and given them to me [to replace mine]. So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? These men [the Judaizers] eagerly seek you [to entrap you with honeyed words and attention, to win you over to their philosophy], not honorably [for their purpose is not honorable or worthy of consideration]. They want to isolate you [from us who oppose them] so that you will seek them. Now it is always pleasant to be eagerly sought after [provided that it is] for a good purpose, and not just when I am with you [seeking you myself—but beware of the others doing it]. My little children, for whom I am again in [the pains of] labor until Christ is [completely and permanently] formed within you— how I wish that I were with you now and could change my tone, because I am perplexed in regard to you.

Galatians 4:8-20 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Before we knew God as our Father and we became his children, we were unwitting servants to the powers that be, which are nothing compared to God. But now that we truly know him and understand how deeply we’re loved by him, why would we, even for a moment, consider turning back to those weak and feeble principles of religion, as though we were still subject to them? Why would we want to go backwards into the bondage of religion—scrupulously observing rituals like special days, celebrations of the new moon, annual festivals, and sacred years? I’m so alarmed about you that I’m beginning to wonder if my labor in ministry among you was a waste of time! Beloved ones, I plead with you, follow my example and become free from the bondage of religion. I once became as one of you, a gentile, when I lived among you—now become free like me. When I first came to minister to you, you did me no wrong. I can’t believe you would do wrong to me now! You are well aware that the reason I stayed among you to preach the good news was because of the poor state of my health. And yet you were so kind to me and did not despise me in my weakness, even though my physical condition put you through an ordeal while I was with you. Actually, you received me and cared for me as though I were an angel from God, as you would have cared for Jesus, the Messiah himself! Some of you were even willing, if it were possible, to pluck out your own eyes to replace mine! Where is that kindhearted and free spirit now? Have I really become your enemy because I tell you the truth? Can’t you see what these false teachers are doing? They want to win you over so you will side with them. They want you divided from me so you will follow only them. Would you call that integrity? Isn’t it better to seek excellence and integrity always, and not just only when I’m with you? You are my dear children, but I agonize in spiritual “labor pains” once again, until the Anointed One will be fully formed in your hearts! How I wish I could be there in person and change my tone toward you, for I am truly dumbfounded over what you are doing!