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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Galatians 6

Verse 1

If a man be overtaken (εαν κα προλημφθη ανθρωπος). Condition of third class, first aorist passive subjunctive of προλαμβανω, old verb to take beforehand, to surprise, to detect.

Trespass (παραπτωματ). Literally, a falling aside, a slip or lapse in the papyri rather than a wilful sin. In Polybius and Diodorus. Koine word.

Ye which are spiritual (ο πνευματικο). See on 1 Corinthians 3:1. The spiritually led (Galatians 5:18), the spiritual experts in mending souls.

Restore (καταρτιζετε). Present active imperative of καταρτιζω, the very word used in Matthew 4:21 of mending nets, old word to make αρτιος, fit, to equip thoroughly.

Looking to thyself (σκοπων σεαυτον). Keeping an eye on as in 2 Corinthians 4:18 like a runner on the goal.

Lest thou also be tempted (μη κα συ πειρασθηις). Negative purpose with first aorist passive subjunctive. Spiritual experts (preachers in particular) need this caution. Satan loves a shining mark.

Verse 2

Bear ye one another's burdens (αλληλων τα βαρη βασταζετε). Keep on bearing (present active imperative of βασταζω, old word, used of Jesus bearing his Cross in John 19:17. Βαρος means weight as in Matthew 20:12; 2 Corinthians 4:17. It is when one's load (φορτιον, verse Galatians 6:5) is about to press one down. Then give help in carrying it.

Fulfil (αναπληρωσατε). First aorist active imperative of αναπληροω, to fill up, old word, and see on Matthew 23:32; 1 Thessalonians 2:16; 1 Corinthians 14:16. Some MSS. have future indicative (αναπληρωσετε).

Verse 3

Something when he is nothing (τ μηδεν ων). Thinks he is a big number being nothing at all (neuter singular pronouns). He is really zero.

He deceiveth himself (φρεναπατα εαυτον). Late compound word (φρην, mind, απαταω, lead astray), leads his own mind astray. Here for first time. Afterwards in Galen, ecclesiastical and Byzantine writers. He deceives no one else.

Verse 5

Each shall bear his own burden (το ιδιον φορτιον βαστασε). Φορτιον is old word for ship's cargo (Acts 27:10). Christ calls his φορτιον light, though he terms those of the Pharisees heavy (Matthew 23:4), meant for other people. The terms are thus not always kept distinct, though Paul does make a distinction here from the βαρη in verse Galatians 6:2.

Verse 6

That is taught (ο κατηχουμενος). For this late and rare verb κατηχεω, see on Luke 1:4; Acts 18:25; 1 Corinthians 14:19. It occurs in the papyri for legal instruction. Here the present passive participle retains the accusative of the thing. The active (τω κατηχουντ) joined with the passive is interesting as showing how early we find paid teachers in the churches. Those who receive instruction are called on to "contribute" (better than "communicate" for κοινωνειτω) for the time of the teacher (Burton). There was a teaching class thus early (1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Verse 7

Be not deceived (μη πλανασθε). Present passive imperative with μη, "stop being led astray" (πλαναω, common verb to wander, to lead astray as in Matthew 24:4).

God is not mocked (ου μυκτηριζετα). This rare verb (common in LXX) occurs in Lysias. It comes from μυκτηρ (nose) and means to turn the nose up at one. That is done towards God, but never without punishment, Paul means to say. In particular, he means "an evasion of his laws which men think to accomplish, but, in fact, cannot" (Burton).

Whatsoever a man soweth (ο εαν σπειρη ανθρωπος). Indefinite relative clause with εαν and the active subjunctive (either aorist or present, form same here). One of the most frequent of ancient proverbs (Job 4:8; Arist., Rhet. iii. 3). Already in 2 Corinthians 9:6. Same point in Matthew 7:16; Mark 4:26.

That (τουτο). That very thing, not something different.

Reap (θερισε). See on Matthew 6:26 for this old verb.

Verse 8

Corruption (φθοραν). For this old word from φθειρω, see on 1 Corinthians 15:42. The precise meaning turns on the context, here plainly the physical and moral decay or rottenness that follows sins of the flesh as all men know. Nature writes in one's body the penalty of sin as every doctor knows.

Eternal life (ζωην αιωνιον). See on Matthew 25:46 for this interesting phrase so common in the Johannine writings. Plato used αιωνιος for perpetual. See also 2 Thessalonians 1:9. It comes as nearly meaning "eternal" as the Greek can express that idea.

Verse 9

Let us not be weary in well-doing (το καλον ποιουντες μη ενκακωμεν). Volitive present active subjunctive of ενκακεω on which see Luke 18:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 4:16 (εν, κακος, evil). Literally, "Let us not keep on giving in to evil while doing the good." It is curious how prone we are to give in and to give out in doing the good which somehow becomes prosy or insipid to us.

In due season (καιρω ιδιω). Locative case, "at its proper season" (harvest time). Cf. 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Timothy 6:15 (plural).

If we faint not (μη εκλυομενο). Present passive participle (conditional) with μη. Cf. εκλυω, old verb to loosen out. Literally, "not loosened out," relaxed, exhausted as a result of giving in to evil (ενκακωμεν).

Verse 10

As we have opportunity (ως καιρον εχωμεν). Indefinite comparative clause (present subjunctive without αν). "As we have occasion at any time."

Let us work that which is good (εργαζωμεθα το αγαθον). Volitive present middle subjunctive of εργαζομα, "Let us keep on working the good deed."

Of the household of faith (τους οικειους της πιστεως). For the obvious reason that they belong to the same family with necessary responsibility.

Verse 11

With how large letters (πηλικοις γραμμασιν). Paul now takes the pen from the amanuensis (cf. Romans 16:22) and writes the rest of the Epistle (verses Galatians 6:11-18) himself instead of the mere farewell greeting (2 Thessalonians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18). But what does he mean by "with how large letters"? Certainly not "how large a letter." It has been suggested that he employed large letters because of defective eyesight or because he could only write ill-formed letters because of his poor handwriting (like the print letters of children) or because he wished to call particular attention to this closing paragraph by placarding it in big letters (Ramsay). This latter is the most likely reason. Deissmann, (St. Paul, p. 51) argues that artisans write clumsy letters, yes, and scholars also. Milligan (Documents, p. 24; Vocabulary, etc.) suggests the contrast seen in papyri often between the neat hand of the scribe and the big sprawling hand of the signature.

I have written (εγραψα). Epistolary aorist.

With mine own hand (τη εμη χειρ). Instrumental case as in 1 Corinthians 16:21.

Verse 12

To make a fair show (ευπροσωπησα). First aorist active infinitive of ευπροσωπεω, late verb from ευπροσωπος, fair of face (ευ, προσωπον). Here only in N.T., but one example in papyri (Tebt. I. 19 12 B.C. 114) which shows what may happen to any of our N.T. words not yet found elsewhere. It is in Chrysostom and later writers.

They compel (αναγκαζουσιν). Conative present active indicative, "they try to compel."

For the cross of Christ (τω σταυρω του Χριστου). Instrumental case (causal use, Robertson, Grammar, p. 532). Cf. 2 Corinthians 2:13. "For professing the cross of Christ" (Lightfoot).

Verse 13

They who receive circumcision (ο περιτεμνομενο). Present causative middle of περιτεμνω, those who are having themselves circumcised. Some MSS. read ο περιτετμημενο), "they who have been circumcised" (perfect passive participle). Probably the present (περιτεμνομενο) is correct as the harder reading.

Verse 14

Far be it from me (εμο μη γενοιτο). Second aorist middle optative of γινομα in a negative (μη) wish about the future with dative case: "May it not happen to me." See Galatians 2:17. The infinitive καυχασθα (to glory) is the subject of γενοιτο as is common in the LXX, though not elsewhere in the N.T.

Hath been crucified unto me (εμο εσταυρωτα). Perfect passive indicative of σταυροω, stands crucified, with the ethical dative again (εμο). This is one of the great sayings of Paul concerning his relation to Christ and the world in contrast with the Judaizers. Cf. Galatians 2:19; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:4; 1 Corinthians 1:23; Romans 1:16; Romans 3:21; Romans 4:25; Romans 5:18.

World (κοσμος) has no article, but is definite as in 2 Corinthians 5:19. Paul's old world of Jewish descent and environment is dead to him (Philippians 3:3).

Verse 15

A new creature (καινη κτισις). For this phrase see on 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Verse 16

By this rule (τω κανον τουτω). For κανων, see on 2 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 10:15.

Verse 17

From henceforth (του λοιπου). Usually το λοιπον, the accusative of general reference, "as for the rest" (Philippians 3:1; Philippians 4:8). The genitive case (as here and Ephesians 6:10) means "in respect of the remaining time."

The marks of Jesus (τα στιγματα του Ιησου). Old word from στιζω, to prick, to stick, to sting. Slaves had the names or stamp of their owners on their bodies. It was sometimes done for soldiers also. There were devotees also who stamped upon their bodies the names of the gods whom they worshipped. Today in a round-up cattle are given the owner's mark. Paul gloried in being the slave of Jesus Christ. This is probably the image in Paul's mind since he bore in his body brandmarks of suffering for Christ received in many places (2 Corinthians 6:4-6; 2 Corinthians 11:23), probably actual scars from the scourgings (thirty-nine lashes at a time). If for no other reason, listen to me by reason of these scars for Christ and "let no one keep on furnishing trouble to me."

Verse 18

The farewell salutation is much briefer than that in 2 Corinthians 13:13, but identical with that in Philemon 1:25. He calls them "brethren" (αδελφο) in spite of the sharp things spoken to them.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Galatians 6". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/galatians-6.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.