Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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GALATIANS - Chapter 6

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Galatians 6

Supplemental Commentary:

III.  MORAL  5, 1 -- 6, 10 (continued)

2.  Specific Counsels  6, 1-10

6, 1-5:  Fraternal Correction.    1.  With kindness and humility they should instruct those who err.  Caught: i.e., led away by passion or surprise into a fault.    2.  They should bear one another's burdens, or moral defects; and thus they will fulfill the law of Christ, which is reduced to charity.    3.  Anyone who thinks himself anything is guilty of self-deception, because in the presence of God we are all nothing.    4.  Let everyone examine his own life and actions.  If he finds something good, he may rejoice, but not by passing judgment upon others.    5.  Each one must answer for his own sins at the judgment-seat of Christ.  Cf. 1 Cor. 4, 4 f.

6, 6-10:  Good Works.    6.  Share all good things: i.e., give some of his temporal possessions.    7.  God, who sees and knows all, is not mocked by false excuses that you may offer for the neglect of this duty.    8.  The harvest depends chiefly upon the kind of seed that is sown, and upon the soil in which it is sown.  This life is the time of sowing, eternity the time of reaping.  Sows in the flesh: i.e., in the pleasures and ambitions of this world.  Reap corruption: i.e., punishment, eternal death.  Sows in the spirit: i.e., if he performs good works, which proceed from the grace of God in his soul, he will reap as his harvest life everlasting.  This verse proves that good works done through grace can merit heaven as their recompense.    9.  There is question here of perseverance in doing good.    10.  During this life we should do good to everyone, but especially to Christians.

Conclusion  6, 11-18

6, 11-18:  Summary.    11.  St. Paul concludes the Epistle with his autograph in large characters to impress on the Galatians the importance of what he wrote.  The remainder of the Epistle was probably written with his own hand and not by his secretary.    12.  Here we have the real motive of those who were endeavoring to lead the Christians of Galatia astray.  They wished to avoid being persecuted as believers in the crucified Messias.  In the flesh: in a worldly way.    13.  Boast of your (circumcised) flesh: they would boast of having induced you to submit to circumcision.    14.  Paul will glory only in the cross of his crucified Savior, the one true source of justification.  The Jews considered the cross a sign of ignominy, but to the Christians it was the cause of salvation, and the chief point in the preaching of Paul and of the other Apostles (1 Cor. 2, 2).    15.  A new creation: the supernatural state of grace, which transforms one's mind, heart, and actions.    16.  This rule refers to the glorying in the cross of Christ, and to a new creation.  Israel of God: as opposed to Israel according to the flesh.  It embraces all true Christians, whether of Jewish or Gentile origin.    17.  The reference is to a practice according to which slaves bore marks made by burning or incision, which were indications of proprietorship.  Paul was the property of his divine Master, and his marks were, e.g., the scars of wounds he received from the scourging at Antioch, and the stoning at Lystra.    18.  The same benediction concludes the Epistle to Philemon.  The word brethren put last, testifies that, notwithstanding their mistakes, Paul tenderly loves the Galatians.

John F. Rowan


Confraternity Bible:

Fraternal Correction  1 Brethren, even if a person is caught doing something wrong, you who are spiritual instruct such a one in a spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  2 Bear one another's burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.  3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, whereas he is nothing, he deceives himself.  4 But let everyone test his own work, and so he will have glory in himself only, and not in comparison with another.  5 For each one will bear his own burden.

Good Works  6 And let him who is instructed in the word share all good things with his teacher.  7 Be not deceived, God is not mocked.  8 For what a man sows, that he will also reap.  For he who sows in the flesh, from the flesh also will reap corruption.  But he who sows in the spirit, from the spirit will reap life everlasting.  9 And in doing good let us not grow tired; 10 for in due time, let us do good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Summary  11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand!  12 As many as wish to please in the flesh compel you to be circumcised simply that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.  13 For not even they who are circumcised keep the Law; but they desire you to be circumcised, that they may make a boast of your flesh.  14 But as for me, God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.  15* For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision but a new creation is of any account.

16* And whoever follow this rule, peace and mercy upon them, even unto the Israel of God.

17* Henceforth let no man give me trouble, for I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus in my body.  18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren.  Amen.
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15: A new creation: the supernatural state of grace transforms one's mind, heart and actions.

16: This rule: i.e., the teaching concerning the new creation.  Israel of God: i.e., the Church.  Those who have the faith are true Israelites.

17: The scars on St. Paul's body were those inflicted in persecutions; they attested his faithfulness to Christ.