Sacred Texts  Christianity  Calvin  Index  Previous  Next 

Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 41: Galatians and Ephesians, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at


1 Now I say: As long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a slave,  187 though he is lord of all;

2 But is under tutors and guardians, till the time appointed by the father.

3 So also we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.

4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, subjected under the law;

5 That he might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive adoption.  188

6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

7 Wherefore thou art no longer a slave  189 but a son; and if a son, likewise an heir of God by Christ.

8 But at the time when ye knew not God, ye served those who by nature are not gods.

9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather have been known by God, why do ye turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, which you again desire to serve, anew?  190

10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

11 I am afraid of you, lest perhaps I have labored among you in vain.

12 Be ye as I; for I also am as you. Brethren, I beseech you; ye have done me no injury.

13 Now ye knew that, through infirmity of the flesh, I formerly preached the gospel to you;

14 And the trial of me, which was in my flesh, ye despised not, nor rejected;  191 but ye received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus.

15 Where is then your blessedness? for I bear you witness, that, if it had been possible, ye would even have plucked out your own eyes, and would have given them to me.

16 Am I therefore become your enemy by speaking the truth?

17 They are jealous of you, not well;  192 yea, they wish to exclude you, that ye may be jealous of them.

18 But it is good to be the object of jealousy always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

19 My little children, for whom I again travail in birth; till Christ be formed in you,

20 I would wish now to be present with you, and to change my voice; for I am distressed about you.

21 Tell me, ye who wish to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?

22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons; one by the bond-maid, the other by the free-woman.

23 But he who (was) of the bond-maid was born according to the flesh; but he who, (was) of the free-woman, by promise.

24 Which things are allegorical  193 for there are two covenants; one indeed from mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, that is Agar.

25 For Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and, on the other hand, corresponds to that which is now Jerusalem; for she is in bondage with her children.

26 But Jerusalem, which is above, is free, which is the mother of us all.

27 For it is written: Rejoice, O barren, who bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not; for more are the children of the forsaken than of her who hath a husband. (Isa 54:1.)

28 Now we, brethren, like Isaac, are children of the promise. (Ro 9:7.)

29 But as, at that time, he who was born according to the flesh, persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit; so also is it now.

30 But what saith the scripture? Cast out the bond-maid, and her son; for the son of the bond-maid shall not obtain the inheritance with the so, of the free-woman.

31 Wherefore, brethren, we are not children of the bond-woman, but of the free.



Il n’est different en rien du serf.” “He is not different in any respect from the slave.”


A celle fin que receussions l’adoption des enfans.” “To this end, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”


Maintenant tu n’es plus serf.”


Ausquels vous voulez derechef servir comme auparavant.” “Which you desire again to serve as formerly.”


Et n’avez point mesprise ne rejette l’espreuve de moy, telle qu’elle estoit en ma chair.” “And ye despised not, nor rejected, the trial of me, such as it was in my flesh.”


Non point pour bien.” “Not for good.”


Lesquelles choses sent dites par allegorie.” “Which things are spoken by allegory.”

Next: Chapter 5