Galatians Six: Let No One Give Me Any More Problems!

It has been a joy to translate Galatians over the last two months and to share it with all three of my dear readers. In this last chapter, we are visited again by the muckety-mucks, called to remember Paul’s illness (eyesight causes big letters), and the joy of a new creation. He also gets a little grumpy, too.

This is not the place for deep study, but as a translator I notice the end of this book comes quick – almost suddenly – and there is an absence of any kind of personal goodbyes. Scholars have many reasons for this and you should look some of them up. 

In the meantime, enjoy! 

Galatians: Chapter Six

1. Brothers and sisters, should anyone be overcome in a transgression, those of you who are spiritual ought to restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness. Be aware of yourself, though, that you are not tempted.

2. Carry one another burdens and so fulfill Messiah’s law.

3. If anyone think himself to be some muckety muck when he is not, he has deluded himself.

4. Instead, let everyone test his own work. Then he can have pride in himself in private, and not at the expense of anyone else, 

5. because everyone will carry his own burden.

4. Instead, let everyone test his own work. Then he can have pride in himself in private, and not at the expense of anyone else, 

5. because everyone will carry his own burden.

6. The learner of the word must share all good things with the one teaching the word. 

7. Make no mistake, God is not to be mocked. Whatever a person sows, that person will reap.

8. The person who sows in the flesh will reap ruin from the flesh. The person who sows in the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 

9. Do not get tired of doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. 

10. Therefore, then, let us use the time we have for good to all people, but mostly to the households of God. *

11. Do you see how big the letters are that I wrote for you in my own hand?**

12. Many of those who wish to look proper in the flesh try to force you to be circumcised but only because they do not want to be persecuted because of Messiah’s cross.  

13. Those who are circumcised do not obey the law but they want you to be circumcised so they can brag about your body. 

14. It will never be that I will boast, except in the cross of the Lord our Messiah Jesus, by whom the whole universe is crucified to me and I have been crucified to the whole universe.

15. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything, but new creation is! 

16. As for the many who will stay in line with this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, as well as the Israel of God.

17. As to the rest, let no one give me any more problems, for I bear on my body the slave branding of Jesus. 

18. Brothers and sisters, the grace of the Lord, our Messiah Jesus be with your spirit. Amen. 

Translation Notes

*households is plural. Seems to indicate in Paul’s mind that households are churches, but they probably meet in people’s actual homes, so it is less a metaphor and more of a physical description. 

**Most translations do make this a question, and the GNT does not indicate it is an interrogative, but the way I read the sentence it makes the most sense as a rhetorical question Paul is asking his readers.

Study Questions

1. What do you make of verse 2, that says we carry each others burdens, then verse 5 that seems to say the opposite?

2. Would you agree that we are all a little delusional when it comes to self-evaluation (vv 3-4)? How delusional are you in particular?

3. What are all of the ramifications of ‘ruin’ in verse 8?

4. How do you feel about Paul specifying we ‘mostly’ do good to those who are believers? 

5. Paul’s theology envisions the crucifixion of Jesus as having cosmic implications. How do you interpret verse 14? 

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