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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Galatians 5

Verse 1

d In the liberty wherewith. This is according to the reading τῆ ἐλευθερίᾳ ᾗ . Different connections are proposed, as with stand fast, as A.V.: or with the close of chapter 4, as, “we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free with the freedom with which Christ freed us”: or, “of her who is free with the freedom with which,” etc. But ᾗ wherewithmust be omitted. A new clause begins with τῇ ἐλευθερίᾳ . Rend. for freedom did Christ set us free. For, not with freedom. It is the dative of advantage; that we might be really free and remain free. Comp. Galatians 5:13, and John 8:36.

Made (us) free ( ἠλευθέρωσεν )

With the exception of John 8:32, John 8:36, only in Paul.

Stand fast ( στήκετε )

Used absolutely, as 2 Thessalonians 2:15. Mostly in Paul. See on 1 Thessalonians 3:8.

Be not entangled ( μὴ ἐνέχεσθε )

Or, held ensnared. By Paul only here and 2 Thessalonians 1:4. Lit. to be held within. For an elliptical usage see on Mark 6:19.

Yoke ( ζυγῷ )

Metaphorical, of a burden or bondage. Comp. Matthew 11:29, Matthew 11:30; Acts 15:10; 1 Timothy 6:1. Similarly lxx, Genesis 27:40; Leviticus 26:13; 2 Chronicles 10:4, 2 Chronicles 10:9, 2 Chronicles 10:10, 2 Chronicles 10:11, 2 Chronicles 10:14. So always in N.T. except Revelation 6:5, where it means a pair of scales. See note, and comp. Leviticus 19:35, Leviticus 19:36; Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 16:11; Hosea 12:7.

Verse 2

Behold ( ἴδε )

Imperative singular, appealing to each individual reader.

I Paul

Comp. 2 Corinthians 10:1; Ephesians 3:1; Colossians 1:23. Asserting his personal authority.

If ye be circumcised ( ἐὰν περιτέμνησθε )

Better, receive circumcision. The verb does not mean that they have already been circumcised. It states the case as supposable, implying that they were in danger of allowing themselves to be circumcised.

Christ will profit you nothing

Circumcision is the sign of subjection to the Jewish “yoke” - the economy of the law. The question with the Galatians was circumcision as a condition of salvation. See Galatians 2:3, Galatians 2:5; Acts 15:1. It was a choice between salvation by law and salvation by Christ. The choice of the law involved the relinquishment of Christ. Comp. Galatians 2:21. Chrysostom says: “He who is circumcised is circumcised as fearing the law: but he who fears the law distrusts the power of grace: and he who distrusts gains nothing from that which he distrusts.”

Verse 3

Again ( πάλιν )

Probably with reference to what he had said at his last visit.

Every man

Emphasizing and particularising the general to you, you, in Galatians 5:2.

A debtor ( ὀφειλέτης )

In N.T. mostly of one under moral obligation. So in the sense of sinner, Matthew 6:12; Luke 13:4. Comp. Romans 1:14; Romans 8:12. Similarly the verb ὀφείλειν toowe, as Luke 11:4; Luke 17:10; Romans 15:1, etc., though it is frequent in the literal sense.

To do the law ( ποιῆσαι )

Rare in N.T. See John 7:19; Romans 2:13, Romans 2:25( πράσσῃς ). Τηρεῖν toobserve the law, the tradition, the commandment, Matthew 19:17; Mark 7:9; John 14:15; Acts 15:5James 2:10: πληροῦν tofulfill the law, Romans 13:8; Galatians 5:14; comp. ἀναπληροῦν Galatians 6:2: φυλάσσειν tokeep or guard the law, Acts 7:53; Acts 21:24; Galatians 6:13: also with commandments, word of God or of Christ, ordinances of the law, Matthew 19:20; Mark 10:20; Luke 11:28; John 12:47; Romans 2:26. Τελεῖν tocarry out the law, Romans 2:27; James 2:8. Ποιῆσαι is to perform what the law commands: τηρεῖν toobserve, keep an eye on with the result of performing: φυλάσσειν toguard against violation: τελεῖν tobring to fulfillment in action.

The whole law ( ὅλον )

Comp. James 2:10. Submission to circumcision commits one to the whole law. It makes him a party to the covenant of the law, and the law requires of every one thus committed a perfect fulfillment, Galatians 3:10.

Verse 4

Christ is become of no effect unto you ( κατηργήθητε ἀπὸ Χριστοῦ )

Incorrect. Lit. ye were brought to nought from Christ. Comp. Romans 7:2, Romans 7:6. Your union with Christ is dissolved. The statement is compressed and requires to be filled out. “Ye were brought to nought and so separated from Christ.” For similar instances see Romans 9:3; Romans 11:3. The ἀπὸ fromproperly belongs to the supplied verb of separation. For the verb καταργεῖν see on Romans 3:3.

Ye are fallen from grace ( τῆς χἁριτος ἐξεπέσατε )

For a similar phrase see 2 Peter 3:17. Having put yourselves under the economy of salvation by law, you have fallen out of the economy of salvation by the grace of Christ. Paul's declarations are aimed at the Judaisers, who taught that the Christian economy was to be joined with the legal. His point is that the two are mutually exclusive. Comp. Romans 4:4, Romans 4:5, Romans 4:14, Romans 4:16. The verb ἐκπίπτειν tofall out, in the literal sense, Acts 12:7; James 1:11. In Class. of seamen thrown ashore, banishment, deprivation of an office, degeneration, of actors being hissed off the stage.

Verse 5

For we ( ἡμεῖς γὰρ )

Γὰρ forintroduces a proof of the preceding statement, by declaring the contrary attitude of those who continue under the economy of grace. Ye who seek to be justified by the law are fallen from grace; for we, not relying on the law, by faith wait for the hope of righteousness.

Through the Spirit ( πνεύματι )

The Holy Spirit who inspires our faith. Not as Lightfoot, spiritually. The words πνεύματι ἐκ πίστεως are not to be taken as one conception, the Spirit which is of faith, but present two distinct and coordinate facts which characterize the waiting for the hope of righteousness; namely, the agency of the Holy Spirit, in contrast with the flesh (comp. Romans 7:6; Romans 8:4, Romans 8:15, Romans 8:16; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 2:22), and faith in contrast with the works of the law (comp. Galatians 3:3, and see Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:3; Romans 1:17; Romans 3:22; Romans 9:30; Romans 10:6).

By faith ( ἐκ πίστεως )

Const. with wait, not with righteousness.

Wait for ( ἀπεκδεχόμεθα )

Quite often in Paul, and only twice elsewhere, Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 3:20. See on Philippians 3:20.

The hope of righteousness ( ἐπίδα δικαιοσύνης )

Hope for the object of hope, as Romans 8:24; Colossians 1:5; Hebrews 6:18; Titus 2:13. The phrase means that good which righteousness causes us to hope for. Comp. hope of the calling (Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 4:4): hope of the gospel (Colossians 1:23).

Verse 6

In Christ Jesus

In the economy of life which he inaugurates and inspires.

Availeth ( ἰσχύει )

Has any significance or practical power. The verb in Paul only here and Philippians 4:13. See on 2 Thessalonians 1:9.

Which worketh ( ἐνεργουμένη )

See on 1 Thessalonians 2:13. Middle voice, comp. Romans 7:5; 2 Corinthians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 4:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; Ephesians 3:20. Not passive, as by many Roman Catholic expositors, faith which is wrought by love.

By love ( δἰ ἀγάπης )

Not that justification is through love; but the faith of the justified, which is their subjective principle of life, exhibits its living energy through love in which the whole law is fulfilled (Galatians 5:14). See 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.

Verse 7

Ye did run ( ἐτρέχετε )

Better, as giving the force of the imperfect, ye were running. You were on the right road, and were making good progress when this interruption occurred. Comp. Galatians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Philippians 3:14; 2 Timothy 4:7.

Well ( καλῶς )

Bravely, becomingly, honorably to yourselves and to the church. Often in Paul. See Romans 11:20; 1 Corinthians 7:37, 1 Corinthians 7:38; 2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 4:17; Philippians 4:14.

Did hinder ( ἐνέκοψεν )

See on 1 Peter 3:7. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:18; Romans 15:22.

Obey the truth ( ἀληθείᾳ πείθεσθαι )

The exact phrase N.T.oDisobey ( ἀπειθοῦσι ) the truth, Romans 2:8: obedience ( ὑπακοή ) of the truth, 1 Peter 1:22.

Verse 8

This persuasion ( ἡ πεισμονὴ )

Or, the persuasion. N.T.oolxx, oClass. It occurs in Ignatius, Rom. iii.: and Just. Mart. Ap. i. 53. The sense is not passive, your being persuaded, but active, the persuasion which the Judaising teachers exert over you. Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:4, πιθοῖς λόγοις persuasivewords. There may be a slight word play on πείθεσθαι and πεισμονὴ . Obedience to the truth is the result of the persuasive power of the truth.

Him that calleth ( τοῦ καλοῦντος )

Very often applied to God by Paul. See Romans 8:30; Romans 9:11; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 7:15; Galatians 1:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:121 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:14. The persuasion to subject yourselves to the Jewish law does not proceed from him who called you to freedom in Christ.

Verse 9

A little leaven ( μικρὰ ζύμη )

A proverbial warning, which appears also 1 Corinthians 5:6. It refers, not to the doctrine of the false teachers, but to the false teachers themselves. Comp. Mark 8:15. With the single exception of the parable, Matthew 13:33, leaven, in Scripture, is always a symbol of evil. Comp. Exodus 12:15, Exodus 12:19; Exodus 13:3, Exodus 13:7; Exodus 23:18; Leviticus 2:11; Deuteronomy 16:3. This, however, is no warrant for the nonsense which has been deduced from it, as that Jesus' parable of the leaven contains a prophecy of the corruption of Christianity. Because leaven in Scripture is habitually the type of corruption, we are “none the less free to use it in a good sense as Christ did. One figure need not always stand for one and the same thing. The devil is 'a roaring lion,' but Christ is also 'the lion of the tribe of Judah'” (Trench). It is an apt figure of secret, pervading energy, whether bad or good. A new interest is given to the figure by Pasteur's discovery that fermentation is a necessary consequence of the activity and growth of living organisms. A very few of these Judaising intruders are sufficient to corrupt the whole church.

Lump ( φύραμα )

PoSee on Romans 9:21.

Verse 10

In the Lord

Const. with I have confidence.

Will be - minded ( φρονήσετε )

The word denotes a general disposition of the mind rather than a specific act of thought directed at a given point. Comp. Philippians 3:15, Philippians 3:19; Philippians 4:2; Romans 8:5; Romans 11:20; 1 Corinthians 13:11: and φρόνημα mind Romans 8:6, Romans 8:7, Romans 8:27. In Class. often with εὖ well καλῶς honorably ὀρθῶς rightly κακῶς mischievously Τά τινος φρονεῖν is to be of one's party.

He that troubleth ( ὁ αράσσων )

Comp. Galatians 1:7. Not with reference to any particular individual, as Peter or James (Lipsius), but generally, of any possible person, “whoever he may be.” The verb is used by Paul only in this Epistle, and refers to disturbance of faith or unity.

Verse 11

And I

In sharp contrast with the disturber.

If I yet preach circumcision ( εἰ περιτομὴν ἔτι κηρύσσω )

Commonly explained as an allusion to a charge circulated by the Judaisers that Paul preached or sanctioned the circumcision of Gentile converts in churches outside of Galatia, as, for example, in the case of Timothy, Acts 16:3. But it is quite unlikely that any such charge was circulated. The Judaisers would not have founded such a charge on an individual case or two, like Timothy's, especially in the face of the notorious fact that Paul, in Jerusalem and Antioch, had contested the demand for the circumcision of Gentile Christians; and Paul's question, “Why do I suffer persecution?” would have been pertinent only on the assumption that he was charged with habitually. not occasionally, preaching circumcision. Had the Judaisers actually circulated such a charge, Paul would have been compelled to meet it in a far more direct and thorough manner than he does here. He would have been likely to formulate the charge, and to deal incisively with the inconsistency in his preaching which it involved. The course of his thought is as follows: “He that troubleth you by preaching circumcision shall bear his judgment; but I am not a disturber - not your enemy (Galatians 4:16), for I do not preach circumcision; and the proof of this is that I am persecuted. If I preached circumcision, there would be no offense, and therefore no disturbance; for the cross would cease to be an offense, if, in addition to the cross, I preached just what the Judaisers assert, the necessity of circumcision.”

Yet ( ἔπι )

As in the time before my conversion. The second ἔπι is not temporal but logical, as Romans 3:7; Romans 9:19. What further ground is there for persecuting me?

Then ( ἄρα )

As a consequence of my preaching circumcision.

The offense of the cross ( τὸ σκάνδαλον τοῦ σταυροῦ )

Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:23. For offense, see on offend, Matthew 5:29.

Ceased ( κατήργηται )

Lit. been done away or brought to nought. See on Galatians 5:4. If Paul had preached circumcision as necessary to salvation, the preaching of the cross would have ceased to be an offense, because, along with the cross, Paul would have preached what the Judaisers demanded, that the Mosaic law should still be binding on Christians. The Judaisers would have accepted the cross with circumcision, but not the cross instead of circumcision. The Judaisers thus exposed themselves to no persecution in accepting Christ. They covered the offense of the cross, and conciliated unbelieving Jews by maintaining that the law was binding upon Christians. See Galatians 6:12.

Verse 12

They were cut off ( ἀποκόψονται )

More correctly, would cut themselves off. Perhaps the severest expression in Paul's Epistles. It turns on the practice of circumcision. Paul says in effect: “These people are disturbing you by insisting on circumcision. I would that they would make thorough work of it in their own case, and, instead of merely amputating the foreskin, would castrate themselves, as heathen priests do. Perhaps that would be even a more powerful help to salvation.” With this passage should be compared Philippians 3:2, Philippians 3:3, also aimed at the Judaisers: “Beware of the concision ” ( τὴν κατατομήν ), the word directing attention to the fact that these persons had no right to claim circumcision in the true sense. Unaccompanied by faith, love, and obedience, circumcision was no more than physical mutilation. They belonged in the category of those referred to in Leviticus 21:5. Comp. Paul's words on the true circumcision, Romans 2:28, Romans 2:29; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11.

Which trouble ( ἀναστατοῦντες )

Only here in Paul, and twice elsewhere, Acts 17:6; Acts 21:38. olxx. Stronger than ταράσσειν disturbRather to upset or overthrow. The usual phrase in Class. is ἀνάστατον ποιεῖν tomake an upset. Used of driving out from home, ruining a city or country. See on madest an uproar, Acts 21:38. Rev. unsettle is too weak.

Verse 13

For ( γὰρ )

Well may I speak thus strongly of those who thus overthrow your whole polity and enslave you, for ye are called for freedom.

Unto liberty ( ἐπ ' ἐλευθερίᾳ )

Better, for freedom. See on unto uncleanness, 1 Thessalonians 4:7. Ἑπὶ marks the intention.

Only ( μόνον )

For a similar use of the word, qualifying or limiting a general statement, comp. 1 Corinthians 7:39; Galatians 2:10; Philemon 1:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:7.

Use not liberty ( τὴν ἐλευθερίαν )

Use is not in the Greek. We may supply hold or make or turn.

Occasion ( ἀφορμὴν )

See on Romans 7:8. Almost exclusively in Paul.

To the flesh ( τῃ σαρκί )

See on Romans 7:5. The flesh here represents lovelessness and selfishness. Christian freedom is not to be abused for selfish ends. Paul treats this subject at length in 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; 1 Corinthians 12:25, 1 Corinthians 12:26. Individual liberty is subject to the law of love and mutual service. Comp. 1 Peter 2:16.

By love ( διὰ τῆς ἀγάπης )

Or through love, through which faith works (Galatians 5:6).

Verse 14

All the law ( ὁ πᾶς νόμος )

More correctly, the whole law. Comp. Matthew 22:40.

Is fulfilled ( πεπλήρωται )

Has been fulfilled. Comp. Romans 13:8. The meaning is not embraced in, or summed up in, but complied with. In Romans 13:9, ἀνακεφαλαιοῦται issummed up, is to be distinguished from πλήρωμα hathfulfilled (Romans 13:8) and πλήρωμα fulfillment(Romans 13:10). The difference is between statement and accomplishment. See on do the law, Galatians 5:3.

Verse 15

Bite and devour ( δάκνετε καὶ κατεσθίετε )

Strong expressions of partisan hatred exerting itself for mutual injury. Δάκνειν tobite, N.T.oIn lxx metaphorically, Micah 3:5; Habakkuk 2:7. For κατεσθίειν devourcomp. Matthew 23:13; 2 Corinthians 11:20; Revelation 11:5.

Be consumed ( ἀναλωθῆτε )

Rare in N.T. See Luke 9:54. Partisan strife will be fatal to the Christian community as a whole. The organic life of the body will be destroyed by its own members.

Verse 16

Walk ( περιπατεῖτε )

Frequent in a metaphorical sense for habitual conduct. See Mark 7:5; John 8:12; Acts 21:21; Romans 6:4; Romans 8:4; 1 Corinthians 3:3; Philippians 3:18. Never by Paul in the literal sense.

In the Spirit ( πνεύματι )

Rather, by the Spirit, as the rule of action. Comp. Galatians 6:16; Philippians 3:16; Romans 4:12.

Fulfill ( τελέσητε )

Bring to fulfillment in action. See on do the law, Galatians 5:3.

The lust ( ἐπιθυμίαν )

Frequent in Paul, and usually in a bad sense; but see Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:17, and comp. Luke 22:15. The phrase lust or lusts of the flesh occurs also Ephesians 2:3; 2 Peter 2:18; 1 John 2:16. It means, not the mere sensual desire of the physical nature, but the desire which is peculiar to human nature without the divine Spirit.

Verse 17

Are contrary ( ἀντίκειται )

The verb means to lie opposite to; hence to oppose, withstand. The sentence these - to the other is not parenthetical.

So that ( ἵνα )

Connect with these are contrary, etc. Ἵνα does not express result, but purpose, to the end that, - the purpose of the two contending desires. The intent of each principle in opposing the other is to prevent man's doing what the other principle moves him to do.

Cannot do ( μὴ ποιῆτε )

A mistake, growing out of the misinterpretation of ἵνα noted above. Rather, each works to the end that ye may not do, etc.

The things that ye would ( ἃ ἐὰν θέλητε )

The things which you will to do under the influence of either of the two contending principles. There is a mutual conflict of two powers. If one wills to do good, he is opposed by the flesh: if to do evil, by the Spirit.

Verse 18

d The question is, which of these two powers shall prevail. If the Spirit, then you are free men, no longer under the law. Comp. Romans 6:11, Romans 6:14.

Under the law ( ὑπὸ νόμον )

The Mosaic law. We might have expected, from what precedes, under the flesh. But the law and the flesh are in the same category. Circumcision was a requirement of the law, and was a work of the flesh. The ordinances of the law were ordinances of the flesh (Hebrews 9:10, Hebrews 9:13); the law was weak through the flesh (Romans 8:3). See especially, Galatians 3:2-6. In Philippians 3:3ff. Paul explains his grounds for confidence in the flesh as his legal righteousness. The whole legal economy was an economy of the flesh as distinguished from the Spirit.

Verse 19


You have a clearly defined standard by which to decide whether you are led by the Spirit or by the flesh. Each exhibits its peculiar works or fruits.

Adultery ( μοιχεία )

To be dropped from the text.

Uncleanness ( ἀκαθαρσία )

See on 1 Thessalonians 2:3.

Lasciviousness ( ἀσελγεια )

See on Mark 7:22.

Verse 20

Witchcraft ( φαρμακία )

Or sorcery. Elsewhere only Revelation 18:23. From φάρμακον adrug. In lxx, see Exodus 7:11; Wisd. 12:4; Isaiah 47:9. Comp. Acts 19:19, περίεργα curiousarts, note.

Wrath ( θυμοί )

Lit. wraths. See on John 3:36.

Strife ( ἐριθίαι )

More correctly, factions. From ἔριθος ahired servant. Ἑριθία is, primarily, labor for hire (see Romans href="/desk/?q=ro+16:17&sr=1">Romans 16:17. Once in lxx, 1Corinthians href="/desk/?q=1co+11:19&sr=1">1 Corinthians 11:19. See on 2 Peter 2:1. Parties, into which divisions crystallize.

Verse 21


Omit from the text.

Revelings ( κῶμοι )

Comp. Romans 13:13; 1 Peter 4:3. In both passages coupled with drunkenness as here. See on 1 Peter 4:3.

I tell you before ( προλέγω )

Better beforehand, or as Rev. I forewarn you. PoComp. 2 Corinthians 13:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:4.

The kingdom of God

See on Luke 6:20.

Verse 22

The fruit of the Spirit ( ὁ καρπὸς τοῦ πνεύματος )

The phrase N.T.oFruit, metaphorical, frequent in N.T., as Matthew 3:8; Matthew 7:16; John 4:36; John 15:8; Romans 1:13; Romans 6:21, etc. We find fruit of light (Ephesians 5:9); of righteousness (Philippians 1:11); of labor (Philippians 1:22); of the lips (Hebrews 13:15). Almost always of a good result.

Love ( ἀγάπη )

Comp. love of the Spirit, Romans 15:30. In Class. φιλεῖν is the most general designation of love, denoting an inner inclination to persons or things, and standing opposed to μισεῖν or ἐχθαίρειν tohate. It occasionally acquires from the context a sensual flavor, as Hom. Od. xviii. 325; Hdt. iv. 176, thus running into the sense of ἐρᾶν which denotes sensual love. It is love to persons and things growing out of intercourse and amenities or attractive qualities. Στέργειν (not in N.T., lxx, Sirach 27:17) expresses a deep, quiet, appropriating, natural love, as distinguished from that which is called out by circumstances. Unlike φιλεῖν , it has a distinct moral significance, and is not applied to base inclinations opposed to a genuine manly nature. It is the word for love to parents, wife, children, king or country, as one's own. Aristotle (Nic. ix. 7,3) speaks of poets as loving ( στέργοντες ) their own poems as their children. See also Eurip. Med. 87. Ἁγαπᾶν is to love out of an intelligent estimate of the object of love. It answers to Lat. diligere, or Germ. schatzen to prize. It is not passionate and sensual as ἐρᾶν . It is not, like φιλεῖν , attachment to a person independently of his quality and created by close intercourse. It is less sentiment than consideration. While φιλεῖν contemplates the person, ἀγαπᾶν contemplates the attributes and character, and gives an account of its inclination. Ἁγαπᾶν is really the weaker expression for love, as that term is conventionally used. It is judicial rather than affectionate. Even in classical usage, however, the distinction between ἀγαπᾶν and φιλεῖν is often very subtle, and well-nigh impossible to express.

In N.T. ἐπιθυμαῖν todesire or lust is used instead of ἐρᾶν . In lxx ἀγαπᾶν is far more common than φιλεῖν . Φιλεῖν occurs only 16 times in the sense of love, and 16 times in the sense of kiss; while ἀγαπᾶν is found nearly 300 times. It is used with a wide range, of the love of parent for child, of man for God, of God for man, of love to one's neighbor and to the stranger, of husband for wife, of love for God's house, and for mercy and truth; but also of the love of Samson for Delilah, of Hosea for his adulterous wife, of Amnon's love for Tamar, of Solomon's love for strange women, of loving a woman for her beauty. Also of loving vanity, unrighteousness, devouring words, cursing, death, silver.

The noun ἀγάπη , oClass., was apparently created by the lxx, although it is found there only 19 times. It first comes into habitual use in Christian writings. In N.T. it is, practically, the only noun for love, although compound nouns expressing peculiar phases of love, as brotherly love, love of money, love of children, etc., are formed with φίλος , as φιλαδελφία, φιλαργυρία, φιλανθρωπία . Both verbs, φιλεῖν and ἀγαπᾶν occur, but ἀγαπᾶν more frequently. The attempt to carry out consistently the classical distinction between these two must be abandoned. Both are used of the love of parents and children, of the love of God for Christ, of Christ for men, of God for men, of men for Christ and of men for men. The love of man for God and of husband for wife, only ἀγαπᾶν . The distinction is rather between ἀγαπᾶν and ἐπιθυμεῖν than between ἀγαπᾶν and φιλεῖν . Love, in this passage, is that fruit of the Spirit which dominates all the others. See Galatians 5:13, Galatians 5:14. Comp. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; 1 John 2:5, 1 John 2:9-11; 1 John 3:11, 1 John 3:14-16; 1 John 4:7-11, 1 John 4:16-21; 1 John 5:1-3.

Joy ( χαρά )

Comp. joy of the Holy Ghost, 1 Thessalonians 1:6, and see Romans 5:2; Romans 14:17; Romans 15:13; 2 Corinthians 6:10; Philippians 1:25; Philippians 4:4; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 John 1:4.

Peace ( εἰρήνη )

See on 1 Thessalonians 1:1. Here of mutual peace rather than peace with God.

Long suffering ( μακροθυμία )

See on be patient, James 5:7, and comp. Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 6:6; Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 1:11.

Gentleness ( χρηστότης )

See on good, Romans 3:12; see on easy, Matthew 11:30; see on gracious, 1 Peter 2:3. Better, kindness; a kindness which is useful or serviceable.

Goodness ( ἀγαθωσύνη )

PoSee on Romans 3:12.

Faith ( πίστις )


Verse 23

Meekness ( πραΰ̀της )

See on meek, Matthew 5:5.

Temperance ( ἐγκράτεια )

Only here by Paul. He alone uses ἐγκρατεύεσθαι tohave continency, 1 Corinthians 7:9; 1 Corinthians 9:25. See on is temperate, 1 Corinthians 9:25. The word means self-control, holding in hand the passions and desires. So Xen. Mem. i. 2,1, of Socrates, who was ἐγκρατεστατος mosttemperate as to sexual pleasures and pleasures of the appetite.

Such ( τοιούτων )

Such things, not persons.

There is no law ( οὐκ ἔστιν νόμος )

Against such virtues there is no law to condemn them. The law can bring no charge against them. Comp. 1 Timothy 1:9, 1 Timothy 1:10.

Verse 24

They that are Christ's ( οἱ δὲ τοῦ Χριστοῦ )

The best texts add Ἱησοῦ theythat are of Christ Jesus. Belong to him. The exact phrase only here. But see 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:23; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 2 Corinthians 10:7, Galatians 3:29.

Have crucified the flesh ( τὴν σάρκα ἐσταύρωσαν )

The phrase only here. Comp. Galatians 2:20; Galatians 6:14; Romans 6:6. The line of thought as regards death to sin is the same as in Romans 6:2-7, Romans 6:11; as regards death to the law, the same as in Romans 7:1-6.

Affections ( παθήμασιν )

Better, passions. Often sufferings, as Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 1:5, 2 Corinthians 1:6, 2 Corinthians 1:7; Philippians 3:10; Hebrews 2:9. Often of Christ's sufferings. Comp. passions of sins, Romans 7:5(see on motions ). olxx, where we find πάθος in both senses, but mostly sufferings. Πάθος also in N.T., but rarely and PoSee Romans 1:26; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:5: always of evil desires.

Verse 25

d Lipsius makes this verse the beginning of ch. 6. Weizsäcker begins that chapter with Galatians 5:26. There seems to be no sufficient reason. Galatians 5:25is connected naturally with the immediately preceding line of thought. “Such being your principle of life, adapt your conduct (walk) to it.” The hortatory form of Galatians 5:26, and its contents, fall in naturally with the exhortation to walk by the Spirit, and with the reference to biting and devouring, Galatians 5:15, and envyings, Galatians 5:21. The connection of the opening of ch. 6 with the close of ch. 5 is not so manifest; and the address brethren and the change to the second person (Galatians 6:1) seem to indicate a new section.

In the Spirit ( πνεύματι )

Better, by the Spirit, the dative being instrumental as Galatians 5:16.

Walk ( στοιχῶμεν )

A different word from that in Galatians 5:16. Only in Paul, except Acts 21:24. From στοίχος arow. Hence, to walk in line; to march in battle order (Xen. Cyr. vi. 3,34). Συνστοιχεῖ answerethto, Galatians 4:25(note). See also on στοιχεία elements Galatians 4:3. Paul uses it very graphically, of falling into line with Abraham's faith, Romans 4:12.

Verse 26

Desirous of vainglory ( κενόδοξοι )

N.T.oBetter, vainglorious. The noun κενοδοξία vaingloryonly Philippians 2:3. In lxx see Wisd. 14:14; 4Macc. 2:15; 8:18. Originally, vain opinion, error. Ignatius, Magn. xi., speaks of falling into ἄγκιστρα τῆς κενοδοξίας thehooks or clutches of error. Δόξα has not the sense of opinion in N.T., but that of reputation, glory. This compound means having a vain conceit of possessing a rightful claim to honor. Suidas defines any vain thinking about one's self. It implies a contrast with the state of mind which seeks the glory of God. The modes in which vainglory may show itself are pointed out in the two following participles, provoking and envying.

Provoking ( προκαλούμενοι )

N.T.olxx, only 2 Maccabees 8:11. Lit. calling forth, challenging, and so stirring up strife. Very common in Class.

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Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Galatians 5". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.