In Galatians 6:7, the word translated “mocked” (mukterizo) occurs only here in the New Testament, though it often appears in the Greek translation of the Old Testament. It literally means “to turn up one’s nose in contempt.” In the Old Testament it typically refers to the despising of God’s prophets (2 Chron. 36:16, Jer. 20:7), and it even is used once to describe graphically a rebellious attitude toward God (Ezek. 8:17). 1
Paul’s point is that people may ignore God or [...]
Paul connects burden bearing with fulfilling the law of Christ. What does he mean by “the law of Christ” Gal. 5:14, 6:2, John 13:34, Matt. 22:34–40.
Paul’s use of the phrase “the law of Christ” (ton nomon tou Christou) occurs nowhere else in the Bible, though he uses a similar expression in 1 Corinthians 9:21 (ennomos Christou). The uniqueness of this phrase has resulted in a number of different interpretations. Some mistakenly argue that this is evidence that the law [...]
In addition to restoring the fallen, what other instructions does Paul give to the believers in Galatia? (Gal. 6:2–5; see also Rom. 15:1, Matt. 7:12). 1
The Greek word translated “burden” in Galatians 6:5 is baros. It literally referred to a heavy weight or load that someone had to carry a long distance. Over time, however, it became a metaphor for any type of trouble or difficulty, such as the burden of a long day’s work on a hot day [...]
The seriousness of Paul’s words in Galatians 6:1—to guard our own lives lest we also follow into temptation—should not be overlooked. An indication of the urgency and personal concern behind Paul’s counsel can be seen in the way he makes his appeal. The word translated “considering” (KJV) or “take care” (NRSV) literally means “to look at carefully” or “to pay careful attention to” (compare Rom. 16:17, Phil. 2:4). So, what Paul literally is saying is, “keep a careful eye on [...]
While Paul has lofty expectations for the nature of the Christian life (Gal. 5:16), his counsel to the believers in Galatians 6:1 also is refreshingly realistic. Humans are not perfect, and even the most dedicated Christians are not immune from mistakes. In Greek, Paul’s words in Galatians 5:16 indicate that he is envisioning a situation that is likely to happen in the church at some time. Paul gives the Galatians practical advice on how to deal with such situations when [...]
Read for This Week’s Study:
Gal. 6:1–10, Matt. 18:15–17, 1 Cor. 10:12, Rom. 15:1, John 13:34, Luke 22:3.
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10)
Some potato farmers decided to save the biggest potatoes for themselves and to plant the smaller potatoes as seed. After a few disappointing harvests, they discovered that nature had reduced their potato crops to the size of marbles. Through this disaster, those farmers learned an [...]
“The life of the Christian is not all smooth. He has stern conflicts to meet. Severe temptations assail him. ‘The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.’ The nearer we come to the close of this earth’s history, the more delusive and ensnaring will be the attacks of the enemy. His attacks will grow fiercer and more frequent. Those who resist light and truth will become more hardened and unimpressible, and more bitter against those who [...]
“Christmas! Christmas! I can hardly wait for Christmas!” Four-year-old Randy Williams clapped his hands and did a tumble to the Christmas tree in the corner of the family room.1
“What’s so special about Christmas?” his dad teased.
“Presents. Lots of presents. And cake and cookies and ice cream and—“
“Christmas is for you?”
“Yes! Yes! Yes! Christmas is for ME!” Mom was calling, and Randy rushed off to his bedroom to sleep and dream about Christmas.
Later that night dad shared with mom [...]
Key Thought: Living by the Spirit involves a daily walk with Christ. It requires choices that starve our sinful self.
[Teaching plan for "Living by the Spirit" December 14, 2011]
1. Have a volunteer read Galatians 5:1-16,17.
A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. How does one walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh? Is it easy or hard?
C. Personal Application: Do you struggle with the Spirit and [...]
Although an inward conflict between the flesh and the Spirit always will rage in the heart of every believer, the Christian life does not have to be dominated by defeat, failure, and sin.
According to Galatians 5:16–26, what is the key to living a life where the Spirit reigns over the flesh?
Galatians 5:16–26 contains five key verbs that describe the type of life in which the Spirit reigns. First, the believer needs to “walk” in the Spirit (vs. 16). The Greek [...]
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Gal. 5:22, 23, ESV). In what ways does obedience to the Ten Commandments reflect the fruit of the Spirit as it is expressed in these verses? (See also Matt. 5:21, 22, 27, 28; 22:35–40.) 1
The Ten Commandments are not an alternative to love; they help guide us in how we are to show love, both to [...]
Having introduced the conflict that exists between the flesh and the Spirit, Paul in Galatians 5:18–26 elaborates on the nature of this contrast by means of a list of ethical vices and virtues. The catalog of vices or virtues was a well-established literary feature present in both Jewish and Greco-Roman literature. These lists identified behavior to be avoided and virtues to be emulated. 1
Carefully examine the vice and virtue lists in the passages below. In what ways are Paul’s lists [...]
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal. 5:17; see also Rom. 7:14–24). How have you, in your own life as a believer, experienced the harsh and painful reality of these words? 1
The struggle that Paul describes is not the struggle of every human being; it refers specifically to the inward tug-of-war that exists in [...]
Read Galatians 5:16. What does the concept of “walking” have to do with a life of faith? Deut. 13:4, 5; Rom. 13:13; Eph. 4:1, 17; Col. 1:10.
“Walking” is a metaphor drawn from the Old Testament that refers to the way a person should behave. Paul, himself a Jew, makes use of this metaphor often in his letters to describe the type of conduct that should characterize the Christian life. His use of this metaphor is also likely connected to [...]
Read for This Week’s Study:
Gal. 5:16–25; Deut. 13:4, 5; Rom. 7:14–24; Jer. 7:9; Hos. 4:2; Matt. 22:35–40.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16)
One of the most beloved Christian hymns is Robert Robinson’s “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Robinson, however, was not always a man of faith. The death of his father left him angry, and he fell into debauchery and drunkenness. After hearing the famous preacher [...]