Galatians 5:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Galatians 5:26, NIV: "Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."

Galatians 5:26, ESV: "Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another."

Galatians 5:26, KJV: "Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."

Galatians 5:26, NASB: "Let’s not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another."

Galatians 5:26, NLT: "Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another."

Galatians 5:26, CSB: "Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another."

What does Galatians 5:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In this chapter, Paul has been describing how those in Christ should live. Believers ought to live in the power of, and by the direction of, the Spirit of God. Paul wrote in the previous verse that we must "keep in step with the Spirit." It's a mysterious idea that is hard to understand, but it is worth the effort. Life in the Spirit of God is powerful, meaningful, and the absolute pinnacle of human experience on this side of eternity. Like allowing a dance partner to lead, while we follow their guidance, we are meant to allow the Spirit of God to guide our will, so we can fully embrace who we are in Christ.

But what if we skip this kind of obedience? What if, in our willfulness or neglect or lack of interest, a Christian just does not participate in "walking by the Spirit"?

Paul answers that, in part, in this verse: we become conceited, proud, and arrogant. Life in the Spirit of God requires submission to God and humility. It is about Him and not us. Trying to lead a Christian life in our own power results in too much focus on ourselves, puffing us up in the way that religious people often become self-righteous.

From there, it gets worse. Proud people, by definition, are in the business of self-promotion. That leads to provoking others to compete with us instead serving alongside us. Inevitably, prideful religious competitions for honor and self-worth lead to envy, resenting those who seem to outwardly have obtained what we want everyone to see in us.

Without the power and direction-setting of the Holy Spirit, the Christian life turns into a destructive and self-serving religious existence. Rather than fall into that pit, Paul seems to say, we should figure out how to walk by the Spirit.