A close examination of Galatians 6:10 will show that it is neither authorizing congregational action nor speaking of physical relief. As we read it, let us ask two questions about each verse: (1) Is this authorizing individual or congregational action? (2) Is this speaking of spiritual matters or physical relief?
Verse 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.”
There is neither congregational action nor benevolence in this verse. Rather, the individual Christian is to help his brother who has sinned.
Verse 2. “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
There is no congregational action spoken of here. And the help given is not physical relief; rather, it is helping a brother rise above the fault in which he has been overtaken.
Verse 3 and 4. “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.”
One may compare himself with a brother who is overtaken in a fault and conclude that he is something, when he is really nothing. But if one proves his own life by truth he can rejoice in that he is honoring his Lord, rather than in the fact he has found self better than the one who is sinning.
Verse 5. “For every man shall bear his own burden.”
Every man is to fulfill his own responsibility before his God. There is no reference to congregational action or to physical relief in verses 3, 4, and 5.
Verse 6. “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.”
There is nothing about congregational action nor physical relief here. Nor is this verse, as many suppose, teaching that the taught ought to monetarily support the teacher. Rather, the verse is teaching that the taught (the Galatians) should jointly participate in all the truths taught by the teacher (Paul). Rather than fellowship of money from the taught to the teacher, it is fellowship of the taught and teacher IN PRACTICE of the things taught. In this context Paul was not trying to teach the Galatians a lesson on supporting the preacher; rather, he was trying to teach them a lesson in living the gospel which he preached. He was encouraging them to not have fellowship in the teaching of the gospel perverters among them, but to have fellowship in the teaching of truth. In Wuest’s Word Studies the verse is translated: “Moreover, let the one who is being taught the Word, constantly be holding fellowship with the one who is teaching in all good things.” This is the exact idea of the verse.
Verse 7 and 8. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
These verses instruct the Christian to be spiritually minded rather than carnally minded. And the only way they include physical relief is the same way they include partaking of the Lord’s Supper, i.e., they include every facet of the Christian’s life. But even though included in a general way, one would be hard pressed to claim this as a Lord’s Supper passage – or a benevolent passage!
Verse 9. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
This verse is just as individual in application as will be the judgment. The pronouns “us” and “we” speak of individuals, not congregations. Congregations will not stand before the judgment seat of Christ; that is for individuals.
Verse 10. “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
This verse does indeed speak of doing good unto saint and sinner. However, this entire passage is just as individual in application as will be the judgment! All the way through, these verses speak of individual action, not congregational. And Paul here used the pronouns “us” and “we” to include himself along with other Christians, not to include himself along with other congregations. Let us read verses 9 and 10 inserting both individual Christians and congregations by the plural pronouns and see which retains the sense. “And let us (individual Christians) not be weary in well doing: for in due season we (individual Christians) shall reap, if we (individual Christians) faint not. As we (individual Christians) have therefore opportunity, let us (individual Christians) do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” This reading retains the sense. “And let us (congregations) not be weary in well doing: for in due season we (congregations) shall reap, if we (congregations) faint not. As we (congregations) have therefore opportunity, let us (congregations) do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” This reading does not retain the sense. Paul included himself in the plural pronouns, and Paul was NOT a congregation. It is evident that individual action is under consideration in these verses.
Further, the “good” of verse 10 is “good” that can be done to all – saint or sinner, rich or poor. There is nothing about physical relief in the entire context, but there is much about spiritual matters. I would not be able to render physical relief (benevolence) to a rich man; but if he will give me the opportunity, I can do the “good” of this verse unto him, though I be penniless! I can teach him the gospel that is able to save his soul. Thus, the “good” of the verse has to do with spiritual matters and not benevolence.
“Especially unto them who are of the household of faith” just means that if I have opportunity to help a brother who has been overtaken in a fault and to teach a sinner, my first choice must be toward my brother. I have an especial obligation to him because of our relationship in Christ.
Upon examination we have found that each verse is individual in application and that each verse speaks of spiritual things. There is simply nothing in the passage about congregational action or physical relief. Therefore, if we want to learn what the Bible teaches about congregational action in benevolence, we must go to those passages that speak of congregational action in physical relief. Galatians 6:10 is not on that subject.
Since the passage speaks of individual action and spiritual matters throughout and nowhere hints at congregational action nor benevolence, the man who is determined to abide in the teaching of Christ, is forced to the conclusion that it is individual in application and that it is about spiritual matters.
By --Jesse G. Jenkins
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