A serious issue in Paul's "Epistle to the Galatians"!


Paul said according to NIV, KJV, and DRA versions of the Bible:
*****(Galatians 4:30)NIV:
*"But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”
***(Galatians 4:30)KJV:
*“Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.”
***(Galatians 4:30)DRA:
*“But what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son; for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman.”

The actual Scripture which Paul is referring to is (Genesis 21:10) :
Sarah said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

I don’t understand how Paul did not include that in his quote, when someone says “the Scripture says” it implies that the "Holy Spirit" is saying that, but actually in that particular quote "Sarah" was the one who said that.

For example, I cannot say “the Scripture says” and quote “Satan” !!!

:(:(:frowning: To be honest with you this is a very serious issue for me:

  1. Because of that wrong quote referenced by Paul.
  2. Paul’s tone in that letter towards “Hagar”, because even GOD himself showed sympathy towards her in (Genesis 21) and Paul did not !!!


Have no fear, Sam!!

Please note first of all that Galatia was referring to an ancient part of what is now Turkey. So you cannot see Galatians as being descendants of the Jewish people.

And St. Paul is the evangelist to the Gentiles. You and I are Gentile because we are not Jewish. It is the Gentiles who were more open to receiving the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The passage you referred to is simply that of St. Paul using Scripture to further his point. In the Septuagint tradition…that came about 200 years before Christ, the tradition of interpretation that the Apostles used in understanding Sacred Scripture, is the tradition Catholic bibles follow, because this interpretation of Scriptures prepared us for the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

In the Septuagint tradition, it is Sarah who was barren, not Hagar. So you could at first think that the Gentile was barren of the tradition of faith unlike the Jews, chosen by God to bring forth the Messiah. But the purpose of the Jewish people and their geneology and separateness from other people, was again for the purpose to bring forth the Messiah, as well as their moral code found in the 10 commandments.

So being Jewish then was only part of salvation history. Salvation history was completed in Jesus Christ Who transcended the law and the covenant of the land, through Paul, the Good News of Christ to be transmitted throughout the world.

Subsequently, Sarah became not only the mother of Isaac, but also the mother of all of us who have faith, be we Gentile or Jew. Again, he is only using the passage as an allegory.
In Jesus, dying to ourselves and slavery to our own flesh, through the Lord’s death on the cross and His resurrection, we are now free and are called to peace and communion.

In peace and centering on Christ every day, we encounter freedom and life, irregardless of the world around us. You are called by grace to believe in Him, you know His freedom and life.

We must protect and nurture our inner peace and tranquility as it enables us to judge God’s path for us and listen to the Holy Spirit guiding us. We must pray to the Lord to help us protect our inner peace and to avoid all that vexes or troubles us.

Hope that helps.

Happy New Year!


God bless you!


Paul was showing a spiritual truth (a ‘figurative’ lesson) that a bondperson (someone that is still a ‘slave to sin’) will not partake of the blessings of an heir because they are still a servant/slave (spiritually speaking ‘a babe’).

"For **every one that useth milk **is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
Hebrews 5:13 (see also 1 Peter 2:2)

A babe in Christ, though very much a part of the kingdom of God, is not yet mature and therefore, still a servant/slave.

Paul said there were believers whom he could not feed with meat because they were still babes in Christ, though by then they should have gone onto spiritual maturity and become heirs with Christ:

“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” (Heb. 15:12, see also 1 Cor. 3:2)

“Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all” (Galatians 4:1)

The person who still has need of milk has not yet gone on to receive their spiritual inheritance. The mature feed on meat (skillful in the word of righteousness).

“Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Gal. 4:7)

A word of caution though, spiritual milk is absolutely necessary in order to grow properly in Christ (I’d say give yourself a minimum of 7 years, especially if you’ve had a troubled past) but some people try to rush the process and it’s disastrous. Others however, have been 10 years or more in the faith and are no more spiritually ahead then when they began and it’s to those people that Paul was speaking about that he couldn’t yet feed them with meat because they were still in spiritual bondage. :slight_smile:


I think this is partly a translation issue. I looked up the Greek word and the word Paul uses there is lego. Now “lego” is mostly used in the context of “speaking”, but it can also mean

to teach, to exhort, advise, to command, direct, to point out with words, intend, mean, mean to say, to call by name, to call, name, mention

So I think Paul may have used the word in the sense of

“What does the scripture teach?” instead of “What does the scripture say?”

If we see Genesis, right after Sarah tells Abraham to cast Hagar out, God says to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the lad and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your descendants be named.” (Genesis 21:12)

This means that it is indeed the teaching of scripture and therefore Paul can rightly quote that.


Sam is a Saudi.

Jesus came for all mankind.


Because Paul was human, and in all likelihood he was quoting from memory. Books were insanely expensive, so it’s unlikely that a travelling preacher like Paul would be carrying an entire library with him.


The chapter is talking about a comparison between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, and who are members of each covenant, and how each covenant had people who are not allowed to be a part of the covenant. For the Old, it was those born of Hagar, and for the New it is those who are children of the world, who refuse to give up the world.


Thanks WesleyF, that one of my expectations, BUT I need a definitive proof that it’s a translation issue, maybe sister in Christ (jakasaki) can help in that…


weller2 you are brave enough to say that…

Then I would assume that he wasn’t guided by the “Holy Spirit” when he was preaching that verse, therefore, “Epistle to the Galatians” should not be in the Bible, Right?


Sorry zz912, but that is irrelevant!, you could be right only if Pual had referenced “Sarah” instead of the “Scripture”.


To Shin, jakasaki; dolphinlove; dzheremi; KathleenGee, here what I think:

  1. There is a translation issue.
  2. The writer who transferred “Epistle to the Galatians” from the papyrus made a mistake.
  3. “Epistle to the Galatians” is unreliable scripture.
  4. “Epistle to the Galatians” got corrupted through time.
  5. Paul made a mistake.

But where is the “Holy Spirit” in all of that !!!

:blush: To be honest with you, this issue could set me many steps backwards from Christianity.


Perhaps you may want to go a few verses back. In Verse 22, Paul quotes “It is written…”. The Bible is a collection of various writings that is inspired by the HS no doubt. But that does not mean every sentence is uttered by the HS. The words may come from anyone; Abraham, Moses, Job, Satan etc As long as the audience knows which material is being referred to and who said what, there is no confusion. Paul technically is correct, what was quoted was indeed written and I believe the audience knew the rest of the story since they have been converted already. Therefore later on when he said “Scripture says” in verse 30" the audience knew what he was referring to. Perhaps you are not comfortable how that particular verse was worded and proper credits not given to. But if you were to quote the HS every time, you probably ended up like "Moses inspired by the HS said that Abraham said/wrote this and that… which will renders the OT/NT pretty much convoluted. Luckily for us, we know the whole Bible is inspired by God and we don’t have to quote God on every line.

Actually I failed to see your point on the quoting bit. We quote Bible verses from time to time and some verses have become so “memorable” that the audience often times does not need to know who said what. They already knew. For example, if I were to say even just the first part of the verse, the knowing ones will know how to complete it automatically e.g. For God So love the world that…Another example 2000 yrs ago when Jesus was dying on the cross he cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”. Those Jews nearby would know that Jesus was quoting the first part of Psalms 22:1. No, he didn’t give credit to the author of Psalms either.

  1. Paul’s tone in that letter towards “Hagar”, because even GOD himself showed sympathy towards her in (Genesis 21) and Paul did not !!!

Please refer to verses 24-26. He said it is an allegory for the then enslaved Jerusalem and the free Jerusalem. As Paul was preaching to the Gentiles, he assured them/us we can be saved too. We are no longer held by OT’s notion of Hagar’s slavehood i.e. salvation is not for the Jews only but Gentiles also.

It is better to read the Bible in context than reading individual verses independently. Perhaps in your location access to Bible knowledge could be scarce. However there are many folks on Catholic Answers who would be able to shed some light on difficult portions rather than doubting the Bible before you got the answers. I see that you have listed 5 errors/corruption/unreliable material as reasons but I didn’t see personal misunderstanding. Please give the Bible a fair chance.


The OP is wrong.

“Scripture” does not refer to the “Holy Spirit”. “Scripture” is the canonical collection of written history regarding God’s relationship with his human creations, which at the time Paul was writing consisted of the Jewish Torah. The "Holy Spirit’ proceeds from the Father and the Son. God didn’t write a book, and the Holy Spirit is, well, a spirit, so it can never engage in physical speech. You will never find any reference in the bible to the Holy Spirit “speaking”. God speaks, Christ speaks, God’s angels speak on His behalf - the Holy Spirit never “speaks”.

Scripture and Holy Spirit are two entirely different things.


Only if you believe that Holy Spirit was guiding Paul’s hand.

But if you read any texts by mystics, this is not how it works. Rather, during a prophetic episode, mystic’s mind connects directly to God, and ideas are exchanged without words. When the episode ends, the mystic then writes down what he has learned. So at the writing stage, the mystic is limited to what he remembers and words he knows.

A good analogy would be receiving an expected phone call: “Hi, God here. I want you to tell people X, Y, and Z. Got any questions? The answer is… Anything else? Good. Bye!”

And as far as we know, Paul only had one prophetic episode, so it’s not like he could check directly with God every time he was writing something.

It is in the Bible, because Councils of Laodicea, Hippo and Carthage decided that it should be in the Bible. There are whole books written on the subject how precisely they have arrived at this decision.


Matthew 10:19-20: But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.


It’s a tempest in a tea pot. Sarah is quoted in Genesis, and it is perfectly legitimate to cite either the original person speaking or the written source of the quote. Since Paul is instructing the church, it makes sense to cite the Scriptures (“the Writings”) as authoritative, rather than Sarah. Just as a minister can speak on the words of the devil to Jesus during the temptation to edify and exhort his listeners, so the words of various individuals quoted in the Bible can be used to discuss God’s purpose and activities.

It’s rather like saying the statements of Atticus Finch aren’t part of To Kill A Mockingbird because Scout is the narrative voice. :rolleyes:


Post # 3 is the best answer. Also, remember that the Holy Spirit spoke through the Prophets and through the Apostles, So when Paul speaks in Sarah’s person, it is the Holy Spirit who is using both Paurl and Sarah to teach us what He wants us to learn. The lesson to be learned is best expressed by post # 3. It has nothing to do with Arab Muslims or any Muslims today, not specifically anyway. The Holy Sprit is using Paul and Sarah to say "… Grow up and be real Saints, not children who have learned nothing. "



Which one are you referring to?


To the incident on the road to Damascus, of course. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_of_Paul AFAIK Paul does not mention that he received any more revelations.


Paul had more than one “mystical” episode in his life. He saw Jesus on the road; and he was taken up into heaven while still alive, not knowing whether he went in the spirit or the flesh.

However, since his Biblical letters are inspired, all his Biblical letters are prophetic in nature. God doesn’t have to give you a mystical vision for you to be an inspired prophet; this was true in the OT and the NT both.

And of course, the author of 2nd Maccabees was a prophetically inspired editor of some other guy named Jason’s uninspired five volume book – which goes to show that God is truly impartial and doesn’t treat humans the way we expect!

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