Grace and Bearing One Another's Burdens

Notes for June 10, 2018
Galatians 6:1-6

Biblical Background

  • Brothers and sisters: Paul is addressing disciples of Jesus Christ. While all people are created in the image of God, not all people are children of God. We must be adopted into God’s family through faith in Jesus Christ. Only then do we become children of God and thus brothers and sisters in Christ. There are expectations for brothers and sisters in Christ that are different from non-believers – the reason being that we have the Holy Spirit within us and are also family.

  • Accountability within the church: Paul is establishing an approach and attitude toward mutual accountability in the church. It is based on a mutual love and care for one another rather than a hierarchical “holier than thou” approach.

  • Gentleness or Humility: This fruit of the Spirit is essential for Christian character and life. Judaism had always valued humility, however, that wasn’t always the case in the Greco-Roman world.

  • Keep watch on yourself: It is easy to find fault with others, however, as a Christian, we are called to be aware of the sinful habits and temptations in our own life, in humility ask the Lord and others for help. If we see sin in another, we are better to help them in humility, gently confronting them on their issue as we confess that we too are in need of mutual accountability.

  • Bearing or Carrying Burdens: Roman soldiers were allowed to order civilians to carry things for them – thus the idea of placing a load on someone else to carry. This image would be a daily image as people in the 1st century were always carrying loads. The image is one of subservience – serving someone else. In this example, however, it is placed in the context of helping someone else overcome sin in their life.

  • Carry your own load: Greek literature stressed independence, much like American culture. Self-sufficiency was exalted and taking care of yourself. However, Paul twists this concept and while he says we need to carry our load, we also need to carry the load of others. In other words, within the church rather than people being totally independent, we are called to be interdependent – being responsible for our life, yet at the same time ready to help others and also be helped.

  • Support your teachers: In Greek culture, many teachers required a fee for their services. In this case, Paul is telling Christians to give back to our teachers, pastors, in practical ways by remunerating them. Teaching is a service and “the worker is worth his wages.”

Discussion Questions

  1. Who is Paul writing to in Chapter 6 – “brothers and sisters”?

  2. What should be the relationship between brothers and sisters in Christ? Describe

  3. How does it feel to get caught in a sin?

  4. How does it feel to catch someone in a sin?

  5. What is to be our response when we catch someone sinning?

  6. What does it mean to be a spiritual person as described in v. 1?

  7. What is Paul’s warning to those who catch someone in sin? What does this warning remind you of from Jesus’ teachings?

  8. What is a burden? Describe different kinds of burdens.

  9. How can we help carry other people’s burdens? What does this look like?

  10. What does it mean to carry our own load?

  11. When should we allow others to help us carry our load?

  12. How can we persuade others to let us help carry their load?

  13. What is the basic principle at work here? Summarize

  14. How are we to treat our teachers, pastors, mentors according to v. 6?

  15. Identify people in your life today that you might be able to help in carrying their load. Pray for the Lord’s leading in this area.