Main point summary
Paul's apostleship was confirmed by the pillars, nevertheless he rebuked one of them, namely Peter, when he did not live according to the gospel that he was proclaiming.
Then after an interval of fourteen years I a went up again to Jerusalem with b Barnabas, taking c Titus along also.
Ἔπειτα διὰ δεκατεσσάρων ἐτῶν πάλιν ἀνέβην εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα μετὰ Βαρναβᾶ συμπαραλαβὼν καὶ Τίτον•
Then after fourteen years I went up to Jerusalem 1 again with Barnabas, taking Titus along too.
Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me.
Then after [a span of] fourteen years I went up to Jerusalem again with Barnabas, taking Titus along too.
1 It was because of a a revelation that I went up;
ἀνέβην δὲ κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν•
I went there 2 because of 3 a revelation
I went up because of a revelation
I went there because of a revelation
and I submitted to them the b gospel which I preach among the Gentiles,
καὶ ἀνεθέμην αὐτοῖς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ὃ κηρύσσω ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν,
and presented 4 to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles.
and set before them (though privately before those l who seemed influential) the gospel
and [so] presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles.
but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be c running, or had run, in vain.
κατʼ ἰδίαν δὲ τοῖς δοκοῦσιν, μή πως εἰς κενὸν τρέχω ἢ ἔδραμον.
But I did so 5 only in a private meeting with the influential people, 6 to make sure that I was not running - or had not run 7 - in vain.
that m I proclaim among the Gentiles, n in order to make sure I was not running or had not o run in vain.
But I did so only in a private meeting with the prominent people, to make sure that I was not running or had not run in vain.
But not even a Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was b compelled to be circumcised.
ἀλλʼ οὐδὲ Τίτος ὁ σὺν ἐμοί, Ἕλλην ὤν, ἠναγκάσθη περιτμηθῆναι•
Yet 8 not even Titus, who was with me, although being Greek, was [not] compelled to be circumcised.
But even Titus, who was with me, p was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.
Yet, even Titus, who was with me, although being Greek was [not] compelled to be circumcised.
But it was because of the a false brethren secretly brought in, who b had sneaked in to spy out our c liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to d bring us into bondage.
διὰ δὲ τοὺς παρεισάκτους ψευδαδέλφους, οἵτινες παρεισῆλθον κατασκοπῆσαι τὴν ἐλευθερίαν ἡμῶν ἣν ἔχομεν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, ἵνα ἡμᾶς καταδουλώσουσιν,
Now this matter arose 9 because of the false brothers with false pretenses 10 who slipped in unnoticed to spy on 11 our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, to make us slaves. 12
q Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in— who r slipped in to spy out s our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, t so that they might bring us into slavery—
[Now this matter arose] because of the false brothers with false pretenses who slipped in unnoticed [in order] to spy on our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, [in order] to make us slaves.
But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour,
οἷς οὐδὲ πρὸς ὥραν εἴξαμεν τῇ ὑποταγῇ,
But 13 we did not surrender to them 14 even for a moment, 15
to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment,
But [as a response] we did not surrender to them even for a moment,
so that a the truth of the gospel would remain with you.
ἵνα ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῦ εὐαγγελίου διαμείνῃ πρὸς ὑμᾶς.
in order that the truth of the gospel would remain with you. 16
so that u the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.
in order that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.
But from those who 1 were of high a reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; b God 2 shows no partiality)— well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.
Ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοκούντων εἶναί τι, - ὁποῖοί ποτε ἦσαν οὐδέν μοι διαφέρει• πρόσωπον [ὁ] θεὸς ἀνθρώπου οὐ λαμβάνει - ἐμοὶ γὰρ οἱ δοκοῦντες οὐδὲν προσανέθεντο,
But from those who were influential 17 (whatever they were makes no difference to me; God shows no favoritism between people 18 ) - those influential leaders 19 added 20 nothing to my message. 21
And from those v who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; w God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential x added nothing to me.
But from those who were prominent (whatever they were makes no difference to me, [for] God shows no partiality between people) those prominent leaders added nothing to my message.
But on the contrary, seeing that I had been a entrusted with the b gospel 1 to the uncircumcised,
ἀλλὰ τοὐναντίον ἰδόντες ὅτι πεπίστευμαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς ἀκροβυστίας
On the contrary, when they saw 22 that I was entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised 23
On the contrary, when they saw that I had been y entrusted with z the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised
On the contrary, when they saw that I was entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised
just as c Peter had been 2 to the circumcised (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his a apostleship 1 to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles),
καθὼς Πέτρος τῆς περιτομῆς, ὁ γὰρ ἐνεργήσας Πέτρῳ εἰς ἀποστολὴν τῆς περιτομῆς ἐνήργησεν καὶ ἐμοὶ εἰς τὰ ἔθνη,
just as Peter was to the circumcised 24 (for he who empowered 25 Peter for his apostleship 26 to the circumcised 27 also empowered me for my apostleship to the Gentiles) 28
(for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles),
just a Peter was to the circumcised (for he who empowered Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised also empowered me for my apostolic ministry to the Gentiles
and recognizing a the grace that had been given to me, 1 b James and c Cephas and John, who were d reputed to be e pillars,
καὶ γνόντες τὴν χάριν τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι, Ἰάκωβος καὶ Κηφᾶς καὶ Ἰωάννης, οἱ δοκοῦντες στῦλοι εἶναι,
and when James, Cephas, 29 and John, who had a reputation as 30 pillars, 31 recognized 32 the grace that had been given to me,
and when James and Cephas and John, v who seemed to be a pillars, perceived the b grace that was given to me,
and when James, Cephas, and John, who had a reputation as pillars recognized the grace that had been given to me,
gave to me and f Barnabas the g right 2 hand of fellowship,
δεξιὰς ἔδωκαν ἐμοὶ καὶ Βαρναβᾷ κοινωνίας,
they gave to Barnabas and me 33 the right hand of fellowship,
they c gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
[therefore] they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship,
so that we might h go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They only asked us to remember the poor— a the very thing I also was eager to do.
ἵνα ἡμεῖς εἰς τὰ ἔθνη, αὐτοὶ δὲ εἰς τὴν περιτομήν• μόνον τῶν πτωχῶν ἵνα μνημονεύωμεν, ὃ καὶ ἐσπούδασα αὐτὸ τοῦτο ποιῆσαι.
agreeing 34 that we would go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 35 They requested 36 only that we remember the poor, the very thing I also was eager to do.
Only, they asked us to remember the poor, d the very thing I was eager to do.
[as a result of agreeing] that we would go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They requested only that we remember the poor, [which is] the very thing I also was eager to do.
But when a Cephas came to b Antioch,
Ὅτε δὲ ἦλθεν Κηφᾶς εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν,
But when Cephas 37 came to Antioch, 38
But e when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him f to his face, because he stood condemned.
But when Cephas came to Antioch,
I opposed him to his face,
κατὰ πρόσωπον αὐτῷ ἀντέστην,
I opposed him to his face,
I opposed him to his face,
because he 1 stood condemned.
ὅτι κατεγνωσμένος ἦν.
because he had clearly done wrong. 39
because he had clearly done wrong.
For prior to the coming of certain men from 1 a James,
πρὸ τοῦ γὰρ ἐλθεῖν τινας ἀπὸ Ἰακώβου
Until 40 certain people came from James,
For before certain men came from James, g he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing h the circumcision party. 1
[That is, before] certain people came from James,
he used to b eat with the Gentiles;
μετὰ τῶν ἐθνῶν συνήσθιεν•
he had been eating with the Gentiles.
he had been eating with the Gentiles.
but when they came,
ὅτε δὲ ἦλθον,
But when they arrived,
and when they arrived,
he began to withdraw
he stopped doing this 41
he stopped doing this
and hold himself aloof,
καὶ ἀφώριζεν ἑαυτὸν
and separated himself 42
and separated himself
c fearing 2 the party of the circumcision.
φοβούμενος τοὺς ἐκ περιτομῆς.
because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision. 43
because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision.
The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy,
καὶ συνυπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ [καὶ] οἱ λοιποὶ Ἰουδαῖοι,
And the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy,
And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
Then the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy,
with the result that even a Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.
ὥστε καὶ Βαρναβᾶς συναπήχθη αὐτῶν τῇ ὑποκρίσει.
so that even Barnabas was led astray with them 44 by their hypocrisy.
[as a result] even Barnabas was led astray with them by their hypocrisy.
But when I saw
ἀλλʼ ὅτε εἶδον
But when I saw
But when I saw that their i conduct was not in step with j the truth of the gospel,
But [as a response] when I saw
that they a were not 1 straightforward about b the truth of the gospel,
ὅτι οὐκ ὀρθοποδοῦσιν πρὸς τὴν ἀλήθειαν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου,
that they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel,
that they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel,
I said to c Cephas in the presence of all,
εἶπον τῷ Κηφᾷ ἔμπροσθεν πάντων•
I said to Cephas 45 in front of them all,
I said to Cephas k before them all,
I said to Cephas in front of them all,
“If you, being a Jew, d live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? 2
εἰ σὺ Ἰουδαῖος ὑπάρχων ἐθνικῶς καὶ οὐχὶ Ἰουδαϊκῶς ζῇς,
“If you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you try to force 46 the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
“If you, though a Jew, l live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
"If you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew,
πῶς τὰ ἔθνη ἀναγκάζεις ἰουδαΐζειν;
[then] how can you try to force the Gentiles to live like Jews?"
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he had clearly done wrong. [That is, before] certain people came from James, he had been eating with the Gentiles. and when they arrived, he stopped doing this and separated himself because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision. Then the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy, [as a result] even Barnabas was led astray with them by their hypocrisy. But [as a response] when I saw that they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, "If you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, [then] how can you try to force the Gentiles to live like Jews?"
Verses 1-10 of Galatians 2, as a unit, serves only to support verses 11-14. Meaning, even though Paul's apostolic authority and message were confirmed by the pillars at Jerusalem, Paul still rebuked Peter when he was not living in accordance with the truth of the gospel. Which in turn supports his main claim that he's not a man pleaser. But Paul did not say these things just to make a point about his independence still. He said these things in such a way that highlights how the two apostles responded to the issue of legalism. This could be the last nail that will put to rest the issue of whether Paul was just trying to please people, and he will not hide this facts just to avoid a bad press. Now let's be honest, this account was not a shining moment for Peter, but I will immediately add though, that Peter, by implication from what he wrote in his letters about Paul, already repented of the sin that Paul was describing here. So my aim is not to condemn Peter or reject his apostolic authority, but to just show faithfully how the two responded to the attacks against the gospel of grace during this period and hopefully learn from them. So I will first address what happened at Antioch, and how Paul rebuked Peter, and then compare how Peter's response to the Judaizers in Antioch differs from Paul's when he addressed the false brothers in Jerusalem. Then we will look into how the truth of the Gospel can be preserved. Lastly I'll close with some applications in making a stand for the gospel and how it should shape our lives.
Peter's visit at Antioch(verse 11) Just as we are not sure exactly when did Paul's visit to Jerusalem happended, we also aren't sure when exactly did Peter's visitation at Antioch occurred. Did it occur before the second visit in Jerusalem or after his second visit? Or is it even much earlier than that, namely before or after his first visit? Now, I feel warranted to answer these questions first because Paul's argument here hangs on whether he was confirmed by the Jerusalem apostle before he rebuked Peter or is it the other way around. By looking at two greek words used here, we can make a case that this happened after Paul's second visit in Jerusalem, described in Galatians 2:1-10. First is the word Οτε, translated in English as "when" and δε, rendered as "but" in most translations. "When" tells us that verses 11-14 is a distinct event from what happened in verses 1-10 but it doesn't tell us exactly in relation to when did Peter's visit at Antioch occured. Paul used another word for that, he used the more flexible greek conjunction δε. The conjunction δε functions two ways in this passage, (1) to suggest continuation and or progression of events, and (2) to show a mild contrast between what happened in Jerusalem and Antioch. Paul could've use a more sharp contrast by using the word αλλα, but then the time aspect would be vague. Therefore he chose the word δε so that both the continuation and the contrast of events can be expressed clearly. Now let's move on from when to the what of Peter's visit in Antioch. We are told immediately that Paul opposed Cephas to his face-Cephas is just Peter's Aramaic name. The reason Paul gave for the rebuke was that he had clearly done wrong, or more literally blame-worthy or worthy of condemnation. Then he tells us why is that the case based on what happened in verses 12-13. Before certain men supposedly came from James, Peter had been eating with the Gentiles. If you are a Jew, Christian Jew at that, eating on the same table with a Gentile was very controversial during the early church and even more so in the old covenant. It means that not only you were eating with the unclean but that you yourself becomes unclean for doing so. But in the new covenant, we are now freed from the law. The dividing wall of hostility between the Jews and the Gentiles has been destroyed(Ephesians 2:14-16). So Peter here was just exercising his freedom to eat with the Gentiles. But when those who were pro-circumcision arrived, he withdrew from his fellowship with the Gentiles because he was afraid of them. Then the rest of the Jews joined also with him in his hypocrisy and as a result even Barnabas was led astray with them by their hypocrisy. Not only did Peter not live in accordance with the gospel, he even led others astray by his actions. So Paul responded to the situation when he saw what was happening. He said to Peter that he's not living consistently to what he require of others, hence the charge of hypocrisy. Response, Result, Motivation and Purpose Now let's contrast what happened in Jerusalem and Antioch. First, the response to the Judaizers. In verses 1-5 Paul brought Titus, a Gentile, to the fellowship, and he defended the gospel at all times(verse 5) while Peter on the other hand withdrew from fellowship with the Gentiles and did not defend the gospel. Second, the result of their behavior Paul in taking his ground encouraged others to not surrender the gospel not even for a moment. Take note of the plural "we" in verse 5. He said "we" did not surrender. But in the case of Peter, when he withdrew, others joined him in his hypocrisy. Third, the grounds or motivation for their actions. Paul, from the preceding verses and chapters clearly doesn't want to impress people and so he addressed the Judaizers the way he did because he wants the approval of God first and foremost. But Peter for his part, his actions were motivated by fear. Verse 12 says "he separated himself because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision." Fourth, their purpose Paul's aim was to preserve the truth of the gospel. Verse 5b says: "we did not surrender to them even for a moment, in order that the truth of the gospel would remain with you." Peter just want to preserve a following. He might lose a hearing from the circumcision party perhaps if he's to be seen mingling with Gentiles. Again this is in no way to diminish Peter's authority as inspired spokesman for God and don't hear me saying that Paul was a better a apostle than him. Rather, it's written for our learning and edification. I would like to add also that both apostles maintain their position about the gospel. They share the same principle as to what the gospel is. What happened here is a temporary lapse in behaviour by Peter and not doctrine. We know that Peter was in agreement with Paul because of what he said to Peter in verse 14. Paul said that "if you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile.." This means that Peter was consistent in the application of his freedom in the gospel up to a certain point only. But he did understand the gospel and its radically culture and tradition shifting effects. Preserving the truth of the gospel So what does this account tells us about how to preserve the truth of the gospel? There are at least two that I can see here. One is to preach or herald the truth of the gospel and two, live under the sway of the truth of the gospel. 1) Preach It - The truth of the gospel is preserved if we proclaim it faithfully. Paul's presentation of the gospel in verse 2 proves this point. We must talk about the gospel both privately and publicly(verse 14). A life's testimony is not the gospel. The gospel is a message first before it is an experience. A message that must be heard according to Romans 10:14. The gospel is the faith that's once for all delivered to the saints. Much of what we see in preaching nowadays is more of life's testimonies and anecdotes than preaching the whole counsel of God that centers in the truth of the Gospel. The gospel according to scripture has to do first with the God-Man Jesus Christ before our response and benefits that we'll receive from it. The gospel is that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures and that he was buried and rose again on the third day according to scriptures(1 Corinthians 15:3-7). The gospel is first an objective reality that is outside of us. 2) Live by It - The truth of the gospel is preserved if we live by it. Living consistent with our confession is as important as the confession itself. Notice the phrase that unifies verses 1-10 and verses 11-14 is the phrase "truth of the gospel" and it has to do with how we should live consistent with it. Paul in verse 5 presented the gospel in order that the truth of the gospel might be preserved, but in verse 14 Paul rebuked Peter not because of what he preached but what his conduct signifies. So the subjective aspect of the gospel has its proper place. Our testimonies matter not only to the unbelieving world but also to our fellow believers.
What should we make out of this sad and sobering event in the history of the Church? Controversies must teach us to look into our own hearts First we can see that controversies within the body of Christ already is in existence since its infancy. We are not to be surprised by what we're seeing today. Truth is too important then, and still is too important now. There will be people who will make a stand for the truth and there are those who will cower and compromise the truth of the gospel just to win the approval of men. But let me make this perfectly clear, it would be wrong that after hearing this, you'll ask yourselves who are the Pauls and Peters of the church and then decide which group you would like to fellowship with base on that. Remember that Peter here did not remain in the state of living inconsistently with the gospel and so to draw an application that way would be very reckless. Not only that, this kind of attitude deserves the rebuke that Paul gave to the Corinthian believers in 1 Corinthians 1:10-15. Instead, we ought to ask ourselves do we really conduct our lives consistent with the gospel? Don't point your fingers somewhere else. Reflect if we ourselves are denying the gospel by our very own actions. Do we really live with the freedom that we have in Christ? Or are we still enslaved by the desire to gain the approval of men? Legalism hiding in Orthodoxy Second, we can see that legalism comes in different forms and one of the worst is having it cloaked under the flag of orthodoxy. Theological rightness does not necessarily equate to right practice. Sometimes we elevate some of our theological distinctives, that can be deemed secondary, and as a result we cut off fellowship from those who differ from us on secondary matters. The issue really is a conflation of the necessary implications of the gospel and what we "think" is necessary to the gospel. This calls for discernment and much patience. Don't be quick in cutting ties just because of differences on secondary issues. As some theologians usually say; it is much better to err on the side of grace than err on the side of legalism. Preserving the Truth of the Gospel is more than just theological accuracy I think a necessary element for the preservation of the truth of the gospel is to treat others in a such a way that is consistent with the way God treats us. That is one of the radical marks of a gospel centered life. Not theological acumen first but a grace filled life first. Sadly, much of our polemics today err on the side of legalism than on grace. You may win the arguments but when the way you speak or write shows the very opposite of what you're arguing for, you'll not win their souls. Preserving the truth of the gospel then means that we lead others to the truth of it not just with propositions but also with our actions. Preach the Gospel to Yourself Lastly, at the root, all our insecurities, fears and hypocrisy flows from our lack of faith that God is for us in the Gospel. Peter deny the gospel through his actions because he was afraid of the men from James. The Jews joined also because they want the approval of Peter, a pillar from Jerusalem. Even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy because everyone else already joined in. Preach the gospel to yourselves first before to others. Before it is a battle to preach, it is a battle to believe and truly live under the sway of the gospel day by day and if you are still trying to preserve the truth of it relying only on ourselves then we might as well give up because you're battling a lost cause.