When studying the Bible often times there are analogies leads us to what God is wanting to say to us. As we look at chapter 4 of the book of Galatians we will see such a thing.
How can Gentiles inherit the promises God gave to Abraham? Some people said that Gentiles ought to keep the laws of Moses if they want to be part of the covenant people. Paul said no!
Paul ends chapter 3 by saying that Gentiles can inherit the promises of salvation without any need to keep the laws of Moses (Galatians 3:29). In chapter 4, Paul uses two analogies to explain what he means, however we will focus on the first one. Notice the analogy Paul uses.
“What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate.” If a father died early, he might leave his estate to a young child. The child, although the legal owner, would not have authority to run the estate. A trustee would manage the estate and would have authority over the legal owner, as long as the heir was under age”
The underage child (verses 1-3)
In the analogy Paul is creating, the child is Judaism. Jews had the promise of salvation, but not salvation itself. They were heirs, but had not yet inherited the blessings. They were like an underage child in another respect, too: They were under authority. In wealthy Greek families, children were supervised by slaves, and the children had to obey orders just as much as the slaves did. The child “is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.”
The law was “put in charge” for a while, but we are no longer under its supervision (3:24-25). People who put themselves under the old covenant are putting themselves back into slavery, when the Father wants them to come to Paul includes himself in this description: “So also, when we [the Jews] were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world.” These “basic principles” are the basics (the word used to describe the ABCs, the schoolwork done by elementary-age children).