Galatians 5:25-6:10 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. What exhortation does the apostle Paul give us in Galatians 5:25 (printed below?)

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk in line with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)

In Galatians 5:25 the apostle writes, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk in line with the Spirit.” The apostle Paul is teaching us that if we have entered into the life of Christ, we must now exhibit the characteristics of that divine life. If the Holy Spirit has brought you into the life of Christ, your attitude and conduct need to come into accord with that divine life. In the following verses of this passage Paul will deal with four characteristics of the Christ-like life that should also become characteristic of our lives as people who have become united to Christ and in whom His Holy Spirit dwells and is at work.

2. According to Galatians 5:26 (printed below), what attitude are we to avoid? When that attitude is exhibited, what two negative reactions does it induce?

Let us not become conceited—provoking each other, envying each other. (Galatians 5:26)

In verse 26 the apostle exhorts us, “Let us not become conceited.” To be conceited means to have an excessive appreciation of our own worth or virtue; to have an excessively high opinion of one’s self; to hold one’s self above others in one’s own mind as being better or more important than them and being proud of it. What are the results of possessing and exhibiting a conceited spirit? Some brothers will react to such a spirit by becoming provoked, angry and challenged. Their reaction will be that of indignantly inquiring, “Who does he think he is? I’m as good as he is! I’m not going to cooperate with him and I’m certainly not going to serve him!” Other brothers will react to such a spirit by becoming envious. Their reaction will be that of silently musing, “I wish I could be like him, aggressive, arrogant, in control, getting my own way!”

3. In Galatians 6:2 (printed below) we are commanded to “bear one another’s burdens;” but in Galatians 6:5 (printed below) we are informed, “each one must bear his own load.” How do you reconcile these two passages, how do they relate to one another?

Bear one another’s burdens, and by doing so you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2) …each one must bear his own load. (Galatians 6:5)

An illustration may help serve to clarify and explain these two statements. The Christian life may be viewed as a journey we make in the company of fellow believers, a journey that sometimes takes us along some rocky and hazardous pathways. Strapped to our backs are our ‘back packs”—the “load” (verse 5) that each one is required to personally carry. But sometimes, as the company of believers wends its way along a rugged piece of terrain, a boulder breaks loose from the mountainside and comes crashing down upon a fellow believer—becoming an unexpected and excessive “burden” (verse 2) to him. When such an incident occurs, we as brothers and sisters in Christ must come to his aid, helping to lift the excessive weight from off his shoulders so that he may once again carry his normal load and continue his journey in the company of his fellow believers. By way of application, the “load” referred to in verse 5 is the normal weight of the Christian life: the daily effort to live for Christ and become like Christ in the midst of this present world. The “burden” referred to in verse 2 includes the excessive and unexpected trials that come into the lives of each believer at some time: a crisis in the family, an excessive assault by the devil, a debilitating illness, a loss of job, etc.

4. What kind of person is Paul describing in chapter 6 verse 3 (printed below?) What counsel does he offer in verse 4 (printed below?)

If a man has a high regard for himself when he has no reason for such an opinion, he is deceiving himself. (Galatians 6:3) But let each one examine his own work; then he will find a reason for confidence in himself alone, and not in comparison to someone else (Galatians 6:4)

In verse 3 the apostle Paul describes the problem of a man who “has a high regard for himself when he has no reason for such an opinion.” Here is a man who considers himself to be very righteous, very much sanctified, very far advanced in the Christian faith and life; when in fact he has no adequate grounds or reasons for entertaining such an evaluation of himself. The man’s false evaluation has resulted from wrongly comparing his life with the lives of weaker or younger brothers. In comparing himself to such lives this man has come away with a high evaluation of his own spiritual life—but such an evaluation may not have any real basis. The root of the problem lies in the fact that he has used a false standard of measurement: he has used the lives of young or careless Christians, rather than the life of our Lord Himself as his standard. In verse 4 the apostle Paul supplies the remedy and safeguard to this problem: “let each one examine his own work; then he will find a reason for confidence in himself alone, and not in comparison to someone else.” If one can look at his life and see it being changed into the likeness of Christ, then he has just cause for “confidence” (or, “glory.”) Then there is legitimate reason for rejoicing and for confidence that the Holy Spirit is working in you.

5. What attitude or attribute is Paul describing in Galatians 6 verses 6 and 10 (printed below?) In what ways should we be exhibiting this attitude?

He who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with the one who instructs him… (10) So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good works for all men, but especially for those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:6,10)

Throughout this passage (verses 6-10) the apostle is emphasizing the spirit of generosity. Verse 6 indicates that we are to show generosity towards those whom God has called to labor full time in the ministry (1 Corinthians 9:14). Verse 10 indicates that we are to show generosity towards those who are in need (1 John 3:17-18). We are to be like Christ our Savior who is described as the One who “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). Note: we as Christians are called to reflect the character of Christ, “as we have opportunity” (Galatians 6:10). That is to say, when we are confronted with a brother or neighbor in need and when we have the means of ministering to him, we are obligated to do so.