Help each other
- 6:1 Dear family, if you catch someone doing something wrong, here’s what you should do. Those of you in a good place spiritually should gently guide them back onto the right path. Be careful, though. Don’t get caught in the same trap.
- 6:2 Don’t let folks carry their burden alone. Help each other out. If you do this, you’ll be honoring the Messiah’s law.
- 6:3 If some folks think they’re a big deal when there’s nothing big about them, they’re kidding themselves.1
- 6:4 How’s this for an idea? Instead of comparing yourself to someone else, take a good look at the work you’ve done. If you’re going to brag about something, brag about that and not about how it compares to what someone else has done.
- 6:5 Each person should look at what they alone have done.2
- 6:6 I want you to know this. Everyone who is taught God’s word must pay their share of support to the instructor.3
Plant seeds to feed the Spirit
- 6:7 Don’t kid yourself. No one’s going to get away with dissing God.4 Whatever seeds you plant with your words and actions, that’s the crop you’ll harvest.5
- 6:8 If you plant seeds intending to feed your human frailties,6 those frailties will destroy you. But if you plant seeds to feed the Spirit, the Spirit will save you—into a life that never ends.
- 6:9 So don’t get tired of doing the right thing. When the time comes, we’ll harvest the crop—if we don’t give up.
- 6:10 So, whenever we get the chance, we should do something good for someone—especially for those in our faith family.
Don’t cut here
- 6:11 Okay, take a look at these big letters. I’m writing them with my own hand.
- 6:12 The people trying to bully you into getting circumcised are doing it to suit themselves. They don’t want to get persecuted for teaching that we’re saved for one reason only: because of what Jesus did on the cross.
- 6:13 Those folks are circumcised. They obey that law. But they don’t obey the others. They want you to get circumcised so they can brag about converting you.
- 6:14 May I never brag about anything except the cross of our leader, Jesus the Messiah. Because of what he did on the cross, the world is crucified—dead to me. And I’m dead to the world.
- 6:15 Circumcised. Uncircumcised. It doesn’t matter which. Here’s what matters: we’re a new creation.7
- 6:16 Here’s what I wish for everyone who lives by that rule: peace and mercy. You are the true Israel—the authentic people of God.
- 6:17 So lay off me. I don’t want any more trouble. I already carry enough scars on my body for the sake of Jesus.
- 6:18 Dear family, may the kindness8 of our leader, Jesus the Messiah, be with you in your spirit. Absolutely.9
Some Bible experts say Paul is quoting a saying that was well-known in Greek and Roman times. Paul’s point, apparently, is that people who think they’re better than others tend to be unwilling to help out others in need.
More literally, “For everyone carries their own burden.” That’s the opposite of what Paul said in 6:2. Some Bible experts say 6:5 is another well-known Greek and Roman saying that Paul adapts, out of context, to support what he just said in 6:4.
Paul, however, refused to accept financial support from most churches (1 Corinthians 9:12). He did accept support from the church at Philippi (Philippians 4:16).
Literally, “God is not mocked.”
This was a famous agricultural proverb more literally translated, “Whatever a person sows, that’s what he’ll reap.” Jesus used the proverb, too: Luke 19:22.
The Greek word is sarx, often translated “flesh.” It can also mean “human nature,” “carnal,” “materialistic.”
Some Bible experts say that Paul’s implication is that God makes people new again—because of what Jesus did on the cross and what the Spirit does within. Paul expects that new creations with a fresh start will act like it, and honor God (6:16).
Often translated “grace.”
Paul offers some advice that, from time to time, we might like to throw in someone’s face. What do you think about what he says: “How’s this for an idea? Instead of comparing yourself to someone else, take a good look at the work you’ve done. If you’re going to brag about something, brag about that and not about how it compares to what someone else has done” (6:4).
There are some fine one-liners in this chapter. See if your favorite is on this list. If not, what’s your pleasure?
- “Some folks think they’re a big deal when there’s nothing big about them” (6:3).
- “Whatever seeds you plant with your words and actions, that’s the crop you’ll harvest” (6:7).
- “Because of what he [Jesus] did on the cross, the world is crucified—dead to me. And I’m dead to the world” (6:14).
- “So lay off me. I don’t want any more trouble. I already carry enough scars on my body for the sake of Jesus” (6:17).
Paul says “If you plant seeds intending to feed your human frailties, those frailties will destroy you” (6:8). What do you think he had in mind, and how might it translate today?
It might be a bit tough to read this chapter without thinking that Paul seems a bit spastic—in several places. In one breath he’s saying “Lay off me” (6:17). In the next: “Dear family, may the kindness…” (6:18). Why do you think his writing might seem so jerky?
LIFE APPLICATION. Paul says that when someone is in spiritual trouble we should, “gently guide them back onto the right path. Be careful, though. Don’t get caught in the same trap” (6:1). What situations are especially prone to trip up the person intending to help?
LIFE APPLICATION. Paul says “Don’t let folks carry their burden alone. Help each other out. If you do this, you’ll be honoring the Messiah’s law” (6:2). When have you seen someone help another carry a heavy burden?
LIFE APPLICATION. This letter to the Galatians perhaps isn’t something that many can relate to today. We don’t have preachers and priests giving us the hard sell on circumcision. It’s not an issue today. What is the Galatians takeaway? What do you think Christians today get out of reading the letter?