What does Galatians 6:2 mean?
ESV: Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
NIV: Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
NASB: Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
CSB: Carry one another's burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
NLT: Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
KJV: Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Paul is giving instructions to the Galatian Christians about how to live with each other as Spirit-powered people in Christ. In the previous verse, he told them that when one is caught by sin, others should step in to help restore that person to walking by the Spirit again.
Now he tells them, and by extension all Christians, to help carry each other's burdens. Notice what this means: Being in Christ does not mean we won't have burdens to carry in this earthly life. We will. One of those burdens is the weightiness of our temptation to give into sin, and the heaviness of trying to get out of it. Paul wanted us to share that burden and not battle sin and temptation on our own.
The term used here by Paul is instructive. He describes these weights using the Greek term barē, which in New Testament use applies to something excessive or extreme in its weight (Revelation 2:24; Matthew 20:12). Later, Paul will use a different term, phortion, which is used for more-manageable burdens (Matthew 11:30; Acts 27:10).
We carry other burdens, as well, and sometimes we go through seasons where those burdens are too much for us to haul around. Such burdens might include relationship issues, financial problems, illness, indecision, or emotional difficulties. God's Spirit certainly gives us the power to deal with these issues, but another way God intends to provide for those in Christ is by giving us the ability to help each other.
One way we can fail in this area is by refusing to allow anyone to see the burdens we are carrying. We can mistakenly think that being a Christian means we should be self-reliant in every way, all the time. In a few verses, Paul will write that we do need to carry the weight of our responsibilities in Christ. But Christians are also meant to help each other with the loads we carry when they become overwhelming.
How does helping to carry each other's loads fulfill the law of Christ? Paul earlier quoted Jesus in saying that the entire law is fulfilled in one word: love (Galatians 5:14). Love is the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:1–10 focuses on how those in Christ should treat each other, through the power of God's Spirit. We should restore those caught in sin with gentleness and humility, and we should help to carry each other's burdens. Having said that, Christians should be honest with ourselves about what God is doing through us. We need to take responsibility for what He has asked us to carry. Because eternal life comes from planting God's Spirit by faith in Christ, and not by works of the flesh, we must keep doing good. The harvest will show that we planted well.
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.
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.
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 11/30/2023 6:01:43 AM
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