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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Galatians 6

 

 

Verse 1

If a man be overtaken (εαν και προλημπτηι αντρωποςean kai prolēmphthēi anthrōpos). Condition of third class, first aorist passive subjunctive of προλαμβανωprolambanō old verb to take beforehand, to surprise, to detect.

Trespass (παραπτωματιparaptōmati). Literally, a falling aside, a slip or lapse in the papyri rather than a wilful sin. In Polybius and Diodorus. Koiné{[28928]}š word.

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

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

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

Lest thou also be tempted (αρτιοςmē kai su peirasthēis). Negative purpose with first aorist passive subjunctive. Spiritual experts (preachers in particular) need this caution. Satan loves a shining mark.


Verse 2

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

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


Verse 3

Something when he is nothing (τι μηδεν ωνti mēden ōn). Thinks he is a big number being nothing at all (neuter singular pronouns). He is really zero.

He deceiveth himself (πρεναπαται εαυτονphrenapatāi heauton). Late compound word (πρηνphrēn mind, απαταωapataō lead astray), leads his own mind astray. Here for first time. Afterwards in Galen, ecclesiastical and Byzantine writers. He deceives no one else.


Verse 5

Each shall bear his own burden (το ιδιον πορτιον βαστασειto idion phortion bastasei). ΠορτιονPhortion is old word for ship‘s cargo (Acts 27:10). Christ calls his πορτιονphortion light, though he terms those of the Pharisees heavy (Matthew 23:4), meant for other people. The terms are thus not always kept distinct, though Paul does make a distinction here from the βαρηbarē in Galatians 6:2.


Verse 6

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


Verse 7

Be not deceived (μη πλαναστεmē planāsthe). Present passive imperative with μηmē “stop being led astray” (πλαναωplanaō common verb to wander, to lead astray as in Matthew 24:4.).

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

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

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

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


Verse 8

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

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


Verse 9

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

In due season (μη εκλυομενοιkairōi idiōi). Locative case, “at its proper season” (harvest time). Cf. 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Timothy 6:15 (plural).

If we faint not (μηmē ekluomenoi). Present passive participle (conditional) with εκλυωmē Cf. ενκακωμενekluō old verb to loosen out. Literally, “not loosened out,” relaxed, exhausted as a result of giving in to evil (enkakōmen).


Verse 10

As we have opportunity (ως καιρον εχωμενhōs kairon echōmen). Indefinite comparative clause (present subjunctive without ανan). “As we have occasion at any time.”

Let us work that which is good (εργαζωμετα το αγατονergazōmetha to agathon). Volitive present middle subjunctive of εργαζομαιergazomai “Let us keep on working the good deed.”

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


Verse 11

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

I have written (εγραπσαegrapsa). Epistolary aorist.

With mine own hand (τηι εμηι χειριtēi emēi cheiri). Instrumental case as in 1 Corinthians 16:21.


Verse 12

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

They compel (τωι σταυρωι του Χριστουanagkazousin). Conative present active indicative, “they try to compel.”

For the cross of Christ (tōi staurōi tou Christou). Instrumental case (causal use, Robertson, Grammar, p. 532). Cf. 2 Corinthians 2:13. “For professing the cross of Christ” (Lightfoot).


Verse 13

They who receive circumcision (οι περιτεμνομενοιhoi peritemnomenoi). Present causative middle of περιτεμνωperitemnō those who are having themselves circumcised. Some MSS. read οι περιτετμημενοιhoi peritetmēmenoi), “they who have been circumcised” (perfect passive participle). Probably the present (περιτεμνομενοιperitemnomenoi) is correct as the harder reading.


Verse 14

Far be it from me (εμοι μη γενοιτοemoi mē genoito). Second aorist middle optative of γινομαιginomai in a negative (μηmē) wish about the future with dative case: “May it not happen to me.” See note on Galatians 2:17. The infinitive καυχασταιkauchāsthai (to glory) is the subject of γενοιτοgenoito as is common in the lxx, though not elsewhere in the N.T.

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

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


Verse 15

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


Verse 16

By this rule (τωι κανονι τουτωιtōi kanoni toutōi). For κανωνkanōn see note on 2 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Corinthians 10:15.


Verse 17

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.”


Verse 18

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

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Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Galatians 6:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/galatians-6.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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