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Chapter 6

6:1 If a man be overtaken [ean kai prolēmphthēi anthrōpos]. Condition of third class, first aorist passive subjunctive of [prolambanō], old verb to take beforehand, to surprise, to detect. Trespass [paraptōmati]. Literally, a falling aside, a slip or lapse in the papyri rather than a wilful sin. In Polybius and Diodorus. Koinē word. Ye which are spiritual [hoi pneumatikoi]. See on 1Co 3:1. The spiritually led (5:18), the spiritual experts in mending souls. Restore [katartizete]. Present active imperative of [katartizō], the very word used in Mt 4:21 of mending nets, old word to make [artios], fit, to equip thoroughly. Looking to thyself [skopōn seauton]. Keeping an eye on as in 2Co 4:18 like a runner on the goal. Lest thou also be tempted [mē kai su peirasthēis]. Negative purpose with first aorist passive subjunctive. Spiritual experts (preachers in particular) need this caution. Satan loves a shining mark.

6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens [allēlōn ta barē bastazete]. Keep on bearing (present active imperative of [bastazō], old word, used of Jesus bearing his Cross in Joh 19:17. [Baros] means weight as in Mt 20:12; 2Co 4:17. It is when one’s load ( [phortion], verse 5) is about to press one down. Then give help in carrying it.) Fulfil [anaplērōsate]. First aorist active imperative of [anaplēroō], to fill up, old word, and see on Mt 23:32; 1Th 2:16; 1Co 14:16. Some MSS. have future indicative [anaplērōsete].

6:3 Something when he is nothing [ti mēden ōn]. Thinks he is a big number being nothing at all (neuter singular pronouns). He is really zero. He deceiveth himself [phrenapatāi heauton]. Late compound word [phrēn], mind, [apataō], lead astray), leads his own mind astray. Here for first time. Afterwards in Galen, ecclesiastical and Byzantine writers. He deceives no one else.

6:5 Each shall bear his own burden [to idion phortion bastasei]. [Phortion] is old word for ship’s cargo (Ac 27:10). Christ calls his [phortion] light, though he terms those of the Pharisees heavy (Mt 23:4), meant for other people. The terms are thus not always kept distinct, though Paul does make a distinction here from the [barē] in verse 2.

6:6 That is taught [ho katēchoumenos]. For this late and rare verb [katēcheō], see on Lu 1:4; Ac 18:25; 1Co 14:19. It occurs in the papyri for legal instruction. Here the present passive participle retains the accusative of the thing. The active [tōi katēchounti] joined with the passive is interesting as showing how early we find paid teachers in the churches. Those who receive instruction are called on to “contribute” (better than “communicate” for [koinōneitō] for the time of the teacher (Burton). There was a teaching class thus early (1Th 5:12; 1Co 12:28; Eph 4:11; 1Th 5:17).

6:7 Be not deceived [mē planāsthe]. Present passive imperative with [], “stop being led astray” [planaō], common verb to wander, to lead astray as in Mt 24:4f.). God is not mocked [ou muktērizetai]. This rare verb (common in LXX) occurs in Lysias. It comes from [muktēr] (nose) and means to turn the nose up at one. That is done towards God, but never without punishment, Paul means to say. In particular, he means “an evasion of his laws which men think to accomplish, but, in fact, cannot” (Burton). Whatsoever a man soweth [ho ean speirēi anthrōpos]. Indefinite relative clause with [ean] and the active subjunctive (either aorist or present, form same here). One of the most frequent of ancient proverbs (Job 4:8; Arist., Rhet. iii. 3). Already in 2Co 9:6. Same point in Mt 7:16; Mr 4:26f. That [touto]. That very thing, not something different. Reap [therisei]. See on Mt 6:26 for this old verb.

6:8 Corruption [phthoran]. For this old word from [phtheirō], see on 1Co 15:42. The precise meaning turns on the context, here plainly the physical and moral decay or rottenness that follows sins of the flesh as all men know. Nature writes in one’s body the penalty of sin as every doctor knows. Eternal life [zōēn aiōnion]. See on Mt 25:46 for this interesting phrase so common in the Johannine writings. Plato used [aiōnios] for perpetual. See also 2Th 1:9. It comes as nearly meaning “eternal” as the Greek can express that idea.

6:9 Let us not be weary in well-doing [to kalon poiountes mē enkakōmen]. Volitive present active subjunctive of [enkakeō] on which see Lu 18:1; 2Th 3:13; 2Co 4:1,16 [en, kakos], evil). Literally, “Let us not keep on giving in to evil while doing the good.” It is curious how prone we are to give in and to give out in doing the good which somehow becomes prosy or insipid to us. In due season [kairōi idiōi]. Locative case, “at its proper season” (harvest time). Cf. 1Ti 2:6; 6:15 (plural). If we faint not [mē ekluomenoi]. Present passive participle (conditional) with []. Cf. [ekluō], old verb to loosen out. Literally, “not loosened out,” relaxed, exhausted as a result of giving in to evil [enkakōmen].

6:10 As we have opportunity [hōs kairon echōmen]. Indefinite comparative clause (present subjunctive without [an]. “As we have occasion at any time.” Let us work that which is good [ergazōmetha to agathon]. Volitive present middle subjunctive of [ergazomai], “Let us keep on working the good deed.” Of the household of faith [tous oikeious tēs pisteōs]. For the obvious reason that they belong to the same family with necessary responsibility.

6:11 With how large letters [pēlikois grammasin]. Paul now takes the pen from the amanuensis (cf. Ro 16:22) and writes the rest of the Epistle (verses 11-18) himself instead of the mere farewell greeting (2Th 3:17; 1Co 16:21; Col 4:18). But what does he mean by “with how large letters”? Certainly not “how large a letter.” It has been suggested that he employed large letters because of defective eyesight or because he could only write ill-formed letters because of his poor handwriting (like the print letters of children) or because he wished to call particular attention to this closing paragraph by placarding it in big letters (Ramsay). This latter is the most likely reason. Deissmann, ( St. Paul, p. 51) argues that artisans write clumsy letters, yes, and scholars also. Milligan ( Documents, p. 24; Vocabulary, etc.) suggests the contrast seen in papyri often between the neat hand of the scribe and the big sprawling hand of the signature. I have written [egrapsa]. Epistolary aorist. With mine own hand [tēi emēi cheiri]. Instrumental case as in 1Co 16:21.

6:12 To make a fair show [euprosōpēsai]. First aorist active infinitive of [euprosōpeō], late verb from [euprosōpos], fair of face [eu, prosōpon]. Here only in N.T., but one example in papyri (Tebt. I. 19 12 B.C. 114) which shows what may happen to any of our N.T. words not yet found elsewhere. It is in Chrysostom and later writers. They compel [anagkazousin]. Conative present active indicative, “they try to compel.” For the cross of Christ [tōi staurōi tou Christou]. Instrumental case (causal use, Robertson, Grammar, p. 532). Cf. 2Co 2:13. “For professing the cross of Christ” (Lightfoot).

6:13 They who receive circumcision [hoi peritemnomenoi]. Present causative middle of [peritemnō], those who are having themselves circumcised. Some MSS. read [hoi peritetmēmenoi], “they who have been circumcised” (perfect passive participle). Probably the present [peritemnomenoi] is correct as the harder reading.

6:14 Far be it from me [emoi mē genoito]. Second aorist middle optative of [ginomai] in a negative [] wish about the future with dative case: “May it not happen to me.” See 2:17. The infinitive [kauchāsthai] (to glory) is the subject of [genoito] as is common in the LXX, though not elsewhere in the N.T. Hath been crucified unto me [emoi estaurōtai]. Perfect passive indicative of [stauroō], stands crucified, with the ethical dative again [emoi]. This is one of the great sayings of Paul concerning his relation to Christ and the world in contrast with the Judaizers. Cf. 2:19f.; 3:13; 4:4f.; 1Co 1:23f.; Ro 1:16; 3:21ff.; 4:25; 5:18. World [kosmos] has no article, but is definite as in 2Co 5:19. Paul’s old world of Jewish descent and environment is dead to him (Php 3:3f.).

6:15 A new creature [kainē ktisis]. For this phrase see on 2Co 5:17.

6:16 By this rule [tōi kanoni toutōi]. For [kanōn], see on 2Co 10:13, 15f.

6:17 From henceforth [tou loipou]. Usually [to loipon], the accusative of general reference, “as for the rest” (Php 3:1; 4:8). The genitive case (as here and Eph 6:10) means “in respect of the remaining time.” The marks of Jesus [ta stigmata tou Iēsou]. Old word from [stizō], to prick, to stick, to sting. Slaves had the names or stamp of their owners on their bodies. It was sometimes done for soldiers also. There were devotees also who stamped upon their bodies the names of the gods whom they worshipped. Today in a round-up cattle are given the owner’s mark. Paul gloried in being the slave of Jesus Christ. This is probably the image in Paul’s mind since he bore in his body brandmarks of suffering for Christ received in many places (2Co 6:4-6; 11:23ff.), probably actual scars from the scourgings (thirty-nine lashes at a time). If for no other reason, listen to me by reason of these scars for Christ and “let no one keep on furnishing trouble to me.”

6:18 The farewell salutation is much briefer than that in 2Co 13:13, but identical with that in Phm 1:25. He calls them “brethren” [adelphoi] in spite of the sharp things spoken to them.

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