Galatians 6:2
Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
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(2) Bear yo one another’s burdens.—Take them upon yourselves by kindly sympathy. Our Lord Himself was said to “bear” the physical infirmities of those whom He healed. (Matthew 8:17 : “He bare our sicknesses.”)

So fulfil.—The reading here is somewhat doubtful, and the balance of authorities interesting. On the one hand, for the Received text adopted in our version is a large majority of the MSS.; on the other hand, the reading, ye shall fulfil, is found in the Vatican and two good Græco-Latin[62] MSS., but has besides an almost unanimous support from the versions. As several of these were composed at a very early date, and as they necessarily represent a wide geographical dispersion; as, further, the MS. authority for the reading—though small in quantity is good in quality—also representing the evidence of widely separated regions; and as, finally, the internal evidence or probabilities of corruption are also in favour of the same reading, it would seem, on the whole, to have the greater claim to acceptance. The meaning is that by showing sympathy to others in their distress, of whatever kind that distress may be—whether physical, mental, or moral—the Christian will best fulfil that “new commandment” bequeathed to him by his Master, the “law of love.” (See John 13:34; 1John 3:23.)

[62] Practically, these two MSS. can only count as one as both seem to have been copied from the same original.

Galatians 6:2-5. Bear ye one another’s burdens — Sympathize with and assist each other, in all your weaknesses, grievances, trials. The apostle alludes to the custom of travellers, who, when too heavily laden with their baggage, relieve one another by bearing the burdens of the weak or fatigued, and in that manner show their good disposition toward each other; and so fulfil the law of Christ — Even that law of love, which he particularly and especially enjoins, terming it his new commandment, and making it the distinguishing mark of his disciples; and surely we may willingly receive that law from one who was himself such an unequalled example of love, and who with so gracious a sympathy bore our burdens of sorrow, and carried away the load of our guilt. For if a man — If any one; think himself to be something — Above his brethren, and take up an overweening opinion of himself; when he is nothing — Like what he apprehends himself to be; and in particular if he be so conceited of his own sufficiency, as to imagine that he is able to resist temptation by his own strength, or by the strength of inherent grace, and thereupon insults over or despises his fallen brother, in comparison of himself, and is not compassionate and friendly to him; he deceiveth himself — Is entirely mistaken in the judgment he forms of his own state and character. But let every man — To prevent so great an evil; prove his own work — Narrowly examine all he is, all he has, and all he doth; and then — If his spirit and conduct be found agreeable to the rule God has given him, and so be approved by God; he shall have rejoicing in himself — In what God has done for him and in him, by pardoning and renewing him, and enabling him to walk before him in all well-pleasing; he will find matter of comfort in knowing that his heart is right with God, and that he has his conversation according to the gospel; and not in another — That is, not in the applause he receives from another, nor in glorying over others, as inferior to himself in gifts or graces, in holiness or usefulness. For every man — In the day of final judgment; shall bear his own burden — Shall give an account of himself to God; shall answer for his own actions only, and not for those of others.

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.Bear ye one another's burdens - See the note at Romans 15:1. Bear with each other; help each other in the divine life. The sense is, that every man has special temptations and easily besetting sins, which constitute a heavy burden. We should aid each other in regard to these, and help one another to overcome them.

And so fulfil the law of Christ - The special law of Christ, requiring us to love one another; see the note at John 13:34. This was the distinguishing law of the Redeemer; and they could in no way better fulfil it than by aiding each other in the divine life. The law of Christ would not allow us to reproach the offender, or to taunt him, or to rejoice in his fall. We should help him to take up his load of infirmities, and sustain him by our counsels, our exhortations, and our prayers. Christians, conscious of their infirmities, have a right to the sympathy and the prayers of their brethren. They should not be cast off to a cold and heartless world; a world rejoicing over their fall, and ready to brand them as hypocrites. They should be pressed to the warm bosom of brotherly kindness; and prayer should be made to ascend without ceasing around an erring and a fallen brother. Is this the case in regard to all who bear the Christian name?

2. If ye, legalists, must "bear burdens," then instead of legal burdens (Mt 23:4), "bear one another's burdens," literally, "weights." Distinguished by Bengel from "burden," Ga 6:4 (a different Greek word, "load"): "weights" exceed the strength of those under them; "burden" is proportioned to the strength.

so fulfil—or as other old manuscripts read, "so ye will fulfil," Greek, "fill up," "thoroughly fulfil."

the law of Christ—namely, "love" (Ga 5:14). Since ye desire "the law," then fulfil the law of Christ, which is not made up of various minute observances, but whose sole "burden" is "love" (Joh 13:34; 15:12); Ro 15:3 gives Christ as the example in the particular duty here.

Bear ye one another’s burdens; it is a general precept, and may be either understood with reference to what he had said in the former verse, so it hints our duty: though we discern our brethren to have fallen into some sin or error, yet if we discern that they are sensible of their lapse, and their sin is not a pleasure, but a burden to them, though we ought not to bear with them or connive at them in their sins, yet we ought to sympathize with them when we see their sin is become their load and burden, under which they groan and are dejected. Or else more generally, as a new precept commanding us to sympathize with our brethren under any lead of trials and affliction which God shall lay upon them. And so it agreeth with that precept, Romans 12:15. By

the law of Christ, he means the will of Christ revealed in the gospel; particularly the law of love, so nmch enjoined by Christ, John 13:15,33-35 15:12. Which is not called the law of Christ because first given by him, (for himself maketh it the sum of the ten commandments), but because he received it and vindicated it from the corruption of the Pharisees’ interpretation, Matthew 5:43,44; because he so often urged it, and so seriously commanded and commended it to his disciples; and set us the highest precedent and example of it, and hath by his Spirit written it in the hearts of his people.

Bear ye one another's burdens,.... Which may be understood either of sins, which are heavy burdens to sensible sinners, to all that are partakers of the grace of God; Christ is only able to bear these burdens, so as to remove them and take them away, which he has done by his blood, sacrifice, and satisfaction; saints bear one another's, not by making satisfaction for them, which they are not able to do, nor by conniving at them, and suffering them upon them, which they should not do, but by gently reproving them, by comforting them when overpressed with guilt, by sympathizing with them in their sorrow, by praying to God for to manifest his pardoning grace to them, and by forgiving them themselves, so far as they are faults committed against them: or else the frailties and infirmities of weak saints, which are troublesome, and apt to make uneasy, are meant; and which are to be bore by the strong, by making themselves easy with them, and by accommodating themselves to their weakness, and by abridging themselves of some liberties, which otherwise might be lawfully taken by them; or afflictions may be designed, which are grievous to the flesh, and are bore by others, when they administer help and relief under them, whether in a temporal or spiritual way; and when they condole them, and sympathize with them, bear a part with them, and make others' griefs and sorrows their own:

and so fulfil the law of Christ; which is the law of love to one another, John 13:34 in opposition to the law of Moses, the judaizing Galatians were so fond of, and by which Christ's disciples may be distinguished from those of Moses, or any others. This is a law or doctrine which Christ has clearly taught, and recovered from the false glosses of the Pharisees; it is his new commandment, which he has strengthened and enforced by his own example in dying for his people, and which he, by his Spirit, inscribes upon their hearts. The Jews speak of the law of the Messiah as preferable to any other.

"The law (they say (x)) which a man learns in this world is vanity, in comparison of "the law of the Messiah", or Christ;''

by "fulfilling", it is meant, doing it, acting in obedience to it, and not a perfect fulfilling it, which cannot be done by sinful creatures.

(x) Midrash Kohelet, fol. 83. 1.

{3} Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the {e} law of Christ.

(3) He shows that this is the end of rebukes, to raise up our brother who is fallen, and not proudly to oppress him. Therefore every one must seek to have praise of his own life by approving himself, and not by rebuking others.

(e) Christ, in plain and clear words, calls the commandment of charity his commandment.

Galatians 6:2. ἀλλήλων] emphatically prefixed (comp. Galatians 5:26), opposed to the habit of selfishness: “mutually, one of the other bear ye the burdens.” τὰ βάρη, however, figuratively denotes the moral faults (comp. Galatians 6:5) pressing on men with the sense of guilt, not everything that is oppressive and burdensome generally, whether in the domain of mind or of body (Matthies, Windischmann, Wieseler, Hofmann),—a view which, according to the context, is much too vague and general (Galatians 6:1; Galatians 6:3; Galatians 6:5). The mutual bearing of moral burdens is the mutual, loving participation in another’s feeling of guilt, a weeping with those that weep in a moral point of view, by means of which moral sympathy the pressure of the feeling of guilt is reciprocally lightened.[250] As to this fellowship in suffering, comp. the example of the apostle himself, 2 Corinthians 11:29. It is usually taken merely to mean, Have patience with one another’s faults (Romans 15:1); along with which several, such as Rosenmüller, Flatt, Winer, quite improperly (in opposition to ἀλλήλων, according to which the burdened ones are the very persons affected by sin) look upon βάρη as applying to faults by which a person becomes burdensome to others. But the command, thus understood, would not even come up to what was required in Galatians 6:1, and would not seem important and high enough to enable it to be justly said: καὶ οὕτως ἀναπληρώσετε τὸν νόμον τ. Χρ.—and in this way (if ye do this) ye will entirely fulfil the law of Christ, the law which Christ has given, that is, the sum of all that He desires and has commanded by His word and Spirit, and which is, in fact, comprehended in the love (Galatians 5:13 f.) which leads us to serve one another. What Paul here requires, is conceived by him as the culminating point of such a service. He speaks of the νόμος of Christ in relation to the Mosaic law (comp. Galatians 5:14), which had in the case of the Galatians—and how much to the detriment of the sympathy of love—attained an estimation which, on the part of Christians, was not at all due to it; they desired to be ὑπὸ νόμον, and thereby lost the ἔννομον Χριστοῦ εἶναι (1 Corinthians 9:21). A reference at the same time to the example of Christ, who through love gave Himself up to death (Romans 15:3; Ephesians 5:2) (as contended for by Oecumenius and Usteri), is gratuitously introduced into the idea of νόμος. The compound ἀναπληρ. is, as already pointed out by Chrysostom (who, however, wrongly explains it of a common fulfilment jointly and severally), not equivalent to the simple verb (Rückert, Schott, and many others), but more forcible: to fill up, to make entirely full (the law looked upon as a measure which, by compliance, is made full; comp. Galatians 5:14), so that nothing more is wanting. Comp. Dem. 1466. 20: ὧν ἂν ἐκλείπητε ὑμεῖς, οὐχ εὑρήσετε τοὺς ἀναπηρώσοντας. 1 Thessalonians 2:16; Matthew 13:14. See Tittmann, Synon. p. 228 f.; Winer, de verbor. cum praepos. compos. in N.T. usu, III. p. 11 f. The thought therefore is, that without this moral bearing of one another’s burdens, the fulfilment of the law of Christ is not complete; through that bearing is introduced what otherwise would be wanting in the ἀναπλήρωσις of this law. And how true this is! Such self-denial and self-devotion to the brethren in the ethical sphere renders, in fact, the very measure of love full (1 Corinthians 13:4 ff.), so far as it may be filled up at all (Romans 13:8).

[250] Theodore of Mopsuestia, in Cramer’s Cat. (and in Fritzsche, p. 129), well remarks that the hearing of one another’s burdens takes place, ὅταν διὰ παραινέσεως καὶ χρηστότητος ἐπικουφίζῃς αὐτῷ τὴν ψυχὴν, ὑπὸ τῆς τοῦ ἁμαρτήματος συνειδήσεως βεβαρημένην.

Galatians 6:2. βαστάζετε. From its original sense of taking up, this verb acquires the most various meanings, e.g., carrying in Matthew 20:12, ministration in Matthew 3:11, robbery in John 12:6. Here it signifies lending a hand to help by lifting heavy loads. This does not involve transference of the burden, for it is said in 2 Corinthians 8:13, I mean not that other men be eased and ye burdened: and in Galatians 6:5 it is added that each will have his own pack to bear; but Christian love must ever be careful to relieve each in turn when overtaxed by crushing loads.

2. one another’s burdens] Brotherhood is a mutual relationship, and entails mutual good offices.

burdens] This is not the same word in the Greek which is rendered ‘burden’ in Galatians 6:5. It denotes any weight which presses heavily on the body or the mind, as toil, suffering, responsibility, anxiety. In Galatians 6:5 the reference is to the burden assigned to man or beast, to a ship or other vehicle, to carry, corresponding to the English ‘load’.

and so fulfil] The other reading, ‘and so ye will fulfil’ has about equal authority.

the law of Christ] ‘He calls love the law of Christ’, Thdt., with reference to the new Commandment of John 13:34. The law of Christ is the law given by Christ and exemplified in His most holy life. The nature and the measure of its fulfilment are stated in the Divine Commentary: ‘as I have loved you, that ye also love one another’. It involves sympathy always, active sympathy (i.e. help) when possible. Of our Lord it was foretold (Isaiah 53:4), ‘Surely He hath borne our griefs (Heb. sicknesses) and carried our sorrows’. This is quoted by St Matthew (ch. Matthew 8:17), ‘Himself took our infirmities and bare our diseases’; while the Septuagint version gives, ‘Himself bears our sins and for us He is in anguish’. With the injunction compare Romans 15:1, ‘We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak’. Here, however, mutual sympathy is enjoined.

Galatians 6:2. Τὰ βάρη, burdens) Every fault is indeed a burden: in Galatians 6:5, φορτιον; φορτιον is a burden proportioned to the strength of him who bears it; βάρη are burdens which exceed his strength.—βαστάζετε, bear) constantly and steadily: do not give your help once and no more.—καὶ οὕτως ἀναπληρώσατε, and thus fulfil) [adimplete]. The imperative, including the future of the indicative, as John 7:37 : ἀνὰ presupposes some defect to be made good [or, to be repaired] by the Galatians.—τὸν νόμον τοῦ Χριστοῦ, the law of Christ) A rare appellation; comp. John 13:34; Romans 15:3. The law of Christ is the law of love. Moses has many other precepts. These words, burdens and the law, involve a Mimesis[59] in reference to the Galatians, who were eagerly trying to come under the burden of the law.

[59] See App. An allusion to the opinions or words of him whom you wish to correct.—ED.

Verse 2. - Bear ye one another's burdens (ἀλλήλων τὰ βάρη βαστάζετε); carry ye, or, be ready to carry, the heavy loads of one another. The position of ἀλλήλων gives it especial prominence; as it stands here it seems pregnant with the exhortation, look not every man only at his own griefs, but at the griefs also of others" (cf. Philippians 2:4). The word βάρος, weight, points to an excessive weight, such as it is a toil to carry. Matthew 20:12, "who have borne the burden (βαστάσασι το, βάρος) and heat of the day." So in Acts 15:28. In 2 Corinthians 4:17, "weight of glory," the phrase, suggested by the double sense of the Hebrew word kabhod, indicates the enormous greatness of the future glory. The supposition that the apostle was glancing at the burden of Mosaical observances, superseded as a matter for care on our part by the burdens of our brethren, seems far-fetched. These "heavy loads" are those which a man brings upon himself by acts of transgression: such as an uneasy conscience; difficulties in his domestic, social, or Church relations; pecuniary embarrassments; or other. But the precept seems to go beyond the requirements of the particular case of a peccant brother which has suggested it, and to take in all the needs, spiritual or secular, which we are subject to. (For βαστάζειν of carrying a toilsome burden, comp. Matthew 8:17; John 19:17; Acts 15:10.) And so fulfil the law of Christ (καὶ ὅτως ἀναπληρώσατε [or, ἀναπληρώσετε] τὸν νόμον τοῦ Ξριστοῦ); and so fulfil (or, ye shall fulfil) the law of Christ. The sense comes to much the same, whether in the Greek we read the future indicative or the aorist imperative. If the imperative be retained, it yet adds no new element of precept to the foregoing; the clause so read prescribes the fulfilment of Christ's law in the particular form of bearing one another's burdens. If we read the future, the clause affirms that in so doing we shall fulfil his law; which in the other case is implied. Many have supposed the word "law" to be here used for a specific commandment; as for example Christ's new commandment that we should love one another, So St. James (it. 8) writes of the "royal law." St. Paul, however, never uses the term in this sense in his own writing, though in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 8:10; 10:16), the plural "laws" occurs in citation from Jeremiah. It seems better to take it of the whole moral institution of Christ, whether conveyed in distinct precept or in his example and spirit of action. Compare with the present passage the advice which St. Paul gives the "strong" (Romans 15:1-4), that they should bear (βαστάζειν, as here, "carry") the infirmities of the weak, and not wish to please themselves; after Christ's pattern set forth in prophetical Scripture, of old time written in order to instruct us how we should act. It has been often observed that the phrase, "the law of Christ," was selected with allusion to the stir now being made among the Galatians respecting the Law of Moses. "Satisfy ye the requirements of the Law - not of Moses which some are prating about, but the law of Christ, a more perfect law than that other, and more our proper con-corn." Possibly the words τοῦ Ξριστοῦ were added as a pointed surprise of style - παρ ὑπόνοιαν, as the scholiasts on Aristophanes are wont to express it - "and thus fulfil the law - of Christ!" Galatians 6:2One another's burdens (ἀλλήλων τὰ βάρη)

The emphasis is on one another's, in contrast with the selfishness which leaves others to take care of themselves. The primary reference in burdens is to moral infirmities and errors, and the sorrow and shame and remorse which they awaken in the offender.

So (οὗτως)

By observing this injunction.

Fulfill (ἀναπληρώσατε)

The verb denotes, not the filling up of a perfect vacancy, as the simple πληροῦν, but the supplying of what is lacking to fulness; the filling up of a partial void. Comp. 1 Corinthians 16:17; Philippians 2:30; 1 Thessalonians 2:16.

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