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Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Galatians 2

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1


1 ) "Then fourteen years after," (epeita dia dekatessaron eton palin) "Then through fourteen years again," or after fourteen full years had passed;” after his conversion, on the Damascus road, Acts 9:5-6.

2) "I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas," (aneben eis lerosoluma meta Barnaba) "I went up into Jerusalem with Barnabas", to the Jerusalem council, Acts 15:1-4.

3) "And took Titus with me also," (sumparalabon kai Titon) "Taking in close colleague with me Titus also Titus was among these "certain other" brethren who went with Paul and Barnabas from Antioch up to the Jerusalem Conference, Acts 15:2; 2 Corinthians 8:23.

Verse 2

1) "And I went up by revelation," (aneben de kata apokalupsin) "and I went up according to, or based on, a revelation, a Divine disclosure;" This is the method by which God disclosed His will and purpose in the life of Paul, "by revelation", a divine unveiling, Acts 16:9.

2) "And communicated unto them," (Gk. kai anetemen autos) the elders, apostles, and Jerusalem church brethren, before whom he publicly appeared and spoke, Acts 15:4. Here they declared "all things that God had done with them."

3) "That gospel which I preach among the Gentiles," (to euangelion ho kerusso en tois ethnesin) "The (same) gospel which I herald (proclaim) among the nations," on all foreign fields, Acts 15:12. Note that the early gospel message was accompanied by miracles and wonders among the Gentiles, evidences of Divine sanction of Paul’s ministry.

4) "But privately to them which were of reputation," (kat idian de tois dokousin) "But privately to those, the ones of reputation," Peter, James, and John. Luke recounts Paul’s Public appearance at the Jerusalem conference, while Paul himself reviews his private council, Galatians 2:8-10; Acts 15:4.

5)"Lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain," (me pos lis kenon trecho e edramon) "Lest I should run, move about, or had run in vain," with regards to influence on the Jerusalem and Judean brethren and churches. Paul did not believe God called any man to be a failure, void of influence in His work. He therefore sought always to guard and defend his integrity and testimony of influence, Philippians 2:16; John 4:24; 1 Thessalonians 3:5.

Verse 3

1) "But neither Titus, who was with me," (all’ oude Titos ho sun emoi) "But not Titus who was in close colleague, association with me not even" Titus, my colleague, 2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 7:13-14; 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 8:16; 2 Corinthians 8:23; 2 Corinthians 12:18.

2) "Being a Greek," (hellen on) "Being a Greek;" who became a loyal missionary companion of Paul, later a pastor in Crete to whom the book of Titus was written. Titus 1:4-5.

Verse 4

1 ) "And that because of false brethren unawares brought in " (dia de tous pareisaktous pseudaelphous) "but on account of the false (traitoros) brethren brought in secretly;" Acts 15:11; Acts 15:24. These false brethren who infiltrated the Antioch church, from Jerusalem, had gone up there on their own, without church sanction or sponsorship, it was discovered and disclosed at the Jerusalem council.

2) "Who came in privily to spy out our liberty," (oitines parliselthon kataskopesai ten eleutherian hemon) "who sneaked or stole in to spy on our freedom," as self-appointed missionaries, "free-lances," "wolves in sheep’s clothing," against which our Lord warned, Matthew 7:15-16; Acts 20:29-30; Judges 1:4: 1 John 2:19.

3) "Which we have in Christ Jesus," (hen echomen en Christo lesou) "which we have, hold, or contain in Christ Jesus," liberty from ceremonialism of the Law, Galatians 3:25; Galatians 5:1; Galatians 5:13.

4) "That they might bring us into bondage," (hina hemos katadoulosousin) "In order that they might enslave us," or with the ulterior motive of enslaving us," back under Mosaic bonds, Galatians 4:3; Galatians 4:9-11.

Verse 5

1) "To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour," (dis oude pros horan eksamen to huptoge) "To whom we yielded in subjection, not even for an hour;” The "we" referred to were specifically Paul, Barnabas, and Titus as there was no small disputation in that Antioch encounter, Acts 15:21

2) "That the truth of the gospel," (hina he aletheia tou euangeliou) "in order that the truth of the gospel," or the gospel of truth. Galatians 2:14; Galatians 3:1; John 14:6; 1 Corinthians 15:1-3.

3) "Might continue with you," (diameine pros humas) might remain, abide, or continue with you all," the truth that salvation is by the Grace of God, thru faith in Jesus Christ, not thru ceremonial works of the Law of Moses, Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-10.

What Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy had preached on the Gentile mission field in Asia Minor and Galatia and Cilicia and Syria they also boldly defended both at Antioch and in Jerusalem, though confronted by contentious false brethren. Paul was always set for the peril of the "defense of the gospel" whether among friends or foe, a noble Christian trait to be sought after by all true followers of Jesus Christ, Philippians 1:17; So was Jude, Judges 1:3.

Verse 6

1) "But of those who seemed to be somewhat," (apo de ton dokounton eimai ti) "but from the ones seeming to be something," putting on an outward show, who only deceive themselves, Galatians 6:3; Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 8:2. Reputation counts not so much as character with God.

2) "Whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me:" (hopoioi pote esan ouden moi diapherei) "of what kind they were then nothing matters to me;” mere reputation or official position, both of which Paul once held among the Jews, he no longer counted of real importance in the sight of God.

3) "(God accepteth no man’s person:)" (prosopon (ho) theos anthropou ou lambanei) "The person of no man does God receive," without regard to his reputation. He seeks for new characters, not old, hypo-persons with worldly reputation, or religious reputation, apart from -truth, Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11. God looks on the heart, not on the outward appearance.

4) "For they who seemed to be somewhat in conference," (gar oi dokountes) "For those seeming of reputation," the chiefest of the apostles, Peter, James, and John.

5) "Added nothing to me," (emoi ouden prosanethento) "added not one thing to me," or when calculated, added up for what they were, added nothing to me. They communicated no further revelation to Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:11.

Verse 7

1) "But on the contrary," (alla tounantion) "but on the contrary," to the opposite or extreme; Acts 13:46; Romans 1:5; 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11.

2) "When they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me," (idontes hoti pepisteumai to euangelion tes akrobustias) "seeing that I have been entrusted with the gospel of uncircumcision;" or the gospel to the Gentiles, Acts 26:15-18; 1 Thessalonians 2:4.

3) "As the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (kathos Petros tes pertomes) "as Peter (that) of the circumcision," the gospel to the Jews was entrusted, to bear the message at Pentecost, Acts 2:14; Acts 2:37-38.

Verse 8

1 ) "For he that wrought effectually in Peter," (ho gar energesas Petro) "for he who was operating in Peter continually;" To the Greeks he was known by his Greek name Peter, while to the Jews he was known by his Hebrew name Cephas. The working in him was for the furtherance of the gospel he preached.

2) "To the apostleship of the circumcision," (eis apostolen tes peritomes) "With reference to an apostleship of the circumcision," the Jews, primarily in Jerusalem and the Judean area.

3) "The same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles," (energesen kai emoi eis ta elhne) "operated also in me with reference to the heathen, races, or nations," in a mighty or powerful manner, Acts 9:15; Acts 13:2; Acts 22:21; Acts 26:17-18.

Verse 9

1) "And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars," (kai lakobos kai kephas kai doannas, hoi dokountes stuloi einai) "and James, Peter, and John, the ones seeming to be pillars;" These it appears were perhaps the authors of the Council resolution that was adopted by the Jerusalem church and council messengers and sent back to Antioch and other areas, Acts 15:23-27.

2) "Perceived the grace that was given to me," (gnotes ten charin ten, dotheisan moi) "Realized the grace that had been given continually to me;" Perhaps James’ name is listed above first because he was pastor of the Jerusalem church, as he presided at the Jerusalem council, Acts 15:13; Acts 21:18. It took growing and going grace to go to the Gentiles, 2 Peter 3:18.

3) "They gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship," (deksias edokan emoi kai Barna koinonias) "Right hands of fellowship they gave to me and Barnabas," Acts 13:3.

4) "That we should go to the heathen," (hina hemeis eis ta ethne) "in order that we might go to the heathen, races or nations," with their blessings. To be given the right hand of fellowship conveyed the pledge of prayers and financial support to those they had endorsed sending to the heathen or Gentiles.

5) "And they unto the circumcision," (autoi de eisten peritonen) "But they to the circumcision should go," or return, to the Judean area, going out from Jerusalem, Luke 24:46-48; Acts 1:8.

Verse 10

1) "Only they would that we should remember the poor," (monon ton ptochon hina mnemoneuomen) "Only they wished in order that we might remember the poor," They (Peter, James, and John) expressed personal desires that Paul and Barnabas might remember to help take care of the poor, to show kindness and compassion, as the Lord had done and had commanded, Matthew 25:40, Psalms 112:9; Matthew 5:3; Matthew 11:6; James 2:5.

2) "The same which I also was forward to do," (ho kai espoudasa auto touto poiesai) "which very thing I also was eager to do," Acts 11:30; Acts 24:17; Romans 15:25; 2 Corinthians 8:4. Paul had remembered the poor before and often did thereafter as certified in the above passages, especially those in the continuing impoverished area of Jerusalem.

Verse 11

1) "But when Peter was come to Antioch," (hote de elthen kephas eis Antiocheion) "But when Peter came to Antioch of his own accord, on his own)," to the church that first received largely Gentiles- Paul returned there after the Jerusalem Council and preached and taught for near another year, during which time it appears this event occurred, Acts 15:35.

2) "I withstood him to the face," (data prosopon auto antesten) "I stood against him, face to face," eyeball to eyeball, not to his back; or Paul Simply confronted him with regards to his fickle and shifting double standard of ethical behavior regarding fellowship and social communion with the Jewish and Gentile brethren.

3) "Because he was to be blamed," (hoti kategnosmenos en) "because he was having been condemned," to be blamed for what he had done;" Peter’s influence that was in error in this matter was to be blamed for the acts and deeds of one who influences another or others for good or for bad, Romans 14:7; 1 Corinthians 1:12 indicates that rivalry in the Corinth church perhaps had its beginning over this very matter. And note also that this clash of Apostle against Apostle had spread from the continent of Asia to Europe.

Verse 12

1) "For before that certain came from James," (pro tou gar ethein tinas apo lakobou) "For before certain ones came from James evidently from the Jerusalem church where he was pastor, or as independent Christian Jewish evangelists (self-appointed), purported to be representing the Views of James which he did not admit, Acts 15:1; Acts 15:24.

2) "He did eat with the Gentiles," (meta ton ethnon sunesthien), "He did eat in close affinity or colleague with the Gentiles;" The "he" referred to is Peter or Cephas who had been having social fellowship at common meals with the Gentiles, Acts 10:28; Acts 11:3.

3) "But when they were come," (hote de elthon) "but when they came"; the "they" who (Gk. elthon) came of their own accord or will, purporting to represent James, even influenced Peter (in spite of his vision, that concerning the who and how of Salvation, God was no respector of persons) to turn away from eating with the Gentiles, Acts 10:34; Acts 10:43.

4) "He withdrew and separated himself," (hup estellen kai aphorizen heauton) "He withdrew and separated himself;" once he who said, "I will never deny the Lord", did it again; played the hypocrite.


"Beware of Peters words, nor confidentially say, never deny my Lord, But trust / never may.


5) "Fearing them which were of the circumcision," (phoboumenos tous ek peristomes) "Fearing those out of the circumcision," these self-appointed, fire-ball, independent, truth-squad-evangelists who purported to be from James and the "Big Church" at Jerusalem. They had gone up to Antioch on their own, teaching that it was necessary to be circumcised, keep the law of Moses, to be or stay saved, Acts 15:1-2. Paul and Barnabas and Titus recognized these fellows as lying prophets trying to make a big name for themselves and they were found to be false prophets! Acts 15:24; Acts 20:28-30; Judges 1:3-4.

Verse 13

1) "And the other Jews," (kai) hois loipoi loudaioi)

also the other Jews," the Jewish members of the Antioch church.

2) "Dissembled likewise with him," (kai sunepekrithesan auto) "even dissembled in close colleague with him," Not only did these purported "certain ones" from James and Jerusalem mislead Peter and other Jews of the Antioch church but Barnabas was also seriously turned to their compromising apostasy.

3) "Insomuch that Barnabas also," (hoste kai Barnabas) "So much as or to the extent that even Barnabas," Paul’s missionary companion in travel to the Gentile nations, on his first journey, turned back to a mixed-gospel, a perversion of truth concerning salvation and the Divine order of Worship, Acts 15:37-39.

4) "Was carried away with their dissimulation," (sunapechthe auton te hupokrise) "Was led away of them in the dissembling." This wavering instability of Barnabas, in joining in consorting with the Salvation by Works and by Law Jewish philosophy, led Paul to reject him as a missionary companion on his later missionary journeys. An unstable, compromising person can not be trusted by the Lord or by men in times of crisis, James 1:8, Proverbs 3:5.

Verse 14

1) "But when I saw that they walked not uprightly," (all hote eidon hoti ouk orthopodousin) "But when I recognized that they walked not in an upright, true, or orthodox manner;" The "they" refers to Peter, Barnabas, the certain Jewish brethren from James, the (self-sent brethren, Acts 15:24), and the Jews they led away at Antioch. See 2 Corinthians 1:12.

2) "According to the truth of the gospel," (pros ten aletheian tou euangeliou);" "With (in harmony with) the truth of the gospel;- Their walk or pattern of conduct, their personal behavior, was unethical, according to the truth of the gospel. The Jewish dividers, circumcision-for-salvation-minded, disrespected the Council letter and the truth of Jesus Christ. Acts 15:22-29.

3) "I said unto Peter before them all," (eipon to kepha emprosthen panton) "I said to Peter in front of all," or in the presence of all, - the Antioch church, Barnabas, the certain ones from James in Jerusalem and the Jews at Antioch who were being led away by them.

4) "if thou being a Jew," (ei su loudaios huparchon) "If thou being (existing as) a Jew," and he was, Acts 10:28; Acts 10:34; Acts 10:43.

5) "Livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews," (ethni kos kai ouk loudaikos zes) "Livest as a Gentile and not as a Jew"; until these "self-sent", "self-appointed, truth-squad" fellows came down from Jerusalem-and he had.

6) "Why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?" (pos ta ethne anagkazeis loudeizein); "How can you or why do you pressure or compel the Gentiles to Judaize?" Isn’t such indefensible, hypocritical, in conflict with the judgment of the Elders, Apostles, and Jerusalem Church’s conference decision? Acts 15:1-41, Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 11:6; Acts 15:10-11.

Verse 15


1) "We who are Jews by nature," (hemeis phusei loudaioi) "We being, existing as Jews by nature, by natural birth"; as all the apostles, Paul and Barnabas included, Acts 15:10-11; Philippians 3:5.

2) "And not sinners of the Gentiles," (kai ouk eks ethnon hamartoloi) "And not lawless ones out of or from among the heathen, nations, races or peoples," Matthew 9:11; Ephesians 2:3; Ephesians 2:12. Whether Jew or Gentile all were affirmed by Paul to be sinners by nature, all were called to salvation by Christ, called to service through Baptism and to give glory to God by Christ Jesus, in the church, and the program of Worship and service of our Lord’s church, not the Law of Moses, Ephesians 2:8-10; Ephesians 3:21.

Verse 16

1 ) "Knowing that a man is not justified," (eidotes de hoti ou dikaioutai anthropos) "perceiving indeed that a man is not justified or acquitted," liberated or set free, John 8:32; John 8:36.

2) "By the Works of the Law," (eks ergon nomou) "out of the works of the law," Romans 11:6; Romans 4:2-5; Acts 13:38-39. Not by works of ceremonies of law, Romans 3:20; Galatians 3:11; Galatians 3:24.

3) "But by the faith of Jesus Christ," lean me dia pisteos Christon lesou) "Except through faith in Jesus Christ," Romans 1:16; Romans 10:9-10; Galatians 3:26; John 1:11-12; 1 John 5:1.

4) "Even we have believed in Jesus Christ," (kai hemeis eis Christon lesoun episteusamen) "Even we believed or trusted in Jesus Christ," Acts 10:43; 2 Timothy 1:12.

5) "That we might be justified by the faith of Christ," (hina dikaiothomen ek pisteos Christou) "in order that we might be justified out of faith of (in) Christ," as declared by Paul, Acts 13:38-39.

6) "And not by the works of the law," (kai ouk eks ergon nomou) "and not out of or by means of law;" through circumcision or law ceremonies, Philippians 3:2. The law-keepers are here referred to as "dogs".

7) "For by the Works of the law," (hoti eks ergon) "because by or (out of) works of law," works of the flesh never saved anyone, anyway, anytime, Acts 10:43; Romans 3:20.

8) "Shall no flesh be justified," (ou dikaiothesetai pasa sarks) "no flesh will be justified," before God, Romans 4:3-5, Paul’s conclusion (Romans 3:28) should be all men’s conclusion regarding this matter.

Verse 17

1) "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ," (ei de zetounti dikaiothenai en Christou) "But if, as we seek to be justified or acquitted in Christ," "if we who are Jews take our place as sinners in seeking to be justified by faith in Christ, as Gentiles do," Note the logic: Romans 8:1; Galatians 5:6.

2) "We ourselves also are found sinners," (heurethemen kai autoi hamartoloi) "We ourselves were also or even found to be sinners, lawless ones," Paul then affirms "We are lawless sinners, We Jews", Romans 3:23.

3) "Is therefore Christ the minister of sin?" (ara Christos hamartias diakonos;) "Is Christ then considered a common minister of lawlessness?" Does He make us Jews to be sinners when we believe in Him? If not, why do we act like sinners in trying to seek righteousness by going back under the rituals of the Law? Romans 6:1. Is sin promoted by faith in Christ? No! 1 John 3:5.

4) "God forbid," (me genoito) "May (God) not let it be, or God forbid!" 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:22.

Verse 18

1) "For if I build again," (ei gar palin oikodomo) For if I should build up, enlarge, embellish, or enhance again"; or return to support the law of Moses, Phariseeism.

2) "The things which I destroyed," (ha katelusa-tauta) "The (kind of) things which I once destroyed or tore down," put aside, put behind me religiously to accept and follow Jesus Christ, Philippians 3:3-8; Philippians 3:13-14. This especially concerns ceremonial rites of the law.

3) "I make myself a transgressor," (parabaten emauton sunistano) "I constitute myself (as) a transgressor," to appear by such conduct. His transgression in turning back to the Law would make him a transgressor against Jesus Christ. For it is a moral, ethical, and religious principle that no one can serve two masters, Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13. One can not be a servant of Moses (the Law of Moses), and of Jesus Christ in and through service in His church at the same time, Ephesians 3:21. As one can not have two savior’s, one can not serve masters, two laws (forms of law), service, or ceremonies; See? Mark 8:34; Mark 13:34-37. To attempt to do so is hypocrisy.

Verse 19


1) "For I through the law," (ego gar dia nomon) "For I through the law," through the teaching of the law that pointed me to Christ, Galatians 3:19; Galatians 3:24-25; Acts 10:43.

2) "Am dead to the law," (nomon apethanon) "am dead, barren, empty, unfruitful, or unproductive," to or toward the law. It is not my master. The Spirit of life in Christ has liberated me from any moral or racial obligation to it, Romans 8:2; Colossians 3:17; Romans 6:14; Romans 7:4; Romans 7:6.

3) "That I might live unto God," (hina theo zeso) "In order that I might live to (the honor of) God," by giving Him glory, praise and glory service through His church, Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Romans 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:10; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 4:2.

As means of justification before God, or merit of salvation one (as Paul), is to consider himself as if he were dead "to the law", as no law has jurisdiction over service of a dead man, Colossians 2:20.

(Christian Obedience is Motivated by Grace, Love - Not by the Law)

Verse 20

1 ) " I am crucified with Christ," (Christo senestauromai) "I have been crucified in colleague, close affinity with Christ;" From the time of his conversion Christ became the central force of his life, entailing a fellowship in the struggle of His crucifixion sufferings, Romans 6:6; Galatians 5:24; Galatians 6:14.

2) "Nevertheless I live, yet not I,” (zo de ouketi ego) "Indeed I live, yet I live not at all;” It is not the Paul of old that now lives, but an unselfish Christ-centered Paul, who sought always to do those things "pleasing in his sight," 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 John 3:22; Hebrews 13:21; Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 3:20-22.

3) "But Christ liveth in me," (ze de en emoi Christos) "Yet Christ lives in me," on and on, forever, John 10:27-28; John 17:23. He is "in" every believer, "the hope (only hope) of glory," Colossians 1:27.

4) "And the life which I now live in the flesh," (ho de nun zo en sarki) "and the (kind of) life I now and hereafter live continually in the flesh," where I cast my influence and help or harm my fellowman; as the root is the source of life to branches and their fruit, so is Christ to believers.

5) "I live by the faith of the Son of God," (en pistei zo te tou huidu tou theou) "I live by (in) faith of the Son of God;" provided by the Son of God as a gift, 1 Corinthians 13:13 and contained in the system of faith - the Word of God, Judges 1:1-3; 2 Corinthians 5:15; 1 Peter 4:2.

6) "Who loved me," (tou agapesantos me) "of the one having loved me;" The love of Christ for Paul and all men, from whom he received his Spiritual life and change impelled him to a life of Divine obedience to God’s call, Acts 26:1; Acts 26:9.

7) "And gave himself for me," (kai paradontes huanton huper emou) "and who gave himself on behalf of (instead of) me," John 3:16; Romans 1:16; Romans 10:9-13; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 2:9. Christ’s love for men was His motive for His giving Himself. It should be the same motive for Christian service to Him, John 10:11; Titus 2:14; Ephesians 5:2.

Grace and Works Not Components of Acquiring Justification

Verse 21

1) "I do not frustrate the grace of God," (ouk atheto ten charin tou theou) "I do not set, put, or place aside, the grace of God;"’ Galatians 5:4; Hebrews 7:11. He did not mix law and grace to provide an offer of salvation from sin, for they no more mix in God’s redemptive purpose and plan than oil and water mix, Romans 11:6.

2) "For if righteousness come by the law," (ei gar dia nomon dikaiosune) "For if righteousness comes (to one) through law;" But that it does not is evident to the open student and honest believer of the Bible interpreted in contextual setting, Galatians 3:11; Galatians 3:21.

3) "Then Christ is dead in vain," (ara Christos dorean apethanen) "Then Christ died without cause," without a worthy, worthwhile or noble goal that would merit thanksgiving or praise. The death of Christ was vain, empty, and unnecessary, if salvation could have been obtained already, through flesh obedience to the Law of Moses, without the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, there was no occasion for the death of Christ; but it was necessary and was not in vain, even for me, this writer, Hebrews 7:12; Hebrews 7:22; Hebrews 7:26-27; Hebrews 8:3; Hebrews 9:16; Hebrews 9:23-28; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:12-22; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58. Since He saves, He lives, He intercedes, He comes again, our faith and labor are not in vain, in the Lord, Hebrews 10:37; Philippians 3:20-21.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Galatians 2". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/galatians-2.html. 1985.
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