Galatians 5:25
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
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(25) If we live in the Spirit.—It seems, on the whole, best to translate: If we live by the Spirit; if we derive our life from the Spirit; if it is by the action of the Spirit that our moral activity as Christians is kept alive. At the same time, another way of taking the words is possible: If we live to the spirit, following the analogy of Romans 14:8 : “Whether we live, we live unto the Lord,” &c.

Let us also walk in the Spiriti.e., by the rule of the Spirit, as the Spirit dictates (comp. Galatians 5:16, and the Note). The life which the Spirit quickens needs human co-operation, an active effort on the part of the Christian, to realise it completely in practice. St. Paul first sets before his readers what food has done for them, and then uses this as an argument and stimulus to renewed efforts on their own part.

Galatians 5:25-26. If we live in, or by, the Spirit — If we are indeed raised from the death of sin, and made alive to God by the operation of his Spirit, and if this spiritual life is continued to us by his indwelling presence in our souls; let us walk by and in the Spirit — Being under his influence, and following his guidance in all our thoughts, tempers, words, and actions. See on Galatians 5:16. Let us not be desirous of vain glory — Of the praise or esteem of men. They who do not carefully and closely follow the drawings, and attend to the leadings, of the Spirit of God, easily slide into this: the natural effects of which are provoking to envy them that are beneath us, and envying them that are above us. Reader, art thou indeed a true believer in Christ? and dost thou, therefore, live in the Spirit of God, so that his gracious influences are the very life of thy soul? then make it thy care also to walk in the Spirit, to regulate every action of thy life, and every sentiment of thy heart, by a becoming regard to him; guarding solicitously against any thing that would grieve him, and encouraging those friendly offices of his, by which thou mayest be trained up in a growing meetness for the society of the blessed spirits above, and for that world where the polluted flesh, the corruptible body, having been laid aside for a season, shall be raised as pure as it shall be glorious, in the image of that Saviour whose discipline teaches us to seek the victory over it, and whose grace enables us to obtain it.

5:16-26 If it be our care to act under the guidance and power of the blessed Spirit, though we may not be freed from the stirrings and oppositions of the corrupt nature which remains in us, it shall not have dominion over us. Believers are engaged in a conflict, in which they earnestly desire that grace may obtain full and speedy victory. And those who desire thus to give themselves up to be led by the Holy Spirit, are not under the law as a covenant of works, nor exposed to its awful curse. Their hatred of sin, and desires after holiness, show that they have a part in the salvation of the gospel. The works of the flesh are many and manifest. And these sins will shut men out of heaven. Yet what numbers, calling themselves Christians, live in these, and say they hope for heaven! The fruits of the Spirit, or of the renewed nature, which we are to do, are named. And as the apostle had chiefly named works of the flesh, not only hurtful to men themselves, but tending to make them so to one another, so here he chiefly notices the fruits of the Spirit, which tend to make Christians agreeable one to another, as well as to make them happy. The fruits of the Spirit plainly show, that such are led by the Spirit. By describing the works of the flesh and fruits of the Spirit, we are told what to avoid and oppose, and what we are to cherish and cultivate; and this is the sincere care and endeavour of all real Christians. Sin does not now reign in their mortal bodies, so that they obey it, Ro 6:12, for they seek to destroy it. Christ never will own those who yield themselves up to be the servants of sin. And it is not enough that we cease to do evil, but we must learn to do well. Our conversation will always be answerable to the principle which guides and governs us, Ro 8:5. We must set ourselves in earnest to mortify the deeds of the body, and to walk in newness of life. Not being desirous of vain-glory, or unduly wishing for the esteem and applause of men, not provoking or envying one another, but seeking to bring forth more abundantly those good fruits, which are, through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God.If we live in the Spirit - See the note at Galatians 5:16. The sense of this verse probably is, "We who are Christians profess to be under the influences of the Holy Spirit. By his influences and agency is our spiritual life. We profess not to be under the dominion of the flesh; not to be controlled by its appetites and desires. Let us then act in this manner, and as if we believed this. Let us yield ourselves to his influences, and show that we are controlled by that Spirit." It is an earnest exhortation to Christians to yield wholly to the agency of the Holy Spirit on their hearts, and to submit to his guidance; see Romans 8:5, note9, note. 25. in … in—rather, as Greek, "If we live (see on [2356]Ga 5:24) BY the Spirit, let us also walk (Ga 5:16; 6:16) BY the Spirit." Let our life in practice correspond to the ideal inner principle of our spiritual life, namely, our standing by faith as dead to, and severed from, sin, and the condemnation of the law. "Life by (or 'in') the Spirit" is not an occasional influence of the Spirit, but an abiding state, wherein we are continually alive, though sometimes sleeping and inactive. If we live in the Spirit; if (as we profess) there is a union between the Holy Spirit of God and us, so as that Holy Spirit is to its the principle of our life, and we live more from him than from any principle in ourselves;

let us also walk in the Spirit; let us manage all our conversation according to the guidance and direction of the same Spirit. Operations naturally follow the principle of life from which they proceed, so that as those who only live in the flesh, walk in and after the flesh, and its inclination; so those who live in the Spirit ought to produce, and will produce, effects suitable to the cause of them, and the principle from which they flow.

If we live in the Spirit,.... Or "by the Spirit", as all do that are spiritually alive. Sin has not only brought on men a corporeal death, and made them liable to an eternal one, but has also induced upon them a spiritual or moral death; they are dead in trespasses and sin, nor can they quicken themselves, nor can any creature give them life; not the ministers of the word, nor the angels in heaven, only the blessed Spirit is the spirit of life from Christ; who entering into them, frees them from the law of sin and death, and implants a principle of spiritual life in them, whereby they live a life of faith on Christ, of holiness from him, and communion with him: and this the apostle makes use of, as an argument with believers to walk after the Spirit,

let us also walk in the Spirit: or "by the Spirit"; by his help and assistance, according to the rule of his word, and under his influence and direction as a guide, to which he had before advised in Galatians 5:18.

If we {l} live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

(l) If we are indeed endued with the quickening Spirit, who causes us to die to sin, and live to God, let us show it in our deeds, that is, by holiness of life.

Galatians 5:25. If the Christian has crucified his flesh, it is no longer the ruling power of his life, which, on the contrary, proceeds now from the Holy Spirit, the power opposed to the flesh; and the obligation thence arising is, that the conduct also of the Christian should correspond to this principle of life (for otherwise what a self-contradiction would he exhibit!)

εἰ ζῶμεν πνεύματι] introduced asyndetically (without οὖν), so as to be more vivid. The emphasis is on πνεύματι, as the contrast to the σάρξ: If after the crucifying of the flesh we owe our life to the Holy Spirit, by which is meant the life which sets in with conversion, through the παλιγγενεσία (Titus 3:5)—the life of the new creature, Galatians 6:15. Comp. Romans 6:4 ff; Romans 7:5 f., Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Galatians 2:20.

The first πνεύματι is ablative; the second, emphatically placed at the commencement of the apodosis, is the expression of the norma (Galatians 5:16). Comp. Galatians 6:16; Php 3:16; Romans 4:12. στοιχεῖν (comp. also Acts 21:24) is distinguished from περιπατεῖν in Galatians 5:16 only as to the figure; the latter is ambulare, the former is ordine procedere (to march). But both represent the same idea, the moral conduct of life, the firm regulation of which is symbolized in στοιχεῖν.

Galatians 5:25. Here, as in Galatians 2:20, the thought of crucifixion with Christ suggests that of the new life which is its sequel. If, then, we live in spirit (i.e., if we have spiritual life), let us take the spirit for the rule to guide our conduct.


25. The mention of crucifixion suggests death—the death of ‘the old man’, which is the condition and birth of the new life in Christ. Very similar is the train of thought in Colossians 2:3. foll.

If we live in the Spirit, &c.] The word ‘Spirit’ in the Greek is a simple dative in both clauses of the verse. Of course it can be understood as such in the former, though hardly in the latter. Lightfoot renders, ‘If we live to the Spirit let us also walk by the Spirit’, supporting the rendering in the former clause by the well-known phraseology of St Paul, ‘to live to God or to the Lord’, Romans 6:11; Romans 14:6; Romans 14:8; 2 Corinthians 5:15, and in the latter by the similar expressions in Galatians 5:16 and ch. Galatians 6:16.

Other commentators adopt either the reading of the A.V., or that of R.V. which has ‘by the Spirit’ in both clauses.

The sense of the passage is—‘If we are partakers of a new life of which the Holy Spirit is the Author, let it be manifested by our submission to His guidance in all our proceedings and actions’—or, more simply, ‘if we really have spiritual life, let its activities be spiritual too.’

let us also walk] The word rendered ‘walk’ here and in ch. Galatians 6:16, is not the same in the original as in Galatians 5:16. It occurs Acts 21:24; Romans 4:12; Php 3:16, and denotes the careful direction of the footsteps—a measured walk—in contrast to mere locomotion. The same distinction is marked in French between marcher and promener.

Galatians 5:25. Εἰ, if) He returns to exhortation; Walk, he said at Galatians 5:16, now, στοιχῶμεν, let us walk. From the beginning of the spiritual life, the walk which is ὁ κατὰ στοῖχον, i.e. κατὰ τάξιν, a walk in due order or regularity (says Eustathius), ought to be maintained. Comp. concerning the wicked, Colossians 3:7.—στοιχῶμεν, let us walk) The same word occurs, Galatians 6:16. [They live in the Spirit, are moved (by the Spirit), and are spiritual.—V. g.]

Verse 25. - If we live in the Spirit (εἰ ζῶμεν Πνεύματι); if we live by, or to, the Spirit. Exact critics have commonly recognized the difficulty of precisely determining either the sense in which the dative case of Πνεύματι, is used, or the meaning of the verb "live." This verb is here distinguished from the verb of the next clause (στοιχῶμεν) in much the same way as it is distinguished from the verb "walk" (περιπατεῖν) in Colossians 3:7, "In the which ye also walked aforetime when ye lived in these things." In both passages it denotes the moral sphere of existence in which it is our ruling choice to live. In Colossians 3:7 the apostle says that their chosen sphere of existence was once worldliness and vice; and, when it was so, then they had followed in detail those different forms of degrading sin which he has specified in ver. 5. The verb "live" is used in the same sense of the general setting of our moral habits viewed as a whole in Colossians 2:20. "If ye died with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, do ye subject yourselves to ordinances, Handle not, etc.?" So, likewise Romans 6:2, "We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?" also Romans 8:13, "If ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye make to die the deeds of the body, ye shall live;" in which last passage the changed sense of the verb in the second sentence is noticeable. In the passage before us, the "we" of the verb ζῶμεν are of course the same persons as are recited by the phrase, "they who are of the Christ," in ver. 21. These persons have fastened the flesh to the cross; by a final, professedly irrevocable resolve, they have renounced sin. The purpose that was the proper, necessary concomitant of this, was to make the domain of the Spirit thenceforward their sphere of existence; their life was now to be in the Spirit; as the apostle writes (Romans 8:9)," Ye are not in (ἐν) the flesh, but in (ἐν) the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you;" for in this last passage the phrase, "in the Spirit," is contrasted with "in the flesh," each denoting the sphere of moral habits; in which sense "the flesh" is often used, as well as at other times of the vitiated nature itself, the indulgence in which characterizes that sphere. So probably "according, to the Spirit of holiness, in contrast to according to the flesh," in Romans 1:3, 4. Now, as in Romans 8:9 the apostle uses the word "Spirit" in two senses, first of the sphere of moral habits determined by the Spirit's influence, and then of the Holy Spirit itself, so he would appear to do here. In respect to the relation expressed by the dative case, although the ἐν of Romans 8:9 is here wanting, it admits of being taken of the sphere of being in which Christians as such live; for so we find the dative used in 1 Peter 3:18, "put to death (σαρκί) in the flesh, but quickened (Πνεύματ) in the Spirit," as also the dative σαρκὶ is constructed in Galatians 4:1 of the same Epistle. The relation expressed by the case, however, may be that which it denotes in Romans 6:2, 10, "die (ἁμαρτίᾳ) unto sin;" ibid., 11, "dead unto sin, alive unto God;" Romans 14:6, "live unto the Lord, die unto the Lord;" 2 Corinthians 5:15, "live unto him that died for them:" thus Bishop Lightfoot takes it. The "if" is logical rather than conditional; they who are Christ's have no life but in the Spirit, and are thus bound in the details of their conduct to act accordingly. Let us also walk in the Spirit (Πνεύματι καὶ στοιχῶμεν); by (or, unto) the Spirit let us also walk. The dative is here most naturally understood of the rule according to which we should walk. If the relation intended by the dative in the preceding clause is expressed by "to," it might be most convenient to render it similarly here; but even so, it must mean with reference to the Spirit as our rule and guide. The verb στοιχεῖν, "to move iv a (στοῖχος ι.ε. ) line or row with others" (see Liddell and Scott), is no doubt chosen in place of περιπατεῖν, the more usual word for "walk," as denoting an orderly, well-regulated way of behaviour. This tinge of meaning is discernible in the other instances of its use in the New Testament, as Galatians 6:16; Romans 4:12; Philippians 3:16. Galatians 5:25Lipsius makes this verse the beginning of ch. 6. Weizscker begins that chapter with Galatians 5:26. There seems to be no sufficient reason. Galatians 5:25 is connected naturally with the immediately preceding line of thought. "Such being your principle of life, adapt your conduct (walk) to it." The hortatory form of Galatians 5:26, and its contents, fall in naturally with the exhortation to walk by the Spirit, and with the reference to biting and devouring, Galatians 5:15, and envyings, Galatians 5:21. The connection of the opening of ch. 6 with the close of ch. 5 is not so manifest; and the address brethren and the change to the second person (Galatians 6:1) seem to indicate a new section.

In the Spirit (πνεύματι)

Better, by the Spirit, the dative being instrumental as Galatians 5:16.

Walk (στοιχῶμεν)

A different word from that in Galatians 5:16. Only in Paul, except Acts 21:24. From στοίχος a row. Hence, to walk in line; to march in battle order (Xen. Cyr. vi. 3, 34). Συνστοιχεῖ answereth to, Galatians 4:25 (note). See also on στοιχεία elements, Galatians 4:3. Paul uses it very graphically, of falling into line with Abraham's faith, Romans 4:12.

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