What does Galatians 6:16 mean?
ESV: And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
NIV: Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule--to the Israel of God.
NASB: And all who will follow this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
CSB: May peace come to all those who follow this standard, and mercy even to the Israel of God!
NLT: May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.
KJV: And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
NKJV: And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
Verse Commentary:
Coming to the end of his letter to the Galatians, Paul offers a benediction or a blessing to a specific group of people: "all who walk by this rule." The rule he has in mind is what he has just said in the previous verses: It doesn't matter if someone is circumcised; what matters is if someone is a new creation in Christ.

Paul has made the case, from the first words of this letter (Galatians 1:3–5), that being "in Christ" comes only by faith in Christ and His death for our sin on the cross. No component of works, rituals, or sacraments can obtain our salvation (Galatians 3:23–29). In fact, to rely on any aspect of works means not fully trusting in the finished work of Christ (Galatians 5:2–4). The "rule" we are to follow is that of faith in Christ, leading to submissive obedience through His Spirit.

To those in Galatia who follow that rule, Paul prays for peace and mercy. He also prays the same upon "the Israel of God." In Greek, as well as in English, Paul separates these two groups in praying his blessing. The growing body of Christians—the church—does not replace Israel. Even Paul, as shown here, sees them as separate entities.
Verse Context:
Galatians 6:11–18 is the conclusion of Paul's letter to the Galatians. He apparently took the pen from his scribe and wrote these words, with his own hand, in oversized letters. This remark is one reason some scholars think Paul might have had a problem with his eyesight. Once again, Paul reveals the motives of false teachers pressuring the Galatians to be circumcised. They are only promoting themselves. Now that Christ has come, circumcision does nothing. The Galatians should trust Christ, instead, to be made into new creations.
Chapter Summary:
Galatians 6 includes instructions for how people who are free in Christ and walking by God's Spirit, should treat each other. Christians should restore those who are caught by sin, and we should bear each other's burdens. Only those who plant the fruit of God's Spirit, by faith in Christ, will harvest eternal life. Believers should not get tired of doing good for each other! The harvest is coming. Paul concludes the letter, writing in large letters that circumcision means nothing. Only becoming a new creation through faith in Christ matters.
Chapter Context:
Galatians 5 wrapped up with a focus on what it means to be led by God's Spirit. Galatians 6 starts with describing how Spirit-led Christians serve each other by restoring those caught be sin and bearing each other's burdens. Only those who plant God's Spirit in this life, through faith in Christ, will harvest eternal life. Paul concludes the letter by writing in big letters that circumcision does not matter, only being made a new creation by faith in Christ matters.
Book Summary:
Galatians is sometimes called “a short Romans” for its similar themes of justification and sanctification through faith. A group of Christians known as “Judaizers” were preaching a gospel of legalism, rather than grace. Paul’s main purpose in writing the letter to the Galatians was to reiterate the true nature of the gospel: we are justified (made righteous) and sanctified (made more Christlike) through our faith in Jesus Christ alone. This letter was probably written shortly before the church elders in Jerusalem issued their official refutation of the Judaizers, commonly called the Jerusalem Council.
Accessed 5/18/2024 7:09:10 PM
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