Galatians 5:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

New Living Translation
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves.

English Standard Version
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Berean Study Bible
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Berean Literal Bible
Now I say, walk by the Spirit, and you should not gratify the desires of the flesh.

New American Standard Bible
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

King James Bible
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Christian Standard Bible
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Contemporary English Version
If you are guided by the Spirit, you won't obey your selfish desires.

Good News Translation
What I say is this: let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

International Standard Version
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will never fulfill the desires of the flesh.

NET Bible
But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

New Heart English Bible
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But I say that you should be walking in The Spirit and the craving of the flesh you will never do.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Let me explain further. Live your life as your spiritual nature directs you. Then you will never follow through on what your corrupt nature wants.

New American Standard 1977
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Jubilee Bible 2000
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

King James 2000 Bible
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

American King James Version
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

American Standard Version
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I say then, walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.

Darby Bible Translation
But I say, Walk in [the] Spirit, and ye shall no way fulfil flesh's lust.

English Revised Version
But I say, Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Webster's Bible Translation
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Weymouth New Testament
This then is what I mean. Let your lives be guided by the Spirit, and then you will certainly not indulge the cravings of your lower natures.

World English Bible
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won't fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Young's Literal Translation
And I say: In the Spirit walk ye, and the desire of the flesh ye may not complete;
Study Bible
Living by the Spirit
15But if you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out, or you will be consumed by each other. 16So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the flesh craves what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are opposed to one another, so that you do not do what you want.…
Cross References
Genesis 6:3
So the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days shall be 120 years."

Romans 8:4
so that the righteous standard of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Romans 13:14
Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

Galatians 5:24
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:25
Since we live by the Spirit, let us walk in step with the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:3
We all lived among them at one time in the cravings of our flesh, indulging its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature children of wrath.

1 Peter 2:11
Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from the desires of the flesh, which war against your soul.

Treasury of Scripture

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

I say.

Galatians 3:17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God …

1 Corinthians 7:29 But this I say, brothers, the time is short: it remains, that both …


Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Galatians 6:8 For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption…

Romans 8:1,4,5,12-14 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ …

1 Peter 1:22 Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through …

1 Peter 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are …

Jude 1:19-21 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit…


Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, …

Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should …

Romans 13:13,14 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, …

2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves …

Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the …

Colossians 2:11 In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands…

Colossians 3:5-10 Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth; fornication, …

1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the …

1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain …

1 Peter 4:1-4 For as much then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm …

1 John 2:15,16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If …

ye shall not fulfil. or, fulfil not.

(16-26) To follow the guidance of the Spirit is to obtain a double release: on the one hand, from the evil appetites and passions of the flesh or of sense--which is the direct antithesis to the Spirit--and on the other hand, from the dominion of the Law. It is easy to tell which has the upper hand--the flesh or the Spirit. The flesh is known by a long catalogue of sins, the Spirit by a like catalogue of Christian graces, the mere mention of which is enough to show that the Law has no power over them. Those who belong to Christ have got rid of the flesh, with all its impulses, by their union with a crucified Saviour. All the Christian has to do is to act really by the rule of the Spirit, without self-parade or quarrelling.

(16) Walk.--Conduct yourselves: a metaphor very common in the writings of St. Paul, but not peculiar to them. It occurs three times in the Gospels, once in the Acts, thirty-three times in St. Paul's Epistles, once in the Hebrews, ten times in the Epistles of St. John, and once in the Apocalypse.

In the Spirit.--Rather, by the Spirit--i.e. by the rule of the Spirit, as the Spirit directs. "The Spirit" is here undoubtedly the Holy Spirit--the Spirit of God, not the spirit in man.

Verse 16. - This I say then (λέγω δέ). Like τοῦτο δὲ λέγω in Galatians 3:17, and λέγω δὲ in Galatians 4:1, the phrase, λέγω δέ, here introduces a further illustration of a point already referred to. It points back to the line of remark commenced in ver. 13 in the words, "No freedom to be an occasion to the flesh! but through love be in bondage one to another." The voluntary bondage of love is one most important part of the spiritual life; as indulgence in malignant passions is also a leading branch of the working of the flesh. The mention, therefore, of these two points in vers. 14, 15 naturally leads up to the more general exhortation of the present passage. Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil (or, fulfil not) the lust of the flesh (Πνεύματι περιπατεῖτε καὶ ἐπιθυμίαν σαρκὸς οὐ μὴ τελέσητε); walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust (or, desire) of the flesh. The precise meaning of the several words and statements in this verse, as also in the two which follow it, have been much disputed. It must suffice here briefly to explain and justify what appears to the present writer the true view. The word "spirit," it seems most natural to understand in all three in the same sense. To take it in the first two verses as meaning that part of our composite being which has the nearest affinity to the higher moral and spiritual life (whether as in a state of nature or as informed by the Spirit of God), whilst in ver. 18 its import is determined by comparison with other passages to be the Divine Spirit, appears to be an arbitrary variation of its sense, which there is no necessity for adopting. The "Spirit" is mentioned alongside with "the flesh," not because it belongs to the like category of being a part of our nature, but because he has been graciously sent forth by God to contravene in us that evil principle which else we should be unable to overcome. This evil principle is termed "the flesh;" not as being merely sensual corruption, though vices of that class are mentioned in vers. 19 and 21 as leading instances of its working; for we see in vers. 20 and 21 vicious works of the flesh specified, which are to be referred to malignity (comp. 1 Corinthians 3:3), or to a perversion of the religious element, rather than to sensuality. It appears, therefore, to denote the principle of corruption which taints our moral nature in general - that which in the ninth of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England is deflated under the heading of "Original or Birth-Sin.' The word "flesh" may be supposed to have been selected to denote this, because the depravation of our sensuous beings into sensuality constituted the most prominent and noticeable form in which the general degradation of our state from its proper nobler life in God manifests itself. The dative case of Πνεύματι, marks - either the sphere, element, path, in which we are to walk, which is intended by the rendering in our Authorized Version, "in the Spirit," as the dative is used with πορεύεσθαι (Authorized Version, "walk" ) in Acts 9:31; Acts 14:16, and with περιπατεῖν, walk, in Acts 21:21; 2 Corinthians 12:18; or the rule according to which, together with the enabling power by which, our daily behaviour is to be regulated, so as to be synonymous with the phrase, "walking after (κατὰ) the Spirit," in Romans 8:4. The meaning at all events seems to be, Let the prompting of the Spirit be your guide, and the grace of the Spirit your strength, in the course of your life continually. This is afterwards expressed as being "led by the Spirit" (ver. 18), and as an "orderly walking by the Spirit' (ver. 25). The exhortation implies two things: first, that the Christians addressed, had had the gift of the Holy Spirit imparted to them (comp. Galatians 3:2; Galatians 4:6, where" our hearts" includes the persons addressed; 1 Corinthians 12:13); and next, that this gift would not avail for the actual sanctification of their life without diligent endeavours after self-improvement on their own part. Comp. Philippians 2:12, 13, "Work out your own salvation [i.e. by your own endeavours work out your salvation] with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure." The generality of the form in which the exhortation is couched intimates that they were to endeavour to live in compliance with the Spirit's promptings in all the branches of spiritual activity proper to their Christian calling; not only in that of "love" already adverted to, but in those others also which the apostle presently after counts up in vers. 22, 23. It inculcates, therefore, the cultivation of a joyous spirit of filial love towards God, as well as a high strain of virtuous conduct towards their fellow-men and in relation to their own selves. In the next clause, the words, οὐ μὴ τελέσητε, "ye shall not fulfil." are by many (see margin of our Authorized Version)taken in an imperative sense; as if it were, walk by the Spirit, and by no means fulfil the desire of the flesh. It is, however, with much force objected to this view that, although the future with οὐ is often used for an imperative, as οὐ κλοψεις οὐκ ἐπιορκήσεις, etc., there is no instance adduced of οὐ μὴ being used in the New Testament in this sense. We are led, therefore, to adopt the other view, that the passage belongs to that form of sentence in which an imperative clause is followed by a clause denoting the result which will ensue in case the direction before given has been complied with; as e.g. "Come unto me... and I will give you rest." In place of the simple οὐ τελέσετε, we have the more emphatic form, οὐ μὴ τελέσητε, "Of a surety ye will not," etc. By writing thus the apostle strongly accentuates the statement that walking by the Spirit is absolutely incompatible with an indulgence in the inclinations prompted by the flesh. There is probably a twofold doctrinal inference couched under this emphatic statement; namely, Ye will of a surety not fall under the Law's condemnation (comp. Romans 8:1-4); and, Ye will not need the Law's restraints (1 Timothy 1:9). But it is pregnant also with a hint of rebuke and of practical direction, not unneeded by the Galatians (ver. 15). The article is wanting before ἐπιθυμίαν, probably because it is wanting before σαρκός, as in καταβολῆς κόσμου, Luke 11:50; ἀρχῆς κτίσεως, Mark 10:6; ἔργων νόμου, Romans 3:20, etc.; so that ἐπιθυμίαν σαρκὸς is put for τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν τῆς σαρκός. The verb τελέσητε is selected in preference to ποιήσητε (cf. Ephesians 2:2, ποιοῦντες) to express the idea that it is impossible for one walking by the Spirit to carry into full effect any desire of the flesh. For this is the proper force of the verb τελεῖν, of which the ever-memorable Τετέλεσται, "It is finished" (John 19:30), is a typical illustration. This meaning obtains even in Romans 2:28 and James 2:8. The apostle seems to concede that the desire of the flesh may be felt by one who is walking by the Spirit; nay, even in at least an inchoate degree, given way to; but this much he affirms, that it will be impossible for such a one to ear,' y it out into full accomplishment. This qualified representation of the Christian's holiness is intimated in the next verse more explicitly. This I say then, walk in the Spirit,.... The advice the apostle thinks fit to give, and which he would have observed, is, to "walk in the Spirit", that is, either after the Spirit of God; making the word inspired by him the rule of behaviour, which as it is the standard of faith, so of practice, and is the lamp unto our feet, and the light unto our path; taking him himself for a guide, who not only guides into all truth, but in the way of holiness and righteousness unto the land of uprightness; and depending upon his grace and strength for assistance throughout the whole of our walk and conversation: or in the exercise of the graces of the Spirit of God; as in the exercise of faith upon the person and grace of Christ, of which the Spirit is the author; and in love to God, Christ, and one another, which is a fruit of the Spirit; and in humility, lowliness of mind, meekness and condescension; all which is to walk in the Spirit, or spiritually, and strengthens the argument for love the apostle is upon: and this he encourages to by observing,

and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh; he does not say there shall be no flesh, nor any lust of the flesh in them if they walk spiritually; or that the flesh should not act and operate in them; or that they should do no sinful action; all which is only true of Christ; and the contrary is to be found and observed in all true Christians, though ever so spiritual; but that they should not fulfil or perfect the lust of the flesh; should not give up themselves entirely to the power and dictates of the flesh, so as to be under it and at its command, and be obedient servants and slaves unto it; for, in this sense only, such that are spiritual do not, commit sin, they do not make a trade of it, it is not their constant employ or course of conversation. 16. This I say then—Repeating in other words, and explaining the sentiment in Ga 5:13, What I mean is this."

Walk in the Spirit—Greek, "By (the rule of) the (Holy) Spirit." Compare Ga 5:16-18, 22, 25; Ga 6:1-8, with Ro 7:22; 8:11. The best way to keep tares out of a bushel is to fill it with wheat.

the flesh—the natural man, out of which flow the evils specified (Ga 5:19-21). The spirit and the flesh mutually exclude one another. It is promised, not that we should have no evil lusts, but that we should "not fulfil" them. If the spirit that is in us can be at ease under sin, it is not a spirit that comes from the Holy Spirit. The gentle dove trembles at the sight even of a hawk's feather.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.
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Alphabetical: and But by carry desire desires flesh gratify I live nature not of out say sinful So Spirit the walk will you

NT Letters: Galatians 5:16 But I say walk by the Spirit (Gal. Ga) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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