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The Letter of Paul to the Galatians: Chapter 6

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1My friends, a Gk Brothers if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. 2Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill b Other ancient authorities read in this way fulfill the law of Christ. 3For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. 4All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor's work, will become a cause for pride. 5For all must carry their own loads.

6Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.

7Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow.8If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. 10So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

11See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand! 12It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. 14May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which c Or through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15For d Other ancient authorities add in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! 16As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

17From now on, let no one make trouble for me; for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body. 18May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. e Gk brothers Amen.

Notes:

a Gk Brothers

b Other ancient authorities read in this way fulfill

c Or through whom

d Other ancient authorities add in Christ Jesus

e Gk brothers

Text Commentary view alone
Commentary spanning earlier chapters

5.2–6.10 : Practical applications and exhortations.

5.13–6.10 : The behavior of those called in freedom to live by the Spirit.

Paul presents a Christian ethic in reply to those demanding observance of the law from the Galatians.

6.1–10 : Paul offers the Galatians several maxims by which to judge their behavior.

2 :

The law of Christ may be a phrase Paul borrowed from his opponents; see also 1 Cor 9.21; Rom 8.2 . The Spirit enables the believer to live out the principle of love, thus fulfilling the law without observing its requirements.

6 :

Christian teachers are entitled to financial support from their church (1 Cor 9.14 ).

8 :

Rom 8.5–8 .

9 :

Not grow weary, Paul uses the same Greek verb in 2 Cor 4.1,16 (translated as “not lose heart”); see also Lk 18.1 .

10 :

The family of faith, lit. “members of the household of faith”; compare the phrase “household of God” in Eph 2.19; 1 Tim 3.15; 1 Pet 4.17 .

6.11–18 : Postscript.

11 :

Paul had dictated this letter to a secretary, but writes the conclusion in his own hand; see 1 Cor 16; 2 Thess 3.17 .

12–14 :

Boast about … flesh/boast … about the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, see also 1 Cor 1.29–31; Phil 3.2–4 . The flesh may be a double reference to circumcision and his opponents' pride in the success of their mission.

15 :

3.28; 5.6 . New creation, Rom 8.19–23; 2 Cor 5.17; also Rev 21.5 .

16–18 :

A two‐part blessing. V. 16 has the form of a traditional Jewish benediction and is conditional, bestowed on those who follow Paul's teaching. As such it is the counterpart to the curse in 1.8 . The address brothers and sisters in v. 18 does not appear in the final blessing of Paul's other letters and expresses the hope that the former warm relationship between the apostle and the community will be restored.

16 :

This rule has been summarized in v. 15 but is in fact the standards of Christian faith and behavior Paul has advocated throughout the letter. Israel of God, a phrase unique to this verse, equivalent to the “true Israel,” i.e., those who follow Paul's rule and not the teachings of his opponents.

17 :

Marks of Jesus, the scars from injuries inflicted on Paul during his mission (2 Cor 6.4–5; 11.23–25 ). Paul may also be suggesting that his scars identify him as belonging to Christ like the brand marks on a slave.

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