What does Galatians 6:5 mean?
ESV: For each will have to bear his own load.
NIV: for each one should carry their own load.
NASB: For each one will bear his own load.
CSB: For each person will have to carry his own load.
NLT: For we are each responsible for our own conduct.
KJV: For every man shall bear his own burden.
NKJV: For each one shall bear his own load.
Verse Commentary:
Paul has just written in Galatians 6:2 that we are to bear each other's burdens. Now, after saying that we should take honest stock of the effectiveness of our work in Christ, instead of merely comparing ourselves to each other, Paul writes that each of us will, in fact, have to bear our own load. Is Paul contradicting himself in this verse? No, in fact, he's making a point that would have been clearer to those reading his original words than our English translations.

First of all, the Greek word for "loads" in Galatians 6:2 is barē, a word which seems to imply something unreasonable, extremely heavy, or otherwise too much for one person to carry. This is how the word is used in verses such as Matthew 20:12 and Revelation 2:24. In other words, when another believer is in a season of carrying such an overwhelming burden, we should step in to help each other. That is the meaning implied in earlier verses.

The Greek word for "load" in this verse is phortion. This was often used to refer to a soldier's pack: the standard cargo borne by each person in the company. Other places in the New Testament use this term in reference to burdens which are more reasonable, or more manageable, than those implied by the word barē (Matthew 11:30; Acts 27:10).

In other words, those in Christ will carry some responsibilities and obligations not meant to be commonly shared by others. We are meant to shoulder those burdens in the power of God's Spirit, because we are able.

Having said that, wisdom is required to know when a load is just the normal work of a Christian—i.e. a phortion kind of task—and when the load is a crushing weight meant to be shared—i.e. a barē load that is too much for one person. In any case, we must be willing to step in and share loads when the time comes to do so, while still willing to carry our own fair share on an everyday basis.
Verse Context:
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.
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 4/24/2024 5:27:27 PM
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