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Ga 6:1-18. EXHORTATIONS CONTINUED; TO FORBEARANCE AND HUMILITY; LIBERALITY TO TEACHERS AND IN GENERAL. POSTSCRIPT AND BENEDICTION.
1. Brethren--An expression of kindness to conciliate attention.
Translate as Greek, "If a man even be overtaken" (that
is, caught in the very act [ALFORD and ELLICOTT]: BEFORE he expects:
unexpectedly). BENGEL explains the "before" in the
Greek compound verb, "If a man be overtaken in a fault before
ourselves": If another has really been overtaken in a fault
the first; for often he who is first to find fault, is
the very one who has first transgressed.
2. If ye, legalists, must "bear burdens," then instead of legal
"bear one another's burdens," literally, "weights." Distinguished by
BENGEL from "burden,"
(a different Greek word, "load"): "weights" exceed the strength
of those under them; "burden" is proportioned to the strength.
3. Self-conceit, the chief hindrance to forbearance and sympathy
towards our fellow men, must be laid aside.
4. his own work--not merely his own opinion of himself.
5. For (by this way, Ga 6:4, of proving himself, not depreciating his neighbor by comparison) each man shall bear his own "burden," or rather, "load" (namely, of sin and infirmity), the Greek being different from that in Ga 6:2. This verse does not contradict Ga 6:2. There he tells them to bear with others' "burdens" of infirmity in sympathy; here, that self-examination will make a man to feel he has enough to do with "his own load" of sin, without comparing himself boastfully with his neighbor. Compare Ga 6:3. Instead of "thinking himself to be something," he shall feel the "load" of his own sin: and this will lead him to bear sympathetically with his neighbor's burden of infirmity. ÆSOP says a man carries two bags over his shoulder, the one with his own sins hanging behind, that with his neighbor's sins in front.
6. From the mention of bearing one another's burdens, he passes to one
way in which those burdens may be borne--by ministering out of their
earthly goods to their spiritual teachers. The "but" in the Greek,
beginning of this verse, expresses this: I said, Each shall bear his own
burden; BUT I do not intend that he should not think of others, and
especially of the wants of his ministers.
7. God is not mocked--The Greek verb is, literally, to
sneer with the nostrils drawn up in contempt. God does not suffer
Himself to be imposed on by empty words: He will judge according to
works, which are seeds sown for eternity of either joy or woe. Excuses
for illiberality in God's cause
seem valid before men, but are not so before God
8. Translate, "He that soweth unto his own flesh," with a view to
fulfilling its desires. He does not say, "His spirit," as he does say,
"His flesh." For in ourselves we are not spiritual, but carnal. The
flesh is devoted to selfishness.
And when we do good, let us also persevere in it without fainting.
10. Translate, "So then, according as (that is, in proportion as)
we have season (that is, opportunity), let us work
(a distinct Greek verb from that for "do," in
that which is (in each case) good." As thou art able, and
while thou art able, and when thou art able
We have now the "season" for sowing, as also there will be
hereafter the "due season"
for reaping. The whole life is, in one sense, the "seasonable
opportunity" to us: and, in a narrower sense, there occur in it more
especially convenient seasons. The latter are sometimes lost in looking
for still more convenient seasons
We shall not always have the opportunity "we have" now. Satan is
sharpened to the greater zeal in injuring us, by the shortness of his
Let us be sharpened to the greater zeal in well-doing by the shortness
11. Rather, "See in how large letters I have written." The Greek is translated "how great" in Heb 7:4, the only other passage where it occurs in the New Testament. Owing to his weakness of eyes (Ga 4:15) he wrote in large letters. So JEROME. All the oldest manuscripts are written in uncial, that is, capital letters, the "cursive," or small letters, being of more recent date. Paul seems to have had a difficulty in writing, which led him to make the uncial letters larger than ordinary writers did. The mention of these is as a token by which they would know that he wrote the whole Epistle with his own hand; as he did also the pastoral Epistle, which this Epistle resembles in style. He usually dictated his Epistles to an amanuensis, excepting the concluding salutation, which he wrote himself (Ro 16:22; 1Co 16:21). This letter, he tells the Galatians, he writes with his own hand, no doubt in order that they may see what a regard he had for them, in contrast to the Judaizing teachers (Ga 6:12), who sought only their own ease. If English Version be retained, the words, "how large a letter (literally, 'in how large letters')," will not refer to the length of the Epistle absolutely, but that it was a large one for him to have written with his own hand. NEANDER supports English Version, as more appropriate to the earnestness of the apostle and the tone of the Epistle: "How large" will thus be put for "how many."
12. Contrast between his zeal in their behalf, implied in
and the zeal for self on the part of the Judaizers.
13. Translate, "For not even do they who submit to circumcision, keep
the law themselves
but they wish you (emphatical) to be circumcised," &c. They arbitrarily
selected circumcision out of the whole law, as though observing it
would stand instead of their non-observance of the rest of the law.
14. Translate, "But as for me (in opposition to those
gloriers 'in your flesh,'
God forbid that I," &c.
15. availeth--The oldest manuscripts read, "is" (compare
Not only are they of no avail, but they are nothing. So
far are they from being matter for "glorying," that they are "nothing."
But Christ's cross is "all in all," as a subject for glorying, in "the
(Eph 2:10, 15, 16).