The Meaning of Galatians 5:19 Explained

Galatians 5:19

KJV: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

YLT: And manifest also are the works of the flesh, which are: Adultery, whoredom, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Darby: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness,

ASV: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these : fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

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What does Galatians 5:19 Mean?

Context Summary

Galatians 5:13-26 - Produce The Fruit Of The Spirit
That Christ has freed us from the Law as a means of salvation does not free us from moral restraint, but brings us under the constraint of a higher law, the law of love. We do not keep this law to be saved; but, being saved, we keep it out of love toward Christ. The power of the new life is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Unite yourself with His life that you find rising up within you. Live in the Spirit. A child was much disappointed because when she took a cupful of water out of the blue lake, it did not look blue in the cup; so her teacher told her to throw the cup into the midst of the lake and leave it there. As we live and walk in the Spirit, we are safe.
The Holy Spirit brings influences to bear which act upon the germs of sin, as a disinfectant upon the germs of disease. If we yield ourselves to these influences, and are filled with the Spirit of Jesus, we shall be delivered from the self-life, which the Apostle describes as the flesh. As Jesus is more and more formed in us, the new flower and fruitage of the risen life will appear, while the corrupt works of the flesh will shrink and drop away, [source]

Chapter Summary: Galatians 5

1  He wills them to stand in their liberty,
3  and not to observe circumcision;
13  but rather love, which is the sum of the law
19  He lists the works of the flesh,
22  and the fruits of the Spirit,
25  and exhorts to walk in the Spirit

Greek Commentary for Galatians 5:19

Manifest [πανερα]
Opposed to “hidden” Ancient writers were fond of lists of vices and virtues. Cf. Stalker‘s sermons on The Seven Cardinal Virtues and The Seven Deadly Sins. There are more than seven in this deadly list in Galatians 5:19-21. He makes the two lists in explanation of the conflict in Galatians 5:17 to emphasize the command in Galatians 5:13. There are four groups in Paul‘s list of manifest vices:(1)Sensual sins like fornication (πορνεια — porneia prostitution, harlotry), uncleanness (ακαταρσια — akatharsia moral impurity), lasciviousness (ασελγεια — aselgeia wantonness), sexual vice of all kinds prevailed in heathenism.(2)Idolatry (ειδωλατρεια — eidōlatreia worship of idols) and witchcraft (παρμακεια — pharmakeia from παρμακον — pharmakon a drug, the ministering of drugs), but the sorcerers monopolized the word for a while in their magical arts and used it in connection with idolatry. In N.T. only here and Revelation 18:23. See note on Acts 19:19 περιεργα — perierga curious arts. [source]
Drunkenness [μεται]
And such like (και τα ομοια τουτοις — kai ta homoia toutois). And the things like these (associative instrumental τουτοις — toutois after ομοια — homoia like). It is not meant to be exhaustive, but it is representative. [source]
And such like [και τα ομοια τουτοις]
And the things like these (associative instrumental τουτοις — toutois after ομοια — homoia like). It is not meant to be exhaustive, but it is representative. [source]
Manifest []
You have a clearly defined standard by which to decide whether you are led by the Spirit or by the flesh. Each exhibits its peculiar works or fruits. [source]
Adultery [μοιχεία]
To be dropped from the text. [source]
Uncleanness [ἀκαθαρσία]
See on 1 Thessalonians 2:3. [source]
Lasciviousness [ἀσελγεια]
See on Mark 7:22. [source]

What do the individual words in Galatians 5:19 mean?

Evident now are the works of the flesh which sexual immorality impurity sensuality
Φανερὰ δέ ἐστιν τὰ ἔργα τῆς σαρκός ἅτινά πορνεία ἀκαθαρσία ἀσέλγεια

Φανερὰ  Evident 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Neuter Plural
Root: φανερός  
Sense: apparent, manifest, evident, known.
δέ  now 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
ἔργα  works 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Plural
Root: ἔργον  
Sense: business, employment, that which any one is occupied.
τῆς  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
σαρκός  flesh 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: σάρξ  
Sense: flesh (the soft substance of the living body, which covers the bones and is permeated with blood) of both man and beasts.
πορνεία  sexual  immorality 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: πορνεία  
Sense: illicit sexual intercourse.
ἀκαθαρσία  impurity 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: ἀκαθαρσία  
Sense: uncleanness.
ἀσέλγεια  sensuality 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: ἀσέλγεια  
Sense: unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence.

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