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Read Introduction to Galatians


“…but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.”


but is under guardians

Paul uses two terms that carry the idea of entrusting someone with the incredible fortune of someone else: 1) “guardians” and 2) “stewards.” Both of these terms indicate that others have authority over the heir of the estate that is not their own.

A “guardian” was one to whose care something is committed. The term comes from two Greek words: upon and to turn or direct. This individual has delegated authority over the person of the child of the estate. He was a guardian of his daily life. He ensured he combed his hair and that he washed behind his ears. He was both an attendant and a bodyguard. The Mosaic law is an attendant and bodyguard to teach believers how to conduct themselves.

and stewards

The second term is a “steward,” literally one who rules a house. This person managed the estate of the heir until he came of age. He had authority over the property of the heir.

until the time appointed by the father

The word “appointed” denotes set beforehand, prearranged. The heir’s father secured a time when the child would become an adult. This was an Athenian legal term for the termination of childhood set by the child’s father.

In the argument of Galatians, God, the “father,” is the originator of the decision as to when the ceremony would take place. He gives believers positional rights at the moment of salvation in the economy of grace.


In the dispensation of grace, we have special privileges with God.


In God’s eternal timing, He appointed a time when the believer would operate under grace. The issue that the law had to rule over believers shows its insufficiency. A child must be subject to rules and regulations. The law was incapable of bestowing full liberty of Christian living. There came a time when God appointed the grace concept to engage the life of believers fully. This was the point when the Son of God stepped foot on earth.

“And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:16-17).

When Christians revert to the law, they put themselves back under the guardianship of rules and regulations. When we accept the work of Christ, we live under the privileges of grace.