1 Now I say that so long as an heir is a child, he in no respect differs from a slave, although he is the owner of everything,

2 but he is under the control of guardians and trustees until the time his father has appointed.

3 So we also, when spiritually we were children, were subject to the world's rudimentary notions, and were enslaved.

4 But, when the time was fully come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born subject to Law,

5 in order to purchase the freedom of all who were subject to Law, so that we might receive recognition as sons.

6 And because you are sons, God has sent out the Spirit of His Son to enter your hearts and cry »Abba! our Father!«

7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir also through God's own act.

8 But at one time, you Gentiles, having no knowledge of God, were slaves to gods which in reality do not exist.

9 Now, however, having come to know God –or rather to be known by Him– how is it you are again turning back to weak and worthless rudimentary notions to which you are once more willing to be enslaved?

10 You scrupulously observe days and months, special seasons, and years.

11 I am alarmed about you, and am afraid that I have perhaps bestowed labour upon you to no purpose.

12 Brethren, become as I am, I beseech you; for I have also become like you. In no respect did you behave badly to me.

13 And you know that in those early days it was on account of bodily infirmity that I proclaimed the Good News to you,

14 and yet the bodily infirmity which was such a trial to you, you did not regard with contempt or loathing, but you received me as if I had been an angel of God or Christ Jesus Himself!

15 I ask you, then, what has become of your self-congratulations? For I bear you witness that had it been possible you would have torn out your own eyes and have given them to me.

16 Can it be that I have become your enemy through speaking the truth to you?

17 These men pay court to you, but not with honourable motives. They want to exclude you, so that you may pay court to them.

18 It is always an honourable thing to be courted in an honourable cause; always, and not only when I am with you, my children–

19 you for whom I am again, as it were, undergoing the pains of childbirth, until Christ is fully formed within you.

20 Would that I were with you and could change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

21 Tell me –you who want to continue to be subject to Law– will you not listen to the Law?

22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave-girl and one by the free woman.

23 But we see that the child of the slave-girl was born in the common course of nature; but the child of the free woman in fulfilment of the promise.

24 All this is allegorical; for the women represent two Covenants. One has its origin on Mount Sinai, and bears children destined for slavery.

25 This is Hagar; for the name Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, which is in bondage together with her children.

26 But the Jerusalem which is above is free, and she is our mother.

27 For it is written, »Rejoice, thou barren woman that bearest not, break forth into a joyful cry, thou that dost not travail with child. For the desolate woman has many children–more indeed than she who has the husband.«

28 But you, brethren, like Isaac, are children born in fulfilment of a promise.

29 Yet just as, at that time, the child born in the common course of nature persecuted the one whose birth was due to the power of the Spirit, so it is now.

30 But what says the Scripture? »Send away the slave-girl and her son, for never shall the slave-girl's son share the inheritance with the son of the free woman.«

31 Therefore, brethren, since we are not the children of a slave-girl, but of the free woman–