9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements [stoicheion], whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Paul answered the quesion of verse 9 in Galatians 3:
Stoicheion means: the elements of first principles of matter from which other things proceed in order of which they are composed (2 Peter 3:10, 12). Figuratively refers to the elements of first principles of the Christian doctrine (Hebrews 5:12). Paul calls the ceremonial ordinances of the Mosaic Law the element of the world or worldy elements (Galatians 4:3; Colossians 2:8,20). In Galatians 4:9, he calls them weak and poor elements when considered merely in themselves and in opposition to the great realities to which they were designed to lead. These elements contain the rudiments of the knowledge of Christ. The Law, as a schoolmaster, was to bring the Jews to this knowledge (Galatians 3:24). They are called worldly as consisting in outward worldly institutions (Hebrews 9:1).
1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched [evil–eyed; withcraft] you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.