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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
Galatians 2

 

 


Verse 1

1. ἔπειτα (Galatians 1:18; Galatians 1:21) διὰ δεκατεσσάρων ἐτῶν, “after fourteen years.” διά (which had originally the local idea of “interval between,” see A. T. Robertson, Short Grammar of the Greek N.T., 1908, p. 119), here marks the time between one event and the next as already passed through before this arrives. Mark 2:1; Acts 24:17; Polyb. XXII. 23 [26] 22 διʼ ἐτῶν τριῶν ἄλλους ἀνταποστέλλων: cf. the classical διὰ χρόνου. The ἔπειτα strongly suggests that the fourteen years date from the last matter of interest, viz. the commencement of the journey to Syria etc. Galatians 1:21, which took place at the end of the first visit to Jerusalem, Galatians 1:18-19. So Lightfoot and Zahn. But for chronological reasons some (e.g. Ramsay, Turner) date it from his conversion.

πάλιν, “again,” but not necessarily only a second time. It appears to have been absent from the text of Marcion and Irenaeus.

ἀνέβην. The ἀνά may be used because of the geographical position of Jerusalem, or more probably because of its religious superiority. Compare ὁ στρατηγὸς ἀναβαίν(ει) αὔριον εἰς τὸ Σαραπιῆν in a papyrus of the 2nd cent. B.C. (Moulton and Milligan, Expositor, VII. 5, 1908, p. 184, cf. p. 271). This visit is doubtless to be identified with that recorded in Acts 15. On the relation of the two accounts, see Appendix Note B.

μετὰ Βαρνάβα. Therefore certainly before the separation in Acts 15:39. But in itself the fact that Barnabas went with him does not help us to identify the visit, for they were together in all the three visits, Acts 9:27; Acts 11:30 with Acts 12:25, Acts 15:2. Barnabas is mentioned here to show that not only St Paul went up, but also one whose orthodoxy no Hebrew-Christian doubted. On the inference drawn from his name here by upholders of the South Galatian theory see the Introduction, pp. xxvii. sq.

συνπαραλαβὼν., Acts 12:25; Acts 15:37-38[62] of John Mark. The verb thus signifies taking a dependent, as in LXX. Job 1:4, Job’s sons take their sisters, and 3 Maccabees 1:1, Philopator takes his sister Arsinoe. Ramsay (Gal. p. 294) objects to the translation “taking … with me,” as though it connoted superiority to Barnabas, but it really only implies that Titus was dependent on St Paul not on Barnabas.

καὶ Τίτον. We know of him only from St Paul’s writings, Galatians 2:3, 2 Cor. (nine times); 2 Timothy 4:10; Titus 1:4[63]: mentioned here because being a full-born Gentile (Galatians 2:3) and uncircumcised, his was a crucial case. For this very reason also, as we may suppose, St Paul took him with him to Jerusalem. See Galatians 2:3 note.


Verses 1-10

1–10. The next visit to Jerusalem and its result; my independence was fully recognized

(Galatians 2:1) When did I see the Apostles next? Not till fourteen years after my last visit. I then went up to Jerusalem with so well known a worker as Barnabas for my friend, and with Titus as my attendant. (Galatians 2:2) It was not however for my own sake, or of my own motion, that I went up. It was in accordance with revelation. And I laid before the believers there a statement of the gospel which I always preach among the Gentiles (e.g. that it is unnecessary for them to obey the Law), but first privately before the leaders (with the desire to win them over) lest my present or past work should be damaged.

NOTE B

Galatians 2:1-10 in relation to Acts 15:4-29

It has been asserted that it would be a suppression of the truth if St Paul omitted one of his visits to Jerusalem in Galatians 1:17 to Galatians 2:10 and that therefore the visit recorded in Galatians 2:1-10 must be his second visit, mentioned in Acts 11:29-30. But this is to misunderstand the object of St Paul’s enumeration. He does not seem to have had any interest in his visits to Jerusalem as such, but in his independence of the older Apostles, and if for some reason he did not see them on his second visit—either because of their absence, or because his visit was purely to the administrators of the funds—he would quite naturally omit this visit. That he did not see them on that second visit seems plainly indicated by the wording of Acts 11:30. There is therefore no a priori necessity for identifying the visit of Galatians 2:1-10 with that of Acts 11:29-30, and we are free to consider the theory that it is the same as that of Acts 15, the occasion of the conference in Jerusalem.

I. There are however many points of difference between the two reports.

1. St Paul says (Galatians 2:2) that he went up by revelation; St Luke (Acts 15:2) that he was sent by the Church at Antioch (ἔταξαν ἀναβαίνειν Παῦλον κ.τ.λ.). But the two statements are not incompatible, especially if the revelation was made to the Church.

2. St Paul says that he took Titus, and enlarges on the question of his circumcision. St Luke never mentions him either in Acts 15 or anywhere else. Observe however that St Paul uses a term (συμπαραλαβών) which implies that Titus was only a subordinate (see notes).

3. “False brethren” (Galatians 2:4) seems too harsh a title to apply to the Jewish Christians of Acts 15:1. But, whatever the motive of these may have been, the issue of their teaching was certainly contrary to the Gospel, and if St Paul saw this, and the whole of our Epistle proves him likely to do so, he might easily regard them as “false brethren.”

4. St Paul speaks of a private interview with “them of repute,” apparently the Three; St Luke rather of a public meeting. But it may be noticed that St Paul’s language (κατʼ ἰδίαν δὲ) implies a public meeting of some kind, and that St Luke implies two public meetings (Luke 15:4; Luke 15:6). Judging from the analogy of most public conferences it is probable that they would be preceded, or accompanied, by private interviews.

5. St Paul (Galatians 2:10) speaks of insistence by the Three on his remembering the poor, which, he adds, he was zealous to do. St Luke makes no mention of this. His second visit indeed had the ministry to the poor of Jerusalem for its special object, but the language of Galatians 2:10 would be extraordinary if descriptive of that mission. It would also have been most ungracious of the Three to insist on this when he had just brought money for them to distribute.

6. St Paul makes no allusion to the decrees about food etc., made at the Council, and disseminated by its letter (Acts 15:20; Acts 15:29). This would, we must confess, be strange if, with Zahn, we date the Epistle soon after the Council (see Introd., p. xxxii.), but not if some years had elapsed, as is more probable. During that time it had become increasingly evident to St Paul that it was impossible to make such decrees binding on Gentile converts, even if they had ever been more than advisory.

7. St Paul speaks of his dispute with St Peter immediately after describing this visit, and it is urged that if the passage Galatians 2:1-10 refers to Acts 15 it is passing strange that St Peter should so soon have fallen back, and that therefore St Paul in Galatians 2:1-10 really refers to his second visit (Acts 11:29-30). But if St Paul’s order is not chronological (see the Commentary) this argument falls to the ground.

II. Even if some doubt be felt about some of the answers to the difficulties now just stated, the points of similarity between the narratives of St Paul and St Luke are enough to make us decide in favour of the theory that Galatians 2:1-10 and Acts 15:4-29 refer to the same events.

1. The chief persons are the same, Barnabas and Paul on the one hand, James and Peter on the other. The fact that St Paul also mentions St John, but not as taking any lead, is hardly an objection. At any rate none of the Three are mentioned in Acts 11:29-30.

2. The subject of the discussion is the same, the freedom of Gentile converts from the Law. If too, as is probable, St Paul’s dispute with St Peter (Galatians 2:11-14) chronologically precedes Galatians 2:1-10, the occasion of the discussion is mentioned in nearly similar words, the presence of “certain from James,” Galatians 2:12, and of some who had “come down from Judaea,” Acts 15:1, cf. Acts 15:24.

3. The general character also of the discussion was the same; a prolonged and hard fought contest.

4. The general result was the same; liberty of the Gentile converts and agreement of the Three with St Paul.

5. Lastly, the dates agree. The second visit (Acts 11:29-30) took place before the death of Herod Agrippa I in 44 A.D. and the mention of fourteen years in Galatians 2:1 makes it impossible to place the events of Galatians 2:1-10 so early as that. For if we understand the fourteen years of Galatians 2:1 to mean fourteen years from St Paul’s conversion, this would throw back his conversion to 31 or even 30 A.D., which is impossible; while if, as is probable, the fourteen years date from the end of the first visit to Jerusalem, i.e. some three years after his conversion, the difficulty is even greater.

6. In spite therefore of acknowledged difficulties—such, after all, as are to be expected when events are related from very different standpoints and with very different objects—it is in every way better to hold to the usual opinion that St Paul in Galatians 2:1-10 refers to the events recorded by St Luke in Acts 15:4-29, than to say that he refers to those recorded in Acts 11:29-30. It is hardly worth while discussing other theories, according to which the situation of Galatians 2:1-10 is that of Acts 18:22 or Acts 21:17.


Verses 1-21

10–12. My one object is to please God, and to serve Christ, who revealed to me the Gospel

(Galatians 1:10) I say “now,” for my words show clearly that I care not to win over men, but God alone. I once indeed tried to please men, but that was before my conversion. If that were still my practice I should not be Christ’s servant—His by right and my full consent. (Galatians 1:11) I say that a change came over me; for I will tell you, my brothers, of the Gospel that I brought to you and how I came to preach it. It is not of human measure, (Galatians 1:12) For indeed it came not to me from man at all, neither did human lips explain it to me, but it came entirely by revelation given me by Christ Himself.


Verse 2

2. ἀνέβην δὲ κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν (Galatians 1:12 note). κατά defines the mode by which he knew he was to go up. So Ephesians 3:3; cf. κατʼ ἰδίαν infra. It is not stated to whom the revelation was made. St Paul mentions revelation to show that his journey to Jerusalem was not because of any doubt or difficulty that he himself felt.

καὶ ἀνεθέμην., Acts 25:14[64] (cf. Galatians 1:16 note). “I laid before them.” So 2 Maccabees 3:9, but in Micah 7:5 weaker. His communication would include just such a description of his relations to the Gentiles as would be required under the circumstances mentioned in Acts 15. For the object of his consultation see the note on εἰς κενὸν κ.τ.λ.

αὐτοῖς. The members of the Church at Jerusalem.

τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ὃ κηρύσσω ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν. “The Gospel which (as is well known) I preach among the Gentiles,” with the implication that I tell them both how it affects them, and what is and (here emphatically) what is not, expected of them, e.g. that it was not necessary for them to accept the Law of Moses as a condition of their salvation by Christ. In this respect his message would be different from that which he would give to the Jews who were already living under the Law.

κατʼ ἰδίαν δὲ. κ. ἰδ. elsewhere in N.T. only in the Synoptic Gospels. This clause probably marks an additional communication. He laid it before the whole Church, and also privately before the Three (Galatians 2:9). There is no exact parallel in the Greek Bible for κ. ἰδ. δέ. The nearest is Mark 4:34.

τοῖς δοκοῦσιν, “to them of repute,” “to the recognized leaders” (Ramsay). Absolutely Galatians 2:6 b[65]; with an infinitive Galatians 2:6 a, 9 (cf. Galatians 6:3), Mark 10:42; Sus. (LXX. and Th.) 5 οἳ ἐδόκουν κυβερνᾷν τὸν λαόν; 4 Maccabees 13:14 μὴ φοβηθῶμεν τὸν δοκοῦντα ἀποκτενεῖν. The passages in the LXX. and St Mark have nothing depreciatory in them, nor here in this Epistle. That St Paul is obliged to contradict the excessive honour paid to them by some does not detract from his own opinion that they rightly hold so high a position. The repetition indeed might suggest irony, but it is not like St Paul thus to treat persons whom he respected. Lightfoot quotes Eur. Hec. 294 λόγος γὰρ ἔκ τʼ ἀδοξούντων ἰὼν κὰκ τῶν δοκούντων.

μή πως κ.τ.λ., “that I might not” etc. To be connected closely with the immediately preceding clause. He would “address to the apostles a more thorough and comprehensive statement, and bring forward proofs, experiences, explanations, deeper dialectic deductions etc., which would have been unsuitable for the general body of Christians” (Meyer). Both in form and thought μὴ depends on ἀνεθέμην. It is possible to render the clause as an indirect question, “Whether I was running or had run in vain?” But this is contrary to St Paul’s claim to independence. There is no need to understand φοβούμενος. Moulton, Proleg. 1906, p. 193, makes it introduce a separate clause, “Can it be that” etc.? But this seems quite unnecessary.

εἰς κενὸν τρέχω ἤ ἔδραμον.τρέχω, curram, cum celeri victoria evangelii” (Beng.), i.e. as a messenger carrying news of a victory. But the metaphor of the stadium is more probable (cf. Galatians 5:7; 1 Corinthians 9:26; Philippians 2:16). Now was the critical time. If he failed to convince the elder Apostles and through them the Church at Jerusalem of the validity of his Gospel without the Law for the Gentiles, then his work in the present and future (τρέχω, subj., hardly indicative) would be hindered, and even his past work (ἔδραμον) be damaged. There is no reason to suppose that his fear was for the truth of his teaching, much less that he consulted them as to what he was to teach (Ramsay, Gal. p. 296), but for the effect upon his converts if a decision in so respected a quarter as the Church of Jerusalem were given against his teaching.


Verse 3

3. ἀλλʼ. So far from any hindrance to my work resulting from the interview.

οὐδὲ. Not even though Titus was both my companion and a Greek.

Τ. ὁ σὺν ἐμοὶ. Actually with me in Jerusalem, exposed to all the opposition. This would be increased by the inconvenience of having a Gentile fellow-believer with whom many Jewish Christians would not even eat.

Ἕλλην ὤν. .: Greek, not merely Gentile. It would hardly be applied to any non-Jew, e.g. Roman or Egyptian, but only to any Greek-speaking non-Jew, who was, therefore, presumably, of Greek origin. But because Aryan culture and religion had, since the days of Antiochus, come to Judaea by way of Greek-speaking persons, “Greek” came to mean very nearly “non-Jew.”

ἠναγκάσθη περιτμηθῆναι. Some have strangely laid such stress on ἠναγκάσθη as to argue that Titus was circumcised, not compulsorily indeed, but by way of kindly feeling on St Paul’s part (see Galatians 2:5 note). If so he had better have said nothing about it to the Galatians, for he could not well allow him to be circumcised and blame them when they seriously thought of circumcision for themselves, ἠναγκάσθη in reality only suggests the greatness of the pressure brought to bear on St Paul. The form of the sentence suggests that neither the Church at Jerusalem generally nor οἱ δοκοῦντες brought pressure to bear on the circumcision of so well-known a Gentile as Titus. The attempt of others to secure this failed (see Zahn).


Verses 3-5

3–5. The success of my independent attitude is shown by the case of Titus. Strong representations were made that he should be circumcised. But in vain


Verse 4

4. διὰ δὲ κ.τ.λ. “But it was because of” R.V. marg. (a) This verse and the next most naturally are to be connected closely with Galatians 2:3, as explanatory of the reason why Titus was not circumcised. St Paul was going to say, But because of the nature of the arguments advanced I did not yield to them, but he alters the form of his sentence in describing the character of those who desired the circumcision of Titus. Jowett writes: “Altogether, three ideas seem to be struggling for expression in these ambiguous clauses: [1] Titus was not circumcised; [2] though an attempt was made by the false brethren to compel him; [3] which as a matter of principle we thought it so much the more our duty to resist. The ambiguity has arisen from the double connexion in which the clause διὰ τοὺς παρεισάκτους ψευδαδέλφους stands, [1] to ἠναγκάσθη which precedes, and [2] to οἷς οὐδὲ πρὸς ὥραν εἴξαμεν which follow.”

(b) It is possible however that St Paul here begins to say “on the contrary, the attempt to get Titus circumcised led to my official recognition by the recognized leaders of the Church at Jerusalem.” But if so St Paul is a long time in arriving at the point of saying so (Galatians 2:7).

τοὺς παρεισάκτους ψευδαδέλφους (2 Corinthians 11:26[66]), “the false brethreu who had been brought in secretly”: παρεισάκτους[67], cf. παρεισῆλθον infra and παρεισάγω, 2 Peter 2:1. They had doubtless been brought into the Christian Church by over-zealous lovers of the Law. In Strabo XVII. p. 794 “it denotes the treacherous introduction of foreign enemies into a city by a faction within the walls” (Rendall). Cf. Polyb. I. 18. 3. It should be noted that Zahn thinks their introduction was not into the Christian Church generally, but into the sphere that belonged in a special sense to St Paul and Barnabas, the Gentile Church of Antioch and its dependent congregations of Syria and Cilicia. Cf. Galatians 1:21, Acts 15:1; Acts 15:23.

οἵτινες, “who in fact,” justifying the term ψευδαδέλφους. Romans 2:15; Colossians 2:23 note.

παρεισῆλθον., Romans 5:20[68]. Cf. παρεισεδύησαν, Judges 1:4, and 2 Maccabees 8:1 Judas Maccabaeus and his friends παρεισπορευόμενοι λεληθότες εἰς τὰς κώμας.

κατασκοπῆσαι[69]. Cf. Hebrews 11:31. To spy out, with the object as it seems of finding out any weak points and thus to injure.

τὴν ἐλευθερίαν ἡμῶν ἣν ἔχομεν ἐν Χ. . The first occurrence of the word which best sums up the fundamental thought of the epistle; cf. Galatians 5:1; Galatians 5:13; Galatians 4:22-31. The metaphor would be readily suggested by the universal presence of slaves, cf. Galatians 3:28, and there is no need to see in it a trace of the influence exerted on St Paul by the important school of Stoics at Tarsus (see Clemen, Religionsgeschichtliche Erklärung des N.T. 1909, p. 45). It is perhaps not wholly accidental that we have here also the first occurrence in this epistle of the compound Name in this order: “in Christ, yes even Jesus.”

ἡμῶνἵνα ἡμᾶς. St Paul felt his own liberty, both of action and spiritual life, bound up with that of his converts. Contrast ὑμᾶς, Galatians 2:5.

καταδουλώσουσιν. Acts of manumission frequently forbade, under severe penalties, making freedmen slaves again (see Deissmann, Licht vom Osten, p. 235). Fut. indic, after ἵνα, certainly in 1 John 5:20. But as ου is often confused with ω in the popular Egyptian dialect there is some doubt which is here intended (Winer-Schmiedel, § 5. 21 f.). Cf. Galatians 4:17 note on ζηλοῦτε. καταδ., 2 Corinthians 11:20[70]. The middle voice of the Received Text is the common classical form, but both here and in Cor. the thought is that they enslave others, not to themselves, but to the Law.


Verse 5

5. οἷς οὐδὲ πρὸς ὥραν. The words exclude any such temporary (John 5:35) concession for peace’ sake as the circumcision of Titus would have been, even though St Paul had affirmed at the time that by this he did not grant the principle that Gentiles should be circumcised. The omission of οἷς οὐδὲ in some “Western” authorities (see the Notes on Textual Criticism) presupposes the erroneous interpretation of ἠναγκάσθη, Galatians 2:3. It should be noted that Jerome would then explain the statement as referring to his going up to Jerusalem, i.e. St Paul submitted to go up for the good of the Church generally; so also B. W. Bacon, perhaps independently, who adopts the “Western” text.

εἴξαμεν[71]. I and those with me, in particular Barnabas.

τῇ ὑποταγῇ[72]. In 1 Timothy 2:11; 1 Timothy 3:4 of those who are in a subordinate position, wives to husbands, children to parents; cf. Colossians 3:18. It thus apparently connotes here that to yield would have been to recognize some authority in his opponents. The false brethren demanded obedience. This he refused to give. For the dative of mode see Romans 4:20 (τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ). The article probably indicates “which they required.”

ἵναὑμᾶς not ἡμᾶς (Galatians 2:4): he cannot think that he himself will ever doubt the Gospel.

ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῦ εὐαγγελίου,, Galatians 2:14; Colossians 1:5[73]. The Gospel in its integrity as compared with Judaistic perversions of it.

διαμείνῃ., 2 Peter 3:4. “The idea of firm possession is enforced by the compound verb, by the past tense, and by the preposition” (Lightfoot).

πρὸς ὑμᾶς,, Galatians 1:18. You Galatians are a specific instance of the Gentile converts whom I wished to protect. On the false deduction drawn from this phrase, see Introd. pp. xxiv. sq.


Verse 6

6. ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοκούντων εἶναί τι. The Apostle now reverts to Galatians 2:2, after his parenthesis about Titus (Galatians 2:3-5). I conferred privately with those of repute, but (he was going to say) I received nothing fresh from them. The warmth of his feelings, however, leads him to add point to point, so that he never completes this new sentence.

τ. δοκ. εἶναί τι. See on Galatians 2:2. The present tense of the R.V. marg. is preferable to the past of A.V. and R.V. text.

ὁποῖοί ποτε (Galatians 1:13; Galatians 1:23) ἦσαν, “whatever kind of persons they once were.” St Paul breaks off in view of a possible objection that he ought to have submitted to the authority of the Twelve who had held the position of personal followers of Christ while He was on earth (see Galatians 1:16 note). ποτέ most naturally is temporal (as in Galatians 1:13; Galatians 1:23) and only by accident follows ὁποῖοι. Its classical use of making a relative more general and inclusive (cf. 2 Maccabees 14:32 μὴ γινώσκειν ποῦ ποτʼ ἐστὶν ὁ ζητούμενος) is not found in the N.T.

οὐδέν μοι διαφέρει, “it makes no matter to me.” The phrase occurs only here in the Greek Bible.

πρόσωπονλαμβάνει. Another parenthesis explaining why he pays no special regard to the Twelve as such. I am impartial because God is.

[] θεὸς. See notes on Textual Criticism. For the reference to God cf. Galatians 6:7.

πρόσωπονἀνθρώπου οὐ λαμβάνει. The exact phrase only here. Cf. Matthew 22:16 and the parallel passages, Mark 12:14; Luke 20:21; and Judges 1:16. On the meaning of προσωπολημψία see Colossians 3:25 note. It is a translation of the Hebrew “to lift up the face” of a prostrate suppliant, with, probably, the further connotation, from the Greek, of accepting the mask for the person, the outside service for the reality.

ἐμοὶ γὰρ. This clause is in the form of another reason why he did not submit to the Twelve—“for, in fact, they did not give me any fresh information”—but at the same time it serves as the completion of the sentence begun by ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοκούντων. See note there.

οἱ δοκοῦντες οὐδὲν προσανέθεντο,, Galatians 1:16; cf. Galatians 2:2. The emphasis is on ἐμοί. Before me they laid nothing by way of communication, i.e. I learned nothing from them. I told them much, likely to deepen their knowledge of God’s will. They told me nothing of the kind. The πρός in itself does not here suggest anything additional, see on Galatians 1:16. The connotation of consulting a person is absent here.


Verses 6-10

6–10. Main subject resumed; his relations with the Leaders, (Galatians 2:6) But (reverting to Galatians 2:2) from those reputed to be something (I learned no new truths)—whatever their former personal relation to Christ was is of no matter to me (God Himself is impartial)—I write thus depreciatingly, for the leaders gave no such communication to me as taught me anything fresh; (Galatians 2:7) but on the contrary when they saw that the commission has been given me to preach the Gospel to the uncircumcised Gentiles in the way that suits them, even as to Peter that to the circumcised Jews in the way that suits them, (Galatians 2:8) (for He who wrought powerfully for Peter unto fulfilling his apostleship among the circumcision, wrought powerfully for me also among the Gentiles); (Galatians 2:9) and when they were convinced of the special grace of such preaching that had been given me—they, I mean James, Cephas, and John, who are rightly reckoned as pillars in the Church—gave to me and Barnabas public proof of their sympathy, arranging that we should go unto the Gentiles and they unto the circumcision, (Galatians 2:10) with the only condition that we should remember the poor saints at Jerusalem, which very thing, both at the time and throughout all the years of my missionary life, I was even zealous to do.


Verse 7

7. ἀλλὰ τοὐναντίον,, 2 Corinthians 2:7; 1 Peter 3:9; 3 Maccabees 3:22[74]. So far from adding to my knowledge of the Gospel, they (a) accepted my statement of my commission (Galatians 2:7) and recognized what God had wrought through me (Galatians 2:9 a); (b) treated me and Barnabas as in full fellowship (Galatians 2:9 b); (c) dividing our spheres of work, that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews (Galatians 2:9 c).

ἰδόντες. From my statements (Galatians 2:2). Perhaps also more literally in the person of Titus a fruit of my work.

ὅτι πεπίστευμαι, i.e. my work has not been of my own seeking, it has been entrusted to me, 1 Corinthians 9:17; 1 Timothy 1:11; cf. Romans 3:2. The perfect suggests “throughout my ministry.”

Deissmann compares the application of the term to the secretary who was charged by the emperor with his Greek correspondence (ὁ τὰς Ἑλληνικὰς ἐπιστολὰς πράττειν πεπιστευμένος, Licht vom Osten, p. 273).

τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς ἀκροβυστίας. The phrase is unique, but like the following τῆς περιτομῆς. The difference is probably not solely that of the sphere or direction. Though essentially the Gospel was but one (Galatians 1:6-7), yet both in its presentment and its relation to previous religious training it differed. Tertullian’s words in De Praescr. Haer. § 23, inter se distributionem officii ordinaverunt, non separationem evangelii, nec ut aliud alter, sed ut aliis alter praedicarent, Petrus in circumcisionem, Paulus in nationes, though true in contrast both to Marcionism and to the Tübingen theory, are too narrow. See note on Galatians 2:2.

καθὼς Πέτρος. See the note on Κηφᾶν, Galatians 1:18.

τῆς περιτομῆς., Romans 15:8. Euphony forbade the repetition of τὸ εὐαγγέλιον.


Verse 8

8. ὁ γὰρ. Justifying his assertion that he had received a commission as Peter had; God wrought for each.

ἐνεργήσας Πέτρῳ, “He that worked for Peter.”

So Proverbs 31:12 (Proverbs 31:31), ἐνεργεῖ γὰρ τῳ ἀνδρὶ ἀγαθὰ πάντα τὸν βίον. With dative only in this verse in the N.T. Cf. Galatians 5:6 note.

εἰς ἀποστολὴν (Acts 1:25; Romans 1:5; 1 Corinthians 9:2[75]), not only for the call to it, but also for its fulfilment.

τῆς περιτομῆς. Genitive marking the sphere in which the apostleship was exercised. For euphony at the end of the verse, where there is no preceding εἰς, he reverts to the more natural εἰς with the accusative.


Verse 9

9. καὶ γνόντες. ἰδ. the immediate impression; γν. the knowledge of reflection (Meyer).

τὴν χάριν τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι, i.e. to preach to the Gentiles, Ephesians 3:2; Ephesians 3:7-8 (vide supra Galatians 1:3 note). For τ. δοθ. cf. also 2 Peter 3:15 of St Paul.

Ἰάκωβος. Without the addition of “the brother of the Lord” here, because already so defined in Galatians 1:19. Possibly also because at the period referred to in our verse, long after the death of James the son of Zebedee, there could not be any doubt as to who was intended. Named first of the Three because of his position at Jerusalem, and the stress laid on his name by the false teachers. See Galatians 2:12 note.

κ. Κηφᾶς (Galatians 1:18) καὶ Ἰωάνης. The last here only in the Pauline epistles. Among the Twelve James the son of Zebedee had been their only equal (Matthew 17:1; Mark 5:37), and sometimes they were even more prominent than he (Luke 22:8; Acts 3:1 sqq., Acts 4:13; Acts 4:19; Acts 8:14; cf. the order in Acts 1:13).

οἱ δοκοῦντες (Galatians 2:2; Galatians 2:6 notes) στύλοι εἶναι. Winer-Schmiedel, § 6. 3. b, writes στῦλος because it is long in metre, e.g. Sibyll. III. 250 f. For the word see 1 Timothy 3:15; Revelation 3:12; Revelation 10:11[76]. Its metaphorical use occurs in the LXX., as it seems, only in 4 Maccabees 17:3, apostrophizing the mother of the Seven, καθάπερ γὰρ σὺ στέγη ἐπὶ τοῦ στύλου (ἐπὶ τοὺς στύλους א) τῶν παίδων γενναίως ἱδρυμένη, ἀκλινῶς ὑπήνεγκας τὸν διὰ τῶν βασάνων σεισμόν. In T. B. Berachoth 28b R. Jochanan ben Zakkai (died c. 80 A.D.) is addressed by his disciples “Lamp of Israel! Right-hand Pillar!”

δεξιὰς ἔδωκαν. The phrase is unique in the N.T. but frequent in 1 and 2 Mac., e.g. 1 Maccabees 6:58; 2 Maccabees 14:19.

Probably a public manifestation of agreement. “When they bade farewell, it was not a parting like that when Luther in the castle at Marburg rejected the hand of Zwingli, or when Jacob Andreae at Montbéliard refused that of Theodore Beza” (Thiersch quoted by Meyer).

ἐμοὶ καὶ Βαρνάβᾳ. The order is that of Acts 15:2; Acts 15:22; Acts 15:35 (contrast Acts 11:30, Acts 12:25).

κοινωνίας. This explanatory genitive was needed, for δεξ. δοῦναι alone = yield. Here κοινωνία is more than the spirit of fellowship and communion, almost our “brotherliness” (Philemon 1:6, note), and is strictly “partnership,” cf. Philemon 1:17.

ἵνα. The object of the implied compact, cf. Galatians 2:10.

ἠμεῖςπεριτομήν. No verb. The emphasis lying on the fact of the partition it was virtually unnecessary.

Observe that the sphere of each is described as ethnographic not geographic, and that it would be impossible to draw the line with accuracy. St Paul does not appear to have taken it in a strict sense.


Verse 10

10. μόνον (Galatians 1:23) τῶν πτωχῶν. Position for emphasis. The poor Jewish-Christians at Jerusalem for whom in fact St Paul carried alms at least twice, once earlier than this agreement (Acts 11:29-30) and again on his last journey (1 Corinthians 16:3; 2 Corinthians 9:1 sqq.; Romans 15:26-27; Acts 24:17) when he wrote this epistle. Perhaps the mention of the subject here is due to its occupying his mind at the time. See Introduction, p. xxi.

ἵνα. “An innovation in Hellenistic is ἵνα c. subj. in commands, which takes the place of the classical ὅπως c. fut. indic.” (Moulton, Proleg. 1906, p. 178). So Ephesians 5:33. Here the command is indirect (2 Corinthians 8:7), still representing the object of the implied compact, Galatians 2:9. ἵνα follows μόνον also in Galatians 6:12 (where however see note), and Ignatius ends his solemn enumeration of the torments that are coming on him μόνον ἵνα Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐπιτύχω.

μνημονεύωμεν. On the one hand he and Barnabas were not to be so absorbed in Gentile work as to forget the needs of the poor believers of their own nation, and, on the other, mercy as twice blessed would foster the sense of unity in both Jewish receivers and Gentile givers.

αὐτὸ τοῦτο ποιῆσαι. The pleonastic use of the pronoun after the relative is essentially a semitism (Mark 7:25), but the αὐτὸ τοῦτο is more than this, explaining and emphasizing the relative; cf. Blass, Gram. § 50. 4. For αὐτὸ τοῦτο see 2 Peter 1:5.

καὶ ἐσπούδασα, “I was even anxious.”

The singular is employed probably because Barnabas had left him before he was able to carry it out. But the emphasis is not on “I” (as though ἐγὼ were expressed) but on the verb. The reason for his use of the aorist is not clear. Apparently it regards the whole of his life from his conversion to the present time as belonging to the past. Ramsay strangely limits it to the incidents of his visit to Jerusalem then (Gal. p. 300). It perhaps suggests some acquaintance on the part of the Galatians with his feelings on the subject, and so far illustrates 1 Corinthians 16:1, but throws no light on the relative dates of the two epistles.


Verse 11

11. ὅτε δὲ ἦλθεν Κηφᾶς εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν. When was this? [1] If after the Council of Jerusalem it must have been during the period mentioned in Acts 15:35, for we have no reason to think that St Barnabas and St Paul were ever together after that time. But it seems quite impossible that St Peter and even St Barnabas (Galatians 2:13) should refuse to eat with Gentiles almost immediately after that Council, where it was expressly decided that the Gentiles were not bound by the Law as such, and after, in particular, St Peter’s strong defence of their freedom. However impetuous St Peter may have been this is to attribute to him an incredible degree of weakness. The fact that the scene is in Antioch, where, according to this theory, the question had already come to a head and had been referred to Jerusalem, makes the impossibility greater. It has indeed been urged (Steinmann, Abfassungszeit, pp. 133–136) that the Council decided as a question of doctrine that Gentile Christians were not bound to be circumcised and keep the Law, and that here is a question of practice, whether Jewish Christians were defied by eating with Gentile Christians. But a negative answer to this question of practice was the only logical deduction from the decision on the doctrine. Hort indeed supposes that St Peter’s policy of withdrawal from social intercourse with the Gentile Christians was due to no antagonism of principle but to “a plea of inopportuneness: ‘more important to keep our Jerusalem friends in good humour than to avoid every possible risk of estranging your new Gentile converts: no need to reject them or to tell them to be circumcised, but no need either for us Jews to be publicly fraternising with them, now that we know what offence that will give at Jerusalem: better wait awhile and see whether things do not come right of themselves if only we are not in too great a hurry.’ Plausible reasoning this would have been, and some sort of plausible reasoning there must have been to ensnare Barnabas and indeed to delude St Peter himself. But what it amounted to was that multitudes of baptized Gentile Christians, hitherto treated on terms of perfect equality, were now to be practically exhibited as unfit company for the circumcised Apostles of the Lord who died for them. Such judiciousness, St Paul might well say, was at bottom only moral cowardice; and such conduct, though in form it was not an expulsion of the Gentile converts, but only a self-withdrawal from their company, was in effect a summons to them to become Jews, if they wished to remain in the fullest sense Christians” (Judaistic Christianity, p. 78). Further, Jewish Christians might have argued that the decision of the Council did not affect their obligations to abstain from unclean foods, but recognized two bodies in the Christian Church, Jewish and Gentile, with equal privileges but incomplete social connexion. If so it was extremely illogical and likely soon to lead to bitter resentment on the side of the Gentile Christians. But of this resentment there seems to be no trace. [2] We are therefore almost compelled to place it before the date of the Council. This agrees with St Paul’s description of St Peter’s previous life (Galatians 2:14), explained to us by the account in Acts of his relations to Cornelius, 10 and Acts 11:3. The only difficulty is the position of the incident in our Epistle, where Galatians 2:1-10 have described the scenes at Jerusalem during the Council, Acts 15:4-29 (see Appendix, note B). But St Paul does not now write ἔπειτα, and save for the position there is nothing to indicate an intention to place Galatians 2:11-14 chronologically later than Galatians 2:1-10. The probability is that having described his relations with the Church at Jerusalem and in particular the Three, he now speaks of his relations with St Peter individually and even Barnabas. As we know that the question agitated the Church at Antioch, where it was caused by the same means as those described here (those “who came from James” (Galatians 2:12) being identified with those “who came down from Judaea,” Acts 15:1, or from “us,” Acts 15:24), it is most natural to suppose that the incident here described formed an important part of that agitation, and in consequence that it took place during the period described in Acts 15:1-2. The effect on Barnabas appears to have been immediate, Acts 15:2. It was also probably immediate on St Peter, but we only know that he argues on St Paul’s side during the Council, Acts 15:7-11.

Ramsay now strangely places it before even the first missionary journey of St Paul and Barnabas, and thinks that St Peter “was sent from Jerusalem as far as Syrian Antioch to inspect and report upon this new extension of the Church [to Antioch!], just as he had been sent previously to Samaria along with John on a similar errand” (Cities of St Paul, pp. 302 sq.).

Two curious theories of the incident, made to save St Peter’s credit, may be worth mention: [1] The Cephas here mentioned is one of the Seventy and a different person from St Peter (Clement of Alexandria in Eusebius, Ch. Hist. I. 12. 2). [2] The “dispute” was got up for the occasion. St Peter feared that it would be difficult to persuade the Jewish Christians (who accepted him as their teacher) to treat the Gentiles rightly. He therefore pretended to be on their side in order that when openly rebuked by St Paul without making any defence his followers might change their opinion more easily. So Chrysostom 687 C—E, cf. 688 B. Jerome, who held this theory till convinced of its untenableness by Augustine, attributes its invention to Origen (see Lightfoot’s additional note on Patristic accounts of the collision at Antioch).

κατὰ πρόσωπον, “face to face,” Acts 25:16.

αὐτῷ ἀντέστην., 2 Timothy 3:8; 2 Timothy 4:15; Acts 13:8.

ὅτι κατεγνωσμένος ἦν, “because he was condemned.” [1] By his own contradictory actions, as St Paul explains. [2] Perhaps by his own conscience. So Sirach 14:2 μακάριος οὗ οὐ κατέγνω ἡ ψυχὴ αὐτοῦ, and in the only other passages where the word occurs in the N.T.: 1 John 3:20-21 (cf. Romans 14:23). [3] It is possible that it refers to blame by others for his inconsistency, in which case the ὅτι will state the reason for the publicity of the rebuke. [4] Field, Notes on the Translation of the New Testament, still prefers the reprehensibilis of the Vulg. and A.V. quoting Diod. Sic. t. x. p. 19, ed. Bip. ὅτε δὲ εἰς αὐτὸν (Antiochus Epiphanes) ἀτενίσοι, καὶ τὸ τῶν ἐπιτηδευμάτων κατεγνωσμένον, ἀπιστεῖν εἰ περὶ μίαν καὶ τὴν αὐτὴν φύσιν τοσαύτην ἀρετὴν καὶ κακίαν ὑπάρξαι δυνατόν ἐστιν, “where τὸ κατεγνωσμένον can only mean the reprehensible character, or blameableness, of the acts just described.”


Verses 11-14

11–14. My independence of Cephas personally and of Barnabas

(Galatians 2:11) Let me now show you both my independence in rebuking even Cephas and my insistence on the true character of the Gospel. Cephas once came to Antioch, and on that occasion I withstood him to his face, because he was condemned by his own actions. (Galatians 2:12) For before certain messengers from James came he used to eat with the Gentiles, but when they came he began withdrawing and separating himself, being afraid of both them and others there who were by origin Jews. (Galatians 2:13) This was really hypocrisy, because his convictions remained unchanged, and he was afraid to express them, and even the rest of the Jewish believers in Antioch became hypocrites with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. (Galatians 2:14) I stood alone. But when I saw that they were not walking with straight steps in accordance with the Gospel in its integrity, I said to Peter in the presence of all, Thou art a Jew by race and yet usually livest like a Gentile, how dost thou now (by this action of thine in withdrawing from Gentiles, insisting as it does on the grave importance of the Jewish Law) put this moral pressure upon Gentile believers to practise Judaism?


Verse 12

12. πρὸ τοῦ γὰρ ἐλθεῖν τινὰς ἀπὸ Ἰακώβου., Acts 15:24 makes it probable that ἀπὸ Ἰακ. is to be taken with τινάς rather than with ἐλθεῖν. If so there is no need to ask why St James sent them to Antioch. They were from him, perhaps on a tour to get alms for the poor, but they did not come with any special message to Antioch. In Acts 15:5 those who assert the necessity of keeping the Law are said to have belonged once to the sect of the Pharisees. Hort, understanding St Peter’s visit to Antioch to have taken place after the Council at Jerusalem, rather strangely supposes ἀπὸ Ἰακώβου to imply that St James himself suggested that St Peter ought not to eat with Gentile Christians for fear of giving further offence to the Jewish Church at Jerusalem, and that St Paul, notwithstanding, had no occasion to include St James in his rebuke because the latter had made no public exhibition of ὑπόκρισις at Antioch (Judaistic Christianity, p. 81).

μετὰ τῶν ἐθνῶν συνήσθιεν. συνέφαγεν in Acts 11:3 marked some days at most; the imperfect a long period.

No good Jew eats with Gentiles, because Gentile food is “unclean.” The μετά suggests more intimate relationship than a dative dependent on συνήσθιεν.

ὅτε δὲ ἧλθον. See notes on Textual Criticism.

ὑπέστελλεν καὶ ἀφώριζεν ἑαυτόν. The tenses “give a graphic picture of Peter’s irresolute and tentative efforts to withdraw gradually from an intercourse that gave offence to the visitors” (Rendall). ὑπέστελλεν: elsewhere in the N.T. the verb is always in the middle voice, therefore probably here with ἑαυτόν.

ἀφώριζεν, Galatians 1:15 note. Possibly here also there is some play on the word, as though Peter were changing himself into a Pharisee. Whether this be so or not it is a semi-technical word in the LXX. for separation from unclean things, implying that St Peter regarded Gentile Christians under this category (cf. Isaiah 52:11; Leviticus 20:25-26).

φοβούμενος τοὺς ἐκ περιτομῆς. Chrysostom (688 B) in accordance with his strange theory of accommodation (vide supra, Galatians 2:11) thinks that his fear was not for himself but for these Jewish Christians, lest they should leave the faith. τ. ἐκ περιτ. Colossians 4:11 note.


Verse 13

13. καὶ συνυπεκρίθησαν[77] αὐτῷ, “dissembled with him” … For such an action was contrary to their real convictions. “The idea at the root of ὑπόκρισις is not a false motive entertained, but a false impression produced” (Lightfoot). Cf. 2 Maccabees 6:24, Eleazar says οὐ γὰρ τῆς ἡμετέρας ἡλικίας ἄξιόν ἐστιν ὑποκριθῆναι.

[καὶ]. Omitted by B, Vulg., Origen, probably to limit the hypocrisy to the Jews, excluding St Peter. The σύν in συνυπεκρ. did not absolutely forbid this (see Zahn).

οἱ λοιποὶ Ἰουδαῖοι,, Galatians 2:14 note. Here of course Ἰουδ. is used of Christians who were Jews by race. Cf. Romans 2:10. So St Paul of himself, Acts 21:39.

ὥστε καὶ Βαρνάβας. St Paul thus shows his independence even of him.

συναπήχθη, “was carried off.” 2 Peter 3:17, but in Romans 12:16[78] in a wholly good sense. Here “their dissimulation was as a flood which swept everything away with it” (Lightfoot).

αὐτῶν τῇ ὑποκρίσει, “with their dissimulation,” A.V., R.V.

The “dative” is probably instrumental as in 2 Peter 3:17. On the instrumental case see A. T. Robertson, Short Grammar, pp. 108 sqq.


Verse 14

14. ἀλλʼ ὅτε εἶδον. In his zeal for his Master, as he saw men carried off, his feelings must have faintly resembled those which prompted the question in John 6:67.

ὅτι οὐκ ὀρθοποδοῦσιν[79]. Present for vividness. The verb means to be straightfooted, i.e. “the ὀρθοποδῶν is not lame (χωλεύει), but makes τροχιὰς ὀρθὰς τους ποσίν, Hebrews 12:13” (Meyer). It therefore suggests not only the crooked walk, but the crooked track thereby made, likely to lead others astray.

πρὸς, “in accordance with.” Ephesians 4:14; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Luke 12:47.

τ. ἀλήθειαν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου,, Galatians 2:5 note. The clause is epexegetic of ὀρθῶς.

εἶπον τῷ Κηφᾷ ἔμπροσθεν πάντων. Probably at a meeting of the whole Church at Antioch, the majority of which seems to have been in favour of St Paul (Acts 15:3). Publicum scandalum non poterat privatim curari (Pelagius in Zahn); cf. 1 Timothy 5:20.

εἰ σὺ Ἰουδαῖος ὑπάρχων,, Galatians 1:14 note. Ἰουδ. Galatians 2:13, Galatians 3:28. Colossians 3:11 note. It refers first to nationality and race, but here has also the connotation of observance of religious customs.

ἐθνικῶς[80]. The adjective occurs in one Hexaplaric translation, Leviticus 21:7.

καὶ οὐκ. See notes on Textual Criticism.

Ἰουδαϊκῶς[81]: cf. Titus 1:14.

ζῇς, i.e. ordinarily, and when not under the influence of this ὑπόκρισις.

πῶς τὰ ἔθνη ἀναγκάζεις Ἰουδαΐζειν; observe that St Paul does not merely argue that St Peter is inconsistent, but that his inconsistency affects the Gentiles. “The force of his example, concealing his true principles, became a species of compulsion” (Lightfoot). Ἰουδαΐζειν[82] suggests more studied observance than Ἰουδαϊκῶς ζῆν.


Verse 15

15. ἡμεῖς, i.e. originally (vide supra) “You Peter and I Paul.” But perhaps as written in the epistle “I Paul and my fellow-Jewish Christians.” It is taken up in the ἡμεῖς of Galatians 2:16.

φύσει (Ephesians 2:3; cf. c. Galatians 4:8 infra) Ἰουδαῖοι κ. οὐκ ἐξ ἐθνῶν ἁμαρτωλοί. The common Jewish view (see Bousset, Religion des Judentums im N.T. Zeitalter, 1906, p. 489), fully shared by St Paul (Romans 1:18-32), is doubtless true. The Gentiles in fact were more sinful than Jews as regards gross sins, and are so still, in so far as they are not influenced by Christianity. St Paul calls them ἄνομοι (Romans 2:12) as well as ἄθεοι (Ephesians 2:12). Cf. 1 Maccabees 1:34; 1 Maccabees 2:44. Observe that he does not call them παραβάται, which would imply conscious resistance to a clearly perceived moral requirement (Galatians 2:18), but ἁμαρτωλοί, i.e. men out of harmony with the moral ideal known or unknown (B. W. Bacon).


Verses 15-21

15–21. His argument addressed to St Peter passes over into one addressed to the Galatians (vide infra). The transition was the easier because the temptation to which the Galatians were exposed was identical with that to which St Peter had temporarily yielded, i.e. the belief that observance of the Law was necessary for Gentile Christians

(Galatians 2:15) We, you and I, with other Jewish Christians, who are by nature Jews, and not open sinners from amongst Gentiles, (Galatians 2:16) but (in spite of our education as Jews), knowing that a man is not justified from works of the Law[83], not justified, I mean, save by faith on Christ Jesus, even we became believers on Christ Jesus, in order that we may be justified from faith in Christ, and not from works of the Law, because (as Scripture tells us) from works of the Law “no flesh shall be justified.” (Galatians 2:17) It is not wrong to leave the Law for this purpose. But if when seeking to be justified in Christ we were found (in our own experience and conscience) to be as much sinners as Gentiles are—is this Christ’s fault, does He make us sinners? God forbid! (Galatians 2:18) The sin would be to build up what one has pulled down, i.e. go back to the Law. Then indeed I should prove myself a transgressor (Galatians 2:19) of even the Law that brought me to Christ. For indeed I myself by means of the Law died to the Law, that I might live to God. (Galatians 2:20) Died! yes, with Christ I have been crucified. Live! yes, after all I live, yet it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me. But as to my living now in the flesh, I live in faith, namely faith on the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:21) I do not set the free grace of God at nought. For if righteousness is by means of the Law (as St Peter said by his action, and as the Judaizers in Galatia tell you) then Christ died without cause.

It is not certain where the transition between the words to St Peter and those to the Galatians actually takes place. W.H. make a division between Galatians 2:14-15, and if a division must be made in print this is perhaps the best place to put it, for Galatians 2:15 begins a sustained argument. But it is hard to think that Galatians 2:15 was originally addressed to Gentile Christians such as the Galatians, though it is natural enough if spoken to St Peter. Perhaps the real transition, from the recapitulation of St Paul’s words to St Peter to the argument addressed directly to the Galatians, is near the end of Galatians 2:16, before ὅτι ἐξ ἔργ. νόμ. But it may be between Galatians 2:18-19.


Verse 16

16. εἰδότες. The acquired knowledge (γνόντες, Galatians 4:9) has become so intimate a part of his elementary knowledge that St Paul can write εἰδότες (Galatians 4:8) even here.

δὲ. See notes on Textual Criticism.

It suggests the contrast to natural privileges and prejudices.

ὅτι οὐ δικαιοῦται ἄνθρωπος. δικ. the first occurrence of this word (or its derivatives) which is so characteristic of this epistle. It is used throughout in its “forensic” sense of “pronouncing righteous,” “justifying,” not in the ethical sense of “making righteous,” a meaning which some scholars think it never possesses. See Sanday and Headlam, Rom. pp. 30 sq.

ἐξ. Three times in this verse the thought is of the source (whether false or true) of “righteousness,” “justification,” but in Galatians 2:17 of the one Sphere in which it is to be found (ἐν), and both in the next clause and in Galatians 2:21 of the means (διά), true or false, by which it is obtained.

ἔργων νόμου. The genitive νόμου is neither subjective, as though the Law produced works, nor objective, as though the aim of works were to fulfil the Law, but possessive, works which belong to, and are required by, the Law (Sieffert). On the meaning of νόμος without the article see Appendix, Note E.

ἐὰν μὴ, “save,” R.V. rightly as a verbal translation, though misleading. To be joined with οὐ δικαιοῦται. “But only” gives the sense. St Paul had intended to write οὐ δικαιοῦται ἐὰν μή, but to make his meaning clearer inserted ἐξ ἔργων νόμου, wrecking the grammar. Cf. John 5:19 and εἰ μή, Galatians 1:19. Similarly in Revelation 21:27 the words εἰ μὴ mark the exception “not to ὁ ποιῶν βδέλυγμα καὶ ψεῦδος but to all who seek to enter, as if the sentence had run οὐ μὴ εἰσὲλθῃ οὐδείς, εἰ μή κ.τ.λ.” (Swete).

The Roman Catholic commentators join ἐὰν μή to ἐξ ἔργ. νόμ. explaining that we are justified by works done by means of faith. But this is to make under other terms that mixture of Law and Grace against which this epistle is directed, cf. Galatians 3:11-12. Compare the Introduction, c. 6.

διὸ πίστεως Χρ. Ἰης., “by means of faith in Christ Jesus.”

καὶ ἡμεῖς, “even we” with all our privileges, taking up the ἡμεῖς of Galatians 2:15.

εἰς Χρ. Ἰης. ἐπιστεύσαμεν. πιστεύω εἰς, though common in St John’s writings, occurs in St Paul’s only here and Romans 10:14, Philippians 1:29. It has, as it seems, with him the same strong sense as with St John, to cease to lean on oneself and to place one’s entire trust on Christ. Observe the “ingressive” aorist, like ἐβασίλευσεΓύγης, Gyges became king, Herodot. I. 13 (Gildersleeve, § 239).

ἴνα δικαιωθῶμεν ἐκ πίστεως Χριστοῦ. ἐκ is stronger than the preceding διά, and excludes all sources of justification other than faith on Christ.

The omission of Ἰησοῦ may be due only to a wish to avoid repetition, but perhaps to a desire to emphasize the thought that a true Jew finds his justification in Messiah. Cf. Galatians 2:4 note on ἐν Χρ. Ἰης.

καὶ οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου, “and not from works of the Law” (vide supra). No, not even from the moral works. Indeed, from one point of view, the burden of the Law lies in its moral, not its ceremonial side (cf. Romans 7:7 sqq.). “Neque per se intolerabile jugum erat lex ceremonialis, sed robur ex morali habuit, Acts 15. Itaque lex moralis est legalior, ut ita dicam, quam ceremonialis, quae simul erat quasi evangelium elementare et praeliminare” (Bengel).

This is a hard saying to Jews who wonder that St Paul can speak of the burden of the Law, when their Rabbis rejoice in learning a fresh duty of it for their accomplishment (Güdemann, Jüd. Apologetik, 1906, pp. 190 sq., cf. Schechter, Some Aspects of Rabbinic Theology, 1909, pp. 149 sqq.), as though the Law were a bundle of laws by which to acquire merit. But St Paul is thinking of the inner demands on conscience and the soul made by the Law as the revelation of holiness, and the Rabbis show little sense of humility or self-knowledge.

Observe the difference of St Paul’s language from 4 [2] Ezra 9:7 “every one that shall be saved, and shall be able to escape by his works, or by faith, whereby he hath believed, shall be preserved,” or 2 Esdras 13:23 “even such as have works, and faith toward the Almighty” (see examples of pre-Christian Jewish statements of the value of faith in Bousset, Religion des Judentums, 1906, pp. 223 sqq.). Compare the notes on Galatians 3:10.

ὅτι. Introducing a proof from Scripture for his assertion of the insufficiency of the Law.

ἐξ ἔργ. νόμ. “from the source of works of the Law.”

οὐ δικαιωθήσεται πᾶσα σάρξ. Psalms 143 :[142] 2. Literally “there shall not be justified—any flesh at all.” A Hebraism for our more prosaic “no flesh shall be justified.” See Winer-Schmiedel, § 26. 10. πᾶσα σάρξ is itself a Hebraism for “all men,” Genesis 6:12.


Verse 17

17. εἰ δὲ. The adversative thought is that in the process of being justified we are found to be sinners.

ζητοῦντες. The effort was real and lasting.

δικαιωθῆναι ἐν Χριστῷ εὑρέθημεν. The tense of εὑρ. may be “timeless,” but more probably refers to the time when we first sought etc. εὑρ. is more than ἧμεν; it includes acknowledgment; if we were found by our own experience, Romans 7:10. The mere effort to be justified in Christ proved to us that as far as the demands of the Law went we were still sinners.

καὶ αὐτοὶ. Parallel to καὶ ἡμεῖς (Galatians 2:16), even we Jews who passed over from Judaism to faith on Christ, and also were seeking etc.

ἁμαρτωλοί,, Galatians 2:15, i.e. no better than Gentiles. When seeking to be justified we came to recognize our sinfulness as no less than that of Gentiles.

ἆρα of an argument which is only superficially true.

Χριστὸς ἁμαρτίας διάκονος; does Christ bring us into a condition of real sin? There is a double thought: Does the consciousness of being sinners make us more sinners than before, and, if so, is it Christ’s fault that we are worse sinners?

μὴ γένοιτο. For the use of this when an argument followed out to its apparently logical conclusion is seen to be contrary to the elements of the Christian faith cf. Galatians 3:21; Romans 11:1 al.

Other interpretations of this difficult verse are:

(a) St Paul is arguing that if by leaving the Law we become in the sight of God sinners (which we do not) then Christ brings sin, which is absurd; i.e. St Paul is showing that it cannot be wrong to abandon the Law. Galatians 2:18 then means, as with the first and right interpretation of Galatians 2:17, that not leaving the Law, but returning to it, is wrong.

(b) The verse represents the thought of an objector. If to be justified in Christ means to leave the Law (a sinful action), and thus to be in sight of God and man no better than a Gentile, Christ becomes a minister of sin. St Paul answers, God forbid. But Galatians 2:18 is then unintelligible.

(c) If when seeking etc. we do commit sins, Christ cannot be blamed for this. We are to be blamed (Galatians 2:18) because it is contrary to our profession and earlier action.


Verse 18

18. εἰ γὰρ. γάρ, to be taken closely with μὴ γένοιτο, Romans 9:14-15; Romans 11:1. It is not sinful to abandon the Law in seeking justification, and thus to find oneself on the same level as a sinful Gentile, for the sin is in going back to the Law, as you Galatians are thinking of doing.

ἃ κατέλυσα ταῦτα πάλιν οἰκοδομῶ. For a similar contrast between καταλύω and οἰκοδομέω, cf. Mark 14:58 (|| Matthew 26:61), where however the nuance is quite different. The singular may be due [1] to St Paul’s courtesy in excluding others from the possibility of doing wrong (some critics, e.g. Winer-Schmiedel, § 22. 1, think he purposely thus transferred St Peter’s action to himself); or, better, [2] to his habit of referring possible spiritual experiences and their effect to himself (e.g. Galatians 4:6). If this be right he naturally passes on to state what has in fact been his experience (Galatians 2:19).

παραβάτην., Romans 2:25; Romans 2:27; James 2:9; James 2:11[84], cf. παράβασις, Galatians 3:19 note. A transgressor of God’s will which has been laid down as a path in which to walk.

ἐμαυτὸν συνιστάνω, prove myself, show myself, 2 Corinthians 7:11; cf. Romans 3:5; Romans 5:8.

The phrase is stronger than “I am proved.” It means “I, by my own act of rebuilding an error once pulled down, prove even myself in the wrong. I stand convicted by my own new act, yes, as a transgressor of the Law itself” (cf. Galatians 2:19).


Verse 19

19. ἐγὼ γὰρ. ἐγώ not I in contrast to St Peter (Winer-Schmiedel, see note on κατέλυσα, Galatians 2:18), but I in my own experience, γάρ gives the reason for his statement that it was sinful to go back to the Law. My own experience has been that the Law was not a positive but only a negative means of blessing. The Law itself made me leave the Law. αὐτός με ὁ νόμος ἐνήγαγεν εἰς τὸ μηκέτι προσέχειν αὐτῷ (Chrys.).

διὰ νόμου νόμῳ ἀπέθανον ἵνα θεῷ ζήσω. A fundamental fact with St Paul. The Law itself (not Law in the abstract, Galatians 2:16 note, but the Law as law) brought me to this state of death to it. The Law itself showing me my weakness and inability to fulfil it brought me to such a state of exhaustion as regards fulfilling its commands that my efforts altogether ceased—in order that I might live (in the fullest sense of life) not to it, but to God. The utter condemnation experienced by him who conscientiously endeavours to keep the moral demands of God’s Law drives him to seek deliverance in God Himself (cf. Romans 7:7 sqq.). This deliverance found, life in the highest sense (Colossians 3:3-4 notes) begins.


Verse 20

20. The first half of this verse is an expansion of the meaning of both the death and the life mentioned in Galatians 2:19. I died to the Law for I have been crucified with Christ; I live to God, for Christ lives in me.

Observe also that [1] the verse brings out the greatness of the Gospel which the Galatians are inclined to reject. Life is not in the Law and yet you would go back to it! Life is in Christ, and that fully. [2] While in cc. 1 and 2 St Paul has spoken much of Christ’s call to him, so that he was independent of the Twelve, here he shows what Christ can become in the inner life of believers. I died, it is true, but it was with Christ; I live, nay to put it more truly, Christ lives in me.

Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι. The compound verb only here and Romans 6:6 (to be compared closely) in St Paul’s writings, in both places metaphorically, and in the account of the crucifixion in Matthew, Mark, John literally[85]. The metaphorical sense of the simple verb occurs in Galatians 5:24, Galatians 6:14[86].

Observe that the cross has the connotation not only of death but also of shame. It is the antithesis to the self-estimation of the successful Jew Galatians 1:13-14.

But how was St Paul crucified with Christ? He went over to Christ’s side, took his position with Him in His shame, venturing all on Him, passing in spirit with Him as He endured pain and death. St Paul’s old life thus came to an end, and he shared the new resurrection life on which Christ entered. See Romans 7:1-7 where this is expressed fully.

The perfect suggests that the crucifixion has had an abiding result upon him. He has never been the same since.

ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγώ. But my crucifixion has not been only for death, it has been for life. Had St Paul written ἐγὼ δὲ οὐκέτι ζῶ the emphasis would have been on the death of his own personality, i.e. “and it is no longer I that live,” R.V. margin. As it is, the emphasis is primarily on ζῶ, and the meaning is that of the somewhat clumsy R.V. text, “yet I live; (and yet) no longer I.”

ζῇ δὲ ἐν ἐμοὶ Χριστός. There seems to be no exact parallel, but cf. Galatians 4:19 note; Colossians 3:4 note (where see quotations from Irenaeus); Romans 6:8; 1 John 5:12; John 6:54; John 6:57; John 11:25; John 14:6; John 17:23, also Ephesians 3:17. Of course St Paul does not mean that his former personality is gone, but that Christ, not self, rules, and Christ lives in him, giving both power and character to his life.

ὃ δὲ. An inner accusative after ζῶ, “the life I live”; but perhaps adverbial, “in that” (cf. Winer-Schmiedel, § 24. 9).

νῦν in contrast to the time before his conversion; hardly to the future.

ζῶ. Observe that St Paul refers to the principle of life, not to its circumstances, manner, or interest. Contrast Colossians 2:20; Colossians 3:7.

ἐν σαρκί epexegetic of ζῶ, cf. Philippians 1:22.

ἐν πίστει (emphatic) ζῶ τῇ. He lives in faith as contrasted with the Law, but, after all, a certain kind of faith, that which is directed towards Christ.

τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ. See notes on Textual Criticism. The word Christ is not sufficient for St Paul. For the higher the nature of Him who sacrifices Himself the greater seems the love that prompts Him.

τοῦ ἀγαπήσαντός με. Only here, in this sense, with the object in the singular, but frequently with the plural, e.g. Romans 8:37.

καὶ παραδόντος ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ., Romans 4:25; Ephesians 5:2; Ephesians 5:25. St Paul in the enthusiasm of his personal gratitude to Christ seems to have wandered from his subject. Yet nothing was more likely to win the Galatians back to steadfastness in the Gospel than to remind them of Christ’s love, and that for each individually—σὺ δὲ μετὰ τοσαῦτα ἀγαθὰ πρὸς τὰ παλαιὰ παλινδρομεῖς; (Chrys.). In fact the self-sacrifice of Christ, in His life and in His death, has always been both the origin of the Christian’s life and the model set before him; see the references to Eph.: see also infra Galatians 6:2 note. For ὑπέρ see the note on Philemon 1:13 and Galatians 1:4; Galatians 3:13.


Verse 21

21. A summary of Galatians 2:15-20, and indeed of the whole Epistle. I do not set at nought God’s grace, as you think of doing. There is no righteousness by means of the Law. If there were, Christ died and gained nothing thereby.

οὐκ ἀθετῶ. In St Paul’s writings, Galatians 3:15; 1 Corinthians 1:19 (a quotation); 1 Thessalonians 4:8 (where see note); 1 Timothy 5:12[87]. It is strictly “to set out of position,” i.e. “set aside,” “set at nought.” Cf. Luke 10:16; 1 Samuel 2:17; Isaiah 1:2. “It describes not only the violation of an ordinance or authority in details, but the denial of the validity of the ordinance or the authority altogether” (Westcott on Hebrews 10:28); cf. 1 Maccabees 15:27. In the papyri ἀθέτησις (often joined with ἀκύρωσις) is used in a technical juristic sense (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 228).

τὴν χάριν τοῦ θεοῦ., Galatians 1:15.

εἰ γὰρ διὰ νόμον δικαιοσύνη. See Galatians 2:16 notes.

ἄρα (Galatians 5:11) Χριστὸς δωρεὰν ἀπέθανεν. Without receiving any payment for His pains and sacrifice, in your salvation taking place through Him: Genesis 29:15; 2 Corinthians 11:7; i.e. without any due cause, John 15:25.

 


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on Galatians 2:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/galatians-2.html. 1896.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 26th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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