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Bible Commentaries
Galatians 6

Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New TestamentMeyer's Commentary

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Galatians 6:2 . ἀναπληρώσατε ] Lachm. and Schott read ἀναπληρώσετε , following B F G, 33, 35, and several vss. and Fathers. Looking at this amount of attestation, to which the vss. give special weight (including Vulg. It.), and considering that the imperative might readily have been occasioned by the preceding imperatives, the aorist form being involuntarily suggested by the similar future form, the future is to be preferred.

Galatians 6:10 . ἐργαζώμεθα ] A B L, min., Goth. Oec. read ἐργαζόμεθα . Approved by Winer, but too feebly attested, especially as hardly any version is in favour of it. A mere error in transcribing, after the preceding indicatives θερίσομεν and ἔχομεν . Looking at the frequent confusion of ω and ο , we must also regard as a copyist’s error the reading in Galatians 6:12 of διώκονται , adopted by Tisch., and attested by A C, etc., instead of διώκωνται (B D, etc.).

Galatians 6:12 . μή ] is, with Lachm. and Tisch., following decisive testimony, to be placed after Χριστοῦ .

Galatians 6:13 . περιτεμνόμενοι ] B L, many min., also VSS. and Latin Fathers, read περιτετμημένοι . [247] Recommended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. and Scholz, and approved by Rinck and Reiche. And justly; the preterite is absolutely necessary, as the Judaistic teachers are meant. The present has crept in as a mere mechanical error of the transcribers, who had just previously written περιτέμνεσθαι , and perhaps also recollected Galatians 5:3 .

Galatians 6:14 . Τῷ before ΚΌΣΜῼ is omitted by Lachm. on weighty evidence; but it might be readily suppressed, owing to the preceding syllable ΓΩ , especially as the article might be dispensed with, and ΚΌΣΜΟς just before was anarthrous.

Galatians 6:15 . ἘΝ ΓᾺΡ ΧΡΙΣΤῷ ἸΗΣΟῦ ΟὔΤΕ ] B, 17, Arm. Aeth. Goth. Chrys. Georg. Syncell. Jer. Aug. Ambrosiast., have merely ΟὔΤΕ ΓΆΡ (Syr. Sahid., Οὐ ΓΆΡ ). Approved by Mill, Semi, Griesb., Rinck, Reiche; adopted by Bengel, Schott, Tisch. Justly; the Recepta is manifestly an amplifying gloss, derived from Galatians 5:6 .

ἘΣΤΊΝ ] Elz. and Matth. read ἸΣΧΎΕΙ , against decisive evidence. Derived from Galatians 5:6 .

Galatians 6:16 . ΣΤΟΙΧΉΣΟΥΣΙΝ ] A C* D E F G, 4, 71, Syr. utr. Sahid. It. Cyr. Victorin. Jer. Aug. Ambrosiast., read ΣΤΟΙΧΟῦΣΙΝ . Approved by Griesb., placed in the margin by Lachm., adopted by Tisch. But the present suggested itself most readily to the unskilled transcribers, and what ground could these have had for the alteration into the future?

Galatians 6:17 . ΚΥΡΊΟΥ is omitted before ἸΗΣΟῦ in A B C*, א , 17, 109, Arr. Aeth. Arm. Vulg. ms. Petr. Alex. Suspected by Griesb., omitted by Lachm. and Tisch. A frequent addition, in this case specially derived from Galatians 6:18 ; hence several witnesses add ἩΜῶΝ .

[247] In favour of this may probably be reckoned also F with περιτεμνήμοι , and G with περιτεμνημένοι , which betray through the wrongly written η perfect forms.


Continuation of the special admonitions begun in Galatians 5:26 (Galatians 6:1-5 ); then an exhortation to Christian morality in general, with allusion to its future recompense (Galatians 6:6-10 ). A concluding summary, in the apostle’s own handwriting, of the chief polemical points of the epistle (Galatians 6:11-16 ); after which Paul deprecates renewed annoyance, and adds the benediction (Galatians 6:17-18 ).

Verse 1

Galatians 6:1 . Loving ( ἀδελφοί ) exhortation to a course of conduct opposed to κενοδοξία .

ἐὰν καὶ προληφθῇ κ . τ . λ .] Correctly rendered in substance by the Vulgate: “etsi praeoccupatus fuerit homo in aliquo delicto.” The meaning is: “if even any one ( ἄνθρωπος , as in Galatians 6:7 , and 1 Corinthians 11:28 ; 1 Corinthians 4:1 , et al .) shall have been overtaken by any fault , so, namely, that the sin has reached him more rapidly than he could flee from it ( 1Co 6:18 ; 1 Corinthians 10:14 ; 1 Timothy 6:11 ; 2 Timothy 2:22 ). So Chrysostom, Theophylact, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Beza, and most expositors, including Rückert and de Wette; and in substance also Wieseler, who, however, explains προλ . figuratively of a snare, in which ( ἐν ) one is unexpectedly ( προ ) caught . [248] There is, however, no intimation of this figure in the context ( καταρτίζετε ); and to explain ἘΝ the quite common instrumental use amply suffices, according to which the expression is not different from the mere dative. In a mild and trustful tone Paul conceives the sin, which might occur among his Galatians, only as “peccatum praecipitantiae ;” for this is, at any rate, intimated by προληφθῇ . On ΠΡΟΛΑΜΒΆΝΕΙΝ , to overtake , comp. Xen. Cyn . 5, 19; 7, 7; Theophr. H. pl . viii. 1. 3; Polyb. xxxi. 23. 8; Diod. Sic. xvii. 75; Strabo, xvi. p. 1120. In ἐὰν καί the emphasis is laid on ΕἸ ( if even, if nevertheless); see Klotz, ad Devar . p. 519; Baeuml. Partik . p. 151. Others (Grotius, Winer, Olshausen, Hilgenfeld, Ewald, Hofmann) have explained προληφθῇ as deprehensus fuerit, is seized; but against this view it may be urged that, as the word cannot be used as merely equivalent to the simple verb, or to καταληφθῇ (John 8:4 ), or ἘΓΚΑΤΑΛΗΦΘῇ (Aeschin. Ctes . p. 62. 17), no reference for the προ can be got from the context. [249] Even in Wis 17:17 , προληφθείς means overtaken, surprised by destruction. And the καί does not require that interpretation, because, while it might belong to προληφθῇ (Klotz, p. 521; Kühner, § 824, note 1), so as to mean also actually caught (comp. 1 Corinthians 7:17 ), or, by way of climax, even caught , it does not necessarily belong to it.

ὑμεῖς οἱ πνευματικοί ] Paul thus puts it to the consciousness of every reader to regard himself as included or not: ye, the spiritual , that is, who are led by the πνεῦμα ἅγιον . The opposite: ΨΥΧΙΚΟΊ , ΣΑΡΚΙΚΟΊ (1 Corinthians 2:13 f., Galatians 3:1 ). In the case of ΔΥΝΑΤΟΊ , Romans 15:1 , the circumstances presupposed and the contrast are of a different character. Those very ΠΝΕΥΜΑΤΙΚΟΊ might readily be guilty of an unbrotherly exaltation and severity, if they did not sufficiently attend to and obey the leading of the Spirit towards meekness.

ΚΑΤΑΡΤΊΖΕΤΕ ] bring him right , into the proper, normal condition; διορθοῦτε , Chrysostom. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 1:10 . A figurative reference to the setting of dislocated limbs (Beza, Hammond, Bengel, and others) is not suggested by the context.

ἐν πνεύματι πραότητος ] through the Spirit of meekness , that is, through the πνεῦμα ἅγιον producing meekness. For ΠΝΕῦΜΑ should be understood, not with Luther, Calvin, and many others, of the human spirit (1 Peter 3:4 ), of the tendency of feeling or tone of mind (Rückert, de Wette, Wieseler, and others), but of the Holy Spirit, as is required by the very correlation with πνευματικοί . See on 1 Corinthians 4:21 . But among the manifold ΚΑΡΠῸς ΤΟῦ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΟς (Galatians 5:22 ), ΠΡΑΎΤΗΤΟς brings prominently forward the very quality which was to be applied in the ΚΑΤΑΡΤΊΖΕΙΝ . In that view it is the “character palmarius hominis spiritualis,” Bengel.

σκοπῶν σεαυτὸν κ . τ . λ .] looking (taking heed) to thyself lest , etc. Comp. Soph. Phil . 506. In Plat. Theaet . p. 160 E, Luke 11:35 , it is differently used. Comp. Buttmann, neut. Gr . p. 209. There is here a transition to the singular , giving a more individual character to the address; just as we frequently find in classical authors that, after the plural of the verb, the singular of the participle makes the transition from the aggregate to the individual. See Bernhardy, p. 421; Lobeck, ad Soph. Aj . 191. Erasmus aptly remarks that the singular is “magis idoneus ad compellandam uniuscujusque conscientiam .” There is therefore the less ground for considering these words as an apostolical marginal note (Laurent).

μὴ καὶ σὺ πειρ .] lest thou also (like that fallen one) become tempted , enticed to sin, wherein the apostle has in view the danger of the enticement being successful . Comp. 1 Corinthians 7:5 . Lachmann places a full stop after πραύτητος , and connects ΣΚΟῶΝ ΠΕΙΡΑΣΘῇς with the words which follow; a course by which the construction gains nothing, and the connection actually suffers, for the reference of ΚΑῚ ΣΎ to ΤῸΝ ΤΟΙΟῦΤΟΝ is far more natural and conformable to the sense than the reference to ἈΛΛΉΛΩΝ .

[248] Comp. Goth. “ gafaháidáu ,” that is, caught .

[249] Grotius strangely interprets: “deprehensus antequam haec epistola ad vos veniat .” Winer introduces more than the text warrants: “etiamsi quis antea deprehensus fuerit in peccato , eum tamen ( iterum peccantem ) corrigite.” Paul must have expressed this by ἐὰν καὶ πάλιν ληφθῇ . Olshausen affirms that by προ the λαμβάνεσθαι is indicated as taking place before the καταρτίζειν . But this relation of time was so obvious of itself, that it would have been strange thus to express it. Hofmann interprets not more aptly: “ ere he repents of the sin; ” as if this idea could only be thus mentally supplied! Luther appropriately remarks, “if a man should somehow be overtaken by a fault .”

Verse 2

Galatians 6:2 . ἀλλήλων ] emphatically prefixed (comp. Galatians 5:26 ), opposed to the habit of selfishness: “ mutually, one of the other bear ye the burdens.” τὰ βάρη , however, figuratively denotes the moral faults (comp. Galatians 6:5 ) pressing on men with the sense of guilt, not everything that is oppressive and burdensome generally, whether in the domain of mind or of body (Matthies, Windischmann, Wieseler, Hofmann), a view which, according to the context, is much too vague and general (Galatians 6:1 ; Galatians 6:3 ; Galatians 6:5 ). The mutual bearing of moral burdens is the mutual, loving participation in another’s feeling of guilt , a weeping with those that weep in a moral point of view, by means of which moral sympathy the pressure of the feeling of guilt is reciprocally lightened. [250] As to this fellowship in suffering , comp. the example of the apostle himself, 2 Corinthians 11:29 . It is usually taken merely to mean, Have patience with one another’s faults (Romans 15:1 ); along with which several, such as Rosenmüller, Flatt, Winer, quite improperly (in opposition to ἀλλήλων , according to which the burdened ones are the very persons affected by sin) look upon βάρη as applying to faults by which a person becomes burdensome to others . But the command, thus understood, would not even come up to what was required in Galatians 6:1 , and would not seem important and high enough to enable it to be justly said: καὶ οὕτως ἀναπληρώσετε τὸν νόμον τ . Χρ . and in this way (if ye do this ) ye will entirely fulfil the law of Christ , the law which Christ has given, that is, the sum of all that He desires and has commanded by His word and Spirit, and which is, in fact, comprehended in the love (Galatians 5:13 f.) which leads us to serve one another. What Paul here requires, is conceived by him as the culminating point of such a service. He speaks of the νόμος of Christ in relation to the Mosaic law (comp. Galatians 5:14 ), which had in the case of the Galatians and how much to the detriment of the sympathy of love attained an estimation which, on the part of Christians, was not at all due to it; they desired to be ὑπὸ νόμον , and thereby lost the ἔννομον Χριστοῦ εἶναι (1 Corinthians 9:21 ). A reference at the same time to the example of Christ, who through love gave Himself up to death (Romans 15:3 ; Ephesians 5:2 ) (as contended for by Oecumenius and Usteri), is gratuitously introduced into the idea of νόμος . The compound ἀναπληρ . is, as already pointed out by Chrysostom (who, however, wrongly explains it of a common fulfilment jointly and severally ), not equivalent to the simple verb (Rückert, Schott, and many others), but more forcible: to fill up, to make entirely full (the law looked upon as a measure which, by compliance, is made full; comp. Galatians 5:14 ), so that nothing more is wanting. Comp. Dem. 1466. 20: ὧν ἂν ἐκλείπητε ὑμεῖς , οὐχ εὑρήσετε τοὺς ἀναπηρώσοντας . 1 Thessalonians 2:16 ; Matthew 13:14 . See Tittmann, Synon . p. 228 f.; Winer, de verbor. cum praepos. compos. in N.T. usu , III. p. 11 f. The thought therefore is, that without this moral bearing of one another’s burdens, the fulfilment of the law of Christ is not complete; through that bearing is introduced what otherwise would be wanting in the ἀναπλήρωσις of this law. And how true this is! Such self-denial and self-devotion to the brethren in the ethical sphere renders, in fact, the very measure of love full (1 Corinthians 13:4 ff.), so far as it may be filled up at all (Romans 13:8 ).

[250] Theodore of Mopsuestia, in Cramer’s Cat . (and in Fritzsche, p. 129), well remarks that the hearing of one another’s burdens takes place, ὅταν διὰ παραινέσεως καὶ χρηστότητος ἐπικουφίζῃς αὐτῷ τὴν ψυχὴν , ὑπὸ τῆς τοῦ ἁμαρτήματος συνειδήσεως βεβαρημένην .

Verse 3

Galatians 6:3 . Argumentum e contrario for the preceding καὶ οὕτως ἀναπληρ . τ . ν . τ . Χρ .; in so far as the fulfilment to be given in such measure to this law is impossible to moral conceit.

For if any one thinks himself to be something , imagines himself possessed of peculiar moral worth, so that he conceives himself exalted above such a mutual bearing of burdens, while he is nothing , although he is in reality of no moral importance, he is , so far from fulfilling the law of Christ, involved in self-deception .

On εἶναί τι , and the opposite μηδὲν εἶναι , nullius momenti esse (comp. Arrian. Epict . ii. 24: δοκῶν μέν τι εἶναι , ὢ δʼ οὐδείς ), comp. Galatians 2:6 , and see on Acts 5:36 ; 2 Corinthians 12:11 ; Locella, ad Xen. Eph . p. 143. As to μή with the participle, see Buttmann, neut. Gr . p. 301. If μηδὲν ὤν be attached to the apodosis (Michaelis, Baumgarten, Morus, Jatho, Hofmann), the effect is only to weaken the judgment which is expressed in it, because it would contain the fundamental statement ( since he is nothing ), in which the ἑαυτ . φρεναπ . is already obviously involved, and consequently, as the first portion of the affirmation in the apodosis, would anticipate the latter portion of it and take away its energetic emphasis. This is not the case, if the “being nothing” belongs to the antithetical delineation of conceited pretension in the protasis, where it is appropriate for the completeness of the case supposed. Moreover, μηδὲν ὤν is really applicable in the case of every one , Luke 17:10 ; Rom 3:23 ; 1 Corinthians 4:7 , et al .

φρεναπατᾷ ] denotes deception in the judgment, here in the moral judgment; the word is not preserved in any other Greek author. But comp. φρεναπάτης , Titus 1:10 ; Ignat. Trall. interpol . 6; Etym. M. 811. 3.

Verse 4

Galatians 6:4 . But men ought to act in a way entirely different from what is indicated by this δοκεῖ εἶναί τι . “His own work let every man prove, and then” etc.

The emphasis lies on τὸ ἔργον (which is collective , and denotes the totality of the actions, as in Romans 2:7 ; Rom 2:15 ; 1 Peter 1:17 ; Revelation 22:12 ), opposing the objective works to the subjective conceit.

δοκιμαζέτω ] not: probatum reddat (Beza, Piscator, Rambach, Semler, Michaelis, Rückert, Matthies), a meaning which it never has (comp. on 1 Corinthians 11:28 ), but: let him try , investigate of what nature it is.

καὶ τότε ] and then , when he shall have done this (1 Corinthians 4:5 ), not: when he shall have found himself approved (Erasmus, Estius, Borger, and others).

εἰς ἑαυτὸν μόνον τὸ καύχημα ἕξει , κ . τ . λ .] does not mean, he will keep his glorying for himself (comp. Hilgenfeld), that is, abstinebit a gloriando (Koppe); for although ἔχειν may, from the context, obtain the sense of keeping back (Hom. Il . v. 271, xxiv. 115; Eur. Cycl . 270), it is in this very passage restricted by καὶ οὐκ εἰς τὸν ἕτερον to its simple meaning, to have; and καύχημα is not equivalent to καύχησις , but must retain its proper signification, materies gloriandi (Romans 4:2 ; 1 Corinthians 5:6 , and always). Nearest to the view of Koppe in sense come those of Winer: “non tantas in se ipso reperiet laudes, quibus apud alios quoque glorietur;” of Usteri: “then will he have to glory towards himself alone, and not towards others,” a delicate way of turning the thought: “ then he will discover in himself faults and weaknesses sufficient to make him think of himself modestly; ” and of Wieseler, “he will be silent toward others as to his καύχημα .” But in accordance with the context, after the requirement of self-examination, the most natural sense for εἰς (on account of the antithesis, εἰς ἑαυτὸν

εἰς τὸν ἕτερον ) is: in respect to, as regards; moreover, in the above-named interpretations, neither the singular nor the article in τὸν ἕτερον obtains its due weight. The sentence must be explained: then will he have cause to glory merely as regards himself, and not as regards the other; that is, then will he have cause to boast merely in respect of good of his own, which he may possibly find on this self-examination, and not in reference to the other, with whom otherwise he would advantageously compare himself. Castalio aptly remarks: “probitas in re, non in collatione;” and Grotius: “gaudebit recto sui examine, non deteriorum comparatione,” as, for instance, was done by the Pharisee, who compared himself with robbers, adulterers, etc., instead of simply trying his own action, and not boasting as he looked to others, whom he brought into comparison. Comp. Calvin and others; also Reithmayr. καύχημα with the article denotes, not absolute glory (Matthies), which no one has (Romans 3:23 ), but the relevant cause for the καυχᾶσθαι which he finds in himself, so far as he does so, on that trial of his own work. It is therefore the καύχημα , supposed or conceived by Paul, as the result of the examination in the several cases; Bernhardy, p. 15. This relative character of the idea removes the seeming inconsistency with Galatians 6:3 ; Galatians 6:5 (in opposition to de Wette), and excludes all untrue and impious boasting; but the taking καύχημα ἔχειν ironically (against which Calvin justly pronounces), or as mimesis (Bengel and others; also Olshausen: “a thorough self-examination reveals so much in one’s own heart, that there can be no question of glory at all”), 1 [251] is forbidden even by ΚΑῚ ΟὐΚ ΕἸς ΤῸΝ ἝΤΕΡΟΝ . Hofmann interprets, although similarly in the main, yet without irony, and with a more exact unfolding of the purport: “ while otherwise he found that he might glory as he contrasted his own person with others, he will now in respect to the good which he finds in himself, seeing that he also discovers certain things in himself which are not good, have cause to glory only towards himself himself, namely, who has done the good, as against himself, who has done what is not good .” But in this interpretation the ideas, which are to form the key to the meaning, are gratuitously imported; a paraphrase so subtle, and yet so clumsy, especially of the words εἰς ἑαυτὸν μόνον , could not be expected to occur to the reader. More simply, but introducing a different kind of extraneous matter, de Wette interprets: “ and then he will for himself alone (to his own joy) have the glory (if he has any such thing, which is evidently called in question) not for others (in order thereby to provoke and challenge them).” But how arbitrary it is to assign to εἰς two references so entirely different, and with regard to ΚΑΎΧΗΜΑ to foist in the idea: “if he has aught such ”! A most excellent example of the εἰς ἑαυτὸν ΜΌΝΟΝ ΤῸ ΚΑΎΧΗΜΑ ἜΧΕΙΝ is afforded by Paul himself, 2 Corinthians 10:12 . Comp. 2 Corinthians 1:12 ff.

[251] 1 So in substance Chrysostom and Theophylact hold, that Paul has spoken συγκαταβατικῶς , in order to wean his readers gradually from the habit of glorying; ὁ γὰρ ἐθισθεὶς μὴ τοῦ πλησίον ὡς ὁ Φαρισαῖος , κατακαυχᾶσθαι , ταχέως καὶ τοῦ καθʼ ἑαυτὸν ἐναβρύνεσθαι ἀποστήσεται , Theophylact. Comp. Oecumenius, according to whom the substantial sense is: ἑαυτοῦ καταγνώσεται , καὶ οὐχὶ ἑτέρων .

Verse 5

Galatians 6:5 . Reason assigned, not for the summons to such a self-examination, but for the negative result of it, that no one will have to glory εἰς τὸν ἕτερον : for every one will have to bear his own burden . No one will be, in his own consciousness, free from the moral burden of his own sinful nature, which he has to bear. The future does not apply to the last judgment, in which every one will render account for his own sins (Augustine, c. lit. Petil . iii. 5; Luther), and receive retribution (Jerome, Theodoret, Erasmus, Calvin, Grotius, Calovius, Estius, Bengel, Michaelis, Borger, Rückert, and others; comp. also Hofmann), a view which, without any ground in the context, departs from the sense of the same figure in Galatians 6:2 , and also from the relation of time conveyed in ἕξει in Galatians 6:4 ; but it denotes that which will take place in every man after the self-examination referred to in Galatians 6:4 : he will, in the moral consciousness, namely, produced by this examination, bear his own burden; and that will preclude in him the desire of glorying εἰς τὸν ἕτερον .

The distinction between βάρος and φορτίον (which is not diminutive ) consists in this, that the latter denotes the burden in so far as it is carried (by men, beasts, ships, waggons; hence freight, baggage , and the like), while the former denotes the burden as heavy and oppressive; in itself the φορτίον may be light or heavy; hence: φορτία βαρέα (Matthew 23:4 ; Sir 21:16 ), and ἔλαφρα (Matthew 11:30 ); whereas the βάρος is always burdensome. The expression is purposely chosen here from its relative character.

Verse 6

Galatians 6:6 . In contrast to the referring of every one to himself (Galatians 6:4-5 ), there is now, by the κοινωνείτω δέ , which is therefore placed emphatically (in opposition to Hofmann) at the beginning, presented a fellowship of special importance to a man’s own perfection, which he must maintain: Fellowship, on the other hand, let him who is being instructed in the doctrine ( κατʼ ἐξοχήν , in the gospel; comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:6 ; Philippians 1:14 ) have with the instructor [252] in all good (Galatians 6:10 ), that is, let the disciple make common cause (endeavour and action) with his teacher in everything that is morally good. So, following Marcion (?) (in Jerome) and Lyra, in modern times Aug. Herm. Franke (in Wolf), who, however, improperly connects ἐν πᾶσιν ἀγαθοῖς with ΚΑΤΗΧΟῦΝΤΙ , Hennicke, de nexu loci Gal. vi. 1 10, Lips. 1788; Mynster, kl. theol. Schr . p. 70, Matthies, Schott, Keerl, Diss. de Gal . vi. 1 10, Heidelb. 1834, Trana, Jatho, Vömel, Matthias; also not disapproved by Winer. Usually, however (as by Winer, Rückert, Usteri, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Hilgenfeld, Ewald, Wieseler, Hofmann, Reithmayr, and others), there is found in the words a summons to liberality towards the teachers , so that ἐν πᾶσιν ἀγαθοῖς is taken as referring to the communication of everything good (Ewald), or more definitely, of all earthly good things (“in omni facultatum genere, ut usu venit,” Bengel), or of good things of every hind (Ellicott, Hofmann); and κοινωνείτω is taken either transitively (so usually, also by Ewald), as if the word were equivalent to κοινοῦν (as to the distinction between the two, see especially Thuc. i. 39. 3): communicet (which, however, cannot be conclusively established in the N.T., not even in Romans 12:13 ; and in the passages from Greek authors in Fritzsche, ad Rom . III. p. 81, and Bremi, ad Aeschin . p. 317, Goth, it is to be referred to the idea: “ to share with any one ”), or intransitively (so Usteri, de Wette, Wieseler): “ let him stand in fellowship ,” namely by communication, or in the sense of the participation in the teacher, which is perfected ἐν πᾶσιν ἀγ . (Hofmann, comparing Romans 15:27 ). But against the whole of this interpretation may be urged: (1) the singular want of connection of such a summons, not merely with what goes before, [253] but also with what follows, [254] wherein Paul inculcates Christian morality generally. (2) Since in Galatians 6:1-5 moral faultiness was the point in question, the reference which most naturally suggests itself for ἐν πᾶσιν ἀγαθοῖς is a reference to moral good. (3) At the conclusion of this whole section in Galatians 6:10 , ἐργαζώμεθα τὸ ἀγαθὸν κ . τ . λ ., τὸ ἀγαθόν is nothing else than the morally good. (4) The requirement itself, to communicate with the teacher in all good things , would, without more precise definition (Luther, 1538: Paul desires simply, “ ut liberaliter eos alant, quantum satis est ad vitam commode tuendam ,” an idea which is not suggested in the passage), be so indeterminate and, even under the point of view of the possession as common property, Acts 4:32 (de Wette), which we do not meet with in Paul’s writings, so little to be justified, that we cannot venture to attribute it thus thrown out without any defining limitation to the apostle, least of all in a letter addressed to churches in which misinterpretations and misuse on the part of antagonistic teachers were to he apprehended. Through the stress laid by Wieseler on the spiritual counter-service of the teacher (comp. also Hofmann), the expression ἐν πᾶσιν ἀγαθοῖς , seeing that it must always involve that which is to be given by the disciples to their teacher, is by no means reduced to its just measure (the bodily maintenance as recompense for the ΠΝΕΥΜΆΤΙΚΑ received, 1 Corinthians 9:11 ; Philippians 4:15 ); whilst Ewald’s interpretation, “communication in all good things ,” [255] cannot be linguistically vindicated either for κοινων . or for ἘΝ (= ב , according to Sprachl . p. 484 f.). Paul would have said perhaps: κοινὰ ποιείτω ὁ κ . τ . λ . τῷ κ . πάντα ἀγαθά , or something similar in correct Greek. The objection raised against our interpretation (see Rückert, Usteri, Hilgenfeld, Wieseler), that it is difficult to see why this particular relation of disciple and teacher should be brought into prominence, is obviated by the consideration that this very relation had been much disturbed among the Galatians by the influence of the pseudo-apostles (Galatians 4:17 ), and this disturbance could not but be in the highest degree an obstacle to the success of their common moral effort and life. But in reference to de Wette’s objection that κοινωνεῖν , instead of μιμεῖσθαι , is a strange expression, it must be observed that Paul wished to express not at all the idea of μιμεῖσθαι , but only that of the Christian κοινωνία between disciple and teacher. The disciple is not to leave the sphere of the morally good to the teacher alone, and on his own part to busy himself in other interests and follow other ways; but he is to strive and work in common with his teacher in the same sphere. In this view, the expression is (in opposition to Hofmann’s objection) neither too wide nor too narrow. Not too wide, because the sphere of moral good is one and the same for teachers and learners, and it is only the concrete application which is different. Not too narrow, because moral fellowship in Christian church-life finds its most effective lever in the fact that learner and teacher go hand in hand in all that is good.

ὁ κατηχούμενος τὸν λόγον ] Comp. Acts 18:25 . It is self-evident that Paul means only the relation to true, Pauline teachers.

ἘΝ ΠᾶΣΙΝ ἈΓΑΘΟῖς ] the sphere, in which common cause is made. Comp. Matthew 23:30 . A classical writer would say, πάντων ἀγαθῶν (Hebrews 2:14 ; Plat. Rep . p. 464 A; Soph. Trach . 543), or εἰς πάντα ἀγαθά (Plat. Rep . p. 453 A), or even ΠΕΡῚ ΠΆΝΤΩΝ ἈΓ . (Polyb. xxxi. 26. 6). On the plural τὰ ἀγαθά , as applied to moral good, comp. John 5:29 ; Matthew 12:35 ; Sir 11:31 ; Sir 17:7 ; Sir 39:4 ; Sir 13:25 ; and frequently in Greek authors. Paul might also have written ἐν παντὶ ἔργῳ ἀγαθῷ (Colossians 1:10 ); but ἐν πᾶσιν ἀγαθοῖς is more comprehensive. The dative τῷ κατηχ . is the dativus communionis everywhere common (Dem. 142, ult . 789. 2).

[252] The question, whether the persons here meant were permanent teachers of the church, or itinerant evangelists, is to be answered by saying that neither of these two kinds of teachers is excluded. For although at that time there were no διδάσκαλοι specially instituted except the presbyters (see on Ephesians 4:11 ), there were nevertheless members of the church endowed with the χάρισμα διδασκαλίας , who devoted themselves to the function of continuous instruction in their churches. Romans 12:7 .

[253] The connection with what goes before might be dispensed with , for Paul might (through δέ ) have passed on to a fresh subject. Winer, indeed, conceives the connection to be: “cum vv. 4, 5 ea tetigisset, quae priva sibi quisque habere debeat, nunc ad haec descendere, quae cum aliis communicanda sunt” (comp. Erasmus, Paraphr .). But, with the precept of liberality towards teachers, so entirely alien to what goes before, this connection appears forced; and it would be better to forego any connecting link with what precedes (Rückert) than to bring out an illogical relation of the contrast. De Wette discovers a satisfactory connection with vv. 1 5 in the circumstance that there, as here, the apostle has in view defects of Christian social life. This, however, is to specify not a connection, but merely a logical category. According to Ewald, the previous counsels are to be conceived as for the most part addressed to the Pauline teachers of the Galatians, and Paul therefore now adds a word as to the correct behaviour of the non-teachers also. But the former idea is assumed without ground in the text, which speaks quite generally . According to Wieseler the conception is, that the care for worldly maintenance was a species of the βάρη (ver. 2), which the readers were to relieve them of in return for their being instructed in the word. But those βάρη are necessarily of a moral nature, burdens of guilt . According to Hofmann, Paul has previously exhorted every one to serve his neighbour with that which he is , and now exhorts every one to employ that which he possesses , as his Christian position requires. A scheme of thought purely artificial, and gratuitously introduced.

[254] The sequel down to ver. 10 is indeed referred by Luther (most consistently in 1538) and others, including Olshausen and de Wette, with more or with less (Koppe, de Wette, Hilgenfeld) consistency, to the behaviour towards the teachers , by the despising of whom God is mocked, the support of whom is a sowing of seed for spiritual objects, etc. But looking at the general nature of the following instructions, which there is not a word to limit, how arbitrary and forced is this view! Not less far-fetched and forced is the explanation of Hofmann, who considers that, because by means of the κοινωνεῖν κ . τ . λ . the teacher is enabled to attend to his own business, Paul in vv. 7 ff. warns against the erroneous opinion that people might, without danger to the soul, deal lightly with that κοινωνεῖν κ . τ . λ .; that by means of this κοινωνεῖν people devote that which they possess to the Spirit, etc.

[255] Comp. Grotius: “ per omnes res bonas , i. e. non per alimenta tantum, sed et alia obsequia et officia.”

Verse 7

Galatians 6:7 . A warning to the readers, in respect to this necessary moral fellowship, not to allow themselves to be led astray (by the teachers of error or otherwise), with very earnest reference to the divine retribution. This nearest and easy connection makes it unnecessary to refer back to the whole of the section from Galatians 6:1 onward (Wieseler).

μὴ πλανᾶσθε ] See on 1 Corinthians 6:9 .

Θεὸς οὐ μυκτηρίζεται ] God is not sneered at , that is, mocked; He does not submit to it. See the sequel. This mocking of God (a more forcible expression of the idea πειράζειν Θεόν ) takes place on the part of him who, by immoral conduct, practically shows that he despises God and accounts nothing of His judgment. On μυκτηρίζειν , properly, to turn up the nose (comp. Horat. i. 6. 5; Ep . i. 19. 45), and then to deride , comp. Sueton. Claud . Galatians 4 : σκώπτειν καὶ μυκτηρίζειν . Sext. Emp. adv. math . 1:217; Job 22:19 ; Proverbs 1:30 ; Proverbs 12:8 ; Proverbs 3:0 Ezr. 1:51. Comp. also μυκτήρ , Diog. L. ii. 19; Lucian. Prom . 1; μυκτηρισμός , 2Ma 7:39 ; and μυκτηριστής , Athen. iv. p. 182 A, v. p. 187 C.

ὃ γὰρ ἐὰν σπείρῃ κ . τ . λ .] Proof for Θεὸς οὐ μυκτηρίζεται . The identity between the kind of seed sown and the kind of fruit to be reaped from it ( τοῦτο , this , and nothing else; for instance, from the sowing of weeds no wheat) is a figurative expression for the equivalent relation between moral action in the temporal life and the recompense at the judgment. Comp. 2 Corinthians 9:6 . The same figure is frequently used as to recompense, Hosea 8:7 ; Job 4:8 ; Proverbs 22:8 ; Sir 7:2 ; Plat. Phaedr . p. 260 D; Arist. Rhet . iii. 4; Plut. Mor . p. 394 D; Cic. de orat . ii. 65: “ut sementem feceris, ita metes.”

Verse 8

Galatians 6:8 . Ground assigned for the foregoing proposition. “So it is, since in fact the two opposite sorts of ground which receive the seed will also yield two opposite kinds of harvest .” In the words ὃ ἐὰν σπείρῃ ἄνθρ . τοῦτο κ . θερίσει Paul, as was required by the matter which he would figuratively present ( evil good ), has conceived two different classes of seed, with two sorts of recipient soil likewise essentially different; one class comprises all the kinds of seed which are sown to a man’s own flesh, the other class includes all those which are sown to the Holy Spirit. He who scatters the former class of seeds, and therefore sows to his own flesh, will from this soil, which he has furnished with the corresponding seed, reap corruption, etc. Therefore we have not here any alteration in the figure, by which Paul leaves the description of the seed , and passes over to that of the soil (Rückert, Hofmann, according to whom it is only this alteration which explains the connection with Galatians 6:6 ), but a proof that the state of the case, in accordance with the two kinds of soil which come into view, will not be other than is said in Galatians 6:7 . Observe the ὅτι , for the most part neglected by expositors, which is not explanatory, but causative (“ quoniam ,” Vulgate).

ὁ σπείρων εἰς τ . σάρκα ἑαυτοῦ ] that is, he who is minded and acts so that his own flesh his sinfully-determined corporeo-psychical nature (comp. Galatians 5:16 f.) is the element conditioning and prompting his thoughts and actions. ἑαυτοῦ is added, because afterwards an objective principle, τὸ πνεῦμα , is opposed to this selfish subjective principle. [256] The idea that εἰς τ . σάρκα ἑαυτοῦ applies to circumcision (Pelagius, Schoettgen; comp. Rückert and also Usteri) is entirely foreign to the context.

φθοράν ] corruption, destruction (Romans 8:21 ; Col 2:22 ; 2 Peter 2:12 ; LXX. Psalms 102:4 ; Wis 14:12 ; Thuc. ii. 47; Plat. Pol . viii. p. 546 A; and frequently), that is, here, in accordance with the contrast of ζωὴ αἰώνιος , the eternal ἀπώλεια . [257] But the suggestion that ΦΘΟΡΆΝ is used in reference to the corruptibility of the flesh (Winer, Schott, Reithmayr, and others; comp. also Chrysostom and Theodoret) cannot be entertained, because the true Christians who die before the παρουσία partake the lot of corruption, and the point of time for the harvest is conceived as not earlier than the nearly approaching ΠΑΡΟΥΣΊΑ (Galatians 6:9 ), in which either ΦΘΟΡΆ or ΖΩῊ ΑἸΏΝΙΟς will be the result of the judgment . According to de Wette, Paul has chosen this expression in order to denote the perishableness of carnal aims , and at the same time their destructive consequences for the soul. This is arbitrary. The general idea of φθοράν obtains its more precise definition simply from ΖΩῊΝ ΑἸΏΝ . Comp. 1Co 3:17 ; 2 Peter 2:12 .

ΔῈ ΣΠΕΊΡΩΝ ΕἸς ΤῸ ΠΝΕῦΜΑ ] No more than in chap. 5 does ΤῸ ΠΝΕῦΜΑ here mean the higher nature of man (Rückert, Schott, and most expositors; also Ernesti Urspr. d. Sünde , I. p. 60, II. p. 90 f.), but (so also Wieseler and Hofmann) it denotes the Holy Spirit . Jerome aptly remarks, that for this very reason Paul did not again add ἑαυτοῦ (which Ernesti would arbitrarily again supply ). The less, therefore, the ground for misapplying the passage in favour of the meritoriousness of good works. The sense, when divested of figure, is: “he who is minded and acts so that the Holy Spirit is the element which determines and prompts him.”

ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος θερίσει κ . τ . λ .] At the ΠΑΡΟΥΣΊΑ . See also Romans 8:11 ; Romans 8:15-17 ; 2 Corinthians 5:5 ; Ephesians 1:14 . ΦΘΟΡΆ and ΖΩῊ ΑἸΏΝΙΟς are conceived as the two kinds of produce which shall have sprung up from the two different sorts of recipient soil .

[256] Luther (1519 and 1524), with strange arbitrariness, holds that Paul desires to obviate the thought “ de seminatione masculi in carnem feminae .” But in 1533 he consistently abides by the reference to the attitude towards the teachers, and explains: “qui nihil communicat ministris verbi, sed se solum bene pascit et curat , id quod caro suadet,” etc. Comp. Calovius and others; also Hofmann: he who applies that which he possesses to his own flesh , in order to gratify its desires. We may add that the Encratites made use of our passage (see Jerome) as a ground for rejecting sexual intercourse and marriage; holding that he who takes a wife sows to the flesh, etc.

[257] The same thought is expressed in Romans 8:13 : εἰ κατὰ σάρκα ζῆτε , μέλλετε ἀποθνήσκειν . Comp. ver. 23.

Verse 9

Galatians 6:9 . Encouragement, not to become weary in that which is meant by this second kind of sowing; τὸ καλὸν ποιοῦντες is the same as would be figuratively expressed by εἰς τὸ πνεῦμα σπείροντες . The autem ( δέ ), which simply marks the transition to this summons, cannot be attached to the exhortation in Galatians 6:6 , as appending to it another (Hofmann).

ἐκκακῶμεν ] As to this form, and the form ἐγκακ . (Lachmann, Tischendorf), see on 2 Corinthians 4:1 . On the “levis paronomasia” (Winer) in καλόν and ἐκκακ ., comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:13 . He who loses moral courage ( ἐκκακεῖ ) loses also moral strength ( ἐκλύεται ).

καιρῷ γὰρ ἰδίῳ ] at the time expressly destined for the reaping (Matthew 13:30 ), by which is meant the time of the παρουσία , which man must await with perseverance in what is good. Comp. 1 Timothy 6:15 ; Titus 1:3 .

μὴ ἐκλυόμενοι ] not becoming weary (Matthew 15:32 ; Mark 8:3 ; Heb 12:3 ; Malachi 3:17; Malachi 3:17 ; Wetstein, I. p. 426; Loesner, p. 336), which is not to be understood of the not becoming fatigued in the reaping , 1 [258] a contrast being therein discovered either with the toils of the harvest proper (Theodoret, Theophylact, Oecumenius), or with the labour of sowing (Usteri; the two ideas are combined by Chrysostom, Clarius, and others). Either form of the contrast would yield a description of the eternal harvest, which would be feeble, superfluous, and almost trifling, little in harmony with the thoughtful manner of the apostle elsewhere. We may add, that it is not the nature of the harvest (which was obvious of itself from Galatians 6:8 ), but the time of the harvest, which constitutes the point on which the μὴ ἐκκακ . is grounded; and therefore on καιρῷ ἰδίῳ Calvin aptly remarks, “Spe igitur et patientia suum desiderium sustineant fideles et refrenent.” Hence ΜῊ ἘΚΛΝΌΜ . is rather to be taken as: if we do not become weary in doing good. See Photius in Oecumenius, p. 766 D, and Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Bengel, and nearly all modern expositors. This denotes the present state, by which the future harvest is conditioned. It involves not a clumsy repetition (Usteri), but a reiterated setting forth of the condition, urgently emphasizing its importance, by means of a correlate word which closes the sentence with emphatic earnestness. Comp. Fritzsche, ad Rom . I. p. 336. Nor would μὴ ἐκλυθέντες have been more correct (Rückert, Hofmann), but on the contrary: “videndum, quod quoque loco tempus vel ferri possit,” Herm. ad Viger . p. 773. Ewald’s explanation: undeniably , that is, necessarily , is without support from linguistic usage. Hofmann incorrectly makes μὴ ἐκλυόμενοι begin a new sentence; for Paul always places ἌΡΑ ΟὖΝ at the commencement , but here he would have fully preserved the emphasis of μὴ ἐκλ ., if instead of ἌΡΑ ΟὖΝ he had written merely ΟὖΝ , or merely ἌΡΑ .

[258] 1 Thus expressing the idea: “Nulla erit satietas vitae aeternae,” Calovius. This is the meaning also of Luther’s translation; “ without ceasing ” (Vulgate, non deficientes ); comp. Estius.

Verse 10

Galatians 6:10 . Concluding exhortation of the section of the epistle which began at Galatians 6:6 , inferred from the preceding καιρῷ γὰρ ἰδίῳ θερίσομεν μὴ ἐκλ . ( ἄρα οὖν ). The specialty of this exhortation lies in ὡς καιρὸν ἔχομεν , which is therefore emphatically prefixed: as we have a season suitable thereto (for instances of καιρὸν ἔχειν , opportunum tempus habere , see Wetstein). This seasonable time will have elapsed, when the παρουσία sets in; we must therefore utilize it as ours by the ἐργάζεσθαι τὸ ἀγαθόν . The same idea as the ἐξαγοράζεσθαι τ . καιρόν in Ephesians 5:16 ; Colossians 4:5 . Hofmann introduces the idea, that there will come for the Christians, even before the παρουσία , an “ hour of temptation ,” in which they can only (?) withstand evil, but not bestow good one on another . This idea is in opposition to the context in Galatians 6:9 , and is nowhere else expressed; and its introduction rests on the incorrect explanation of ἐργάζ . τὸ ἀγαθόν as referring to beneficence, and on the wrong idea that the doing good will become impossible.

ὡς is the usual as , that is, as corresponds with and is suitable to this circumstance, that we καιρὸν ἔχομεν . Comp. Luke 12:58 ; John 12:35 ; Clement, 2 Corinthians 9 : ὡς ἔχομεν καιρὸν τοῦ ἰαθῆναι , ἐπιδῶμεν ἑαυτοὺς τῷ θεραπεύοντι Θεῷ . Others, likewise retaining the signification “ as ,” interpret: prout habemus opportunitatem , that is, when and how we have opportunity. Thus Knatchbull, Homberg, Wolf, Zachariae, Hilgenfeld. For this, indeed, no conditional ἄν would be necessary; but how weak and lax would be the injunction! Besides, καιρόν has obtained, by means of Galatians 6:9 , its quite definite reference. Others take ὡς as causal (Heindorf, ad Gorg . p. 113; Matthiae, p. 1511). So Koppe, Paulus, Usteri ( because we have time and opportunity), de Wette; also Winer, who, however, does not decide between quoniam and prout . But ὡς , in the sense of because , is nowhere to be found in Paul’s writings (not even in 2 Timothy 1:3 ). Most expositors explain it as so long as (so Flatt, Rückert, Matthies, Schott, Olshausen), which, however, it never means, not even in Luke 12:58 .

τὸ ἀγαθόν ] the morally good , not the useful (Olshausen). Not merely the article, but also the use of the expression by Paul, in definite connection with ἐργάζεσθαι , as applying to morality active in works (Romans 2:10 ; Ephesians 4:28 ), ought to have prevented the interpretation of τὸ ἀγαθόν , at variance with the context, as benefits (Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Estius, and many others, including Schott, de Wette, and Wieseler). Hofmann’s interpretation (“do good towards others”), in more general terms evading the definite idea, amounts to the same thing. The ἀγαθόν in this passage is the same as τὸ καλόν in Galatians 6:9 . That which is good is also that which is morally beautiful . Comp. especially Romans 7:18 f.

πρός ] in relation to, in intercourse with . see Winer, p. 378 f. [E. T. 505]; Sturz, Lex. Xen . III. p. 698; Bernhardy, p. 265.

τοὺς οἰκείους τῆς πίστεως ] the associates in the faith, believers . οἰκεῖος , primarily inmate of the house , comes to be used generally in the sense of special appertaining to (comp. LXX. Isaiah 58:7 ), without further reference to the idea of a house. So with the genitive of an abstract noun, as οἰκεῖοι φιλοσοφίας (Strabo, I. p. 13 B), γεωγραφίας (Strabo, I. p. 25 A.), ὀλιγαρχίας (Diod. Sic. xiii. 91), and the like in Wetstein, p. 236; Schweigh. Lex Polyb . p. 401. Comp. τὰ τῆς ἀρετῆς οἰκεῖα , 2Ma 15:12 ; τὰ τῆς φύσεως οἰκεῖα , Dem. 1117. 25. The πίστις is the Christian faith; those who belong to it are the πιστεύοντες . The opposite would be: τοὺς ἀλλοτρίους τῆς πιστ . The idea that the church is the οἶκος Θεοῦ (1 Timothy 3:15 ; Hebrews 3:2 ; Hebrews 5:6 ; Hebrews 10:21 ; 1 Peter 4:17 ) is improperly introduced here, in order to obtain the sense: “ qui per fidem sunt in eadem atque nos familia Domini ” (Beza; comp. Estius, Michaelis, and others, also Schott and Olshausen, Wieseler, and Ewald, who limits the idea to the same church ). For τῆς πίστεως conveys the complete definition of τοὺς οἰκείους ; and the sense mentioned above must have been expressed by some such form as τοὺς ἡμῶν οἰκείους τῆς πίστεως (comp. Philippians 2:30 , et al.; Winer, p. 180, rem. 3 [E. T. 239]). Paul might also simply have written πρὸς τοῦς πιστεύοντας ; but the expression οἰκείους τ . π . suggests a stronger motive . Among the πᾶσι , in relation to whom we have to put into operation the morally good, those who belong to the faith have the chief claims because these claims are based on the special sacred duty of fellowship which it involves in preference to those who are strangers to the faith, although in respect even to the latter that conduct is to be observed which is required in Colossians 4:5 , 1 Thessalonians 4:12 .

Note .

If the reading ἐργαζόμεθα (see the critical notes), which is followed by Ewald, were the original one, the indicative would not (with Winer in his Commentary , but not in his Gramm . p. 267 [E. T. 355]) have to be taken as a stronger and more definite expression instead of the hortative subjunctive ( do we therefore the good ), since this use of the present indicative (Jacobs, ad Ach. Tat . p. 559, ad Delect. epigr . p. 228; Heindorf, ad Gorg . p. 109; Bernhardy, p. 396) in non-interrogative language (John 11:47 ) is foreign to the N.T., although opportunities for it often presented themselves. The interpretation of the whole sentence as an interrogation has been rightly given up by Lachmann (also at Romans 14:19 ), because so complete an interruption by a question does not occur elsewhere in Paul’s writings, and the addition μάλιστα δέ πρὸς τοὺς οἰκείους τῆς πίστεως indicates that the passage is of the nature of an assertion, and not of a question. ἐργάζομεθα τὸ ἀγαθόν would rather represent the matter as actually taking place ( we do it, we hold it so , it is our maxim), and would thus belong to the ideal delineation of Christian life common with the apostle; which might indeed be highly appropriate in its place at the conclusion of a discourse as a note of triumph, but here, in immediate connection with mere exhortations and injunctions, would be somewhat out of place.

Verse 11

Galatians 6:11 . Not “an odd verse,” the purport of which is “a singular whim ” (Usteri): on the contrary, in accordance with his well-known manner in other passages (1 Corinthians 16:21 ; Colossians 4:18 ; 2 Thessalonians 3:17 ), Paul adds to the letter, which up to this point he had dictated (comp. Romans 16:22 ), the conclusion from Galatians 6:11 onward in his own handwriting . 1 [259] By means of these autograph endings the epistles indicated their authentic character. See 2 Thessalonians 2:2 ; 2 Thessalonians 3:17 . But this close of our epistle , as stringently comprehending all its main points once more, was intended to catch the eyes of the readers as something so specially important, that from Galatians 6:12 to the end the apostle wrote it with very large letters , [260] just as we, in writing and printing, distinguish by letters of a larger size anything that we wish to be considered as peculiarly significant. To this point, and consequently to the quite special importance of the addition now made at the end, not by the hand of the amanuensis, but by his own hand in large writing, Paul calls the attention of his readers, and says: “ See with how great letters I have written (the sequel, from Galatians 6:12 ) to you with my own hand! ” Neither ἴδετε (in opposition to Rückert and Schott) nor ἜΓΡΑΨΑ (in opposition to Usteri) is at variance with the reference to what follows; for Paul, following the custom of letter-writers, has in his mind not the present point of time, when he is just about to write, but the point of time, when his readers have received the letter and consequently see what and how he has written (Philemon 1:19 ; Phm 1:21 ; 1 John 2:14 ; 1 John 2:21 ; Acts 15:27 ; Acts 23:30 , Romans 16:22 ; Thuc. 1. 1 in.; Isocr. ad Demonic. in. ). Just in the same way in Philemon 1:19 , ἔγραψα τῇ ἐμῇ χειρί points to what follows . In keeping with this is the similarly common use of ἔπεμψα , “respectu habito temporis, quo alter donum accipiebat;” Kühner, ad Xen. Anab . i. 9. 25; comp. Krüger, § 53. 10. 1. Holsten, Voemel, Matthias, Windischmann, Reithmayr, agree with our view. Grotius also (“sua manu scripsit omnia, quae jam sequuntur”), Studer, and Laurent refer the words to what follows. Grotius, however, contrary to the usus loquendi , explains πηλίκοις as how much , thus making Paul call attention to the length of his autograph conclusion; and Studer understands it as referring to the unshapeliness of the letters (in opposition to this, see below); whilst Laurent (in the Stud. u. Krit . 1864, p. 644 ff., and in his neut. Stud . p. 125. 5), against the signification of the word, adheres to the qualibus of the Vulgate, and is of opinion that Paul wrote this conclusion of the letter in the cursive character. Usually, however (as also by Ewald, Wieseler, Hofmann), Galatians 6:11 is referred to the whole epistle , which Paul had written with his own hand, [261] πηλίκοις being explained (with Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Cajetanus, Estius, Winer, Rückert, Usteri, Hilgenfeld) as referring to the unshapeliness of the letters , [262] arising from want of practice in writing Greek; or πηλίκ . γράμμ . being explained as: what a large letter I have written to you. So most expositors, including de Wette and Hofmann. But against this latter view although the epistle, notwithstanding 1 Peter 5:12 , Hebrews 13:22 , would no doubt be long enough for an autograph one may be urged the very use which it assumes of γράμματα for ἐπιστολή , [263] since Paul elsewhere always calls an epistle ἐπιστολή (1 Corinthians 5:9 ; 1 Corinthians 16:3 ; 2Co 3:1 f., 2 Corinthians 10:10 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:2 ; 2 Thessalonians 3:14 ; 2 Thessalonians 3:17 ); and, on the other hand, he just as constantly uses the word ΓΡΆΜΜΑ , in the singular (Romans 2:27 ; Romans 2:29 ; Romans 7:6 ; 2 Corinthians 3:6 ) and plural (2 Corinthians 3:7 ), to express the idea of a letter of the alphabet; and also the decisive consideration that the employment of the dative ( instrum .) instead of the accusative (Acts 23:25 ; Romans 16:22 ; 2 Peter 3:1 ) would be quite in opposition to all usage. [264] The dative would only be suitable if, instead of ἔγραψα , παρεκάλεσα perhaps, or some suitable word, followed. Against the former interpretation, which refers the word to the unshapeliness of the letters, it may be urged that the idea of ἀμορφία is arbitrarily introduced into πηλίκοις , as this quality is by no means an essential characteristic of large letters; secondly, that the charge of want of practice in writing Greek cannot be proved. The native of Tarsus and Roman citizen, who from his youth had enjoyed a learned training in Jerusalem, where the Greek language was very current among the Jews (see Hug, Einl . II. § 10) the man who handled with so much delicacy and skill the Greek literary language, who was familiar with the works of the Greek poets (see on Acts 17:28 ), and who was in constant intercourse with Greek Jews and Gentiles, is it to be thought that such an one should not have possessed even the humble attainment of writing Greek without making the letters of an unshapely size? In Wieseler’s view, the large letters were very legible (for the public reading of the epistle); and in calling attention to this circumstance, Paul desires to bring into prominence his great love for his readers, which shuns no trouble on their account. But even thus the matter would amount only to a trifle. The Galatians were in possession of far greater proofs of his love than the size of the characters in his own handwriting, which, besides, might be something very different from legibility.

[259] 1 From 2 Thessalonians 3:17 it is to be assumed that Paul closed all his epistles with his own hand, even when he does not expressly say so .

[260] The principal emphasis is on the word πηλίκοις , which is therefore placed apart; the secondary stress lies on τῇ ἐμῇ χειρί . It may, however, be doubtful whether Paul wrote merely ver. 12 with larger letters, and the sequel with his own hand but in his ordinary mode of writing, or whether he continued the large characters down to ver. 16 or to ver. 18. The internal connection of vv. 12 16, the uniform solemn tone of these verses down to their solemn conclusion, and the abrupt character of ver. 17, all unite in inducing us to adopt the second view.

[261] In adopting this view various grounds have been guessed for its autograph composition. Pelagius: “that Paul desired to show that he was not afraid! ” Ambrosiaster, comp. Augustine and Michaelis: “that he desired to prove the genuineness of the epistle .” Chrysostom (who, moreover, assumes in addition the cause assigned by Pelagius), Luther, Calvin, Calovius, and many others: “that his intention was to show the Galatians his earnest care for them, to make them attentive in reading, and the like.” Hilgenfeld: “that he attached so much importance to the epistle.” Ewald: “that Timothy had not been with him just at the time when he composed the epistle; and he thus wished, in the postscript written at a somewhat later period, to make excuse for the large inelegant letters in which the epistle had been written.” Hofmann: “that the autograph writing was intended to bring the apostle as it were vividly before the eyes of his readers .” Hofmann is also of opinion that Paul had not elsewhere written with his own hand, that he might not needlessly curtail the time for procuring his bodily maintenance. As if the dictating to the pen of another would not have involved just as much loss of time! Tertius and Timothy were hardly shorthand writers. Or is Paul supposed to have been occupied in tent-making during the time when he was dictating his letters, which presuppose so much abstraction and concentration of mental labour?

[262] This is not, as is often stated, the view of Jerome, who, on the contrary, specifies this view only to reject it, and assumes that down to ver. 11 the epistle was written by the amanuensis, but after ver. 11 by Paul himself in very large characters, in order that his readers should recognise his genuine handwriting and at the same time his solicitous care for them. Jerome therefore comes nearest to our view, but introduces into the πηλίκοις purposes which have no natural connection with the largeness of the characters, and could not, without further intimation, have been understood by the reader. Theodore of Mopsuestia explains it better, likewise understanding πηλίκοις γράμμασιν correctly ( μείζοσιν ἐχρήσατο γράμμασιν ), and specifying as Paul’s object that he, μέλλων καθάπτεσθαι τῶν ἐναντίων , wished to intimate that he neither ἐρυθριᾷ οὔτε ἀρνεῖται τὰ λεγόμενα .

[263] Taking the word by itself, there can be no doubt that γράμμα ( scriptum , 2 Timothy 3:15 , John 5:47 ) may, according to the context, mean epistle , so that in the plural it would denote epistolae (Acts 28:21 , and often in Greek authors), but may also apply to a single epistle. Thus, for instance, Thuc. vii. 8. 3, where ἐπιστολή is used shortly before; Xen. Cyr . iv. 5. 26, where ἐπιστολή occurs immediately after; Xen. Ephesians 2:5 and Locella in loc . Comp. also Luke 16:6 ; 1Ma 4:10 ; 1Ma 4:14 ; Ignat. Romans 8:0 , ad Polyc . 7.

[264] Quite irrelevantly Hofmann compares the usage of combining a verb with the abstract noun derived from it in the dative (Buttmann, neut. Gr . p. 159); and just as irrelevantly the expresssion εἰπεῖν λόγῳ , Matthew 8:8 (see on this passage), Luke 7:7 . Not even that use of εἰπεῖν λόγῳ , in which it may denote to deliver as an orator (Krüger on Thuc . i. 22. 1), would here be analogous. Only such phrases as, e.g ., χρυσοῖς γράμμασι γράφειν , to write with golden letters , Lucian. Alex . 43; μεγάλοις γράμμ . ἀναγράφειν , to write down in large letters, Gymn . 22; γράμμασιν Ἑλληνικοῖς , Luke 23:38 , Elz.; φοινικίοις γράμμ ., Soph. Fragm . 460 D, really correspond.

Verses 11-18

Galatians 6:11-18 . Final section of the epistle in the apostle’s own handwriting. The main points of controversy are here briefly summed up: then in Galatians 6:17 a repetition of molestations is deprecated, and Galatians 6:18 concludes with the farewell blessing.

Verse 12

Galatians 6:12 . [265] All those whose wish and will are directed to making a fair show in the flesh , that is, to the having a specious appearance, while they are involved in fleshly habits, this class of men force circumcision upon you , and they do so solely for the reason that they may not bring on themselves persecution on account of the cross of Christ . This persecution they would incur on the part of the Jews, if they preached the cross of Christ and at the same time rejected circumcision; whereas, by insisting on circumcision , they disarmed the zeal of the Jews for the law (comp. on Galatians 5:11 ), and removed from the cross of Christ all occasion of their experiencing persecution for it (note the critically correct position of the μή ). In order to understand the passage rightly, we must note that the emphasis is on ΕὐΠΡΟΣΩΠΉΣΑΙ (not on ἘΝ ΣΑΡΚΊ ): they desire to combine a pleasing exterior with an unspiritual, carnal state of life, in which they really are. Thus is characterized the hypocritical conduct of these people, whose jesuitry makes them resemble the τάφοις κεκονιαμένοις (Matthew 23:27 ; comp. Acts 23:3 ). Comp. 2 Corinthians 5:12 . So many as belong to this dissembling class, they constrain you to be circumcised!

εὐπρόσωπος ] speciosus facie , sometimes applied to actual beauty of person (as Xen. Mem . i. 3. 10), and sometimes to a mere specious appearance (as Herod. vii. 168; commonly used among Greek authors (comp. Genesis 12:11 ); but εὐπροσωπεῖν is not preserved elsewhere in the literary language. In Dion. Hal. Galatians 3:11 we find ΕὐΠΡΟΣΩΠΊΑ ; in Symmachus, Psalms 141:6 , ΕὐΠΡΟΣΩΠΊΣΘΗΣΑΝ . Comp. ΦΑΙΝΟΠΡΟΣΩΠΕῖΝ , Cic. Att . vii. 21, xiv. 21; σεμνοπροσωπεῖν , Arist. Nub . 363.

ἐν σαρκί ] is the element of the sinful nature of man (Galatians 6:8 ; Galatians 3:3 ; Galatians 5:17 ), in which, instead of being renewed and refined by the Holy Spirit, those hypocrites are found living, and at the same time endeavour to give to themselves a good colouring which would prepossess the opinion of others in their favour. The juxtaposition of the words, “ to look fair in the flesh ” reveals the moral contradiction in their nature, and delineates their whole portraiture, as if with one sharp touch, indignantly, vigorously, and appropriately. The words are usually explained: “those who desire to be well-pleasing by means of outward carnal things, such as circumcision and the observance of the ceremonial law generally ,” Rückert; comp. Beza, Gomarus, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Winer, Usteri, Matthies, Schott, Olshausen, and others. Of course ἐν σαρκί might, ex adjuncto , obtain the sense, by means of circumcision and observance of the law (comp. Romans 2:28 ); but in this passage the context suggests no ground for thinking of anything else than that which was just shortly before meant by σάρξ , in the contrast drawn between ΣΆΡΞ and ΠΝΕῦΜΑ . Comp. Wieseler. And how feeble and inexpressive, when placed at the commencement of so energetic a passage, would be the description of the misleaders which this interpretation would yield! Holsten interprets in a similar way, but developes the sense more accurately, and takes ἘΝ ΣΑΡΚΊ as the sphere in which the ΕὐΠΡ . manifests itself, “all who desire a fair show in the fleshly domain; ” this applies in the concrete to circumcision , which could have true significance only as a sign of inward righteousness (Romans 3:25 f.), but to which these persons adhered “ for its fair show of righteousness .” But it is not until Galatians 6:13 that σάρξ obtains its reference in harmony with the text to circumcision; in respect to which, moreover, the idea, that circumcision is the seal of righteousness , is not at all intimated in the connection of our passage. Lastly, Chrysostom and his successors, Erasmus, Calvin, Estius, Grotius, and others, have assigned to ἑν σαρκί the unmeaning sense ΠΑΡʼ ἈΝΘΡΏΠΟΙς ; and Hofmann has arrived at the trifling interpretation, that the idea meant was “ a pleasing cheerfulness of outward appearance, springing from and testifying to a natural amiability , to which the opponents of the apostle aspired: they would fain appear with the expression of natural amiability .” Thus the description of the opponents placed at the head of this final outburst, so full of holy severity and indignation, would simply amount to the assertion of an amiable bonhommie by which they were impelled. Holsten justly designates this view as inconceivable .

ἀναγκάζουσιν ] they are occupied with, busy themselves in, forcing circumcision upon you. See Bernhardy, p. 370. As to the idea of ἈΝΑΓΚΆΖ . see on Matthew 14:22 . Comp. Galatians 2:3 ; Galatians 2:14 .

ΜΌΝΟΝ ἽΝΑ ] merely from the (self-interested) motive, that they, etc .

τῷ σταυρῷ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ] that is, on account of the cross of Christ, because they preach Christ as crucified . The instrumental dative denotes the cause of the persecution. See Romans 11:20 ; 2 Corinthians 2:12 ; Bernhardy, p. 101 f.; “Winer, p. 202 f. [E. T. 270]. So most expositors, including Rückert, Matthies, Usteri, Schott, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Hilgenfeld, Wieseler, Hofmann. But others explain the words according to the idea of the παθήματα Χριστοῦ (see on 2 Corinthians 1:5 ; Colossians 1:24 ): “ ne participes fiant suppliciorum Christi ,” Winer; comp. Jerome, Luther, Grotius, Semler, Michaelis, Koppe, Morus, de Wette, Ewald. The evident reference to Galatians 5:11 [266] is decidedly opposed to this interpretation, even apart from the singular nature of the idea τῷ σταυρῷ διώκεσθαι (Paul would have written ταῖς θλίψεσι or the like).

[265] As to vv. 12 16, see the excursus of Holsten, z. Evang. d. Paul u. Petr . 343 ff.

[266] Holsten holds the peculiar view, that what is in Galatians 5:11 expressed objectively , receives here a subjective turn: “ in order that they ( those who are offended ) should no more be persecuted through ( the offence at ) the cross .” The σταυρὸς τ . Χ . had, in his view, been to the Jewish Christians an obscure point , and in presence of the Pauline churches a painful wound , by the recollection of which they were, in a metaphorical sense, persecuted . But what plain reader would have been able to unriddle a sense so enigmatically wrapped up a sense which Paul might easily have expressed in clear words?

Verse 13

Galatians 6:13 . They have no other design than merely that stated in Galatians 6:12 ( ἵνα τῷ σταυρῷ κ . τ . λ .). For so far from its being their aim, by the enforcement of circumcision, to re-establish the observance of the law among you, not even the circumcised (who are in question) themselves , for their own part, keep the law , but διʼ ἀνθρωπίνην φιλοτιμίαν ταῦτα πάντα γίνεται ὑπὲρ ἀρεσκείας τῶν ἀπίστων , Chrysostom.

οἱ περιτετμημένοι ] is said contemptuously, and with indignation, of the fraternity of the false apostles, of whom it might at least have been expected that they themselves would combine obedience to the law with their being circumcised. 1 [267] Comp. Stallbaum, ad Euthyphr . p. 12; Fritzsche, ad Marc . p. 613. But the ground for their non-observance of the Mosaic law is conceived by Paul to be, neither their distance from Jerusalem (Theodoret and others; also Schott), nor the general impossibility of a complete fulfilment of the law (Jerome, Estius; comp. Usteri), both of which would be exculpatory, and wholly unsuited to the idea of the worthlessness of the persons concerned, but the hypocritical badness of these people (comp. Galatians 6:12 ). It is true that, amongst the Jews generally, notwithstanding their self-conceit, there was a deficiency in their obedience to the law (Romans 2:17-23 ); but an observance of the law might have been expected at all events from these περιτετμημένοι , who were such champions for circumcision and insisted on it so much (Galatians 6:12 ). Yet not even they themselves , etc.

ἵνα ἐν τῇ ὑμετ . σαρκί καυχ .] The σάρξ is not to be here taken again in an ethical sense, as in Galatians 6:12 (Wieseler, comp. Ewald); but, according to the close and definite connection with περιτέμνεσθαι , it must be taken as referring to the corporeal nature , so far as it is in it that circumcision takes place (Ephesians 2:11 ; Colossians 2:13 ). The emphasis is, however, on ὑμετέρᾳ ; [268] hence Olshausen is the more wrong in finding a contrast which is quite out of place here to the souls , which those false teachers ought to have sought after. The antithetic element of τῇ ὑμετ . lies in the conceit of the περιτετμημένοι as to their own circumcision, as the correlate of which the circumcision of the Galatian Gentile Christians , to be effected by them, was to be the subject of their boasting. But this sentence of purpose is parallel to the ἵνα τῷ σταυρῷ κ . τ . λ . contained in Galatians 6:12 , seeing that the pseudo-apostles in fact by this intended boasting of their diffusion of theocratic Judaism by the circumcision of Gentile Christians which they procured thought to avert the persecutions of the Jews; Theophylact: ἵνα ἐν τῷ κατακόπτειν τὴν ὑμετέραν σάρκα καυχήσωνται ὡς διδάσκαλοι ὑμῶν καὶ μαθητὰς ὑμᾶς ἔχοντες . It is a καυχάσθαι , in the face not of heathenism (Holsten), but of the non-Christian Judaism , from whose side the persecution on account of the cross of Christ (Galatians 6:12 ) was threatened.

[267] 1 As at any rate the false teachers are meant, and these were Jewish Christians , the reading περιτεμνόμενοι is plainly absurd. They were, in fact, not subjected to circumcision (Reithmayr), but circumcised , and could not therefore be designated, “according to their quality as Jews” (Moeller on de Wette), as περιτεμνόμενοι ( present ). See especially Reiche, p. 93. The idea that these people were formerly Gentiles , part of whom were still on the point of accepting circumcision, and that their adherents are included (de Wette), is quite as unhistorical (see Acts 15:1 ; Acts 15:5 ; 2 Corinthians 11:22 ; Acts 11:20-22 ) as the makeshift of Hilgenfeld is groundless: that among those false teachers (“the circumcision-people”) the act of circumcision had still continued , not merely outwardly in the reception of the newly-born and proselytes (in that case Paul must have said οἱ περιτέμνοντες ), but also inwardly, by virtue of the significance ascribed to it. In his Zeitschr . 1860, p. 220, Hilgenfeld appeals to οἱ περιτεμνόμενοι in the Act. Petr. et Pauli , 63; but wrongly, because there (see the sequel) the subject is moral circumcision. The view of Neander is also mistaken, p. 366. According to Wieseler and Matthias, who likewise read περιτεμνόμενοι , the περιτεμνόμενοι were those among the Galatian Gentile Christians , who, led away by the pseudo-apostles, allowed themselves to be circumcised . In that case we must with these expositors make the seducers themselves, the pseudo-apostles, the subject of θέλουσιν . But this view is intolerable; how could Paul enable the reader to guess this change of subject? The subject of φυλάσσ . must also be the subject of θέλουσιν , or else Paul must have written as awkwardly as possible. Consequently the subject of both the verbs can only be the false apostles, who, however, were περιτετμημένοι , and not περιτεμνόμενοι . Hofmann and Holsten are of opinion that the present participle is intended to denote the Jews generally , inasmuch as circumcision was in use among them. Against this view it may be decisively urged, that the subjects of the following θέλουσιν can be no other than οἱ περιτεμνόμενοι , and thus likewise the Israelites generally (as Hofmann consistently explains it); nevertheless these θέλοντες (ver. 13) must necessarily be the very same as those to whom the θέλουσιν in ver. 12 applies, and therefore not the Jews generally, but the Judaistic adversaries . Moreover, to these only is the οὐδέ , not even , suitable, which presupposes in those concerned a higher degree of obligation than in the case of others who were bound to obey the law. The forced expedient of Holsten is highly arbitrary: that Paul included the false teachers (consequently, according to our reading and interpretation, the περιτετμημένοι ) in the category of those circumcising themselves (and therefore the περιτεμνόμενοι ).

[268] Not on σαρκί (Matthias, Holsten), as if Paul had written τῇ σαρκὶ ὑμῶν . Comp. 2 Corinthians 8:8 , Romans 11:31 , 1 Corinthians 15:31 , where the pronoun, rarely used by Paul, is likewise emphatic.

Verse 14

Galatians 6:14 . By way of contrast, not to the national vanity of the Jews (Hofmann, in accordance with his interpretation of Galatians 6:13 ), but to the καυχάσθαι which the pseudo-apostles had in view, Paul now presents his own principle: “from me, on the other hand, far be it to glory, except only in the cross of Christ.”

ἐμοὶ μὴ γένοιτο καυχ .] mihi ne accidat, ut glorier . On this deprecating expression with the infinitive , comp. LXX. Genesis 44:7 ; Genesis 44:17 ; Joshua 22:29 ; Joshua 24:16 ; 1Ma 13:5 ; 1Ma 13:9-10 ; Ignat. Eph . 12; Xen. Cyr . vi. 3. 11: ὦ Ζεῦ μέγιστε , λαβεῖν μοι γένοιτο αὐτόν , Anab . i. 9. 18; Deuteronomy 33:25 ; Ellendt, Lex. Soph . I. p. 366.

In the words εἰ μὴ ἐν τῷ σταυρῷ down to κόσμῳ , observe the defiant enthusiasm, which manifests itself even in the fulness of the expression. How very different the conduct of the opponents, according to Galatians 6:12 ! Nothing but the cross of Christ is to be the subject of his καυχᾶσθαι ; nothing, namely, but the redemption accomplished on the cross by Christ constituted the basis, the sum, and the divine certainty of his faith, life, hope, action, etc. Comp. Php 3:7 ff.; 2 Corinthians 5:15 ff.; 1 Corinthians 1:23 ; 1 Corinthians 2:2 , et al . Thus it is a truly apostolic oxymoron : καυχᾶσθαι ἐν τῷ σταυρῷ . The cross is “ τὸ καύχημα τῶν καυχημάτων ,” Cyril.

διʼ οὗ ἐμοὶ κόσμος ἐσταύρ . κἀγὼ τῷ κόσμῳ reveals the cause why he may not glory in anything else: “through whom the world is crucified to me, and I ( sc . ἐσταύρωμαι ) unto the world ,” that is, “by whose crucifixion is produced the result, that no internal fellowship of life longer exists between me and the world: it is dead for me, and I for it.” By Calvin, Bengel, Winer, Usteri, Hofmann, Holsten, Matthias, Reithmayr, and others, διʼ οὗ is referred to the cross . But it is more pertinent to refer it to the fully and triumphantly expressed subject immediately preceding, τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (Vulgate, Erasmus, Beza, Luther, and many others, including de Wette, Ewald, Wieseler): through whom , that is, according to the context, by means of whose crucifixion . This effect is dependent on the inward fellowship with the death of Christ (Galatians 2:19 f.; Romans 6:0 ) commenced by faith, and maintained by the Holy Spirit. By this fellowship Paul is transplanted into an entirely new relation of life, and feels that all the previous interests of his life are now stripped of their influence over him, and that he is now completely independent of them. Comp. Philippians 3:7 ff.

ἐμοί ] for me , denotes the ethical reference of the relation. See Bernhardy, p. 84.

κόσμος (without the article; see Winer, p. 117 [E. T. 153]) finds its explanation from Galatians 6:15 ( οὔτε περιτομὴ , αὔτε ἀκροβυστία ), namely, the organic totality of all relations aloof from Christianity , looked upon, indeed, as a living power , which exercises authority and sway over the unconverted, but in the case of the converted has become dead through his admission into the fellowship of faith and life with the crucified Lord; that is, has ceased to influence and determine his thoughts, feelings, and actions. Thus the world is crucified to him by means of the crucifixion of Christ. Comp. Colossians 2:20 ; Eph 2:2 f.; 1 Corinthians 7:31 ; 1 Corinthians 7:33-34 ; James 4:4 ; 1 John 2:15 f.

κἀγῶ τῶ κόσμῳ ] for the cessation of the mutual fellowship of life is meant to be expressed, and the matter to be thus wholly exhausted. Comp. 1 Corinthians 6:13 ; 2 Thessalonians 1:12 ; “nec malis illius territor, nec commodis titillor, nec odium metuo, nec plausum moror, nec ignominiam formido, nec gloriam affecto,” Erasmus, Paraphr .

Verse 15

Galatians 6:15 . Γάρ ] introduces an explanatory reason assigned, not for the καυχᾶσθαι ἐν τῷ σταυρῷ (Hofmann, Matthias, Reithmayr, and others), which has already received its full explanation in the relative sentence διʼ οὗ κ . τ . λ ., but for the just expressed διʼ οὗ ἐμοὶ κόσμος κ . τ . λ . This relation of his to the world cannot indeed, according to the axiom οὔτε περιτομή κ . τ . λ ., be other than that so expressed. In justification of this reference of γάρ , observe that περιτομή and ἀκροβυστία comprehend the two categories of worldly relations apart from Christianity , which had so prominently re-asserted themselves in those very Galatian disturbances (comp. Galatians 5:6 ). For neither circumcision availeth, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature : [269] that is, “for it is a matter of indifference whether one is circumcised or uncircumcised; and the only matter of importance is, that one should be created anew, transferred into a new, spiritual condition of life.” As to the form and idea of καινὴ κτίαις , see on 2 Corinthians 5:17 . As characteristics of the καινὴ , ΚΤΊΣΙς , we find, according to Galatians 2:20 , the Ζῇ ΔῈ ἘΝ ἘΜΟῚ ΧΡΙΣΤΌς ; according to Galatians 3:27 , the “having put on Christ;” according to Galatians 5:6 , ΠΊΣΤΙς ΔΙʼ ἈΓΆΠΗς ἘΝΕΡΓΟΥΜΈΝΗ ; according to Ephesians 2:10 , the ΠΕΡΙΠΑΤΕῖΝ ἘΝ ἜΡΓΟΙς ἈΓΑΘΟῖς ; and according to 1 Corinthians 7:19 , ΤΉΡΗΣΙς ἘΝΤΟΛῶΝ ΘΕΟῦ . In the new man (Colossians 3:10 ), Christ determines all things; the new man is ΣΎΜΦΥΤΟς Τῆς ἈΝΑΣΤΆΣΕΩς of Christ (Romans 6:5 ), set free by the Spirit from the law of sin and of death (Romans 8:2 ), a child and heir of God (Romans 8:16 f.). That this principle, moreover, was that of the Christian point of view, was self-evident to the reader; without again adding ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ , as in Galatians 5:6 (see the critical remarks), Paul has rendered this Christian axiom the more striking by setting it down in an absolute form . It stands here as his concluding signal of triumph.

[269] It is stated by Syncell. Chron . p. 27 (ed. Bonn, p. 48), and Phot. Amphil . 183, that Paul derived this utterance from the apocryphal Apocalypsis Mosis . It is possible that the same thought occurred in that book; but it is certain that Paul derived it from his own inmost consciousness. It may have passed from our passage into the ἀποκάλυψις Μωϋσέως . Comp. Lücke, Einl. in d. Offenb. Joh . I. p. 232 f.

Verse 16

Galatians 6:16 . The heart, full of the great truth in Galatians 6:15 , has now a wish of blessing for all who follow it in their conduct. The simple and , carrying on the train of thought and linking it with Galatians 6:15 , serves to express this wish. A reference to Galatians 6:14 , so as to connect our verse with the wish therein contained (Hofmann), is not required by καί , and is forbidden by the importance of Galatians 6:15 , which would in that case have to be reduced to a mere parenthetical insertion.

The emphasis lies not on τούτῳ , but on τῷ κανόνι (comp. on 1 Corinthians 15:19 ); for it is the very canonical character of the saying in Galatians 6:15 which has to be brought out: “who shall walk according to the guiding line , which is herein given.” We are prohibited from assigning to κανών the non-literal meaning rule, maxim (as is usually done; see Schott in loc .), by the figurative στοιχήσουσιν , which requires the literal meaning guiding line (2 Corinthians 10:13 ff.), that is, in this passage, a line defining the direction of the way; as such, the maxim expressed in Galatians 6:15 is placed before them. As to στοιχεῖν , comp. on Galatians 5:25 . The anacoluthic nominative ὅσοι κ . τ . λ . has rhetorical emphasis, directing the whole attention of the readers first to the subject in itself which is under discussion. Comp. on Matthew 7:24 ; Matthew 10:14 ; John 1:12 ; Acts 7:40 . The future στοιχήσ . (comp. Galatians 5:10 ) applies to the time of receiving the letter (comp. τοῦ λοιποῦ , Galatians 6:17 ). Paul hopes that the letter will have a converting and strengthening effect upon many readers, but makes the question, who should be warranted in applying to himself the concluding blessing, depend on the result.

εἰρήνη ἐπʼ αὐτοὺς καὶ ἔλεος ] sc . εἴη , [270] welfare ( שלום ; see on Ephesians 6:23 ; John 14:27 ) on them, and mercy (Tittm. Synon . p. 69 f). Comp. 1Ti 1:2 ; 2 Timothy 1:2 ; Jud 1:2 ; 2 John 1:3 , in which passages ἜΛΕΟς stands first . Here it follows after , not because Paul intended at first to write ΕἸΡΉΝΗ only (so, arbitrarily, Olshausen), nor because in ἜΛΕΟς he had specially in view the day of judgment (Hofmann), which indeed is expressly added in 2 Timothy 1:18 , but because he has thought of the effect produced before the producing cause. What welfare it is that Paul wishes namely, all Messianic welfare is obvious of itself. The peace of reconciliation forms a part of it. ἜΛΕΟς is, moreover, to be considered as neuter , because Paul throughout so uses it (even in Titus 3:5 it is neuter, according to decisive testimony); although the neuter form, which very often occurs in the LXX., is but very rarely found in classical authors. See Dindorf, ad Diod . iii. 18; Kühner, I. p. 396, c. Exodus 2:0 .

In ἐπʼ αὐτούς is implied the idea that welfare and mercy come down upon them from heaven. Comp. Luke 2:25 ; Luke 2:40 ; Luk 4:18 ; 2 Corinthians 12:9 ; Mark 1:10 ; Acts 19:6 , et al .

καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ Θεοῦ ] That this is a reminiscence of Psalms 125:5 ; Psalms 128:6 (Theophylact, Erasmus, and others; also Rückert, Schott, de Wette, Reiche), could only be assumed without dealing arbitrarily, if, instead of καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰσρ . τοῦ Θεοῦ , Paul had written: εἰρήνη ἑπὶ τὸν Ἰσραήλ ! which, after the instruction given by him in Galatians 4:21 ff., he might have written without any danger of misunderstanding. Still less can the expression be referred to Psalms 73:1 ; for which purpose Hofmann employs an impossible interpretation of the Hebrew text of the passage. The Israel of God , that is, as contrasted with Jacob’s bodily descendants as such (comp. Romans 9:6 ; 1 Corinthians 10:18 ; Philippians 3:3 ), the Israelites who belong to God as His own , and therefore form the real people of God ideally viewed (comp. also John 1:48 ), are at any rate the true Christians . [271] But according as καί is taken either as explanatory or as conjunctive , we may understand either the true Christians in general, Jewish and Gentile Christians (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Luther, Calvin, Pareus, Cornelius a Lapide, Calovius, Baumgarten, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Borger, Winer, Paulus, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Wieseler, and others), or the truly converted Jews (Ambrosiaster, Beza, Grotius, Estius, Schoettgen, Bengel, Rückert, Matthies, Schott, de Wette, Ewald, Reithmayr, and others; Usteri does not decide). If we adopt the latter interpretation, we must either (with Grotius, Schott, Bengel, Ewald) refer the foregoing ὅσοι and ΑὐΤΟΎς to the Gentile Christians, a view which is, however, decisively at variance with the universal ὍΣΟΙ , and with the description excluding any national reference, Τῷ ΚΑΝΌΝΙ ΤΟΎΤῼ ΣΤΟΙΧ . or (with Rückert, Matthies, de Wette, Reithmayr, and others) we must explain the train of thought as follows: “Salvation be upon all true Christians, and more especially (to mention these in particular; see on Mark 1:5 ; Mark 16:7 ) on all true Jewish Christians!” But however near Paul’s fellow-countrymen were to his heart (Romans 9:1 ), he not only had no ground in the context for bringing them forward here so specially; but any such distinction would even be quite improperly introduced especially in the deeply-impassioned close of the letter in presence of churches which consisted principally of Gentile Christians and had been involved by Jewish interference in violent controversies. And even apart from this, no reader to whom the teaching of the apostle as to the true Israelites was familiar (and see Galatians 3:7 , Galatians 4:21 ff.) could think that τὸν Ἰσρ . τοῦ Θεοῦ referred to Jewish Christians only; this would be opposed to the specific conception of Paul on this point. We must adhere, therefore, to the explicative view of καί as the correct one (1 Corinthians 3:5 ; 1Co 8:12 ; 1 Corinthians 15:38 ; John 1:16 ), and indeed, namely , so that it introduces an appropriate, more precise description (Hartung, Partikell . I. p. 145 f.; Winer, p. 407 [E. T. 545 f.]) of the subjects previously characterized. Hofmann is wrong in objecting that the epexegetical καί is always climactic ; see Hermann ad Viger . p. 838. Moreover, the designation of all those, who shall walk according to that entirely anti-Jewish rule of conduct, as the Israelites of God , forms as it were the final triumph of the whole epistle over the Judaistic practices, the very aim of which was to assert the title of the Ἰσραὴλ κατὰ αάρκα to the heritage of salvation. Hofmann is entirely mistaken in his view that ΚΑΊ is even , and that the Israel of God are the Jew-Christians , so that Paul expresses the idea that he desired to include even these in his wish. It was, indeed, obvious that in ἐπʼ αὐτούς they could not be, and were not intended to be, excluded; but Paul was neither so unwise nor so devoid of tact as expressly to state that self-evident point, as if there could possibly be any doubt about it. By adding this last word, he would only have offended the theocratical point of honour (Romans 1:16 ). Lastly, Matthias also is wrong in supposing that καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰσρ . τοῦ Θεοῦ begins the new sentence (Galatians 6:17 ): “ And concerning the Israel of God henceforth let no man ,” etc. This interpretation ought to have been prevented by the solemn repetition of the preposition, which indeed on the second occasion would acquire quite a different sense ( concerning ).

[270] Taken as a wish of blessing, the thought harmonizes more naturally with the conclusion of the epistle, than if it is taken as an affirmation (de Wette, ἔσται or ἐστίν ). Chrysostom and Theophylact appear to have supplied ἔσται ; but Theodoret takes it as wish: ἐπηύξατο τὸν ἔλεον κ . τὴν εἰρήνην .

[271] Not the Jews (Morus), nor even the pious Jews , those, namely, who have not rejected the gospel out of stubbornness, and permit the hope of their coming to recognise the rule expressed in ver. 15 (Reiche, p. 97 f.). The apostle, according to his whole system, could not understand under the ideal Israel of God any others than believers (Galatians 3:7 ; Galatians 3:29 , Galatians 4:26 ; Romans 9:6-8 ). To him the καινὴ κτίσις in ver. 15 was not conceivable otherwise than as necessarily conditioned by faith (Galatians 3:28 ; Ephesians 2:10 ); hence he could not expect of any Jew not yet converted, however pious he might be as an observer of the law, that he would walk according to the canon of ver. 15.

Verse 17

Galatians 6:17 . Τοῦ λοιποῦ ] occurring only here in the N.T., very frequent in other authors; not ceterum , so that it would be a formula abrumpendi (Bengel, Zachariae, and others), equivalent to τὸ λοιπόν (2 Corinthians 13:11 ; Ephesians 6:10 ; Philippians 3:1 , et al .), but the genitive of time (Kühner, II. p. 189): posthac, henceforward (Xen. Anab . v. 7. 34, vi. 4. 11; Plat. Legg . vii. p. 816 D, Demos , p. 385 B; Herod. ii. 109; and the passages in Wetstein); and that as denoting “ repetitionem ejusdem facti reliquo tempore ” (Hermann ad Viger . p. 706). The sense posthac might also have been expressed by the accusative ( τὸ λοιπόν , Matthew 26:41 ; Mark 14:41 ; 1 Corinthians 7:29 ; Xen. Anab . ii. 2. 5, iii. 2. 8; Soph. Trach . 907, 917); but in this case a repetitio perpetua would be meant (Hermann, l.c .). Comp. Kühner, ad Xen. Anab , ii. 2. 5. Calvin explains: “ as for the rest,” i.e. praeter novam creaturam . Comp. Wieseler: “ quod restat .” In this case, either the genitive would stand absolutely: “as concerns what remains ” ( ὃ δὲ λοιπόν , 1 Corinthians 4:2 ), see Heind. ad Charm . p. 89; Matthiae, p. 815; or it would be dependent on κόπους . But, looking at the frequent use of τοῦ λοιποῦ as a particle of time, both these explanations would be very unnecessarily far-fetched. This remark also applies to the view of Hofmann, who strangely attaches τοῦ λοιποῦ , notwithstanding the want of an antithetical particle, as genitive of the object to κόπους , and conceives Ἰσραήλ as again supplied: on account of the Israel, which is not the Israel of God . Respecting that Israel, in the apostle’s view, he has not to inquire whether it will be injured through the labour to which he is called. As if any such cold, remorseless renunciation could be justly attributed to the apostle who held his συγγενεῖς κατὰ σάρκα so painfully dear (Romans 9:1 ff; Romans 10:1 ), and strove in every possible way to gain them (1 Corinthians 9:20 ). But from the hostile annoyances and vexations, which the reader would readily understand to be referred to in these words, the apostle desires to remain henceforward exempt; and this he demands with apostolic sternness.

ἐγὼ γὰρ κ . τ . λ .] the emphasis is on ἐγώ : it is not the teachers who are hostile to me, these men afraid to suffer (Galatians 6:12 ), but I who bear, etc. στίγματα ( στίγμα is paroxytone; see Lobeck, Paralip . p. 406) signifies marks branded or etched in , which, usually consisting of letters (Leviticus 19:28 ), were put on the body (especially on the forehead and hands) in the case of slaves, as the device of their masters; [272] of soldiers, as the badge of their general; of criminals, as a sign of their offence; and among some oriental nations also, as a token of the divinity which they worshipped ( 3Ma 2:29 ; and Grimm in loc ). See Wetstein, p. 237 f.; Lipsius, Elect . ii. 15; Deyling, Obss . III. p. 423 ff.; Spencer, Legg. rit . ii. 14. 1; Ewald, in Apocal . p. 151 f. Here Paul has had in view the marks borne by slaves: [273] for, according to the immediate context (Galatians 6:14 ; Galatians 6:18 ), Christ is present to his mind as the Lord; and also in 2 Corinthians 11:23 he discerns, in the ill treatment which he has suffered, the proof that he is διάκονος Χιρστοῦ . Comp. also Revelation 7:3 . The genitive Ἰησοῦ denotes therefore the Ruler , whose servant Paul is indicated to be by his στίγματα ; and because in this case the feeling of fellowship with the concrete person of his Master has thoroughly pervaded him, he does not write Χριστοῦ , but Ἰησοῦ (comp. on 2 Corinthians 4:10 ). Others have explained: “notae corporis tales, quales ipse Christus gestavit ” (Morus, comp. Borger); but against this it may be urged that Paul has not made use of a word which of itself conveys a complete idea (such as τὴν νέκρωσιν , 2 Corinthians 4:10 ), but has used the significant στίγματα , which necessarily prompts the reader to ask to whom the person marked ( στιγματίας , also στιγματοφόρος , Polyaen. Strat . i. 24) is described as belonging . Therefore Ἰησοῦ is not (with Gomarus and Rückert) to be considered as genitive auctoris .

But what was it that Paul bore in his body as the στίγματα Ἰησοῦ ? The scars and other traces of the wounds and mal-treatment, which he had received on account of his apostolic labours . [274] For in the service of Christ he had been maltreated (2 Corinthians 11:23 ), and that so that he must have retained scars or similar indications (see 2 Corinthians 11:24-25 ). Some expositors have, however, believed that Paul adduces these στίγματα by way of contrast to the scar of circumcision (Erasmus in his Annot ., Beza, Schoettgen, Grotius; comp. Bengel and Michaelis); but this idea is arbitrarily introduced, and in its paltriness alien to the lofty self-consciousness which these words breathe.

Lastly, as regards the sense in which the reference of γάρ is to be taken, many expositors explain it, with Grotius: “ satis aliunde habeo, quod feram .” So, in substance, Vatablus, Bengel (“afflicto non est addenda afflictio”), Morus, Winer. But what a feeble reason to assign would this be, either as fretful or as even bespeaking compassion, and wholly repugnant at all events to the proud feeling of being marked as the δοῦλος of Christ! (comp. 2 Corinthians 11:23 ff.) And the ἘΓΏ , so full of self-consciousness in opposition to the false teachers, is inconsistent with this view. No; Paul means (“veluti trophaea quaedam ostentans,” Erasmus, Paraphr .) to say: for I am one who, by being marked as the servant of Christ, is in possession of a dignity , which may justly exempt him from any repetition of molestations (such as had vexed him on the part of the Galatian churches).


[272] In the East; but among the Romans only in the case of slaves who were suspected or had run away (as a sign of the latter offence, they were by way of punishment branded with Φ or F.U.G.).

[273] Not of soldiers , as Grotius (comp. Calvin), and Potter, Arch . II. p. 7, think; for this must have been suggested by the context. Wetstein understands sacras notas (Herod. ii. 113: στίγματα ἱρά ), so that Paul represents Christ “ ut Deum , quem τὸν κύριον κατʼ ἐξοχήν vocat.” But these sacrae notae are only found among particular nations, such as the Persians and Assyrians (Plut. Lucull . p. 507 E; Lucian, de Dea Syra , 59; comp. also what is related in Herod. ii. 113 about a temple of Hercules in Egypt, and in the Asiatic Researches , vii. p. 281 f., about the Indians); hence so foreign a custom would not be likely to suggest itself to the apostle, nor could it be understood by his readers without some more special indication.

[274] Not as Luther, 1519 and 1524, following Augustine, thought: the taming of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit; against which the ἐν τῷ σώματί μου is itself decisive. In the Commentary of 1538, he understands “ plagas corpori suo impressas et passiones, deinde ignita tela diaboli, tristitiam et pavores animi ,” which thus throws together very different elements outward and inward.

Verse 18

Galatians 6:18 . Ἡ χάρις τοῦ κυρίου κ . τ . λ .] See on Galatians 1:6 .

μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματος ὑμῶν ] sc . εἴη . A special design , on account of which Paul did not write merely μεθʼ ὑμῶν (1 Corinthians 16:23 ; Colossians 4:18 ; 1 Thessalonians 5:28 ), or μετὰ πάντων ὑ μ ῶ ν (2 Corinthians 13:13 ; Philippians 4:23 ; 2 Thessalonians 3:18 ; Titus 3:15 ), is indeed assumed by many expositors (that Paul desired once more to indicate that salvation does not come from the σάρξ ; Chrysostom, Theophylact, Beza, and others; also Rückert, Usteri, Schott, Olshausen), but cannot be made good; especially as also in Philemon 1:25 (and 2 Timothy 4:22 ), instead of the persons simply, we find that with greater significance and fervour the spirit of the persons (so also at the close of the Epistle of Barnabas) is named, because it is on the πνεῦμα of man (the higher principle of life with the νοῦς ; see on Luke 1:46 ; Romans 1:4 ; Rom 8:10 ; 2 Corinthians 2:13 , et al .) that the grace of Christ works (Romans 8:10 ; Romans 8:16 ), when the Spirit of Christ takes up His abode in the human spirit and so confers His χαρίσματα . Paul might also have written μετὰ τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμ . (comp. 2 Corinthians 12:15 ; 1 Peter 1:9 ; 1Pe 1:22 ; 1 Peter 2:11 ; 1 Peter 2:25 ); but even in that case the gracious operation of Christ would have to be conceived as issuing from the seat of self-consciousness (the πνεῦμα of man).

ἀδελφοί ] The epistle, in great part so severe, ends with a mode of address which still breathes unaltered love (1 Corinthians 16:24 ).

Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Galatians 6". Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hmc/galatians-6.html. 1832.
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