|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:6-11 Many excuse themselves from the work of religion, though they may make a show, and profess it. They may impose upon others, yet they deceive themselves if they think to impose upon God, who knows their hearts as well as actions; and as he cannot be deceived, so he will not be mocked. Our present time is seed time; in the other world we shall reap as we sow now. As there are two sorts of sowing, one to the flesh, and the other to the Spirit, so will the reckoning be hereafter. Those who live a carnal, sensual life, must expect no other fruit from such a course than misery and ruin. But those who, under the guidance and influences of the Holy Spirit, live a life of faith in Christ, and abound in Christian graces, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. We are all very apt to tire in duty, particularly in doing good. This we should carefully watch and guard against. Only to perseverance in well-doing is the reward promised. Here is an exhortation to all to do good in their places. We should take care to do good in our life-time, and make this the business of our lives. Especially when fresh occasions offer, and as far as our power reaches.
Verse 6. - Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things (κοινωνείτω δὲ ὁ κατηχούμενος τὸν λόγον τῷ κατηχοῦντι ἐν πᾶσιν ἀγαθοῖς); let him that is receiving instruction in the Word share with him that instructeth in all good things. The Authorized Version appears to have exercised sound discretion in leaving the particle δὲ untranslated. It is, in fact, here merely a conjunction of transition: not in any degree adversative; for the exhortation to liberality towards our teachers is perfectly germane to the preceding topics of carrying one another's loads, and so carrying our own pack. The verb κατηχεῖν, etymologically "to fill with sound," thence signifies "to din a thing into another person's mind with inculcation or constant repetition," in which sense it occurs in Acts 21:21, 24, of the persistent repetition of a slanderous report. So early as in Hippocrates (Liddell and Scott) the verbal substantive κατήχησις is used for "instruction;" and the verb, though not occurring in Attic writers, seems to have continued in use in other dialects, to reappear at length in the Common Dialect of Greek. Accordingly, it is found in the sense of "instruct" in Luke 1:4; Acts 18:25; Romans 2:18; 1 Corinthians 14:19. It does not denote instruction by question and answer in particular, but simply the inculcating of knowledge. Recently as the Galatian Churches had been founded, it appears from this passage that there were already persons among them whose particular business it was to give religious instruction to their fellow-Christians; so much their business, that they were on this ground entitled to receive from those they taught liberal help in temporal things. Such persons were doubtless included among the "elders" whom Paul and Barnabas appointed in the several Churches which they planted (Acts 14:23). It is noticeable, further, that the order of men alone singled out as entitled to such secular assistance is characterized as a teaching order; so characterized, per-hops, because teaching religious truth was the most prominent and characteristic of their functions. In his First Epistle to Timothy (1 Timothy 5:17), written, probably, some years later, "the elders who labour in Word and teaching (διδασκαλία)" are particularized as those among the "presiding elders" who are the "most especially" entitled to liberal payment; the form of expression, however, implying that elders whose function lay in other duties than that of teaching were likewise entitled to liberal consideration. The teaching elders would require, more than other Church officers, leisure from worldly avocations for the study of God's Word and his truth, and for the actual discharge of their especial work in private as well as in public (comp. Acts 6:4; Acts 20:20). The direction here given would apply, as to the case of resident teachers, so also to that of persons who travelled about in the dissemination of the faith; as we learn from 1 Corinthians 9:4-14; 2 Corinthians 11:7-12. In 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13 the apostle commends to the "high estimation" of the disciples "those who laboured among them, and were ever them in the Lord, and admonished them (κοπιῶντας προι'σταμένους νουθετοῦντας); The expression "the Word" is used without any further qualification to designate the Christian doctrine, as in Mark 2:2; Mark 4:14; Acts 8:4; Acts 11:19; Philippians 1:14. So the Christian religion is styled "the Way" in Acts 9:2; Acts 19:9. "Share;' the verb κοινωνεῖν and its derivatives are frequently used with reference to that kind of "fellowship" or "partnership" which is evinced by our liberally sharing with the object of it in our worldly means. If we "count a minister our partner (κοινενόν)," as St. Paul writes to Philemon (ver. 17), we shall not begrudge him frank and generous help in any direction. Thus Romans 12:13, "Communicating to the necessities of saints," is properly "sharing with them in generous sympathy." So Philippians 4:14, "had fellowship with (συγκοιήσαντες) my affliction" points to liberal temporal assistance. Similarly, generous sympathy embodied in money gifts is styled "communion," or "partnership," in Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 9:13; Philippians 1:5; Hebrews 13:16; as also κοινωνικός, "ready to communicate," expresses one ready to show such sympathy, in 1 Timothy 6:18. The apostle regards, and would have others regard, such offices of kindness with a fine delicate feeling, not as giving as if from a higher level of condition, but as sharing with brothers, with whom all things are held in common. Chrysostom and others consider the word to point to an interchange or barter of goods, spiritual and temporal, referring to 1 Corinthians 9:11. "In all good things;" in all good things of this life which he himself possesses. "Good things" as in Luke 12:18, 19 ("my goods"); Luke 16:25; the preposition "in," as in Matthew 23:30, "partakers in the blood of the prophets." The exact import of this clause, which has been variously interpreted, is best appreciated by our taking account of the warmth of indignant feeling with which the apostle is writing. This clearly transpires both from the words, "be not deceived," and from the assurance, "God is not mocked." The apostle had evidently in his eye a certain course of conduct which he indignantly denounces as a "sneering at God." This feeling prompts him to accentuate his exhortation addressed to the cold-hearted, niggardly Christians whom he has in view, by adding this clause, which is in effect, "in every possible way;" namely, by giving them respect and good will as well as maintenance. To no other Church does he address such direct admonition respecting the liberal treatment of its teachers, though, perhaps, indirect admonition may be detected in 1 Corinthians 9:7-11. No doubt the news he had just heard from Galatia made him feel the necessity of dealing with them roundly on this point.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Let him that is taught in the word,.... Instructed in the knowledge of the word, either of the essential Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, of his person, office, and grace; or rather of the written word, particularly the Gospel, which is sometimes called the word, without any additional epithet, which distinguishes it, and directs to the sense of it; and sometimes with such, as the words of truth, the word of faith, the word of righteousness, the word of reconciliation, and the word of this salvation, so called from the nature, use, and subject matter of it. He that is taught in this, is, according to the original word used here, a "catechumen"; and which designs not one that is just beginning to learn the first principles of the oracles of God, but anyone that is instructed in it, as this word is rendered in Romans 2:18 whether more or less, or whether internally or externally: one that is internally taught in and by the word, is one that has been taught to know himself, and his lost state by nature; to know Christ, and salvation by him; to know the truths of the Gospel, and to deny ungodliness, and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly. It may include everyone that is only outwardly taught, that is but an external hearer; and so the Syriac version renders the clause, , "he that hears the word": of which there are many sorts, and on whom it is an incumbent duty to
communicate to him that teacheth; who is commissioned, and qualified and sent forth by Christ, and whose office in the church is to teach the word, to preach the Gospel, to instruct men in the truths of it, and teach them their duty also to God and men, such are to be communicated to; that is, such as are under their instructions ought to impart of their worldly substance to them, for their honourable and comfortable support and maintenance; for since they spend their time, and make use of their talents, gifts, and abilities, for their instruction in spiritual things, it is but reasonable, and no such great matter, that they partake of their carnal things; and especially since it is the will and ordinance of Christ, that they that preach the Gospel should live of it. The apostle adds,
in all good things; which may be either connected with the word "teacheth", and so be descriptive of the teacher, as the Arabic version reads, "him that teacheth all his good things"; good doctrines, excellent truths, the wholesome words of Christ, which he is intrusted with, has a knowledge and experience of; and who freely and faithfully imparts them, and conceals and keeps back nothing, but declares the whole counsel of God, all that he knows, and that is good and profitable; and carries in it a very strong argument why he should be communicated to: or else with the word "communicate"; and the sense either be, let him be a partaker of, and join with him in everything he says or does that is good, but not in anything that is evil, which is a sense some give into; or rather let him impart of his temporal good things unto him: temporal things are good as they are of God, and in themselves, and when rightly used answer good purposes; all a man's good things are not to be communicated, only a part, according to his ability, and in proportion to others; and yet the communication should be large and liberal, sufficient to support the teacher in an honourable manner, and to supply him with all the necessaries of life, that his mind may be free from secular cares, and he be at leisure to attend to the instructing of others.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. From the mention of bearing one another's burdens, he passes to one way in which those burdens may be borne—by ministering out of their earthly goods to their spiritual teachers. The "but" in the Greek, beginning of this verse, expresses this: I said, Each shall bear his own burden; BUT I do not intend that he should not think of others, and especially of the wants of his ministers.
communicate unto him—"impart a share unto his teacher": literally, "him that teacheth catechetically."
in all good things—in every kind of the good things of this life, according as the case may require (Ro 15:27; 1Co 9:11, 14).
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