Galatians 4:11-14

11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

12 Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you. You have not injured me at all.

13 You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first.

14 And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

afraid for you (v.11) — apprehensive about you. They were in danger and he was concerned.

vain (v.11) — to no purpose

become like me (v.12) = become as I. Paul laid aside his reliance on, and pride in, the law and now encourages them to do the same (1 Corinthians 9:21).

not injured (v.12) — When Paul was in Galatia, they treated him justly. In fact (v.14), they received him with kindness in spite of his infirmity. It was probably because of this infirmity that he ended up in Galatia at all. Paul was sick in Galatia , perhaps with an unappealing eye condition (Galatians 6:1), but he took the opportunity to preach.

His words in Galatians 6:1, “Ye see with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand,” confirm this, the large Greek letters being necessary because of his impaired vision. A further confirmation of this is found in the fact that in the lowlands of Pamphylia, a region through which Paul had just passed on his way to Pisidian Antioch, an oriental eye disease called ophthalmia was prevalent. In addition to all this, the Greek words translated despised and rejected indicate that the illness caused him to have a repulsive appearance, which answers to the symptoms of ophthalmia. — Galatians in the Greek New Testament, by Kenneth S. Wuest, page 125.

trial (v.14) — Paul’s infirmity was such as to normally cause repugnance to those who saw it.

despise (v.14) = spit out, reject, spurn

reject (v.14) = to hold and treat as of no account.

received me as an angel (v.14) — received him as they would have received an angel. When Paul and Barnabas healed the lame man at Lystra (Galatians 1:8), the Galatians thought they were Greek gods.

Paul, born a Jew, set aside his faith (recognizing its emptiness), and placed himself on a level with the Gentiles. Now he exhorts the Gentiles to lay aside the supposed superiority the Judaizers are pushing and become like him.

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