VERSE OF THE DAY
Galatians 6:2 (New Living Translation)
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
We all endure obstacles in our path of life some more than others burdens hinder us share each others burdens living the way of faithfulness to the law of Christ
Are We Supposed to Carry Each Other’s Burdens as Galatians 6:2 Says?
It’s clear by unpacking these words that Paul was addressing two different types of burdens. One we are to help one another with. One we are responsible for ourselves. Paul states that by bearing one another’s burdens we fulfill the law of Christ.
In the Book of Galatians, Paul writes that Christian brothers and sisters are supposed to carry one another’s burdens.
He states that in doing so we fulfill the law of Christ. But then he goes on to say that everyone needs to carry their own burden as well.
This can be quite confusing. What is Paul saying here?
Are we supposed to carry each other’s burdens or not? What are the burdens he’s talking about? Where does the law of Christ fit in?
The Context of Galatians 6:2
To get a better understanding of what Paul is trying to communicate, let’s start by looking at the passage for context.
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. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden (Galatians 6:1-5, KJV, emphasis mine).
As you can see, it seems that Paul is contradicting himself. It’s interesting that he says burdens (plural), and burden (singular). This seems insignificant. But let’s look deeper.
‘Bear One Another’s Burdens’ in Detail
The original text was written in Greek, not English. So, we’ll look at both the original words, as well as their translations.
• Bear – Paul used the same word both times. The word in Greek is a verb that means to take up, bear, carry, to carry (take) away. It also means to endure, tolerate, or support.
This word has been translated as bear, carry, share, help carry, and assume.
• Burden(s) – Paul used two different words each time. This in and of itself separates Paul’s first instruction from the second.
In the Greek:
• Burdens – a weight, burden, trouble, heaviness. This type of burden has real substance with value, carries personal or eternal significance.
This word is found translated into the one word, burdens.
• Burden – a burden, the freight of a ship, cargo, load. This type of burden must be carried by the individual as something personal, not transferrable.
This word is translated into a variety of words: load, conduct, burden, responsibility, luggage, actions, shortcomings.
It’s clear by unpacking these words that Paul was addressing two different types of burdens.
• One we are to help one another with.
• One we are responsible for ourselves.
Still, this can be difficult to understand how to apply, so let Scripture interpret Scripture to find out what Paul meant.
The Meaning of ‘Bear One Another’s Burdens’
See how the bearing of burdens is carried out in these three different translations (emphasis mine).
Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived (Galatians 6:1-3, MSG).
Help carry each other’s burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings. So if any one of you thinks you’re important when you’re really not, you’re only fooling yourself (Galatians 6:2-3, GWT).
Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love]. For if anyone thinks he is something [special] when [in fact] he is nothing [special except in his own eyes], he deceives himself (Galatians 6:2-3, AMP).
The Law of Christ in Other’s Burdens
Paul states that by bearing one another’s burdens we fulfill the law of Christ. He refers to it in 1 Corinthians as an example in his life.
To the Jews I became like a Jew so that I could help save Jews. I myself am not ruled by the law, but to those who are ruled by the law I became like someone who is ruled by the law. I did this to help save those who are ruled by the law. To those who are without the law I became like someone who is without the law. I did this to help save those who are without the law. (But really, I am not without God’s law — I am ruled by the law of Christ.) To those who are weak, I became weak so that I could help save them. I have become all things to all people. I did this so that I could save people in any way possible. (1 Corinthians 9:20-22, ERV, emphasis mine).
What is this law and where is it written? It isn’t defined in Scripture as such but is understood to be the law of love.
Jesus the Christ revealed this law when asked what the most important command was.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).
James speaks of the law of love, calling it royal.
Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (James 2:8).
Love One Another As Christ Loves Us
God is love and Paul admonishes us to imitate him as dear children.
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (Ephesians 5:1-2).
Galatians 6:2 Meaning of Carry Each Other’s Burdens
Feb 9, 2020 by Editor in Chief
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Explanation and Commentary of Galatians 6:2
There are many ways that we may be called upon to carry the burdens of a brother or sister in Christ, but it seems that in this context, Paul is referring to the burden of the sins of our fellow believers, particularly those in our local context of the church to which we belong.
The verse prior said to “gently restore” someone who has fallen into sin, “watching” ourselves in the process so that we won’t be tempted as well. It is a means of grace to the believer to be in community with other believers who are willing to lovingly confront them in their sin. The Spirit of Christ in my brother or sister is often more reliable and clear-headed than the Spirit of Christ in me, especially when I have created a blind spot by giving in to some temptation and perhaps rationalizing it to the point of callousness.
The command here to carry burdens for one another is about the willingness to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15), and carry out this truth-speaking with great understanding.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Galatians 6:2
#1 “Carry each other’s burdens,”
Starting with empathic concern for the pain and trial of a brother or sister, when we join Jesus’ Church, officially in membership in the local church, or unofficially in the universal brotherhood with all Christians in the family of God, we commit to a certain responsibility to one another. We love one another. We care for one another. And in this verse, we will consider that God wants to speak to our brother or sister through our confrontation of them in their sin and possibly through church discipline.
#2 “and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
If the law of Christ is to love one another as he has loved us (Jn 13:34), then this is a neglected, but necessary way to fulfill that law. Gentle restoration of a dear brother or sister in sin is a most loving action. It requires us to first die to our people-pleasing, and then to our self-righteousness. We take on responsibility to one another in this way, but not for one another. Ultimately, God is the one who is responsible for them. We are not tasked to change the heart of another, only to be used by God in his plan to change their hearts. If we get confused on that issue, we will take on God’s burden instead of our own. This is too heavy for anyone but God to bear, and we will only attempt it out of our own self-importance, a trap that will harm both the brother in sin and bearer of the burden.
Bible Study on Galatians 6:2
What does Galatians 6:2 mean?
Paul is giving instructions to the Galatian Christians about how to live with each other as Spirit-powered people in Christ. In the previous verse, he told them that when one is caught by sin, others should step in to help restore that person to walking by the Spirit again.
Now he tells them, and by extension all Christians, to help carry each other’s burdens. Notice what this means: Being in Christ does not mean we won’t have burdens to carry in this earthly life. We will. One of those burdens is the weightiness of our temptation to give into sin, and the heaviness of trying to get out of it. Paul wanted us to share that burden and not battle sin and temptation on our own.
The term used here by Paul is instructive. He describes these weights using the Greek term barē, which in New Testament use applies to something excessive or extreme in its weight (Revelation 2:24; Matthew 20:12). Later, Paul will use a different term, phortion, which is used for more-manageable burdens (Matthew 11:30; Acts 27:10).
We carry other burdens, as well, and sometimes we go through seasons where those burdens are too much for us to haul around. Such burdens might include relationship issues, financial problems, illness, indecision, or emotional difficulties. God’s Spirit certainly gives us the power to deal with these issues, but another way God intends to provide for those in Christ is by giving us the ability to help each other.
One way we can fail in this area is by refusing to allow anyone to see the burdens we are carrying. We can mistakenly think that being a Christian means we should be self-reliant in every way, all the time. In a few verses, Paul will write that we do need to carry the weight of our responsibilities in Christ. But Christians are also meant to help each other with the loads we carry when they become overwhelming.
How does helping to carry each other’s loads fulfill the law of Christ? Paul earlier quoted Jesus in saying that the entire law is fulfilled in one word: love (Galatians 5:14). Love is the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:1–10 focuses on how those in Christ should treat each other, through the power of God’s Spirit. We should restore those caught in sin with gentleness and humility, and we should help to carry each other’s burdens. Having said that, Christians should be honest with ourselves about what God is doing through us. We need to take responsibility for what He has asked us to carry. Because eternal life comes from planting God’s Spirit by faith in Christ, and not by works of the flesh, we must keep doing good. The harvest will show that we planted well.
Galatians 6 includes instructions for how people who are free in Christ and walking by God’s Spirit, should treat each other. Christians should restore those who are caught by sin, and we should bear each other’s burdens. Only those who plant the fruit of God’s Spirit, by faith in Christ, will harvest eternal life. Believers should not get tired of doing good for each other! The harvest is coming. Paul concludes the letter, writing in large letters that circumcision means nothing. Only becoming a new creation through faith in Christ matters
What Does Galatians 6:2 Mean? ►
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
Believers in Christ are fellow-members of His Body, which is the Church. All are children of God and all have been born of the Spirit. All have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son. All have received eternal life as a free gift of God’s grace, and all have been granted an inheritance that is kept for us in heaven.
Each member of Christ’s Body is accountable to the Lord for the way we live, but we also are responsible for the attitudes we adopt, and the actions we take towards our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We each have a responsibility to support and encourage fellow believers and are called to “bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfil the law of Christ.”
In the previous verse, the spiritual believer is instructed to help to restore a brother or sister who has fallen into sin – but to do it with gentleness and Christ-like consideration. Indeed, the spiritual one is warned against being adversely influenced by the carnal behaviours of others, or led astray by a misguided brother, lest they also are tempted into similar, ungodly ways, or fall into carnality themselves. Paul instructs those that are spiritual to restore those who are not walking by means of the Spirit – or who have been overtaken by worldly sin, the wiles of Satan, or fleshly carnality.
However, in this verse it is having a caring concern for a brother in Christ who has become heavily burdened or deeply distressed, with whom the spiritual Christian should be concerned. Every one of us has areas of life in which we are weighed down, discouraged, and deeply burdened, and the instruction to ‘come alongside and help one another’ is identified as fulfilling the law of Christ.
The Lord Jesus, Himself explained the distinguishing qualities of this ‘law of the spirit of life’ which is found in John 13:34 where we read: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you.” Love for God and love for our brothers and sisters in Christ is the fulfilling of the law – but it can only be carried out by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit in the life of a spiritual believer i.e. a Christian, who is walking in spirit and truth.
There is much misunderstanding concerning the difference between spirituality and maturity in our Christian walk. Maturity is a life-long process, which takes place over time as we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, study His Word, and apply its principles in our life. The spiritual believer is one who abides in Christ, obeys His commands, honours His name, is growing in grace, and is becoming more Christ-like with every passing day. The more we die to our self-life, and live for Christ, the more we mature in our Christian walk, and the more Christ-like we become.
Spiritual maturity is not the same as spirituality. Spiritual maturity develops as we are conformed into the likeness of the Lord Jesus through the wise choices we make. Spirituality however, is not a process but a state. At any given point, we are spiritual OR we are not spiritual! At any given time in a believer’s life we are EITHER walking in the spirit and truth OR we are living in fleshly carnality. At any moment in time we are either honouring the Lord or dishonouring Him.
We are either spiritual or we are fleshly. We are either walking in spirit and truth or walking in the flesh. We are either living for God or living for Self. We are either in fellowship with our Heavenly Father or we are out of fellowship with Him – because the antithesis of spirituality is carnality. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters,” while Peter, who was prompted by the Holy Spirit to confess Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, became a fleshly tool in the hands of Satan immediately after his great spiritual revelation from God.
Christians do not progress towards spirituality in the same way that they progress towards spiritual maturity. Just as one is either saved or not saved at a given point in time, a believer is either spiritual or not spiritual at a given point and there is no middle ground. When we sin in our Christian walk, we are unspiritual and lose fellowship with our Heavenly Father – we are not fulfilling the ‘law of Christ’. However, as soon as sin is confessed, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and return us into fellowship with Himself, and spirituality is once again restored – and we thereby fulfil the law of Christ.
Let us seek to be those that are spiritual and to bear one another’s burdens in humility and gentleness. Let us die to self and live our life to the glory of God so that we may mature in the faith, grow in grace, live a spiritual, God-honouring life, and become a living testimony to the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the many lessons I am learning and the importance of becoming a spiritual Christian and fulfilling the law of Christ by abiding in Him and submitting to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. May I grow in grace and wisdom, humility and gentleness, so that in the power of the Holy Spirit I may be spiritually enabled to support the weak, help the afflicted, bear the burdens of my brothers and sisters in Christ, restore those that have been tempted into sin, and thus fulfil the Christ-like law of godly