Do Galatians 6:2 and Galatians 6:5 contradict each other?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Why does God’s Word tell us to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) and then command in the same passage, “Every man shall bear his own burden” (Galatians 6:5)? Is this not a contradiction? Is this a mistake in the Bible? Friends, we just need a good English dictionary and a little common sense, and it will become quite simple!

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
“For every man shall bear his own burden” (Galatians 6:5).

Those who enjoy “running to the Greek,” point out that “burdens” in Galatians 6:2 is bare, while “burden” in verse 5 is phortion. One seminary-trained minister recently criticized the King James Bible because the distinction in Greek was “lost in English.” My wonderful readers, before we criticize our English Bible, perhaps we had better consult an English dictionary. (Nothing is “lost in English!” The “scholar” says this so we depend on him to learn the real Bible. It is a form of Romanism, “Come to the priest, who has been educated to function as the ‘true’ interpreter of the Bible!”) I have a good pastor friend who wisely says, “Do not get angry at your Bible when it knows more about the English language than you do!” What is a synonym for “burden?” How about “load?” Why not leave “burden” in both verses and just remember what they mean?

Consider this ridiculously simple illustration. Suppose we have two coworkers. Each is being paid to do his or her own job, correct? However, what if both are carrying a heavy load? The one with the lighter load can come behind the other and help lift the object. This is not difficult to understand. It is when we come to the Bible—spiritual matters—that the battle wages and confusion arises. A struggle between good and evil and the souls of men begins. People have no trouble comprehending real-world scenarios apart from the Bible. When concepts in the Bible parallel the real-world scenarios, that is when people oppose. What should be simple is needlessly complicated. They do not want the Bible to say what it says. They want to find fault with it. They want to change it.

God wants us to function fully on our own, and yet, when necessary, we can help each other out. This is especially true of trying to recover Christians from “the snare of the devil” (2 Timothy 2:26). “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Christian living is not about serving self. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Now Galatians 6:3: “For if a man think himself to be something, which he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” And finally, verses 4 and 5: “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.” God expects every Christian to be mature enough to carry his or her own weight, not needing “crutches” or “aids” continually. How simple!

Also see:
» Do Hosea 11:12 and Hosea 12:2 contradict?
» Is Galatians 1:6-7 contradictory?
» Do John 5:31 and John 8:14 contradict?