Galatians 4:9

But now, after you have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
What follows, as it were, reintroduces a question that has already been explored. Through the whole letter he has shown that no one has disturbed the faith of the Galatians except those who were of the circumcision, who wished to lead them into carnal observations of the law as though salvation were in them. In this place alone he seems to speak to those who were attempting to return to Gentile superstitions…. For in saying “you have reverted,” since he is speaking not to the circumcised but to Gentiles, as appears in the whole letter, he does not say at all that they have reverted to circumcision, in which they had never been, but he says “to the weak and beggarly elements,” which you wish to serve again as before.

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
But now after that ye have known God, &c. Known by God, as beloved sons of their Father. "God is ignorant of no one," says S. Jerome, "but He is said to know those who have exchanged error for piety." Better still, it may be rendered, made to know, taught by God, by a common Hebraism. The Hiphil ("he caused to know") and the Hophal ("he was made to know") have no exact equivalent voice in Latin or Greek, and are, therefore, expressed by a participle, with a loss of the force of the original Hebrew. Cf1Cor. viii3. In other places, God is said to know when He makes us to know; and the Holy Spirit is said to cry aloud, or to pray, when He makes us cry aloud or pray. Cf. Romans 8:26. The meaning of the verse Isaiah , therefore, this: Since you have been taught by God inwardly by His grace, outwardly by our preaching what is the way of salvation in Christ, why do you turn again to the elements of the law, to be taught perfection by them? You are like a metaphysician beginning again the ele...

Gaius Marius Victorinus

AD 400
When he introduces the “beggarly elements of this world,” this seems rather to concern the pagans, who make gods for themselves even from the elements of this world…. Since, however, the whole of his discourse and the whole of this treatise were undertaken to reprimand the Galatians for their conversion to Judaism, and all these things are to be understood of the Jews, how do we understand “you are turned again to the weak”? When therefore he says “the beggarly elements” of this world, he means those who, understanding the law carnally, have clung to the contingent elements of this world. For the flesh is always hungering. It yearns for the sustenance of food and drink and objects of desire, all of which, however, are weak . .

Gaius Marius Victorinus

AD 400
He preserves the essence of his own teaching, that those who come to Christ are the ones whom God sends and God calls, and those who know God are the ones that God knows…. For those who are known of God receive the Spirit by which they know God. .

Ignatius of Antioch

AD 108
By whose blood ye were redeemed; by whom ye have known God, or rather have been known by Him;


AD 420
Now these same elements that he has now styled “weak and beggarly” he called above merely the “elements of the world.” … And so I think that so long as someone is an infant … he is subject to the elements, namely, the law of Moses. But when after [receiving] the freedom due to an heir he reverts again to the law, desiring to be circumcised and to follow the whole letter of Jewish legal illusions, then those things that were merely the elements of the world to him before are now said to be “weak and beggarly elements.” … The law of Moses, which before was rich, affluent and illustrious, became after Christ’s advent and in comparison with him “weak and beggarly.” … The “weak and beggarly elements” are those unworthy traditions of the Jews, which interpret according to the letter. They were poor excuses for interpretations and “commandments that were not good.” –.

John Chrysostom

AD 407
What he is saying is something like this: “When you were in darkness and lived in error you were in an abject condition. But now, when you have known God or rather been known by him, how can you not bring on yourselves a greater and harsher punishment, when you suffer the same disease after so much therapy?” Homily on Galatians

Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
Ten other ¦ons after them spring, and then the twelve others arise with their wonderful names, to complete the mere story of the thirty ¦ons. The same apostle, when disapproving of those who are "in bondage to elements". Now, from whom comes this grace, but from Him who proclaimed the promise thereof? Who is (our) Father, but He who is also our Maker? Therefore, after such affluence (of grace), they should not have returned "to weak and beggarly elements."

The Apostolic Constitutions

AD 375
But to you, the converted of the Gentiles, is the kingdom given, because you, who knew not God, have believed by preaching, and "have known Him, or rather are known of Him"

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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