Galatians 5
Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
5:1-12.] De W. calls this the peroration of the whole second part of the Epistle. It consists of earnest exhortation to them, grounded on the conclusion of the foregoing argument, to abide in their evangelical liberty, and warning against being led away by the false teachers.

1.] It is almost impossible to determine satisfactorily the reading (see var. readd.). In the fourth Edition I adopted that in the text, as being best attested by the most ancient authorities. With liberty did Christ make you free (i.e. ἐλεύθεροι is your rightful name and ought to be your estimation of yourselves, seeing that ἐλευθερία is your inheritance by virtue of Christ’s redemption of you).

Stand fast, therefore (reff. στήκω is unknown in classical Greek), and be not again (see note on ch. 4:9: in fact, the whole world was under the law in the sense of its being God’s only revelation to them) involved (reff.) in the yoke of bondage (better than ‘a yoke;’ an anarthrous noun or personal pronoun following another noun in the genitive often deprives that other noun of its article: e.g., τίς ἔγνω νοῦν κυρίου; 1Corinthians 2:16: see numerous instances in Song of Solomon 5:1. Cf. Winer, § 19. 2, most of whose examples however are after prepositions. [See also Moulton, p. 155, note 6.] Wetst. quotes from Soph. Aj. 944, πρὸς οἷα δουλείας ζυγὰ χωροῦμεν).

2.] ἴδε, not ἰδέ, in later Greek: see Winer, § 6. 1. a:—it draws attention to what follows, as a strong statement.

ἐγὼ Παῦλος] ἄντικρυς ὑμῖν λέγω κ. διαῤῥήδην, κ. τὸ ἐμαυτοῦ προστίθημι ὄνομα, Thdrt. τὴν τοῦ οἰκείου προσώπου ἀξιοπιστίαν ἀντὶ πάσης ἀποδείξεως τίθησι, Theophyl., and so Chrys. There hardly seems to be a reference (as Wetst. “ego quem dicunt circumcisionem prædicare”) to his having circumcised Timothy. Calvin says well: “Ista locutio non parvam emphasin habet; coram enim se opponit, et nomen dat, ne videatur causam dubiam habere. Et quanquam vilescere apud Galatas cœperat ejus auctoritas, tamen ad refellendos omnes adversarios sufficere asserit.”

The present, ἐὰν περιτέμνησθε, implies the continuance of a habit, q. d. if you will go on being circumcised. He does not say, ‘if you shall have been circumcised:’ so that Calv.’s question, ‘quid hoc vult? Christum non profuturum omnibus circumcisis?’ does not come in. On χρ. ὑμ. οὐδ. ὠφελήσει, Chrys. remarks: ὁ περιτεμνόμενος ὡς νόμον δεδοικὼς περιτέμνεται, ὁ δὲ δεδοικὼς ἀπιστεῖ τῇ δυνάμει τῆς χάριτος, ὁ δὲ ἀπιστῶν οὐδὲν κερδαίνει παρὰ τῆς ἀπιστουμένης. Nothing can be more directly opposed than this verse to the saying of the Judaizers, Acts 15:1. The exception to the rule in Paul’s own conduct, Acts 16:3, is sufficiently provided for by the present tense here: see above.

3.] δέ, moreover, introduces an addition, and a slight contrast—‘not only will Christ not profit … but …’

On μαρτύρομαι (usually, in this sense, -ροῦμαι;— -ρομαι having an accusative, whence Bretschn., al., supply τὸν θεόν here, but wrongly), see reff. πάλιν, once more: applies to the verb, not to the μαρτυρία which follows, for that is not a repetition. Thus it will refer to παντὶ ἀνθρ. as ‘a more extended application of ὑμῖν’ (Ellic.), not, as Meyer, to a former inculcation of this by word of mouth at his second visit. περιτεμνομένῳ, not -τμηθέντι, see above—to every man who receives circumcision,—‘submits to be circumcised,’ as Ellic. The emphasis is on παντί, substantiating, and carrying further, the last verse. ὅλον has the stress. The circumcised man became a ‘proselyte of righteousness,’ and bound to keep the whole law. “This true and serious consequence of circumcision the false Apostles had probably at least dissembled.” Mey.

4.] Explains and establishes still further the assertion of ver. 2.

Ye were annihilated from Christ (literally: the construction is a pregnant one, ‘ye were cut off from Christ, and thus made void:’ see ref. 2 Cor. ‘were,’ viz. at the time when you began your course of ἐν νόμῳ δικ.), ye who are being justified (‘endeavouring to be justified,’ ‘seeking justification:’ such is the force of the subjective present. So Thl. ὡς ὑπολαμβάνετε) in (not ‘by:’ it is the element in which, as in the expression ἐν κυρίῳ) the law,—ye fell from (reff.: see 1Corinthians 13:8, note. Wetst. quotes from Plut., Agis and Cleom. p. 796, τῶν πλείστων ἐξέπεσεν ἡ Σπάρτη καλῶν: Gracch. p. 834, ἐκπεσεῖν κ. στέρεσθαι τῆς πρὸς τὸν δῆμον εὐνοίας. ‘So Plato, Rep. vi. 496, ἐκπεσεῖν φιλοσοφίας: Polyb. xii. 14. 7, ἐκπίπτειν τοῦ καθήκοντος,’ Ellic.) grace.

5.] Proof (hence γάρ) of ἐξεπ. τ. χάρ., by statement e contrario of the condition and hope of Christians. Emphasis (1) on ἡμεῖς, as opposed to οἵτινες ἐν νόμῳ δικαιοῦσθε,—(2) on πνεύματι (not ‘mente’ (Fritz.), nor ‘spiritually,’ Middleton, al., but by the (Holy) Spirit, reff.), as opposed to σαρκί, the fleshly state of those under the law, see ch. 4:29,—(3) on ἐκ πίστεως, as opposed to ἐν νόμῳ, which involves ἐξ ἔργων.

ἐλπίδα δικαιοσύνης] Is this genitive objective, the hope of righteousness, i.e. the hope whose object is perfect righteousness,—or subjective, the hope of righteousness, i.e. the hope which the righteous entertain—viz. that of eternal life? Certainly I think the former: for this reason, that ἐλπίδα has the emphasis, and ἐλπίδα δικ. ἀπεκδεχ. answers to δικαιοῦσθε above—‘Ye think ye have your righteousness in the law: we, on the contrary, anxiously wait for the hope of righteousness (full and perfect).’ The phrase ἀπεκδέχεσθαι ἐλπίδα may be paralleled, Acts 24:15; Titus 2:13; Eur. Alcest. 130, τίνʼ ἔτι βίου ἐλπίδα προσδέχωμαι; Polyb. viii. 21. 7, ταῖς προσδοκωμέναις ἐλπίσιν.

6.] Confirmation of the words ἐκ πίστεως, ver. 5.

ἐν χριστῷ, in Christ, as an element, in union with Christ, = in the state of a Christian: notice χρ. Ἰησ., not Ἰησ. χρ.:—in Christ, and that Christ, Jesus of Nazareth.

ἐνεργουμένη, not passive, but middle, as always in N. T. See reff. and notes on those places: also Fritzsche’s note on Romans 7:5. “ἐνεργεῖν, vim exercere de personis, ἐνεργεῖσθαι, ex se (aut suam) vim exercere de rebus collocavit, Galatians 5:6; Colossians 1:29; 1Thessalonians 2:13 al., ut h. l. Passivo (cf. ἐνεργεῖται πόλεμος, Polyb. i. 13. 5; Jos. Antt. xv. 5. 3) nunquam Paulus usus est.” The older Romanist Commentators (Bellarm., Est.) insisted on the passive sense as favouring the dogma of fides formata, for which it is cited by the Council of Trent, sess. vi. cap. 7, de Justific. And the modern Romanist Commentators, though abandoning the passive sense, still claim the passage on their side (e.g. Windischmann); but without reason; love is the modus operandi of faith, that which justifies, however, is not love, but faith; nor can a passage be produced, where St. Paul says we are justified by ‘faith working by love,’ but it is ever by faith only. One is astonished at the boldness of such a generally calm and fair writer as Windischmann, in claiming the passage for the Tridentine doctrine, even when the passive interpretation, which was all it had to lay hold on, is given up.

As parallels to our passage, see Romans 14:17; 1Corinthians 7:19.

7-12.] He laments their deflexion from their once promising course, and denounces severely their perverters. Ye were running well (‘hoc est, omnia apud vos erant in felici statu et successu, vivebatis optime, contendebatis recta ad vitam æternam quam vobis pollicebatur verbum,’ &c. Luther): who (see ch. 3:1, the question expresses astonishment) hindered you (Polyb. xxiv. 1. 12, uses ἐγκόπτειν with a dative, διὰ τὸ τὸν Φίλιππον ἐγκόπτειν τῇ δικαιοδοσίᾳ: Ellic. quotes, in connexion with the view of the primary notion being that of hindering by breaking up a road,—Greg. Naz. Or. xvi. p. 260, ἢ κακίας ἐγκοπτομένης δυσπάθεια τῶν πονηρῶν, ἢ ἀρετῆς ὁδοποιουμένης εὐπάθεια τῶν βελτιόνων) that ye should not (μή before πείθεσθαι is not pleonastic, but the construction, so often occurring, of a negative after verbs of hindering, is in fact a pregnant one, μὴ πείθεσθαι being the result of the hindrance: q. d. ὥστε μὴ π. or καὶ ἐποίησε μὴ π. See Bernhardy, Syntax, ix. 6 b, who quotes one example very apposite to this,—ἐμποδὼν ἡμῖν γένηται τὴν θεὸν μὴ ʼξελκύσαι, Aristoph) obey the truth (i.e. submit yourselves to the true Gospel of Christ.

These words, which Chrys. omits here, have been transferred hence to ch. 3:1. See var. readd. there. On that account they are certainly genuine here)?

8.] The persuasion (to which you are yielding—active; not your persuasion, passive. πεισμονή may mean either. Ellic. says: “As the similar form πλησμονή means both satietas (the state) and also expletio (the act), Colossians 2:23; Plato, Sympos. 186 c. πλ. καὶ κένωσις,—so πεισμονή may mean the state of being persuaded, i.e. conviction, or the act of persuading, ‘persuadendi sollertia’ (Schött.): cf. Chrys. on 1Thessalonians 1:3, οὐ πεισμονὴ ἀνθρωπίνη … ἦν ἡ πείθουσα.” But here, ἡ πεισμ. being connected with ὁ καλῶν ὑμᾶς, and answering to the act of ἐγκόπτειν in the last verse, is better taken actively) is not from (does not come from, is not originated by) Him who calleth you (i.e. God: see ch. 1:6 and note).

9] ζύμη may allude either to men (Jer., Aug., Grot., Est., Beng., De W., al.), or to doctrine. In the parallel place in 1Corinthians 5:6, it is moral influence; so also where our Lord uses the same figure, Matthew 16:12, where ζύμη = διδαχή. Nor can there be any objection to taking it as abstract, and φύραμα concrete:—a little false doctrine corrupts the whole mass (of Christians). So Chrys. (οὕτω καὶ ὑμᾶς ἰσχύει τὸ μικρὸν τοῦτο κακόν, μὴ διορθωθέν, καὶ εἰς τέλειον ἰουδαϊσμὸν ἀγαγεῖν), Thl., Luth., Calv., all.

10.] “After the warning of vv. 8, 9, Paul assures his readers that he has confidence in them, but that their perverters shall not escape punishment. Divide et impera!” Meyer.

ἐγώ, emphatic, I, for my part; ‘quod ad me attinet, …’

εἰς, with regard to, see reff., and Bernhardy, p. 220. On ἐν κυρίῳ, see 2Thessalonians 3:4:—it is the element or sphere in which his confidence is conditioned.

οὐδὲν ἄλλο φρον.] See ἑτέρως, Philippians 3:15: of which this ἄλλο is a kind of softening. We take the meaning here to be, ye will be of no other mind than this, viz. which I enjoin on you,—not in vv. 8, 9 only, but in this Epistle, and in his preaching generally.

ὁ δὲ ταράσσων need not be interpreted as referring necessarily to any one ἐπίσημος among the Judaizers (as Olsh., al.), but simply as individualizing the warning, and carrying home the denunciation to each one’s heart among the perverters. Cf. οἱ ἀναστατοῦντες below, and ch. 1:7; 4:17.

τὸ κρῖμα, the sentence, understood to be unfavourable, is a burden laid on the judged person, which he βαστάζει, bears. The ὅστις ἐὰν ᾖ generalizes the declaration to the fullest extent: see ch. 1:8, 9.

11.] The connexion appears to be this: the Apostle had apparently been charged with being a favourer of circumcision in other churches; as shewn e.g. by his having circumcised Timothy. After the preceding sharp denunciation of ὁ ταράσσων ὑμᾶς, and ὅστις ἐὰν ᾖ, it is open to the adversaries to say, that Paul himself was one of their ταράσσοντες, by his inconsistency. In the abruptness then of his fervid thoughts he breaks out in this self-defence. ἐγώ, emphatic as before.

περιτομήν has the chief emphasis, as the new element in the sentence, and not κηρύσσω, as Chrys. (οὐ γὰρ εἶπεν ὅτι περιτομὴν οὐκ ἐργάζομαι, ἀλλά, οὐ κηρύσσω, τουτέστιν, οὐχ οὕτω κελεύω πιστεύειν), al.,—its position not allowing this. The first ἔτι is best understood, as referring, not to any change in his preaching as an Apostle (for he appears always to have been of the same mind, and certainly was from the first persecuted by the Jews), but to the change since his conversion, before which he was a strenuous fautor of Judaism. Olsh. objects to this, that κηρύσσω could not be used of that period. But this (even if it be necessary to press κηρύσ. so far into matter of fact) cannot be said with any certainty:—the course of Saul as a zealot may have often led him even to preach, if not circumcision in its present debated position, yet that strict Judaism of which it formed a part.

τί ἔτι διώκ.] ἔτι is logical, as in reff. (De W.): i.e., what further excuse is there for my being (as I am) persecuted (by the Jews)? For, if this is so, if I still preach circumcision, ἄρα, then is brought to nought, is done away, the offence (reff. stumbling-block, σκάνδ. has the emphasis) of the cross—because, if circumcision, and not faith in Christ crucified, is the condition of salvation, then the Cross has lost its offensive character to the Jew: οὐδὲ γὰρ οὕτως ὁ σταυρὸς ἦν ὁ σκανδαλίζων τοὺς Ἰουδαίους, ὡς τὸ μὴ δεῖν πείθεσθαι τοῖς πατρῴοις νόμοις. καὶ γὰρ τὸν Στέφανον προσενέγκοντες, οὐκ εἶπον ὅτι οὗτος τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον προσκυνεῖ, ἀλλʼ ὅτι κατὰ τοῦ νόμου κ. τοῦ τόπου λέγει τοῦ ἁγίου. Chrys.

12.] The καί introduces a climax—I would (reff.) that they who are unsettling you would even … As to ἀποκόψονται, (1) it cannot be passive, as E. V., ‘were even cut off.’ (2) It can hardly mean ‘would cut themselves off from your communion,’ as the καί is against so mild a wish, besides that this sense of the word is unexampled. (3) There is certainly an allusion to ἐνέκοψεν in ver. 7, so that in reading aloud the Greek, the stress would be, ὄφελ. κ. ἀποκόψονται οἱ ἀν. ὑμ. But (4) this allusion is one only of sound, and on account of the καί, all the more likely to be to some well-known and harsh meaning of the word, even as far as to which the Apostle’s wish extends. And (5) such a meaning of the word is that in which (agreeably to its primitive classical sense, of hewing off limbs, see Lidd. and Scott) it is used by the LXX, ref. Deut., by Arrian, Epict. ii. 20, by Hesych., ὁ ἀπόκοπος, ἤτοι ὁ εὐνοῦχος—by Philo, de legg. special. ad vi. vii. dec. cap. § 7, vol. ii. p. 306, τὰ γεννητικὰ προσαπέκοψαν,—de vict. offerent. § 13, p. 261, θλαδίας κ. ἀποκεκομμένος τὰ γεννητικά (Wetst.). It seems to me that this sense must be adopted, in spite of the protests raised against it; e.g. that of Mr. Bagge recently, who thinks it “involves a positive insult to St. Paul” (?). And so Chrys., and the great consensus of ancient and modern Commentators: and, as Jowett very properly observes, “the common interpretation of the Fathers, confirmed by the use of language in the LXX, is not to be rejected only because it is displeasing to the delicacy of modern times.”

ὄφελον is used in the N. T. as a mere particle: see reff.: also Hermann on Viger, p. 756-7, who says: “omnino observandum est, ὤφελον nonnisi tunc adhiberi, quum quis optat ut fuerit aliquid, vel sit, vel futurum sit, quod non fuit aut est aut futurum est.” The construction with a future is very unusual; in Lucian, Solœc. 1, ὄφελον καὶ νῦν ἀκολουθῆσαι δυνήσῃ is given as an example of a solœcism. I need hardly enter a caution against the punctuation of a few mss. and editions, by which ὄφελον is taken alone, and the following future supposed to be assertive, as βαστάσει above, ver. 10. The reff. will shew, how alien such an usage is from the usage of the N. T.

ἀναστατοῦντες, ἀνατρέποντες, Hesych. It belongs to later Greek: the classical expression is ἀνάστατον ποιεῖν, Polyb. iii. 81. 6 al.: or τιθέναι, Soph. Antig. 670: and it is said to belong to the Macedonian dialect. Ellic., referring to Tittmann, p. 266: where however I can find no such assertion.

13-Ch. 6:5.] The third or hortatory portion of the Epistle, not however separated from the former, but united to it by the current of thought:—and, 13-15.] Though free, be one another’s servants in love.

γάρ gives the reason why the Apostle was so fervent in his denunciation of these disturbers; because they were striking at the very root of their Christian calling, which was for (on condition of; hardly, for the purpose of; see reff.) freedom. Only (make not) (so μή with the verb omitted and an accusative in μή ʼμοιγε μύθους, Aristoph. Vesp. 1179; μὴ τριβὰς ἔτι, Soph. Antig. 577; μή μοι μυρίους μηδὲ δισμυρίους ξένους, Demosth. Php_1. § 19. See more examples in Hartung, ii. 153) your liberty into (or, use it not for) an occasion (opportunity) for the flesh (for giving way to carnal passions), but by means of (your) love, be in bondage (opposition to ἐλευθερία) to one another. Chrys. remarks, πάλιν ἐνταῦθα αἰνίττεται, ὅτι φιλονεικία κ. στάσις κ. φιλαρχία κ. ἀπόνοια ταύτης αἰτία τῆς πλάνης αὐτοῖς ἐγένετο· ἡ γὰρ τῶν αἱρέσεων μήτηρ ἡ τῆς φιλαρχίας ἐστὶν ἐπιθυμία.

14.] See Romans 13:8, Romans 13:9. The rec. reading πληροῦται would mean merely ‘is in course of being fulfilled,’ whereas now it is, ‘is fulfilled:’ not ‘comprehended’ (Luth., Calv., Olsh., Winer, al.). “The question, how the Apostle can rightly say of the whole law, that it is fulfilled by loving one’s neighbour, must not be answered by understanding νόμος of the Christian law (Koppe), or of the moral law only (Estius, al.), or of the second table of the decalogue (Beza, al.), or of every divinely revealed law in general (Schött.);—for ὁ πᾶς νόμος cannot from the circumstances of the whole Epistle, mean any thing but ‘the whole law of Moses:’—but by placing ourselves on the lofty spiritual level from which St. Paul looked down, and saw all other commands of the law so far subordinated to the law of love, that whoever had fulfilled this command, must be treated as having fulfilled the whole.” Meyer: who also remarks that τὸν πλησίον σου applies to fellow-Christians; cf. ἀλλήλους below.

15.] ἀλλήλους has both times the emphasis. The form of the sentence is very like Matthew 26:52,—πάντες οἱ λαβόντες μάχαιραν, ἐν μαχαίρᾳ ἀπολοῦνται, except that there λαβόντες, as having the stress, precedes. Chrys. says, ταῖς λέξεσιν ἐμφαντικῶς ἐχρήσατο. οὐ γὰρ εἶπε δάκνετε μόνον, ὅπερ ἐστὶ θυμουμένου, ἀλλὰ καὶ κατεσθίετε, ὅπερ ἐστὶν ἐμμένοντος τῇ πονηρίᾳ. ὁ μὲν γὰρ δάκνων, ὀργῆς ἐπλήρωσε πάθος· ὁ δὲ κατεσθίων, θηριωδίας ἐσχάτης παρέσχεν ἀπόδειξιν, δήγματα δὲ κ. βρώσεις οὐ τὰς σωματικάς φησιν, ἀλλὰ τὰς πολὺ χαλεπωτέρας. οὐ γὰρ οὕτως ὁ ἀνθρωπίνης ἀπογευσάμενος σαρκὸς ἔβλαψεν, ὡς ὁ δήγματα εἰς τὴν ψυχὴν πηγνύς· ὅσον γὰρ ψυχὴ τιμιωτέρα σώματος, τοσούτῳ χαλεπωτέρα ἡ ταύτης βλάβη.

ἀναλωθ.] The literal sense must be kept,—consumed (by one another),—your spiritual life altogether annihilated: ἡ γὰρ διάστασις κ. ἡ μάχη φθοροποιὸν κ. ἀναλωτικὸν καὶ τῶν δεχομένων αὐτὴν κ. τῶν εἰσαγόντων, καὶ σητὸς μᾶλλον ἅπαντα ἀνατρώγει. Chrys.

16-26.] Exhortation to a spiritual life, and warning against the works of the flesh.

16.] λέγω δέ refers to ver. 13—repeating, and explaining it—q. d., ‘What I mean, is this.’

πνεύματι, the normal dative, of the rule, or manner, after or in which: Meyer quotes Hom. II. ο. 194, οὔτι Διὸς βέομαι φρεσίν:—by the Spirit. But πν. is not man’s ‘spiritual part,’ as Beza, Rück., De W., al.; nor is πνεύματιafter a spiritual manner,’ Peile,—nor will ἡ ἐνοικοῦσα χάρις give the force of πνεῦμα (Thdrt.): it is (as in ver. 5) the Holy Spirit of God: this will be clear on comparing with our vv. 16-18, the more expanded parallel passage, Rom_7:22-11. The history of the verbal usage is, that πνεῦμα, as χριστός and θεός, came to be used as a proper name: so that the supposed distinction between τὸ πν. as the objective (the Holy Ghost), and πν. as the subjective (man’s spirit), does not hold.

σαρκός] the natural man:—that whole state of being in the flesh, out of which spring the practices and thoughts of ver. 19.

οὐ μὴ τελέσητε] Is this (1) merely future in meaning, and a sequence on πνεύματι περιπ., ‘and ye shall not fulfil,’—or is it (2) imperative, ‘and fulfil not?’ Ellic. in his note has shewn that this latter meaning is allowable, it being doubtful even in classical Greek whether there are not some instances of οὐ μή with the second person subjunctive imperatively used, and the tendency of later Greek being rather to use the subjunctive aorist for the future. And Meyer defends it on exegetical grounds. But surely (1) is much to be preferred on these same grounds. For the next and following verses go to shew just what this verse will then assert, viz. that the Spirit and the flesh exclude one another.

17.] Substantiation of the preceding,—that if ye walk by the Spirit, ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. The second γάρ (see var. readd.) gives a reason for the continual ἐπιθυμεῖν of these two against one another: viz., that they are opposites.

ἵνα] not ‘so that:’—this is the result: but more is expressed by ἵνα. Winer gives the meaning well: “Atque hujus luctæ hoc est consilium, ut &c. Scil. τὸ πν. impedit vos, quo minus perficiatis τὰ τῆς σαρκός (ea, quæ ἡ σάρξ perficere cupit), contra ἡ σάρξ adversatur vobis ubi τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος peragere studetis;” and Bengel: “Spiritus obnititur carni et actioni malæ: caro, Spiritui et action! bonæ, ut (ἵνα) neque illa neque hæc peragatur.” The necessity of supposing an ecbatic meaning for ἵνα in theology is obviated by remembering, that with God, results are all purposed.

See this verse expanded in Romans 7:8. as above: in 7:20 we have nearly the same words, and the same construction.

It is true that θέλειν there applies only to one side, the better will, striving after good: whereas here it must be taken ‘sensu communi,’ for ‘will’ in general, to whichever way inclined. So that our verse requires expansion, both in the direction of Romans 7:15-20,—and in the other direction, οὐ γὰρ ὃ θέλω (after the natural man) ποιῶ κακόν· ἀλλʼ ὃ οὐ θέλω ἀγαθόν, τοῦτο ποιῶ,—to make it logically complete.

18.] By this verse, the locus respecting the flesh and the Spirit is interwoven into the general argument, thus (cf. ver. 23): the law is made for the flesh, and the works of the flesh: the Spirit and flesh ἀντίκεινται: if (δέ bringing out the contrast between the treatment of both in ver. 17, and the selection of one side in this verse) then ye are led by (see Rom. ref., ὅσοι … πνεύματι θεοῦ ἄγονται, οὗτοι υἱοί εἰσιν θεοῦ) the Spirit, ye are not under the law. This he proceeds to substantiate, by specifying the works of the flesh and of the Spirit. This interpretation is better than the merely practical one of Chrys., al., ὁ γὰρ πνεῦμα ἔχων ὡς χρή, σβέννυσι διὰ τούτου πονηρὰν ἐπιθυμίαν ἅπασαν· ὁ δὲ τούτων ἀπαλλαγεὶς οὐ δεῖται τῆς ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου βοηθείας, ὑψηλότερος πολλῷ τῆς ἐκείνου παραγγελίας γενόμενος,—for it is a very different thing οὐ δεῖσθαι νόμου, from οὐκ εἶναι ὑπὸ νόμον.

19-23.] substantiates (see above) ver. 18.

19.] φανερά (emphatic), plain to all, not needing, like the more hidden fruits of the Spirit, to be educed and specified: and therefore more clearly amenable to law, which takes cognizance of τὰ φανερά.

ἅτινά ἐστιν] almost = ‘for example:’ ‘qualia sunt:’ see on ch. 4:24.

ἀκαθ., impurity in general.

ἀσέλγ., ἑτοιμότης πρὸς πᾶσαν ἡδονήν, Etym. Mag. It does not seem to include necessarily the idea of lasciviousness: “Demosthenes, making mention of the blow which Meidias had given him, characterizes it as in keeping with the well-known ἀσέλγεια of the man (Meid. 514). Elsewhere he joins δεσποτικῶς and ἀσελγῶς and προπετῶς.” Trench, New Test. Synonyms, p. 64. The best word for it seems to be wantonness, ‘protervitas.’

20.] εἰδωλ., in its proper meaning of idolatry: not, as Olsh., ‘sins of lust,’ because of the unclean orgies of idolatry.

φαρμ., either ‘poisonings,’ or ‘sorceries.’ The latter is preferable, as more frequently its sense in the LXX and N. T. (reff.), and because (Mey.) Asia was particularly addicted to sorceries (Acts 19:19).

θυμοί] passionate outbreaks. θυμὸς μέν ἐστι πρόσκαιρος, ὀργὴ δὲ πολυχρόνιος μνησικακία, Ammonius. διαφέρει δὲ θυμὸς ὀργῆς, τῷ θυμὸν μὲν εἶναι ὀργὴν ἀναθυμιωμένην κ. ἔτι ἐκκαιομένην, ὀργὴν δὲ ὄρεξιν ἀντιτιμωρήσεως. Orig. sel. in Psa_2, vol. ii. 541: both cited by Trench, Syn. p. 146.

ζῆλος, jealousy (in bad sense)—reff.

ἐριθεῖαι] not ‘strife,’ as E. V. and commonly, in error: see note on Romans 2:8,—but cabals, unworthy compassings of selfish ends.

Wetst. N. T. ii. p. 147, traces in a note the later meanings of αἵρεσις. Here διχοστ., divisions, seems to lead to αἱρέσ., parties, composed of those who have chosen their self-willed line and adhere to it. Trench quotes Aug. (cont. Crescon. Don. ii. 7 (9), vol. ix. p. 471): “Schisma est recens congregationis ex aliquâ sententiarum diversitate dissensio: hæresis autem schisma inveteratum.” But we must not think of an ecclesiastical meaning only, or chiefly here.

21. φθόν., (φόν.)] see Romans 1:29, where we have the same alliteration.

ἃ προλ.] The construction of is exactly as John 8:54, ὃν ὑμεῖς λέγετε ὅτι θεὸς ὑμῶν ἐστιν:—it is governed, but only as matter of reference, by προλέγω,—not to be joined by attraction with πράσσοντες, as Olsh., al.

προλ. κ. προεῖπον] I forewarn you (now), and did forewarn you (when I was with you): the προ- in both cases pointing on to the great day of retribution.

τὰ τοιαῦτα] The article generalizes τοιαῦτα, the things of this kind, i.e. all such things. See Ellic.’s note.

βασ. θ. οὐ κλ.] See reff.

22.] καρπός, not ἔργα, τοῦ πνεύματος. The works of the flesh are no καρπός, see Romans 6:21. These are the only real fruit of men: see John 15:1-8: compare also John 3:20, note. They are, or are manifested in, ἔργα: but they are much more: whereas those others are nothing more, as to any abiding result for good.

ἀγάπη—at the head, as chief—1Co_13. See Romans 12:9.

χαρά, better merely joy, than as Winer, al., ‘voluptas ex aliorum commodis percepta,’ as opposed to φθόνος. We must not seek for a detailed logical opposition in the two lists, which would be quite alien from the fervid style of St. Paul.

χρηστότης, ἀγαθωσ.] Jerome, comm. in loc., says, “Benignitas sive suavitas, quia apud Græcos χρηστότης utrumque sonat, virtus est lenis, blanda, tranquilla, et omnium bonorum apta consortio: invitans ad familiaritatem sui, dulcis alloquio, moribus temperata. Non multum bonitas (ἀγαθωσύνη) a benignitate diversa est, quia et ipsa ad benefaciendum videtur exposita. Sed in eo differt; quia potest bonitas esse tristior, et fronte severis moribus irrugata bene quidem facere et præstare quod poscitur: non tamen suavis esse consortio, et sua cunctos invitare dulcedine.” Plato, deff. 412 e, defines χρηστότης, ἤθους ἀπλαστία μετʼ εὐλογιστίας.

ἀγαθωσ. is a Hellenistic word, see reff. Perhaps kindness and goodness would best represent the two words.

πίστις, in the widest sense: faith, towards God and man: of love it is said, 1Corinthians 13:7, πάντα πιστεύει.

23.] πραΰτης seems to be well represented by meekness,—again, towards God and man: and ἐγκρ. by temperance,—the holding in of the lusts and desires.

τῶν τοιούτ. answers to τὰ τοιαῦτα above, and should therefore be taken as neuter, not masculine, as Chrys., al. This verse (see above on ver. 18) substantiates οὐκ ἐστὲ ὑπὸ νόμον—for if you are led by the Spirit, these are its fruits in you, and against these the law has nothing to say: see 1Timothy 1:9, 1Timothy 1:10.

24.] Further confirmation of this last result, and transition to the exhortations of vv. 25, 26. But (contrast, the one universal choice of Christians, in distinction from the two catalogues) they who are Christ’s crucified (when they became Christ’s,—at their baptism, see Romans 6:2: not so well, ‘have crucified,’ as E. V.) the flesh, with its passions and its desires,—and therefore are entirely severed from and dead to the law, which is for the fleshly, and those passions and desires—on which last he founds,—

25.] If (no connecting particle—giving more vividness to the inference) we live (emphatic—if, as we saw, having slain the flesh, our life depends on the Spirit) in (said to be a species of instrumental dative; but such usage is of very rare occurrence, and hardly ever undoubted. Here the dative is probably employed more as corresponding to the dative in the other member, than with strict accuracy. But it may be justified thus: our inner life, which is hid with Christ in God, Colossians 3:3, is lived πνεύματι (normal dative), the Spirit being its generator and upholder) the Spirit,—in the Spirit (emphatic) let us also walk (in our conduct in life: let our practical walk, which is led κατὰ προαίρεσιν of our own, be in harmony with that higher life in which we live before God by faith, and in the Spirit).

26.] connected with στοιχῶμεν above, by the first person,—and with ch. 6:1, by the sense; and so forming a transition to the admonitions which follow.

μὴ γινώμ., let us not becomeefficiamur, vulg., Erasm.,—a mild, and at the same time a solemn method of warning. For while it seems to concede that they were not this as yet, it assumes that the process was going on which would speedily make them so. ‘Let us not be,’ of the E. V., misses this.

κενόδοξοι would include, as De W. observes, all worldly honour, as not an object for the Christian to seek, 1Corinthians 1:31; 2Corinthians 10:17.

ἀλλήλ. προκαλ.] εἰς φιλονεικίας κ. ἔρεις, Chrys. So ἐς δίκας προκαλουμένων τῶν Ἀθηναίων, Thuc. vii. 18: εἰς μάχην προὐκαλεῖτο, Xen. (Wetst.) “φθονεῖν is the correlative act on the part of the weak, to the προκαλεῖσθαι on the part of the strong. The strong vauntingly challenged their weaker brethren they could only reply with envy.” Ellicott.

These words are addressed to all the Galatians:—the danger was common to both parties, the obedient and disobedient, the orthodox and the Judaizers.

Henry Alford - Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

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