Does Galatians 6:10 Authorize The Church to Give to Non-Saints? Part 6

March 16th, 2003

In reply to your comments below, even in 1 Corinthians 11 the use of the word “church” and “together” does not preclude individual action because Paul states in verse 28, “but let a man examine himself.” My position is clear. The use of the singular in 1 Corinthians11:28 is within a plural context. That is each man must examine himself and therefore all men must examine themselves and therefore the church must examine herself. This is also what I hold regarding Galatians 6:1-10. The position I hold is consistent in that regard. Your position states that the word “church” or “together” must be immediately present for us to conclude that the author is speaking about corporate action. But even if I were to accept this premise, it would still be the case that Galatians is addressed to the churches and that when Paul uses the plural in that context he expects the churches to understand that he is speaking to them as the church. I do not merely say that the fact of the epistle’s address indicates this, but the combination of the epistle’s address and the plural number used to address the brethren as found in Galatians 6:1-10–these two things together (address and plural number) indicate undoubtedly that the church is being addressed in Galatians 6:1-10.

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye (plural) which are spiritual, restore (plural) such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

“Brethren” is plural. “Ye” is plural. The verb “Restore” is plural. The church has the obligation to restore the lost to its fellowship.

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

The verb “bear” is plural. The phrase “one another” is plural. The verb “fulfill” is plural. The church has the obligation to bear one another’s burdens. The church has the obligation to fulfill the law of Christ. According to the saints-only position, the church cannot fulfill the law of Christ only individuals can do this.

“But let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.”

While this is speaking to individuals, it generally takes more than one individual to support a preacher full time. Paul expected all of them together to work to accomplish this and that is a work of the church.

“And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

“Us” is plural. “Be weary” is a plural verb. “We” is plural. “Reap” is a plural verb. “We” is plural. “Faint” is a plural verb. The church must not be weary. The church will reap if the church does not faint. If any individual is saved it will be because he is a member of the church of Christ. The church are the only saved and will be the only saved. God will save the church and only the church on the day of judgment. This is not to imply that some individuals who are apostate members of the church will not be lost; but to say that only those who are members of the church will be saved and in that sense, God will save only the church. So the church will reap salvation if it does not faint. Compare Ephesians 5:23-25.

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith.”

“We” is plural. The verb “have” is plural. “Us” is plural. The verb “work” is plural. As the church has opportunity, the church must do that which is good toward all men.

I just don’t understand what would make it more clear that Paul expects the churches to deal with these problems. Are you saying that every time an inspired writer addresses church action that he must use the word “together” in order for it to be church action? Must he use the word “church?” What are the standards that you use to determine when a context is speaking regarding church action and when it is speaking regarding individual action?

When you add on top of these things the fact that the epistle is specifically addressed not to the church, but to the churches (plural) of Galatia, what should the conclusion be? That Paul did not expect the churches to do anything about these problems? “I know that you wrote to the churches, Paul, but it just is not clear that you expected us to take any action, so the church decided that as a church we cannot do anything about these Judaizing teachers!” Such a suggestion is preposterous. I am not trying to ridicule you personally, but the position of saints-only reduces to this absurd conclusion. What action (if any) did Paul expect the church to take in regard to these Judaizing teachers? The bottom line is that the position of saints-only reduces the book of Galatians to the absurdity that Paul wrote the book to the churches, but did not expect the churches to do anything about the problems of which he wrote. And that is a conclusion which I simply cannot accept because it reduces the Holy Spirit to an author of confusion.

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Does Galatians 6:10 Authorize The Church to Give to Non-Saints? Part 5

March 13th, 2003

Well, I think what I am saying is that I agree with you that the Lord’s Supper is a corporate action–that it is corporate worship. Would you agree that when the church partakes of the Lord’s supper the church, as a body, is worshipping and as such is engaging in a corporate action? I think you would. Correct me if I am wrong about that. However, within that command to worship corporately, there is also the command for each individual to examine himself and I believe we agree here as well. We both agree that the commands to the individuals in 1 Corinthians11 do not militate against the commands to the church in 1 Corinthians11. There is individual action in the context of corporate action. Now, where we disagree is that I believe the same thing about Galatians 6:1-10. YES, there are commands to individuals in Galatians 6:1-10, but it is within the context of the corporate action of the church bringing the wayward back to their fellowship and these individual actions of Galatians 6:1-10 do not militate against the expected corporate action of the church.

Looking at it from a slightly different perspective, your point regarding the context of Galatians 6:1 where you emphasize “looking to yourselves lest YOU also be tempted” is exactly the same kind of thing that a hypothetical someone could say in regard to 1 Corinthians 11:28, “But let A MAN examine himself and so let HIM eat of that bread. . . .” In other words, hypothetically, someone could use the same hermeneutic that you use when interpreting Galatians 6:1-10–someone could use that same hermeneutic on 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 and come to the conclusion that you come to in Galatians 6:1-10–that the context merely talking about INDIVIDUAL action. MY contention regarding both Gal.6:1-10 and 1 Corinthians11:23-34 is that just because there is language addressed to individuals in those particular contexts does not necessarily imply that in those contexts there is no corporate instruction as well. In other words, you have to make the case that Galatians 6:1-10 CANNOT be speaking about any corporate activity whatsoever. What is it that forces me to the conclusion regarding Galatians 6:1-10 that absolutely positively no corporate action is being addressed in this passage? It just isn’t enough to say, as you say, (and I am paraphrasing) “there is some language addressed to individuals in that context, so therefore, the whole context must be talking to individuals.” I am saying that the same type of reasoning could be applied to 1 Corinthians 11 and one come to the same conclusions, using your hermeneutic.

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Does Galatians 6:10 Authorize The Church to Give to Non-Saints? Part 4

March 12th, 2003

I got to thinking about your comments a little more in your document and I just wanted to ask about one thing. I agree with you that the Lord’s Supper is corporate action. I am a little curious, however, do you believe that 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 is discussing corporate action? Seems to me that this would hurt rather than help your case to say that it is. If it is, then you have a VERY similar situation to Galatians 6:1-10.

Verse 26 of 1 Corinthians 11 is instruction given to the church. Whereas verse 28 is instruction given to individuals (let a man examine, etc.). My position on this is consistent because it takes individuals in order for the church to act corporately. So the instruction to the individuals should be taken in light of the corporate action. However, how could you argue from 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 that the instruction is corporate since individuals are addressed. Seems to me that if I took your position in regard to Galatians 6:1-10, that I could just as easily argue that 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 is not talking about corporate action, but individual action. I know that you don’t believe that and I know that you would not argue for that, but it makes my case for Galatians 6:1-10 being corporate action more compelling because 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 is a parallel in regard to the language Paul uses regarding individual action within the context of a corporate action.

In other words, if 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 is instruction to the church regarding corporate action, yet, individuals are also given certain things to observe within that context, then why couldn’t the same be true of Galatians 6:1-10, i.e. it is instruction given to the church regarding corporate action, yet individuals are also given certain things to observe within that context?

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Does Galatians 6:10 Authorize The Church to Give to Non-Saints? Part 3

March 5th, 2003

In response to your thoughts, I would first say that Galatians 6:10 is not the only passage with which I am going to deal to establish my case. However, I would like to point out a small fallacy in your reasoning. Now, if I am misrepresenting what you are saying, then I sincerely apologize in advance. However, from reading your statements I got the idea that you are making the argument that every other instance of authority in the New Testament teaches that churches may only give to saints out of their treasury and that therefore, this passage could not be teaching that. I just don’t see how the conclusion follows from the premise in that particular thought. It only takes one verse to authorize the giving to non-saints and just because every other passage teaches this (in other words, even if I were to admit to this premise, which I don’t) doesn’t necessarily imply that this passage teaches it too! An example of this concept would be Matthew 19:9ff. This is the only place in the New Testament where a second marriage is authorized while the first partner is living. So, in the case of adultery (fornication on the part of one spouse), the innocent may divorce the guilty and remarry. This is the only time that it is authorized in the New Testament, but once is all you need. So also in Galatians 6:10. Once is all I need. I have some more arguments to set forth, but one bonafide instance is enough. So the question really becomes is this a bonafide instance of the church being authorized to give to non-saints, or is it a passage that merely authorizes individuals to give to non-saints. If this one passage teaches that the church may do so, then that is enough regardless what every other passage teaches.

Second, I would like to talk about what we agree in regard to Galatians 6.

(1). We both agree that the book of Galatians was written to the churches of Galatia.

(2). We both agree that (1) does not by itself establish that there were no individual applications to be made.

(3). We agree on Galatians 3:27ff, that the teaching was an individual application.

(4). We also agree on Galatians 5, (that it was instruction to individuals) and I think that I stated this in my previous correspondence.

(5) We agree that every individual will be judged individually regarding their personal salvation.

(6) We agree that “doing good” includes giving money.

(7) We agree that “doing good” to all men in this context includes non-saints.

So, we are not debating those issues. I agree with you on those issues. I am disagreeing on the application of Chapter 6. So let’s talk about that a little bit.

Galatians 6 is not talking about individuals ONLY. I noticed in your reply that you underlined the word “YOU” several times. I am afraid, however, that you may be misunderstanding that the word “YOU” in this verse is PLURAL. As you may be aware, the Greek language has both singular and plural number for the 2nd person. Modern English does not have singular and plural for the second person. We have singular and plural for the first person in the words of “I” and “Me” for the singular and “We” and “Us” for the plural. But in the second person “You” we have no word indicating either singular or plural. So whether we are speaking to an individual “you” or to a group “you” we still use the word “you” formally. Informally we sometimes use the word “Yall” to refer to the plural, but formal translations would not use this word. So in order to find out if we have a singular “you” or a plural “you” in this context, we have to look at the Greek language.

Now in verse 1 we have the word “adelphoi” which is the word for “brethren;” it is PLURAL. We then have the word “humeis” which is the word for “you;” it is PLURAL as well. Then Paul shifts from the plural to the singular in the later part of the verse where he says “considering yourself.” In other words, this group of brethren which were spiritual were as a group to restore the transgressors to their fellowship, but individually they were to consider themselves that they individually did not get taken away in the trespass. Moreover, the context indicates that the “spiritual” of verse 1 were not the “most knowledgeable” people in the congregation (as many today would no doubt interpret it), but the remaining members of the congregation that had not been taken away with fleshly desires. That is, there were the fleshly ones (those Judaizing teachers as well as their converts, see Galatians 6:12, 13) and there were the spiritual ones (those remaining of the church who had not yet been carried away by the Judaizing teachers). So the faithful members of the church were to act in a corporate way to restore the unfaithful members of the church. This is a corporate action with individual self-examination. This is similar to corporate worship; corporate action (studying, singing, praying, partaking, giving) with individual self-examination. In fact, any time the church does something corporately, individuals must participate because the body is composed of individual members (1 Corinthians12). So I believe that you are failing to make the proper distinction between the actions of individuals AS individuals and the actions of individuals corporately AS the church. The command in verse 1 is to the brethren (PLURAL) and to “You which are spiritual” where the “you” is in the PLURAL number as well. Please don’t take my word for this; check the Greek.

Verse 1 is a command to the church to restore those who have fallen away.

Verse 2 also is PLURAL. The word “bear” is the Greek word “bastazete” which has the second person plural ending “ete.” So as the KJV translates, “Bear YE one another’s burdens.” The “ye” is used here and that is how the KJV translators (in 1611 English) expressed the PLURAL number in the English language. I would suggest that the “Ye” of verse 2 is the exact same group of people that is being addressed in verse 1–the brethren, the spiritual. So as a group, they were expected to bear the burdens of the individual. They were not individually expected to bear the burden of other individuals, but to bear those burdens as a group of Christians, as the church. Again, the church is composed of individuals, but we both agree that the church may act corporately. When the church acts corporately, individuals must be involved. They are not individuals acting as individuals, but individuals acting together as the church. This passage teaches that the church (which is a group of individuals) must bear the burdens of individual Christians within the church.

In verse 3 there is a shift from the plural to the singular and I agree with you that verse 3 is talking to individuals, but this is because it is talking about the Judaizing teachers and their followers, not the “spiritual” of verse 1. So this verse is limited only to those who were going about thinking themselves to be something and obviously would not apply to the church as a whole–the spiritual–who did not have this attitude. The point is that it applies to individuals because it was intended to apply to these individual Christians who had been carried away with false teaching. There is a very specific reason for it being applied to individuals.

Verse 4 again applies to the individuals caught up in the fault, but in principle applies to everyone. Please note that the ones who NEEDED the instruction were the Judaizing teachers and their followers. They were not to be so concerned about examining OTHERS (Galatians 6:12, 13), but they were to be concerned about examining themselves (proving themselves) on an individual basis and so must each member of the church be concerned about examining him or herself on an individual basis. This, however, does not militate against the fact that Paul calls for corporate action in verses 1 and 2. So to say that this is individual and that the whole passage must be referring only to individuals is failing to make a distinction between the Judaizing teachers here and the “spiritual” of verse 1. The Judaizing teachers and their followers were NOT practicing self examination so they needed to be instructed to do just that and Paul expected the church to instruct them to do this (per verse 1). The faithful (spiritual) WERE practicing self examination and so did not need this instruction to correct bad practices (they did need it for ongoing faithfulness). In contrast, the Judaizers and their followers DID need this instruction to correct bad practices. So the instruction in this context was for the benefit of the Judaizing teachers and their followers who needed to be “restored” by the church to the church (verse 1).

Verse 5 in this context applies to the individuals caught up in the fault, but in principle everyone as well. The Judaizing teachers and their followers thought that circumcising as many as possible would save them. The truth was that every man individually will bear his own burden when it comes to his own personal salvation, and this is exactly the point that Paul is trying to make in contrast to verse 2. Paul says that the church has a role to play in bearing burdens (verse 2) and the individual has a role to play in bearing burdens (verse 5). I agree with you that individuals are not going to be saved MERELY because they were associated with other righteous individuals–this is exactly the thing that Paul was teaching against! But he was applying that not to the church, but to the communion of circumcised individuals who had as their leaders the Judaizing teachers. And I think that you would agree that this does not mean that the church has no influence whatsoever in helping the individual to be saved and stay saved. The church plays a HUGE role in helping individuals to get saved and stay saved, but ultimately the decision belongs to the individual. The church bears some burdens of others to encourage them to stay saved. But individuals must bear their own burdens by examining themselves to make sure they stay within the faith. Moreover, if we interpret these verses within the context of false teachers coming into the church (such as the Judaizing teachers), we find that the church by maintaining a close fellowship with one another (bearing one another’s burdens) will less likely be subject to these predators who come their way. So it was with the specific purpose in mind of guarding against false teachers that the church is to bear one another’s burdens.

Verses 2-5 comprise a section of information that goes together starting with the exhortation to the church to bear burdens and ending with the exhortation to the individual who is caught up in the Judaizing teaching to bear his own burden.

Verse 6 also applies to all individually, but also to the church as a collection of individuals. And the funny thing is that here you agree with me! You believe that the church as the church has a responsibility to support the preacher! Amen! I believe that too. However, we both recognize that if the church is going to get the funds to support a local preacher, then the church has to get those funds from individuals. So again we have here corporate support of the preacher with individual action supporting the corporate work. The church pays the preacher from the treasury. The individuals give to the treasury. I agree that this does NOT exclude individuals giving directly to the preacher. I have received some individual contributions from time to time myself and I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with it at all. But this passage clearly teaches that individuals must give to support the local preacher and that when they are acting together on this, they are acting as the church in supporting the local preacher. This verse authorizes the church to give to saints (preachers) as part of the ongoing work of the church. Thanks for the good point (grin).

But I would like to probe a little deeper on this verse and ask why Paul had to tell them to do this? Why would Paul have to tell them to share their goods with the local evangelist? Would it not be because these Judaizing teachers had STOPPED doing this? In fact, I think that a good case could be made that the Judaizing teachers were telling their converts to stop giving to the local church. Now, Paul had to instruct them not to do this, but to give to the local church so that the SPIRITUAL work could be ongoing. I believe that this is borne out in verses 7 and 8 as well.

Verses 7 and 8 are a continuation of the thoughts in verse 6. They apply both individually to the members of the church and corporately to the church as a whole. When individuals give to the local preacher to support the spiritual work of teaching, the church is built up spiritually. The problem here is that some of the members (the ones who had been carried away by the Judaizing teachers) had stopped giving. They were sowing “to the flesh” by carrying out the practice of circumcision and Paul says that they would just reap fleshly things if they continued to do this (the implication is that all they would get out of it is foreskins). However, if they sowed to the spirit (gave to the work of the local church in support of the preacher) then they would reap spiritual things and these things would eventually lead to their eternal salvation.

Verses 6-8 is a whole section of thought specifically as applies to the practices of the Judaizing teachers and their converts in withholding their contribution. It would not need to be addressed to the faithful members of the church because they were giving to support the evangelist. It does apply to all in the general sense in which the principles apply to all.

This leaves us with verse 9 and 10. I want to emphasize that Paul here shifts back to the PLURAL. This is indicative that he is now not addressing the “fleshly” ones, but the “spiritual” ones. He is now addressing the faithful members of the church and the action that they need to take as the church to correct the problem of the Judaizing teachers in the churches. Paul addressed the church specifically in verse 1 (indicated by the PLURAL). He addresses both the church and the Judaizing teachers and their followers in verses 2-5. He addresses the Judaizing teachers and their followings in verse 6-8. He now shifts back to addressing the church as a whole in verse 9-10.

Why would Paul have to command them not to be weary in well doing? He encourages them because the division that occurred discouraged the church. They WERE weary with well doing. They needed encouragement to continue to sow to the Spirit. They would reap if they did not faint. Each individual of the church needed to not be weary in well doing, but they needed to do this not as individuals only but also as the church. They needed to understand their roles as members of the church and understand that their responsibilities also included how they acted together as the church. I certainly agree with you that only individuals will be saved, but they will be judged based upon how they acted in the church as the church. Individuals can be lost by not doing what they are supposed to do as members of the church! (I think that we agree that the use of mechanical instruments of music within the worship assembly is one such sin that will cause all of the members who worship in such an environment to be lost.) So while salvation is accounted on an individual level and everyone who is saved will be saved individually, damnation can occur at the corporate level. While practicing what they were supposed to practice as the church would not merit salvation for them as body of people, certainly NOT practicing what they were supposed to practice as the church would merit damnation for them as a body of people. Hence Paul’s instruction. If they ALL were to become weary in well doing, then they would ALL be lost and specifically in this context lost to the teaching of the Judaizers since the law cannot justify them (Galatians 2:11).

Moreover, if the Judaizing teachers were telling their converts to stop giving to support the preacher they likely would also be telling them to stop giving to the good works that the congregation was already doing. This would make the idea of not being weary in well doing even more intense in that the faithful were still trying to do the work without the financial help from those who had gone after the Judaizing teachers. I only mention it because it is likely true that the Judaizers had told them to stop supporting the church in its work. Paul does specifically mention that the Judaizers were teaching these things just to avoid persecution (Galatians 6:12) and avoiding persecution may also have included not giving to the work of the church locally in these churches as well.

(verse 10) What were THEY, the church to do to ensure that they would not be lost? They were to do good to all men as they had opportunity. They, as the church, were to prevent themselves from becoming lost to these Judaizing teachers by continuing in good works–not being weary in well doing–eventually reaping IF they faint not and by doing good to all men especially toward those of the household of faith. The instruction IS MOST DEFINITELY TO THE CHURCH.

I want to summarize these verses again because I believe that if you study these, you will see this pattern. Paul is writing in Chapter 6 to correct the problems that the Judaizing teachers have caused. The churches of Galatia were expected by Paul to deal with these problems. What were they supposed to do? 1) Restore the transgressors (verse 1). 2) Bear one another’s burdens (verses 2-5). 3) Give to the local evangelist (6-8). 4) Do good to all men (verse 9-10). (By the way, I realize that in my first correspondence I argued for five (5) points, but since I have revised my thoughts on this and decided that there are just four (4) specific instructions being given in this context. The rest of the words are merely explanatory comments on the specific instruction given.) Each of these commands applies to individuals as they operate within the body–the church and hence they apply to the church as a whole. The sections of scripture within these verses that apply to individuals only apply to individuals because these parts are addressed specifically to the problems associated with the Judaizing teachers. The faithful ones–the church–as a whole did not need to apply this instruction in their lives because they were already doing it, (though in principle they needed to continue doing it). These actions were intended by Paul to be corporate actions to correct the problems caused by the Judaizing teachers. NOW I can appeal to the fact that the epistle was written to the CHURCHES of Galatia. It is in conjunction with what these churches needed to do to fix the problems that the fact that the epistle was addressed to churches and not to individuals is significant. I am not saying that the fact of its address is significant alone. However, when you take into consideration that the churches needed to correct the problems brought about by the Judaizing teachers and that instruction is given on how to do this in chapter 6, the fact of the address of the epistle becomes SIGNIFICANT in this discussion. This means that the corrective action was to be taken by the churches. And since Galatians 6:10 is part of that corrective action, the church is generally authorized to give to non-saints.

So I guess my argument about these verses being addressed for churches to carry out is as follows.

(1) If Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia,

(2) And if he wrote to correct problems within these churches,

(3) And if in writing he gave instruction on how to correct these problems,

(4) And if he expected those who received his epistle to correct the problems,

(5) And if he specifically addressed multiple individuals,

(6) Then he must have been giving instruction for the churches to carry out to correct the problems.

(1) Paul did write to the churches of Galatia (1:2).

(2) Paul did write to correct problems within these churches (chapters 1-6).

(3) Paul gave instruction on how to correct these problems (6:1-10).

(4) Paul expected the churches to correct these problems (why would he write if he didn’t expect them to correct the problems?).

(5) Paul wrote specifically to multiple individuals (6:1, 2, 9, 10 where the plural is used).

(6) Therefore, Paul must have been giving instruction for the churches to carry out to correct the problems.

In address of the non-saints issue,

(1) Part of these instructions to the church was to do good to all men.

(2) Therefore, the church is instructed to do good to all men.

(3) Therefore the church is authorized to give to non-saints.

At this point, I think that I have exhausted everything that I could possibly say about Galatians 6:1-10. Please study the context and please study the number of the nouns and pronouns in verses 1, 2, 9, and 10.

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Does Galatians 6:10 Authorize The Church to Give to Non-Saints? Part 2

February 26th, 2003

Based upon the definitions upon which we agree about general and specific authority, I argue that the church has general authority to give to non-saints from Galatians 6:10. The reasoning that I would offer on this behalf is that Paul is writing to the churches of Galatia (1:2) and so the epistle is addressed to these churches. The instruction he is giving within the epistle is addressed to these churches in order for them to deal with the problem of Judaizing teachers. Paul expected each and every church in the region of Galatia to deal with these problems as the church. While chapters 1-4 of this book contains theological argumentation regarding the problem of being justified by the old law and how that idea is incompatible with the faith that is in Christ, chapters 5 and 6:1-10 deal with practical instruction to the churches regarding how to deal with the problem within their own communities. So in chapter five Paul’s discussion centers around remaining in the freedom of Christ and yet, not using that freedom as an excuse to engage in fleshly desires. Chapter six discusses the methods that the churches were to use to engage and correct the problem of the Judaizing teachers. They were to take five steps to do this. 1) by restoring the one who is overtaken in the trespass (vs.1) (the Judaizing teacher presumably in this context [I am not limiting the passage to only that one problem, because I think the principles apply to other problems as well, but in this context no doubt that is the problem with which these churches would soon be engaged if they properly followed Paul’s instruction]) 2) By bearing others burdens (vs. 2, 3) which shows the dependence one person has upon the church. For when we bear one another’s burdens, individuals are less likely to think of themselves as “something.” This does not discount the individual responsibility that all Christians have, however, to work (vs. 4, 5). 3) By “supporting the local leadership” (vs.6); this builds unity among the saints and dissuades false teachers from sowing discord. 4) By not being deceived about the implications of false doctrine (vs.7, 8, sowing to the flesh in this context probably refers primarily to the Judaizing teaching of circumcision. I am not limiting it to that because the principle is true regarding a whole host of things, but likely it is referring to circumcision and thereby, doctrine, as opposed to lifestyle, in this context). 5) By continuing to do that which is good (vs.9, 10). It would have been easy for them to be discouraged by these false teachers (as often occurs even today when false teachers cause discord in churches) so Paul urges them not to give up doing good–not to be weary in well doing and doing good unto all men especially toward the household of the saints. Verses 11-18 is Paul’s closing to the epistle and exhortation with his own hand and as such is more loosely related to the whole epistle in general and is not specifically associated with verses 1-10 as continued practices the church needs to observe to deal with the problem of the Judaizing teachers.

So what we have in Galatians 6:10 is instruction to the church to do good to all men. This is general authority for the church to give money to all men including non-saints with the purpose of benevolence in mind. That the phrase “do good” includes the idea of giving monetarily is supported by 1 Timothy 6:18 and Luke 6:35. (I am merely suggesting from these other passages that the phrase “do good” means to give money; I am not suggesting that 1 Tim.6:8 and Luke 6:35 teach that the church can give money. I am suggesting that Galatians 6:10 authorizes the church to give money.) I am also arguing that the phrase “unto all men” includes non-saints. I suggest this from the use of the word “especially” or “specially” in this context. We see from other contexts that this word is used to narrow the focus from the general to the more specific where the specific is emphasized, but the general is not excluded. For example, in 1 Timothy 5:17 Paul tells Timothy to give double-honor to elders that rule well, but especially to those who labor in the word and doctrine. The idea is that ALL elders who rule well are to be double-honored, but those who labor in word and doctrine are particularly emphasized for consideration. No elder who “rules well” is excluded, but the focus should be upon those who labor in word and doctrine. Notice also in Titus 1:10 Paul writes about vain talkers and deceivers but especially they of the circumcision. Titus was to be warned regarding ALL vain talkers and deceivers, but the emphasis was upon they of the circumcision. Notice also 1 Timothy 5:8 where Paul talks about taking care of one’s own and especially towards those in his own house. Christians are to take care of all of their own family whether they are in the same location or not, but especially if they are in the same location. Notice that this is not exclusive of the family that may live in a different place. Additional arguments regarding the word “especially” could be made from 2 Timothy 4:13, Acts 25:26; 1 Timothy 4:10; and Philemon 1:16. In each case, the word “especially” is used to narrow in on a category similar, but different from the broader subject and in each case, both categories are included in the force of the main thought under discussion. So in Galatians 6:10 the main thought is “to do good.” The object of that thought is “all men.” The second and more emphasized object of that thought is “the household of faith” but this does not exclude the first and less emphasized object. The church is authorized to do good to all men.

I would further argue that the specific authority we find of the church giving to saints does not limit the general authority in this passage. Using the example of the great commission, we see that the apostles were generally authorized to “Go.” We see specific examples of them “going” by walking and boating, but this does not exclude going by automobile, airplane, or train. So also with Galatians 6:10, we have general authority to “do good” to all men. We see specific examples of the early church “doing good” to saints, but this does not exclude doing good to non-saints. For one to argue that the specific authority of the examples of the church doing good to saints limits the church to saints only would be to argue similarly that since we only see the apostles going by walking and boating that we could not use a car or train or airplane to go. When we are authorized to do something generally, examples of doing that thing do not militate against other things of the same class (in the great commission the class is “modes of transportation”; in Galatians 6:10 the class is “men”).

Now, I could be wrong in anticipating what you are going to say about Galatians 6:10, but I am going to go ahead and say that I think that you are going to say that Galatians 6:10 is only addressed to individuals, and not the church. IF this is what you are going to say (and I have heard others say this and that is why I am assuming that. If you are not going to say this, then I apologize in advance), I don’t believe the context of Galatians 6:10 supports this conclusion. The epistle as a whole is addressed not to just one church, but to multiple churches and thus I don’t believe that you could argue that it is merely talking about individual behavior–corporate behavior must be involved in the epistle somewhere. So, you have to suggest in some way that Galatians 6:10 within the context of being addressed to the church corporately is referring to individual behavior. This would certainly be true regarding Galatians 5, but starting in chapter six a contrast is drawn between individual behavioral instruction and corporate behavioral instruction with the opening of 6:1. Paul clearly addresses the brethren (plural) in verse 1. Again in verse 2 the instruction is to the church corporate and the plural indicates this. In verse 3-5, Paul is discussing particular individual responses to the corporate action of verse 2. This is indicated by the connecting words of “For” in verse 3, “but” in verse 4, and “For” in verse 5. This is all one thought explaining and answering the attitudes of individuals regarding the corporate action in verse 2. Verse 6 begins a new thought and that is corporate in application as well, but in the universal particular, i.e., Paul expects every member of the church to do these things and in so doing they will be acting corporately. This is also true regarding verses 7 and 8; these are universal particulars; they apply to individuals as well as to churches. Both individuals have the responsibility not to be deceived and the church (as a collection of individuals) has the responsibility not to be deceived. Both individuals and churches (as collections of individuals) who sow to the flesh will reap the flesh. And while I could understand the possibility that verses 7 and 8 are referring to individual behavior, verse 9, in clear contrast, brings the discussion back to corporate action with the inclusion of the first person plural, “us” and verse 10 also uses the first person plural in the word “we” and “us.” The action in verses 9 and 10 is corporate in nature. Verse 9 emphasizes the need for the church not to get discouraged and verse 10 gives the method of preventing the church from getting discouraged–do good works! The context is also corporate in its scope; Paul is giving instruction to the church on how to handle the problem of Judaizing teachers. I think I explained this clearly in the discussion above. I believe that the burden of proof in this context is upon someone who would affirm otherwise to show that Paul was NOT giving corporate instruction but instruction regarding individual behavior given both the context of the book of Galatians and the immediate context where the plurality of the personal pronouns is clearly used by Paul. I just don’t believe that a clear and convincing case can be made in this context to show that and without a case against, one is left with a clear counter example of a command for the church to “do good” to non-saints.

In short, my basic argument is this:

(1) The action of “doing good” is an action that is authorized for the church to practice toward non-saints (per Galatians 6:10).

(2) The action of giving money is an action that is “doing good.”

(3) Therefore, the action of giving money is an action that is authorized for the church to practice toward non-saints (per Galatians 6:10).

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