In Gal. 6:2, it is written,

2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. NKJV

Βʹ Ἀλλήλων τὰ βάρη βαστάζετε καὶ οὕτως ἀναπληρώσατε τὸν νόμον τοῦ Χριστοῦ TR, 1550

Does the apostle Paul elsewhere elaborate on this concept of the “law of Christ” aside from bearing one another’s burdens, especially considering the grace v. law dichotomy that supposedly occurs in the Pauline epistles? One might think that the apostle Paul would have rather written “the grace of Christ” rather than “the law of Christ.” Why would he coin a novel phrase like that for the practice of bearing another’s burdens, and then never mention it again? Where did the apostle Paul conceive of the idea of a law of Christ, as there seems to be no mention of it elsewhere in the New Testament?1


1 Not to mention, the apostle Paul’s epistles are some of the earliest dated books in the New Testament, meaning he may not have been influenced by other New Testament authors.

  • Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. t 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. w 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Mt 22:36–40). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 16:22
  • Almost certainly refers to the revision of the Law in His Sermon on the Mount, and its elaborations elsewhere in His teaching. In a word, the New Law. Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 17:16

6 Answers 6


If Christ didn't come to abolish the law, but to give light to it... and then ten commandments can be summed up into two types of commandments that either shows love for God or people in abiding by them... then the Law of Christ is still the grand point of the Mosaic Law without the conditions of the Mosaic Law.

Bearing each other's burdens is a form of loving each other. It fulfills the second greatest commandment (2gc). I personally think that when we fulfill the 2gc that it channels itself into fulfilling the 1st (1gc). By doing the 1gc we love people, so long as we do it with the fruits of the spirit. I think that the Law of Christ is simply the greatest commandment.

I don't think you will find a Biblical Theology for the term "law of Christ," so you will have to rely upon your Systematic Theology and branch the concept Paul has here with what you KNOW the Law of Christ is. Paul would have at least been familiar with Mark or the Q document. I could really use some upvotes or cred or whatever so I can comment on something about David and Joab, thanks.

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    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 8:28
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The key is to understand from Pauline theology that the dichotomy of Law vs. Grace applied only to the Mosaic covenantal law, and not the general or moral law. This understanding helps us solving the traditional false dichotomy of "justification by faith alone" with "faith without works being dead." We can only fulfill the grace of Christ by following Christ's law that is his teachings or commandments. Only the Mosaic law has been done away, fulfilled or abolished. Believers still remain under the law of God, that is the same moral spiritual laws minus the Mosaic covenantal law.

Paul did not felt the need to repeat this same phrase "law of Christ" perhaps he thought he has implicitly taught the law of Christ frequently in his letters. The gospels also teach the law of Christ. See the parables like Matt 25:14-30

Matt 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (verse) 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ ESV

John 15:6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. (verse) 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. ESV

The various explicit teachings of judgment according to our works or "we reap what we sow" also imply the Law of Christ. See Rev 2:23; 22:11-12; Rom 2:6-7, 14:12; 2Cor 13:5-6, 5:10

Rom 6:19-22 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. ESV

Rom 11:22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. ESV

Rom 14:12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. ESV

Gal 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. ESV

Phil 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, ESV

Jas 2:8-11 8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. ESV

1Pet 1:15-17 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, ESV

1Pet 2:16 Live as free people, not using your freedom as a pretext for evil, but as God’s slaves. NET


Simply stated, it is the legal requirements that the Christ has given his disciples to follow such as...

John 13:34-36 Worldwide English (New Testament)

I give you a new law. That law is, "Love each other." As I have loved you, so you also love each other.

A new law doesn't necessarily nullify any of the other "older" laws that do not pertain to the new law just as Christ reminds us...

Matthew 5:17 ESV

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

But fulfillment is not the same as "doing away with" because "doing away with" would be the same as "abolish" which Christ tells us he did not come to do. Instead, we are given a new law in addition to the other laws as it pertains to us... because even gentiles (non-Jews) are bound by certain Mosaic laws, but the new law of Christ does not do away with those previously given laws given to Adam, Noah, Abraham, or Moses that have separate implications. (See laws for the foreigner in Israel for Mosaic Laws pertaining to Gentiles)

Law of Christ instead refers to the laws that Christ gave to his disciples, which we know both through written text (the gospels and the epistles). These include laws about not divorcing, which would otherwise have been permitted under the Mosaic law, but it not allowed for followers of the Christ. Laws about praying (the Lord's prayer). Laws about eating (see Acts 15). And many other laws are bound to disciples that meet and often exceed the laws previously given to the disciples who are either Jewish (bound by Mosaic laws) or Gentile (bound previously only by what laws are given to them by their government).

Therefore, one should understand that Paul is mostly referring to Gentile Galatians who would be new to any spiritual law at all. Jewish disciples would have been less confused by a spiritual law (i.e. the Mosaic Law). So to simplify the understanding for the Gentile brother, they are given what is generically known as "The Law of Christ". And we now know through Christ (and Paul's letter to Galatians) that the simplest way to understand "The Law of Christ" is to "Love One Another".

  • Paul explains that Christ did away and nullified the law. He used katargeo verb which means to nullify, inoperative etc. The word jesus used here in Matthew is katalyso means destroy, abolish. Jesus finished and nullified the law legally and appropriately, not destroy it. See my ans here hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/76141/…
    – Michael16
    Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 3:18

“as there seems to be no mention of it elsewhere in the New Testament?” – user862.

Paul himself mentions the Law of Christ elsewhere; 1 Corinthians 9:21.

to those without Law as without Law (not being without Law of God, but under the law of Christ), that I might gain those without Law.

Here Paul says:

Law of God = Law of Christ

Paul uses several terms, like the above, interchangeably (a very few examples):

Church of God = Church of Christ;

Gospel of God = Gospel of Christ;

Love of God = Love of Christ;

Kingdom of God = Kingdom of Christ etc.

These are all the same.

What we need to notice well in 1 Cor 9:21 is this: Paul says even when he is without the Mosaic Law, he is very much under the Law of God and Christ. There is not even a single moment in his life when he is not under that Law.

Even when he finds himself under the influence of sin, he “delights in the Law of God according to the inward man” (Rom 7:22).

Law of God/Christ is the same Law written by the finger of God summed up in love to God and love to neighbor! Loving our neighbor takes care of the burdens of the neighbor.


The law of Christ is defined in Galatians 2:19-21. The law of Christ Paul is referring to is death to self exaltation. Galatian believers, like the Corinthian believers, sought special status apart from one another. Paul is reminding them that spiritual maturity comes through genuine care/love for everyone, even enemies, instead of flexing as a spiritual bodybuilder (pneumatikoi). The law of Christ is cruciform behavior. "Bear one another's burdens" just as Jesus did (think Philippians 2). Soteriology for Paul is consistently distilled into Christ crucified vs Paul agrees with Apollos or Cephas or Paul himself. For Paul, all men are dead through the law but alive in Christ. This is echoed in Romans 5-7. No one has special status in Christ (Galatians 3:23-29).


I agree, Matthew 22, 36 through 40 gives us the new law Christ. He came to fulfill the old law which was given to reveal sin. Scripture tells us that without the revealing of sin, there was no knowing of sin. And when the law was given, Roman 7, there was an absolute pull towards it through our sin nature.

We also need to remember the reality of the heart. When I was younger and faced with using the lawn mower to cut the grass. I did it because it was expected, but it wasn’t something I got to do. It was something I had to do. God’s law is the same. Justification by faith through grace alone reveals works done through heart. Works done to earn will not be seen at the end of time and this is why Jesus said I never knew you. Not because the works weren’t done because of the heart in which they were done. We don’t judge but can often see as we watch People. I have many friends who in their humility. Don’t even know how much God works through them. And I have friends who walk around, trying to earn Jewels for their crown accomplishing tasks for their own earnings 😔

Only God knows the heart.. thankfully, Jesus went to a cross for me in spite uof everything I did before he lifted my veil, still working through sanctification towards glorification when he takes me home and sharing him with others always ❤️

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