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Galatians 4:13-20

Context
Personal Appeal of Paul

4:13 But you know it was because of a physical illness that I first proclaimed the gospel to you, 4:14 and though my physical condition put you to the test, you did not despise or reject me. 1  Instead, you welcomed me as though I were an angel of God, 2  as though I were Christ Jesus himself! 3  4:15 Where then is your sense of happiness 4  now? For I testify about you that if it were possible, you would have pulled out your eyes and given them to me! 4:16 So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 5 

4:17 They court you eagerly, 6  but for no good purpose; 7  they want to exclude you, so that you would seek them eagerly. 8  4:18 However, it is good 9  to be sought eagerly 10  for a good purpose 11  at all times, and not only when I am present with you. 4:19 My children – I am again undergoing birth pains until Christ is formed in you! 12  4:20 I wish I could be with you now and change my tone of voice, 13  because I am perplexed about you.

1 tn Grk “your trial in my flesh you did not despise or reject.”

2 tn Or “the angel of God.” Linguistically, “angel of God” is the same in both testaments (and thus, he is either “an angel of God” or “the angel of God” in both testaments). For arguments and implications, see ExSyn 252; M. J. Davidson, “Angels,” DJG, 9; W. G. MacDonald argues for “an angel” in both testaments: “Christology and ‘The Angel of the Lord’,” Current Issues in Biblical and Patristic Interpretation, 324-35.

3 tn Grk “as an angel of God…as Christ Jesus.” This could be understood to mean either “you welcomed me like an angel of God would,” or “you welcomed me as though I were an angel of God.” In context only the second is accurate, so the translation has been phrased to indicate this.

4 tn Or “blessedness.”

5 tn Or “have I become your enemy because I am telling you the truth?” The participle ἀληθεύων (alhqeuwn) can be translated as a causal adverbial participle or as a participle of means (as in the translation).

6 tn Or “They are zealous for you.”

7 tn Or “but not commendably” (BDAG 505 s.v. καλῶς 2).

8 tn Or “so that you would be zealous.”

9 tn Or “commendable.”

10 tn Or “to be zealous.”

11 tn Grk “But it is always good to be zealous in good.”

12 tn Grk “My children, for whom I am again undergoing birth pains until Christ is formed in you.” The relative clauses in English do not pick up the emotional force of Paul’s language here (note “tone of voice” in v. 20, indicating that he is passionately concerned for them); hence, the translation has been altered slightly to capture the connotative power of Paul’s plea.

sn That is, until Christ’s nature or character is formed in them (see L&N 58.4).

13 tn Grk “voice” or “tone.” The contemporary English expression “tone of voice” is a good approximation to the meaning here.



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