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I am trying to get the flow of what is written in Galatians 6:1–10:

1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him with a spirit of gentleness. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Each one should test his own work. Then he will have reason to boast in himself alone, and not in someone else. 5 For each one should carry his own load. 6 But the one who receives instruction in the word must share in all good things with his instructor. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not to be mocked. Whatever a man sows, he will reap in return. 8 The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to the family of faith. Berean Study Bible, ©2018

  1. Are these verses talking about a single theme?
  2. Why does Paul say “carry one another’s burdens” in Galatians 6:1 and “carry his own load” in Galatians 6:5 ?
  3. How do we “Carry one another’s burdens” and “carry his own load?”
  4. What has “Carry one another’s burdens” and “carry his own load” have to do with sowing and reaping?
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    Phortion and Baros are the two Greek words we need to compare. – Kris Oct 27 '19 at 16:06
  • Helping someone carry their burden does not mean that their burden now rests on your shoulders alone, and not on theirs as well; nor does carrying one's own burden mean doing it alone. – Lucian Nov 13 '19 at 23:10
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Paul uses the word phortion when he says that all will bear their own 'burden'. This is the same word that Jesus uses when he says 'My yoke is easy and my burden light'. This burden, therefore, is one's own responsibility and it is, in Christ, a manageable burden.

My yoke is easy, and my burden is light. [Matthew 11:30, KJV.]

Jesus himself uses that same word to describe religious leaders loading their followers with a grievous responsibility which the leaders do not touch with one of their fingers, cruelly forcing people to carry an unreasonable load without any help.

For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. [Matthew 23:4, KJV.]

But in the service of Christ, when we have done all that is required, we have done no more than our duty. This is not unreasonable. Jesus Christ calls his own to be servants. Servants of himself and servants to one another. This service is in love and it is by faith.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. [Romans 12:1, KJV.]

It is a light burden, quite manageable.

Paul uses the other word baros when he enjoins the church in Galatia to bear one another's 'burdens'.

These are burdens which one does need help with. These are burdens which persecutors might lay upon a believer. Unwarrantable demands which a heathen government may require. Or an employer demanding overmuch. Or natural problems, ill health, financial difficulties.

I don't see any contradiction in this. Paul has used two words to clarify the differences in what he is expressing.

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  • Thank you so much :-) Could you please comment on the 4th question as well? – Siju George Nov 2 '19 at 2:47
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    I think that should really be another question, myself :). – Nigel J Nov 2 '19 at 3:24
  • will ask separately :-) – Siju George Nov 2 '19 at 18:12
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    Abstract: Paul's logic makes sense. We aren't to depend on others to carry our burdens, but when we see someone with a burden too heavy, we should help carry their load. – Perry Webb Nov 10 '19 at 16:33
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As you indicate in your question there are two different words in English in some translations. And there are two different words in Greek. The difference seems to be between one's regular personal responsibilities (carry his own load) and those times when one's responsibilities become overwhelming such as when one or one's family suffer an accident, debilitating illness, etc. and needs help (carry one another's burdens).

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2

The phrase «ἀλλήλων τὰ βάρη βαστάζετε» contains an imperative (βαστάζετε).1 Hence, the apostle Paul was commanding the Galatians to bear one another’s burdens. The other phrase in question, «ἕκαστος...τὸ ἴδιον φορτίον βαστάσει», contains a verb conjugated in the future tense, indicative mood. Hence, it is not a command but a statement of fact: “Each man will bear his own burden.”

The apostle Paul is not saying:

  1. Command: Bear one another’s burdens.
  2. Command: Each man bear his own burden.

That would clearly be contradictory. Since the latter is a statement of fact rather than a command, he is simply saying that each man will inevitably bear his own burden, since no one is immune to hardship. Because of that fact, everyone needs to bear one another’s burdens, for all Christians comprise Christ’s body, and they are body parts, not only of Christ, but of one another.

Romans 12:5

5 So we, many, are one body in Christ, and every one body parts one of another.

1 Corinthians 12:27

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and individual body parts.

Because all Christians share the same body (i.e., Christ’s) and are body parts of one another, “the body parts should care the same for one another.”2 Among other things, this means bearing burdens together in support of one another, for “if one body part suffers, all the body parts suffer with it.”3


Footnotes

1 While the verb could also be conjugated in the indicative mood, the context dictates that it is an imperative.
2 1 Cor. 12:25
3 1 Cor. 12:26

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How to reconcile “Carry one another’s burdens” in Galatians 6:1 and “carry his own load” in Galatians 6:5

Galatians 6:1-2 (NET Bible)

Support One Another

1" Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness. Pay close attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too. 2 Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

Carry one another's burdens

In the Christian congregation some persons will experience problems, such as illness ,loneliness or even sin as mentioned by Paul, in such cases the burden need not be carried alone, support may be given to the weak and the elderly , by visiting , helping them and consoling them , help may also be given to those that are depressed , with words of comfort. Paul urges his brothers and sisters to help each other in case of need.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 (NET Bible)

14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, admonish the undisciplined, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient toward all.

Jesus commanded his followers to love one another, in this way Christians will fulfill the law of Christ.

John 13:34 (NET Bible)

34 “I give you a new commandment—to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."

The daughters of Israel commemorate the daughter of Jephtah.

A scriptural example is that of the daughter of Israel's Judge Jephthah, (Judges 11:29-40)Jephthah made a vow promising to give God the first one that comes out of the doors of his house, it turned out that his daughter came out first to congratulate him. The sacrifice did not go unnoticed : "Thus it became a custom in Israel, 40 that the daughters of Israel went yearly to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year." Judges 11: 39b-40 (NASB)

For each one will carry his own load

Galatians 6:5-8 (NET Bible)

5 "For each one will carry his own load. 6 Now the one who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with the one who teaches it. 7 Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows, 8 because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit."

Others in the Christian brotherhood can help us with the burden of our problems ,for example they can help us with our loneliness, illnesses , accidents , unemployment e.t.c. However at the end of the day we have to carry our own load, that is we must not let loneliness or our problems overcome us ,and make us retreat in our own emotional cocoon, or perhaps push us to do something that we may regret later on. One such person that reaped what he sowed was King David's lust for Bath-Sheba.

For a person will reap what he sows.

No human is exempt from the consequences of his actions. One such example is that of King David and his adulterous relationship with Bath-Sheba ,David did repent and God forgave him, however his actions brought a lot of calamity in his household. (Read 2 Samuel 12:13-19 and 13:1-9.) Another example is Dinah, daughter of Jacob by Leah, she brought calamities to her father's house because she made friends with the wrong people. (Genesis chapter 34.)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Samuel%2012%3A13-19%2C%2013%3A1-9&version=NASB;NET

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