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Bible Commentaries

Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Galatians 2

Verse 1

Galatians 2:1 . Διὰ , after ) At an interval of fourteen years between the two journeys to Jerusalem.

Verse 2

Galatians 2:2 . Κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν , by revelation ) As Paul had revelations he had no need to learn from men. This revelation had been communicated to him for an important reason. ἀνεθέμην ) set before them [ communicated ], as equals are wont to do, not that they should confirm me, but that they should confirm others, Acts 15:2 . αὐτοῖς , to them ) at Jerusalem. This is treated of Galatians 2:3-4 . κατʼ ἰδίαν ) apart, privately ) all were not capable of comprehending it. τοῖς δοκοῦσι , who were held in reputation ) In antithesis to Paul, who was less acknowledged. [ The apostles are principally intended , Galatians 2:9 . V. g.] comp. 2 Corinthians 11:5 . Hesychius; δοκοῦντες , οἱ ἔνδοξοι . This is brought under consideration, Galatians 2:6-7 . μήπως , lest by any means ) this word depends on ἀνεθέμην , I set forth [ communicated ]. I should run, says he, or had run in vain, if circumcision had been judged necessary. τρέχω , I should run ) with the swift victory of the Gospel.

Verse 3

Galatians 2:3 . Οὐδὲ , not even ) We did not even allow the necessity of circumcising Titus, who was with me, to be laid upon us.

Verse 4

Galatians 2:4 . Διὰ δὲ ) But this matter concerning Titus happened on account of , etc. δὲ , but [Engl. Vers. And that ] is here a particle explanatory and intensive. παρεισάκτους ) παρὰ here and in παρεισῆλθον , denotes by the way, stealthily, underhand . ψευδαδέλφους , false brethren ) He had shown greater respect to those, who were professed Jews, as in the case of Timothy, Acts 16:3 . οἵτινες , who ) Comp. Acts 15:1 ; Acts 15:24 . κατασκοπῆσαι ) to spy out , and destroy.

Verse 5

Galatians 2:5 . Τῇ ὑποταγῇ , by subjection ) There is here a limitation. We would willingly have yielded for love [but not in the way of subjection ]. ἡ ἀλήθεια ) the truth of the Gospel , the pure Gospel, not another, ch. Galatians 1:6 : which false brethren attempt to substitute. The same mode of speaking is found, Galatians 2:14 ; Colossians 1:5 . Truth, precise, unaccommodating, abandons nothing, that belongs to itself, admits nothing, that is inconsistent with it. ὑμᾶς , you ) Greeks. We defended for your sakes, what you now reject.

Verse 6

Galatians 2:6 . Ἀπὸ ) Supply οἱ , οἱ ἀπὸ , κ . τ . λ ., and construe, οὐδέν μοι διαφέρει , ὁποῖοί ποτε ἦσαν ἀπὸ , κ . τ . λ . It is of no importance to me, what sort of persons in particular [‘whatsoever’] those were, who were of the number of those more distinguished . The preposition is put in the same way, while the article is omitted, Mark 5:35 ; Luke 11:49 . Not only the three, James, Peter, and John, were δοκοῦντες , highly distinguished . He therefore says ἀπὸ τῶν . Οἱ δοκόυντες , viz. οἱ ὑπὲρ λίαν ἀπόστολοι ; 2 Corinthians 11:5 . εἰναί τι ) to be (accounted) something , among those, who did not so esteem Paul. ὁποῖοί ποτε ) ποτὲ is here enclitic, not an adverb of time. Θεὸς , God ) Paul followed the judgment of God. He asserts the Divine authority; he does not disparage that of the apostles. γὰρ , for ) The reason assigned [aetiologia] not of the thing but of the word. Paul had just made a preface, and points out the reason why he did so, and proposes the subject itself. In like manner, for occurs, ch. Galatians 6:7 . The preface is, that he does not depend on the consent of others; afterwards, however, he shows that consent. οὐδὲν προσανέθευτο ) they added [imparted]

[ 7] nothing to me, i.e. they found no fault in my doctrine. It often happens that a man, who wishes to find fault or admonish, does it modestly, under the appearance of communicating information. “Those, who took the lead,” antecessores , as Tertullian calls τοῦς δοκοῦντας , used no such method in regard to Paul. I set forth , ἀνεθέμην , to them, Galatians 2:2 ; they had nothing to add. [8]

[7] Wahl. Clav . renders the verse here in the middle, “Animus est, novum aliquid imponere;” i.e. they were not disposed to impose any new burden or obligation on me . ED.

[8] προσανέθεντο , the πρὸς implying addition . ED.

Verse 7

Galatians 2:7 . Ἰδόντες ) seeing from the effect itself, which I pointed out to them, Galatians 2:8 ; Acts 15:12 . τῆς ἀκροβυστίας , of the uncircumcision ) i.e. of the Gentiles, who were to be brought to the faith without circumcision.

Verse 8

Galatians 2:8 . Εἰς τὰ ἔθνη , to the Gentiles ) i.e. to the apostleship of the Gentiles.

Verse 9

Galatians 2:9 . Γνόντες , when James , etc., perceived ) After having heard and seen me. δοθεῖσαν , given ) comp. respecting Paul, 2 Peter 3:15 . Ἰακωβος [9] ) James . He is put here first, because he mostly remained at Jerusalem, or even because he took the principal lead in this matter, and Paul might have seemed to differ more from James than from Peter, more from Peter than from John. For many circumstances would lead us to conclude, that James and Paul, as well as Peter and Paul, etc., had that in their nature and in the feelings of their soul, which would demand that the one should exercise love and forbearance, along with self-denial, towards the other, without, however, any compromise of the truth recognized by all. Hence it happens, that one and the same man, or one and the same assembly cannot with equal facility comprehend both James and Paul. This is proved in the failure of Luther, who called the epistle of James “an epistle of straw;” but let those who violently arraign him on this account, look at the monstrous feelings which they themselves cherish against Paul. Christ is the only Head, the only Sun; the greatest apostles were only members; nor did these, as individuals, all equally receive the rays of that Sun, but the whole together represented Christ in the apostleship; comp. on their variety, Revelation 21:14 ; Revelation 21:19-20 . And the affairs of the Church were so directed by its Divine Head, that James, who was more tenacious of the law, preached to the Jews; Paul, who did not copy others, and was more eager for faith and liberty, preached to the Gentiles; and that thus every one might bring a character and endowments as much adapted as possible to the province assigned to him. Κηφᾶς , Cephas ) In some way or other, I know not how, this word has the sound of greater veneration than Peter. If Peter had held that supremacy, which men afterwards attributed to him, Paul would have had the strongest reason for mentioning that supremacy on the present occasion, or at least of naming him as in an exalted position. στύλοι ) This word corresponds to the Hebrew term עמוד Proverbs 9:1 , and wherever it occurs. δεξιὰς ἔδωκαν ) so, δῶμεν δεξιὰν , let us make peace , 1Ma 6:58 , etc. ΚΟΙΝΩΝΊΑς ) fellowship , which refers to colleagues. ἵνα , that ) viz. we might go, viz. with the Gospel. ΕἸς ΤᾺ ἜΘΝΗ , to the Gentiles ) especially. For Paul also taught the Jews, Peter and John the Gentiles, but the former followed out his career beyond Judea, the latter had continued in Judea, so long as it continued to exist as a nation. If Peter came to Rome, he certainly had no fixed abode there.

[9] Πέτρος καὶ Ἰάκωβος , the marginal reading in this verse is equal in both Ed. to the reading Ἰάκωβος καὶ Κηφᾶς adopted both in the Germ. Vers. and in the Gnom: Galatians 2:11 , the name Κηφᾶς , which had been left doubtful in the larger Ed., is openly preferred in 2d Ed. and Germ. Ver. to the other; finally , Galatians 2:14 , the reading Κηφᾷ added to the genuine readings on the margin of the larger Ed. on the margin of the 2d Ed. is placed among those that are less certain, and in the Germ. Ver. is exchanged for the reading πέτρῳ . E. B.

Ἰάκωβος καὶ Κηφᾶς is read by BC Orig. and Cod. Amiat. of Vulg. Πέτρος κ , Ἰάκωβος is read by D( Δ )G fg Vulg. (Fuld. MS., etc.) Iren. A omits καὶ Κηφᾶς . In Gal 2:11 ABCH Vulg. read Κηφᾶς . But D( Δ )G fg Vulg. and Rec. Text have Πέτρος . In Gal 2:14 ABC have Κηφᾷ . D( Δ )G fg Vulg. and Rec. Text have Πέτρῳ . ED.

Verse 10

Galatians 2:10 . Τῶν πτωχῶν , the poor ) From among the Jews. μνημονεύωμεν , we should remember ) The antecedent for the consequent; for Paul was forward , not only to remember , but to assist . ἐσπούδασα , I was forward [anxious, zealous]) even among the Galatians, 1 Corinthians 16:1 . Paul did not cast away his zeal for good works. [10]

[10] Though denying justification by them. ED.

Verse 11

Galatians 2:11 . Ὅτε , when ) The argument at last reaches its highest point. Paul reproves Peter himself, therefore he owes not his doctrine to man. Ἀντιόχειαν , Antioch ) at that time the citadel of the Gentile Church. κατὰ πρόσωπον , to the face ) comp. Galatians 2:14 , before all; so the LXX., 1 Kings 1:23 , twice; 1 Chronicles 28:8 ; Psalms 50:21 ; Daniel 11:16 , etc. Below, κατὰ , Galatians 3:1 . ἀντέστην , I withstood [resisted]) A stern word. κατεγνωσμένος ) κατακεκριμένος , condemned , on account of contrary actions, of which the one condemned the other; see the following verse; comp. Galatians 2:18 . The participle has a reciprocal meaning. For Peter had condemned himself by his own judgment, by his own practice.

Verse 12

Galatians 2:12 . Συνήσθιεν ) He ate , like as we did, along with the Gentiles. ὑπέστελλε , he began to withdraw [11] ) gradually. ἀφώριζεν , separated ) entirely. φοβούμενος , fearing ) The fear of man is very injurious.

[11] This is the force of the Imperfect ED.

Verse 13

Galatians 2:13 . Ὁι λοιποὶ ) The others , believers. καὶ ) even Barnabas, whom you would by no means think likely to do such a thing. συναπήχθη , was led away ) The power of frequent example.

Verse 14

Galatians 2:14 . Ἐ͂ ιδον , I saw ) A happy observation [of their error]. ὀρθοποδοῦσι ) they walk [ with a straightforward and open step ] according to the rule, Galatians 6:16 ; in the right way, or rather with body erect [as Engl. Vers. translates it uprightly ], so that it is opposed to lameness, and to what is properly called straddling. Straightness of the feet is the thing intended. The Greeks say also ὀρθοβατεῖν , ὀρθοδραμεῖν . τοῦ εὐαγγελίου , of the Gospel ) For the Gospel teaches, that righteousness from the works of the law and the necessity for observance of the ceremonial law are inconsistent with redemption by the death of Christ. εἶπον , I said ) Paul alone maintained the point in this place, without associates [to support him], against Judaism; afterwards also against heathenism, 2 Timothy 4:16-17 . τῷ ) The authors of this conduct ought to be attacked. ἔμπροσθεν πάντων , before all ) 1 Timothy 5:20 . εἰ σὺ , if thou ) In this argument Paul reminds Peter of the argument which the latter had used against the Pharisees, Acts 15:10-11 . Here commences a proposition consisting of two members, of which the first, if thou , etc., is treated of in Galatians 2:15-16 ; the second, why the Gentiles , etc., at Galatians 2:17-18 . Ἰουδαῖος ὑπάρχων , being a Jew ) and therefore more closely related to the law. ἐθνικῶς ζῇς , livest after the manner of Gentiles ) So Paul speaks, κατʼ ἄνθρωπον , i.e. [using the ad hominem argument, turning Peter’s own practice as an argument against him] For Peter, retracting his former mode of living, declared for the Gentile mode, since it was right in itself. Taking away this figure, the proposition itself, we must not live after the manner of the Jews, is presently discussed. τὰ ἔθνη , the Gentiles ) set free from the law. ἀναγκάζεις , thou compellest ) by thy conduct. They would have held it necessary that the Gentiles should either follow the Jewish ritual, or be deprived of communion with the Church. Ἰουδαΐζειν , to live as do the Jews [Judaize]) what had been formerly obedience to the law is now mere Judaism.

Verse 15

Galatians 2:15 . Ἡμεῖς , we ) Paul, sparing the person of Peter, dismisses the second person singular, and passes to the first person plural, then figuratively to the first person singular, Galatians 2:18 ; lastly, I in its proper [literal] meaning, Galatians 2:19-20 . We , although Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, viz., we have been: comp. the preterite knowing we have believed . This we , after the reason [12] has been interposed in the way of parenthesis, is taken up again in the following verse with epitasis [an emphatic addition, viz., even we] and reaches to we have believed . φύσει , by nature ) not merely proselytes. οὐκ ἐξ ἐθνῶν ἁμαρτωλοὶ , not sinners of the Gentiles ) Paul openly declares it as a thing acknowledged, that the Gentiles, inasmuch as they did not even possess the law, are sinners, while the Jews, on the contrary, had the law or even works; Titus 3:5 . Then by the way he grants, that it is only in Christ that the Jews can have communion with them; but he especially declares, as a thing acknowledged, the justification of the Gentiles by faith, and he also infers the same thing concerning the Jews. To this refers the expression sinners , Galatians 2:17 , note. [13]

[12] By ‘aetiologia.’ See Append.

[13] Sinners such as the Gentiles heretofore were justly regarded. ED.

Verse 16

Galatians 2:16 . Εἰδότες , knowing ) i.e. since we have come to know. ἄνθρωπος , a man ) every man, whether Jew, or Greek. ἐξ ἔργων νόμου , by the works of the law ) The followers of Galatism, from not clearly understanding and not rightly interpreting the nature and end of the moral law, earnestly maintained the ceremonial law; and, acknowledging little or no distinction between the moral and ceremonial law, they comprehended both under one word, the law , and therefore sought to be justified in the observance of the whole law. The apostle therefore in a similar manner refuting them, includes the two in one word; or, where he uses the word law more strictly, he means the moral law itself; he calls the ceremonial law by a different appellation, elements, etc. But the state of the controversy came more prominently under notice, in so far as it regarded the ceremonial law, than in so far as the same regarded the moral law: since the matter of the former being about times, circumcision, meats, etc., met the eye more than that of the latter; and the abrogation of the former, which was complete, was more conspicuous, than that of the latter, which was only abrogated in some one respect. Hence it happens that some arguments serve particularly against justification by the ceremonial law; there are more, however, which serve against justification by the law taken universally, including even the moral law. The whole is more clearly evident from the economy of the epistle to the Galatians; for in ch. 1 and 2 the apostle shows that he was sent and taught by God, and was in no respect inferior to the other apostles, as his conferences for promoting peace, nay even his controversial debates, held with them, and with Peter himself, plainly evince. In the third chapter, there is the discussion on the moral law; whence at ch. Galatians 4:1-11 , arguments are deduced regarding the ceremonial law, and, after an allegory has been interposed in reference to both, in ch. 5 the question is raised respecting circumcision in particular. This is the sum: Moses and Jesus Christ; the law and the promise; doing and believing; works and faith; wages and the gift; the curse and the blessing, are represented as diametrically opposed to each other. And the Decalogue is left by Paul either altogether untouched, or it is included under the term law; nay, the Decalogue is properly that law, which, though it is declared, that it cannot justify, is yet established by faith; for, truly the ceremonial law is entirely abolished: [ 2Co 3:13 ]; Romans 3:31 . But Sinai , Galatians 4:24 , is much more celebrated for the Decalogue than for the ceremonial law. Nor was the ceremonial law a yoke intolerable in itself, but it derived its strength from the moral law, Acts 15:0 . Therefore the moral law is, so to speak, more legal than the ceremonial, which was at the same time, as it were, an elementary and preliminary Gospel. See also Romans 3:20 , note. ἐὰν μὴ , [ but by ] if not ) a particle to be resolved into ἀλλὰ , but , though with greater force. Man is not justified by the works of the law, and therefore in no other way save by faith. We find the same meaning attached to the particles, and not , which occur presently after. διὰ , by ) by is used concerning the Gentiles; from [ ἐκ ἐξ ] presently after, concerning the Jews, Romans 3:30 , note. Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ , of Jesus Christ ) i.e. in Christ Jesus , as the expression follows presently after with the names transposed. [14] The name Jesus was the name that became known first to the Gentiles; the name Christ to the Jews. Wherefore the order is not always indiscriminate, where both names are used as here; Romans 15:5-6 ; 1 Timothy 1:15-16 ; 1Ti 2:5 ; 1 Timothy 6:13-14 ; 2 Timothy 1:9-10 , notes: and generally in more solemn discourse Christ Jesus is used; in that which is more ordinary, Jesus Christ . καὶ ἡμεῖς ) we ourselves also; how much more the Gentiles. ἐπιστεύσαμεν , we have believed ) i.e. we began to believe long ago. διότι , because that ) The consequence is proved in reference to the Jews.

[14] Engl. Vers. has We have believed in Jesus Christ . But ACD( Δ )G g Vulg. have the order Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν . B f Memph. and later Syr. support the order Ἰης , Χριστ . ED

Verse 17

Galatians 2:17 . Εἰ δὲ , but if ) When Peter withdrew himself, and refused to hold any longer that communion in living [food] with the Gentiles, which he had begun; it was the same thing as if he had said, that he had lived a heathen sinner , by the fact of and during the continuance of that communion. But Christ had formed a close relationship with the Gentiles, on account of which he had very properly eaten with them. Wherefore if Peter committed sin in eating with them, the consequence will be that Christ was the minister of that sin . Paul so shrinks back from the impropriety of such a consequence, that he not only subjoins, God forbid , but immediately softens the expression by turning it into an interrogation, and by using also the word διάκονος , minister , which is well adapted to mark the indignity implied in this passage. There is no blame attached to Christ, conferring righteousness and holiness upon the Gentiles; but the whole blame lies with him, who renews [builds again] a separation from the Gentiles, after they had been converted to Christ; see following verse. ζητοῦντες ) while we seek , ever since we have received faith and freedom from the law. This word, to seek , is represented [virtually expressed] in the preceding verse; and “if while seeking we are found ,” is a strong antithesis to it. εὑρέθημεν , we are found ) now, anew. καὶ αὐτοὶ ) we ourselves also , of our own accord. Χριστὸς , Christ ) by [ in ] whom , however, we seek to be justified.

Verse 18

Galatians 2:18 . Κατέλυσα , I destroyed ) By the faith of Christ. πάλιν οἰκοδομῶ , I build again ) by subjection to the law. παραβάτην ) a prevaricator , [15] a transgressor of the law, while I seem to observe it, [ retracting, as it were, my former change ( abandonment ) of Judaism . V. g.] The word ( παραβάτης ) was dreadful in the eyes of those who were more zealous for the law. [ This was, to wit, to transgress the law of faith . V. g.] συνίστημι , I commend ) Peter had wished to commend himself, Galatians 2:12 , at the end; Paul shows by this mimesis, [16] the sad fruit of that commendation.

[15] Prævaricator, a shuffler, one guilty of collusion, a sham-defender , as Peter here seeming to be a maintainer of the law, though being a transgressor against it. ED.

[16] Imitation of the word characterising Peter’s aim, viz. to commend himself. ED.

Verse 19

Galatians 2:19 . Ἐγὼ γὰρ , for I ) The reason assigned [aetiologia] for, God forbid . Christ is not the minister of sin and death, but the Establisher [Stator] of righteousness and life. I am entirely in Him. This is the very sum and marrow of Christianity. διὰ νόμου νόμῳ ) by the law of faith [I am dead] to the law of works, Romans 3:27 . I do not do an injustice to the law; I depend on a law, not less divine. This is set forth as it were enigmatically, and is presently explained by the definition of the law of faith. In the same sense in which transgressor [ παραβάτης ] is used, law , [17] is used, in speaking of faith. ἀπέθανον , ἵνα Θεῷ ζήσω ) Romans 7:4 ; Romans 7:6 , note.

[17] Referring to the law of works. ED.

Verse 20

Galatians 2:20 . Συνεσταύρωμαι , I am crucified with ) Death is included in the cross, as is evident from the antithesis, I live; comp. Philippians 2:8 . On communion with the same; Philippians 3:10 . ζῶ δὲ , nevertheless I live ) after that death. οὐκ ἔτι ἐγὼ ) [Engl. Vers., yet not 1 .] No longer I, as a Jew: Colossians 3:11 .

Verse 21

Galatians 2:21 . Οὐκ ἀθετῶ , I do not frustrate ) As the Judaizing teachers do, but embrace it with my whole soul. τὴν Χάριν τοῦ Θεοῦ , the grace of God ) by which Christ died for us. εἰ γὰρ , for if ) Christ is our righteousness in Himself; not in so far as [inasmuch as] He fulfils the righteousness of the law in us. This is evident from the consequence which Paul here shows would follow, if the case were otherwise. ἀπέθανεν , He died ) and so rose again . There would have been no need of these, if righteousness had been from the law.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Galatians 2". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.