Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Galatians 5:20

idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
New American Standard Version

Adam Clarke Commentary

Idolatry - Worshipping of idols; frequenting idol festivals; all the rites of Bacchus, Venus, Priapus, etc., which were common among the Gentiles.

Witchcraft - Φαρμακεια, from φαρμακον a drug or poison; because in all spells and enchantments, whether true or false, drugs were employed. As a drug, φαρμακον, might either be the means of removing an evil, or inflicting one, etymologists have derived it from φερον ακος, bringing ease, or φερον αχος, bringing pain. So spells and incantations were used sometimes for the restoration of the health; at others, for the destruction of an enemy. Sometimes, these φαρμακα were used to procure love; at other times, to produce hatred.

Hatred - Εχθραι· Aversions and antipathies, when opposed to brotherly love and kindness.

Variance - Ερεις· Contentions, where the principle of hatred proceeds to open acts; hence contests, altercations, lawsuits, and disputes in general.

Emulations - Ζηλοι· Envies or emulations; that is strife to excel at the expense of another; lowering others to set up one's self; unholy zeal, fervently adopting a bad cause, or supporting a good one by cruel means. Inquisitions, pretending to support true religion by torturing and burning alive those who both profess and practice it.

Wrath - Θυμοι· Turbulent passions, disturbing the harmony of the mind, and producing domestic and civil broils and disquietudes.

Strife - Επιθειαι· Disputations, janglings, logomachics, or strife about words.

Seditions - Διχοστασιαι· Divisions into separate factions; parties, whether in the Church or state.

Heresies - Αἱρεσεις· Factions; parties in the Church separating from communion with each other, and setting up altar against altar. The word, which is harmless in itself, is here used in a bad sense. In stead of αἱρεσεις the Slavonic has σκανδαλα, scandals, offenses or stumbling-blocks.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/galatians-5.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Witchcraft - Pretending to witchcraft. The apostle does not vouch for the actual existence of witchcraft; but he says that what was known as such was a proof of the corrupt nature of man, and was one of the fruits of it. No one can doubt it. It was a system of imposture and falsehood throughout; and nothing is a better demonstration of the depravity of the human heart than an extended and systematized attempt to impose on mankind. The word which is used here ( φαρμακεία pharmakeiawhence our word “pharmacy,” from φάρμακον , a medicine, poison, magic potion) means, properly, the preparing and giving of medicine. Then it means also poisoning, and also magic art, or enchantment; because in savage nations pharmacy or medicine consisted much in magical incantations. Thence it means sorcery or enchantment, and it is so used uniformly in the New Testament. It is used only in Galatians 5:20; Revelation 9:21; Revelation 18:23; Revelation 21:8. Some have supposed that it means poisoning here, a crime often practiced; but the more correct interpretation is, to refer it to the black art, or to pretensions to witchcraft, and the numerous delusions which have grown out of it, as a striking illustration of the corrupt and depraved nature of man.

Hatred - Greek: “hatreds,” in the plural. Antipathies, and lack of love, producing contentions and strifes.

Variance - Contentions; see the note at Romans 1:29.

Emulations - ( ζήλοι zēloi). In a bad sense, meaning heart-burning, or jealousy, or perhaps inordinate ambition. The sense is ardor or zeal in a bad cause, leading to strife, etc.

Wrath - This also is plural in the Greek ( θυμοὶ thumoi), meaning passions, “bursts of anger;” see the note at 2 Corinthians 12:20.

Strife - Also plural in the Greek; see the note at 2 Corinthians 12:20

Seditions - See the note at Romans 16:17.

Heresies - See the note at Acts 5:17; 1 Corinthians 11:19.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/galatians-5.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Idolatry,.... Which some understand of covetousness, which is so called; but rather it means the worshipping of other gods, or of graven images:

witchcraft; any real or pretended league and association with the devil, seeking to converse with familiar spirits, to gain unlawful knowledge, or to do hurt to fellow creatures; which, as it is doing honour to Satan, detracts from the glory of God, and rightly follows idolatry; conjuration, soothsaying, necromancy, and all kind of magic are included and condemned hereby:

hatred: internal hatred of any man's person, even of our very enemies, is forbidden; in the original text it is "enmities": as the carnal mind is nothing else but enmity against God and Christ, against law and Gospel, and all good men, and everything that is good:

variance, or "contentions"; fighting and quarrelling, by words scandalous and reproachful, what we commonly call scolding:

emulations or "zeals"; not good, but bad: a boiling and rising up of the spirits and passions, at the honour and happiness of another:

wrath or "wraths" violent emotions of the mind, moving to revenge, and seeking the hurt and mischief of others:

strife or "strifes"; perpetual contradictions and cavilings, either expressed by words, or working in the mind; for this strife may be in a man's heart, according to James 3:14

seditions or "divisions": schisms and factions, dissensions in things domestic, civil, and religious:

heresies; bad principles and tenets, relating to doctrine, which are subversive of the fundamentals of the Gospel and the Christian religion; and are the produce of a man's own invention, and the matter of his choice, without any foundation in the word of God; and these are works of the flesh, for they spring from a corrupt and carnal mind, and are propagated with carnal views, as popular applause, worldly advantage, and indulging the lusts of the flesh.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/galatians-5.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

witchcraft — sorcery; prevalent in Asia (Acts 19:19; compare Revelation 21:1-27).

hatredGreek, “hatreds.”

varianceGreek, “strife”; singular in the oldest manuscripts.

emulations — in the oldest manuscripts, singular - “emulation,” or rather, “jealousy”; for the sake of one‘s own advantage. “Envyings” (Galatians 5:21) are even without advantage to the person himself [Bengel].

wrathGreek, plural, “passionate outbreaks” [Alford].

strife — rather as Greek, “factions,” “cabals”; derived from a Greek root, meaning “a worker for hire”: hence, unworthy means for compassing ends, factious practices.

seditions — “dissensions,” as to secular matters.

heresies — as to sacred things (see on 1 Corinthians 11:19). Self-constituted parties; from a Greek root, to choose. A schism is a more recent split in a congregation from a difference of opinion. Heresy is a schism become inveterate [Augustine, Con. Crescon. Don., 2, 7].

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/galatians-5.html. 1871-8.

Vincent's Word Studies

Witchcraft ( φαρμακία )

Or sorcery. Elsewhere only Revelation 18:23. From φάρμακον adrug. In lxx, see Exodus 7:11; Wisd. 12:4; Isaiah 47:9. Comp. Acts 19:19, περίεργα curiousarts, note.

Wrath ( θυμοί )

Lit. wraths. See on John 3:36.

Strife ( ἐριθίαι )

More correctly, factions. From ἔριθος ahired servant. Ἑριθία is, primarily, labor for hire (see Romans href="/desk/?q=ro+16:17&sr=1">Romans 16:17. Once in lxx, 1Corinthians href="/desk/?q=1co+11:19&sr=1">1 Corinthians 11:19. See on 2 Peter 2:1. Parties, into which divisions crystallize.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/galatians-5.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Idolatry, witchcraft — That this means witchcraft, strictly speaking, (not poisoning,) appears from its being joined with the worship of devil-gods, and not with murder. This is frequently and solemnly forbidden in the Old Testament. To deny therefore that there is, or ever was, any such thing, is, by plain consequence, to deny the authority both of the Old and New Testament.

Divisions — In domestic or civil matters. Heresies are divisions in religious communities.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/galatians-5.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Ver. 20. Idolatry] This is fitly set after those fleshly sins, as commonly accompanied with them, 1 Corinthians 10:7-8. Sir Walter Raleigh knew what he said, that were he to choose a religion for licentious liberty and lasciviousness, he would choose the Popish religion.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/galatians-5.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Galatians 5:20. Witchcraft, Some would render the word φαρμακεια by poisoning; but surely this is comprehended under the word murders; nor is there any reason to believe the flesh so particularly inclined to this one kind of murder, as that it should be specified rather than any other. It is certain that, on account of the drugs made use of in some supposed magical compositions, this word is often used to express practices of that kind; to which the Gentiles, even in the most learned nations, were very much addicted. We render the word διχοστασιαι, seditions; but as the original word seems more general, some would express it more largely by divisions of a party-spirit, among those who ought to be united in one interest and affection. Perhaps, however, by this word the Apostle means to point out divisions in the state, as by the next he refers to divisions in religion—heresies in religious communities, bywhich professing Christians are induced to separate from each other, and to form parties, which, instead of maintaining true candour, benevolence, and love, renounce and condemn each other.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/galatians-5.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

20.] εἰδωλ., in its proper meaning of idolatry: not, as Olsh., ‘sins of lust,’ because of the unclean orgies of idolatry.

φαρμ., either ‘poisonings,’ or ‘sorceries.’ The latter is preferable, as more frequently its sense in the LXX and N. T. (reff.), and because (Mey.) Asia was particularly addicted to sorceries (Acts 19:19).

θυμοί] passionate outbreaks. θυμὸς μέν ἐστι πρόσκαιρος, ὀργὴ δὲ πολυχρόνιος μνησικακία, Ammonius. διαφέρει δὲ θυμὸς ὀργῆς, τῷ θυμὸν μὲν εἶναι ὀργὴν ἀναθυμιωμένην κ. ἔτι ἐκκαιομένην, ὀργὴν δὲ ὄρεξιν ἀντιτιμωρήσεως. Orig. sel. in Psalms 2, vol. ii. 541: both cited by Trench, Syn. p. 146.

ζῆλος, jealousy (in bad sense)—reff.

ἐριθεῖαι] not ‘strife,’ as E. V. and commonly, in error: see note on Romans 2:8,—but cabals, unworthy compassings of selfish ends.

Wetst. N. T. ii. p. 147, traces in a note the later meanings of αἵρεσις. Here διχοστ., divisions, seems to lead to αἱρέσ., parties, composed of those who have chosen their self-willed line and adhere to it. Trench quotes Aug. (cont. Crescon. Don. ii. 7 (9), vol. ix. p. 471): “Schisma est recens congregationis ex aliquâ sententiarum diversitate dissensio: hæresis autem schisma inveteratum.” But we must not think of an ecclesiastical meaning only, or chiefly here.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/galatians-5.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Galatians 5:20. εἰδωλολατρεία] is not to be considered as a species of the sins of lust (Olshausen); a view against which may be urged the literal sense of the word, and also the circumstance that unchastity was only practised in the case of some of the heathen rites. It is to be taken in its proper sense as idolatry. Living among Gentiles, Gentile Christians were not unfrequently seduced to idolatry, to which the sacrificial feasts readily gave occasion. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 5:11.

φαρμακεία] may here mean either poison-mingling (Plat. Legg. viii. p. 845 E Polyb. vi. 13. 4, xl. 3. 7; comp. φαρμακός, Dem. 794. 4) or sorcery (Exodus 7:11; Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:3; Isaiah 47:9; Isaiah 47:12; Revelation 9:21; Revelation 18:23; Revelation 21:8; Wisdom of Solomon 12:4; Wisdom of Solomon 18:13; comp. φάρμακα, Herod. iii. 85; φαρμακεύειν, Herod. vii. 114). The latter interpretation is to be preferred (with Luther, Grotius, Estius, Koppe, Winer, Usteri, Schott, de Wette, Ewald, Wieseler, Hofmann, and others), partly on account of the combination with εἰδωλολατρεία (comp. Deuteronomy 18:10 ff.; Exodus 22:18), partly because φόνοι occurs subsequently. Sorcery was very prevalent, especially in Asia (Acts 19:19). To understand it, with Olshausen, specially of love-incantations, is arbitrary and groundless, since the series of sins of lust is closed with ἀσέλγεια.

The particulars which follow as far as φόνοι stand related as special manifestations to the more general ἔχθραι. On the plural, comp. Herod. vii. 145; Xen. Mem. i. 2. 10.

ζῆλος, Romans 13:13; jealousy, 1 Corinthians 3:3, 2 Corinthians 12:20, James 3:16.

The distinction between θυμός and ὀργή is, that ὀργή denotes the wrath in itself, and θυμός, the effervescence of it, exasperation. Hence in Revelation 16:19; Revelation 19:15, we have. θυμὸς τῆς ὀργῆς. See on Romans 2:8.

ἐριθεῖαι] self-seeking party-cabals. See on Romans 2:8; 2 Corinthians 12:20.

διχοστασίαι, αἱρέσεις] divisions, factions (comp. 1 Corinthians 11:18 f.). On αἵρεσις in this signification, which occurs only in later writers (1 Corinthians 11:19; Acts 24:5; Acts 24:14), see Wetstein, II. p. 147 f. Comp. αἱρετιστής, partisan, Polyb. i. 79. 9, ii. 38. 7. Observe how Paul, having the circumstances of the Galatians in view, has multiplied especially the designations of dispeace. Comp. Soph. O. C. 1234 f. According to 1 Corinthians 3:3 also, these phenomena are works of the flesh.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/galatians-5.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Galatians 5:20. φαρμακεία) See LXX., Exodus 7:11, and in many other passages. That Paul is not speaking here of natural poisoning by potions, but of magic, is evident from this, that he joins it not with murder, but with idolatry. Comp. Revelation 21:8, note.— διχοστασίαι, seditions) respecting civil affairs.— αἱρέσεις, heresies) respecting sacred things: 1 Corinthians 11:19.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/galatians-5.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible

Idolatry; either the worshipping of the creature for God, or the worshipping of God in and by the creature, as by images, &c.

Witchcraft; the product of compacts with the devil; by virtue of which, the persons so contracting are assisted by the power of evil spirits to produce effects beside the ordinary course and order of nature, and for the most part mischievous to others. And not these gross crimes only are the fruits of the flesh, but also abiding

hatred of our brethren in our hearts, enmities to others, as the word signifieth. The result of which are,

variance; men’s quarrellings and contendings one with another for little or no cause:

emulations; people’s endeavouring to hinder others of such good things as they see them desirous of:

wrath; heats and immoderate passions of men one against another:

strife; a continual readiness and proneness to quarrelling:

seditions; dividing into parties, which in the state is called sedition, in the church, schism:

heresies; that is, differing and false opinions in the grand doctrine of religion.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/galatians-5.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

волшебство От переведенного так греч. слова (pharmakeia) происходит термин «фармация», которое вначале означало любые лекарства, а впоследствии – только препараты, действующие на работу мозга и настроение, а также оккультизм, магию и колдовство. Во многих языческих религиях подобные препараты используются для установления связи с божествами.

ссорыереси Многие из этих грехов, проявляющихся в сфере человеческих отношений, связаны с определенной формой зла: «вражда» приводит к «ссорам» (разногласиям), «зависть» (злобное неприятие) приводит ко «гневу» (неожиданным, неудержимым проявлениям враждебности). Следующие четыре греха представляют враждебность между отдельными людьми и группами.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/galatians-5.html.

John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians

Galatians 5:20. εἰδωλολατρεία—“idolatry”-worship of images or false gods, not a species of the former sensualities (Olshausen), though perhaps not without reference to the idol feasts, which were often scenes of revelry and lust. 1 Corinthians 5:11. The worship of God might be mingled with that of the national divinities. Acts 15:20; compare 2 Kings 5:18. The word was also applied to various sins, as undue devotion to anything to the exclusion of the Highest. See under Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5.

φαρμακεία-not poisoning, or the use of φίλτρα (Plat. Leg. 11.12), but, from its connection with the previous sin, “sorcery,” or, as defined by Suidas, γοητεία. It is often used in this sense in the Sept.: Exodus 7:11; Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:18, Isaiah 47:9; Isaiah 47:12; and in the Apocrypha: Wisdom of Solomon 12:4; Wisdom of Solomon 18:13. φάρμακον is found also in 2 Kings 9:22, and along with πορνεῖαι is ascribed to Jezebel. The words again occur twice over, Nahum 3:4, in a description of the sin and doom of Nineveh. Comp. Revelation 9:21; Revelation 18:23; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15. The term, from its association with idolatry, denotes incantation-superstitious dealings with the spirit-world. These practices were common in Asia Minor. Acts 19:18.

῎εχθραι—“hatreds”-breaches of the law of love, apt to deepen into malignity. Sept. 1 Maccabees 13:6, 2 Maccabees 4:3.

῎ερις—“strife.” Codices C, D & sup2, 3;, E, F, K, L have the plural; the singular being found A, B, D1, א, and it is preferred by Lachmann and Tischendorf. Romans 13:13. In 2 Corinthians 12:20 the three next words occur in the same order. In such strife, love by which the law is fulfilled becomes wholly lost, for it springs out of these “hatreds,” and is nursed by them.

ζῆλος. Codices C, D & sup2, 3;, K, L, א, and very many versions and fathers, have the plural; but B, D1, E ( ζήλους, a misprint, being read in F) have the singular, and it is found in several of the fathers. Amidst such variations, it is hard to say whether the singular or plural ought to be adopted. Only there was some temptation from the following plurals to change these singular forms into plural ones for the sake of uniformity. ζῆλος is used in a good sense, John 2:17, Romans 10:2, 2 Corinthians 9:2; and also among the classics: ζῆλος τῶν ἀρίστων, Lucian, Adv. Indoct. 17; ζῆλος καὶ μίμησις, Herodian, Galatians 2:4. But here it signifies rivalry, jealousy in the dark sense, mingled with envy (Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 12:20), and burning like fire: πυρὸς ζῆλος, Hebrews 10:27; Sept. ἐν πυρὶ ζήλου, Zephaniah 1:18; Zephaniah 3:8, as applied to God; also ζῆλον πικρόν, James 3:14. Trench, Syn. p. 99. See under Galatians 4:17.

θυμοί—“outbursts of anger.” The word comes from θύω, and it, according to Donaldson (Cratyl. § 471), from θε, to place, as in τίθημι, which, on the principle that “the same root may suggest contrasted ideas,” signifies also to run, as in θέειν, like “fast” in English, which means both “fixed” and “rapid.” The noun therefore means-impulse toward a thing; and in Plato, De Republica 440, it signifies the “will”—“disposition” in general, Legg. 5.731, B, though he explains it as signifying anger in the Cratylus, 419, E: θυμὸς δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς θύσεως καὶ ζέσεως τῆς ψυχῆς ἔχοι ἂν τοῦτο τὸ ὄνομα. See Stallbaum's note. It is therefore more demonstrative than inimicitia hominis acerbi et iracundi, for it is excandescentia (quum bitumen et sulphur additum est, excandescet). Cato, R. R. 95. The plural θυμοί denotes here, concrete manifestations of the abstract sin. Lobeck, Soph. Ajax, p. 274, 3d ed. Similarly σοφίαι, Aristoph. Ran. 688; φιλοσοφίαι, Plato, Theaet. 172, C θάνατοι, αἵματα, etc., Bernhardy, pp. 62, 63. θυμοί are those explosions of rage that proceed from a vindictive heart and an ungovernable temper. See under Ephesians 4:31.

᾿εριθεῖαι—“caballings.” The word is not derived from ἔρις, though both may come from the root ἔρω, ἔρδω. It is allied to ἐριθεύω as δουλεία to δουλεύω. The Homeric ἔριθος is a day-labourer, one who works for hire-used of reapers and slaves, and is connected by some with ἔριον, wool. It means first of all, labour for hire, then intriguing or canvassing for office- καὶ γὰρ ἡ ἔριθεια εἴρηται ἀπὸ τῆς μισθοῦ δόσεως, Aristot. Pol. 5.2, 3; Suidas, sub voce δεκάζεσθαι. It then comes naturally to signify party-spirit,-thus Hesychius, ᾿ηριθεύετο . . . ἐφιλονείκει,-and is opposed to χρηστομαθεία in Ignat. Ep. ad Philad. § 8. In the New Testament it is opposed to ἀγάπη, Philippians 1:16-17; in James 3:14; James 3:16 it is coupled with ζῆλος as here, and as something more active and mischievous, leading to ἀκαταστασία; in Philippians 2:3, with κενοδοξία, vainglory, which often prompts to it, and as opposed to σύμψυχοι, τὸ ἓν φρονοῦντες, and to τῇ ταπεινοφροσύνῃ ἀλλήλους ἡγούμενοι ὑπερέχοντας ἑαυτῶν. It stands between θυμοὶ and καταλαλιαί in 2 Corinthians 12:20. See Romans 2:8. It is thus dark, selfish, unscrupulous intriguing, that alike sacrifices peace and truth to gain its end. See under Philippians 1:17.

διχοστασίαι—“divisions,” the decided and violent taking of a side on selfish and unyielding grounds.

αἱρέσεις—“factions,” the result of the former-divisions organized into factions, but without the ecclesiastical meaning which a Lapide, Crocius, and others assign to the term. The word is applied to the party of the Sadducees, Acts 5:17; to that of the Pharisees, Acts 15:5; to that of the Christians- τῶν ναζωραίων αἱρέσεως, Acts 24:5; and in 1 Corinthians 11:19 it is applied to parties within the church. The Judaizers were producing such results in the Galatian churches by their self-willed and bitter reactionary agitations.

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Eadie, John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/jec/galatians-5.html.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Galatians 5:20. . See note on Galatians 4:17.— . The apparent derivation of this word from (a hireling) points to mercenary motives. The Apostle elsewhere associates it with jealousy, envy and vainglory, and contrasts it with sincerity, union and love. It denotes, probably, selfish intrigues.— . This term is used in the N.T. to designate any religious sect or party, e.g., the Pharisees, Sadducees, Nazarenes (as the Jews designated Christians).

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/galatians-5.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

witchcraft = sorcery. Greek. pharmakeia. Here and Revelation 9:21; Revelation 18:23. See also Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15. It means magical incantation by means of drugs (Greek. pharmakon),

hatred. Greek. echthra. See Romans 8:7.

variance. Greek. eris. See Romans 1:29,

emulations = jealousies. See Romans 13:13 (envying).

strife = factiousuess. Greek. eritheia. See Romans 2:8.

seditious = divisions. Greek. dichoetasia. See Romans 16:17.

heresies. See Acts 5:17.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/galatians-5.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(20) Idolatry.—When the Christian is warned against idolatry, it is not, of course, systematic idolatry that is meant, but that occasional compliance with idolatrous customs—taking part in the idol feasts, or eating of things offered to idols—which he might easily be led into by his intercourse with his heathen neighbours.

Witchcraft.—Sorcery, or magic. It would seem that practices of this kind were especially common in Asia Minor. In Acts 19:19 we read that at Ephesus, “many of them which used curious arts brought their books together and burned them before all men;” and there is other evidence to the same effect.

Variance.—Strife, or contention.

Emulations.—Singular and plural are somewhat strangely mixed throughout the list. There is a division of authorities as to the reading in the case of this word. It seems probable, upon the whole, that the singular is right—emulation, or jealousy. “Wrath,” on the other hand, should be wraths—i.e., ebullitions or outbreaks of wrath. (See the Note on Romans 2:8.)

Strife.—This appears to be a mistake in the Authorised version. The word was supposed to be connected with that translated “variance” above, and the two words received the same translation indifferently. The word ereis, which is here translated “variance,” is rendered by “strife” in Romans 13:13, 1 Corinthians 3:3, Philippians 1:15, 1 Timothy 6:4; on the other hand, the word eritheia is rendered by “strife” here and in 2 Corinthians 12:20, Philippians 2:3, James 3:14-16. It is rendered by “contention” in Romans 2:8 (“them that are contentious”) and Philippians 1:16. The true derivation of this latter word is, however, something quite different: it is to be sought in a word meaning “a day-labourer.” Hence we get the senses—(1) labour for hire; (2) interested canvassing for office; (3) a spirit of factious partisanship; factiousness. (This word, too, is really in the plural.)

Seditions, heresies.—Rather, divisions, parties. The Authorised version has too special and technical a sound, as if the first related to factions in the State, and the second in the Church. This is not really so. The two words are distinguished from each other, as the lighter and more aggravated forms of division: the first. divisions; the second, divisions organised into parties.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/galatians-5.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
witchcraft
Ezekiel 22:18; Deuteronomy 18:10; 1 Samuel 15:23; 1 Chronicles 10:13,14; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Acts 8:9-11; Acts 16:16-19
heresies
2 Corinthians 11:19; Titus 3:10; 2 Peter 2:1
Reciprocal: Genesis 13:7 - a strife;  Exodus 22:18 - GeneralLeviticus 19:18 - not avenge;  Leviticus 19:31 - General2 Samuel 19:43 - our advice;  Psalm 31:20 - the strife;  Luke 9:46 - GeneralLuke 21:34 - surfeiting;  John 3:26 - he that;  Acts 24:14 - heresy;  1 Corinthians 1:11 - that there;  1 Corinthians 11:19 - heresies;  Galatians 5:24 - crucified;  Ephesians 4:31 - wrath;  Philippians 2:3 - nothing;  Colossians 2:18 - fleshly;  Colossians 3:8 - anger;  1 Timothy 6:4 - words;  James 1:19 - slow to wrath;  James 3:16 - where

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/galatians-5.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

20.Wicked supernaturalisms are two.

Idolatry—Worship of fictitious deities.

Witchcraft—Or sorcery, the use of spells, charms, herbs, and manipulations, to produce preternatural effects. These were based partly in falsehood, partly in preternatural power over the nervous system, and partly in demoniac agency. Their whole was adverse to God and religion. Modern spiritualism is unquestionably a development of the same thing. Where experiments are made for scientific purposes, to bring out and publish to the world the truth in the case, a proper thing is done; but the truly devilish indulgence in these secret workings results in all the base consequences for which both the Old Testament and the New condemns them.

“It is a striking coincidence, if nothing more, that sorceries were condemned by a very stringent canon of the Council of Ancyra, the capital of Galatia, about A.D. 314.”—Lightfoot.

Now follow nine vices of the malign nature.

Hatred—The general opposite of love, and so generally including all the rest of the nine. These follow in a degree of climax ending in murder.

Variance—Predisposition to dissent, even without self-interest.

Emulations—Strife for selfish ascendency.

Wrath—Selfish strife carried to an angry pitch.

Strife— Cliques and cabals angrily maintained.

Seditions—Rather, strife developed into distinct and hostile parties, becoming permanent in heresies, which are not doctrinal errors, but separations into hostile organizations.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/galatians-5.html. 1874-1909.

The Bible Study New Testament

20. Idols. Worship to these included obscene and bizarre practices. Witchcraft. This formed part of idolatry. The pagan priests claimed to be able to speak with and control the evil spirits. By this they frightened people and made themselves rich. Enemies. Who bear grudges against each other and will never forgive and forget. Fight. Hostility, such as the kind that brings on unreasonable lawsuits. Compare 1 Corinthians 6:7. Jealous. Which leads to selfish scheming and plotting against others. Angry. Violent, uncontrolled anger. Ambitious. The selfish spirit that is willing to crush others just to get ahead. Separate. The spirit that causes people to form parties and groups (sects) in religion out of selfish motives.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Galatians 5:20". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/galatians-5.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.