"When the fullness of time came…"

Glenn Addington By Glenn Addington, 20th Jun 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

This phrase occurs in the book of Galatians, but Paul doesn't explain it. Here is the answer to the question, "What did Paul mean by that phrase?"

Have we wondered why Jesus came at that particular time in history?

What did Paul mean?
The question has often been asked. “Why did God send Jesus at the particular time that He did?” Many have said that they wished they had lived during the time of Jesus’ ministry. They would have loved to hear Him teach, would have been in awe if they had seen one of His miracles of healing. Imagine having been there for the feeding of the 5,000 or the 4,000, or having been there among the 500 who saw Jesus after His resurrection.

What did Paul mean by that phrase?

Back to the original questions; why did God send Jesus at the particular time that He did? What did Paul mean by the expression, “… when the fullness of time came”?
Let’s go to that text right now. Galatians 4:4-5 “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

God's preparation for the coming of the Son

Several things took place in the Middle East to set the stage for the coming of Jesus.
I. The Greek Language -The conquest of much of the Middle East and more by Alexander the Great spread the Greek culture, but, more importantly, the Greek language. This was the language God chose for the New Testament to be written in, as it was the most expressive. For instance, there are 4 words in New Testament Greek to express the various types of love: family, casual or that with friends, erotic, and the greatest, called agape. The last is the greatest, because it is not based on emotion, but on the will. Its intent is to do the utmost good for the other individual, not based on selfish motives, with no thought for the cost or imposition to the one acting for the good of the other. There is no consideration of the worth or value of the other person – only that there is the need, so the act is done to benefit the other person. Though Rome later conquered the known world, and Latin was the language of the Romans, Latin would not supplant Greek as the language of the day. As stated above, this was God’s choice for the New Testament.
II. The Roman Empire
A. The Roman Road System -It was also God’s intent that Rome rule the world at that time. With the vastness of the Roman Empire, the need was realized for good roads so that soldiers could be quickly dispatched to any part of the empire. It was said that soldiers could be sent and arrive anywhere in the Empire within 24 hours. With these roads in place, the apostle Paul and any others who would spread the gospel had tremendous capability to travel. Along with these roads, the soldiers sent by the government had eradicated any place where robbers would have formerly stopped and robbed or killed those who came their way. This was also certainly a blessing to those intent on spreading the gospel message. The apostle Paul does speak of 'danger from robbers', so the problem wasn't solved 100 percent, but it was far better than it time past.
B. Freedom on the Seas - Another positive aspect of Rome's governing was their purging of the piracy on the high seas. The Mediterranean Sea, large as it is, offered great opportunities for piracy. This was one thing that Rome had put a stop to. We read of Paul and others getting aboard ship and traveling from place to place. Before Rome came into power, piracy in the Mediterranean Sea was a problem. Once Rome came into power, this was another problem that was dealt with. This allowed Paul and others traveling in the region to do so freely, with no fear of being overtaken while on board ship and being robbed, kidnapped, or killed.

Failure of the Greek and Roman gods

The cities in ancient Greece were 'city-states'. They were self-governing, and often had their own gods that they looked to for protection from invading outsiders. When they were conquered by other nations, they believed their 'god' had failed them.
When we read the stories of the ancient Greek and Roman gods, we encounter accounts of their deception, perversity and worse.
Despite the moral corruption that we often hear of being common in the first century, there were many were weary of the immorality associated the many gods and the religions of the day, who were drawn to the moral integrity of the practicing Jew, and the demands of the God they worshipped. His demand for personal righteousness had a definite appeal to those who had a true moral perspective.
More could be said on this subject, but I will leave the rest of the research up to you.
Scripture passages are from the New American Standard Bible or the English Standard Version. Your comments are welcomed. Click on the line under my name
above to see the entire list of my published articles. Thank you!!


Apostle Paul, Gods Timing, New Testament

Meet the author

author avatar Glenn Addington
I am an American, former Viet Nam veteran, and a Christian, living in East Tennessee. I am now retired and am pursuing a writing career. I would welcome writing assignments.

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author avatar Len
8th Aug 2018 (#)

Well thought out! An excellent presentation.

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author avatar Brenda wilson
5th Mar 2019 (#)

Always so interesting how God uses other empires, peoples, even languages to smooth the way for the spread of the Gospel! Thank you for your thought provoking articles!

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