8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.
8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.
8 Earlier, before you knew God personally, you were enslaved to so-called gods that had nothing of the divine about them.
8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.
8 Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist.
Matthew Henry's Commentary on Galatians 4:8
Commentary on Galatians 4:8-11
(Read Galatians 4:8-11)
The happy change whereby the Galatians were turned from idols to the living God, and through Christ had received the adoption of sons, was the effect of his free and rich grace; they were laid under the greater obligation to keep to the liberty wherewith he had made them free. All our knowledge of God begins on his part; we know him because we are known of him. Though our religion forbids idolatry, yet many practise spiritual idolatry in their hearts. For what a man loves most, and cares most for, that is his god: some have their riches for their god, some their pleasures, and some their lusts. And many ignorantly worship a god of their own making; a god made all of mercy and no justice. For they persuade themselves that there is mercy for them with God, though they repent not, but go on in their sins. It is possible for those who have made great professions of religion, to be afterwards drawn aside from purity and simplicity. And the more mercy God has shown, in bringing any to know the gospel, and the liberties and privileges of it, the greater their sin and folly in suffering themselves to be deprived of them. Hence all who are members of the outward church should learn to fear and to suspect themselves. We must not be content because we have some good things in ourselves. Paul fears lest his labour is in vain, yet he still labours; and thus to do, whatever follows, is true wisdom and the fear of God. This every man must remember in his place and calling.