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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Galatians 6

Verse 1

TREATMENT OF AN ERRING BROTHER

1) "Brethren, if a man be overtaken," (adelphoi, ean kai prolemphthe anthropoa) "Brethren, if anyone is indeed overtaken;" The last verse protested against ill, unbrotherly tempers, while this appeals to brotherly love, even in spite of real wrong doing, when one is even overtaken, surprised, or detected in the act of wrongdoing.

2) "In a fault," (en tini paraptomati) "in some trespass," As Peter was, when in fear he impulsively cursed and denied the Lord, or Moses was overtaken when vexed by the people, he smote the rock, Numbers 20:11-13; Psalms 78:20; Matthew 26:69-75.

3) "Ye which are spiritual," (humeis hoi pneumatikoi) "You who are spiritual ones", in heart and manner of life, more nearly Spiritually mature, 1 Corinthians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 3:1; Romans 14:1. Discipline of offenders against the church belongs to the church, but each member should exercise his voice and vote in kindness.

4) "Restore such an one in the spirit of meekness", (katortizete ton toiouton en pneumati prautetos) "Restore such a one in a spirit or attitude of meekness," understanding of compassionate nature, deal tenderly with such a person in a spirit of meekness. Bring such a person back to a state of recovery as a surgeon resets a bone or joint, Proverbs 28:5; Romans 15:1-2.

5) "Considering thyself," (skopon seauton) "Considering or looking over yourself," in a self-evaluating manner, a manner of honest self-judgment, of how you would want to be treated if overtaken impulsively in a wrong; consider your own weakness or liability to sin; lest you too might one day need a similar love and understanding, James 5:19-20; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; Matthew 7:12.

6) "Lest thou also be tempted," (me ka su peirasthes) "Lest thou art also tested," tempted, 1 Corinthians 10:12; Romans 11:20; Matthew 6:13. This is why, daily one should pray, "lead us not" or "let us not be led into temptation or overtaken in evil, wrong, or sin this day."

Verse 2

BURDEN BEARING RESPONSIBILITIES

1) "Bear ye one another’s burdens," (allelon ta Bare Bastazites) "You all bear (or share) the loads of one another," you all help lift crushing weights of care one for another, lend a helping hand to one another, John 13:34-35. The term "burdens" refers to specially depressing weight on body, mind, or spirit, such as toil, suffering and anxiety, Romans 15:1.

2) "And so fulfill," (kai houtos anaplerosete) "And so doing ye will fulfill;" to help a needy brother or sister is the Spirit and attitude of obedience to Christ. Philippians 4:3; Hebrews 4:16; 1 Corinthians 16:16; Matthew 25:40; Mark 9:4; Hebrews 6:10.

Has one fallen among thieves, robbers, or come to deep need, because of bad judgment, lend him an helping hand, give him a lift.

3) "The Law of Christ," (ton nomon tou Christou) "The law of the Christ"; the law of Love, (John 13:34-35), the new commandment of Jesus, manifest in the fruits of love (kindness, goodness, gentleness, forbearance, long-suffering, etc.) one to another, Ephesians 4:1-3; 1 John 3:14; 1 John 3:17; 1 John 4:7-8; 2 John 1:5-6; John 14:15; John 15:14. The law of Christ, the law of love, in burden-bearing requires that a Christian be a doer of the Word of Christ, not a hearer only, to please the Master and hear a "well done," at the end of life’s little day, James 1:22; James 2:15-16; Matthew 25:21; Matthew 25:23.

THE ICY END

One day, when I was serving my apprenticeship in a factory on the banks of the Merrimac River (says the Hon. N. P. Banks, late Governor of Massachusetts), a party of the hands saw a man a quarter of a mile down the river struggling among the broken cakes of ice. Of course the first care was to rescue him; but twice the victim slipped from the plank that was thrown him. The third time it was evident to our inner hearts that it was the man’s last chance, and so he evidently thought; but as he again slipped from the board, he shouted, "For the love of God, gentlemen, give me hold of the wooden end of the plank this time." We had been holding him the icy end! How often do Christians make the same mistake. We turn the icy end of the plank to our fellows -- and then wonder why they do not hold on, and why our efforts do not save them.

-Preacher’s Lantern

Verse 3

1) "For if a man think himself to be something " (ei gar dokei tis einai ti) "For if anyone thinks (presumes) to be something," himself. If one is conceited, deluded, wholly trusts in the flesh of himself, Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 8:2; 2 Corinthians 3:5. Any sufficiency a child of God has is of Christ.

2) "When he is nothing," (meden on) "Yet, being nothing," not being one thing, apart from God’s mercy and goodness, La 3:22; Acts 17:28.

3) "He deceiveth himself," (phrenapata heauton) "He deceives or deludes himself;" not God, nor others, Galatians 6:7; 1 John 1:8; Even children of God, trusting in the flesh, may deceive themselves as Peter did, and all the disciples in denying the Lord, and fleeing in the time of his betrayal and persecution, Matthew 26:35-36.

Someone has well written:

"Beware of Peter’s words, nor confidentially say, never deny my Lord But trust / never may.

Verse 4

1) "But let every man prove his own work," (to de ergon heautou dokimazeto hekastos) "But let each one prove, test, or demonstrate his own work;" "talk is cheap" is the idea. One is to demonstrate his strength through Christ by deeds of obedient service to Christ, not by mouth-talk only, talk alone is vanity, 2 Corinthians 13:5; Proverbs 25:14; 2 Corinthians 1:12; James 1:22; James 1:27.

2) "And then shall he have rejoicing," (kai tote to Kauchema heksei) "And then he will have, hold’, or possess the boast," an occasion for rejoicing or a good testimony, John 4:36. After the sowing and reaping comes the rejoicing.

3) "In himself alone," (eis heauton monon) "In himself only," in his own conduct and deeds of service, not in that of another, 1 Corinthians 3:8, not in or by comparison with others, 2 John 1:8; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; Luke 10:20.

4) "And not in another," (kai ouk eis ton heteron) "And not with reference to another, one of a worse kind than he is"; Each shaII give account to God personally for his own choices and behavior of life, and be judged or rewarded accordingly. Thus religious service is a matter of personal, not proxy accountability, Romans 14:11-12; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11.

Verse 5

1) "For every man," (hekastos gar) "For each person," each accountable individual - regarding personal salvation, and personally accountable service to both God and one’s fellowman - Matters that can not be delegated to others, Romans 14:11-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10.

2) "Shall bear his own burden," (to idion phortion Bastasei) "Will bear his own bur n," the one no other can share or bear, as his accountability to God for service to a companion, a son or daughter, elderly parents, widows, orphans, neighbors etc.-- The word from which "burden" is derived means "a soldiers pack", while on the march, even a soldier of the Lord, Romans 2:4-11; 1 Corinthians 3:8.

RELIGION IS PERSONAL

A little girl, whom we will call Ellen, was some time ago helping to nurse a sick gentleman whom she loved very dearly. One day he said to her, "Ellen, it is time for me to take my medicine, I think. Will you pour it out for me? You must measure just a tablespoonful, and then put it in that wine-glass close by." Ellen quickly did so, and brought it to his bedside; but, instead of taking it in his own hand, he quietly said "Now dear, will you drink it for me?" "Will I drink it? What do you mean? I am sure I would, in a minute, if it would cure you all the same; but you know it won’t do you any good, unless you take it yourself." "Won’t it, really?" the gentleman replied. "No, I suppose it will not. But, Ellen, if you can’t take my medicine for me, I can’t take your salvation for you. You must go to Jesus, and believe in Him for yourself." In this way he tried to teach his little friends that each human being must seek salvation for himself --repent, believe, obey, for himself: that this is a burden which no man can bear for his brother.

-Bib. III.

Verse 6

OBLIGATION TO SUPPORT TEACHERS

1) "Let him that is taught in the Word," (ho katechournenos ton logon) "Let the one being instructed in the word;" Is it the instructor, "a being taught one," or the pupil "being taught one" here involved? It appears to be both --- an obligation of every good teacher to share, not "hold knowledge from" the unlearned, and the pupil to obey the following:

2) "Communicate to him," (koinoneito de) "Let him moreover share," in common things of life, food, clothing, and shelter-- or financial help, yet not to material and financial help alone; he is to share his help received from the instructor, by returned expressions of gratitude, Romans 12:1; Romans 12:3; Philippians 4:15.

3) "Unto him that teacheth," (to katechounti) "with, to or toward the one instructing or teaching"; to the one instructing or giving out, imparting information or knowledge to him, Romans 15:26-28.

4) "In all good things," (en pasin agathois) "In all genuine good things," or godly things. Note the restrictions on contributing to or sharing with the teacher or instructor; the obligation of material gift, pay, offering, or even gratitude is in "good things," 1 Corinthians 9:11; Luke 12:18-19; Luke 16:25. These are to be shared in life, not greedily hoarded.

Verse 7

SOWING AND REAPING

1) "Be not deceived," (me planasthe) "Be not led astray", deceived or deluded into double-dealing. 1 Corinthians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:33.

2) "God is not mocked," (theos ou mukterizetai) "God is not, (exists) not being mocked," is not an object of contempt, ill-will, or cynical behavior, or derision but a person who, to the point of judgment, requires accountability for every unholy deed, Romans 2:4-6; Proverbs 1:26; Proverbs 14:9.

3) "For whatsoever a man soweth," (ho gar ean speire anthropos) "For whatever a man (person) may sow"; in moral, ethical, or religious influence or deeds of conduct, daily behavior in life, Proverbs 11:24; Psalms 112:5; Psalms 112:9.

4) "That shall he also reap," (touto kai therisei) "This (kind) he will also reap"; physical, moral, and ethical things produce "their kind", both in this life and a corollary accountability to God, at the judgment, Luke 16:25; Romans 2:6; 2 Corinthians 9:6; Proverbs 19:17; Let each child of God bear and share, and share-in, the bearing of the bread of life to others, and certain joy, blessings, and rewards are Divinely certified to him, Ecclesiastes 11:1; Ecclesiastes 11:6; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 3:13-15: Exodus 20:5-6; 2 John 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:10.

Verse 8

1) "For he that soweth to his flesh," (hoti ho speiron eis ten sarka heauton) "Because the one sowing to his own flesh"; the carnal, fleshly will, to his inborn, selfish, covetous flesh cravings and desires, to the will of the old nature, James 1:15; Job 4:8; Psalms 7:14; Proverbs 22:8; Hosea 10:13.

2) "Shall of the flesh reap corruption," (ek tes sarkos therisei phthoran) "out of the flesh will reap corruption," because all that is of, proceeds from, the flesh nature is corrupt, polluted, offensive to holiness and tends toward untimely death and unfruitfulness to God, 1 Corinthians 11:29-30; Deuteronomy 28:58-61; Malachi 3:5.

3) "But he that soweth to the Spirit," (ho de speiron eis to pneuma) "moreover the one sowing to the Spirit," to the call, will, and leadership of the Holy Spirit to a Holy life and holy service, Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:16; Galatians 5:25. Every child of God should sow to the will of God in witnessing, light-bearing, and holy living, Matthew 5:15-16; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 9:26-27.

4) "Shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting," (ek tou pneumatos therisei zoen aionion) "Shall reap out of the Spirit life eternal things", fruit. It is fruit that is reaped-- not Spirit life itself, but fruit of the Spirit, that produces life-eternal-like, or Divine, holy things in the life of the sower, as described, Galatians 5:22-25; 2 Peter 1:3-11. Eternal life (per se) is not a reward for work one does, but the Gift of God to everyone who Trusts in Jesus Christ, John 3:16; 1 John 5:1; 1 John 5:13; John 10:27-29.

Verse 9

1) "And let us not be weary in well doing," (to de kalon poiountes me egkakomen) "And while, or in doing good, (continually) let us not lose heart," grow faint, become weary, or fall out by the wayside. Persistence, perseverance, going on in doing good until death, is the will of God for each of His children, 1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Thessalonians 3:13; Hebrews 10:36-37; James 5:7-8; Hebrews 12:3.

2) "For in due season," (kairo gar idio) "For in its own time, period, or season," by and by, in God’s own appointed time or season, whether sooner or later, Hebrews 13:5.

3) "We shall reap, if we faint not," (therisomen me ekluomenoi) "We shall reap, if we faint or fail not," don’t fall out, quit by the wayside, as in the midst of harvest time. As Jesus came when the fulness of the time was come, (Galatians 4:4-5), so shall Jesus come in the due time, appointed era, to raise the righteous dead, rapture the church and living saints who look for Him, to reward each and assign to each a place of honor and service in His Millennial kingdom, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Acts 1:10-11; 2 Corinthians 11:12; Revelation 5:9-10; Revelation 19:7-9.

Rewards and positions of inheritance reigning with Jesus Christ on the earth are future blessings earned by faithful service and labor for the Lord, while salvation is a gift from God, presently experienced by every believer in Jesus Christ, Romans 1:16; Ephesians 2:8-10; Galatians 3:26.

Verse 10

1) "As we therefore have opportunity," (ara oun hos kairon echomen) "Therefore then as a seasonable opportunity we have," or while we have opportunity, ere life’s shadow falls; there is a due time for sowing spiritual seed and sure time of reaping rewards for spiritual service, John 4:35-38; John 9:4; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Ecclesiastes 11:1-6.

2) "Let us do good unto all men," (egrazometha to agathon pros pantas) "Let us do genuine good to or toward all; " This means do goodness to others, render unselfish interest in and helpful testimony and service to others. This was the pattern of our Lord’s entire ministry, in doing good to and seeking the welfare of others, 1 Timothy 5:18; Titus 3:8.

3) "Especially unto them," (malista de) "most of all," or "with priority especially." Acts 20:28; Ephesians 3:21; 2 Corinthians 11:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:15.

4) "Who are of the household of faith," (pros tous oikeious tes pisteos) "To or toward the household members of the faith," or toward fellow church members, especially; 1 Timothy 3:15 indicates this fellowship is (exists as) the pillar and ground of the truth; Ephesians 2:19-22; Ephesians 3:21.

Verse 11

1) "Ye see how large a letter," (Idete pelikois grammasin) "You all can behold in how large letters," handwriting or printing; This indicates that the remainder of the book of Galatians was being written by Paul himself, in much infirmity of ophthalmia, while most of his letters were dictated, Romans 16:22; 2 Thessalonians 3:17.

2) "I have written unto you," Some hold that Paul wrote the whole book of Galatians with his own hand, but whether the whole of the letter or Galatians 6:11-18, the structure of the statement reflects the writing of a near blind soul in personal defense of his gospel ministry and message, with fervor.

3) "With mine own hand," (te erne Cheiri) "With my own, or in my own handwriting," 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Thessalonians 3:17. This was the token of validity of each of Paul’s letters. The salutations were written in his own handwriting, generally identified by the large letters of his own handwriting identity.

Verse 12

1) "As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh," (hosoi thelousin euprosopesai en sarki) "As many as strongly wish to look well in (the) flesh," make a parade-like outward demonstration, put on in flesh appearance, to influence from the gospel truth, Acts 20:30; 1 Timothy 1:20. These zealot self-styled independent, isolation fellows, ignored the word, Acts 15:1; Acts 15:24,

2) "They constrain you, to be circumcised," (houtoi anagkazousin humas peritemnesthai) "these compel you all to be circumcised;" as those did in the early Jerusalem church, as cited by reference above. Galatians 2:3; Galatians 2:14; Galatians 5:11.

3) "Only lest," (monon hina) "only in order that," for the ulterior motive that; It appears that many Jewish Christian professors, to avoid persecution, and unwilling to deny "self", simply wanted to hang on to the Jewish rites, while confessing Christ, a soft compromise, Mark 8:34-35; Galatians 2:14-16.

4) "They should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ," (to stauro tou Christou desou me diokontai) "They are not persecuted for the cross of Jesus Christ." The cross of outward suffering was the lot or experience of many Christian converts, including Paul. It is identified with both persecution and self-denial, Philippians 3:18; Galatians 6:14.

Verse 13

1) "For neither they themselves who are circumcised," (oude gar hoi peritimnomenoi autoi) "For not even the ones who are circumcised;" hence they are hypocrites. When the blind lead the blind, both fall into the ditch, Matthew 23:2-5; Matthew 23:23-25; Mark 7:6-9; Matthew 15:14; Luke 6:39.

2) "Keep the law," (nomon phulassousin) "keep or guard the law," with respect or obedience that it required, as cited above. In such they were cursed deceivers, Galatians 3:10; Galatians 5:1-3.

3) "But desire to have you circumcised," (alla thelousin humas peritemnesthai) "But they strongly desire (urge) you all to be circumcised;" to identify themselves with law worship and service, Galatians 1:7; Galatians 2:3-4; Galatians 3:10; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 5:6.

4) "That they may glory in your flesh," (hina en te humetera sarki kauchesontai) "in order that they may boast in your flesh," brag on what they have done in leading professed Christians from following Jesus Christ to following them and Moses’ Law, 1 Corinthians 1:29; 1 Corinthians 1:31; 2 Corinthians 5:12; 2 Corinthians 11:12; 2 Corinthians 11:18; 2 Corinthians 11:30. To boast of their number of converts.

Verse 14

ONLY OCCASION OF GLORY

1) "But God forbid that I should glory," (hemoi de me genoito kauchasthai) "But to me may it not be to boast," to gloat; others might find occasion to glory in fleshly rites, but Paul vowed "God forbid," help me not to glory in the manner followed by law-keeping, circumcision requiring hypocrites.

2) "Save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ," (ei me en to stauro tou kuriou hemon lesou Christou) "Except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ," Philippians 3:3; Philippians 3:7-8. This is a confirmation of Paul’s belief in Redemption thru the death of the Cross- not thru circumcision or rites of the Law of Moses, repeatedly observed, 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:23; 1 Corinthians 1:29-31; 1 Corinthians 2:2.

3) "By whom the world is crucified to me," (di’ hou emoi kosmos estaurotai) "Through whom the world has been crucified to me"; It’s passing interests, low aims, sordid gains, uncertain treasures, sham show, deceitful pleasures, and fading hopes and promises had become as dead, non-trustworthy to Paul, as they should to every believer, Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 5:24; Colossians 3:1-3; 1 John 2:15-17.

4) "And I unto the World," (kago kosmo) "And I to (the) present world order;" as dead, unfruitful, barren useless or empty in offering to them fellowship or pleasures by participating with them in fleshly cravings of the world order of things; Every church member, faithful, committed servant of Christ, should be considered by the world as dead to their carnal desires. Unsaved people should know what true Christians will not do, that they should not be charmed by the World, Matthew 6:24; James 4:4; James 1:10.

THE SPANISH ARTIST

A Spanish artist was once employed to paint the "Last Supper." It was his object to throw all the sublimity of his art into the figure and the countenance of the Lord Jesus; but he put on the table in the foreground some chased cups, the workmanship of which was exceedingly beautiful. When his friends came to see the picture on the easel, every one said, "What beautiful cups!" "Ah," said he, "I have made a mistake; these cups divert the eyes of the spectator from thy Lord, to whom I wished to direct the attention of the observer." And he forthwith took up his brush and blotted them from the canvas, that the strength and vigor of the chief object might be prominently seen and observed. Thus all Christians should feel their great study to be Christ’s exaltation; and whatever is calculated to hinder man from beholding Him in all the glory of His person and work, should be removed out of the way.

-Gray-Adams

Verse 15

1) "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing," (oute gar peritome ti estin) "For neither circumcision exists as anything;" to put or keep one in Christ, to save or keep saved, circumcision does not aid, help, or abet in any manner, Galatians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 7:19.

2) "Nor uncircumcision," (oute akrobustia) "Nor (does) uncircumcision exist as anything;" The uncircumcised is not by such a state made more acceptable or commendable before God. Rites and ceremonies of religious worship and practice simply do not qualify one for obtaining or retaining Salvation-- neither have they in any age, Acts 10:43; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5.

3) "But a new creature," (alla kaine ktisis) "but a new creation," exists as something real. To become a new creature, to be born again, born of the Holy Spirit, thru faith in Jesus Christ avails, 1 John 5:1; Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:22; Ephesians 4:24.

Verse 16

1) "And as many as walk according to this rule," (kai hosoi to kanoni touto stoichesousin) "And as many as will walk according to this principle;" the principle of love, a fruit of the new life creature, Galatians 5:6; Galatians 5:16; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:15-19; according to the Spirit, not the flesh, Philippians 3:16.

2) "Peace be on them, and mercy," (eirene ep’autous kai eleos) "Peace and mercy upon them, (let be);" with this tender, persuasive, compassionate benediction and supplication, Paul brings his letter to an end. For betrayers of the cross he offered stern warnings of judgment. Toward those who were true to the faith a desire for mercy and peace to them flowed from his heart.

3) "And upon the Israel of God, (kai epi ton Israel tou theou) "And on the Israel (true man of God) of God," in truth. Those who walk by the rule, principle of Spirit control are the true children of God, not those who trust in the keeping of law codes and rites, Romans 2:29; Romans 4:12; Galatians 3:7; Galatians 3:9; Galatians 3:29; Romans 8:14-16.

Verse 17

FINAL GREETING

1) "From henceforth," (tou loipou) "For the rest," for the remaining, time, space, and council.

2) "Let no man trouble me," (kopous moi medeis parecheto) "Let no one cause me trouble," or disturb me regarding what the true gospel is, but how I or they should stand for it.

3) "For I bear in my body," (ego gar en to somati mou bastazo) "Because I bear in my (own) body;" wherever I go, I carry with me, visible, evident testimony of my fidelity to the cross of Christ, the one way of redemption, Acts 4:12; Acts 20:21; Romans 1:16; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

4) "The marks of the Lord Jesus," (ta stigmata tou lesou) "The stigma brands (scars) of the Lord Jesus." As slaves were branded that if they ran away they might be detected, returned to their master, so Paul was branded by wounds and scars from enemies; yet he received these scars and wore them as badges of honor, received in allegiance to his Master; just as a true soldier is not ashamed of battle scars for his country, so was Paul not ashamed of body scars received in labor for his Master, 2 Corinthians 4:10; 2 Corinthians 11:23-25; Colossians 1:24. Scars from stoning, scars from stripes of whippings, and scars from shipwreck he bore with gratitude for his Master. No stigma is too great to bear, if it be to the glory of Jesus Christ.

Verse 18

1) "Brethren," (adelphoi) "Brethren," is the last word in order in this verse in the Greek-- after expressing fears for his wayward flock-churches of Galatia-- after chiding and reproof he returned to forgiveness and expressed confidence in the brethren.

2) "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," (he Charis tou Christou humon lesou) "The grace of the Lord of us, Jesus Christ;" The grace from God and of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ-- Saving, teaching, and growing, grace, Paul’s prayers may be or abide with and upon all the Galatian church brethren, to whom the letter was addressed, Galatians 1:2; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 2:11-12; 2 Peter 3:15.

3) "Be with your spirit, Amen," (meta tou pneumatos humon, Amen) "Let it be with the spirit of you all, Amen", so may it be. This form of benediction, identifying the grace of the Lord with the spirit (disposition) of obedient church servants of the Lord, is found in only two other places in Paul’s prayers, 2 Timothy 4:22; Philemon 1:25.

The devout "Amen," "so may it be brethren," is Paul’s last form of large-letter, salutation, written from a larger heart.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Galatians 6". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/galatians-6.html. 1985.