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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 2 Then after fourteen years
I again went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also.
I went up in accord with a revelation, 3
and I presented to them the gospel that I preach to the Gentiles - but
privately to those of repute - so that I might not be running, or have run, in
Moreover, not even 4 Titus,
who was with me, although he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised,
but because of the false brothers 5
secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy on our freedom that we have in
Christ Jesus, that they might enslave us -
to them we did not submit even for a moment, so
that the truth of the gospel 6 might remain intact for you.
But from those who were reputed to be important
(what they once were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) -
those of repute made me add nothing.
7 On the contrary, when they saw that I had been
entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter to the
for the one who worked in Peter for an
apostolate to the circumcised worked also in me for the Gentiles,
and when they recognized the grace bestowed
upon me, James and Kephas and John, 8 who were reputed to be
pillars, gave me and Barnabas their right hands in partnership, that we should
go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
Only, we were to be mindful of the poor, 9
which is the very thing I was eager to do.
10 11 And when Kephas came to
Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong.
For, until some people came from James, 12
he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and
separated himself, because he was afraid of the circumcised.
And the rest of the Jews 13
(also) acted hypocritically along with him, with the result that even Barnabas
was carried away by their hypocrisy.
But when I saw that they were not on the right
road in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Kephas in front of all,
"If you, though a Jew, are living like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how
can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?" 14
15 We, who are Jews by nature and not sinners
from among the Gentiles,
(yet) who know that a person is not justified
by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in
Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of
the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. 16
But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ,
we ourselves are found to be sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? 17
Of course not!
But if I am building up again those things that
I tore down, then I show myself to be a transgressor. 18
For through the law I died to the law, 19
that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ;
yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in
me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who
has loved me and given himself up for me.
I do not nullify the grace of God; for if
justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.
1 [1-10] Paul's second journey to
Jerusalem, according to Galatians, involved a private meeting with those of
repute (⇒ Gal 2:2). At issue was a Gentile, Titus,
and the question of circumcision, which false brothers (⇒ Gal
2:4) evidently demanded for him. Paul insists that the gospel he
preaches (⇒ Gal 2:2; cf ⇒ Gal
1:9, ⇒ 11) remained intact with no
addition by those of repute (⇒ Gal 2:6); that Titus
was not compelled to accept circumcision (⇒ Gal 2:3);
and that he and the reputed pillars in Jerusalem agreed on how each would
advance the missionary task (⇒ Gal 1:7-10). Usually,
⇒ Gal 1:1-10 is equated with the "Council of Jerusalem,"
as it is called, described in Acts 15. See the notes on ⇒ Acts
15:6-12, ⇒ 13-35, the latter concerning
the "decree" that Paul does not mention.
2  After fourteen years: thirteen or
more years, probably reckoned from the return to Syria and Cilicia
(⇒ Gal 1:21), though possibly from Paul's calling as
a Christian (⇒ Gal 1:15). Barnabas: cf
⇒ Gal 2:9, ⇒ 13;
⇒ 1 Cor 9:6. A Jewish Christian missionary, with
whom Paul worked (⇒ Acts 4:36-37;
⇒ 11:22, ⇒ 25,
⇒ 30; ⇒ 12:25;
⇒ 13:1-3; ⇒ 15:2). Titus:
a missionary companion of Paul (⇒ 2 Cor 2:13;
⇒ 7:6, ⇒ 13-15;
⇒ 8:6, ⇒ 16,
⇒ 23; ⇒ 12:18),
non-Jewish (⇒ Gal 2:3), never mentioned in Acts.
3  A revelation: cf
⇒ Gal 1:1, ⇒ 12. Paul
emphasizes it was God's will, not Jerusalem authority, that led to the journey.
⇒ Acts 15:2 states that the church in Antioch
appointed Paul and Barnabas for the task. Those of repute: leaders of the
Jerusalem church; the term, while positive, may be slightly ironic (cf
⇒ Gal 1:6, 9). Run, in
vain: while Paul presents a positive picture in what follows, his missionary
work in Galatia would have been to no purpose if his opponents were correct
that circumcision is needed for complete faith in Christ.
4  Not even a Gentile Christian
like Titus was compelled to receive the rite of circumcision. The Greek text
could be interpreted that he voluntarily accepted circumcision, but this is
unlikely in the overall argument.
5  False brothers: Jewish
Christians who took the position that Gentile Christians must first become Jews
through circumcision and observance of the Mosaic law in order to become
Christians; cf ⇒ Acts 15:1.
6  The truth of the gospel: the
true gospel, in contrast to the false one of the opponents (⇒ Gal
1:6-9); the gospel of grace, used as a norm (⇒ Gal
7 [7-9] Some think that actual
"minutes" of the meeting are here quoted. Paul's apostleship to the
Gentiles (⇒ Gal 1:16) is recognized alongside that
of Peter to the Jews. Moreover, the right to proclaim the gospel without
requiring circumcision and the Jewish law is sealed by a handshake. That Paul
and colleagues should go to the Gentiles did not exclude his preaching to the
Jews as well (⇒ Romans 1:13-16) or Kephas to Gentile
8  James and Kephas and John: see
the notes on ⇒ Gal 1:18,
⇒ 19; on Peter and John as leaders in the Jerusalem
church, cf ⇒ Acts 3:1 and ⇒ Acts
8:14. The order here, with James first, may reflect his prominence in
Jerusalem after Peter (Kephas) departed (⇒ Acts
9  The poor: Jerusalem Christians
or a group within the church there (cf ⇒ Romans
15:26). The collection for them was extremely important in Paul's
thought and labor (cf ⇒ Romans 15:25-28; ⇒ 1
Cor 16:1-4; 2 Cor 8-9).
10 [11-14] The decision reached in
Jerusalem (⇒ Gal 2:3-7) recognized the freedom of
Gentile Christians from the Jewish law. But the problem of table fellowship
between Jewish Christians, who possibly still kept kosher food regulations, and
Gentile believers was not yet settled. When Kephas first came to the racially
mixed community of Jewish and Gentile Christians in Antioch
(⇒ Gal 2:12), he ate with non-Jews. Pressure from
persons arriving later from Jerusalem caused him and Barnabas to draw back.
Paul therefore publicly rebuked Peter's inconsistency toward the gospel
(⇒ Gal 2:14). Some think that what Paul said on that
occasion extends through ⇒ Gal 2:16,
11  Clearly was wrong: literally,
"stood condemned," by himself and also by Paul. His action in
breaking table fellowship was especially grievous if the eating involved the
meal at the Lord's supper (cf ⇒ 1 Cor 11:17-25).
12  Some people came from James:
strict Jewish Christians (cf ⇒ Acts 15:1,
5; ⇒ 21:20-21), either
sent by James (⇒ Gal 1:19;
⇒ 2:9) or claiming to be from the leader of the
Jerusalem church. The circumcised: presumably Jewish Christians, not Jews.
13  The Jews: Jewish Christians,
like Barnabas. Hypocrisy: literally, "pretense,"
"play-acting"; moral insincerity.
14  Compel the Gentiles to live
like Jews: that is, conform to Jewish practices, such as circumcision
(⇒ Gal 2:3-5) or regulations about food
(⇒ Gal 2:12).
15 [15-21] Following on the series of
incidents cited above, Paul's argument, whether spoken to Kephas at Antioch or
only now articulated, is pertinent to the Galatian situation, where believers
were having themselves circumcised (⇒ Gal 6:12-13)
and obeying other aspects of Jewish law (⇒ Gal
4:9-10; ⇒ 5:1-4). He insists that salvation
is by faith in Christ, not by works of the law. His teaching on the gospel
concerns justification by faith (⇒ Gal 2:16) in
relation to sin (⇒ Gal 2:17), law
(⇒ Gal 2:19), life in Christ (⇒ Gal
2:19-20), and grace (⇒ Gal 2:21).
16  No one will be justified:
⇒ Psalm 143:2 is reflected.
17  A minister of sin: literally,
"a servant of sin" (cf ⇒ Romans 15:8), an
agent of sin, one who promotes it. This is possibly a claim by opponents that
justification on the basis of faith in Christ makes Christ an abettor of sin
when Christians are found to be sinners. Paul denies the conclusion (cf
⇒ Romans 6:1-4).
18  To return to observance of the
law as the means to salvation would entangle one not only in inevitable
transgressions of it but also in the admission that it was wrong to have
abandoned the law in the first place.
19  Through the law I died to the
law: this is variously explained: the law revealed sin
(⇒ Romans 7:7-9) and led to death and then to belief in
Christ; or, the law itself brought the insight that law cannot justify
(⇒ Gal 2:16; ⇒ Psalm
143:2); or, the "law of Christ" (⇒ Gal
6:2) led to abandoning the Mosaic law; or, the law put Christ to
death (cf ⇒ Gal 3:13) and so provided a way to our
salvation, through baptism into Christ, through which we die (crucified with
Christ; see ⇒ Romans 6:6). Cf also ⇒ Gal
3:19-25 on the role of the law in reference to salvation.
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