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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical

Galatians 6

Verses 1-10

2. More special Admonition to the Walk in the Spirit (to serving Love), or warning against excessive self-valuation and envious selfishness

(Galatians 5:25 to Galatians 6:10.)

(Epistle for the fifteenth Sunday after Trinity.)

25If we live in [by]33 the Spirit, let us also walk in [by]34 the Spirit. 26Let us not be desirous of vain-glory [become vain-glorious], provoking one another, envying one another.

a. Warning against unloving self-exaltation above others (Galatians 6:1-5)

6 1Brethren‚ if [even if]1 a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which [who] are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also [shouldst] be tempted. 2Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so [or thus shall ye] fulfil2 the law of Christ. 3For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4But let every [each] man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another [his ground of boasting only in what concerneth himself, and not in what concerneth the other].3 5For every [each] man shall bear his own load.4

b. Warning against envious selfishness.—Admonition to unweariedness in doing good, especially to teachers of the word (Galatians 6:6-10).

6Let [But let] him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8For he that soweth to his [own] flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9And [But] let us not be weary5 in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10As we have therefore [Accordingly then as we have]6 opportunity, let us do good7 unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Paul, after the exhortation, Galatians 5:13 (and the more general one, Galatians 5:16), had passed on to a more didactic exposition. But from Galatians 5:25 on, he returns to the general exhortation to “walk by the Spirit” (which, as he means it, is essentially equivalent to exercising serving love) immediately specifying it more particularly, Galatians 5:26; Galatians 6:1 sq.

Galatians 5:25. If we live by the Spirit.—Ζῇν πνεύματι means of course not the outward life, the realization in walk of this life in the Spirit, for the words “let us also walk,” etc., are the first in which the Apostle exhorts them to stamp the life by the Spirit upon the outward walk. Ζῇν therefore means the inner life, and the spiritual life is here referred to, as one at first entirely internal. It is not improbable that “live” is to be taken here in a pregnant sense (Meyer)=if we are living through the Spirit, i. e., death occurs to the man, who is Christ’s, with respect to the “flesh;” but in another respect precisely thus does Life come in; the death of the old man introduces the life of the new (comp. Galatians 2:19-20), and this latter is grounded upon the “Spirit.” [There is some doubt as to the force of the dative πνεύματι here. Schmoller renders it durch den Geist; Meyer calls it ablatival, and Ellicott says it is “here adopted rather than διά with the accusative as thus forming a sharper antithesis to the dative which follows.” Alford follows the E. V., but, while objecting to the ablatival dative, gives the same sense to the word. Lightfoot renders “to the Spirit,” after the parallel passage, Romans 6:2; Romans 6:10 : “die unto sin,” etc. But the first view is preferable.—R.]—Let us also walk by the Spirit.=περιπ. πν. Galatians 5:16. [Schmoller thus makes the second πνεύματι an instrumental dative, but it seems better to take it as a normal dative (so Galatians 5:16) with Meyer, Ellicott, et al. The verb στοιχεῖν seems to imply a more studied following of a prescribed course.—The Greek order is striking: “If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit also let us walk.” “By” has both the instrumental and normal force in English.—R.] In what this walk should consist is then shown.

Galatians 5:26. Let us not become vain-glorious.—The walking by the Spirit (or walking in love) should show itself thus. Κενόδοξον εἶναι=vanam gloriam capture, to affect vain-glory. [Γινώμεθα, “become” vain-glorious, there being in the verb as well as in the use of the first person an intentional mildness as though the sin had not yet taken root (Ellicott).—R.] The sense appears to be: we should not seek glory by provoking one another and envying one another, for such glory is “vain,” worthless.—Provoking one another.—Ἀλλήλους προκαλούμδνοι, by vaunting in the presence of those to whom we feel ourselves superior, by pressing our superiority.—Envying one another.—’Ἀλλήλοις φθονοῦντες, not favoring one another, enviously refusing to acknowledge the good qualities that a man possesses. (Φθουεῖν is to be taken in this sense here, see below on Galatians 5:6; Galatians 5:10.)—The seeking of vain-glory naturally goes hand in hand with provoking and envious behavior. Where the former is abandoned, the latter also disappears. The warning of this verse is nothing else than the admonition to serve one another by means of love (Galatians 5:13), somewhat more particularly defined. The Apostle now reverts to this, in order to give it a more precise application. The remark on Galatians 5:16, that the exhortation of the Apostle may have had a direct connection with the main theme of the Epistle, since the intrusion of the false teachers might very naturally have provoked a bitter party strife in the churches, applies also to the more special application of that admonition (Galatians 5:13) in this section. Especially is it not improbable that through the intrusion of the false teachers the relation of the individual members to their teachers had been disturbed, thus giving occasion to the earnest admonition, Galatians 6:6 sq. Yet this conjecture is not absolutely necessary; we need only suppose that some circumstances in the churches gave him particular occasion to direct his exhortation to this point.—[The context seems to justify the close connection of what follows with this verse. It is urged, however, that “brethren” indicates a change of topic (comp. Galatians 4:12), and also that the change from the first to the second person favors the opinion that a new paragraph begins with Galatians 6:1. But the thoughts are too closely linked, to allow these arguments from mere forms of expression to be conclusive against the close connection which Meyer and others defend.—R.]

VI. Galatians 6:1-5. These verses extend the warning of Galatians 5:26, against “provoking one another.” The Christian instead of using any advantage he may possess over another, or any defect he may observe in him, to exalt himself above him (and thereby to provoke him), should, as walking by the Spirit, do just the reverse, should set his neighbor right, when he sees him at fault (Galatians 6:1) and then help him bear the burdens which oppress him (Galatians 6:2). Galatians 6:3 justifies these admonitions by the remark that a man’s thinking himself to be something, when he is nothing, is self-cheatery; for it is such a vain imagining that underlies the refusal to set others right (in the spirit of meekness) and to carry their burdens. As the right means to be saved from this self-deception, Paul proceeds to commend self-examination. (On this, see below, Galatians 6:4-5.) [Ellicott thinks it probable “that the teachers are mainly addressed in Galatians 6:1-6, and the hearers and laity in Galatians 6:6-10.” But while there are points in the exhortation specially applicable to classes thus distinguished, it seems best not to discriminate thus, for it limits the force of some parts of the exhortation, and might lead to an incorrect interpretation of Galatians 6:1.—R.]

Galatians 6:1. [Brethren.—Beza: a whole argument lies hidden under this one word.—R.]—Even if a man be overtaken. Προλημφθῇ: πρό expresses undoubtedly the unexpectedness of the being taken=before a man is aware, or is able to offer resistance. The ἐν shows that the verb is here to be understood as=to entangle, so that in a fault, according to the frequent Biblical image, is used of the snare in which any one is caught (Wieseler). Luther gives the sense quite correctly: “ubereilt,” overtaken. [The strictly temporal reference (before the arrival of the Epistle, or a recurrence of the offence) is unsatisfactory. Ellicott, Alford and Lightfoot join καί with the verb: “if a man be even surprised,” i. e., caught before he can escape, flagrante delicto; thus implying an aggravation of the offence. But it is not necessary to connect καί thus, and such a meaning of the verb is rare, while the interpretation does not accord with the context so well as the common view given above. Meyer: The Apostle charitably regards the sins, which may occur among the Galatians, as peccata precipitantiæ.—R.]

Ye who are spiritual.—This refers back to Gal 6:25=ye who have the Holy Ghost, show your possession of it, your living by the Spirit, by such action. He thus describes “provoking one another,” as something repugnant to their very character. In view of this exalted predicate, which he ascribes to them, they should now reflect, what demeanor is the becoming one for them as “spiritual.” This implies that they are not now conducting themselves agreeably to this designation, or such admonitions would be unnecessary. [The general character of the exhortation forbids our finding in this phrase a reference to a party of more liberal views, who had taken his side against the Judaizers, and were not paying sufficient regard to the weaker brethren. Hence there is no irony, but he is giving a test for their spirituality. It is true those who would stand the test, who were really led by the Spirit, would necessarily be the adherents of Paul, as the representative of the freedom of the gospel, but there is no evidence that there was such a party when he wrote.—R.]—But to the validity of this claim to be “spiritual,” it is necessary that, when a brother is overtaken in a fault, the πνευματικός should restore such a one, should bring him into his normal state, instead of turning this fall into an occasion of self-exaltation against him. [Καταρτίζετε: the verb is properly a surgical term, applied to the setting of a joint, here used in an ethical sense, the idea of amendment being more prominent than that of punishment. The figurative meaning would perhaps imply some official act of restoration, but this is forbidden by the context.—R.] This “restoring” (or the wish for it) is the main idea, and not strictly speaking, as is commonly assumed, the spirit of meekness; or at least not this alone. This latter phrase only states the manner in which the setting right should be performed. This spirit must attend the act, or there is no real restoration, only a seeming one, in which the irritating lust of praise still seeks its gratification. It is forced, to understand “spirit” of the Holy Spirit, whose character is meekness, or rather who bestows meekness; it signifies the human spirit disposed to meekness. The foregoing “spiritual” does not require us to understand the Holy Spirit here, comp. 1 Corinthians 4:21. [It does not mean merely “a meek spirit,” but a spirit whose characterizing quality is “meekness,” with an ultimate reference to the Holy Spirit. (See Ellicott.) As “spiritual,” possessing the Holy Spirit, their spirit toward offenders should be characterized by “meekness.”—R.]—Considering thyself.—An individualizing transition to the singular. The added clause contains a motive to “restore” (not merely to “meekness”).—Lest thou also should be tempted—and it happen to thee to be overtaken in a fault.

Galatians 6:2 makes the admonition of Galatians 6:1 more general. It is not always by setting our neighbor right, that we may do him good; another exhibition of love is to bear his burdens.—Burdens.—Βάρη is undoubtedly in itself quite general: whatever presses our neighbor, lies heavy upon him, so that occasion is given to the vain-glorious man to provoke him. Moral delinquencies, such as are named in Galatians 6:1, are included; but also more grievous things, such as outward distress.—Bear.—Βαστάζετε, of course, does not mean: endure (for I do not endure what oppresses my neighbor, but only that, for example, with which he oppresses me), but simply: bear=to take upon our shoulders as our own burdens, and thereby help him to bear; this includes, in some circumstances, the lightening of them; in others, their entire removal (Wieseler).—We see that the restoring of a neighbor who has been overtaken in a fault falls under this general idea of bearing his burden.—The Apostle adds to this admonition a powerful motive for its fulfilment: and thus shall ye fulfil the law of Christ.—The expression “fulfil the law of Christ” is significant, and designedly chosen with reference to the zealots for the law. You will forsooth have a law, now see here is a law but “of Christ;” fulfil that! At the same time it refers back to Galatians 6:14, where the duty of love to our neighbor has been designated as the commandment equivalent to the whole Mosaic law, but a “law of Christ,” not of Moses. [Yet this “law of Christ” must necessarily include that “law.” which He not only came to fulfil, but so fully illustrated and enforced in His teachings. The use of the future indicative instead of the imperative seems to imply, that the Christian needs “the law of Christ” only as a guide to grateful duty. “Thus shall ye fulfil” what your hearts would fulfil, “the law of Christ,” “who died for us and rose again.”—R.]

Galatians 6:3. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing.—“When he is nothing” belongs to the protasis. Being nothing: not precisely in the ethical sense alone, but one, who can in truth make no claim to consideration above others, yet ambitiously assumes this. This of course involves the admission that one may be something, but such a one is least likely to assume this; it is the one that is nothing, who is most likely to lay claim to consideration above his merits.—He deceiveth himself, his “glory” shows itself to be “vain,” [Lightfoot: “φρεναπατᾷ, ‘deceives by his fancies.’ Comp. Titus 1:10. More is implied by this word than by ἀπατᾷν, for it brings out the idea of subjective fancies and thus enforces the previous δοκεῖ. It was possibly coined by St. Paul, for it seems not to be found in any earlier writer, and at a later date occurs chiefly, if not solely in ecclesiastical authors.”—R.]

Galatians 6:4. Paul therefore immediately after enjoins: let each man prove his own work.—Τὸἔργον: not collective=the aggregate of his actions; for it is not particularly an ethical self-examination that is referred to, but general, about equivalent to: His case, the way matters stand with him. [The view of Meyer, Alford, Ellicott, et al., that τὸ ἔργον is emphatic and collective, seems on the whole preferable.—R.]—The reason why he enjoins this, is then stated with: then shall he have his ground of boasting only in what concerneth himself and not in what concerneth the other.—“He will then have matter of self-gratulation only it will be in reference to himself, and not to another.” [See the excellent note of Ellicott, the results of whose exegesis are given in the above rendering. The preposition εὶς must be translated by a paraphrasis, in order to preserve the same force in both cases. Τὸν ἔτερον, “the other”—the man with whom he was comparing himself; general in its meaning, but particular in each case of comparison. (Alford.)—R.] Every one, in that case, directing his look as he does in self-examination only upon himself, will refer his self-praise only to himself; will only boast of such excellences as he may discover in himself; but he will not vaunt himself on the ground of the deficiencies which he finds in others. And if this results from the very nature of self-examination, as directing the look of the man upon himself alone, it will also be sure to come to pass from the result, which every one will find from self-examination, as this is stated in Galatians 6:5, with which Paul gives special weight to the οὐκ εἰς τὸν ἕτερον. Of course not to the εἰς ἑαυτόν. In order to have εὶς τὸν ἔτερον καύχημα, i. e., in order to be able to make what another lacks a ground for boasting over him, one must not only have many good qualities but a preeminence above the other, of which he is conscious.

Galatians 6:5. But this is not the case. On the contrary ἔκαστος τὸἴδιον φορτίον βαστάσει, each man: I as well as the other, I cannot therefore make his φορτίον, a ground of vaunting myself against him.—Shall bear.—Future, expressing the result of the self-examination, because it succeeds it (not referring to the last judgment) = it will turn out, that every one has a burden of his own to bear, [i. e., now in actual life, he is appointed to bear, must bear.—R.]—His own load.Φορτίον: although principally meaning moral imperfection, yet here it is not to be limited to this; it means imperfection of every kind, every defect which one discovers in himself. Φορτίον is in itself a vox media, it may be either heavy or light; βάρος can only be heavy. To this general declaration the more general word exactly suits; respecting the degree of burdensomeness Paul does not in the first instance mean to make a statement, but only to say that each one has his own φορτίον. It is otherwise in Galatians 6:2 : there the idea of heaviness is the main one. [Conybeare finds here an allusion to Æsop’s fable (πῆραι δύο), but Ellicott thinks this not very plausible. Lightfoot says: “βάρη suggests the idea of an adventitious and oppressive burden, which is not implied in φορτίον. The latter is the common term for a man’s pack. Each Christian soldier bears his own kit.” Still this does not sufficiently imply the idea of imperfection and consequent grievousness, which the context, with its injunctions to self-examination, seems to demand.—R.]—The difficulty in Galatians 6:4-5 is, that the Apostle condenses together two thoughts: 1. “in what concerneth himself alone,” 2. “not in what concerneth the other;” which to be sure are in one aspect identical, and yet must be distinguished, because the second is strengthened by the subsequent declaration, “for each man,” etc., which gives it a somewhat different sense from what it has when disjoined from this and taken with what precedes. De Wette takes it differently: And then will he have his joy (if he has any, which is manifestly put as doubtful) for himself alone (for his own joy) and not for others (to irritate and provoke them therewith).—Self-examination is therefore the antidote to “provoking one another;” it is to oppose this that the Apostle has enjoined it.

Galatians 6:6-10. This division also is a specifying of the admonition Galatians 5:26; it must, although more remotely related, still have reference to it, because it is undeniably a carrying out of the admonition to “serve one another by means of love,” (Galatians 5:13) of which, as we have seen, Galatians 5:26, only gives the negative expression. More accurately considered this division opposes the second vice named in Galatians 5:26, “envying one another.” It contains admonitions to an abounding, unwearied “communication in good things,” and this is the direct opposite of “envying one another”=grudgingly withholding. Only he who is unenvious will do good to all.

Galatians 6:6. The exhortation in this verse does not therefore come in so abruptly, as at first sight appears. Paul first opposes envious grudging in that relation in which it looks particularly ill, and yet must have occurred, in the relation of him that is taught in the word of God to him that teacheth, and in contrast with this, admonishes to communicate and that in all good things. This is of course not= in all that is morally good (Meyer), but = in all good things [i.e., temporal possessions of every kind.—R.]. It is expressed with the utmost generalness, and is therefore to be understood in its broadest sense; care for temporal support is included in it, but not exclusively intended; there is to be, according to the words, a sharing of all good things, that is, in a certain sense a community of benefits; he “that is taught” is to give “him that teacheth” a share in all his advantages. This is the very strongest antithesis to “envying.” [The verb means literally “go shares with.” It is intransitive here, followed by the dative of the person, and the thing (“in all good things”) governed by a preposition. There is no lexical or grammatical difficulty. Almost all commentators refer the verse to the temporal support of ministers. Meyer gives it an ethical meaning mainly to preserve the connection, and Schmoller, for the same reason, makes the meaning general, as above. But δέ arrests the former topic before it passes out of sight (Lightfoot), and serves here to indicate the contrast between the temporal and spiritual application (Ellicott). As if he had said: “I spoke of bearing one another’s burdens. There is one special application I would make of this rule. Provide for the temporal wants of your teachers in Christ.” Κατηχούμενος here means simply “instructed,” and is followed by an accusative of reference (λόγον), “in the word,” i. e., the gospel.—R.]

Galatians 6:7-10. To give weight to this admonition to him that is taught in the word that he should show a generous liberality in all things to his teacher, Paul points to the last judgment, to the law of Divine retribution as one of immutable validity. This is primarily meant to strengthen only the special admonition, Galatians 6:6, and shows how earnestly he means it, that he attributes to it an importance which we may not in any way lessen; but still this confirmatory reference to Divine retribution is expressed with such generalness, that Paul is able immediately to deduce from it an entirely general exhortation to unwearied “well doing,” which he then again specializes somewhat in Galatians 6:10. But the main matter is still the “communicating in all good things” in opposition to “envying one another.”

Galatians 6:7. Be not deceived.—Do not entertain the erroneous thought, even should it occur, or be presented to you, that God can be mocked (lit., to turn up the nose at), that is, with success. (All glory sought therein is vain.) This mocking would occur, if man might do what he would, if he could with impunity neglect a communication of good things to his teacher, who himself imparts that which is best to him. The declaration that this cannot occur, is established by for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.8—[Τοῦτο καί; “this and nothing else than this” (Ellicott).—R.] The essential correspondence between the seed sown and the fruit reaped, which takes place according to a law of nature and is therefore subject to no mutation, is a current image in other writings also (even in profane writers, e. g. Cicero, de Orat. II. 65, ut sementem faceris, ita metes, and others), for the exact correspondence between the retribution of God in the judgment and the moral acts of man in his earthly life.

Galatians 6:8. The general proposition of Galatians 6:7 is established in this verse. For never will it fail of coming to pass, that he that soweth to his own flesh shall therefrom reap corruption; and even so he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.—“Corruption” is therefore conceived as that which corresponds to sowing to the flesh, as the harvest to the seed, or “corruption” is essentially the crop into which the flesh when sown develops, and in like manner “life everlasting” is nothing else than the ripened fruit sown to the Spirit.—Ὁ σπείρων, it may be remarked, does not alter the figure in Galatians 6:7 b, making it the soil instead of the seed, but, as Paul has to speak of two different sorts of seeds, he only designates this difference according to the difference of the soil, on which it is sown; for seed is always chosen according to the soil that is to be sown; that which is sown upon the flesh is even thereby a different seed from that which is sown upon the Spirit. Perhaps it would be better to say: ὄ in Galatians 6:7 is not merely to be understood of the seed itself, but of the whole manner and method of the sowing, and so to be taken as equivalent to this: According as any one sows, even so shall he also reap; and in view of this “according as” we should have in Galatians 6:8 to understand especially the soil which is sown, inasmuch as it is especially on this that the character of the harvest depends, as good or bad. For it is this that is treated of here. Flesh and Spirit, moreover, are figuratively represented as the soil, because they are conditioning, quickening factors, and therefore to sow upon the flesh or Spirit generically = to let one’s self be determined in the act by the flesh or Spirit. Πνεῦμα of course, as in Galatians 6:16 sq. = the Holy Ghost, and therefore lacks ἑαυτοῦ, which stands with σάρξ.9 Φθορά, agreeably to the contrast with ξωὴ =Destruction, Ruin, and that eternal ruin=ἀπώλεια, θάνατος, not=Transitoriness.

Galatians 6:8 was only a proof of Galatians 6:7 b, according to its two contrasted sides; 7b itself again was in proof of θεὸς οὐ μυκτηρίζεται. The sense of this is: One cannot neglect doing good, without being punished of God. But the thought is not expressed.

Galatians 6:9. Here, however, it is expressed affirmatively, agreeably to 8b, as an admonition (because it is true, as said in Galatians 6:7-8, that what a man sows, he reaps) to do “well,” in a certain sense to sow τὸ κάλον. That the admonition rests immediately upon what precedes, is shown by the continuance of the image, which we find at least in the second clause.—Well doing is to be taken in its greatest possible extension; agreeably to the signification of καλόν, about=to do what is praiseworthy, only it must not be taken so generally as no longer to fall within the sphere of unenvious exhibition of love towards our neighbor. This is the frame, within which this “well doing” also falls.—Let us not be weary.—[“Behave cowardly, lose heart.”—R.] It is possible to grow weary, because “well doing” is at first a sowing, which, according to the laws of nature, is not immediately, perhaps not till long after, followed by the harvest. It comes in due season, καιρῷ ἰδίῳ, not just when we wish it: at the precise time, when it can appear according to its inward law, as ordained by God. Agreeably to the eschatological expectations of the Apostle we have here to understand particularly the Parusia.—If we faint not.—Μὴ ἑκλυόμενοι, to be taken as conditional and to be refesrred to the sowing: if we do not become weary in that. This is no “languid repetition of the warning against ἐγκακεῖν” (Usteri); for it is just this not becoming weary in good which Paul wishes to emphasize, as the condition of reaping the harvest (Wieseler). [Bengel: ἐγκακεἶν est in velle, ἐκλύεσθαι est in posse. The latter is a consequence of the former (Lightfoot). The verse is one of mingled warning and encouragement, and the latter element appears from the promise to those who do not “faint,” for one may be “weary,” and not yet have fainted.—R.]

Galatians 6:10. [Accordingly then as we have.—Ἄρα οὖν, “so then,” “accordingly then;” ὡς, not “while,” nor “according as,” nor since, but “in proportion as” (Alford).—R.] The mention of the “season” of the harvest reminds him to warn against wasting the καιρός, season, opportunity, of the sowing, because when the former is come, it will be too late for the latter. And in conclusion Paul deduces from the more general admonition (Galatians 6:9) the more special exhortation let us do good, which is also to be taken in the widest possible extent, but still retaining the special idea of doing good. The generic interpretation of ἐργαζώμεθα τὸ =to do what is morally good (Meyer, as in Galatians 6:6), is inconsistent especially with the distinction, which Paul makes with especially, etc. For to the doing of what is morally good, one is of course equally obliged towards all men, members of the household of faith or strangers to it (Wieseler).—To them who are of the household of faith.—Οἰκεῖοι τῆς πίστεως, doubtless not merely=those belonging to faith, as an amplification of the simple term: Believers (Meyer,) but kindred in faith, fellow-Christians, as constituting together one οἶκος τῆς πίστεως, one family of faith.10 The emphasis rests upon the fact that believers are of one family; for this is the reason why love should be especially shown to them (Wieseler).—The expression is of course general and comprehends their fellow-Christians as a body, but yet it refers back to Galatians 6:6; because their fellow-Christians should be so especially the objects of the “doing good,” it follows from this, that those who teach should least of all be excluded therefrom. Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, refers to a more specific instruction concerning beneficence which he had given to the Galatians.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. Self-exaltation and self-seeking. In respect to the right conduct of Christians towards each other, Paul designates two vices as especially incompatible therewith: Self-exaltation and self-seeking. And indeed there is nothing which more undermines society in general than these two vices; while self-exaltation rends the inner bond of unity with our fellow-men, self-seeking rends besides this the outer bond. But now the maintaining of fellowship is the specific character of the relation of Christians to each other; they are meant to form an undivided whole. These two vices therefore stand in diametrical opposition to the very nature of the Christian life. And of course they must, for they are the immediate offspring of the “flesh,” whose essence is self-seeking. But Christians should walk by the Spirit, and should prove this to each other especially by serving love.—Certain as it is therefore, that both self-exaltation and self-seeking stand opposed to the essence of Christian fellowship, and must therefore be most vigorously contended against, it is nevertheless equally certain, that they may, and do in fact, appear within the circle of Christian fellowship. For this is by no means as yet pure and free from such manifestations of the “flesh,” though not thereby necessarily losing the name of Christian fellowship. On the contrary an individual or a community may really “have the Spirit,” be possessed of a spiritual life, while yet in their walk the sarcical element still manifests itself in various ways, against which we must protest. Things must be rebuked which, looking at the ideal, and not at the concrete fact, might appear impossible to occur; admonitions must be given, which might from the ideal point of view appear superfluous. The admonitions given in this section are the simple proof of what was remarked on the former section, respecting the indispensableness of continual admonition, respecting the “shall” which the Spirit inwardly, as also the Word of Scripture from without, must continually present to the Christian. While therefore we must not be lax, as if every thing in the Christian life, including the fruits of the Spirit, came of itself, and while we must earnestly represent to the Christian the incongruity of every thing sarcical with his faith, we must on the other hand be very careful not to make rigoristic requirements of him, not to expect that no manifestation of the flesh should ever appear in him; we must not, in particular, imagine that among Christians every thing must, as it were, of itself, be serving love. And therefore, even when many virtues of the Christian life are yet very defective, we must not be quick to deny that one is “spiritual,” to dispute the sincerity of his faith and declare him to be a hypocrite.

2. Admonitions especially necessary for those busy about the law. “But was it then necessary, one might here ask, that Paul should write such admonitions to people, who were already anxious about works of the law and out of conscience were submitting themselves to the Jewish ordinances? Was there not then in their case an exaggerated piety, that needed rather to be tempered? Alas, no! The world lies in wickedness and yet is busy about works of the law. It lives in contention and envy, in turbulence and lewdness, and yet forsooth will be saved by its virtue. By what sort of virtue? By a magnanimity, which from time to time, amid many evil deeds, a man may practice toward his neighbor, by wit and lively discourse, by a decent gravity, the offspring of age and function, of interest and love of honor, by the observance of political and ecclesiastical laws, yet with many exceptions. Let no one go into raptures over this virtue.—At a distance it appears great, but near by it is mean and in God’s eyes naught. Do not such people need to have some one proclaim to them: Be not deceived, God is not mocked? The Galatians gave themselves up to the Jewish law, which did in fact, contain the strictest moral teaching. They sought salvation earnestly, and sought it, not by vices, but by virtue and religious works; yet notwithstanding this Paul was constrained to warn them against all manner of gross sins, especially against hatred and envy, and to proclaim to them: Be not deceived, God is not mocked! How certain it is therefore, that he who does not live in faith on the Son of God, will be overmastered by sin, and in spite of his endeavors to be virtuous, will become ever more vicious! If then one does not come into the right way, he at last mocks God. And how does one mock Him? In this way, that one desperately imagines that He will at last take black for white, that He will let him reap wheat who has sown tares, and will reward the sin, to which men have given the name of a virtue. By such principles, which to be sure, when we read them on paper, contradict the first principles of human intelligence, the whole world is ruled, and therefore is there occasion to say it: God is not mocked; what a man sows in this world, that, and nothing else, shall he reap in the next.” Roos.

3. What a man sows, that shall he also reap. An utterance as simple, as it is true and deep. According to it, all the actions of men are a sowing, which shall have a harvest, the actions of men shall bear a fruit. This image, taken from the processes of nature, declares in the first place in general terms, that actions never stop with themselves, but that with inexorable certainty a retribution will one day follow, as certainly as the sowing is only a beginning, which according to a settled law leads at last to the harvest. This it is true does not follow at once, and therefore there is need of patience, but afterwards, when the time has come, and then without fail. And, more definitely, the seed bears a harvest, and such a harvest as corresponds exactly with itself. The actions of men therefore find a retribution fully adequate. On this account it is not so indifferent what kind of seed we sow, for the seed, that is, our acts, will bear their proper fruit, and no other. If we want then a fruit to please us, we must sow a seed that will bring it; we shall never succeed in getting a harvest that is independent of the seed; and on the contrary no one can deprive us of the harvest that answers to the seed. The harvest of our actions is nothing casual, it is that which they must produce. It rests with us, then to determine the harvest, by determining the seed. If “corruption” is the harvest of sowing to the flesh, and “life everlasting” the harvest of sowing to the Spirit, each result follows by an inward necessity. The former is only the carnal sowing come to ripeness, the latter is only the ripened seed sown to the Spirit. Thereby the character of arbitrariness and externality is removed from the Divine retribution, and objections from this side obviated. But on the other hand it must not be thought, that we can in this way set aside the positive Divine activity, and therewith retribution in a definite sense, and change it into a kind of natural process. As in the natural process of the springing of the harvest from the seed, the inner law of nature, according to which this takes place, is no other than the law of God, as it is He who gives it effect, so is it also in this spiritual harvest. His ordinance is it, that “corruption” grows up from the sowing to the flesh and the reverse. And especially is this so, in that corruption is really what it is, only as decreed by Him, as consisting in being rejected by Him, and even so, on the contrary, life everlasting; this is His gift for the sowing to the spirit, only because He gives it and gives Himself also therein. Moreover the time of harvest is in itself simply a future one for the time of sowing; when the sowing, therefore, is over, every moment may be a “due season” for the harvest, even in this world, and there are indeed many such harvests. But these are only anticipations. The proper, due season for the harvest first comes with the time appointed by God for general retribution at the consummation of the kingdom of God. Not till then will the sowing to the flesh have ripened into corruption, and the sowing of the spirit into life everlasting. Before that, the time of the sowing still continues, and it is still possible to change the character of the harvest by changing the one sort of seed for the other.

4. Care for spiritual teachers. The emphasis and earnestness, with which Paul admonishes against a selfish behavior of the church towards her teachers, are remarkable. This very estimate of spiritual good, as above all others, makes him the more impatient of selfishness concealing itself behind a pretended spiritual mind. “The support of teachers by their hearers is grounded on a divine institution, not only in the Old Testament (comp. Priests and Levites), but also in the New. Although now in the New Testament there is no definite prescription how much of their property hearers shall contribute to their teachers, yet it is certain from the New Testament that God requires an adequate and liberal support. This admonition was the more necessary in the Apostle’s time, because there were not then, as now, yearly incomes definitely appointed. But now that there are such settled incomes the admonition to hearers has not lost its force, especially when they know that the regular income is insufficient. Christ’s commandment binds them then to a subsidy. Men act to-day, as if their forefathers alone had been bound to care for the support of their teachers, and the hearers of to-day had nothing to add to this.” Starke.—Luther expresses himself very definitely and strongly respecting this duty towards teachers, e.g.: “It is indeed impossible that true Christians should endure to have their pastors pinched and in want. But because they do not only suffer this, but laugh in their sleeve at it, it is certain, that they are worse than Turks and Heathen.”

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Galatians 5:25. Heubner:—The internal and the external must harmonize, must be one. The outer life is the reflection and thereby the sign of the inward life.—Rieger:—To keep the flesh crucified is the only way to give room for the spirit, whose life appears in growing strength in a spiritual walk. Although walking is a consequence inseparable from life, yet the Apostle exhorts thereto, as to a duty, on account of the danger of slothfulness creeping on, as indeed one cannot walk without taking some special thought about it.—[Brown:—If we are spiritually alive, let us show that we are so by being spiritually active.—R.]

Galatians 5:26. Luther:—Love of vain glory is a common vice the whole world through, in all conditions. No village so small but there be one or two peasants therein, that will fain be taken for wiser and better than the rest. It is so pleasant to be pointed at with the finger and hear it said: See there is a man that is fit for anything! This vice is common, yet nowhere does it such harm, as to those who fulfil a spiritual function and service in the church.—[Calvin:—It is not lawful for us to glory but in God alone. Every other kind of glorying is pure vanity. Mutual provocations and envyings are the daughters of ambition.—R.]—Starke:—To seek honor with a proud spirit, is a token of a carnal man and an abomination to God. Lust of praise leads many sins together, held in one leash, as the huntsman leads hounds. Nothing is more opposite to the love of our neighbor, than high-minded self-love; wherefore it is of no use to commend the latter where the former is not eradicated.—Heubner:—The stoic pride of virtue also is the worst kind of vain-gloriousness.

Chap. 6 Galatians 6:1. Luther:—The forgiveness of sins belongs to those who are weak and frail in faith and life, and yet acknowledge their sins and pray for forgiveness; but to those who pervert the doctrine, it does not belong.—Rieger:—The very words, in which the Apostle describes what behavior beseems us in regard to others’ faults, are so chosen, that they insensibly incline us to the more merciful side. A man (how easy for a man to fall) is overtaken by the suddenness of temptation, by the concurrence of many circumstances, that have beclouded his vision. In such circumstances admonition, rebuke, persuasion, consolation, etc., may do the work of restoration, even as a dislocated limb may be again set in place. But for this there is needed the Spirit, and therefore on the one hand not blind love, not a careless disparagement of the fault, and on the other hand not severity, but insight into the gospel, to draw from thence motives for forbearing admonition, such as shall advance the crucifixion of the flesh and the strengthening of the inward man.—Hedinger:—Are we ourselves pure and blameless as angels, that our neighbor’s fault drives us so quickly to arms? Was it Christ’s way to break the bruised reed? Let us do as He did! The Lord is in the still small voice, although mighty winds sometimes herald his coming.—Augustine:—Rebuke administered in bitterness, profits not. Quidquid lacerato animo dicetis, punientis est impetus, non caritas corrigentis; dilige et dic, quod voles.—[Calvin:—Nothing is more difficult than to bring us to examine or acknowledge our own weakness. Whatever may be our acuteness in detecting the faults of others, we do not see “the wallet that hangs behind our own back.”—Whenever we have occasion to pronounce censure, let us begin with ourselves, and, remembering our own weakness, let us be indulgent to others.—R.]

Galatians 6:2. Luther:—A Christian must have strong shoulders and stout legs, in order to bear the flesh, i. e., the weakness of his brethren; for they have vices that are troublesome and annoying. Therefore must love pass by and overlook, and endure much. We must learn, since we can so easily endure and overlook our own sins and faults, many of which we daily commit, to bear also other people’s sin.—In Starke:—What is our whole religion, but a burden-bearing? We have our own and also others’ burden to bear. We are all on a journey; if one is like to give way, the other must refresh him; if one is likely to fall, the other must help him up.—If it is not to be answered for, that we should not help another bear his burden, how unchristian must it be, to double his burdens for him.—[Wordsworth:—Poverty is the load of some, and wealth is the load of others, perhaps the greater load of the two. It may weigh thee down to perdition. Bear the load of thy neighbor’s poverty, and let him bear with thee the load of thy wealth. Thou lightenest thy load by lightening his.—R.]—[The law of Christ is the law of mutual love.—R.]

Galatians 6:3. Starke:—Self-conceit and haughtiness have cheated many a man. Pride is the harbinger of a heavy fall. It is often a grace, when God allows the presumptuous one to fall, that he may come to a knowledge of his own nothingness.—[Brown:—Those who in their own estimation have little to learn, have in truth learned but little.—The greater advances a man makes in true Christianity, the more humble he becomes.—R.]

Galatians 6:4. Luther:—He that faithfully discharges his function, does not inquire much what men say of him, it is all one to him, whether the world praises or reviles him, but he has his honor within himself, that is, the testimony of his conscience, and the honor before God. It will doubtless in time come to pass, that your honor, which you have within yourselves, will be acknowledged also by other people. But if you have your honor only from others, it will surely come to pass, that the shame and ignominy, which you have now inwardly concealed in your heart, will in time become manifest to other people also.—Starke:—Daily self-examination is one of the most important of all the duties of a Christian. A Christian must always look more at himself than at others, and examine his own life more than another’s; for God will judge each man according as He finds him to be in himself and before his own conscience.—Rieger:—To seek one’s glory by self-comparison with others, or even, it may be, by disparagement of others, by divulging their faults, is a perilous course, and will avail nothing, when hereafter each one shall have to give account of himself before God.

Galatians 6:5. Heubner:—Every genuine self-examination will certainly always have humiliation as its result.—[Wordsworth:—We cannot make the burdens of our own sins lighter by imputing a heavier burden of sins to others. Praise of ourselves, whether it proceeds from our own lips or those of others, cannot lighten our burdens. Because we are heavy laden, Christ exhorts us to take His light burden. Thus he converts our heavy burdens into light wings. The wings of birds are their weights, which they bear and which bear them. Let thy soul have the weight of Christ’s burden; it has the pinions of peace and the wings of charity, and will bear thee to heaven, Thus bear thy own weight and it will bear thee.—R.]

Galatians 6:6-10. The more carefully one avoids judicial severity and other unwarranted assumptions in regard to others, the more room there is to make our intercourse with one another profitable for love and good works.

Galatians 6:6. Luther:—I do not love to expound such sentences, which speak for us, that are ministers of the Word; moreover, it may look, if one is zealous to treat such texts before the people, as if he did it on account of avarice. But one must nevertheless instruct the people thereabout, that they may know what degree of honor and support they owe to their teachers. This is also good for us, that are in the ministry, to know, that we may not take our deserved recompense with uneasy conscience, and as if we had no right thereto.—Rieger:—The Scripture has not accounted it superfluous, to put into His Word, that remains good for all time, the admonition to communicate in all good things with him who teaches. But it is to be left wholly to this same Spirit and His prompting, when he will bring the observance of this admonition so into effect, that it exercises faith and strengthens faith.—Starke:—Between teachers and hearers there should be a lovely exchange and joyful barter. A hearer needs not to complain as though he suffered disadvantage in this exchange. Whoever will not give our Lord God a penny, gets his due, when he is forced to give the devil a dollar.—In general the world requites the very greatest benefits bestowed upon it with the very basest unthankfulness.—[Calvin:—It is one of the tricks of Satan to defraud godly ministers of support‚ that the church may be deprived of their services. Paul’s recommendation arose from a desire to preserve a gospel ministry.—Brown:—It had been well for the church and for the world‚ had Christianity been sustained and extended solely by the voluntary exertions and the voluntary contributions of those who themselves had experienced its invaluable blessings‚ and who felt the obligations under which both duty and gratitude laid them to supply the temporal wants of those who ministered to their spiritual necessities. Here‚ as in every other case‚ the foolishness of God is wiser than men.11—R.]

Galatians 6:7. In Starke:—Mock on: God will endure it for awhile‚ and will not send a thunderbolt at once; yet will He not always be silent‚ but early enough will hold discourse with thee in wrath.—Whoever under any manner of apparent excuses seeks to deceive his neighbor‚ such an one mocks the omniscient God and does himself the greatest conceivable injury.—Heubner:—Besotted man would fain persuade himself that God’s severity‚ His threatenings and judgments are not to be taken so very much in earnest. God is directly mocked when He is blasphemed‚ indirectly‚ when His commandments are presumptuously neglected.

Galatians 6:7‚ 8. In Starke:—The realm of nature has many vestiges of Divine wisdom‚ goodness‚ righteousness in it‚ which show forth and reveal themselves yet more gloriously in the realm of grace.—It is undoubtedly agreeable to the Divine order‚ as in the realm of grace so in that of nature‚ that every one should enjoy what he himself sows or does‚ whether good or evil. But whoever does evil and yet hopes for good‚ opposes himself to God’s order in vain‚ and his hope is lost.—The sowing to the flesh cannot possibly be followed by anything but an evil harvest‚ unless such a harvest before it ripen‚ be uprooted by true repentance.—Our whole life is nothing but a seed-time‚ with which the future harvest in eternity is inevitably connected. Ah! let every one take heed that he scatter not tares and yonder be compelled to reap the curse.—Corruption does not really come from God, either directly or indirectly, but from the flesh.—Rieger:—How slight and insignificant good and evil often appear when first sown! But how steadily they grow day and night, unnoticed by man. How late, but how infallibly do they reappear at the harvest! How irrevocable is the neglected seed time! Who can force it into being an unsown harvest?—Heubner:—Future and present stand in the strictest connection. Our future state will not only follow our present, but will be in the very strictest sense its product; the two will stand in as real a nexus as the seed sown and the harvest.—There is a double seed-time and harvest! Sowing to the flesh does not consist merely in a gross carnality of life, such as is followed by the most wretched want and pain, but in all living and working, even that which, materially considered, is the most beneficent and laudable, when it proceeds from an impure motive. Sowing to the Spirit is not merely the spiritual vocation, but every sowing, which is done at the leading of the Spirit.—[Calvin:—Our liberality is restrained by the supposition that whatever passes into the hands of another is lost to ourselves, and by the alarm we feel about our own prospects in life. These views Paul meets here.—Burkitt:—The Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead, will also raise us up at the great day, and reward our present parting with the things of this life which we cannot keep, with eternal life which we shall never lose.—R.]

Galatians 6:9. Starke:—This admonition is uttered as an encouragement, as a way which has the least appearance of authority assumed over others. It is a way therefore which preachers should incline to use.—Christians may become weary in the race, for they find many an assault and many a hindrance. Happy are they who encourage themselves with this word: Let us not be weary in well doing! The more laborious the seedtime has been, the richer shall the harvest be. The harvest comes hereafter; the first fruits of the present time are a small matter compared with what is to come.—Christians are not greedy for reward, and do not demand it from God on the ground of merit, but they do suffer their work to be sweetened, and themselves spurred up to activity and faithfulness by the prospect of the reward.—[Fatigue is not weariness.—In well doing we are more apt to be weary than fatigued.—Weariness may come from habits of slothfulness.—The due season is God’s season.—If we work on, feeling weary, yet not fainting, we shall reap.—R.]

Galatians 6:10. Heubner:—The incalculable value of the present life consists in this, that we have opportunity to do good. The fleshly minded cannot hereafter make up the good which he had the vocation and opportunity to do, e. g., the hard hearted rich man, the negligent father or pastor, etc.—Starke:—One should not put off remembering the poor till death. Quod moriens das, ideo das, quod tecum ferre non poles; da igitur, dum vivis, et mercedem habebis.—[Brown:—The Christian knows no limits in doing good, except those which are fixed by his power and opportunity of doing good.—For a Christian to be unkind to a Christian is not only wrong, it is monstrous.—R.]—Rieger:—As the house of God, the church, is of two kinds, the visible and the invisible, so are also those of the household of two kinds, namely, those who belong to the visible church, and then the true believers, whose faith and sincerity of heart are invisible. From this it follows, that one owes more love to his fellow-believers, even such as are so but in profession, than to those of another religion; but most to really believing fellow-members, to whom the appellation: they of the household of faith, especially applies. In the present day it is our business to seek out those who have pressed through from the service of the letter into the life of religion, into the service of the Spirit, and to count them for the members of the household of faith chiefly commended to us.—Spener:—The more closely one, besides the general bond, is connected with any one by a special bond also, the more is he under obligation towards such a one. Thus a man is bound to his wife, parents to their children, brothers and sisters and blood relatives to one another, masters to their servants, citizens of one town or dwellers in one house to each other, in respect to works of love, more than they are to others; yet always without prejudice to the general love of our neighbor.

On the whole Section:—Wherein Christians’ walk in the Spirit should especially show itself in their conduct towards one another: (1) In this, that no one exalts himself above others, but that one helps another up when he falls and assists him to bear his burdens: (2) in this, that no one grudgingly withholds what is his from another, but willingly lets him share in all and is unwearied in doing good (especially towards those who impart to one the bread of life in the word of God).—Sarwey:—If ye live in the Spirit, then walk in the Spirit; if ye walk in the Spirit, then walk in humility and forbearance, and in thankfulness towards your teacher and in liberality towards your brethren; and if ye walk therein ye walk in blessing.—Glöckler:—Concerning the spirituality of the children of God: (1) What people are in the word of God called spiritual; (2) what their duties are towards others and those of others towards them; (3) whether it is necessary for all that wish to be saved, to be be spiritual men; (4) how and when then one is to set about becoming a spiritual man.—Hengstenberg:—Christian love of neighbors as a chief part of a walk in the Spirit: it shows itself: (1) in loving converse with our neighbor, and that (a) in unambitious humility; (b) in helpful long-suffering; (c) in enduring patience; (2) in loving activity for our neighbor’s good: (a) in willing advancement of church and school in our own dwelling place, see Galatians 6:6; (b) in ready zeal for giving and helping for the sowing of the gospel in still wider circles (Galatians 6:7-8); (c) in general, in untiring doing of good of all kinds, especially to those of the household of faith (Galatians 6:9-10).

On Galatians 6:1-5 : Self-exaltation. (1) Wherein it shows itself. In this, that it docs not do, what is mentioned in Galatians 6:1-2. (2) What secures against it: Self-examination.

The single verses of the whole section almost all afford a theme at once, especially as several have the character of apothegms.

Galatians 5:25. Text and theme of a Whitsunday sermon in Nitzsch (Auswahl I. p. 177):—(1) The grounds of this Whitsuntide declaration. (a) The spiritual life requires to be demonstrated and revealed in the walk, or it does not exist; (b) it requires to be maintained and augmented by the walk or it is lost. (2) The substance of this requirement: not=abandon the world and kill the body; nor yet=no longer esteem the word and violate the law; but=in the power of the atonement pursue after holiness.

Galatians 6:2. Suitable text for a wedding discourse; Galatians 6:7-8, Fast-day, or New Year’s eve, or harvest text; Galatians 6:9, also a harvest text.

Footnotes:

Galatians 5:25; Galatians 5:25.—[The dative Πνεύματι has perhaps a slightly different force in each member of this verse, but “by” will express the meaning in each case, better than “in.”—R.]

Galatians 5:26; Galatians 5:26.—[“Become vain-glorious” is both a more literal and a more correct rendering of γινώμεθα κενόδοξοι.—R.]

Galatians 6:1; Galatians 6:1.—[“Even if” preserves the force of καί.—R.]

Galatians 6:2; Galatians 6:2.—Ἀναπληρώσετε is strongly supported; and is to be preferred (with Lachmann and Schott) to the reading σατε; the latter was perhaps occasioned by the preceding imperatives. It is found however in א., where, singularly enough, we have the moods reversed, βαστάσετε occuring in the preceding clause. א3. however reads βαστάζετε. [The future, ἀναπληρώσ ετε, is the reading of א3. B. F. G., most versions; it is adopted by Meyer, De Wette, Mill, Ellicott, Light-foot. The aorist imperative, σατε, is found in A. c. D. E. K., most cursives, Tischendorf (later eds.), Alford, Wordsworth. The aorist imperative is rare, and this is an argument in favor of retaining it. If it be retained, the E. V. is correct, with the other reading, it must be emended as above. The question is not easily settled, since the external authority is so nearly balanced.—R.]

Galatians 6:4; Galatians 6:4.—[Ellicott paraphrases as above. The E. V. is not satisfactory. See Exeg. Notes.—R.]

Galatians 6:5; Galatians 6:5.—[“Load” is a good rendering. “Burden” is open to this great objection, that it does not discriminate between φορτίον and βάρη (Galatians 6:2).—R.]

Galatians 6:9; Galatians 6:9.—[Ἐγκακῶμεν is the correct reading. א. A. B. Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, Ellicott, Wordsworth, Lightfoot. It is doubtful whether ἐκκακεῖν (Rec. ἐκκακῶμεν) is a genuine word.—R.]

Galatians 6:10; Galatians 6:10.—[Ἄραοὖν “accordingly then,” see Exeg. Notes.—R.]

Galatians 6:10; Galatians 6:10.—[Ἐργαζώμεθα. The reading ἐργαζόμεθα is too weakly supported. [So all modern Editors. Lachmann at first adopted the latter reading, but soon discarded it.—R.]

[8][Lightfoot calls attention to the fact that this proverb occurs in 2 Corinthians 9:6, in reference to the collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem, to which object the Galatians had been asked to contribute (1 Corinthians 16:1); he therefore conjectures that this implies a general censure of their habitual niggardliness.—R.]

[9][Perhaps as Lightfoot suggests to bring out the idea of selfishness. It need not be made emphatic, but is best retained in English by “to his own flesh.”—R.]

[10][Alford and Ellicott deny this reference, but any other meaning seems insipid, and might have been better expressed in some other way.—R.]

[11][The principle of voluntaryism so plainly implied in the verse has found its happiest exemplification in our own country. Dr. Brown represents one of the few European churches (United Presbyterian Church of Scotland), that has not only acted upon, but stoutly contended for this principle.—R.]

Verses 11-18

CONCLUSION OF THE EPISTLE

Written by the Apostle with his own hand. He portrays himself in contrast with the False Teachers. An entreaty for future quiet out of regard to his sufferings. Benedictions.

Galatians 6:11-18

11Ye see how large a letter I have written [See in how large letters I have written, or with what letters I write]12 unto you with mine own hand. 12As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should [that they should not]13 suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13For neither they themselves [not even do they] who are circumcised14 keep the law [themselves]; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. 14But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world15. 15For in Christ Jesus [omit in Christ Jesus]16 neither circumcision availeth17 anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16And as many as walk [shall walk]18 according to this rule, peace 17be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From [omit From] henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord [omit the Lord]19 Jesus. 18Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit [The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren]. Amen.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Galatians 6:11. See with what letters I write [or in what large letters I have written (see below)—R.] unto you with mine own hand.—Paul as a rule dictated his Epistles; but attested them by adding at least the conclusion in his own hand (comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:17). So also in this Epistle. But as it is the first letter which he has written to the Galatians, he begs them to notice20 his handwriting. This is the sense of πηλίκοις γράμμασιν, which is therefore simply = with what sort of letters. Ἔγραψα, according to the familiar epistolary usage; the aorist does not therefore refer back to the portion already written, but Paul means what he is just beginning to write in conclusion. So Laurent, zur Kritik der Briefe des Apostles Paulus, in the Studien und Kritiken, 1864 H. 4, p. 643 sq.—His interpretation seems to have more in its favor than that of Wieseler (adopted in the 1st edition of this work), who renders it: “See with how great letters,” etc., referring the words to the whole Epistle, in this sense, that he means to give his readers a token of his special love in having written to them in quite large, and therefore unusually legible, characters, and that, not through an amanuensis, as ordinarily, but with his own hand. Against this Laurent remarks: How is it conceivable that immediately after so profound and earnest a discourse, the Apostle should have reviewed the characters he had already written, and have made so trivial a remark about their appearance? Besides the letters were not at all large; not much larger than ours. In Paul’s day cursive writing was already in use. While therefore the amanuensis probably wrote in uncial letters, Paul himself wrote cursively[!?]21—But his purpose in adding the conclusion with his own hand was in this case not merely to attest the Epistle. For the conclusion is unusually long. Paul was also impelled to write by the desire of impressing more deeply on the minds of the Galatians a notice respecting his own person in opposition to the false teachers.

[Two questions arise in the interpretation of this verse: 1. to what does the Apostle call attention; 2. to how much does he refer. The answer to the first question turns upon the meaning of πηλίκοις γράμμασιν, that to the second mainly, though not exclusively, upon the force of ἔγραψα. 1. We may determine with comparative certainty the meaning of πηλίκοις γράμμασιν. Πηλίκος, occurring only here and in Hebrews 7:3 (where the reference is to magnitude, though in an ethical sense), is not synonymous with πόσος, “how many;” hence “how many letters”=how large a letter, is incorrect; nor does the plural γράμματα mean “letter,” for which Paul invariably uses ἐριστολή. Besides the phrase γράφεῖν γράμμασιν, in the sense of “write a letter,” is nowhere found. Nor is πηλίκος identical with ποῖος (so Schmoller and others), “what kind;” Ellicott justly characterizes this interpretation as arbitrary. It means “how large,” referring to the size, implying that, for some cause, what Paul himself wrote was written in larger characters than usual (or perhaps than an amanuensis was in the habit of using). There is no necessity for finding a reference to shapelessness. It is no valid objection to say that this reference was trivial, for other things that Paul has written may be thus spoken of with equal propriety (comp. 2 Timothy 4:13). See Meyer, Alford, Ellicott, Wordsworth and Lightfoot. 2. To how much does he refer? In other words, did Paul write the whole Epistle with his own hand, or only these concluding verses. The aorist indicates the former, unless it be an epistolary aorist. But the burden of proof rests with those who maintain this. Besides if the reference be exclusively to what follows, it seems singular that the epistolary aorist should be chosen. We cannot perhaps decide the question from this word alone, but there are other considerations which may be urged in favor of the autographic character of the whole Epistle, a) Attention may have been called to the size of the letters, as a proof that Paul had written the whole, not using an amanuensis, who would probably have written more rapidly, hence in smaller characters, and this would be a proof of his earnestness and affection. b) The Epistle is largely a personal vindication, and hence was more likely to be an autograph, c) Alford finds a similarity, in style and in use of words, between this and the Pastoral Epistles (which he regards as autographs), see Vol. III. New Testament Prolegg. pp. 4, 79 sq. d) Wordsworth refers to the passage in Habakkuk cited in this Epistle, (Galatians 3:11), and finds in the injunction to the prophet to write “the just shall live by faith” in large characters, an implication that this Epistle on the same theme was written in similar characters. (This however is not of much weight.) Although the use of ἔγραψα is not decisive, yet taken in connection with the meaning of πηλίκοις, and whatever of weight attaches to the considerations mentioned above, it is much safer to assume that Paul wrote the whole letter; the probabilities are strongly in favor of this view. (So Alford, Ellicott and Wordsworth most decidedly.) There is a conjecture that the size or shapelessness of the letters arose from Paul’s weakness of vision, but it must be regarded as only a conjecture. Comp. Galatians 4:15. Paul could not have been unskilful in writing Greek.—R.]

Galatians 6:12. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh.—In condensed sharp language the Apostle (Galatians 6:12-13) characterizes the intrigues of the false teachers. They are people who want to have a good repute (εὐπροσωπῆσαι), but for all that live in the flesh, according to the lusts of the flesh,22 and shun suffering. Therefore they constrain you to be circumcised.—(Ἀναγκάζουσιν ὑμᾶςπεριτέμνεσθαι= “are busied with forcing a circumcision upon you.”) For this is done only that they should not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.Τῷ σταυρῷ not: on account of the cross, but: by the cross; the cross of Christ is itself represented as the persecutor—a significant image for these people’s fear of the cross, because it brings persecution. But the cross of Christ brings with it such persecution, sc. on the part of the Jews, only when it is preached and confessed as the sole condition of salvation, which is not done when circumcision is regarded as a condition of salvation. Therefore they insist upon this, in order to escape persecution. [It seems better to take τῷ σταυρῷ as the dative of the ground or occasion (so Meyer, Alford, Ellicott and many others). Schmoller actually presents this view in his explanatory remark. It cannot mean “with the sufferings of the cross” (Winer). The objection to both is that “the cross of Christ” means “the atoning death of Christ upon the cross” (Brown), and this meaning will not admit of these interpretations.—R.]

Galatians 6:13. Paul immediately explains the strong μόνον, “only” (Galatians 6:12). They have in this no other view than the one assigned—the purely egoistic one—they are not concerned for the law on its own account; for not even do they who are circumcised keep the law themselves.—Of the circumcised, or those who receive circumcision, [the reference being to the Judaizing party; the perfect would perhaps point more to the leaders, the present to the party as one which was then enforcing this rite,—R.] with all their zeal for circumcision, it might be expected that they kept the law. But their conduct is hypocritical. When they desire to have you circumcised, it is not in the interest of the law, but only that they may glory in your flesh, that they may be able to boast themselves; and it is moreover the σάρξ of the Galatians, that is to be the subject of their boasting: to be taken either physically, with reference to the circumcision to be performed in their flesh; or in a sense similar to Galatians 6:12, because if the Galatians should receive circumcision, they would follow the σάρξ and its suggestions, would display a carnal weakness and pliability of which these men would then boast as their own work. [The latter view is preferable.—R.]

Galatians 6:14. But God forbid that I should glory.To this sinful boasting of the false teachers, to whom the cross of Christ is more or less a scandal, and who are unwilling to suffer any persecution for its sake, Paul opposes his own boasting, whose subject is this very cross of Christ.—Save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.—Meyer incorrectly supposes that Paul wishes to mention the subject of his official glorying over against the official vauntings of the false teachers, and hence understands “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” of the preaching of the cross of Christ, not of the fact itself. [In the 4th Ed. Meyer says: Only the cross of Christ should be the subject of his καυχᾶσθαι, viz.: that nothing other than the Redemption accomplished on the cross by Christ was the ground, contents and Divine assurance of his faith, life, hope, labor, etc.”—Surely this is not open to Schmoller’s objection.—R.] Wieseler:—Paul will, in contrast with these Judaizers, not boast at all of what he is or has or does, and therefore also not of his official labors, but of the cross of Christ.—By whom or which.Διʼ οὖ is then most naturally referred to the main idea, “cross,” not to “our Lord Jesus Christ.” [The meaning is evidently the same, whether the relative be referred to one or the other; “by which” would mean through the cross of Christ; “by whom,” through Christ crucified. Still there is much force in the suggestion, that the subject immediately preceding, “so fully and triumphantly expressed, so important and so emphasized, throws the other word into the shade.” (It is not necessary to suppose that in this case we would find ἐν ᾦ.) Besides, the idea of sundered fellowship with the world, which follows, seems to imply here more of a fellowship with Christ than with the cross. See Meyer, Alford and Ellicott, and on the other side Calvin, Bengel, Brown and Lightfoot.—R.]

The world is crucified unto me.—By this Paul does not mean to state, for instance, why he cannot any longer boast of anything else, viz., because nothing else exists for him (Meyer), but he gives in a few yet pregnant words a glimpse into the significance which the cross has for him, on account of its operation. It is of course only because the cross is for me the object of faith, because I stand by faith in inward fellowship therewith (comp. Galatians 2:19), [or, better, with Christ Himself as the Crucified One—R.], that a crucifixion has been accomplished in my case also. Paul, however, is here speaking not simply of the fact that he or his old Ego has been crucified. Recognizing as he does his old Ego as one entangled with the world, and recognizing this entanglement with the world as its distinguishing character, he says, that the world, to which it clung, has been crucified to him, i. e., the world had become in his eyes condemned, yea dead = had utterly lost all significance, all attractive power for him, and that therefore his fellowship with it had been wholly broken off. Of course Paul’s fellowship of faith with the cross of Christ [or Christ crucified—R.] involved no direct action upon the world itself, but only upon it so far as it appertained to him, i. e., upon his fellowship with it.—And I to the world.—And even so had he been crucified to the world. A crucifixion of him had naturally been the consequence of his fellowship of faith with the cross of Christ (comp. Galatians 2:19), but calling to mind his former entanglement with the world, he declares himself crucified “to the world,” says, that in its eyes also he is one dedicated to death, yea, a dead man, so that he has no longer any attraction for the world, that the world will have nothing more to do with him, that its fellowship with him is also fully dissolved. This double statement thus expresses in the strongest manner, the absolute dissolution of every bond between him and the world. To him this result appeared a gain, and he saw in this a new reason, for glorifying in the cross of Christ. The second clause, κἀγὼ τῷ κόσμῳ, appears to imply also the positive statement, that not only does the world no longer regard him as one of its own, but also hates and persecutes him, and thus does precisely that which his adversaries seek to avoid (Galatians 6:12); yet Paul accounts it as nothing, but glories in the cross of Christ, although it brings these consequences with it; so highly does he value the gain, which he has from it.

Galatians 6:15. For.—He immediately gives the reason for his determination to boast exclusively of the cross of Christ (not for the διοὖ, Meyer).—Neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.—Everything depends on the last, nothing on the first. But it is the cross of Christ which leads to this new creation, and that through the operation of it described by διοὖ Galatians 6:14. This reciprocal crucifixion of the world and the old man to each other is the death of the old man and the beginning of a new one. [Καινὴ κτίσις is probably passive, the thing created, resulting from a new creation on the part of God.—R]

Galatians 6:16. And as many as shall walk according to this rule.—In Galatians 6:15 Paul stated a principle; here he designates this as the standard, according to which one should walk. Upon all who shall thus walk (the future applies to the time from the receipt of the Epistle thenceforward; Paul hopes that the Epistle will have a converting and confirming effect upon the readers) he invokes peace23 (see on Galatians 1:3) and mercy, thereby indicating the high importance of this standard. As this belongs to the conclusion, it is best to take it as a benediction; others understand it as a statement, supplying ἔσται.—The correct interpretation of and upon the Israel of God is the explicative one = that is [for they are the Israel of God.—R.] For there is here no reason for bringing the Jewish Christians into especial prominence; besides, the comprehensive ὅσοι does not admit of a national distinction being now first made in addition, and others named, who, it would even appear, had not to walk according to this standard. On the other hand, “the designation of all those, who walk according to this Anti-Judaistic standard, as the Israel of God, the true theocratic people, at this solemn close, is, as it were, the triumph of the whole Epistle.”—Meyer. [Ellicott doubts whether καί can have so strong an explicative force, and prefers to take it as copulative, as if the Apostle’s thought turned to his kindred according to the flesh; but the exegetical objections to this view are great, and the other interpretation is so suitable that it must be adopted.—R.]

Galatians 6:17. Henceforth let no man trouble me, i. e., by still listening to the false teachers; for I (ἐγώ and not the persecution-shunning false teachers) bear in my body the marks of Jesus, the stigmata of Jesus, i. e., the proofs, that I am a real servant of Jesus (στίγματα with reference to the marks which masters had branded upon their slaves), namely, in all the traces, scars, wounds, and the like, of the maltreatments and persecutions, which I have endured in my apostolic calling. [“of Jesus,” i. e. my Master, Captain, God, for slaves, soldiers and votaries bore such marks. See Wordsworth and Lightfoot in loco.—R.]

Galatians 6:18. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.Μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματος ὑμῶν; we are not to understand a special intention in his not writing the simple μεθὑμῶν; yet we should not overlook what is significant in the expression. Grace operates and is meant to operate upon the πνεῦμα of the man; only so does it operate truly and fully, and just such a full, truly salutary operation of grace does he wish for them.—Brethren.Ἀδελφοί: “The Epistle, so severe in its prevailing tone, concludes with this address, in which unaltered brotherly love expresses itself.” Meyer. [Bengel: Ita mollitur totius epistolæ severitas.—R.]—Amen.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

Christ’s cross is the touchstone of true Christianity. What Paul says in this section of the Judaistic teachers, applies strikingly mutatis mutandis, to the great mass of nominal Christians.24 They by no means wish to keep the law in its whole extent, that is much too burdensome for them; on the contrary they appeal to the fact that they forsooth believe on Christ, and therefore are free from the yoke of the law. But now on the other hand they have as little mind to believe on Christ in the whole extent of faith; what is inconvenient in this, they leave behind, and that is the cross of Christ, i. e., so far as it is a means of quieting the conscience, it is willingly accepted, but so far as it includes a dying of the old man, and the entering into a fellowship of the cross with Christ, they will none of it. Instead of this men turn rather to the otherwise despised law, and arbitrarily make the law to consist in this or that particular, some practice, some abstinence, and imagine themselves there to be satisfying all the severer requirements of God, while yet they are far from this utterance: The world is crucified to me and I unto the world!—Christ’s cross is the touchstone of true Christianity; it is in this, that salvation and comfort is to be sought, and so far it would not be so very hard to glory in the cross of Christ, which many are willing to do. But salvation and consolation are to be sought exclusively in that, no longer in the world, no longer in one’s self, everything else is to be accounted loss, and on the other hand the fellowship with the cross of Christ is to be counted no loss; in brief, there must come into being a new creature. This is the “Canon” (Galatians 6:16) for a Christian; only he who guides himself according to this becomes and is in truth a Christian. This is hard and yet not impossible. God will help therein by the pedagogy of his law, and will lead to faith, and to faith will give the Spirit, which helps through to the new creature.—Comp. also Roos: “Paul shows, that it is not so completely indifferent, what a man thinks of Christ and His cross. Now-a-days, as many of the people say: I pray, read, hear, and am none of the worst. A clever man of the world says: I do much evil, but I have a good heart with it all, and between my evil works I also do some good ones. God will look at me on my good side. What now shall we make of Jesus of Nazareth? Here the world boggles. At last it says: Let Him pass for a good teacher, who has told us, that God is not the God of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles, and that He loves such virtuous persons as we. Let Him be also an example for imitation. Finally, let Him be also, if one will so have it, the Redeemer, who has acquired for us freedom to hasten on a broad and easy way, with a trifle of virtue, light-mindedly to eternity, and notwithstanding our wickedness to fear no punishment. Now consider, whether this is the gospel of Paul, and whether he so preached Christ. Can such a man say that he boasts only of the cross of Christ, and that through it the world is crucified to him and he unto the world? Has he experienced a new creation? Is the culture, which age, office, intercourse with men, has given him, worthy of this lofty name? Is he in Christ Jesus? Has he the confidence, as he is, to stand before the holy God? Let him, in moments of reflection, put this question to himself and hear concerning it the answer of God and the Bible. Perhaps God will be so gracious as yet to reveal to him the gospel which Paul preached, and if this is so, he will be astonished to find that before this, he, without his knowledge, had a false religion. Mercy and peace be upon every one that is thus brought right.”

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Galatians 6:12. Rieger:—In every age there are points in which the world insists upon being yielded to, agreeing then to leave other points untouched. And whoever does not consent to this impure commingling, must not only suffer persecution, but also bear the reproach, that he himself is to blame, that he suffers only on account of his own self-will.—Hedinger:—How many thousand brethren have ye, ye clerical placemen, in Galatia? The handful of barley, the merry countenance, the assured friendliness, the favorable patron your comfort; flattery and trimming the sails, you think, will bring a man on. I do not agree with you. Moses’ course and choice is the best. Christ’s reproach before the purple of Egypt.—Starke:—Love must, indeed, cover and excuse a neighbor’s faults, but from hypocrites and seducers one must, for a warning, tear away the mask; especially should those do it to whose office it appertains.—Spener:—The doctrine of Christ preaches Christ’s cross, and brings a cross to him who preaches it.

Galatians 6:13. Hedinger:—To preach to others and be one’s self a reprobate, to lade others with burdens, and not one’s self to touch them with a finger, what hypocrisy!—Starke:—It is an attribute of false teachers and zealots for religion, who are only concerned with the outside, to proselytize a man to the religion, let him believe afterwards as he will. This is a carnal zeal with abundant craving for notoriety.

Galatians 6:14. In Starke:—Christians must not be ashamed of the cross of Christ, but rather glory in being justified and saved by that alone. Faith in Christ, the Crucified One, brings commonly such a fellowship of suffering with Him, that one has to bear his cross after the Lord Christ.—As soon as the union of a soul with Christ through faith takes place, so soon is the tie which holds it to the sin prevailing in the world, loosed.—A Christian may have much which even the world esteems, but the heart must not rest upon it.—Luther:—The world is crucified to me, i. e., I account, that the world is damned; and even so am I in turn crucified unto the world, i. e., it accounts, that I am damned. Thus we condemn one another. I anathematize all its human righteousness, doctrine, and work, as the very devil’s poison, and it in return anathematizes also my doctrine and work, counts me for a mischievous man, etc.

Galatians 6:15. Luther:—“A new creature” does not mean, that one clothes himself differently, and puts on a different air, from before, but it means the renewal of the mind, which is brought about by the Holy Ghost. From that there follows an alteration of the outer life. For where the heart through the gospel obtains a new light, there it never fails that the outward senses also are altered. The ears have there no longer pleasure, in hearing human dreams and fools’ tidings, but God’s word alone. The mouth no longer boasts of a man’s own works, righteousness and monastic rule, but of God’s compassion in Christ Jesus. This then is an alteration, which consists not in words, but in work and in power.

Galatians 6:16. [Burkitt:—1. Christianity is a walk: a free and voluntary motion, an uniform and even motion, a progressive motion, a constant motion. 2. This walk is a walk by rule. A Christian is not a lawless person to range up and down as fancy leads him. 3. The rule is the law of the new creature. The new creature, in the principles and workings of it, is made the ground, the pattern and direction of our obedience, and we frame and square all the actions of our lives according thereunto. 4. The blessed privileges belonging to those who thus walk: peace and mercy. 5. Such are the true Israel: a thousand times greater privilege than to be the children of Abraham’s flesh.—R.]—Rieger:—Even if one cannot accept the ungodly peace offered by those who make a fair show in the flesh, yet one by steadfast abiding within the limits of his faith, has the enjoyment of a Divine peace, and mercy is shown us in recompense of what many a one will lay upon us with an unrighteous judgment.

Galatians 6:17. In Starke:—The burdened servant of the Lord has a claim to be unmolested.—It is not necessary to be ever anew entering into argument with unprofitable chatterers in defence of the truth, especially where it has been once and again vindicated against them.—Luther:—Because I am Christ’s servant and walk after the right rule, i. e., because I publicly confess, that out of Christ no man can attain to salvation, therefore also must I wear my Lord’s livery, which does not consist in marks and scars that I have inflicted in will worship as presumption on myself, like Francis, but such as are without my thanks or will inflicted on me by the world and Satan for Jesus’ sake.

Galatians 6:18. In Starke:—Grace is the beginning, middle and end in Paul’s writings. As the beginning of religion is grace, so does its progress depend upon grace. Dost thou, O Christian, in thy solicitations from men, find neither grace nor comfort? Be not dismayed! The grace of thy Lord Jesus remains assured to thee.—Let every one see to it, that he be and remain a dear brother of Paul, i. e., a true child of God; so may he also appropriate to himself the wish that God’s grace may remain with him, with a believing Amen.—[Brown:—Thus does the Apostle conclude this admirable Epistle, and show us, by his example, what it is to do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by him.—R.]

Fleeing the cross, or boasting of the cross? The decisive question in religion.—In Lisco:—The incomparable worthiness of the cross of Christ to be gloried in: 1. That a man can only refuse to acknowledge this out of unworthy motives. a) That such a refusal exists; b) why many refuse: a) because one will only make a fair show in the flesh, β) because one is not willing to be persecuted with the cross of Christ, y) because one will have glorying for himself and by means of himself. 2. On what account the cross of Christ is thus solely worthy to be gloried in: a) for the sake of that, which came to pass thereon; b) for the sake of the fruit which the cross of Christ bears in the hearts and lives of His people: a) as respects their demeanor toward the world, ß) as respects their temper towards others: they cherish warm love towards those of like mind; they contemn the assaults of those, that are not so minded; they wish that all may become and remain sharers in His grace.

[The Apostle had first vindicated his apostle-ship, then his gospel, but was it for his own glory? Nay, in one sense Galatians 6:14 is a summing up of the whole Epistle; all this defence, this earnestness, this boldness, this tenderness, was but a glorying in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.—Many see the cross, some trust in it, not all of these glory in it. Why not? Because their fellowship with Christ is not yet such, that the world is crucified to them and they to the world.—Those who gloried in the cross of Christ have gotten glory to Christ and His cross.—Among the many celebrated sermons on Galatians 6:14 may be mentioned those of Bishops Atterbury and Beveridge, also of McLaurin, Summerfield and McCheyne.—R.]

Galatians 6:11; Galatians 6:11.—[The E. V. is obviously incorrect both in rendering “ye see” and “how large a letter;” the two interpretations offered to our choice are given above. See Exeg. Notes. The aorist ἔγραψα must be rendered: “I have written,” if it is not un epistolary aorist; “I wrote” (Am. Bib. Un.) is verbally correct, but is not in any case a proper English dress for the Apostle’s idea.—R.]

Galatians 6:12; Galatians 6:12.—[Μ ή is misplaced in Rec. after ἵνα. It should follow Χριστοῦ. Διώκωνται is the reading of א. B. D. E., adopted by Griesbach, Scholz, Lachmann, Meyer, Alford, Ellicott, Lightfoot, Wordsworth. Tischendorf (with A. C. F. G. K. L.), διώκονται; an improbable solecism, arising from the frequent interchange of ω and ο.—R.]

Galatians 6:13; Galatians 6:13.—Rec. περιτεμνόμενοι; the reading περιτετμημένοι is, however, recommended by Griesbach, and adopted by Lachmann and Scholz. “With right; the perfect is absolutely necessary, since the Judaistic teachers are meant. The present was introduced by the transcribers, who had just written περιτέμνεσθαι and perhaps were reminded of Galatians 6:3.” Meyer. [If the perfect be the correct reading, we must render, “who have been circumcised,” or simply “the circumcised;” but the present is not only lectio difficilior, but is supported by preponderant external authority (א. A. C. D. E. K., many versions); it is therefore adopted by Tischendorf, Alford, Ellicott, Lightfoot, Wordsworth.—R.]

Galatians 6:14; Galatians 6:14.—Τῷ is omitted by Lachmann on important authorities. [א. A. B. etc.; Alford, Lightfoot omit the article. There is great room for doubt, since the omission may be readily accounted for both by the similarity of the preceding syllable and the desire to conform with the anarthrous κόσμος; Meyer, Tischendorf, Ellicott, Wordsworth retain it.—A careful examination of all the proposed emendations leaves the impression that the rendering of this verse in the E. V. ought not to be altered in the least particular.—R.]

Galatians 6:15; Galatians 6:15.—Ἐν γὰρ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ is probably an explanatory gloss from Galatians 6:6, though א. has it. We should read simply: οὔτεγάρ. [The MSS. authority for the longer reading is very great, but so many old versions follow the shorter one, and the probability of an importation from Galatians 6:6 is so great, that Tischendorf and almost all editors adopt it.—R.]

Galatians 6:15; Galatians 6:15.—Ἐστίν; Elz. and Matth. [and Rec.] have ἰσχύει (from Galatians 6:6) against decisive authorities.

Galatians 6:16; Galatians 6:16.—Στοιχήσουσιν. The reading στοιχοῦσιν is approved by Griesbach, put in the margin by Lachmann, and adopted by Tischendorf. Meyer asks with right: “What reason could the transcribers have had for changing it into the future?” [The authorities for the future are weighty; the change to the present is more explicable; the future is slightly more difficult. Adopted by Meyer, Alford, Lightfoot, Wordsworth; hence “shall walk.”—R.]

Galatians 6:17; Galatians 6:17.—Κυρίου is omitted by Lachmann and Tischendorf, [Meyer, Alford, Ellicott, Lightfoot, on the authority of A. B. C.—R.]; probably imported from Galatians 6:18, but א. has τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. [Wordsworth, with his usual conservative tendencies, follows the Rec.—R.]

[20][“Ἴδετε is imperative; “see” not “ye see” as E. V.—R.]

[21][It does not appear whether this statement is made by Schmoller, on his own authority, or that of Laurent. There seems to be no other authority for it. The very reverse is more probable.—R.]

[22][Or perhaps, “make a fair shew in things which appertain to a mere fleshly life.”—R.]

[23][Wordsworth remarks that this is the only place in the New Testament where εἰρήνη is placed before ἔλεος.—R.]

[24][True where this commentary was written, but partially true everywhere.—R.]

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Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Galatians 6". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/galatians-6.html. 1857-84.