Galatians 4:16

4:16     Became enemy for telling them the truth

Previously they had loved him

Probably told them the truth about the Judaizers on his second visit   Acts 18:23

4:17     Zeal

Zeal is good when properly directed

Zeal is “zeloo” and means

1)    To envy

2)    To be deeply concerned for someone to the point of courting their favor

So, “zeal” is in context the process of “courting” or “dating”

1)    Paul courts them to win to Christ

2)    Legalist court to enslave them for service 

2 Corinthians 11:2

The legalizers may be compared to a seducer who would alienate an engaged woman from her fiancé. 

“Alienate” is literally “lock you up.” 

Thus, the law locks them up and separates them from Christ.

In this locked up condition the Galatians can only serve their teachers

The Judaizers were zealously paying court to the Galatians, attempting to shut them out from the benefits of the gospel in order that the Galatians will have to pay court to the Judaizers in the future.

Possible paraphrase:

            4:17     Those people are courting you to win you over, but not for your good.   What they want is to lock you up and separate you               from us so that you    may court or serve them.”

4:16     It is acceptable to court someone as long as the purpose is for their good, and to always have the purpose of the courting be to advance you in your relationship with Christ. That is done not just by me but by anyone else who wants to court you for the same productive reasons.

False teaches want people to serve their vision

                                                                                    2 Corinthian 11:3-6; 11:13

True teachers equip people to fulfill their calling          

                                                                                    Ephesians 4:11,19


Right now the Galatians are being courted by the legalizers.

But, when the courting is over and the Galatians are separated from Christ and Paul then the Galatians will have to court the legalizers.

Failure to maintain Christian liberty always leads to ecclesiastical as well as other forms of bondage

4:18     Good to be zealous (“courted because someone desires you”)

1)    For a good purpose

2)    Not just by one man, but by one truth

The Judaizers envied the Galatians relationship with Christ and Paul

The Judaizers wanted to reduce this and cause the Galatians to envy the Judaizers position. A very pitiable position.

4:19     “Again in the pains of child birth until Christ is formed in you.”

This is not about being born again, again.

This is about “forming Christ” in them again.

“Formed” is “morphoo” and refers to the “act of giving outward expression of one’s inner nature.”

Example: The lead off hitter swung with perfect form.”

The outward expression showed the inward ability and understanding of the hitter.

The Galatians are born again with Christ inside but their outward “form” needs to be   developed again.

The word “again” tells us at one time Christ was clearly and abundantly evident in their   expression.

Now Christ is not seen in their lives.

The reason: The Judaizers emphasis on self effort that replaced a dependence on the Holy Spirit for production of Christ-like life.

“Christ is formed in you” has the verb “is formed” in the passive voice. This means Christ, the subject, is passively formed and not actively doing the forming.

Christ does not do it himself, but another power is forming Christ in the Galatians.

This opens the door for the remainder of the book. The life in the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit forms Christ in believers

Romans 8:29

Ephesians 4:16,17

One of Paul’s burdens: Signs of Christian Growth in the believers 2 Corinthians 11:28

4:20 “change my tone” could be translated “exchange words with you.”