Galatians 4:4-5 – The Fullness of Time

By Wayne Jackson

In his letter to the churches of Galatia, Paul affirms that the Son of God came to this earth at just the right time in the divine scheme of things. He expresses the thought like this:

“But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law” (4:4).

For centuries this time had been in preparation and various societal elements had contributed to it.

  1. The Jews, with their concept of monotheism and the Old Testament Scriptures (with scores of prophecies regarding the Messiah) had prepared the way.
  2. The Greeks had provided a language that was the most precise instrument for the conveyance of human thought the world had ever known.
  3. The Romans had given humanity a time of peace and marvelous transportation and communication systems.

When Jesus was born, it was indeed the fullness of time. Underline the phrase “fullness of time,” and in your margin record: Hebrews—Scriptures; Greeks—language; Romans—peace. These will remind you of the providential preparation of God in anticipation of the sending of His Son.

The next verse also reveals that the death of Christ was necessary — even for those who lived under the law of Moses.

“[T]hat he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:5).

The animal sacrifices of that system were unable to provide a complete remedy for human transgression. This same truth is affirmed in the book of Hebrews (9:15-17), hence enter this reference in your margin in connection with verse 5.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.