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The purpose of this explanation is to show that Galatians 6:2, should be translated ‘…custom of Christ…’, instead of ‘…law of Christ…’.
It will be shown that this is both legal linguistically, and contextually, and will assist a person understanding what the verse is communicating.
The verse is typically rendered in English as follows;
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 ESV
By rendering it ‘…law of Christ.’, this can become a little confusing to a reader with them perhaps thinking;
‘what is the law of Christ, and does this inturn mean we do not observe the law of Moses?…’.
Civilly, the answer is no, the verse needs further explanation if this is a person’s thought.
Instead, the verse should be legally rendered ‘…the custom of Christ.’
Proof – Linguistic
The Greek word that can been translated law/custom in this verse, is the Strong’s Concordance Greek word G3551.
The Strong’s Concordance states that the legal definitions and usages for the word are as follows;
‘Definition: that which is assigned, usage, law
Usage: usage, custom…’
Without going into the linguistics deeply, we see that ‘law’ can be used in the sense of the Greek words usage, being a ‘custom’.
With this, the rendering in the verse as ‘custom’ has been used to provide more clarity – as we will soon see.
What Is The Custom Of Christ?
If we read it all, the chapter here so far is speaking of ‘bearing the burdens of one and another’ – being there for one and another.
Back when the Lord Jesus Christ walked the earth, he spoke on this, and such is his custom – to ‘go the extra mile…’;
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:34 NIV
This was Christ’s custom which he instructed his disciples to do. It is essentially the second greatest commandment (loving your neighbour as yourself) – elevated to a selfless level.
And with this, we see that even an enemy is to be treated with care;
‘But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven…’
(Matthew 5:44-45 KJV)
The word rendered law/custom in Galatians 6:2, is also in Romans 3:31;
Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
Romans 3:31 NIV
We know this by simple way of context.
The entire passage of Romans 3 is pointing to the subject of a person being delared righteous (justified) by faith – in a similar formula to how Abraham was (Romans 4:11).
Verse 31, then emphasises the importance of good deeds, and this is why it says we observe the law of Moses.
If the translator had have rendered the verse ‘custom’, the verse would not make sense – thus context is key to clear translation with this ancient Greek word and it’s English expression.
This again is similar to the formula we see in faithful Abraham, who then went forward and did good deeds.
For example, he got circumcised as a type of seal to the righteousness that he already had had accounted to him by faith, whilst he was still uncircumcised (ref. Romans 4:11 ESV);
‘He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised….’
(Romans 4:11 ESV)
Abraham initially believed God’s promises and was accounted righteous;
Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 15:6 NIV
Abraham then also obeyed God and observed His commandments;
Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day.
Genesis 17:26 NIV
Hoping it is fruitful.
May the Holy G-d bless you beyond maximum, believing in His risen Son the Lord Jesus Christ (Adonai Yehoshua HaMoshiach). Amen.