Galatians 6:1
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
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(1-5) Be charitable to the fallen, for you, too, may fall yourselves. Sympathise with each other. Indulge in no delusions as to your own superiority. Look each to his own work, and see that that is sound. He will find enough to do without entering into idle comparisons with others.

Galatians 6:2-3 are a sort of repetition, with some expansion, of Galatians 6:1. Deal considerately and kindly with the fallen, for you may fall. Bear each other’s burdens, for to claim any superiority to them is mere delusion.

It has been acutely suggested that the Apostle’s tone in this passage has been affected by the recent occurrence at Corinth, where he had to warn the Corinthians against over-severity (see 2Corinthians 2:6-8).

(1) Brethren.—The unfortunate conventional use of this word rather tends to weaken our sense of the delicacy and earnestness of this appeal.

If a man be overtaken.If a man be even stirprised, or detected; not only caught, but caught red-handed, in the very act, before he can escape. A special expression is used in order to aggravate the circumstances of the detection. No matter what these circumstances may be, one who is truly spiritual will still deal gently with the offender.

Ye which are spiritual.—This has reference to what had been said in the last chapter (Galatians 6:16-18). St. Paul assumes that all Christians are animated by the Spirit of God. If, while claiming to be better than others, and to condescend towards them, they were not so animated, their presumption would be seen in all the more glaring light.

Restore.—A good translation. The idea is that of correcting with no feeling of resentment or thought of punishment, but with a single eye to the amendment of the offender. The same word is used for “mending their nets” in Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19. It is also found as a medical term for setting dislocated limbs.

In the spirit of meekness.—”Spirit” here has reference to “ye that are spiritual” in the clause before. It does not mean exactly “the Holy Spirit,” but “such a state of mind as is produced by the operation of the Spirit.” One characteristic of a truly spiritual state is “meekness.” (Comp. Galatians 5:23, where “meekness” is mentioned expressly as one of the “fruits of the Spirit.”)

Considering thyself.—In other words, “Do unto others as ye would they should do unto you.” You, too, are liable to fall, and then you would be glad of the same gentle restoration.

Galatians 6:1. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in — Greek, προληφθη, surprised into; a fault — Through his ignorance, inattention, or the stress of temptation, not considering sufficiently what he is going to do; ye who are spiritual — Who have received the Spirit of truth, grace, and wisdom, and who continue to live and walk by and in the Spirit; restore such a one — By reproof, instruction, or exhortation. Every one who can, ought to help therein; only in the spirit of meekness — Gentleness, and love: qualities essential to a spiritual man, and on these lies the whole force of the cure. Considering thyself — The plural is beautifully changed into the singular. As if he had said, Let each take heed to himself; lest thou also be tempted — That is, fall by temptation; which, being still in the body, thou art liable to do, and therefore may stand in need of the same kind office from thy brother, which thou art now called to render to him. Temptation easily and swiftly passes from one to another, especially if a man endeavours to cure another without preserving his own meekness; and a consciousness of our own frailty should dispose us to be merciful toward those that fall.

6:1-5 We are to bear one another's burdens. So we shall fulfil the law of Christ. This obliges to mutual forbearance and compassion towards each other, agreeably to his example. It becomes us to bear one another's burdens, as fellow-travellers. It is very common for a man to look upon himself as wiser and better than other men, and as fit to dictate to them. Such a one deceives himself; by pretending to what he has not, he puts a cheat upon himself, and sooner or later will find the sad effects. This will never gain esteem, either with God or men. Every one is advised to prove his own work. The better we know our own hearts and ways, the less shall we despise others, and the more be disposed to help them under infirmities and afflictions. How light soever men's sins seem to them when committed, yet they will be found a heavy burden, when they come to reckon with God about them. No man can pay a ransom for his brother; and sin is a burden to the soul. It is a spiritual burden; and the less a man feels it to be such, the more cause has he to suspect himself. Most men are dead in their sins, and therefore have no sight or sense of the spiritual burden of sin. Feeling the weight and burden of our sins, we must seek to be eased thereof by the Saviour, and be warned against every sin.Brethren, if a man be overtaken - Margin, "Although." It is a case which the apostle supposes might happen. Christians were not perfect; and it was possible that they who were true Christians might be surprised by temptation, and fall into sin. The word rendered "be overtaken" (προλημφθῃ prolēmphthē from προλαμβάνω prolambanō), means properly "to take before another, to anticipate" 1 Corinthians 11:21; then "to be before taken or caught"; and may here mean either that one had been formerly guilty of sin or had been recently hurried on by his passions or by temptations to commit a fault. It is probable that the latter here is the true sense, and that it means, if a man is found to be overtaken by any sin; if his passions, or if temptation get the better of him. Tyndale renders it: "If any man be fallen by chance into any fault." It refers to cases of surprise, or of sudden temptation. Christians do not commit sin deliberately, and as a part of the plan of life; but they may be surprised by sudden temptation, or urged on by impetuous or headstrong passion, as David and Peter were. Paul does not speak of the possibility of restoring one who deliberately forms the plan of sinning; he does not suppose that such a man could be a Christian, and that it would be proper to speak of restoring such a man.

Ye which are spiritual - Who are under the influences of the Holy Spirit; see the note at Galatians 5:22-23. The apostle, in this verse, refers evidently to those who have fallen into some sensual indulgence Galatians 5:19-21, and says that they who have escaped these temptations, and who are under the influences of the Spirit, should recover such persons. It is a very important qualification for those who would recover others from sin, that they should not be guilty of the same sin themselves. Reformers should be holy persons; people who exercise discipline in the church should be "spiritual" men - people in whom implicit confidence may be properly reposed.

Restore such an one - On the meaning of the word used here, see the note at 2 Corinthians 13:11. Here it means, not to restore him to the church after he has been excluded, but set him right, bring him back, recover him from his errors and his faults. The apostle does not say in what manner this is to be done; but it is usually to be done doubtless by affectionate admonition, by faithful instruction, and by prayer. Discipline or punishment should not be resorted to until the other methods are tried in vain; Matthew 18:15-17.

In the spirit of meekness - With a kind, forbearing, and forgiving spirit; see the note at Matthew 5:5. Not with anger; not with a lordly and overbearing mind; not with a love of finding others in fault, and with a desire for inflicting the discipline of the church; not with a harsh and unforgiving temper, but with love, and gentleness, and humility, and patience, and with a readiness to forgive when wrong has been done. This is an essential qualification for restoring and recovering an offending brother. No one should attempt to rebuke or admonish another who cannot do it in the spirit of meekness; no man should engage in any way in the work of reform who has not such a temper of mind.

Considering thyself ... - Remembering how liable you are yourself to err; and how much kindness and indulgence should therefore be shown to others. You are to act as if you felt it possible that you might also be overtaken with a fault; and you should act as you would wish that others should do toward you. Pliny (Epis. viii. 22) has expressed a similar sentiment in the following beautiful language. "Atque ego optimum et emendatissimum existimo, qui caeteris ita ignoscit, tanquam ipse quotidie peccet; ita peccatis abstinet, tanquam nemini ignoscat. Prolade hoc domi, hoc foris, hoc in omni vitae genere teneamus, ut nobis implacabiles simus, exorabiles istis etiam, qui dare veniam nisi sibi nesciunt." The doctrine taught by Paul is, that such is human infirmity, and such the strength of human depravity, that no one knows into what sins he may himself fall. He may be tempted to commit; the same sins which he endeavors to amend in others; he may be left to commit even worse sins. If this is the case, we should be tender while we are firm; forgiving while we set our faces against evil; prayerful while we rebuke; and compassionate when we are compelled to inflict on others the discipline of the church. Everyone who has any proper feelings, when he attempts to recover an erring brother should pray for him and for himself also; and will regard his duty as only half done, and that very imperfectly, if he does not "consider also that he himself may be tempted."


Ga 6:1-18. Exhortations Continued; to Forbearance and Humility; Liberality to Teachers and in General. Postscript and Benediction.

1. Brethren—An expression of kindness to conciliate attention. Translate as Greek, "If a man even be overtaken" (that is, caught in the very act [Alford and Ellicott]: BEFORE he expects: unexpectedly). Bengel explains the "before" in the Greek compound verb, "If a man be overtaken in a fault before ourselves": If another has really been overtaken in a fault the first; for often he who is first to find fault, is the very one who has first transgressed.

a fault—Greek, "a transgression," "a fall"; such as a falling back into legal bondage. Here he gives monition to those who have not so fallen, "the spiritual," to be not "vainglorious" (Ga 5:26), but forbearing to such (Ro 15:1).

restore—The Greek is used of a dislocated limb, reduced to its place. Such is the tenderness with which we should treat a fallen member of the Church in restoring him to a better state.

the spirit of meekness—the meekness which is the gift of the Holy Spirit working in our spirit (Ga 5:22, 25). "Meekness" is that temper of spirit towards God whereby we accept His dealings without disputing; then, towards men, whereby we endure meekly their provocations, and do not withdraw ourselves from the burdens which their sins impose upon us [Trench].

considering thyself—Transition from the plural to the singular. When congregations are addressed collectively, each individual should take home the monition to himself.

thou also be tempted—as is likely to happen to those who reprove others without meekness (compare Mt 7:2-5; 2Ti 2:25; Jas 2:13).Galatians 6:1 Paul adviseth them to reform the faulty with gentleness,

Galatians 6:2 and to bear one another’s burdens.

Galatians 6:3-5 A caution against vanity.

Galatians 6:6-8 He exhorteth to be liberal toward spiritual instructors,

Galatians 6:9-11 and not to be weary in doing good,

Galatians 6:12,13 He showeth the carnal views of those who preached


Galatians 6:14-17 and his own professed dependence on Christ only,

regardless of the world.

Galatians 6:18 He concludeth with a prayer.

In the term

brethren, there is a secret argument persuading the duty which he is pressing, because Christians, particularly members of the same church, are all brethren. By persons

overtaken in a fault, he means such as do not make a trade of open and scandalous sinning, (for such must be rebuked sharply), but such as may be sometimes through infirmity overborne, and run down with a temptation to sin. By those

that are spiritual, he means not only the pastors and governors of the church, (though this care and duty is much incumbent upon them), but such as have received the Spirit of Christ; more especially such as were more knowing in the ways of God, and had spiritual habits more confirmed in them; in which sense spiritual is used in 1 Corinthians 3:1.

Restore such an one in the spirit of meekness: the word translated restore, signifies to put again into joint, or into right order and place. Sin is an inordinate action, and putteth the soul that committeth it out of its due order and place. He willeth the brethren that are spiritual to use all due means to put such a member in joint again, but not to do this roughly, and with passion, and severe correption, but meekly, so as may be most probable to win the sinner’s soul.

Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted; having an eye and respect to themselves, as neither being free from sin, nor from temptations to sin, dealing with others as they would have others deal by them.

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault,.... Or "be taken before" in one; not, as Grotius thinks, before this epistle should come to them, which is a very jejune and empty sense of the words; nor before the conversion of the man, because sins before conversion do not come under the notice and cognizance of a church, or are liable to its reproofs and censures; but before the man is aware, through negligence and imprudence, for want of caution and circumspection, and so is carried away, either through the treachery of his own heart, and the power of corruption; or through the temptations of Satan, who goes about, and comes on the back of them, lays snares for them, and attacks them unawares, and takes all advantages of them; or by the ill examples of others, whereby they are drawn aside, and into sin. The apostle has no particular respect by a "fault" to schisms in the church, or to any errors or heresies in doctrine, though the restoration of such in meekness should be endeavoured; but rather to immorality in life and conversation, and indeed to any of the works of the flesh mentioned in the preceding chapter; and especially he means any "fall" of professors, as the word used signifies, into sin, through inadvertency and want of care and watchfulness, in distinction from a wilful, obstinate, and continued course of sinning; and intends not any man in the world, for those that are without, churches and members of churches have nothing to do with in a church way; but any man that is a brother, a church member, that stands in such a relation to them, when he falls into sin, is to be taken notice of by them. And so the Syriac version reads, "any one of you"; as does one of Stephens's copies.

Ye that are spiritual; meaning not such who had greater spiritual gifts than others, their ministers, pastors, and ecclesiastical governors, though these may be so called; and to them it belongs to reprove and rebuke, recover and restore backsliders, which they should do in gentleness and meekness; but the apostle here addresses the brethren in general, the several members of the church, even all but those that were fallen: nor does he mean such as have more spiritual knowledge than others, in opposition to babes; nor regenerate persons, and such as had the Spirit of God, in distinction from carnal men; but such as live and walk in the Spirit, and are strong, and stand by the power and grace of the Spirit of God, as opposed to the weak, and who were fallen through the prevalency of the flesh, and force of temptation; whose duty it is, and on whom it lies, to

restore such an one, that is overtaken and fallen. The allusion is to the setting of bones that are broken, or out of joint, which is done with great care and tenderness. Professors fallen into sin are like broken and dislocated bones; they are out of their place, and lose both their comfort and usefulness, and are to be restored by gently telling them of their faults, and mildly reproving them for them; and when sensible of them, and troubled for them, by speaking comfortably to them, and by bringing them again, and resettling them in their former place in the church, and restoring them to their former usefulness and good conduct: and which is to be done

in the spirit of meekness: in the exercise of that grace which is a gift and fruit of the Spirit of God; or with a meek and humble spirit, not bearing hard upon them, and treating them in a supercilious and haughty manner, upbraiding them with their faults, aggravating them, and using them roughly, and with sharpness, which in some cases is necessary, but not in this:

considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted: a spiritual man should consider himself as in the body, and as carrying about with him a body of sin, a corrupt and treacherous heart, that is full of deceitful lusts, by which he may be tempted also, and drawn away and enticed; and as being liable to the temptations of Satan, and of being overcome by; them, against which he should watch and pray; and should think with himself what he would choose, and should desire to be done to him in such a case, and do the like to others that are in it. This is a reason enforcing the exhortation; and indeed almost every word in the text carries an argument engaging to it. The relation the saints stand in to one another, as "brethren", should excite them to seek each other's welfare, and to restore any that are fallen, and to abstain from all roughness and severity. The persons addressed are "spiritual", and therefore should behave as such as have the fruits of the Spirit, and, among the rest that of meekness; and, since they are strong, should help the weak, and raise up the fallen: the persons recommended to them, as the objects of their pity, care, and concern, are not such who have given up themselves to sin, but are circumvented by it, and "overtaken" in it, suddenly, and at unawares. And besides, are men, frail sinful men, liable to sin, encompassed with infirmities, and exposed to snares and temptations, which are common to human nature, and therefore should be used gently and tenderly: The apostle having given an enumeration in the foregoing chapter, of the works of the flesh, and fruits of the Spirit, directs such as are in the exercise of the latter, how to behave towards those that fall into the commission of any of the former, which may be expected, since there is flesh as well as spirit in the best.

Brethren, {1} if a man be {a} overtaken in a fault, ye which are {b} spiritual, {c} restore such an one in the {d} spirit of meekness; {2} considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

(1) He condemns persistent and pressing harshness, because brotherly reprehensions ought to be moderated and tempered by the spirit of meekness.

(a) Through the malice of the flesh and the devil.

(b) Who are upheld by the power of God's Spirit.

(c) Labour to fill up that which is lacking in him.

(d) This is a metaphor which the Hebrews use, showing by this that all good gifts come from God.

(2) He touches the problem, for they are commonly the most severe judges who forget their own weaknesses.

Galatians 6:1. Loving (ἀδελφοί) exhortation to a course of conduct opposed to κενοδοξία.

ἐὰν καὶ προληφθῇ κ.τ.λ.] Correctly rendered in substance by the Vulgate: “etsi praeoccupatus fuerit homo in aliquo delicto.” The meaning is: “if even any one (ἄνθρωπος, as in Galatians 6:7, and 1 Corinthians 11:28; 1 Corinthians 4:1, et al.) shall have been overtaken by any fault,—so, namely, that the sin has reached him more rapidly than he could flee from it (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22). So Chrysostom, Theophylact, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Beza, and most expositors, including Rückert and de Wette; and in substance also Wieseler, who, however, explains προλ. figuratively of a snare, in which (ἐν) one is unexpectedly (προ) caught.[248] There is, however, no intimation of this figure in the context (καταρτίζετε); and to explain ἘΝ the quite common instrumental use amply suffices, according to which the expression is not different from the mere dative. In a mild and trustful tone Paul conceives the sin, which might occur among his Galatians, only as “peccatum praecipitantiae;” for this is, at any rate, intimated by προληφθῇ. On ΠΡΟΛΑΜΒΆΝΕΙΝ, to overtake, comp. Xen. Cyn. 5, 19; 7, 7; Theophr. H. pl. viii. 1. 3; Polyb. xxxi. 23. 8; Diod. Sic. xvii. 75; Strabo, xvi. p. 1120. In ἐὰν καί the emphasis is laid on ΕἸ (if even, if nevertheless); see Klotz, ad Devar. p. 519; Baeuml. Partik. p. 151. Others (Grotius, Winer, Olshausen, Hilgenfeld, Ewald, Hofmann) have explained προληφθῇ as deprehensus fuerit, is seized; but against this view it may be urged that, as the word cannot be used as merely equivalent to the simple verb, or to καταληφθῇ (John 8:4), or ἘΓΚΑΤΑΛΗΦΘῇ (Aeschin. Ctes. p. 62. 17), no reference for the προ can be got from the context.[249] Even in Wis 17:17, προληφθείς means overtaken, surprised by destruction. And the καί does not require that interpretation, because, while it might belong to προληφθῇ (Klotz, p. 521; Kühner, § 824, note 1), so as to mean also actually caught (comp. 1 Corinthians 7:17), or, by way of climax, even caught, it does not necessarily belong to it.

ὑμεῖς οἱ πνευματικοί] Paul thus puts it to the consciousness of every reader to regard himself as included or not: ye, the spiritual, that is, who are led by the πνεῦμα ἅγιον. The opposite: ΨΥΧΙΚΟΊ, ΣΑΡΚΙΚΟΊ (1 Corinthians 2:13 f., Galatians 3:1). In the case of ΔΥΝΑΤΟΊ, Romans 15:1, the circumstances presupposed and the contrast are of a different character. Those very ΠΝΕΥΜΑΤΙΚΟΊ might readily be guilty of an unbrotherly exaltation and severity, if they did not sufficiently attend to and obey the leading of the Spirit towards meekness.

ΚΑΤΑΡΤΊΖΕΤΕ] bring him right, into the proper, normal condition; διορθοῦτε, Chrysostom. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 1:10. A figurative reference to the setting of dislocated limbs (Beza, Hammond, Bengel, and others) is not suggested by the context.

ἐν πνεύματι πραότητος] through the Spirit of meekness, that is, through the πνεῦμα ἅγιον producing meekness. For ΠΝΕῦΜΑ should be understood, not with Luther, Calvin, and many others, of the human spirit (1 Peter 3:4), of the tendency of feeling or tone of mind (Rückert, de Wette, Wieseler, and others), but of the Holy Spirit, as is required by the very correlation with πνευματικοί. See on 1 Corinthians 4:21. But among the manifold ΚΑΡΠῸς ΤΟῦ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΟς (Galatians 5:22), ΠΡΑΎΤΗΤΟς brings prominently forward the very quality which was to be applied in the ΚΑΤΑΡΤΊΖΕΙΝ. In that view it is the “character palmarius hominis spiritualis,” Bengel.

σκοπῶν σεαυτὸν κ.τ.λ.] looking (taking heed) to thyself lest, etc. Comp. Soph. Phil. 506. In Plat. Theaet. p. 160 E, Luke 11:35, it is differently used. Comp. Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 209. There is here a transition to the singular, giving a more individual character to the address; just as we frequently find in classical authors that, after the plural of the verb, the singular of the participle makes the transition from the aggregate to the individual. See Bernhardy, p. 421; Lobeck, ad Soph. Aj. 191. Erasmus aptly remarks that the singular is “magis idoneus ad compellandam uniuscujusque conscientiam.” There is therefore the less ground for considering these words as an apostolical marginal note (Laurent).

μὴ καὶ σὺ πειρ.] lest thou also (like that fallen one) become tempted, enticed to sin,—wherein the apostle has in view the danger of the enticement being successful. Comp. 1 Corinthians 7:5. Lachmann places a full stop after πραύτητος, and connects ΣΚΟῶΝΠΕΙΡΑΣΘῇς with the words which follow; a course by which the construction gains nothing, and the connection actually suffers, for the reference of ΚΑῚ ΣΎ to ΤῸΝ ΤΟΙΟῦΤΟΝ is far more natural and conformable to the sense than the reference to ἈΛΛΉΛΩΝ.

[248] Comp. Goth. “gafaháidáu,” that is, caught.

[249] Grotius strangely interprets: “deprehensus antequam haec epistola ad vos veniat.” Winer introduces more than the text warrants: “etiamsi quis antea deprehensus fuerit in peccato, eum tamen (iterum peccantem) corrigite.” Paul must have expressed this by ἐὰν καὶ πάλιν ληφθῇ. Olshausen affirms that by προ the λαμβάνεσθαι is indicated as taking place before the καταρτίζειν. But this relation of time was so obvious of itself, that it would have been strange thus to express it. Hofmann interprets not more aptly: “ere he repents of the sin;” as if this idea could only be thus mentally supplied! Luther appropriately remarks, “if a man should somehow be overtaken by a fault.”

Galatians 6:1. Ἀδελφοὶ. The last verse protested against unbrotherly tempers; this appeal presents, by way of contrast, the claims of brotherly love even in the case of real wrongdoing.—καὶ προλημφθῇ. The English version overtaken suggests the idea of sudden temptation, and so tends to palliate the guilt of the offender, but the Greek denotes rather his surprise in the very act, and so lays stress on the reality of his guilt. The passage is urging the tender treatment of actual offenders, and the preceding καί enforces the claims even of guilty brethren on Christian charity: “Brethren, if a man be actually detected … deal tenderly with him in a spirit of meekness.”—καταρτίζετε. This verb denotes sometimes the original framing of a mechanism (e.g., of the human body and of the universe in Hebrews 10:5; Hebrews 11:3), but more often its readjustment (e.g., the setting of a broken limb, or the mending of nets in Matthew 4:21). Here it indicates the correction of an offender with a view to his restoration; and the need of meekness and forbearance for the due execution of this delicate task is enforced.

The transition from the plural καταπτίζετε to the singular σκοπῶν is instructive. The treatment of offenders belonged to the Church collectively, but each member needed to examine himself individually, in order that he might fulfil his part with due humility and sympathy.

1. Brethren] The force of this word of appeal (as well as the general connexion) is weakened by the division of the Epistle into chapters. The previous chapter concludes with a warning against provocation and envy—sins utterly inconsistent with Christian brotherhood. We are reminded of the remonstrance of Moses, ‘Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?’ Acts 7:26. The train of thought seems to be: “I have condemned the unchristian spirit and conduct which you exhibit in cases where it is possible that you may be mistaken as to the gravity or the reality of the fault which you attack. I go further. Suppose a man to be detected in an overt violation of the law of God, a ‘manifest’ sin (Galatians 5:19): you are not even then justified in trying to crush the offender. He is your brother. You share his fallen nature; you are exposed to the same temptations as he. Let this thought lead to the exercise of a spirit of gentleness, and seek to restore such an one, to repair his fault, to recover him to the position he had forfeited”.

if a man … fault] In the Gk. ‘even though a man be.’

overtaken] ‘surprised, detected’. It has been suggested that the reference is to some previous offence, the repetition of which would of course aggravate the guilt of the individual and might seem to justify harsh treatment of him. That such is the literal sense of the word rendered ‘be overtaken’, and that it is so used in Classical Greek, is true. But there is authority for the other rendering which better suits the context. The reference is not to the habitual or repeated offender, but to the case of one who by reason of the frailty of human nature had fallen into the commission of open sin. Such an one was the incestuous person at Corinth. The incident had recently occurred, when this Epistle was written, and could not fail to be in the thoughts of the Apostle. The language used by him in reference to it (2 Corinthians 2:6-8) should be compared with that of this verse. Paley (Horœ Paulinœ) sees here an undesigned coincidence, confirming the genuineness of both Epistles. He does not, however, notice the application of the expression ‘in a spirit of meekness’ both here and in 1 Corinthians 4:21, to the treatment of an offender.

ye which are spiritual] Surely there is no irony here, as some suggest. St Paul is full of the great distinction—not always discernible by human eyes—between those who are carnal and those who are spiritual—a distinction based on the contrariety (ch. Galatians 5:17) between the spirit and the flesh. There is a very solemn question suggested by it—Were they what they professed to be? If they possessed the spirit of Christ, they could not but produce the fruit of the Spirit—of which gentleness, or meekness, is one.

restore] The original of this word is used in a physical sense of repairing broken nets, Matthew 4:21, of the gradual completion or furnishing of the material creation, Hebrews 11:3. But it is more commonly employed in N. T. in a figurative sense, see Luke 6:14, where it is rendered “when he is perfected” R.V., and Hebrews 13:21; 1 Peter 5:10. In this last passage, as elsewhere, God is the author of this work of spiritual restoration and perfecting: but He employs human agency for its accomplishment—the agency of His Church, ministers and laymen.

such a one] not the habitual offender, but the fallen brother. Evangelical ethics lend no countenance to sin: they teach us to prevent further evil by the restoration of the offender. This cannot be effected by harshness of speech or bitterness of tone.

in the spirit of meekness] Contrasted by St Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:21, with the ‘rod’; the spirit which should animate every Christian as distinguished from the judicial authority vested by Christ in the Apostles and rulers of the Church. This spirit is produced by the Holy Ghost, but the word is not used here in a personal sense.

considering thyself] The transition from the plural, ‘ye which are spiritual’, to the singular, ‘thyself’, ‘thou’, gives point to the admonition. The possibility of a similar temptation and a similar fall, may well temper their judgment with self-distrust, and so, with charity. There is, however, a distinct injunction to ‘consider themselves’, to observe carefully their own spirit and conduct, lest if their eyes be fixed not on their own goings, but exclusively on those of their brother, the Tempter seize the occasion to attack and overthrow them. Some expositors make these words, ‘considering thyself, &c.’ the commencement of Galatians 6:2. The received arrangement is preferable.

Galatians 6:1. Ἀδελφοὶ, brethren) An admonition peculiarly suited to the Galatians now follows.—ἐὰν καὶ, if even) He who provokes, often considers another as the person provoking; but if another has been really overtaken in a fault, still we ought not to consider ourselves provoked, but rather to consult [to have regard to] the benefit of the other: ἐὰν καὶ denotes a thing easy to occur, but not of too frequent occurrence with spiritual persons.—προληφθῇ, has been overtaken) The passive, as well as the appellation, man, refers to the procuring of pardon; but the preposition πρὸ, before [the over in overtaken], is to be referred either to the offence, comp. Wis 17:17, προληφθεὶς, or rather to the party injured, so that he is said to have been overtaken [first taken, i.e. before we injured him—without our injuring him] who, without receiving any injury, has injured us. As Herodian says, l. 5, τοὺς εὐεργεσίαις προειληφότας, those who have been formerly benefactors.—ἐν τινὶ παραπτώματι, in some fault) for example, vain-glory, Galatians 5:26 : or a return to legal bondage; comp. the (τῷ αὐτῶν παραπτώματι) through their fall [i.e. the Jews’ fall into legal bondage, and consequent rejection of Jesus], Romans 11:11-12.—οἱ πνευματικοὶ) you, who are strong in the Spirit, and watchfully observe that fall. So, the strong, Romans 15:1. This agrees with in the Spirit, which immediately after occurs (comp. ch. Galatians 5:25).—καταρτίζετε) restore him, as a member of the Church. All, who can, should assist.—πρᾳότητος, of meekness) In this is the power of curing: this is the pre-eminent characteristic of the spiritual man [comp. ch. Galatians 5:22].—σκοπῶν, looking) The singular after the plural. Every one ought to attend to himself.—καὶ σὺ, thou also) When one is tempted, another is easily tempted; especially if he wishes to cure another, and does not maintain meekness.—πειρασθῇς, thou mayest be tempted) in the same or in some other way.

Verse 1. - Brethren, if (or, although) a man be overtaken in a fault (ἀδελφοί ἐὰν καὶ προληφθῇ ἄνθρωπος ἔν τινι παραπτέματι); brethren, if even a man hath been overtaken in some trespass. "Brethren;" the compellation so introduced betokens a somewhat pathetic urgency: el. above, Galatians 3:15; Galatians 4:31; Galatians 5:11. But Philippians 3:13, 17 suffice to show that its occurrence at the beginning of a sentence does not necessarily indicate the commencement of a new section of discourse - to which notion we, perhaps. owe the division of chapters here made. In fact, this paragraph is most closely connected with the preceding; the apostle's object being to point out that not even a moral delinquency into which a brother has fallen should lead us to indulge ourselves in any feeling of superiority in dealing with him, or to vaunt even to our own selves (see ver. 4) our greater consistency. In short, he is enforcing by a strong instance the exhortation in ver. 26, "Let us not be vain-glorious." "If even a man hath been overtaken." The apostle supposes the case as one which might very well present itself; the form of expression (ἐὰν, not εἰ), however, not pointing to such a case having already occurred. How possible the supposed case was, was plain enough from the enumeration of the "works of the flesh" above given, so many and so multiform. Some critics have embarrassed themselves by supposing that the καὶ ("even") must, Of course, emphasize the first succeeding word προληφθῇ, "hath been overtaken." But it may just as probably be meant to emphasize the whole clause, "a man hath been overtaken in some trespass." This is proved by a number of other instances: thus: Luke 11:8, "if (καὶ) even he will not give them unto him because he is a friend;" 1 Corinthians 7:21. "but if even thou art able to become free;" 2 Corinthians 4:3; 2 Corinthians 11:6. The verb προλαμβάνω occurs besides in the New Testament in Mark 14:8, "she hath come beforehand to anoint ['or, 'she hath anticipated the anointing of "my body;" and 1 Corinthians 11:21, "taketh before other his own supper." A more helpful illustration, however, is furnished by Wisd. 17:17, where, speaking of the horrible darkness falling quite suddenly upon the Egyptians, the writer says, "Whether he were husbandman or shepherd or labourer in the field, he was overtaken and endured (προληφθεὶς ἔμενεν) the ill-avoidable necessity;" the πρὸ in the compound verb meaning before he could help himself in any way. So here, προληφθ῀ι means be surprised, overtaken, before he' is well aware what it really is that he is doing. "Surprised;" but by whom or what? Not by a person detecting the offender in the very act; as if it were equivalent to καταληφθῇ ἐπαυτοφώρῳ (John 8:4); for the apostle is not at all concerned with the evidence for the delinquency, which is the important consideration in John 8:4, but simply with the fact. Rather, overtaken by the force of temptation; as the verb "taken" is used with "temptation" in 1 Corinthians 10:13; hence the words which follow," lest thou also be tempted." The writer thus commends the delinquent to sympathetic commiseration. But there is no palliation indicated by the word "fault" or "trespass." Not once in the fifteen other passages in the New Testament in which the noun παράπτωμα occurs is there any token of such palliation being intended. The petition, "forgive us our trespasses," is sufficient to exemplify this statement. The trespass may be nothing less than one of the works of the flesh before specified. The preposition ἐν - "in," not "by" - points to the unhappy condition in which the delinquent is supposed to be, out of which it is the business of Christian charity to extricate him. Compare the expressions, "die in your sins;" "dead in trespasses;" and the imagery of a "snare of the devil," in 2 Timothy 2:26. Ye which are spiritual, restore such a one (ὑμεῖς οἱ πνευματικοὶ καταρτίζετε τὸν τοιοῦτον). The apostle intimates that the business of recovering a fallen brother is one which those Christians are not qualified to undertake who, by reason of the strong tincture of the flesh still existing in their moral character, may themselves be justly styled "carnal" (comp. 1 Corinthians 3. D. Putting as it were such persons on one side, the apostle summons to the work those in whom the Spirit hath gained so marked an ascendancy that, compared with the generality of Christians, they may be classed as "spiritual." It was incumbent on such (he says) not to stand aloof, as if it were not their concern, or as ff the delinquent were to be treated as an enemy or outcast (comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:15), far less to indulge themselves in taking pleasure in his inconsistency as illustrating their own spirituality, but to come forward to his assistance. Others, who might justly feel less qualified to act in the case themselves, might, however, take from the apostle's direction the hint that at least they should lend their sympathy to the work of their more capable brethren, desire and pray for their erring brother's recovery, and not exult over his fault. The verb καταρτίζειν, "to make a thing fit, even, just that which it properly should be," is used in Matthew 4:21 of repairing nets; 1 Corinthians 1:10 of a Christian community restored to its proper condition of unanimity; 1 Thessalonians 3:10 of making good any lacking of faith. It is used also (Liddel; and Scott) of setting a broken limb. But there is nothing to show that the apostle has any one particular image of disorder in view. The present tense of the imperative seems to mean, "apply yourselves to restore him;" the actual achievement (καταρτίσατε) may not be in their power, In the spirit of meekness (ἐν πνεύματι πρᾳότητος); in a spirit of meekness. We have the same phrase in 1 Corinthians 4:21, "Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of meekness?' The term "spirit" seems as it were to hover between the sense of the Holy Spirit and of that particular condition of our own spirit which is produced by his influence (compare "spirit of adoption," Romans 8:15). But the latter seems here the one more immediately intended. It is not identical, however, with the phrase, "meek spirit," which we have in 1 Peter 3:4. The meekness or tenderness meant is that of one who, humbly conscious of human infirmity in general, his own infirmity included, is prepared to be very considerate and gentle towards the ignorant and those out of the way; loth to use the "rod." Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted (σκοπῶν σεαυτόν μὴ καὶ σὺ πειρασθῇς); looking to thine own self, lest thou also be tempted. The change from the plural to the singular makes the warning more impressive and searching. The verb σκοπεῖν in the New Testament always denotes looking intently: sometimes on something to be guarded against, as Luke 11:35 and Romans 16:17; at other times, at something to be aimed at or imitated (2 Corinthians 4:18; Philippians 2:4; Philippians 3:17). The former is meant here. The Christian is to be on his guard against his own weak and corrupt nature; lest he withhold help, or adequate help; lest in helping he get betrayed into the sin of Pharisaic self-righteousness - the sin of harshness, censoriousness. The clause is to be viewed in conjunction with the thought of the unceasing conflict between the flesh and the Spirit mentioned in ch. 5:17. "Tempted," so as to fall (1 Corinthians 7:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; Matthew 6:13). Galatians 6:1Overtaken in a fault (προλημφθῇ - ἔν τινι παραπτώματι)

The verb means lit. to take before; to anticipate or forestall. Elsewhere only Mark 14:8; 1 Corinthians 11:21. lxx, Wisd. 18:17. Not, be detected in the act by some one else before he can escape, but surprised by the fault itself; hurried into error. Thus πρὸ has the sense of before he is aware, and ἐν is instrumental, by. For fault or trespass, see on Matthew 6:14.

Spiritual (πνευματικοὶ)

Comp. 1 Corinthians 3:1. Mostly in Paul. See 1 Peter 2:5. Those who have received the Spirit and are led by him. See Galatians 3:2, Galatians 3:3, Galatians 3:5, Galatians 3:14; Galatians 4:6; Galatians 5:5, Galatians 5:16, Galatians 5:18, Galatians 5:25. He leaves it to the readers' own conscience whether or not they answer to this designation.

Restore (καταρτίζετε)

See on Matthew 4:21; see on Matthew 21:16; see on Luke 6:40; see on 1 Peter 5:10. The word is used of reconciling factions, as Hdt. v. 28; of setting bones; of mending nets, Mark 1:19; of equipping or preparing, Romans 9:22, Hebrews 10:5; Hebrews 11:3; of manning a fleet, or supplying an army with provisions. Usually by Paul metaphorically as here. The idea of amendment is prominent: set him to rights: bring him into line. Comp. 2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Corinthians 1:10.

Spirit of meekness

Comp. 1 Corinthians 4:21. Led by the Spirit of God, whose fruit is meekness (Galatians 5:23). For the combinations of πνεῦμα with genitives, see on Romans 8:4, p. 87.

Considering (σκοπῶν)

Only in Paul, except Luke 11:35. The verb means to look attentively; to fix the attention upon a thing with an interest in it. See Romans 16:17; 2 Corinthians 4:18; Philippians 2:4; Philippians 3:17. Hence, often, to aim at (comp. σκοπὸν mark, Philippians 3:14). Schmidt (Syn.) defines: "To direct one's attention upon a thing, either in order to obtain it, or because one has a peculiar interest in it, or a duty to fulfill toward it. Also to have an eye to with a view of forming a right judgment." Notice the passing to the singular number - "considering thyself." The exhortation is addressed to the conscience of each. Before you deal severely with the erring brother, consider your own weakness and susceptibility to temptation, and restore him in view of that fact.

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