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1. Fourteen years after (dia dekatessarwn etwn). Rev. after the space of fourteen years. Comp. dij ejtwn pleionwn after several years, Acts xxiv. 17; dij hJmerwn after (some) days, Mark ii. 1. Dia means after, that is, a given number of years being interposed between two points of time. Not, in the course of (Rev. marg.).
2. By revelation (kata apokaluyin). It was specially and divinely revealed to me that I should go. In what way, he does not state.
Communicated (aneqemhn). Only here and Acts xxv. 14.'Ana up, tiqenai to set. To set up a thing for the consideration of others: to lay it before them.
Unto them (autoiv). The Christians of Jerusalem generally.
Privately (kat idian). The general communication to the Jerusalem Christians was accompanied by a private consultation with the leaders. Not that a different subject was discussed in private, but that the discussion was deeper and more detailed than would have befitted the whole body of Christians.
To them which were of reputation (toiv dokousin). Lit. to those who seem; are reputed. Men of recognized position, James, Cephas, John. Not his adversaries who were adherents of these three. It is not to be supposed that he would submit his gospel to such. The expression is therefore not used ironically. Paul recognizes the honorable position of the three and their rightful claim to respect. The repetition of the phrase (lv. 6, 9) may point to a favorite expression of his opponents in commending these leaders to Paul as models for his preaching; hardly (as Lightfoot) to the contrast between the estimation in which they were held and the actual services which they rendered to him. He chooses this expression because the matter at stake was his recognition by the earlier apostles, and any ironical designation would be out of place. 44 Lest by any means I should run or had run in vain. Better, should be running. Comp. Philip. ii. 16. This is sometimes explained as implying a misgiving on Paul's part as to the soundness of his own teaching, which he desired to have set at rest by the decision of the principal apostles. On this explanation mh pwv will be rendered lest in some way or other. But such a misgiving is contrary to Paul's habitual attitude of settled conviction respecting that gospel which he had received by revelation, and in the preaching of which he had been confirmed by experience. In consulting the Christians at Jerusalem Paul had principally in view the formal indorsement of his work by the church and its leaders. Their formal declaration that he had not been running in vain would materially aid him in his mission. Mh pwv is therefore to be taken as marking an indirect question, whether - not possibly; and the sense of the whole passage is as follows: "I laid before them that gospel which I preach to the Gentiles, that they might examine and settle for themselves the question whether I am not possibly running or had run in vain." The investigation was to be for their satisfaction, not for Paul's. 45 Run (trecein) is a favorite metaphor with Paul. See Rom. ix. 16; 1 Corinthians ix. 24, 26; Gal. v. 7; Philip. ii. 16; iii. 13, 14.
3. Neither (oude). More correctly, not even. So far were they from pronouncing my labor in vain, that not even Titus was compelled to be circumcised, although he was a Greek. Though approving Paul's preaching, the apostles might, for the sake of conciliation, have insisted on the circumcision of his Gentile companion.
Being a Greek (%Ellhn wn). Or, although he was a Greek. Const.
Was compelled to be circumcised (hnagkasqh peritmhqhnai). That is. no constraint was applied by the Jerusalem church and its authorities for the circumcision of Titus. The statement is not that such an attempt was pressed but successfully resisted, but that circumcision was not insisted on by the church. The pressure in that direction came from "the false brethren" described in the next verse.
4. The false brethren (touv yeudadelfouv). Only here and 2 Corinthians xi. 26. Christians in name only; Judaisers; anti-Paulinists. The article marks them as a well known class.
Unawares brought in (pareisaktouv). N.T.o . Lit. brought in by the side, and so insidiously, illegally. Vulg. subintroductos. o LXX. Strabo (xvii. 1) uses it as an epithet of Ptolemy, "the sneak." Comp. pareisaxousin shall privily bring in, 2 Pet. ii. 1; and pareiseduhsan crept in privily, Jude 4. Brought in, not from Jerusalem into the church at Antioch, nor into the Pauline churches generally, but into the Christian brotherhood to which they did not rightfully belong.
Who (oitinev). The double relative introduces the explanation of the two preceding epithets: false brethren, privily brought in, since they came in privily to spy out our liberty.
Came in privily (pareishlqon). Lit. came in beside. Only here and Rom. v. 20, where it implies nothing evil or secret, but merely something subsidiary. The aorist has a pluperfect sense, indication the earlier intrusion of these persons into the Christian community.
To spy out (kataskophsai). N.T.o . In LXX, of spying out a territory, 2 Samuel x. 3; 1 Chron. xix. 3.
Liberty (eleuqerian). Freedom from Mosaism through justification by faith.
5. We gave place by subjection (eixamen th upotagh). We, Paul and Barnabas. Gave place or yielded, N.T. o By the subjection which was demanded of us. The noun only in Paul and the Pastorals, and always in the sense of self-subjection. Comp. 2 Cor. ix. 13; 1 Tim. ii. 11; iii. 4.
6. Render the passage as follows: "But to be something from (at the hands of) those who were of repute, whatever they were, matters nothing to me (God accepteth not man's person), for those who were of repute imparted nothing to me."
From those who were of repute (apo twn dokountwn). From, at the hands of; as receiving my indorsement or commission from them. Comp. chapter i. 1. Of repute, see on verse 2.
Whatsoever they were (opoioi pote hsan). Pote in N.T. is invariably temporal, and points here to the preeminence which these apostles had formerly, up to the time of Paul's visit, enjoyed, because of their personal connection with Jesus. 46 Maketh no matter to me (ouden moi diaferei). Paul does not say, as A.V. and Rev., that the standing and repute of the apostles were matters of indifference to him, but that he was indifferent about receiving his commission from them as recognized dignitaries of the church. The construction is: "To be something (einai ti) at the hands of (apo) those who were of repute matters nothing to me."
God accepteth no man's person. Or more strictly, accepteth not the person of man. Parenthitical. Lambanein proswpon to receive or accept the face is a Hebraism. See on Jas. ii. 1. In O.T. both in a good and a bad sense; to be gracious, and to show favor from personal or partisan motives. In N.T. only here and Luke xx. 21, both in a bad sense. Similar Hebraistic expressions are blepein eijv proswpon to look at the face, Matt. xxii. 16: qaumazein proswpa to admire the countenances, Jude xvi. kaucasqai ejn proswpw to glory in the face, 2 Cor. v. 12. For - to me. Explaining the previous statement. To be of consequence because commissioned by those in repute matters nothing to me (God accepteth not man's person), for although they might have asserted their high repute and authority to others, to me they did not, as shown by their imposing on me no new requirements.
In conference added nothing (ouden prosaneqento). In conference is an attempt to conform the sense to chapter i. 16. The verb without the accusative, as there, means to confer with. Here, with the accusative, the meaning is laid upon or imposed on. Rend. therefore, imposed nothing on me. They imposed on me no new (prov additional) requirements; no conditions or limitations of my missionary work. 47
7. The gospel of the uncircumcision (to eujaggelion thv ajkrobustiav). The phrase only here in N.T. The gospel which was to be preached to the uncircumcised - the Gentiles. Lightfoot aptly says: "It denotes a distinction of sphere, and not a difference of type."
8. He that wrought effectually (o energhsav). See on 1 Thessalonians ii. 13. Rev. omits effectually, but it is fairly implied in the verb. 48 Comp. 1 Corinthians xii. 6; Philip. ii. 13; Col. i. 29. The reference is to God, not to Christ.
In Peter (Petrw). Better, for Peter. In Peter would be ejn Petrw.
Unto the apostleship (eiv). Not merely with reference to the apostleship, but with the design of making him an apostle. Comp. 2 Cor. ii. 12; Col. i. 29. Observe how Paul puts himself on an equality with Peter.
Unto the Gentiles (eiv ta eqnh). To make me an apostle to the Gentiles.
9. Who seemed to be pillars (oi dokountev stuloi einai). Better, who are in repute as pillars. The metaphor of pillars, applied to the great representatives and supporters of an institution, is old, and common in all languages. 49 The grace (thn carin). Including all the manifestations of divine grace in Paul - his mission, special endowment, success in preaching the gospel - all showing that he was worthy of their fellowship. He is careful to speak of it as a gift of God, doqeisan.
They gave the right hands of fellowship (dexiav edwkan koinwniav). The phrase only here in N.T. A token of alliance in the apostolic office of preaching and teaching. The giving of the right hand in pledge was not a distinctively Jewish custom. It appears as early as Homer. Deissmann cites an inscription from Pergamum, 98 B. C., in which the Pergamenes offer to adjust the strife between Sardes and Ephesus, and send a mediator dounai tav ceirav eijv sullusin to give hands for a treaty. See dexian or dexiav didonai 1 Macc. vi. 58; xi. 50, 62; 2 Macc. xi. 26; xii. 11; xiii. 22; and dex. lambanein to receive right hand or hands, 1 Macc. xi. 66; xiii. 50; 2 Macc. xii. 12; xiv. 19. 50 The custom prevailed among the Persians, from whom it may have passed to the Jews. See Joseph. Antiq. xviii. 9, 3. Images of right hands clasped were sometimes exchanged in token of friendship (see Xen. Anab. ii. 4, 1). Tacitus (Hist. i. 54) says: "The state of the Lingones had sent, according to an ancient institution, right hands, as gifts to the legions, a signal token of good will." On Roman coins often appear two hands joined, with various inscriptions, as Exercituum Fides; Concordia; Consensus. To give the hand in confirmation of a promise occurs Ezek. x. 19. In Isa. lxii. 8, God swears by his right hand.
10. Only. With only this stipulation.
We should remember (mnhmoneuwmen). The only instance in N.T. of this verb in the sense of beneficent care. No instance in LXX. In Psalm ix. 12, there is the thought but not the word.
The poor (twn ptwcwn). The poor Christians of Palestine. Comp. Acts xxiv. 17; Rom. xv. 26, 27; 1 Cor. xvi. 3; 2 Cor. ix. 1. For the word, see on Matt. v. 3. In LXX ordinarily of those who are oppressors, or of those who are quiet in contrast with the lawless.
The same which (o - auto touto). Lit. which, this very thing. The expression is peculiarly emphatic, and brings out the contrast between Judaising hostility and Paul's spirit of loving zeal. Rev. which very thing.
11. To the face (kata proswpon). As Acts iii. 13. The meaning is expressed in the familiar phrase faced him down. It is, however, rarely as strong as this in N.T. Rather before the face, or in the face of, meaning simply in the sight or presence of (Luke ii. 31), or according to appearance (2 Cor. i. 7). The explanation that Paul withstood Peter only in appearance or semblance (so Jerome, Chrysostom, Theodoret, and other Fathers) is one of the curiosities of exegesis, and was probably adopted out of misplaced consideration for the prestige of Peter.
12. Did eat with (sunhsqien). A.V. misses the force of the imperfect, marking Peter's custom. Not only at church feasts, but at ordinary meals, in defiance of the Pharisaic that this prohibition was not binding (Acts x. 28; xi. 8, 9), and had defended that position in the apostolic conference (Acts xv. 7 ff.).
Withdrew and separated himself (upestellen kai afwrizen eauton). Or, began to withdraw, etc. Upostellein only here in Paul. It means, originally, to draw in or contract. Thus of furling sails, closing the fingers. Middle voice, to draw or shrink back from through fear. Hence, to dissemble or prevaricate. There seems to be no special reason for making it either a military metaphor, as Lightfoot, or a nautical metaphor, as Farrar. See on Acts xx. 20.
With their dissimulation (autwn th upokrisei). Not to or over to their dissimulation. Paul uses a strong word, which is employed only in 1 Timothy iv. 2. The kindred verb uJpokrinesqai to play a part, and the noun uJpokrithv hypocrisy do not occur in his letters. Their act was hypocrisy, because it was a concealment of their own more liberal conviction, and an open profession of still adhering to the narrow Pharisaic view. It was "a practical denial of their better spiritual insight" (Wieseler).
14. See additional note at the end of this chapter. Walked not uprightly (ojrqopodousin). Lit. are not walking. N.T.o . o LXX. o Class. Lit. to be straight-footed.
Being a Jew (uparcwn). The verb means originally to begin; thence to come forth, be at hand, be in existence. It is sometimes claimed that uJparcein as distinguished from einai implies an antecedent condition - being originally. That is true in some cases. 52 But, on the other hand, it sometimes denotes a present as related to a future condition. 53 The most that can be said is that it often is found simply in the sense of to be. Livest after the manner of Gentiles (eqnikwv zhv). Eqnikwv, N.T.o . The force of the present livest must not be pressed. The reference is not strictly temporal, either as referring to Peter's former intercourse with the Gentile Christians, or as indicating that he was now associating with them at table. It is rather the statement of a general principle. If you, at whatever time, act on the principle of living according to Gentile usage. At the time of Paul's address to Peter, Peter was living after the manner of Jews (Ioudaikwv).
Compellest (anagkazeiv). Indirect compulsion exerted by Peter's example. Not that he directly imposed Jewish separatism on the Gentile converts.
To live as do the Jews (Ioudaizein). N.T.o . Once in LXX, Esth. viii. 17. Also in Joseph. B. J. ii. 18, 2, and Plut. Cic. 7. It is used by Ignatius, Magn. 10. Cristianizein to practice Christianity occurs in Origen.
15. We, etc. Continuation of Paul's address; not the beginning of an address to the Galatians. Under we Paul includes himself, Peter, and the Jewish Christians of Antioch, in contrast with the Gentile Christians. The Galatians were mostly Gentiles.
Who are Jews, etc. The who is wrong. Render we are Jews. The expression is concessive. We are, I grant, Jews. There is an implied emphasis on the special prerogatives and privileges of the Jews as such. See Rom. iii. 1 f.; ix. 1 ff.
Sinners of the Gentiles (ex eqnwn amartwloi). Lit. sinners taken from the Gentiles, or sprung from. Sinners, in the conventional Jewish sense; born heathen, and as such sinners; not implying that Jews are not sinners. The Jew regarded the Gentile as impure, and styled him a dog (Matt. xv. 27). See Rom. ii. 12; 1 Cor. vi. 1; ix. 21; Ephesians ii. 12; Luke xviii. 32; xxiv. 7. Possibly Paul here cites the very words by which Peter sought to justify his separation from the Gentile Christians, and takes up these words in order to draw from them an opposite conclusion. This is quite according to Paul's habit.
16. Justified (dikaioutai). See on Rom. iii. 20, 26. The meaning to declare or pronounce righteous cannot be consistently carried through Paul's writings in the interest of a theological fiction of imputed righteousness. See, for example, Rom. iv. 25; 1 Cor. vi. 11; and all passages where the word is used to describe justification by works of the law, as here, chapter iii. 11; v. 4. If one is a real righteousness, founded upon his conformity to the law. Why is the righteousness of faith any less a real righteousness?
By the works of the law (ex ergwn nomou). Lit. out of the works, etc. Comp. Rom. iii. 20. Works are characteristic of a legal dispensation. Paul often puts "works" alone as representing legal righteousness. See Romans iv. 2, 6; ix. 11, 32; xi. 6; Eph. ii. 9.
But by faith (ean mh). As the Greek stands, it would read, "Is not justified by the works of the law save through faith." So, unfortunately, Rev. This would mean, as the Romish interpreters, not through works of the law except they be done through faith in Christ, and would ascribe justification to works which grow out of faith. Paul means that justification is by faith alone. The use of ejan mh is to be thus explained: A man is not justified by the works of the law: (he is not justified) except by faith in Jesus Christ. Ean mh retains its exceptive force, but the exception refers only to the verb. Comp. eij mh in Matt. xii. 4; Luke iv. 26, 27; Gal. i. 19; Apoc. xxi. 27.
Sinners (amartwloi). Like the Gentiles, verse 15. Paul assumes that this was actually the case: that, seeking to be justified in Christ, they were found to be sinners. To seek to be justified by Christ is an admission that there is no justification by works; that the seeker is unjustified, and therefore a sinner. The effort to attain justification by faith in Christ develops the consciousness of sin. It compels the seeker, whether Jew or Gentile, to put himself upon the common plane of sinners. The Jew who calls the Gentile a sinner, in seeking to be justified by faith, finds himself a sinner also. The law has failed him as a justifying agency. But Paul is careful to repudiate the false inference from this fact, stated in what immediately follows, namely, that Christ is a minister of sin.
Minister of sin. A promoter of sin by causing us to abandon the law. God forbid (mh genoito). See on Rom. iii. 4. Not a reply merely to the question "is Christ a minister of sin?" but to the whole supposition from "if while we seek." The question is not whether Christ is in general a minister of sin, but whether he is such in the case supposed. Paul does not assume that this false inference has been drawn by Peter or the other Jewish Christians.
20. I build again the things which I destroyed (a katelusa tauta palin oikodomw). Peter, by his Christian profession, had asserted that justification was by faith alone; and by his eating with Gentiles had declared that the Mosaic law was no longer binding upon him. He had thus, figuratively, destroyed or pulled down the Jewish law as a standard of Christian faith and conduct. By his subsequent refusal to eat with Gentiles he had retracted this declaration, had asserted that the Jewish law was still binding upon Christians, and had thus built again what he had pulled down. Building and pulling down are favorite figures with Paul. See Rom. xiv. 20; xv. 20; 1 Cor. viii. 1, 10; x. 23; xiv. 17; Eph. ii. 20 f. For kataluein destroy, see on Rom. xiv. 20; 2 Cor. v. 1. I make myself (emauton sunistanw). Better, prove myself. The verb originally means to put together: thence to put one person in contact with another by way of introducing him and bespeaking for him confidence and approval. To commend, as Rom. xvi. 1; comp. Rom. v. 8; 2 Corinthians iii. 1; iv. 2; v. 12. As proof, or exhibition of the true state of a case is furnished by putting things together, the word comes to mean demonstrate, exhibit the fact, as here, Rom. iii. 5; 2 Cor. vi. 11. A transgressor (parabathn). See on Jas. ii. 11, and on parabasiv transgression, Rom. ii. 23. In reasserting the validity of the law for justification, which he had denied by seeking justification by faith in Christ, he proves himself a transgressor in that denial, that pulling down.
19. For (gar). Justifying the previous thought that the reerection of the law as a standard of Christian life and a means of justification is a condemnation of the faith which relies on Christ alone for righteousness. I, through the law, am dead to the law (egw dia nomou nomw apeqanon). For am dead, render died. Faith in Christ created a complete and irreparable break with the law which is described as death to the law. Comp. Rom. vii. 4, 6. The law itself was the instrument of this break, see next verse Egw is emphatic. Paul appeals to his personal experience, his decided break with the law in contrast with Peter's vacillation.
20. I am crucified with Christ (Cristw sunestaurwmai). This compound verb is used by Paul only here and Rom. vi. 6. In the gospels, Matt. xxvii. 44; Mark xv. 32; John xix. 32. The statement explains how a believer dies to the law by means of the law itself. In the crucifixion of Christ as one accursed, the demand of the law was met (see Galatians iii. 13). Ethically, a believer is crucified with Christ (Rom. vi. 3-11; Philip. iii. 10; 1 Cor. xv. 31; 2 Cor. iv. 10), and thus the demand of the law is fulfilled in him likewise. Paul means that, "owing to his connection with the crucified, he was like him, legally impure, and was thus an outcast from the Jewish church." 54 He became dead to the law by the law's own act. Of course a Jew would have answered that Christ was justly crucified. He would have said: "If you broke with the law because of your fellowship with Christ, it proved that both he and you were transgressors." But Paul is addressing Peter, who, in common with himself, believed on Christ (verse 16).
I live; yet not I (zw de ouketi egw). The semicolon after live in A.V. and Rev. should be removed. Rend: and it is no longer I that live, but Christ, etc. The new life of Christ followed his crucifixion, Rom. vi. 9-11. He who is crucified with Christ repeats this experience. He rises with Christ and shares his resurrection-life. The old man is crucified with Christ, and Christ is in him as the principle of his new life, Romans 4-11. 55 I now live. Emphasis on nun now, since the beginning of my Christian life, with an implied contrast with the life in the flesh before he was crucified with Christ. Then, the I was the center and impulse of life. Now, it is no longer I, but Christ in me.
By the faith of the Son of God (en pistei th tou uiou tou qeou). Better, as Rev., in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God. Thus the defining and explicative force of the article th after pistei is brought out. In faith is better than by faith, although ejn is sometimes used instrumentally. In corresponds better with ejn sarki in the flesh. It exhibits faith as the element in which the new life is lived.
And gave himself (kai paradontov eauton). Kai and has an explanatory force: loved me, and, as a proof of his love, gave himself. For paradontov gave, see on was delivered, Rom. iv. 25.
"For God more bounteous was himself to give To make man able to uplift himself, Than if he only of himself had pardoned." Dante, Paradiso, vii. 115-117 For me (uper emou). See on for the ungodly, Rom. v. 6.
The grace of God (thn carin tou qeou). Cariv is, primarily, that which gives joy (cara). Its higher, Christian meaning is based on the emphasis of freeness in a gift or favor. It is the free, spontaneous, absolute loving kindness of God toward men. Hence often in contrast with the ideas of debt, law, works, sin. Sometimes for the gift of grace, the benefaction, as 1 Cor. xvi. 3; 2 Cor. viii. 6, 19; 1 Pet. i. 10, 13. So here: the gracious gift of God in the offering of Christ.
Is dead (apeqanen). More correctly, died; pointing to the historical incident.
In vain (dwrean). Groundlessly, without cause. See on 2 Thessalonians iii. 8. The sense here is not common. It is not found in Class., and in N.T. only John xv. 25. In LXX, see Psalm xxxiv. 7, 19; cviii. 3; cxviii. 161; 1 Samuel xix. 5; Sir. xx. 23; xxix. 6. Comp. Ignatius, Trall. 5. Paul says: "I do not invalidate the grace of God in the offering of Christ, as one does who seeks to reestablish the law as a means of justification; for if righteousness comes through the law, there was no occasion for Christ to die."
ADDITIONAL NOTE ON VERSES 14-21.
The course of thought in Paul's address to Peter is difficult to follow. It will help to simplify it if the reader will keep it before him that the whole passage is to be interpreted in the light of Peter's false attitude - as a remonstrance against a particular state of things.
The line of remonstrance is as follows. If you, Peter, being a Jew, do not live as a Jew, but as a Gentile, as you did when you ate with Gentiles, why do you, by your example in withdrawing from Gentile tables, constrain Gentile Christians to live as Jews, observing the separative ordinances of the Jewish law? This course is plainly inconsistent.
Even you and I, born Jews, and not Gentiles - sinners - denied the obligation of these ordinances by the act of believing on Jesus Christ. In professing this faith we committed ourselves to the principle that no one can be justified by the works of the law.
But it may be said that we were in no better case by thus abandoning the law and legal righteousness, since, in the very effort to be justified through Christ, we were shown to be sinners, and therefore in the same category with the Gentiles. Does it not then follow that Christ is proved to be a minister of sin in requiring us to abandon the law as a means of justification?
No. God forbid. It is true that, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we stood revealed as sinners, for it was Christ who showed us that we could not be justified by the works of the law; that all our legal strictness only left us sinners. But the inference is false that Christ is thereby shown to be a minister of sin.
For to say that Christ is a minister of sin, is to say that I, at his bidding, became a transgressor by abandoning the law, that the law is the only true standard and medium of righteousness. If I reassert the obligation of the law after denying that obligation, I thereby assert that I transgressed in abandoning it, and that Christ, who prompted and demanded this transgression, is a minister of sin.
But this I deny. The law is not the true standard and medium of righteousness. I did not transgress in abandoning it. Christ is not a minister of sin. For it was the law itself which compelled me to abandon the law. The law crucified Christ and thereby declared him accursed. In virtue of my moral fellowship with Christ, I was (ethically) crucified with him. The act of the law forced me to break with the law. Through the law I died to the law. Thus I came under a new principle of life. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. If I should declare that righteousness is through the law, by reasserting the obligation of the law as you, Peter, have done, I should annul the grace of God as exhibited in the death of Christ: for in that case, Christ's death would be superfluous and useless. But I do not annul the grace of God.