4:1 Now I mean that the heir, as long as he is a minor, 1 is no different from a slave, though he is the owner 2 of everything. 4:2 But he is under guardians 3 and managers until the date set by his 4 father. 4:3 So also we, when we were minors, 5 were enslaved under the basic forces 6 of the world. 4:4 But when the appropriate time 7 had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights. 8
1 tn Grk “a small child.” The Greek term νήπιος (nhpios) refers to a young child, no longer a helpless infant but probably not more than three or four years old (L&N 9.43). The point in context, though, is that this child is too young to take any responsibility for the management of his assets.
2 tn Grk “master” or “lord” (κύριος, kurios).
3 tn The Greek term translated “guardians” here is ἐπίτροπος (epitropo"), whose semantic domain overlaps with that of παιδαγωγός (paidagwgo") according to L&N 36.5.
4 tn Grk “the,” but the Greek article is used here as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215).
6 tn Or “basic principles,” “elemental things,” or “elemental spirits.” Some interpreters take this as a reference to supernatural powers who controlled nature and/or human fate.
7 tn Grk “the fullness of time” (an idiom for the totality of a period of time, with the implication of proper completion; see L&N 67.69).
8 tn The Greek term υἱοθεσία (Juioqesia) was originally a legal technical term for adoption as a son with full rights of inheritance. BDAG 1024 s.v. notes, “a legal t.t. of ‘adoption’ of children, in our lit., i.e. in Paul, only in a transferred sense of a transcendent filial relationship between God and humans (with the legal aspect, not gender specificity, as major semantic component).” Although some modern translations remove the filial sense completely and render the term merely “adoption” (cf. NAB), the retention of this component of meaning was accomplished in the present translation by the phrase “as sons.”