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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Galatians 6:17

From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.

Adam Clarke Commentary

From henceforth let no man trouble me - Put an end to your contentions among yourselves; return to the pure doctrine of the Gospel; abandon those who are leading you astray; separate from the Church those who corrupt and disturb it; and let me be grieved no longer with your defections from the truth.

I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus - The στιγματα, stigmata, of which the apostle speaks here, may be understood as implying the scars of the wounds which he had received in the work of the ministry; and that he had such scars, we may well conceive, when we know that he had been scourged, stoned, and maltreated in a variety of ways. The writer could show such scars himself, received in the same way. Or, the apostle may allude to the stigmata or marks with which servants and slaves were often impressed, in order to ascertain whose property they were. A Burman servant often has indelible marks on his thighs and elsewhere, which ascertain to whose service he belongs. "Do not trouble me; I bear the marks of my Lord and Master, Jesus; I am his, and will remain so. You glory in your mark of circumcision; I glory in the marks which I bear in my body for the testimony of the Lord; I am an open, professed Christian, and have given full proof of my attachment to the cause of Christianity."

The first sense appears to be the best: "I have suffered already sufficiently; I am suffering still; do not add any more to my afflictions."

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These files are public domain.

Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https: 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

From henceforth - For the remaining time; that is, during the remainder of my life.

Let no man trouble me - This implies that he had had trouble of some kind, and he earnestly desires that he may have no more. What particular trouble he here refers to, is not certainly known, and commentators have not been agreed. It seems to me that the connection requires us to understand it of the molestation which he had in regard to his call to the apostolic office, and his authority to explain and defend the religion of the Redeemer. This had been one principal subject of this Epistle. His authority had been called in question. He had felt it necessary to go into a vindication of it. His instructions had been departed from on the ground that he was not one of the original apostles, and that he differed from others; see Galatians 1:11. Hence, all the anxiety and trouble which he had had in regard to their departure from the doctrines which he had taught them. He closes the whole subject of the Epistle by this tender and affecting language, the sense of which has been well expressed by Crellius: “I have shown my apostolic authority, and proved that I am commisioned by the Lord Jesus. I have stated and vindicated the great doctrine of justification by faith, and shown that the Mosaic law is not necessarily binding. On these points may I have no more trouble. I have enough for my nature to bear of other kinds. I bear in my body the impressive proofs that I am an apostle, and the sufferings that require all my fortitude to sustain them.” These marks, received in the service of the Lord Jesus, and so strongly resembling those which he himself received, prove that I am truly engaged in his cause, and am commissioned by him. These wounds and sorrows are so many, that I have need of the kindness and prayers of Christians rather than to be compelled to vindicate myself, and to rebuke them for their own wanderings.”

For I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus - The word here rendered “marks” ( στίγματα stigmata), means properly the marks or brands which are pricked or burnt in upon the body. So slaves were sometimes branded by their masters to prevent their escape; and so devotees to an idol god sometimes caused to be impressed on themselves the name or image of the divinity which they adored. Herodotus (ii. 113) mentions a temple of Hercules in Egypt, in which if any slave took refuge, and had the sacred brands or marks impressed on him ( στίγματα stigmata), he thereby devoted himself to the god, and it was not lawful for anyone to injure him. Many have supposed that Paul here says, in allusion to such a custom, that he had the name of the Redeemer impressed on his body, and that he regarded himself as devoted to him and his cause. It seems to me that by these marks or brands he refers to the weals which he had received in his body; the marks of stripes and sufferings which he endured in the service of the Redeemer. Compare 2 Corinthians 11:24-25.

He had repeatedly been scourged. He bore the marks of that on his person now. They were the evidences that he was devoted to the Saviour. He had received them in his cause; and they were the proofs that he belonged to the Lord Jesus. He had suffered for him, and had suffered much. Having thus suffered, and having thus the evidence that he belonged to the Saviour, and having by his sufferings given ample proof of that to others, he asks to be freed from further molestation. Some had in their body the marks of circumcision, the evidence that they were disciples of the Law of Moses; others had perhaps in their persons the image and name of an idol to which they were devoted; but the marks which he bore were the weals which he had received by being again and again whipped publicly in the cause of the Redeemer. To that Redeemer, therefore, he felt himself united, and from that attachment he would not allow himself to be diverted.

How often has an old soldier shown his scars with pride and exultation as a proof of his attachment to his country! Numerous scars; the loss of an arm, an eye, or a leg, are thus the much valued and vaunted pledges of attachment to liberty, and a passport to the confidence of every man who loves his country. “I prize this wound,” said Lafayette, when struck in the foot by a musket ball at Germantown, “as among the most valued of my honors.” So Paul felt in regard to the scourges which he had received in the cause of the Lord Jesus. They were his boast and his glory; the pledge that he had been engaged in the cause of the Saviour, and a passport to all who loved the Son of God. Christians now are not subjected to such stripes and scourings. But let us have some marks of our attachment to the Lord Jesus. By a holy life; by self-denial; by subdued animal affections; by zeal in the cause of truth; by an imitation of the Lord Jesus; and by the marks of suffering in our body, if we should be called to it, let us have some evidence that we are his, and be able to say, when we look on death and eternity, “we bear with us the evidence that we belong to the Son of God.” To us that will be of more value than any ribbon or star indicating elevated rank; more valuable than a ducal coronet; more valuable than the brightest jewel that ever sparkled on the brow of royalty.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Galatians 6:17

From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

Freedom from human criticism

A man who is growing old claims for himself in these words the freedom and responsibility of his own life. He asks that he may work out his own career uninterfered with by the criticism of his brethren. He bids them stand aside and leave him to the Master whom he serves, and by whom he must be judged. How natural that demand is I How we all long at times to make it! How every man, even if he dare not claim it now, looks forward to some time when it must be made. He knows the time will come when, educated perhaps for that moment by what his brethren’s criticism has done for him, he will be ready, and it will be his duty to turn aside and leave that criticism unlistened to and say: “From henceforth let no man trouble me. Now I must live my own life. I understand it best. You must stand aside and let me go the way where God is leading me.” When a man is heard saying that, his fellow-men look at him and they can see how he is saying it. They know the difference between a wilful and selfish independence, and a sober, earnest sense of responsibility. They can tell when the man really has a right to claim his life; and if he has, they will give it to him. They will stand aside and not dare to interfere while he works it out with God. (Phillips Brooks, D. D.)

The cry of absolute self-devotion

Magnificent outburst of a heart filled to the overflow with the spirit of impassioned consecration. The man who utters it has made up his mind so firmly that he is conscious there is not the faintest possible chance of his ever changing his determination. He has come to so certain and final a conclusion that he tells those around: “You may as well save yourselves the trouble of ever arguing with me or seeking to alter me. I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. And these marks are only so many seals upon a resolution deliberately taken, and so awfully intense in its nature, that you may as well argue with a rock, and expect to move it by force of your logic, as anticipate effecting the slightest alteration in my determined purpose.” It is the language of a wholly consecrated man. He has now given himself up to his Master without reserve. All in Paul belongs to Christ. There is not an atom of his manhood now which he feels he can claim as his own. It is lost time, lost trouble, and lost energy, for any to attempt to change his decision, or make him swerve to the right hand or to the left. “Let no man trouble me. I am given, up to Christ, and I bear His brand upon me.” The word he uses is “stigmata.” “I bear the stigmata of the Lord Jesus.” This was the brand the slave used to wear, to show he was the property of his master. If you look at the context, you will see how magnificent a climax this verse forms. Throughout the Epistle St. Paul had been arguing with a Church that had yielded him but little joy. He seems now virtually to say, “I have taught you the gospel, I have preached Christ to you. Yea, I have so preached Him that He has been evidently set forth crucified before your eyes. I have denounced the folly of circumcision in the flesh. I have used every possible means to lead you wholly, solely, to Christ. Now you must take your own way. I cannot do more. I cannot say more. But be it known unto you, O Galatians, whichever way you may go, I cannot follow you if you go adrift from the gospel; for God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The text is the language of a man who has not only hoisted his colours, but also deliberately nailed them to the mast. He has driven the nails right through. Pulled down those colours never can be. Displayed on any other masthead, never. “Christ is my Master, and Christ alone. For Him I live; for Him, if necessary, I will die. Let none attempt to make me swerve. I am past hope of change.” (A. G. Brown.)

The marks of the Lord Jesus.

Explanation of the figure

It was the custom, in those days of darkness and cruelty, to prick or brand upon the body of a slave some distinctive letter or other mark of ownership, by which he might be deterred from attempting flight, or quickly traced and reclaimed in the event of his escape. More especially was this brand used in eases of theft or crime; as a mark of disgrace, a perpetual badge of degradation and contempt. In either case it stamped a poor, fallen, outcast creature as what he was; a slave at least--a man who through the misfortune of his birth or his country had never possessed, or had forfeited, the right of free will and free agency; perhaps one who through his own fault had sunk lower still, and had added to the involuntary misery of servitude the culpable appendage of crime and ignominy. To “bear in his body the marks” of any one, was to carry about with him everywhere one or both of the two reproaches. This man is a slave, and, This man is a convict. And was St. Paul then not ashamed to apply to himself such a figure? Was St. Paul some poor degraded being, who cared not whether he was a slave or a freeman, an innocent man or a criminal? We must draw a distinction here. The essence of slavery is to have no free will; to be the possession, the property, of another; to enjoy nothing, to have nothing, to do nothing, and to be nothing, save at the beck, command, will, of another. A dreadful state, if that other be a man like myself. But suppose my master be my Creator, Redeemer, Lord, and God. Suppose me His by a right antecedent to my being, a right only to be set aside by my self-abandonment and self-ruin. Will it then be any disgrace to bear His mark in my body, or to be incapable of severing myself from His all-watchful and all-beneficent ownership? St. Paul thought not. (Dean Vaughan.)

I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.--The stigmata

He was growing an old man. Anybody who looked at him saw his body covered with the signs of pain and care. The haggard, wrinkled face, the bent figure, the trembling hands; the scars which he had worn since the day when they beat him at Philippi, since the day when they stoned him at Lystra, since the day when he was shipwrecked at Melita; all these had robbed him for ever of the fresh, bright beauty which he had had once when he sat, a boy, at the feet of old Gamaliel. He was stamped and marked by life. The wounds of his conflicts, the furrows of his years, were on him. And all these wounds and furrows had come to him since the great change of his life. They were closely bound up with the service of his Master, to whom he had given himself at Damascus. Every scar must have still quivered with the earnestness of the words of Christian loyalty which brought the blow that made it. See what he calls these scars, then. “The marks of the Lord Jesus.” He had a figure in his mind. He was thinking of the way in which a master branded his slaves. Burnt into their very flesh they carried the initial of their master’s name, or some other sign that they belonged to him, that they were not their own. That mark on the slave’s body forbade any other but his own master to touch him or compel his labour. It was the sign at once of his servitude to one master, and of his freedom from all others. (Phillips Brooks, D. D.)

The marks of the Lord Jesus

I. The text is an expression of that rest in love which those alone can have whose “life is hid with Christ in God.” The immediate motive of its utterance here is a certain sense of powerlessness in swaying the minds of others. What is argument to him? What is the judgment of man? What is any outward evidence? Has he not within the surest of all proof, the experience of the highest faith? “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

II. What are the “marks” here signified? Whatever they are, no doubt they are proofs that he is Christ’s, and Christ is his. But what are they? Elsewhere, he speaks of his labours and sufferings in the cause of Christ; and that too on an occasion like the present, when some were disparaging him, and making invidious comparisons between himself and the earlier apostles. He is obliged to say in his own cause, “I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.” Then he speaks of his severe sufferings as signs of his apostleship. Are these uppermost in his mind now? I think not. Again, he speaks to the Corinthians of the vision vouch-safed to him--“How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” And he concludes, “In nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.” Is it to the same that he is referring now? Or, once more, does he allude to the many converts whom he had made, signs, if there be any, that Christ is with him? Well might his heart rest in thoughts like this, as when he wrote to the Church at Corinth--“Though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel;” “And the seal of my apostleship are ye in the Lord.” Or when he calls the Philippians “my brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown.” Is this the mark of the Lord Jesus which he looks at, and takes comfort at the sight? No. I think not. It is something closer to him than this. Sufferings may find a man and leave a man separate from Christ: “Though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it is nothing.” Of visions he says, “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory;” and lest he should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given unto him a thorn in the flesh. Of miracles and mighty works, One greater than Paul said--“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” And as to making converts, here is his own solemn caution, “Lest when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” What are these marks? They are the stigmata, the marks (as the Greeks would say, whose word it was), burnt into a slave, the brand set on a runaway slave: a sign graven upon the very body, as inseparable as a birth-mark; one that has indeed been imposed in after years, and by another hand, but now become part and parcel of the man himself, as his own flesh and bone. They are the stigmata, the marks (as Christians would say, in memory of Him who bore them on Himself), of Christ their Master: His marks on their body, as signs that they are members of His Body, in all purity and chastity and holiness, as being “temples of the Holy Ghost;” His marks on their temper, as those who have taken up their cross and borne it after Him in self-denial and mortification, in patience, in forgiveness, in humility, in cheerfulness; His marks on their soul, as being set free from condemnation by the atoning mercy of the Saviour, as being made partakers of the precious fruits of His sacrifice upon the cross--the mark of justification, and the mark of sanctification--the imputed righteousness of Christ, the imparted and inherent righteousness wrought in them by the Holy Ghost: His marks on their spirit, being full of all spiritual affections--love, joy, peace, patience, amid the trials of earth, longing for the security of heaven, the present enjoyment of an almost perfect rest in the arms of God; in short, “a life hid with Christ in God.”

III. In the next place observe, that this is not an unusual thought with St. Paul, and will not admit of being explained away as a momentary instance of highly-wrought enthusiasm. It was his life! Did it seem to any a mischievous intrusion of imagination into holy things, to speak of love imagining the Saviour’s wounds to be traced in the Christian’s heart? Then how do you read St. Paul’s words to the Colossians--“I, Paul, who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh;” or these to the Philippians--“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death;” and again to the Galatians--“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ that liveth in me”? These are the marks branded by the fire of God’s love upon his heart. “What marks have I of the Lord Jesus?” and again, “Without these marks will Christ know me for His own?” They are brands burnt into the very body, so no outward thing will satisfy; nothing that your hands have done, nothing that the world can measure, for it is beneath all the dress and apparel of a so-called religious life, of which the world takes cognizance. They are part and parcel of yourself, so they can be nothing which can be taken up and laid down at will. Think how great is the risk of self-deceit; because that mark is not genuine unless it be found in the very inmost circle of your life. (G. W. Furse, M. A.)

A branded body

What a testimony does the outward man give to the inner life--the body becomes the tell-tale of the soul! We bear in our body the brand of the master whom we serve. The horny hand of the labourer tells that he is the slave of unceasing, unpitying toil. The dinted brow of the merchant declares what master it is that sits over him in the counting-house as he pores over his ledger, and anxiously balances his gains and losses. The thoughtful features of the student reveal his servitude to a higher master--the love of knowledge and truth. The sailor’s weather-beaten brow, the soldier’s scars or dismembered frame, tell of a more arduous service; and a grateful country can confer on them no decoration more honourable than those which they have already themselves acquired. On many a once robust and comely frame sickness and pain, or grief or anxiety, have wrought their work, have set their seal, too deeply as we are apt to think. In others the wrinkled countenance, the trembling hands, the whitening hair, the dim eye, the dull ear, are signs of the submission that we must all make to the universal law of God, the law of Nature--not to be repined at, not to be evaded, however heavily it may weigh upon us. But there are disfigurements of the poor body which betoken no such honourable or natural servitude. There are marks to be seen deeply stamped on cheek and lip and eye, signs of sottishness and sensuality, signs that the body, which was formed to be a temple of the Holy Spirit, is given over to be the slave of selfish indulgence, of appetites and passions that are meant to serve, not to rule. If the life has been given to God’s service, and the soul has been filled with the love of Christ, our will subjected to His will, our spirit pervaded by His Spirit, intent on the fulfilment of His gracious purposes towards ourselves and all mankind, there will scarcely fail to be some outward signs, in the meek and chastened deportment, in the melting voice and kindling eye--the doors and windows of the soul--through which even the careless observer may become aware of the purity of the spirit that dwells within, of the Master who rules it, and who in return for the service which He asks gives peace and joy, and the sense of perfect freedom. And we may be sure, however they may be overlooked or looked down upon by us, these ornaments of the outer man are in the sight of God of great price. They are in part a fulfilment of the command which the apostle gives us, that we should endeavour to glorify God in our body as well as our spirit, for both are God’s, created by Him for His glory, owned by Him now in their low estate, to be hereafter blessed and purified by Him, so as to partake of His glory. And they whose spirits are now increasing in grace and holiness, which shine through their earthly tabernacle, they make the poor body, be it ever so much a wreck from age, from sickness, or from pain--they make it more beautiful before God than the most perfect youthful form, marred as yet by no suffering, chastened by no trials, not convinced of sin, of righteousness, or of the judgment to come. (Prebendary Humphrey.)

Marks of the Lord Jesus

I. The word-picture here presented.

1. The figure, “slave brands.”

2. The facts (1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 2 Corinthians 11:23; 2 Corinthians 11:30).

3. The challenge.

II. The suggestion the picture makes.

1. He who follows the Lord Jesus must expect that some will try to “trouble” him.

2. He whose “marks” are most conspicuous will be troubled the least.

3. He who has “marks” may take comfort in knowing how much his Master paid for him.

4. He who is owned may remember that his Master owns and recognizes the “marks” also.

5. He that has no “marks” is either a better or a poorer Christian than St. Paul.

6. Satan outwits himself when he gives a believer more “marks.”

7. A sure day is coming when the “marks” will be honourable. (American Homiletic Review.)

Signs of struggle in life

Here is a man whose body shows the signs of toil and care. I will not read the long, familiar catalogue. The whitened hair, the cautious step, the dulness in the eye, the forehead seamed with thought; you know them all, you watch their coming in your friend, you feel their coming in yourself. What do they mean? In the first and largest way they mean life. The difference between this man and the baby, in whose soft flesh there are no branded marks like these, is that this man has lived. But then they mean also all that life has meant; and life, below its special circumstances, always means the mastery in obedience to which all the actions have been done and all the character has taken shape. For instance, here among the white careworn features there are certain lines which tell, beyond all misunderstanding, that this man has struggled and has had to yield. Somewhere or other, sometime or other, he has tried to do something which he very much wanted to do, and failed. As clear as the scratches on the rock which make us sure that the glacier has ground its way along its face, so clearly this man lets us know that he has been pressed and crushed and broken by a weight which was too strong for him. What was that weight? If it were only disappointment, then these marks are the marks of simple failure. If the weight were laid on him as punishment, then these marks are marks of sin. If it were a weight of culture, then the marks are marks of education. If the weight was the personal hand of the Lord Jesus Christ teaching the man that his own will must be surrendered to the will of a Lord to whom he belonged; if the Lord Jesus Christ has been drawing him away from every other obedience to His obedience; then these marks which he bears in his body are the marks of the Lord Jesus. It is as if a master, seeking for his sheep, found him all snarled and tangled in a thicket, clinging to and clung to by the thorns and cruel branches. He unsnarls him with all tenderness, but the poor captive cannot escape without wounds. He even clings himself to the thorns that hold him, and so is wounded all the more. When the rescue is complete and the master stands with his sheep in safety, he looks down on him and says, “I need not brand you more. These wounds which have come in your rescue will be for ever signs that you belong to me. No other sheep will carry scars just like them, for every sheep’s wanderings, and so every sheep’s wounds, are different from every other’s. Their pain will pass away, but the tokens of the trials through which I brought you to my service will remain. They shall declare that you are mine. You shall bear in your body my marks for ever.” (Phillips Brooks, D. D.)

Marks of ownership

These “brands” were used--

1. In the case of domestic slaves. With these, however, branding was not usual, at least among the Greeks and Romans, except to mark such as had attempted to escape, or had otherwise misconducted themselves, and such brands were held a badge of disgrace.

2. Slaves attached to some temple, or persons devoted to the service of some deity were so branded.

3. Captives were so treated in very rare eases.

4. Soldiers sometimes branded the name of their commander on some part of their body. The metaphor here is most appropriate, if referred to the second of these classes. Such a practice at all events cannot have been unknown in a country which was the home of the worship of Cybele. (Bishop Lightfoot.)

The language of a true-hearted veteran

Although the first and the chief meaning of “stigmata” is the brand the slave bore to show that he was the property of another, yet the word also meant any scar, and I am inclined to think that the apostle had this also in his mind when he said, “Don’t you trouble me. I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus.” There were the weals--the red lines-through the scourgings. There were the bruises through the stonings. I think Paul says to all, “It is no use your trying to turn me back. You are not talking to any young recruit. I have fought in the battle. I have been wounded in the conflict. I have tried and tested my Captain in actual war. Look at the scars I have on me.” And methinks his eyes would flash as he would say, “Yes, I have scars already, and I am willing to have a great many more. Why, look at what I have suffered for Him. Do you think I am going to give Him up now? Look at what I have endured for Him. Do you think that, after bearing all the scourgings and buffetings and loneliness that I have, I am likely to be turned on one side now?” He was proud of his scars. Do you see what a beautiful expression it is--“the marks of the Lord Jesus”? We may say, “Paul, it is a most disgraceful thing to be whipped. Why, you have on your back the brand of infamy.” He only smiles and says, “No, I have on my back the marks of the Lord Jesus.” “Why, Paul, look at your wrist; there is a deep, blue line round it where the manacle has been. You have the mark of the fetter on you.” Says the apostle: “You mistake it; I have the mark of the Lord Jesus.” He looked upon these scars as so many badges of honour. Go, walk through Greenwich Hospital tomorrow, or go down to Chelsea and talk to some of the old pensioners. Are they ashamed of their scars? Why, I remember how a few months back we had, at one of our meetings, a brother who had served in the Crimean war, and he showed me how a bayonet had gone in here and come out there; how there was a mark in his arm where a ball had gone right through, and a scar in his face where the sword had cut. I think he told me that he had about twenty scars on him, and his eyes flashed fire as he told the story. And have not you, brethren, some marks of the Lord Jesus of this sort? Have not you been wounded in conflicts willingly endured for the Master’s sake? Have not you known what it is to be jeered at for Christ’s sake? Have you not had to stand a rattling artillery of scoffs in your workshop? Have not some of you deep scars now through being cruelly misrepresented, and you knew it was for Christ’s sake? I will say to you as Paul said to the Church at Galatia, “Have you suffered so many things in vain, if it be yet in vain?” Oh, by the scars of the past, I pray you be heroes in the present. I demand of you a complete consecration. Will you yield to the demand which He here makes by me? If some of us have had to say, “Lord, I am afraid that the mark is not as clear as it used to be,” then I will tell you what we had better do. We had better go and kneel down at His feet, and say, “Lord Jesus, brand us anew. Put Thy mark on us again. Thine we are, and on Thy side. Brand us. Put the iron upon us, though it burn us. Oh, do not listen to our cries, but put a deep indelible mark, so that in business life, in home life, in church life, men and women shall say, ‘Lo, there are men who carry the stigmata of their Lord upon them.’“ May God fill us with this holy impassioned earnestness--this sense of having taken an irretrievable step, which shall lead us to say to all about us, “From henceforth let no man trouble me. From henceforth clear the road, for I bear in my body the brand of the Lord Jesus.” The Lord put His brand on us afresh for His name’s sake. Amen. (A. G. Brown.)

Marks of servitude

A slave once carried a message written in punctures on the skin of his head, which had been previously shaved bare to receive the writing. When his hair was grown so as to hide the letter, he went unsuspected; and the person to whom the message was sent, having shaved the letter-carrier’s head, read the message. The slave in old times often carried in his body (as the poor slave does still where slavery is rampant) the marks of his master, just as the sailor in our own time loves to have printed on his arm the initials of his own name and ship, the figure of his crucified Redeemer, or the anchor and cable. St. Paul carried in his body the marks of the master to whom he belonged. The weals made by the Roman lictor’s rods, with which he was thrice beaten; the red lines of those two hundred stripes which had been laid on him in the Jewish synagogues; the scars left by the stones which had bruised and beaten him down, so that he was left for dead,--these “marks of the Lord Jesus he carried with him, the proofs as to whose he was and whom he served.”

Legend of St. Francis

The biographer of St. Francis of Assisi says, that after having fasted for forty days in his solitary cell, and passed the time in a fervour of prayer and ecstatic contemplation, transported almost to heaven by the ardour of his desires--then he beheld, as it were, a seraph with six shining wings, bearing down upon him from above, and between his wings was the form of a man crucified. By this he understood to be figured a heavenly and immortal intelligence, subject to death and humiliation. And it was manifested to him that he was to be transformed into a resemblance to Christ, not by the martyrdom of the flesh, but by the might and fire of Divine love. When the vision had disappeared, and he had recovered a little from its effects, it was seen that in his hands, feet, and side, he carried the wounds of the Saviour.

Service the road to honour

When the Spartan king advanced against the enemy, he had always with him some one that had been crowned in the public games of Greece. And they tell us that a Lacedaemonian, when large sums were offered him on condition that he would not enter the Olympic lists, refused them. Having with much difficulty thrown his antagonists in wrestling, one put this question to him, “Spartan, what will you get by this victory?” He answered with a smile, “I shall have the honour to fight foremost in the ranks of my prince.” The honour which appertains to office in the Church of God lies mainly in this--that the man who is set apart for such service has the privilege of being first in holiness of example, abundance of liberality, patience of long-suffering, zeal in effort, and self-sacrifice in service. ( C. H. Spurgeon.)

The marks of the Lord Jesus

I. The marks--slave brands.

1. The body of the Christian is itself a badge of servitude to Christ.

2. Baptism is another.

3. So is bodily persecution and mental.

II. The inference to be drawn.

1. No man can legitimately doubt our Christianity and therefore need not be told about it.

2. We need not trouble ourselves, we ever bear the incontestible evidences of being Christ’s.

In conclusion:

1. Let no man infer that singularity makes a Christian.

2. The reward of bearing the marks.

Every believing Christian hath these

1. The crown of thorns pierces his head when his sinful conceits are mortified.

2. His lips are drenched with vinegar and gall, when sharp and severe restraints are given to his tongue.

3. His hands and feet are nailed when he is, by the power of God’s Spirit, disabled to the wonted courses of sin.

4. His body is stripped when all colour and pretences are taken away from him.

5. His heart is pierced when the life-blood of his formerly reigning corruptions is let out. (Bishop Hall.)

The broad-arrow of service

When North America was merely an English colony the very timber of the country was sorted out, and wherever a valiant pine or noble oak, fit for the masts or for the ribs of ships was found, the arrow--the Broad Arrow as it was called--was stamped upon it. The tree was in no respect different, dendrologically speaking, after the arrow was put on from what it was before; but when people saw the Broad Arrow on the tree they said, “That is the king’s”; or, “It does not belong to us: it belongs to the king”; and it had attached to it a sense of royalty, a sense of appropriation; and it took to itself something of the dignity which belongs to real royalty. Now it is not an arrow; it is a cross that is stamped on us--the sign and symbol of the purchase of suffering, by which we are Christ’s and manifest it to the world. (H. W. Beecher.)

The glory of the marks of the Lord Jesus

As it is a glory to a soldier to have received many wounds and to have many scars in his prince’s quarrel, and for the defence of his country; so it is a glory for the Christian soldier to have the marks of the Lord Jesus in his body, as of wounds, scourges, and imprisonments for the truth. But if these be the glory of Christ’s servants, what shall we say of those who not only have their consciences seared as with a hot iron, but have the marks of Bacchus and Venus in their bodies. (R. Cudworth.)

Entire consecration best

The well-defined spiritual life is not only the highest life, but it is also the most easily lived. The whole cross is more easily carried than the half. It is the man who tries to make the best of both worlds who makes nothing of either. And he who seeks to serve two masters misses the benediction of both. But he who takes his stand, who has drawn a boundary line, sharp and deep, about his religious life, who has marked off all beyond as for ever forbidden ground to him, finds the yoke easy and the burden light. So even here to die is gain. (H. Drummond, M. A.)

Honourable marks

John Clark, of Meldon, in France, being for Christ’s sake whipped three several days, and afterwards having a mark set in his forehead, as a note of infamy, his mother beholding it, encouraged her son, crying with a loud voice, Vivet Christus ajusque insignia, “Blessed be Christ, and welcome be these prints and marks of Christ.” I conclude this discourse with that saying of Pericles, “It is not gold, precious stones, statues, that adorn a soldier, but a torn buckler, a cracked helmet, a blunt sword, a scarred face.” Sceva is renowned for this, that at the siege of Dyrrachium he so long alone resisted Pompey’s army that he had two hundred and twenty darts sticking in his shield, and lost one of his eyes, and yet gave not over till Caesar came to his rescue. (Trapp.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Galatians 6:17". The Biblical Illustrator. https: 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus.

This is doubtless a reference to the scars of such suffering as Paul's stoning at Lystra, among these very Galatians, on the first tour; and he considered such "marks" as positive and undeniable evidence of the genuineness of his apostleship. Any interpretation of this passage as a statement that nail-prints had appeared in Paul's hand and feet in some supernatural manifestations of the Stigmata belongs to the Dark Ages. Nothing like that is in the passage.

There might be, however, some comparison intended with certain practices among the heathen. "The mark of the pagan god Dionysus was that of an ivy leaf burned into the flesh with a branding iron,"[30] and such a practice widely known to the Galatians might have suggested Paul's using the term "branded" here; but beyond that, there could have been no connection. As Ramsay eloquently declared, "The marks that branded Paul as a slave of Jesus were the deep cuts of the lictor's rods of Pisidian Antioch and the stones of Lystra!"[31]

[30] E. Huxtable, op. cit., p. 314.

[31] William M. Ramsay, op. cit., p. 472.

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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https: Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

From henceforth let no man trouble me,.... Having so clearly stated and explained the doctrine of justification, and so largely proved that it is not by works, but by faith, and that circumcision and other rituals of the ceremonial law were not necessary to it, he desires, nay, in an authoritative way he requires, that they give him no further trouble on that head; signifying, that he expected they would be satisfied with what he had wrote, and abide by the truth and obey it, as they had formerly done; that he should hear no more objections from them, or complaints of them: nor need they further inquire his sense of these things; by this they would fully know his faith and practice; as indeed they might also by his suffering persecutions on the account of his faith, and his preaching the Gospel of Christ, and particularly this part of it:

for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus; by which he means, not the marks in Christ's hands, feet, and side; but the reproachful characters the apostle was stigmatized with; or the real scars in his body, made by beating, scourging, and stoning of him; or his sufferings and persecutions in general, which he endured for the sake of Christ and his Gospel; see 2 Corinthians 11:23. The allusion is either to servants and soldiers, who, when taken into service, used to have some particular mark put upon them, that they might be known to be such an one's servant, or soldierF3Vid. Lydium de re militare, l. 1. c. 6. ; as the Hebrew servant, who was willing to serve his master, had his ear bored through with an awl, Exodus 21:6 so the apostle was known to be a firm and faithful servant, and a good soldier of Christ, by the reproaches and afflictions which he underwent for his sake; or else to those marks which, by way of reproach and punishment, were made upon fugitive servants, or soldiers, that deserted; as the sufferings of the apostle were designed as reproaches to him, and punishments of him, for preaching the Gospel of Christ; but these he gloried in, and bore and carried as trophies and marks of honour. Just as veteran soldiers show the scars and wounds they have received in battle, as tokens of their valour and courage, in facing and fighting the enemy in greatest danger: these he is said to bear "in his body"; not in the bodies of others, he gloried not in their flesh, as the false apostles did; nor in the circumcision of his own flesh, the scar that left there the mark of Moses and of a Jew; but in those things which were marks of his being a disciple of Christ, and not of Moses, and which he bore for his sake; and since therefore it was so easy to discern on which side of the question he was, from his suffering persecution for the cross of Christ; and since he had so many and such great trials and exercises, he, with apostolical gravity and authority, commands them to give him no more trouble, from the time of their reception of the epistle, henceforward.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https: 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

11 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the o marks of the p Lord Jesus.

(11) Continuing still in the same metaphor, he opposes his miseries and the marks of those stripes which he bore for Christ's sake, against the scar of the outward circumcision, as a true mark of his apostleship.

(o) Marks which are burnt into a man's flesh, as they used to do in ancient times, to mark their servants that had run away from them.

(p) For it very important whose marks we bear: for the cause makes the martyr, and not the punishment.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https: 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

let no man trouble me — by opposing my apostolic authority, seeing that it is stamped by a sure seal, namely, “I (in contrast to the Judaizing teachers who gloried in the flesh) bear (as a high mark of honor from the King of kings).”

the marks — properly, marks branded on slaves to indicate their owners. So Paul‘s scars of wounds received for Christ‘s sake, indicate to whom he belongs, and in whose free and glorious service he is (2 Corinthians 11:23-25). The Judaizing teachers gloried in the circumcision mark in the flesh of their followers: Paul glories in the marks of suffering for Christ on his own body (compare Galatians 6:14; Philemon 3:10; Colossians 1:24).

the Lord — omitted in the oldest manuscripts.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https: 1871-8.

Martin Luther's Commentary on Galatians

From henceforth let no man trouble me.
The Apostle speaks these words with a certain amount of indignation. "I have preached the Gospel to you in conformity with the revelation which I received from Jesus Christ. If you do not care for it, very well. Trouble me no more. Trouble me no more."

For I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
"The marks on my body indicate whose servant I am. If I was anxious to please men, if I approved of circumcision and good works as factors in our salvation, if I would take delight in your flesh as the false apostles do, I would not have these marks on my body. But because I am the servant of Jesus Christ and publicly declare that no person can obtain the salvation of his soul outside of Christ, I must bear the badge of my Lord. These marks were given to me against my will as decorations from the devil and for no other merit but that I made known Jesus."

Of the marks of suffering which he bore in his body the Apostle makes frequent mention in his epistles. "I think," he says, "that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men." (I Cor. 4:9.) Again, "Unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day." (I Cor. 4:11-13.)

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Luther, Martin. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Martin Luther's Commentary on Galatians". https: Zondervan. Gand Rapids, MI. 1939.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

From henceforth (του λοιπουtou loipou). Usually το λοιπονto loipon the accusative of general reference, “as for the rest” (Philemon 3:1; Philemon 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 Ιησουta stigmata tou Iēsou). Old word from στιζωstizō 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.”

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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https: Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Henceforth ( τοῦ λοιποῦ )

Only here and Ephesians 6:10. Commonly τὸ λοιπόν . The genitive is temporal; at any time in the future as distinguished from throughout the future.

Trouble me ( κόπους μοι - παρεχέτε )

Lit. give me troubles; make it necessary for me to vindicate my apostolic authority and the divine truth of my gospel.

Bear in my body

Comp. 2 Corinthians 4:10.

Marks ( στίγματα )

N.T.oThe wounds, scars, and other outward signs of persecutions and sufferings in the service of Christ. Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:23ff. The metaphor is the brands applied to slaves in order to mark their owners. Hence Rev., I bear branded. Brands were also set upon soldiers, captives, and servants of temples. See on Revelation 13:16, and comp. Revelation 7:3; Revelation 14:1, Revelation 14:9, Revelation 14:11. The scars on the apostle's body marked him as the bondservant of Jesus Christ. The passage naturally recalls the legend of Francis of Assisi.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https: Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

From henceforth let none trouble me — By quarrels and disputes.

For I bear — And afflictions should not be added to the afflicted.

In my body the marks of the Lord Jesus — The scars, marks, and brands of my sufferings for Him.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The marks; the proofs that I am his. He refers, doubtless, to the marks of bodily injury which he had sustained in the service of Christ.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https: 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

17.Let no man trouble me. He now speaks with the voice of authority for restraining his adversaries, and employs language which his high rank fully authorized. “Let them cease to throw hinderances in the course of my preaching.” He was prepared, for the sake of the church, to encounter difficulties, but does not choose to be interrupted by contradiction. Let no man trouble me. Let no man make opposition to obstruct the progress of my work.

As to everything else, ( τοῦ λοιποῦ,) that is, as to everything besides the new creature. “This one thing is enough for me. Other matters are of no importance, and give me no concern. Let no man question me about them.” He thus places himself above all men, and allows to none the power of attacking his ministry. Literally, the phrase signifies, as to the rest or the remainder, which Erasmus, in my opinion, has improperly applied to time.

For I bear (102) in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. This accounts for his bold, authoritative language. And what were those marks? Imprisonment, chains, scourging, blows, stoning, and every kind of injurious treatment which he had incurred in bearing testimony to the gospel. Earthly warfare has its honors, in conferring which a general holds out to public view the bravery of a soldier. So Christ our leader has his own marks, of which he makes abundant use, for conferring on some of his followers a high distinction. These marks, however, differ from the other in one important respect, that they partake of the nature of the cross, and in the sight of the world are disgraceful. This is suggested by the word translated marks, ( στίγματα,) for it literally denotes the marks with which barbarian slaves, or fugitives, or malefactors, were usually branded. Paul, therefore, can hardly be said to use a figure, when he boasts of shining in those marks with which Christ is accustomed to honor his most distinguished soldiers, (103) which in the eye of the world were attended by shame and disgrace, but which before God and the angels surpass all the honors of the world. (104)

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


‘The marks of the Lord Jesus.’

Galatians 6:17

In the literal sense these were marks of bodily suffering, and St. Paul gloried in them. ‘I bear,’ ‘I wear’ these ‘marks’ as badges—a slave branded with the Master’s mark. Some may now ‘bear the marks’ literally, sick, worn, saddened, constitution undermined, vital powers exhausted, worn out in Master’s service. But there is something better, higher, more blessed than this. The spiritual marks—the Christ-like face, aspect, and body. What are the spiritual marks of the Lord Jesus?

I. Prayer.—The root and ground of all—likeness to Christ, must be won upon our knees. Oh! to be like Jesus in prayer.

II. Meekness.—A grace despised by the world, honoured of heaven. He was ‘as a sheep before her shearers is dumb.’ How soon we are offended and lose our temper at provocations. Where are the ‘marks’?

III. Love.—Jesus is love because He is God. His love was patient, pitying, tender, forgiving, generous. All giving, no receiving. It was disappointed love to those who rejected Him and would not receive Him, but still loved on.

IV. Self-sacrifice.—‘He gave Himself.’ His life and death was one long self-sacrifice. Dare we lay our lives down by His and compare them together? Let us ask ourselves, ‘Where, in all I look upon, are the “marks of the Lord Jesus”?’

Bishop Walsham How.


‘However dim might be the firelight of their turf cabins, the Apostle was determined they should be able to read at any rate the postscript of the Epistle. It should not be the fault of his handwriting if they did not. His amanuensis had written so far in small, cursive hand, but at the eleventh verse of this sixth chapter St. Paul takes up the reed pen and begins, “Ye see with what large letters I have written unto you with mine own hand”—as much as to say, whatever else of the letter escapes your eyes, at least you shall see what I think of the insincerity of these Judaising Christians. At least they shall hear that I at any rate have my mind made up on the question in dispute between us, and am careless of what all the world may say against me. “Henceforth let none trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” What a triumph there is about these words, and how the echo of that brave saying from the first chapter of this same Epistle, “For if I yet pleased men I should not be the servant of Christ,” sounds in this final declaration of the Apostle’s truest liberty! “Henceforth let no man trouble me,” for I bear in my body the marks of the Master Whose I am, Whom I serve, the brand of the Lord Jesus.’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". Church Pulpit Commentary. https: 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

Ver. 17. From henceforth let no man] Here he takes upon him as an apostle, and speaks with authority, σεμνως και δεινως.

I bear in my body the marks] As scars of honour. Paul had been whipped, stocked, stoned, &c. The marks of these he could better boast of than those false apostles of their circumcision. And hereby it appeared that he refused not, as they did, to suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. In the year 1166, the Synod held at Oxford in the reign of Henry II banished out of England 30 Dutch doctors (which taught the right use of marriage, and of the sacraments), after they had first stigmatized or branded them with hot irons. (Alsted Chron.) John Clerk of Melden, in France, being for Christ’s sake whipped three different days, and afterwards having a mark set in his forehead, as a note of infamy, his mother beholding it (though his father was an adversary) encouraged her son, crying with a loud voice, Vivat Christus eiusque insignia, " Blessed be Christ, and welcome be these prints and marks of Christ." The next year after, sc. A. D. 1524, he brake the images without the city, which his superstitious countrymen were to worship the next day. For the which he was apprehended, and had his right hand cut off, his nose pulled off with pincers, both his arms and both his breasts torn with the same instrument; and after all he was burned at a stake. In his greatest torments he pronounced that of the Psalmist, "Their idols are silver and gold, the works of men’s hands," &c. (Scultet. Annul.) I conclude this discourse with that saying of Pericles, "It is not gold, precious stones, statues, that adorns a soldier, but a torn buckler, a cracked helmet, a blunt sword, a scarred face." Of these Biron, the French marshal, boasted at his death. And Sceva is renowned for this, that at the siege of Dyrrachium, he so long alone resisted Pompey’s army, that he had 220 darts sticking in his shield, and lost one of his eyes, and yet gave not over till Caesar came to his rescue. {a} Mr Prinne’s Stigmata Laudis are better known than that they need here to be related.

{a} Densamque ferens in pectore silvam. Lucan.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https: 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Galatians 6:17

I. Note the conception of the slave of Christ. What lies in that metaphor? Well, it is the most uncompromising assertion of the most absolute authority on the one hand and claim of unconditional subjection and obedience on the other. The Christian slavery, with its abject submission, with its utter surrender and suppression of mine own will, with its complete yielding up of self to the control of Jesus, who died for me, because it is based upon His surrender of Himself to me, and in its inmost essence it is the operation of love, is therefore co-existent with the noblest freedom.

II. Note the marks of ownership. The Apostle evidently means thereby distinctly the bodily weaknesses and possibly diseases which were the direct consequence of his own apostolic faithfulness and zeal. Every Christian man and woman ought to bear in his or her body, in a plain, literal sense, the tokens that he or she belongs to Jesus Christ. The old law of self-denial, or subduing the animal nature, its passions, appetites, desires, is as true and as needful today as it ever was; and for us all it is essential to the purity and loftiness of our Christian life that our animal nature and our fleshly constitution should be well kept down under heel and subdued.

III. Note the glorying in the slavery and its signs. In a triumph that is legitimate, the Apostle solemnly and proudly bears before men the marks of the Lord Jesus. He was proud of being dragged at the Conqueror's chariot-wheels, chained to them by the cords of love, and so he was proud of being the slave of Christ.

IV. Mark the immunity from any disturbance which men can bring which these marks and the servitude they express secure: "From henceforth let no man trouble me." Paul claims that his apostolic authority, having been established by the fact of his sufferings for Christ, should give him a sacredness in their eyes; that henceforth there should be no rebellion against his teaching and his word. In proportion as we belong to Christ and bear the marks of His possession of us, in that measure we are free from the disturbance of earthly influences and of human voices and from all the other sources of care and trouble, of perturbation and annoyance, which harass and vex other men's spirits.

A. Maclaren, Christian Commonwealth, Jan. 21st, 1886.

The Marks of the Lord Jesus.

These words are the magnificent outburst of a heart filled to the overflow with the spirit of impassioned consecration. The words are the language of a man who has made up his mind so firmly that he is conscious that there is not the faintest possible chance of his ever changing his determination. The "marks" are only so many seals upon a resolution deliberately taken, and so awfully intense in its nature that you may as well argue with a rock and expect to move it by force of your logic, as anticipate effecting the slightest alteration of my determined purpose.

I. This is the language of a devoted servant. The word employed is "stigmata," and the original, the primary, meaning of that word is the brand which the slave bore on his person, with either the initials, the mark, or the name of his owner. You will see how this illustrates our subject. Let us remember (1) at what a price our Master bought us, for if we remember that we shall glory in bearing the stigmata. (2) Bear in mind how well He has treated us since He did buy us. (3) Remember that we do bear His marks, and that we cannot get rid of them. Play the traitor, if you will, but everybody shall know it. You have received a brand that cannot be effaced.

II. The words are the language of a true-hearted veteran. Although the first and the chief meaning of "stigmata" is the brand the slave bore to show that he was the property of another, yet the word also meant any scar; and the Apostle had this in his mind also. "Do you think I am going to give the Lord up now? Look at what I have endured for Him." He looked upon his scars as so many badges of honour.

A. G. Brown, Penny Pulpit, No. 1015.

References: Galatians 6:17.—Christian World Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 95; vol. xxvii., p. 229; Preacher's Monthly, vol. vi., p. 145; F. E. Paget, Sermons for Special Occasions, p. 127.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Galatians 6:17. I bear in my body Archbishop Potter thinks, that the Apostle here alludes to the στιγματα, or brands, with which the Greeks used to mark those who were appointed to serve in the wars, lest they should attempt to make their escape. Others suppose, that the reference may be to those marks by which the votaries of particular heathen deities were distinguished. Mr. Blackwall considers it as an allusion to an Egyptian custom; according to which, any man's servant who fled to the temple of Hercules, and had the sacred brands or marks of that Pagan deity impressed upon him, was supposed to be under his immediate care and protection, and by that to be privileged from all violence and harsh treatment. In this view St. Paul's words are to be understood thus: "Let no man who professes veneration and faith in our common Saviour, give me, his fellow-servant,any disturbance or vexation, in the course of my ministry, and discharge of my duty, since I bear in my body his sacred marks:—the bruises and impressions of violence and cruelty, which I have received in his glorious service, will be upon me till I go down to the grave; therefore I esteem myself as sacred and devoted to my divine Master; and may as justly claim the civility and charityof all the worshippers and lovers of the Lord Jesus in sincerity, as I firmly hope and depend on the gracious acceptance and protection of our great Lord himself."*

* See Locke, Taylor, Michaelis, Lardner, Wall, Hammond, Calmet, Henry, Tillotson, Heylin, Clarke, Grotius, Wells, Bengelius, Lyttleton, Doddridge, Whitsius, Whitby, Hardouin, Jefferys, Wolsius, Wetstein, Beza, Baxter, Warburton, Peter Whitfield, Diodati, Howe, Burnet, Bedford, Mintert, Mill, Castalio, Selden, Dr. Chandler, Bishop Chandler, Markland, Bowyer, Peirce, Sharpe, Sykes, Le Clerc, Hallett, Weston, Blackwall, Ward, Jortin, and Potter.

Inferences.—The exhortations here urged by the Apostle cannot be expressed in more lively terms, and it is scarcely possible to present them in clearer and plainer language. The great difficulty here, and in other such instances, is, to bring our hearts to submit to what our understandings must so readily apprehend and approve. Let us earnestly pray, that God would diffuse more of his Spirit on all professing Christians; that, beholding each other with undissembled and fervent love, every one may affectionately endeavour to advance the happiness of all: and, instead of severely censuring one another, let us endeavour for mutual reformation, by such exhortations and advices as different circumstances may require, doing all in the spirit of Christian meekness, and in a humble sense of our own infirmities.

There is as certain a connection between our conduct here and our state hereafter, as there is between the kind of grain sown and the harvest to be reaped from it. The generality, alas! are sowing to the flesh, and the harvest to such will be shame and corruption. Let us, then, for our parts, sow to the Spirit, liberally and largely, and have our fruit unto holiness, that so we may at length inherit everlasting life: and whenever we may be ready to faint under our toil, let us encourage ourselves and each other with the blessed prospect of that day, when, though the seed-time may be attended with tears, we may come again rejoicing, and bring with us rich sheaves of honour and of joy. Psalms 126:5-6. It is in due season, it is at the time which God hath wisely appointed, that we shall, if faithful, receive this reward of grace; let us then wait for it, as we well may, with patience and humility.

The day is coming, when every one shall bear his own burden, and each of us shall answer for himself:—that awful day, when every one shall reap the fruit of his own way, and receive according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad, 2 Corinthians 5:10. Be it our care, therefore, not to deceive ourselves with a vain imagination, that we are something when we are nothing; and not be so satisfied to rest in the good opinion which others have of us, as to have our rejoicing in them. Whatever duty may be required of us, let us not amuse ourselves with trifling excuses, which never can deceive that GOD who is not to be mocked; but earnestly set ourselves continually to cultivate true inward religion, even that of the heart, in the sight of Him who searcheth it; so will the testimony of our conscience be a source of joy, and we shall find that joy solid and permanent.

Nor, if God bless the ministers of his gospel, as the instruments of bringing this joy to the soul, will it fail of being attended with that readiness which the Apostle requires, to communicate to them in all good things? while, if they understand their character and office, there will be in them that moderation and desire, on the one hand, and that zeal and love for souls on the other, which will render it a thousand times more pleasant to communicate spirituals, than to receive temporals, even from those who give with the most willing mind, and so double the gift, whether it be greater or less.

What meanness is there in those views, or objects, in which the generality of mankind are so apt to glory! How little satisfaction can there be in making proselytes to a party, and spreading forms and notions, when compared with the joy of promoting true religion in the hearts of men, and thereby advancing the glory of God, and the salvation of immortal souls! And of what little service will it be to make a fair appearance, and to be zealous for the externals of religion, so as to gain the applause of men, and to have many followers, if, at the same time, we have so little veneration for the cross of Christ, as to be afraid or ashamed of owning the necessity of relying on his cross—his sufferings unto death, and infinite merit alone, for justification, lest we should suffer persecution upon that account, or be exposed to the reproaches of the world about us!

May divine grace teach us to esteem the cross of Christ more highly, and to glory in nothing but our knowledge of it, and our hopes and expectations from it! May we all feel its vital efficacy, to crucify us to the world, and the world to us; that we may look upon the world but as a thing dead and worthless, which neither can afford us any advantage, nor yield any pleasure to engage our hearts to choose it for our portion. Thus, being crucified and dead to all things in it, may we be so entirely weaned from all affection thereto, as to make it no more our principal design and study to pursue it: but, being indifferent both to its smiles and frowns, may we be neither moved by any prospect of self-interest on the one hand, nor terrified by the fear of persecution on the other!

Nor let us lay the stress of our religion on the name we bear, or ground the hope of our acceptance on being of this or that denomination of Christians.—Let it rather be our chief concern to experience a thorough change of heart and life, and to obtain that renovation of soul, that new creation, without which neither circumcision nor uncircumcision can avail any thing, and with which the one as well as the other will be accepted of God.

It is the written word of God which is the rule that we are to go by, both in the doctrines and precepts of it: let us be careful to walk according to it, and perseveringly regulate our principles and conduct by its sacred institutes: then will God acknowledge us as his true Israel, and mercy and peace shall crown our Christian warfare. And surely, how diligently soever we observe this rule, how exactly soever we conform to its direction, how much soever we may suffer for our adherence to it, yet still we depend upon mercy for the communication of peace, and must ascribe all our hopes of happiness to pardoning clemency and free grace. May that grace ever be with our spirit, to sanctify, to quicken, and to cheer us; and may we always be ready to maintain the honour of that, which is, indeed, our very life. Amen.

REFLECTIONS.—1st. As he had so warmly recommended to them that love which would engage them to serve one another, he passes on to the exercise of it, in several instances.

1. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, through surprise, temptation, or human frailty, ye which are spiritual, and strong in the grace which is in Jesus Christ, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, with all the tenderness with which an able surgeon handles a dislocated joint, in order to reduce it; using, not rough reproaches, but tender expostulations; considering thyself, as no man is secure, lest thou also be tempted, and suffered to fall, to punish the undue severity you may have used towards others, and justly to smart under the same scourge. Note; (1.) A sense of our own weakness will make us compassionate an offending brother. (2.) Peculiar tenderness is needful, when the soul is already vexed and grieved by sin, lest we drive those to despair whom we should lead to repentance. (3.) Angry reproofs, however great the provocation may be, never can do good.

2. Bear ye one another's burdens, sympathizing with the afflicted, patient with the infirmities of the weak, and desirous to alleviate every grief under which your brethren groan, by your prayers, your counsel, or your substance; and so fulfil the law of Christ, that law of love, which he has taught both by precept and example.

3. In humility, every man should watch over, and examine himself. For if a man think himself to be something extraordinary, and self-sufficient to withstand every temptation, when, in fact, he is nothing, and has no strength of his own which he does not derive from Christ, he deceiveth himself, as he will find, by dire experience, when he comes to be tried. But let every man prove his own work, examining into his principles and practice according to the gospel rule; and then, if he find a happy correspondence between them, shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another; he will exult in the blessed testimony of the Spirit and his own conscience, ascribing to the grace of God what has been wrought in him; and will seek no glory from human applause, nor desire to rake up the faults of others, as a foil to set off his own excellencies; satisfied, if God in Christ Jesus accepts and approves his services. For every man shall bear his own burden, and stand or fall, not according to the opinion he has entertained of himself, or which others form of him, but according to the decision of the eternal Judge. Note; (1.) A high opinion of ourselves ever argues great ignorance of our own hearts. (2.) The testimony of a good conscience is matter of solid satisfaction.

4. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things, contributing liberally and cheerfully to the support of a gospel ministry, for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Be not deceived by your deluding teachers, who would engross your regard, nor by the covetousness of your own hearts, which would divert you from this or any other instance of liberality; God is not to be mocked by vain pretences; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap, according to his work will be his wages. For he that soweth to his flesh, making provision for it to fulfil the lusts thereof, or inordinately anxious to hoard up worldly wealth, to the defrauding of God's cause, or the poor, such a man shall of the flesh reap corruption; his perishing acquisitions will soon be fled, and endless misery succeed: but he that soweth to the Spirit, in every instance of bounty and benevolence, under the Spirit's guidance, laying out himself, his time, his talents, perseveringly, for the glory of Christ, and the good of his people, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting, and, in eternity, receive the blessed recompence of his deeds. And let us not be weary in well-doing, though we may not see all the happy effects that we expected; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Nothing can be lost which is employed in God's service; though, like the seed under the clod, it may seem to be buried for a while, it will surely spring up, and afford a plenteous increase, often in this world, and to the faithful soul always in a better.

5. This is the day for labour; therefore we should diligently improve it. And, as we have opportunity, let us, according to our abilities, do good unto all men, with liberal hearts and open hands, not restraining our charity to any party, or nation; though especially exercising it unto them who are of the household of faith, for whom we are bound, by peculiar ties of love and duty, particularly to interest ourselves, as children of the same family, and heirs of the same inheritance.

2nd, Though in his other Epistles he usually employed an amanuensis, yet, out of his great affection to the church of Galatia, he wrote this long letter on so important a subject with his own hand. And now, being about to conclude, he

1. Marks out to them the true character of their seducing teachers, that they may beware of them. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, and, by their pompous professions and zeal for the ceremonials of religion, would insinuate themselves into your confidence, they constrain you to be circumcised, and urge this upon you as necessary to salvation, when, in fact, their design is not your good, but their own ease and honour; for they do it only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ, from the furious zealots for Judaism, who cannot bear the doctrine of free justification through faith in Christ alone, without circumcision or the works of the law: for, eager as their are for your submitting to this rite, neither they themselves, who are circumcised, keep the law in its moral purity, rigidly as they are attached to the ceremonials of it; but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh, and make a merit of it with their countrymen, that you are their proselytes to circumcision. Note; (1.) They who are ashamed of the cross, are assuredly the enemies of Christ. (2.) Many make their boast of the form of religion, who are the greatest strangers to the power of it.

2. He declares to them his own temper and conduct. What the false teachers were ashamed of, he gloried in: God forbid that I should glory in external privileges, attainments, gifts, duties, or any thing else, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in that atoning sacrifice which he there offered, as my whole dependance for pardon and acceptance with God; by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world; through faith in him I am mortified to all its allurements, honours, and interests, and content to be treated with that contempt and virulent enmity which, for the truth's sake, I suffer from a world that lieth in wickedness. Note; (1.) The cross is the glorious object ever in the Christian's eye; for to the sacrifice there offered he is indebted for all his hopes in time and eternity. (2.) Faith in a crucified Jesus is the victory that overcometh the world, and nothing else can enable us to do it.

3. He lays down the essential point of true Christianity. For in Christ Jesus, with regard to the salvation which is in and from him, neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; the one is no advantage, the other no obstruction: but that which must prove our interest in Christ, and that we are partakers of the grace of God in truth, is our becoming new creatures, having our principles, tempers, and conduct, cast into the mould of the gospel, through the mighty energy of faith, which worketh by love.

4. He offers up his prayers for those who held fast the truth, and gives them encouragement. As many as walk according to this rule, laid down in this Epistle, with regard to justification by faith, and the new creature, without respect to circumcision, or uncircumcision, peace be on them, or peace shall be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God; may they enjoy peace with God, and in their own consciences, and every divine mercy which is purchased by the crucified Jesus for his faithful people, who, whether Jews or Gentiles, are God's spiritual Israel. See the Annotations.

5. He, with authority, enjoins them to give him no farther trouble on this point, but to submit to his apostolic warnings and reproofs. From henceforth let no man trouble me with farther disputes and contentions, or with injurious reproaches, as if I had ever countenanced the doctrine of these Judaizing teachers; the contrary of which is most evident: I have ever opposed them, and severely suffered for it; for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus, the scars of the wounds and stripes endured for his sake, the signs of my conformity to him, and of my adherence to the offensive doctrines of his cross, and particularly of Justification by faith alone. Note; It is a proof that we believe the doctrines we preach, when we dare boldly suffer for them, and can produce the glorious scars received in the service of the Captain of our salvation.

6. He concludes with his usual benediction. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, Amen! The treatment which he had received from them, did not quench his love towards them. Earnest to promote their salvation, he prays that they may experience the inestimably precious love of a dying Redeemer, and partake of all the invaluable privileges which he freely bestows on his faithful saints, even pardon, peace, comfort, holiness, and eternal life.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https: 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

The apostle having thus fully declared the mind of God in the matter controverted betwixt himself and the false apostles, touching the necessity of circumcision; he now makes use of his apostolic authority, and charges his adversaries to give him no farther trouble or disturbance, either by gainsaying his doctrine, or detracting from his authority; because he bare in his body the marks of his sufferings for Christ Jesus; namely, the stripes and wounds which he patiently received for the name of Christ, and his holy religion, 2 Corinthians 11:23.

Learn hence, That whatever hard measure we meet with for the sake of Christ, what wounds and marks we receive for professing faith in him, and persevering in obedience to him, he will own them for his own, and give us leave to look upon them as our own; yea, to call them his own, as our apostle did here: I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https: 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

17.] τοῦ λοιποῦ, as E. V., henceforth: scil., χρόνου. So Herod. iii. 15, ἔνθα τοῦ λοιποῦ διαιτᾶτο:—see numerous other examples in Wetstein. “ τὸ λοιπόν continuum et perpetuum tempus significat,—ut apud Xen. Cyr. viii. 5. 24; τοῦ λοιποῦ autem repetitionem ejusdem facti reliquo tempore indicat, ut apud Aristoph. in Pace, v. 1684 (1050 Bekk.).” Hermann ad Viger., p. 706. But the above example from Herod. hardly seems to bear this out. Rather is a thing happening in time regarded as belonging to the period including it, and the genitive is one of possession. Against this Ellic., viewing the gen. as simply partitive, refers to Donalds. Gram. § 451: who however defines his meaning by saying “partitive, or, what is the same thing, possessive.” This indeed must be the clear and only account of a partitive genitive.

κόπ. παρεχ.] How? Thdrt. (hardly Chrys.), al., understand it of the trouble of writing more epistles— οὐκέτι, φησί, γράψαι τὶ πάλιν ἀνέξομαι· ἀντὶ δὲ γραμμάτων τοὺς μώλωπας δείκνυμι, κ. τῶν αἰκισμῶν τὰ σημεῖα. But it seems much more natural to take it of giving him trouble by rebellious conduct and denying his apostolic authority, seeing that it was stamped with so powerful a seal as he proceeds to state.

ἐγὼ γάρ] for it is I (not the Judaizing teachers) who carry (perhaps as in Galatians 6:5, and ch. Galatians 5:10,—bear, as a burden: but Chrys.’s idea seems more adapted to the ‘feierlich’ character of the sentence: οὐκ εἶπεν, ἔχω, ἀλλά, βαστάζω, ὥσπερ τις ἐπὶ τροπαίοις μέγα φρονῶν ἢ σημείοις βασιλικοῖς: see reff. (2)) in (on) my body the marks of Jesus.

τὰ στίγματα,—the marks branded on slaves to indicate their owners. So Herod. vii. 233, τοὺς πλεῦνας αὐτέων, κελεύσαντος ξ έρξεω, ἔστιζον στίγματα βασιλήϊα: and in another place (ii. 113) is a passage singularly in point: ὅτεῳ ἀνθρώπων ἐπιβάληται στίγματα ἱρά, ἑωϋτὸν διδοὺς τῷ θεῷ, οὐκ ἔξεστι τούτου ἅψασθαι. See many more examples in Wetst. These marks, in St. Paul’s case, were of course the scars of his wounds received in the service of his Master—cf. 2 Corinthians 11:23 ff.

ἰησοῦ is the genitive of possession,—answering to the possessive βασιλήϊα in the extract above. There is no allusion whatever to any similarity between himself and our Lord, ‘the marks which Jesus bore;’ such an allusion would be quite irrelevant: and with its irrelevancy falls a whole fabric of Romanist superstition which has been raised on this verse, and which the fair and learned Windischmann, giving as he does the honest interpretation here, yet attempts to defend in a supplemental note.

Neither can we naturally suppose any comparison intended between these his στίγματα as Christ’s servant, and circumcision: for he is not now on that subject, but on his authority as sealed by Christ: and such a comparison is alien from the majesty of the sentence.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https: 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

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

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

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

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

On βαστάζω, comp. Chrysostom: οὐκ εἶπεν ἔχω, ἀλλὰ βαστάζω, ὥσπερ τις ἐπὶ τροπαίοις ΄έγα φρονῶν.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https: 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Galatians 6:17. τοῦ λοιποῦ, from henceforth) The mode of breaking off the discourse.— κόπουζ, labours [trouble]) Polemic theology, seriously discussed, is a laborious task to godly men; Galatians 6:11, note; and Galatians 4:20. See the second Antisturmius of L. Osiander, p. 87, 107: κόποι, labour and anxiety of mind, Matthew 26:10 [Why trouble ( κόπους παρέχετε) ye the woman?].— μηδεὶς παρεχέτω, let no man cause me) Herein there is ἀποτομία, severity, by virtue of his authority as an apostle.— ἐγὼ γὰρ, for I) Affliction should not be added to the afflicted.— τὰ στίγματα, the marks) from the lash, Acts 16:23. These marks of stripes rendered Paul infamous in the eyes of the world, but in reality conferred on him great dignity, for by these he was known to be a servant of Christ. Marks in the body are opposed to the mark of circumcision, the body of Paul [himself] to the flesh of others, Galatians 6:13 [the false teachers “glorying in the flesh” of their followers when circumcised].— τοῦ κυριοῦ, of the Lord) Colossians 1:24, “of the afflictions of Christ.”— βαστάζω, I bear) so that I consider it an honour to me, Galatians 6:14. Therefore they will be disagreeable to me, who please themselves in any other way.(68)

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https: 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Let no man trouble me, either with questions about circumcision, or with imputations as if I were a friend to their opinion, of the necessity of adding to the doctrine of faith, circumcision and other observances of the law.

For I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus; I sufficiently declare my judgment to the world, suffering for my profession, and preaching the gospel. These sufferings he calls

the marks of the Lord Jesus, because he endured them in testimony to the gospel, as well against the Jews its against the Gentiles.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https: 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture



Galatians 6:17.

The reference in these words is probably to the cruel custom of branding slaves as we do cattle, with initials or signs, to show their ownership. It is true that in old times criminals, and certain classes of Temple servants, and sometimes soldiers, were also so marked, but it is most in accordance with the Apostle’s way of thinking that he here has reference to the first class, and would represent himself as the _slave_ of Jesus Christ, designated as His by the scars and weaknesses which were the consequences of his apostolic zeal. Imprisonment, beating by the Jewish rod, shipwrecks, fastings, weariness, perils, persecutions, all these he sums up in another place as being the tokens by which he was approved as an apostle of Jesus Christ. And here he, no doubt, has the same thought in his mind, that his bodily weakness, which was the direct issue of his apostolic work, showed that he was Christ’s. The painful infirmity under which, as we learn, he was more especially suffering, about the time of writing this letter, may also have been in his mind.

All through this Epistle he has been thundering and lightning against the disputers of this apostolic authority. And now at last he softens, and as it were, bares his thin arm, his scarred bosom, and bids these contumacious Galatians look upon them, and learn that he has a right to speak as the representative and messenger of the Lord Jesus.

So we have here two or three points, I think, worth considering. First, think for a moment of the slave of Christ; then of the brands which mark the ownership; then of the glory in the servitude and the sign; and then of the immunity from human disturbances which that service gives. ‘From henceforth let no man trouble me. I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.’

I. First, then, a word or two about that conception of the slave of Christ.

It is a pity that our Bible has not rendered the title which Paul ever gives himself at the beginning of his letters, by that simple word ‘slave,’ instead of the feebler one, ‘servant.’ For what he means when he calls himself the ‘servant of Jesus Christ’ is not that he bore to Christ the kind of relation which servants among us bear to those who have hired and paid them, and to whom they have come under obligations of their own will which they can terminate at any moment by their own caprice; but that he was in the roughest and simplest sense of the word, Christ’s slave.

What lies in that metaphor? Well, it is the most uncompromising assertion of the most absolute authority on the one hand, and claim of unconditional submission and subjection on the other.

The slave belonged to his master; the master could do exactly as he liked with him. If he killed him nobody had anything to say. He could set him to any task; he could do what he liked with any little possession or property that the slave seemed to have. He could break all his relationships, and separate him from wife and kindred.

All that is atrocious and blasphemous when it is applied to the relations between man and man, but it is a blessed and magnificent truth when it is applied to the relations between a man and Christ. For this Lord has absolute authority over us, and He can do what He likes with everything that belongs to us; and we, and our duties, and our circumstances, and our relationships, are all in His hands, and the one thing that we have to render to Him is utter, absolute, unquestioning, unhesitating, unintermittent and unreserved obedience and submission. That which is abject degradation when it is rendered to a man, that which is blasphemous presumption when it is required by a man, that which is impossible, in its deepest reality, as between man and man, is possible, is blessed, is joyful and strong when it is required by, and rendered to, Jesus Christ. We are His slaves if we have any living relationship to Him at all. Where, then, in the Christian life, is there a place for self-will; where a place for self-indulgence; where for murmuring or reluctance; where for the assertion of any rights of my own as against that Master? We owe absolute obedience and submission to Jesus Christ.

And what does the metaphor carry as to the basis on which this authority rests? How did men acquire slaves? Chiefly by purchase. The abominations of the slave market are a blessed metaphor for the deep realities of the Christian life. Christ has bought you for His own. The only thing that gives a human soul the right to have any true authority over another human soul is that it shall have yielded itself to the soul whom it would control. We must first of all give ourselves away before we have the right to possess, and the measure in which we give ourselves to another is the measure in which we possess another. And so Christ our Lord, according to the deep words of one of Paul’s letters, ‘gives Himself for us, that He might purchase unto Himself a people for His possession.’ ‘Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price.’

Therefore the absolute authority, and unconditional surrender and submission which are the very essence of the Christian life, at bottom are but the corresponding and twofold effects of one thing, and that is love. For there is no possession of man by man except that which is based on love. And there is no submission of man to man worth calling so except that which is also based therein.

‘Thou hearts alone wouldst move; Thou only hearts dost love.’

The relation in both its parts, on the side of the Master and on the side of the captive bondsman, is the direct result and manifestation of that love which knits them together.

Therefore the Christian slavery, with its abject submission, with its utter surrender and suppression of mine own will, with its complete yielding up of self to the control of Jesus, who died for me; because it is based upon His surrender of Himself to me, and in its inmost essence it is the operation of love, is therefore co-existent with the noblest freedom.

This great Epistle to the Galatians is the trumpet call and clarion proclamation of Christian liberty. The breath of freedom blows inspiringly through it all. The very spirit of the letter is gathered up in one of its verses, ‘I have been called unto liberty,’ and in its great exhortation, ‘Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free.’ It is then sufficiently remarkable and profoundly significant that in this very letter, which thus is the protest of the free Christian consciousness against all limitations and outward restrictions, there should be this most emphatic declaration that the liberty of the Christian is slavery and the slavery of the Christian is freedom. He is free whose will coincides with his outward law. He is free who delights to do what he must do. He is free whose rule is love, and whose Master is Incarnate Love. ‘If the Son make you free, ye shall be free indeed.’ ‘O Lord, truly I am Thy servant, Thou hast loosed my bands.’ ‘I bear in my body’ the charter of my liberty, for I bear in my body the ‘brand of the Lord Jesus.’

II. And so now a word in the next place about these marks of ownership.

As I have said, the Apostle evidently means thereby distinctly the bodily weaknesses, and possibly diseases, which were the direct consequences of his own apostolic faithfulness and zeal. He considered that he proved himself to be a minister of God by his stripes, imprisonments, fastings, by all the pains and sufferings and their permanent consequences in an enfeebled constitution, which he bore because he had preached the Cross of Christ. He knew that these things were the result of his faithful ministry. He believed that they had been sent by no blundering, blind fate; by no mere secondary causes; but by his Master Himself, whose hand had held the iron that branded into the hissing flesh the marks of His ownership. He felt that by means of these he had been drawn nearer to his Master, and the ownership had been made more perfect. And so in a rapture of contempt of pain, this heroic soul looks upon even bodily weakness and suffering as being the signs that he belonged to Christ, and the means of that possession being made more perfect.

Now, what is all that to us Christian people who have no persecutions to endure, and none of whom I am afraid have ever worked hard enough for Christ to have damaged our health by it? Is there anything in this text that may be of general application to us all? Yes! I think so. Every Christian man or woman ought to bear, in his or her body, in a plain, literal sense, the tokens that he or she belongs to Jesus Christ. You ask me how? ‘If thy foot or thine hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee.’

There are things in your physical nature that you have to suppress; that you have always to regulate and coerce; that you have sometimes entirely to cast away and to do without, if you mean to be Jesus Christ’s at all. The old law of self-denial, of subduing the animal nature, its passions, appetites, desires, is as true and as needful to-day as it ever was; and for us all it is essential to the loftiness and purity of our Christian life that our animal nature and our fleshly constitution should be well kept down under heel and subdued. As Paul himself said in another place, ‘I bring under my body, and I keep it in subjection, lest by any means I should myself, having proclaimed to others the laws of the contest, be rejected from the prize.’ Oh, you Christian men and women! if you are not living a life of self-denial, if you are not crucifying the flesh, with its affections and lusts, if you are not bearing ‘about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Christ may be manifested in your mortal body,’ what tokens are there that you are Christ’s slaves at all?

Then, besides this, we may expand the thought even further, and say that, in a very real sense, all the pains and sorrows and disappointments and afflictions that mainly touch our mortal part should be taken by us as, and made by us to be, the tokens that we belong to the Master.

But it is not only in limitations and restrictions and self-denials and pains that Christ’s ownership of us ought to be manifested in our daily lives, and so by means of our mortal bodies, but if there be in our hearts a deep indwelling possession of the grace and sweetness of Christ, it will make itself visible, ay! even in our faces, and ‘beauty born of’ our communion with Him ‘shall pass into’ and glorify even rugged and care-lined countenances. There may be, and there ought to be, in all Christian people, manifestly visible the tokens of the indwelling serenity of the indwelling Christ. And it should not be left to some moment of rapture at the end of life, for men to look upon us, to behold our faces, ‘as it had been the face of an angel,’ but by our daily walk, by our countenances full of a removed tranquillity, and a joy that rises from within, men ought to take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus, and it should be the truth--I bear in my body the tokens of His possession.

III. Now, once more notice the glorying in the slavery and its signs.

‘I bear,’ says Paul; and he uses, as many of you may know, a somewhat remarkable word, which does not express mere bearing in the sense of toleration and patient endurance, although that is much; nor mere bearing in the sense of carrying, but implies bearing with a certain triumph as men would do who, coming back victorious from conflict, and being received into the city, were proud to show their scars, the honourable signs of their courage and constancy. So, with a triumph that is legitimate, the Apostle solemnly and proudly bears before men the marks of the Lord Jesus. Just as he says in another place:--’Thanks be unto God, which always leadeth us about in triumph in Jesus Christ,’ He was proud of being dragged at the conqueror’s chariot wheels, chained to them by the cords of love; and so he was proud of being the slave of Christ.

It is a degradation to a man to yield abject submission, unconditional service to another man. It is the highest honour of our natures so to bow before that dear Lord. To prostrate ourselves to Him is to lift ourselves high in the scale of being. The King’s servant is every other person’s master. And he that feels that he is Christ’s, may well be, not proud but conscious, of the dignity of belonging to such a Lord. The monarch’s livery is a sign of honour. In our old Saxon kingdom the king’s menials were the first nobles. So it is with us. The aristocracy of humanity are the slaves of Jesus Christ.

And let us be proud of the marks of the branding iron, whether they come in the shape of sorrows and pains, or otherwise. It is well that we should have to carry these. It is blessed, and a special mark of the Master’s favour that He should think it worth His while to mark us as His own, by any sorrow or by any pain. Howsoever hot may be the iron, and howsoever deeply it may be pressed by His firm, steady, gentle hand upon the quivering flesh and the shrinking heart, let us be thankful if He, even by it, impresses on us the manifest tokens of ownership. Oh, brethren! if we could come to look upon sorrows and losses with this clear recognition of their source, meaning and purpose, they change their nature, the paradox is fulfilled that we do ‘gather grapes of thorns and figs of thistles.’ ‘I bear in my body,’ with a solemn triumph and patient hope, ‘the marks of the Lord Jesus.’

IV. And now, lastly, the immunity from any disturbance which men can bring, which these marks, and the servitude they express, secure.

‘From henceforth let no man trouble me.’ Paul claims that his apostolic authority, having been established by the fact of his sufferings for Christ, should give him a sacredness in their eyes; that henceforth there should be no rebellion against his teaching and his word. We may expand the thought to apply more to ourselves, and say that, in the measure in which we belong to Christ, and hear the marks of His possession of us, in that measure are we free from the disturbance of earthly influences and of human voices; and from all the other sources of care and trouble, of perturbation and annoyance, which harass and vex other men’s spirits. ‘Ye are bought with a price,’ says Paul elsewhere. ‘Be not the servants of men.’ Christ is your Master; do not let men trouble you. Take your orders from Him; let men rave as they like. Be content to be approved by Him; let men think of you as they please. The Master’s smile is life, the Master’s frown is death to the slave; what matters it what other people may say? ‘He that judgeth me is the Lord.’ So keep yourselves above the cackle of ‘public opinion’; do not let your creed be crammed down your throats even by a consensus of however venerable and grave human teachers. Take your directions from your Master, and pay no heed to other voices if they would command. Live to please Him, and do not care what other people think. You are Christ’s servant; ‘let no man trouble’ you.

And so it should be about all the distractions and petty annoyances that disturb human life and harass our hearts. A very little breath of wind will ruffle all the surface of a shallow pond, though it would sweep across the deep sea and produce no effect. Deepen your natures by close union with Christ, and absolute submission to Him, and there will be a great calm in them, and cares and sorrows, and all the external sources of anxiety, far away, down there beneath your feet, will ‘show scarce so gross as beetles,’ whilst you stand upon the high cliff and look down upon them all. ‘From henceforth no man shall trouble me.’ ‘I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.’

My brother! Whose marks do you bear? There are only two masters. If an eye that could see things as they are, were to go through this congregation, whose initials would it discern in your faces? There are some of us, I have no doubt, who in a very horrid sense bear in our bodies the marks of the idol that we worship. Men who have ruined their health by dissipation and animal sensualism--are there any of them here this morning? Are there none of us whose faces, whose trembling hands, whose diseased frames, are the tokens that they belong to the flesh and the world and the devil? Whose do _you_ bear?

Oh! when one looks at all the faces that pass one upon the street--this all drawn with avarice and earthly-mindedness; that all bloated with self-indulgence and loose living--when one sees the mean faces, the passionate faces, the cruel faces, the vindictive faces, the lustful faces, the worldly faces, one sees how many of us bear in our bodies the marks of _another_ lord. They have no rest day nor night who worship the beast; and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

I pray you, yield yourselves to your true Lord, so on earth you may bear the beginnings of the likeness that stamps you His, and hereafter, as one of His happy slaves, shall do priestly service at His throne and see His face, and His name shall be in your foreheads.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https:

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Let no man trouble me; with such opposition as he had received from false teachers.

The marks of the Lord Jesus; scars of the wounds he had received in the cause of Christ, on account of his attachment to him and his zeal in serving him. Those who have been created in Christ Jesus unto good works, and are living not unto themselves but unto him, have the substance of true religion, and will not be disposed to contend about the shadow. They will earnestly desire and fervently pray that grace, mercy, and peace may be multiplied to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ, and walk according to the rules of his word.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Family Bible New Testament". https: American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges


A curious addition, illustrative of the strength of the emotion under which the Apostle wrote this Epistle. It is hardly a “note of denunciation,” but is to show that his own acceptance of Jesus as his Lord and Master is so thorough that nothing can affect his determination to be His. But he puts this into an imperative form, cf. 1 Timothy 4:12. It contains also a note of confidence in the ultimate triumph of his own efforts, and, by implication, of his teaching.

τοῦ λοιποῦ, “in future.” Madvig, § 66 [276], Rem. 1, compares Thuc. IV. 98 οὐ βλάψομεν τοῦ λοιποῦ ἓκοντες τὸ ἱερόν. Compare νυκτὁς, τῆς αὐτῆς ἡμέρας. τὸ λοιπόν would, as it seems, mean “continuously during the future” (Mark 14:41; 1 Corinthians 7:29; Hebrews 10:13) or only “finally,” 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Philippians 3:1. Zahn rather strangely interprets it not of time at all, but as referring to Galatians 6:16 : “Let no one of the rest of Israel,” cf. Acts 5:13. He quotes in confirmation Marcion’s text, τῶν δὲ ἄλλων εἰκῆ κόπονς μοι μηδεὶς παρεχέσθω, who, however, probably omitted καὶ ἐπὶ τ. . τ. θ.

κόπους (cf. κοπιάω, Galatians 4:11) μοι μηδεὶς παρεχέτω. For κόπους παρέχειν see Matthew 26:10 (|| Mark 14:6) and especially Luke 11:7, and in the singular Luke 18:5[172]. Cf. πόνον παρέχειν. Plat. Rep. VII. 526 c; Herod. I. 177. Also Sirach 29:4, א A. Cf. ἀγῶνα παρέχειν, Isaiah 7:13. Deissmann (Bible Studies, p. 354) quotes an incantation from the papyri, ἐάν μοι ὁ δεῖνα κόπους παράσχῃ. So Hermas Vis. III. 3, 2 μηκέτι μοι κόπους πάρεχε περὶ ἀποκαλύψεως

ἑγὼ γὰρ. Still emphatic. See also below.[173]

[173] Dr J. H. Moulton suggests that the scars on St Paul were to Roman officials marks of identification, in accordance with descriptions found in the papyri. Expository Times, March, 1910, p. 283.

τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ. στίγμα is found elsewhere in the Greek Bible only in Song of Solomon 1:11, where the phrase “with studs (lit. points) of silver” is translated μετὰ στιγμάτων τοῦ ἀργυρίου. Cf. a Greek Hexaplaric version of Judges 5:30. St Paul means that his body hears traces of suffering endured for Christ, but it is very uncertain in what way he regards them: (a) as brands set on a slave by his master. The marks are proofs that he belongs to Christ, and that Christ sets him all his tasks and is finally responsible, and will at last make him succeed. He is completely identified with his Master’s interests. For this custom of branding see the Code of Khammurabi, §§ 226, 227, and quotations in Wetstein. Ramsay (Gal. p. 472) says that such marks may still be seen in Turkey as a relic of the time before slavery was abolished there. See also Driver on Exodus 13:9.

(b) Another explanation, on the whole more probable, but not necessarily excluding the thought of slavery, is that of sacred signs set on things or persons under the protection of a god. See reff. in Wetstein and also 3 Maccabees 2:29, in a decree against the Jews, τοὺς δὲ ἀπογραφομένους χαράσσεσθαι, καὶ διὰ πυρὸς εἰς τὸ σῶμα παρασήμῳ Διονύσῳ κισσοθύλλῳ. This suggests consecration and therefore immunity from all ordinary claims and molestation. Deissmann (Bible Studies, p. 360 note) compares the emphatic ἐγώ to the equally emphatic anok of some incantations. He also thinks St Paul regards his marks as amulets (see below).

τοῦ Ἰησοῦ. Not the official (cf. even Galatians 6:18) but the personal name, perhaps to recall both the sufferings that Jesus Himself bore and the triumphant issue of them. There may thus even be some allusion to the marks recorded in John 20:27. The thought is probably that of 2 Corinthians 4:10 (see also Colossians 1:24 note on τῶν θλίψεων τοῦ Χριστοῦ), that St Paul’s sufferings are a reproduction of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus, in toil etc., so far as in his personal life these can be reproduced, and so reproduced they mark him as belonging to Jesus primarily as Master, perhaps also as the Source of his life. Jerome recalling the sufferings mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:23 sqq. contrasts these with the mark of circumcision.

ἐν τῷ σώματί μου. He will not use σάρξ with its un-Christlike connotation, Galatians 6:12-13.

βαστάζω,, Galatians 6:2. Here with some connotation of solemnity in bearing trophies or royal standards (see Chrysostom). The word is used in an incantation quoted by Deissmann of carrying an amulet (Bible Studies, p. 358). Cf. περιφέροντες in 2 Corinthians 4:10.

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"Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https: 1896.

John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians

Galatians 6:17. τοῦ λοιποῦ, κόπους μοι μηδεὶς παρεχέτω—“Henceforth let no one cause troubles to me.” The phrase τοῦ λοιποῦ occurs only here, and is simply the genitive of time, and not the same as λοιπόν or τὸ λοιπόν, which also occurs. It means at any time in the future- τὸ λοιπόν signifying simply “during the future.” Hermann, ad Viger. p. 706. Let no one cause me troubles or annoyance, doubting his apostolical authority, neutralizing his preaching or misrepresenting its import, and obliging him to write again in so large characters with his own hand. His apostolical authority he had asserted in full, striking, and unqualified terms in the first chapter; and he has it at this point also especially in view, as he adds-

᾿εγὼ γὰρ τὰ στίγματα τοῦ ᾿ιησοῦ ἐν τῷ σώματί μου βαστάζω—“for I bear in my body the marks of Jesus.” The Received Text inserts κυρίου before ᾿ιησοῦ on authority which, though good, is not, owing to other variations, free from suspicion. ᾿εγώ emphatic, “it is I who,” not ἔχω, but βαστάζω, “not I have, but I carry them” (Chrysostom). The στίγματα are the brands printed upon slaves-and sometimes on captives and soldiers-burnt into them, to indicate their owners. Herod. 7.233; Revelation 7:3; Revelation 13:16; Revelation 14:1; Revelation 14:9; Revelation 14:11; Vegetius, De Re Militari, 2.5; Spencer, De Leg. Heb 20:1; Deyling, Observat. Sacr. vol. iii. p. 423; Wetstein in loc. Slaves attached to temples were tattooed, bore brands upon them. Herod. 2.113; Lucian, De Dea Syr. § 59. This practice in the worship of Cybele might be common in Galatia, though there is little probability that the apostle is referring to it. The genitive ᾿ιησοῦ is that of possession, not that of author (Gomar, Rückert). He bore on his body the brands of Christ his Master. Indelible marks on his person showed that he belonged to Jesus as His servant. The meaning is not, such marks as Jesus Himself bore (Morus, Borger). Webster and Wilkinson admit the possibility of an allusion to John 20:25. But such an idea is foreign to the simple statement. The marks of the crucifixion are said to have been borne by St. Francis; and his biographer Bonaventura addresses him in words similar to those of this verse. The wounds are said to have been reproduced in other persons. Windischmann renders the words correctly, and says that the stigmatization of St. Francis has no connection with the real meaning of this clause, though he proceeds to defend the possibility and value of such a phenomenon. Bisping rejects also the idea that the apostle's stigmata were in any way connected with the “five wounds,” especially as tradition is silent about it. The reader may see a long Catholic note on St. Francis in the commentary of a-Lapide, and as long a Protestant note in that of Crocius. Nor is the meaning, marks borne on account of Christ (Grotius, Flatt, Rosenmüller). The marks are ἐν τῷ σώματι. His body bore such marks of suffering that no one could mistake his owner. 2 Corinthians 11:23. Any allusion to circumcision as one kind of στίγμα is not to be thought of. The warning, then, is not, “Let no man henceforward trouble me, for I have enough to bear already”-the view of Bengel and Winer; but, let no man impugn or doubt my authority,-the στίγματα of Jesus which I carry are the seal of my apostleship, the visible vouchers of my connection with Jesus. The Judaists insisted on circumcision that they might avoid persecution, but he had suffered many things: the stoning must have disfigured him, the scourge must have left its weals on his back-cicatrices plagarum (Ambros.),-and the fetter its scars on his limbs. The idea of Chrysostom, that he prided himself in those marks as a “trophy and regal ensign,” is not suggested by the solemn mandate of the previous clause. Nor can the notion of Chandler be at all accepted, that the words conveyed a threatening of spiritual punishment to his enemies, as though he had said, “Be it at their peril to give me any further trouble or disturbance on this account.”

Then comes the parting benediction-

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Eadie, John. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. https:

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘From henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear branded on my body the marks (stigmata) of Jesus.’

He has finished what he wanted to say. Let them make their choice. They must choose either those who are branded with the mark of circumcision, or he who has been crucified with Christ and is branded with the marks of Jesus. If they choose circumcision they should have nothing more to do with him, for they will bear the brand that has cut them off from Christ.

It may well be that Paul is here not thinking just of metaphorical marks, but of physical marks. He had suffered much for Christ, enduring beatings and other ill-treatment, and he may well have seen the marks so obtained as a faint reflection and reminder of the marks that Jesus bore. He had shared in Christ’s crucifixion (Colossians 1:24). And there may here be the suggestion that the marks he bore were greater far, and more significant, than the mark of circumcision, for they pointed to the crucified Christ and the scandal of the cross.

Alternately the thought may be that the marks he bore marked him off as a devotee of Jesus Christ, and that therefore they must beware how they treated him. Herodotus wrote, ‘If any man receives holy stigmata (marks), giving himself to a god, it is not lawful to touch him.’ Thus Paul may be declaring his invulnerability to all that they could do.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https: 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

17. From henceforth—From the time-point of the laying down once for all of this unmovable canon.

Trouble me—I move above all molestation and obstacles in my apostolic course; for the trueness of my adherence to Christ is placed above question by my scars in his service.

Marksστιγματα, stigmata, derived from στιζω, to prick, to brand; hence a brand or mark of ownership or disgrace, (as our English word stigma,) either pricked in or burnt upon the body of man or beast. Two kinds of stigmata are, 1. Upon slaves, more usually those who had tried to escape, and then the marks were not only a security to the owner but a disgrace to the slave. 2. Temple slaves, or persons dedicated to some duty, were branded upon hand or neck, and then they were held too sacred to be touched. We might suppose that it was to this last class that the apostle alludes, and proclaims that his scars for Christ are his brands of dedication and ownership, and that no annoying hand should touch him.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Galatians 6:17. From henceforth let no man trouble me. Directed against the Judaizing troublers.

For I bear in my body the marks of Jesus. ‘Marks’ (stigmata) were usually letters burnt upon the arm or forehead of slaves, soldiers, criminals, also devotees of a divinity, to indicate the master, the captain, the crime, the divinity. (Comp. Revelation 7:3; Revelation 13:16). Paul means the wounds and scars of persecution and suffering which he endured in the service of his Master, and which proved him to be a faithful bondman of Christ. (Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:23-25.) They were his credentials and his trophies. ‘Of Jesus,’ as the owner, the master (the genitive of possession). Much Romish superstition has been built upon the term’ stigmata,’ as signifying the prints of Christ’s wounds, as in the case of St. Francis of Assist.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https: 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Galatians 6:17. τοῦ λοιποῦ … In deprecating any renewal of the present agitation Paul treats with contempt the prospect of serious danger from it. It had disturbed his peace and the peace of the Church, and must be got rid of, but he describes it as a wearisome annoyance rather than a real peril.— στίγματα. These were indelible marks branded on the flesh. They might be self-inflicted: instances are recorded of soldiers branding themselves with the name of their general in token of their absolute devotion to his cause. But they were as a rule inflicted for a badge of lifelong service; the figure in the text is borrowed from the latter, which were either penal or sacred. The penal were stamped on malefactors, runaway slaves, sometimes on captives; but it is clear from the context that the author has in mind the στίγματα ἱρά mentioned by Herodotus in ii., 113, with which the Galatians also were familiar in Phrygian temples. A class of slaves ( ἱερόδουλοι) attached for life to the service of a temple were branded with the name of the deity. Paul likens himself to these in respect of his lifelong dedication to the name of Jesus, and of the marks imprinted on his body, by which he was sealed for a servant of Jesus in perpetuity. These were doubtless the scars left by Jewish scourging, by the stones of Lystra and the Roman rods at Philippi, all tokens of faithful service to his Master in which he gloried.

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https: 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus in my body, by the stripes and wounds I have received for preaching the gospel. (Witham) --- Formerly it was not unusual to stamp certain characters on the bodies of soldiers, fugitives, and on domestics, purposely to distinguish them.

There are three principal parts in this epistle. The first is the history of the vocation of St. Paul, chap. i. and ii.; the second is on justification and the abrogation of the law; the third is an exhortation to persevere in Christian liberty, to avoid its abuse, and to perform the various duties of a Christian.


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https: 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

no man = no one. Greek. medeis.

marks. Greek. stigma. Only here. Slaves were branded. So Paul, as the slave of the Lord, bore His marks. The initials of Mithra were branded, as Hindus mark themselves with the trident of Vishnu today. Compare Note on 2 Chronicles 36:8.

Lord. The texts omit.

Jesus. App-98.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https: 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

Let no man trouble me - by opposing, through legalism or licentiousness, my apostolic authority, seeing it is stamped by a sure seal-namely, "I (in contrast to the Judaizing teacher) bear" [ bastazoo (Greek #941), Acts 9:15; as a badge of honour from the King of kings].

The marks - properly, marks branded on slaves to indicate their owners. So Paul's scars, received for Christ, indicate to whom he belongs, and in whose free service he is (2 Corinthians 11:23-25). The Judaizing teachers gloried in the circumcision-mark in the flesh of their followers; Paul glories in the marks of suffering for Christ on his own body (cf. Galatians 6:14; Colossians 1:24).

The Lord. So 'Aleph (') Delta G. Omitted in A B C.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https: 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

To conclude. "Let no one give me any more trouble by saying I am not a true apostle. Like a slave who has been branded, I have on my body the scars which show I belong to Christ. These are much better proofs that I am really Christ's servant, than the marks of circumcision!"

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "The Bible Study New Testament". https: College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(17) The Apostle has done. He will not dally with these vexatious attacks upon himself and his authority any more. He dismisses them with an appeal which ought to be final. He points to the scars of wounds which he had received in his Master’s service. The branding-irons of Christ, he says, have imprinted these upon me. They show that I, like the slaves of a heathen temple, am devoted and consecrated to His service. They are my credentials, and I shall produce no others. My assailants must leave me in peace.

The marks.—The stigmata, or marks inflicted with branding-irons, such as those which show that a slave is attached to a particular temple or to the service of some particular deity. Branding was applied in some other cases, but especially to temple slaves. Those with which the Galatians were most familiar would be engaged in the worship of Cybele.

There does not seem to be evidence to connect this passage directly with the incident of the “stigmata” in the life of St. Francis of Assisi, but it would seem very probable that the use of the word, which was left untranslated in the Latin versions, suggested, whether by a more or by a less distant association, the idea which took so strong a hold upon his mind that in a moment of extreme spiritual tension the actual marks of the Passion seemed to imprint themselves upon his body.

Of the Lord Jesus.—The true text is simply, “of Jesus.”

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https: 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
1:7; 5:12; Joshua 7:25; Acts 15:24; Hebrews 12:15
I bear
5:11; 2 Corinthians 1:5; 4:10; 11:23-25; Colossians 1:24

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Galatians 6:17. Final personal message. Let no one dare henceforth to trouble Christ's slave, branded (by persecutions; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:23 ff.) as his master's property.

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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https: 1919.

From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

This seems to be a declaration that he has done his best with them and that he is finished trying to work with the situation - accept my word or reject it but don"t bother me with it anymore. I know some pastors that know just how he felt at this point. They, like Paul had the marks of the Lord in their bodies.

I was asked to a missions conference in California and on the first night I found that the pastor had just resigned from his position. I talked with him about it for awhile and I asked him if he was glad to be leaving or if he had mixed feelings. He smiled and said that he was very glad to be moving on and that the ministry was finished. He explained that he had struggled with the people for years, trying to get them to mature in the Lord, but that little had been accomplished over the years.

He went on to tell me of some of the trouble he had with his deacons. Some had just been hateful to him, I won"t go into detail, but hateful seems a very impotent word. One of them could deserve the terms very nasty.

You can do so much with a people before you have done all that you can - then it is time to move on to other possibilities.

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Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.

Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on Galatians 6:17". "Stanley Derickson - Notes on Selected Books". https:

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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