This article is part of the Key Bible Verses series.
All commentary notes adapted from the ESV Study Bible.
1. Galatians 6:1–2
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Read More
you who are spiritual. This does not refer to an elite class of Christians but rather to those who have more maturity and experience in the Christian life and who are therefore in a position to help their beleaguered brother or sister. The adjective “spiritual” means “living and walking according to the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:15; 1 Cor. 3:1; 1 Cor. 14:37) and includes, but is not limited to, the qualities listed in Gal. 5:22–23.
To bear one another’s burdens is the supreme imitation of Jesus, the ultimate burden-bearer (see Rom. 15:1–3). He has even gone to the length of taking mankind’s sins (Gal. 1:4) and the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13) upon himself. and so fulfill the law of Christ. Though Paul insists that the Galatians are free from obeying Jewish ceremonial laws, this does not mean they are free from all of God’s moral requirements. The “law of Christ” in a broad sense means the entire body of ethical teaching that Jesus gave and endorsed (see note on 1 Cor. 9:21), but in a specific sense here it probably refers to the command to love one’s neighbor as oneself (Matt. 22:39; John 13:34), which, if followed fully, will result in obeying the rest of God’s moral law (Rom. 13:8–10).
2. Hebrews 10:24–25
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Read More
let us consider. The third and final exhortation in Heb. 10:22–25 calls for serious thinking about other Christians with a purpose to stir up (or “provoke”) them in their love and service (good works). Christian perseverance is thus also a community endeavor. meet together. Community encouragement toward perseverance requires being together. That some were neglecting this duty may have been among the motives for the author’s warnings throughout this book. encouraging. Voicing exhortation with the goal of strengthening another’s faith (Heb. 3:13; cf. Heb. 13:22). the Day drawing near. The coming day of Christ’s return and judgment (Heb. 9:28; Heb. 10:37).
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3. Acts 2:42–47
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Read More
This is the first extensive “summary” in Acts. It depicts a number of activities characteristic of the earliest church.
The early church was devoted to the apostles’ teaching, which would have included Jesus’ earthly teaching plus what he taught the apostles in his 40 days of resurrection appearances. Fellowship (Gk. koinōnia, “participation, sharing”) included the sharing of material goods (Acts 2:44), the breaking of bread (vv. 42, 46), which likely covers both the Lord’s Supper and a larger fellowship meal, and prayers in house meetings and likely also in the temple (Acts 2:42, Acts 2:46).
4. Ecclesiastes 4:9–12
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Read More
Two … have a good reward for their toil. The wise person will pursue cooperative ventures rather than give in to jealous striving to be first (contrast Eccl. 4:8, 10, 11), a striving that isolates him from others.
A threefold cord stands for the great value of “plurality” (more than one or even two) as opposed to being alone (Eccl. 4:7–11).
5. Colossians 3:11–17
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Read More
Here there is not Greek and Jew. There are no status distinctions among the new covenant people of God (cf. Gal. 3:28). No one has a special claim on God or is treated with less dignity than any other. Scythian. This was a people group located along the northern coast of the Black Sea. To the Greeks, the Scythians were a violent, uneducated, uncivilized, and altogether inferior people. In contrast to such discrimination and prejudice against other races and cultures, Paul shows that Jesus, who is all, and in all, binds all Christians together in equality, irrespective of such differences.
6. 1 Peter 4:8–11
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Read More
Enduring love for others testifies that a person is living in light of the future. True love covers a multitude of other people’s sins (Prov. 10:12). Where love abounds, offenses are frequently overlooked and quickly forgotten. Hospitality, much admired in both Greco-Roman and Jewish sources (cf. 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8), was much needed in an era when inns could be dangerous and unpleasant.
7. 1 Corinthians 12:12–20
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. Read More
Since the Spirit is one, he unites peoples across lines of ethnicity and social class that would otherwise divide them. (See Rom. 10:12; Gal. 3:27–28; Col. 3:11.) in one Spirit we were all baptized. The same Greek construction (the verb baptizō plus en [“in”] plus the dative of pneuma, “Spirit”) is used here as in the other six “baptism in the Holy Spirit” passages in the NT (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; Acts 11:16), and here it seems clearly to refer to the cleansing and empowering work that the Holy Spirit does in a new convert at the point of conversion. Baptism is used metaphorically here to refer to the Spirit’s work within the believer to unite him or her to the body of Christ, which is also the corporate body of believers. Water baptism is an outward symbol of this reality (cf. Rom. 6:4; Gal. 3:27). made to drink. Probably not a reference to the cup of the Lord’s Supper but to the outpouring of God’s Spirit on his people (cf. John 7:37–39; Rom. 5:5).
8. Psalm 133:1
Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity! Read More
brothers dwell in unity. The expression appears in Gen. 13:6; 36:7, where a particular region could not support “brothers” (relatives) and their families dwelling close together. If this is the background for the psalm, then Ps. 133:1 describes a situation in which the land is fruitful enough for brothers to live nearby (perhaps a family inheritance, cf. Deut. 25:5). Since this is a Song of Ascents, the “brothers dwelling in unity” would be the fellow Israelite pilgrims gathered in Jerusalem, abiding in peace with one another. The ideal Israel is a community of true brotherhood, where the members practice mutual concern for one another; if this were achieved, it would indeed be good and pleasant. This should be the goal of church life (John 17:20–23).
9. John 13:34–35
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Read More
Love must be the distinguishing mark of Jesus’ disciples. Jesus’ “new command” takes its point of departure from the Mosaic commands to love the Lord with all one’s powers and to love one’s neighbor as oneself (Lev. 19:18; cf. Deut. 6:5; Mark 12:28–33), but Jesus’ own love and teaching deepen and transform these commands. Jesus even taught love for one’s enemies (Matt. 5:43–48). The command to love one’s neighbor was not new; the newness was found in loving one another as Jesus had loved his disciples (cf. John 13:1; John 15:13). In light of Jesus’ subsequent death, just as implies a love that is even willing to lay down one’s life for another (see John 15:13).
10. Romans 12:9–18
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Read More
The remainder of the chapter is a description of the life that is pleasing to God. Not surprisingly, love heads the list, for all that Paul says is embraced by the call to love. genuine. Love cannot be reduced to sentimentalism. abhor. Christians are to hate evil.
Hospitality was very important for early Christians, for most of them could not afford hotels (lodging houses) when traveling but depended on the provision of fellow believers.
Bless … do not curse. These words reflect the teaching of Jesus (Matt. 5:44).
Repay no one evil. Again, an allusion to Jesus’ teaching (Matt. 5:39).
If possible. Paul recognizes it is not always possible to be at peace with everyone, even when one makes the effort.
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