Reading Section 10: Being A Community Without All The Additives 6.1-10

➡ Average Reading Time: 8 minutes

The material in the following chapters of this draft is being proofed.
They are NOT finished chapters. I invite you to read them and leave comments about what you liked, didn’t like, didn’t understand, etc.

Thanks,
Winn

Where Are We Going?

Reading the Storyline: New International Version (2011)
Reading the Storyline: Interpretative Paraphrase
Observing the Storyline: 6.1-18
Interpreting the Storyline
Bearing Another’s Burdens (6.1-5)
Supporting Teachers (6.6)
Sowing and Reaping (6.7-8)
Doing Good (6.9-10)
So What?
Living into the Storyline

Reading the Storyline: New International Version (2011)

Free At LastBrothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Reading the Storyline: Interpretative Paraphrase

Brothers and sisters, if any person finds themselves being overtaken by in an act that would be offensive to God, those of you who are the spirit-led ones among you should quietly set him or her back on the right path. Do think that by doing so that you are somehow superior. Watch your backs lest you find yourself facing the same dilemma as the fallen brother or sister. This action fulfills the spirit of Jesus. If you get the idea that you are somebody in the ecclesia you are most likely deceiving yourselves. Why? Because that very thought pattern is proof that you are a nobody. Let every brother and sister learn to do the difficult work of assessment of your own life, then each of you can be happy that you have accomplished something in life that has value without the approval of anyone else. Every Jesus follower must shoulder your own set of burdens.

Find a way to be generous to those who have formed you in Jesus. Don’t allow yourselves to be hoodwinked. You can’t think that you can make a fool out of God. When a person plants anything, that person will have a harvest. So if you plant stupid stuff like not being aware of others’ needs, ignoring God, you will harvest nothing but thorns and thistles. Jesus followers who are wise, who are planting what God wants them to plant, who are letting God’s Spirit cause the growth within them will find that their harvest will be life forever.
So please do not permit yourself to get exhausted in exercising the good. Why? When the time is correct, planters will see a harvest that is beyond their imagination. In short, don’t give up, ever! So, in light of those thoughts, every time you have the opportunity find a way to work for the benefit of everyone. Where do you start? With the folks that you are the closes to in your local ecclesia.

Observing the Storyline: 6.1-18

There seem to be four thoughts that Paul shares in the first ten verses of chapter 6: bearing another’s burdens; sharing with one’s teacher, sowing and reaping, and doing good (Gal. 6.1-10).[ref] Scot; McKnight. Galatians (The NIV Application Commentary Book 9) (Kindle Locations 5491-5492). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. [/ref] These verses are meant to help the Galatians to overcome the problems of division that were the result of the Jewish agitators bringing a “different gospel.” What Paul is attempting to do in these final thoughts is to demonstrate what it would mean to live as a follower of Jesus within a community when that community is guided by freedom in the Spirit. These thoughts are not random as some might think. They are intended to help the Galatians move into a positive relationship with the Spirit as their guide, instead of the gospel of Jesus plus Moses as their guide.

Interpreting the Storyline

Bearing Another’s Burdens (6.1-5)

The problem that Paul poses is the restoration of a brother or sister when overcome by sin. His solution is that others who are living by the Spirit should help put the person back on the right path. There is a great need for those in a living community who are followers of Jesus to be responsible for one another, to care and look out for one another. This is so counter-intuitive to the modern individual, who thinks that he or she is responsible for only himself or herself and, while giving lip service to the need for others, resents others becoming involved in their lives. He alerts his readers to be careful not to fall into the same sin while reaching out to help another.

The following verses compel the readers to think about what they are doing when restoring a fallen brother or sister. This is one way a family expresses its love. We are to restore, not condemn by wagging one’s tongue about a brother or sister. We are called to restore, not bring factions, where one member of the family brews a dislike of the views of another member of the family and ends up disliking the person who holds the views. We are called to restore. How do we do this? Gently! The translation could read “in a gentle spirit.” It appears that Paul is referring to one of the “fruit of the Spirit” that he has just listed. Gentleness is critical in restoration. Only those who are guided by the Spirit should become involved.

If you think too much of yourself when restoring a brother or sister you are in grave danger. You are just fooling yourself because you are a nobody. Ouch! That’s extremely pointed and would be thought to be out of place in a polite ecclesia society where political correctness has slipped in through the back door. It should be observed that Paul appears to have much more interest in the people of God who are doing the restoring than he does with the sinner. Double Ouch!! It is not difficult to detect that there is a possibility of believing that Paul is referencing those who were practicing restoration in Galatia as being puffed up with a sense of pride at their goodness while comparing themselves to others in the community who were not practicing restoration. The Jewish agitators would have applauded such an effort to bring folks back to the flock by pointing to the boundary markers that had been trampled over. Give a person Law and he will most likely break it. Give additives to a person again and take pride in the accomplishment, while all along causing the brother or sister to be yoked to death instead of released to life. Paul certainly wept over such cruelty to those in the family of God.

Paul moves forward by requesting those, who are working with others to help restore them, to simply check their actions to see if they are living in the Spirit (Gal. 6.4a). Then, they should assess their standing before God, not comparing themselves to other members of the body. This nonsense goes on in the ecclesia all the time. For Paul, it was a spiritual killer. Finally, he told them that each person is responsible for their conduct in restoration. There is no tension meant by Paul for telling the Galatian followers of Jesus that they should be bearing each other’s burdens while at the same time carrying their burdens. His point: those in a community of Jesus followers should be helping each other, while at the same time understanding that they are also responsible individually.

Supporting Teachers (6.6)

Multitudes of comments are made about this verse. The issue is: What does Paul mean by support? Does he have in mind financial sharing? Most writing about Galatians seems to agree that he does have financial sharing in mind when he wrote these sentences to the Galatians. Paul often speaks of the rights of those who are teachers to be rewarded with financial support (1 Cor. 9.14; 2 Cor. 11.7-12; Phil. 4.10-19; 1 Thess. 2.6, 9; 1 Tim. 5.17-18), even though Paul himself often declined such help (1 Cor. 9.12-18; 2 Cor. 11.7-12; Phil. 4.10-20; 1 Thess. 2.9; 2 Thess. 3.6-13). In his commentary on Galatians, the late F.F. Bruce says: The teacher relieves the ignorance of the pupil, the pupil should relieve the teacher of concern for his subsistence.”[ref] F. F. Bruce, Galatians, 263. [/ref]

In this passage, the word “taught” carries the idea of giving oral instruction. From the original word we get our word “catechize.” The word “taught” literally means “down-sound.” The idea imposed by the word is to send a sound down from the mouth of the speaker to the ears of the hearer. It is public Bible teaching.

The word “share” means to take an active part with another. Both teacher and the person being taught are sharing something of equal value, the word being taught. One has a responsibility to teach correctly (not as the Jewish missionaries), the other has the responsibility to hear and share financially with his or her instructor. To not do so, in Paul’s mind, would be living inconsistently with life in the Spirit. The Jewish missionaries might have been opting for payment for their teaching while excluding anyone who was pressing the Galatians to remember what Paul had preached. Factions would be the result (a work of the flesh).[ref]Grant C. Richison Galatians https://www.gracenotes.info/galatians/galatians.pdf. 144-45. Accessed 6.40.2020.[/ref]

Sowing and Reaping (6.7-8)

Paul’s point is relatively clear in these sentences. All of us will appear before God so it is imperative that we must live with the help of the Spirit in our life now. Members of any community cannot ignore God while tending to other matters. If they do they will not get away with it, because a sower gets to reap what he or she has sown. Sow discord. Reap discord. If a community only lives to satisfy the lifestyle of this present evil age (a common occurrence in the ecclesia today), they will suffer decay and death. However, the community who lives “to please the Spirit”[ref] Scot; McKnight. Galatians (The NIV Application Commentary Book 9) (Kindle Location 5600). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.[/ref] (that phrase has such a pleasant sound to it) will continue to harvest life from the Spirit. One can see the clear implication of the “fruit of the Spirit,” with the use of the concept of harvesting.

Doing Good (6.9-10)

The implication: we must do “good” for those in the ecclesia (and out of the ecclesia, for that matter). While adding works to the gospel does not save one, one works because one is saved. The motivation is to please the one who saved you, not perform to be accepted. The relationship of the ecclesia with Jesus will be revealed in her work. A person’s relationship with Jesus will be revealed in h/her works. It is true that once factions and divisions enter into a community, most of the community’s time and energy are eaten up by the divisions, while at the same time those who are needy in the community are often neglected. What Paul continues to share in this section is “life in the Spirit” as an antithesis to the works of the flesh.

So What?

If we are to live a consistent life of the Spirit, we must be about restoring those in our communities who have been overcome with sin, remembering that at some time we who restore will need restoring. We should restore without becoming prideful in what we are doing.

For those of us who are taught, we have a responsibility to relieve the stress of financial pressure for the teachers we all have.

A community and the individuals in a community will reap what it sows. If it sows “works of the flesh,” it will reap destruction. If, on the other hand, it sows the “fruit of the Spirit,” it will reap life and, in so doing, become the image-bearer of God to the world into which it has been sent.

A community of faith and the individuals in it should not despair in “doing good.” For “doing good” measures the quality of the relationship we have. However, we do not do them for acceptance into the family of God. We do them precisely because we are members of the family of God. We must learn in community life to have a willingness to accept communal responsibility that does not deny a need for personal responsibility, while at the same time personal responsibility includes communal accountability. This attitude will subvert the dominant paradigm of individualism and throw it on its journey away from our lives.

Living into the Storyline

End of Session
 

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Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)

Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)