Galatians 4:17

17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them.

Galatians 4:17 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.
English Standard Version (ESV)
17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.
New Living Translation (NLT)
17 Those false teachers are so eager to win your favor, but their intentions are not good. They are trying to shut you off from me so that you will pay attention only to them.
The Message Bible (MSG)
17 Those heretical teachers go to great lengths to flatter you, but their motives are rotten. They want to shut you out of the free world of God's grace so that you will always depend on them for approval and direction, making them feel important.
American Standard Version (ASV)
17 They zealously seek you in no good way; nay, they desire to shut you out, that ye may seek them.
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
17 These people [who distort the Good News] are devoted to you, but not in a good way. They don't want you to associate with me so that you will be devoted only to them.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
17 They are enthusiastic about you, but not for any good. Instead, they want to isolate you so you will be enthusiastic about them.
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
17 Those people are trying hard to win you over. But it is not for your good. They want to take you away from us. They want you to commit yourselves to them.

Galatians 4:17 Meaning and Commentary

Galatians 4:17

They zealously affect you
Or "are jealous of you"; meaning the false apostles, whose names, in contempt, he mentions not, being unworthy to be taken notice of, and their names to be transmitted to posterity. These were jealous of them, not with a godly jealousy, as the apostle was, lest their minds should be corrupted from the simplicity of the Gospel; but they were jealous, lest they should love the apostle more than they, and therefore represented him in a very bad light, and expressed great love and kindness for them themselves:

but not well;
their zeal and affection were not hearty, and sincere, and without dissimulation, but were all feigned, were only in word and in tongue, not in deed, and in truth: this zealous affection neither proceeded from right principles, nor with right views; they sought themselves, and their own carnal worldly interest, their own pleasure and profit, and not the good and welfare of the souls of these Galatians:

yea, they would exclude you;
that is, either from the apostle, from bearing any love unto, and having any respect for him. What they were wishing and seeking for was to draw off the minds and affections of these persons from him; or they were desirous of removing them from the Gospel of Christ unto another Gospel, and did all they could to hinder them from obeying the truth; and particularly were for shutting them out of their Christian liberty, and bringing them under the bondage of the law; yea, were for separating them from the churches, that they might set up themselves at the head of them. Some copies read "us", instead of "you"; and then the meaning is, that they were desirous of excluding the apostle from their company, and from having any share in their affections, which makes little alteration in the sense: and others, instead of "exclude", read "include"; and which is confirmed by the Syriac version, which renders the word (Nwkvbxml) , "but they would include you"; that is, either they would include, or imprison you under the law, and the bondage of it; or they would monopolize you, and engross all your love to themselves; and which is also the sense of the Arabic version:

that you might affect them;
love them, show respect to them, be on their side, follow their directions, imbibe their doctrines, and give up yourselves wholly to their care, and be at their call and command.

Galatians 4:17 In-Context

15 Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.
16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them.
18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you.
19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,

Cross References 1

  • 1. Galatians 2:4,12
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