“Walk” in Galatians

In Eph 4:1 Paul urges us to walk worthily of our calling.

The metaphor “walk” for lifestyle or behavior is used repeatedly throughout the NT. I am looking at each passage that uses this metaphor. Today is Galatians 5:16.

5:16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (NIV)

  • If you walk in the Spirit you will leave the appetite of your flesh unfulfilled.
  • What does it mean to “walk in the Spirit?”

Related verse is Gal 5:25 – keep in step with the Spirit (implies a metaphor of walking)

The context of Gal 5 starts with a discussion of freedom as opposed to the yoke of slavery of obeying Moses’ Law. Do not use your freedom as an excuse to indulge but as an opportunity to serve in love. Invokes what Scot McKnight calls the Jesus Creed: Love God and love others. Do not attack each other. “Spirit” and “flesh” have  desires opposed to each other. They are mutually exclusive in a sense.

Works of the flesh include sexual sins, idolatry, social sins, substance abuse. A little more detail on the social sins: hostility, strife, jealousy, outburst of anger, selfish rivalries, sitting in a small group and criticizing everyone else (factions), envying.

Fruit of the Spirit includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

I think you can say that there are two roads to walk: the flesh road and the Spirit road. The flesh road is sexual, spiritual, social, substance sins. The Spirit road is living out “love your neighbor as yourself.” The love, patience, kindness and all that stuff describes relational attitudes and actions. If you walk the one road, you won’t walk the other.

Link to Gal 5 in the NET Bible:

Zhubert word study:

Perseus LSJ entry: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph.jsp?l=peripate/w&la=greek#lexicon


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