Should we show partiality in doing good works? (Galatians 6:10)


Salvete, omnes!

(First, I wasn’t sure whether to put this in the Sacred Scripture forum or here, so my apologies if it is in the incorrect place.)

Galatians 6:10 (RSVCE): “… As we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (emphasis added)

I have always struggled with the second part of this verse. For it seems to suggest that we are in some way to show partiality in our good works to those who are of the Faith. That might lead us to state that those outside the Church are not loved as much as those within the Church. However, I thought God loved everyone equally (though He may delight more in those who follow His Way).

Paul seems here to suggest that we can at least be a little lax in doing good to non-believers as compared to doing so for believers. At the very least, he seems to suggest that it’s OK if we slip a little in doing good to non-believers as long as we make believers a priority. We are then permitted to put less effort into doing good works to nonbelievers. Or, maybe, he even suggests that we should put less effort into this than we should with believers.

So, then, does this verse mean we should show partiality to believers in doing good to them? What implications does this verse have for how we should and how God does relate to those within the Church and those outside? Are we to care less for unbelievers than we are for believers? Are we to then put less effort into doing good works for the former? Are those within the Church moe loved? Are those outside the Church less loved? Are they equally loved? If the last is the ase, how are we to interpret the seeming partiality of the last part of this verse?



There is no partiality. You fail to take into account that Paul is speaking to a specific audience and about specific instances that are going on in the community.

And in the first part, Paul says ALL.


Gotta take care of the family! No outside observer is going to be won to the faith if we cannot even manage to care for our own. Remember the part of the Gospel where Jesus exhorts people to push themselves beyond their usual boundaries in loving others and doing good for others? He uses such language as “even the heathen do that”, regarding care of one’s family. He ASSUMES that one will care for one’s own first, and it’s a natural and good thing to do. How anemic is our faith community if we cannot as individuals care for our own families and as a community care for members of our faith family.


Something very flawed here.

I would rather give to eat to someone starving than eat myself. “Family hold back” works for me. No way will I play "Lady Bountiful "

All are family . All are to be cared for



I agree with Oneofthewomen. It seems like Paul wrote quite a bit that was directed at a specific community and situation in time that people can interpret wrongly when taken out of context in a very broad general sense.

I took it as him saying do good to all people in general, and be especially alert to needs occurring right in our own community. It’s like watching out for your neighbor. You might be more alert to what your next door neighbor needs because he lives next door, than somebody in the next city over, but if you learn that the guy in the next city needs help because his neighborhood just blew away in a tornado, you don’t refuse to help him on the basis that he’s not as close as your next door neighbor.


Not in the sense that you are saying. Your analyzing it too much, it’s just referring to a common sense way of acting. At the very least it’s a specification of those who are already on board with Christianity. But, elsewhere St. Paul mentions that one in the Christian community has to pull their own weight in the community as they are able, not just be a loafer.

I can give you an example of how this is still practiced today. In most Catholic schools, in the US, placement priority is given to those who are already attending the school (Catholic or not), then to transfers from other Catholic schools, then to Catholic applicants, then others. That is not an exact representation but they are, principally, something like that.


Could Paul mean that those who are a part of the mystical body of Christ are more precious because we share a common life in Christ? We are the body of Christ. Others are made in the image and likeness of God when they were born, but are not one in sharing the life of God.

By saying what Paul said, it doesn’t seem to me that he had any intention of saying not to help others but that when it came down to choosing between which one to help, the Christian is closer to us as we are one in Christ which exists a close bond of love.

If a christian’s soul, in having Christ’s life, were actually seen for what it is, that soul would appear as Jesus appeared on the mount of transfiguration in glory. Where as a non Christian or an unChristian not in union with Christ, would not show that love and glory of Jesus. There is a real difference between the Christian and others not in the life of Christ. And this is the reason it is important to bring Christ to others in any way we can … especially because we know this. So they are very important too.


I can’t see God as regarding any particular human as “more precious” in His sight. I can easier see the idea of taking care of those close to you because they are your Christian family, one is more aware of their needs, and the Christian community has to be self-sufficient as a previous poster said.

There is a real difference between the Christian and others not in the life of Christ. And this is the reason it is important to bring Christ to others in any way we can … especially because we know this.

I would think that helping “others not in the life of Christ” would be a way to bring Christ to them. However, I can also see that in order to reach out to others, the Christian community itself would first have to be strong in itself. If the Christians were trying to reach out to others but leaving people already in their community with all kinds of unmet needs, that would not encourage others to join.


Careful Tis Bearself, Rosebud 77 might find something very "flawed’ in this concept! :stuck_out_tongue:


We are to love everyone equally. However, it is not necessary due to the principle of union and similarity. In this principle, you find a greater love. So say, St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Galatians.

Pope Saint Gregory the Great, says, patience is the guardian of the virtues. “Be not seduced: Evil communications corrupt good manners.” (1 Cor 15:33) By habitual patience, we fall in our morals within safety. We perceive others as better than ourselves. (cf. Phil 2:3) We are busy with the right reasons, while those outside do their work in vanity. (cf. Mt 7:13-14) We keep silent and open the mouth at opportune times, which would be few for those outside due to unlikeness. (cf. Mt 12:36, Prov 10:19, 2 Cor 6:14)

“Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Mt 22:37-39) This means to point to the necessity of self-knowledge. I am a sinner, and my tongue is very much capable of breaking this commandment and the golden rule. Therefore, I must practice self-denial so that I do not feed myself in the vanity that unbelievers undertake. Keep silent, work, listen and forsake idleness.

Do your works for the Lord in Heaven, where Mary stands. And consider not the reasons of the souls in the world. Many are lost and will drag you down in the spiritual conflict. You are more vulnerable when you lost your trust in God, and place it in man. Trust goes to either one or the other. Consider the reasons of the Church.

The knowledge of the judgments of God is no advantage to us. Humility, humility, again I say humility: will save you from the many snares the devils have prepared for you. So says, the testimony of Saint Anthony the Abbot.

same answer as above.

again, same answer


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit