About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

Home Page

Previous Section - Chapter 1:11 - 23

Next Section - Chapter 2:11 - 21

Paul Accepted By The Apostles (ch. 2:1 – 10)

To understand this section properly we need to see that there are three groups of people being talked about.  One is Paul and his co-workers.  Two is the Jerusalem leadership.  Three are the spies that come in and spy out the freedom the Paul and the Gentiles have.  The last group was indeed spies, but who sent them to Antioch, we aren't sure.  I am assuming that they have something to do with the false teachers who are trying to lead the Galatians astray.

We also need to understand that in the book of Acts, Paul visited  Jerusalem 4 or 5 times, depending on how one views Acts 9:26, where it says that Paul visited Judea.  If Paul visited Judea, it is likely that he visited Jerusalem, although the text does not say this.  In Galatians he mentions two of these times.  This chapter states one of them.  What Paul speaks of here is difficult to understand just when it was.  There are varying thoughts on this issue by Bible teachers. 

Another thing to understand before talking about this chapter is that we need to think about the Jewish Christians that Paul comes in conflict with.  They were those who were indoctrinated, and for good reason, in the Old Testament Law of Moses, which was, the Law of God.  To leave the Law of Moses for the purpose of salvation was hard for these people to take.  It would have been hard for Paul to take, but Jesus Himself came to Paul and that was the only way Paul could be convinced of the gospel of Christ.  We need to sympathize with these Jewish Christians, because setting aside the Law of Moses was not an easy thing for them.

We also need to understand that the Law of Moses made provision for Gentiles to become Jews.  The first thing a Gentile man had to do in order to become a Jew was to be circumcised, and then agree to obey the Law of Moses.  Gentile converts to Judaism were called "proselytes".  So, with this thinking entrenched in the Jewish Christian, it would only make sense to them hat they carry the same thinking over to their lives as Christians.  If a Gentile wanted to become a Christian, he must first become a Jew by being circumcised and agree to obey the Law of Moses.  I say this to say that we need to have some sympathy for these Jewish Christians.  It was not easy for them to accept what Paul was now saying, which was, a Gentile does not have to be circumcised and obey the Law of Moses in order to be saved.  And, even beyond that, the same applies to the Jews.  The later was even harder for these Jewish Christians to accept.     

Verse 1 says, "fourteen years later".  So, the events of this section happened fourteen years after what?  Some say fourteen years after the three years Paul spent in Arabia.  Others say fourteen years after his conversion.  F. F.  Bruce, a Pauline scholar, says that Paul came to the Lord in 33 AD, took his first trip to Jerusalem in 35 AD, which would have been the trip in the last chapter, then went up to Jerusalem again in 46 AD.  In 49 AD he went up to Jerusalem again for the Acts 15 meetings.  Between 35 and 46 A. D. he spent in Cilicia and Syria , prior to Barnabas asking him to come to Antioch to help him.  We do not know exactly what Paul was doing between 35 and 46 AD.  I'm sure he was preaching Jesus, but more than anything else I believe the Lord was preparing him for his ministry trips across the known world.   

Concerning Tarsus where Paul lived.  It was the Roman capital city of the province of Cilicia.  Syria is to the east of Tarsus.  I say this to make the point concerning Paul's travels prior to meeting up with Barnabas.  He did not go far away from where he lived.  Some suggest that he really was not an apostle until Acts 13 when the brothers in Antioch laid hands on him and Barnabas and sent them out, and technically speaking, that might be true.  If Paul did not travel much prior to Acts 13, except to Jerusalem, then you might not consider him an apostle prior to then.  As some suggest, the 13 years from 33 AD to 46 AD might well be years of training.                   

Paul says in verses 1 and 2 that he went up to Jerusalem in response to  revelation.  It was probably 14 yearss 
after his conversion.  

 

Acts 11:30 tells of another visit Paul made to Jerusalem in between the time mentioned here and the one mentioned in chapter one.  Some scholars feel this visit here in Galatians 2 is the Acts 15 visit, where the leaders met to resolve the Jewish Gentile problem. The mentioning of his vision suggests to me that it was God Himself that sent Paul back to Jerusalem . Paul once again is establishing his independence from the Jerusalem leaders.

If it is true that this section of Galatians is explaining what happened in the meetings of Acts 15, it sheds much more light on those meetings than what we see in the book of Acts.  It puts this section into a perspective that you wouldn't have if you didn't think this section concerned Acts 15.  At this point, it would be good to reread Acts 15 as a starting point for this passage.   

There is some difficulty with thinking that this passage is the Acts 15 passage.  If  F. F. Bruce and others are right in saying that this letter was probably written in 48 AD and the Acts 15 meetings were in 49 AD, then clearly, Galatians 2 is not the Acts 15 meetings.  Paul could not have written something that had not happened as if it did. 

If this letter was written in 49 A. D., shortly after the Acts 15 meetings, then we have no problem with the order of events and Paul relating part of what took place in Acts 15.  I can not dogmatically conclude whether Galatians 2 corresponds with Acts 15. 

The fact that Paul was sent to Jerusalem because of a vision is very important. That's assuming this visit was the Acts 15 visit where the leaders of the early church met to resolve the issue over Gentiles finding faith in Jesus without having to become Jews and obeying the Law of Moses. If this is so, then the Acts 15 meetings were not just put together by the leaders who wanted to solve this problem.  God Himself wanted these meetings to take place, so He gave Paul the vision to go.  Acts 15 then was a divine appointment.  So, when James concluded these meetings by saying, "It seems right to the Holy Spirit and to us…" (Acts 15:28) these words have more important meaning, knowing that it was really the Lord who caused these meetings to happen. And, the Lord used Paul to get these meetings going that led to their final conclusion that Gentiles could find grace and faith in Jesus without the Law of Moses.  Again, we see Paul as one very important person.       

If you read Acts 15:1 and 2 you will notice that those in Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem .  I don't see this as conflicting with what Paul says here that he was sent by revelation.  The simple fact could be that Paul got the revelation, shared it with the brothers in Antioch , and they sent him out.  That seems to me the way the brothers did things in the early church.   Again, I am relating Acts 15 to Galatians 2, which may or may not be valid.  

The reason for this visit to Jerusalem was to "set before them (the word "them" refers to the apostles, not the false teacher, assuming the false teachers weren't the apostles) the gospel he preached among the Gentiles". Obviously the problem of Paul’s gospel was still a point of dispute.  The whole idea that the Gentiles could become Christians without first becoming Jews really bothered the Jewish Christians, and that included the early leaders of the church, like James.  

The point that Paul wanted to get this issue straightened out with the leaders at Jerusalem is a point to suggest that this might well be the Acts 15 meetings.  We have no hint in Acts that Paul went to talk to the elders in Jerusalem twice about this issue, but that does not mean he could not have gone twice. 

Paul took with him Barnabas and Titus. Titus was an uncircumcised Greek. Paul knew very well that this would present a problem and therefore the issue would come to a head.  I am sure that Paul knew exactly what would happen in Jerusalem when the brothers there saw Titus.  You might say that Paul was using Titus as a test case, so that this issue would come to the forefront for the last time.  Paul was insistent upon getting this issue straightened out.  Bringing Titus would cause problems, but these problems were to spur on the conversation that would bring change. 

Concerning Barnabas, he originally came from Cyprus as stated in Acts 4:36. He was from Jerusalem and was sent to Antioch by the leadership in Jerusalem to see what was going on concerning the Gentiles finding salvation.  

Acts 11:23 states that Barnabas was glad to see the grace of God at work among the Gentiles.  He was so glad that he ended up moving in Antioch and found Paul in Tarsus and asked him to join him there.  

R.C. Lenski in his commentary on Galatians translates the words "seemed to be leaders" as "men of repute", thus agreeing with Kenneth Wuest‘s translation.  Linksi feels that the thought behind "seemed to be leaders" should be understood as "they who seem to be leaders to others."  (Linski‘s commentary on Galatians page 71)  Paul may speak boldly and even harshly at times, but I don’t think he put people down by his words.

In Acts 23: 1 to 5 Paul meets with the Sanhedrin and said to one of them, "God will strike you, you whitewashed wall". Some men standing by said to Paul, "you dare to insult God’s high priest"? Paul answered, "I did not realize that he was the high priest, for it is written; do not speak evil about the ruler of your people."  By this you see that Paul, even though he disagreed with someone, he still spoke respectfully of them, and to them. He gave honour to those whom honour was due, as he said in Romans 13: 6 and 7.

I think it is important for Christians today to speak respectfully about others who may disagree with them.  You can firmly, openly, clearly, and publically challenge and point out one's error, but to make fun of him or ridicule him would not be godly.  The world around us today openly says hurting things about others.  This is seen on radio talk shows and in politics.  Christians should not be doing the same thing, but many are these days.   

In verse 2 Paul says that he met with those "who seemed to be leaders" privately "for fear that he had run in vain".  Once again, according to Kenneth Wuest the phrase "seemed to be leaders", would suggest a put down of these men by Paul, but the Greek does not suggest that at all.  Simply put, "seem to be leaders" means that the general Christian public held these men up as leaders.

We should view these men "who seemed to be leaders" as being the legitimate leaders in Jerusalem.  These men were not the Judaizers.  Again, Paul is emphasizing the fact that the Christian populous admire these leaders, but in the end, it is who the Lord admires that is the important thing. Therefore, it is important that these admired leaders speak the truth of God in this matter.   

When Paul speaks here of a fear of "running in vain", he is not afraid that his ministry might be all a big mistake because He knew for a certain it wasn't.  He also didn't view that his ministry in  Galatia was a waste of time.  His fear was seeing the Judaizers come and destroy God's people in Galatia.  He loved them so much.  Paul often uses the metaphor of running a race as an analogy. His ministry was not a hundred yard dash, but a marathon. He ran to win.

In verse 3 we see Titus mentioned again. He was not compelled to be circumcised. This matter arose because some "false brothers" had spied on them and discovered that Titus was uncircumcised.  These false brothers are probably the Judaizers, or, at least this is how I tend to see them.  They are not the Jerusalem leaders, of which Peter and James are among.  I believe the Judaizers have a different agenda from the leaders of Jerusalem, and I think that is seen in chapter 1.

Verse 4 speaks of spies coming into the ranks of the Gentile Christians and spying out their freedom in Jesus.  It's not conclusive if this took place while Paul, Titus, and Barnabas were at the meetings, or it if took place some time earlier.  We do know from the first 6 verses of Acts 15 that certain men came from Jerusalem and did raise this question.  So, verse 4 here, might well be that found in Acts 15:1-6. 

Also in verse 4 Paul says that these false brothers "spied on their freedom", wanting to make them slaves. Paul "did not give into them for a moment".  Paul was set free from the Law, so why would he want to be enslaved by it again. "No way", says Paul. The words "not for a moment" show us a bit more of the intensity Paul has for this issue, and intensity that I wish more Christians had today.

The word "spy" in Greek is from the word "katascopio", meaning to get down and view closely. The word "infiltrated" is from "paralathra" meaning, to come in alongside unnoticed. These men who were spying out the Gentile’s freedom were acting like real spies. They did not come openly to ask about their freedom. They came into their midst, acting like one of them. They were unnoticed by the church, as spies would be unnoticed. The church thought they were one of them. They came alongside the church, looked closely at their freedom and once they saw that Paul wasn’t teaching the Law, they tried to expose Paul for being a false teacher.

These spies not only noted Paul's teaching, but from the two Greek words I mentioned above, these spies "infiltrated the ranks of the Gentile believers and 'looked closely'".  What did they "look closely at?"  They looked closely at Titus to see if he was circumcised. I'm not sure how they did this, but they did.    

I personally find this passage of Scripture humorous.  I often have wondered just how these spies looked closely and spied out Titus' uncircumcised penis. One could come up with all sorts of funny scenarios as to how this could possibly happen.  It would make for a funny skit, although I guess it would have to be rated parental guidance.   

The sexuality of men in Paul's days might clue us in a bit on just how these spies noted Titus not being circumcised.  Among Greek and Roman men, the displaying of the male penis probably was not of a big deal as it is in today's western culture.  Many sporting events were done in the nude.  You'd certainly see right away who was circumcised and who wasn't.  In the pagan Roman and Greek culture, the norm was to have open and group sex with pre-adolescent boys.  Wives, for the most part were not seen to be those who would give sexual pleasure.  They were seen as those who gave the men their children.  In many respects, male sexuality was simply pedophilia.  By no means am I suggesting that these Judaizers were pedophilias.      

We have to ask who these false brothers were.  They were the Judaizers.  They were not James, Peter, and the leaders of the church.  We do need to make this distinction.  Not all Jewish Christians were Judaizers.  Many, if not most of the Jewish Christians did struggle over the idea that Gentiles could be saved without first becoming Jews, but that didn't make them Judaizers.  The reason for this is that Gentiles could become Jews in Old Testament times.  This was incorporated into the Law of Moses. But, those Gentiles had to first get circumcised, and then, obey the Law of Moses in order to be seen as Jewish.  These Christian Jews would naturally follow this same reasoning into their lives as Christians.  So to be clear, there were men like James who were true Christians but struggled over Gentile believers not obeying the Law of Moses.  Then there were the Judaizers that Paul said were "false brothers", meaning they were not true Christians.  They did not believe the cross of Christ was the only thing that saved a person.  This was another gospel in Paul's mind.   

One thing that I believe we should understand here is that the early church was a church in progress.  They were in transition from what you might say as Judaism to Christianity, although by saying that, I don't want to suggest that Judaism is specifically distinct from Christianity.  Christianity is the fulfillment of true Judaism, although the Judaism of Paul's day was far from true Judaism.  The same can be said when people become Christians.  They, especially in the beginning stages, are in a transition from one life to another, and therefore it takes time to make this transition. We do need to give people, and the early church, some grace in this respect.        

These few verses show us some things that happened in the meetings at Jerusalem that the Acts 15 record doesn't speak about; again, assuming this was Acts 15.  The whole incident about Titus being spied on is not recorded in Acts 15.  Whether these Judaizers were at the Acts 15 meetings is uncertain to me.  There is no record in Acts saying they were.  It does; however, seem they did have influence on the meetings as seen here.  It might be possible that the Judaizers were at some of the meetings, although that is somewhat speculative.  If you read Acts 15 it suggest that there was more than one meeting.  There was at least two gatherings, the first more of a general open meeting for all, which included "some believers from the party of the Pharisees", (Acts 15:5) the second a closed meeting for the leadership.  It might be possible that the Judaizers were at this first meeting.  Again, this assumes Galatians 2 is speaking of Acts 15.

Note the word "freedom" in verse 4.  Paul viewed the Law of Moses as something to be "freed from".  I am sure this would have irritated the Jewish Christians to no end.  It would also probably irritate most Evangelicals today as well, for many Evangelicals believe that Christians must still obey "parts" of the Law of Moses.  The tithing rule is one such law that Evangelicals consider as something to be obeyed.  How we can pick and choose what laws to obey and what laws not to obey from the Law of Moses is beyond my way of thinking.  The simple fact is that Jesus put an end to the Law of Moses.  He fulfilled the Law as Paul said in Romans 10:4.  

Note also the word "slave".  Paul saw himself as a "bond slave" to Jesus.  A "bond slave" is a man who freely becomes a slave by his own choice.  That's how Paul viewed himself.  If he had freely chosen to become Jesus' slave, how could he return and be a slave to the Law.  You can only be a slave to one master.  I wonder how many Christians consider themselves as slaves to Jesus.  I think we think of ourselves more as little kings than slaves. We've got our priorities all mixed up.  

I think one reason why Paul used the word slave here is because he viewed the Jews as being slaves to the Law of Moses.  Paul speaks of being free from the law he is not talking about being free to live as he pleases.  He has converted from being a slave to the Law of Moses to being a slave to Jesus.  Paul wasn't talking about being free to sin here as so many said he was.  Paul still believed in obedience to God, yet this obedience was to Jesus not the Law of Moses, and especially not the rabbinical traditions. 

When considering the false teachers claim that Christians needed to obey the Law of Moses, we need to realize that it is a sin to add rules to what Jesus has done for us on the cross by providing us with salvation.  He alone can save us.  Nothing we can do can ever be added to what Jesus has done for us. If we add rules to the gospel message, we are telling Jesus that what He did on the cross is not good enough.  We just need to help Him out a bit by adding a few rules.  I can't think of a worse sin than that. 

In verse 5 Paul said that he and his companions did not give into these spies "for a moment'.  There was no way Paul was going to compromise the central truths of the gospel, and neither should we.  We see how intent Paul was here.  He was going to get this issue straightened out, and it would be at these meetings.  It could not wait for another day. 

I believe we can have grace with one another on secondary Biblical issues, but we cannot compromise the central truths of what makes up the gospel message.  Paul did this in order for the Galatians to clearly understand the gospel message.  To see the difference between the two ways of thinking would be a lesson in itself to the Galatians.

In today's Christian world as I type these words, the pressure is on Christians to compromise the gospel, to give into the modern day Judaizers that may not be seeking to unite us with Judaism but are seeking to unite us with other religions. We must stand up against the men who teach such things.  It is not wrong to publicly mention the names of these men who are teaching false doctrine.  And, it is not wrong to publicly denounce their teaching.  Paul had no problem with publically telling the names of false teachers.  Two such men today are Rob Bell and Brian McLaren.

There is a resurgence today to incorporate Judaism into one's life as a Christian.  Some stress this more than others.  If someone today demands you obey such laws of Judaism, that is not right.  If they demand you to follow the Law of Moses that is not the gospel that Paul taught.  If someone freely wants to keep the Sabbath laws, which would be hard in our day, that's fine for them.  But they cannot teach others to do the same. That would be against the gospel that Paul taught.  

Once again in verse 6 Paul uses the phrase "those men who seemed to be important, whatever they were, it makes no difference to me". Paul may be speaking respectfully as I have mentioned above, but you do get the sense that he was stressing his independence from them, as well as his displeasure. Still these men "added nothing to my message", Paul says in verse 6. "On the contrary, they saw that I had been given the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles". Paul is saying, that after he told his story, they could add nothing. They could not suggest anything that would enhance his teaching.  They had nothing to say that could refute what he was saying was right, at least in Paul's mind.

What we need to learn here is that leadership is subject to the gospel truths.  If you are a leader, and if you are not following the gospel, then others have the right to challenge and rebuke you for the sake of the gospel message and those in the church. The point is simple.  Biblical truth comes before leadership.  Obedience to the truth of the Bible is more important than following a leader who fails to preach the true gospel.  Many over the years have stressed the concept of submission to authority.  They say one submits to authority because the position the one in authority has.  That's not Biblical.  One submits to authority when the authority submits to the truth of the gospel.  If the authority does not submit to the truth of Scripture, then you don't submit.

I have said earlier that Paul wasn't being disrespectful to leadership here.  That being said, he was blunt and he was fired up about this issue.  He was not beating around the bush.  He was hitting the issue right on.  As a matter of fact, right from the beginning of this letter you can tell that Paul was ready to fight this issue through to the end, which he did.   Such intensity is sadly lacking in the church these days.  What Paul is speaking about here to many Christians today is a doctrinal issue, and, because it's doctrine, it's not important.  Such thinking is appalling and is the reason for much false teaching these days.  Doctrine is important, especially when it concerns the essentials of salvation.   

In verse 6 Paul states the importance of not judging by external appearances, something Jesus Himself said in John 7:24.  The "external appearances" Paul is referring to here is those "who seemed to be important", that is, the leaders in Jerusalem which would include Peter and James.  These men weren't the Judaizers.  We do need to make a distinction between the Judaizers and the legitimate leaders in Jerusalem.  This phrase relates to what I just said about "submission and authority".  Just because one is a leader, that's not the only reason why you submit to him.  

These leaders had gained a certain measure of respect and recognition from the Christian community.  Yet for Paul, it did not matter how important these men seemed to be.  It did not matter that some people held these men in high esteem.  The reason for this is because God does not judge by the appearance. What is important is, "who does God esteem"?  Just because certain men appear to be leaders, doesn't mean they are real leaders, and it certainly doesn't mean they are in obedience to the true gospel.  The same is certainly true in today's church.  These men were legitimate leaders, but they were leaders who needed to change their thinking on the issue at hand.  Remember, as I noted in the beginning of this chapter, Jesus sent Paul to these meetings via a revelation.  It wasn't just Paul who wanted to get this issue straightened out.  It was Jesus Himself.

Verse 6 also says, "Those men added nothing to my message".  What Paul seems to be saying here is that these men could say nothing that would complement Paul's message.  They could say nothing that would change Paul's mind.  They could say nothing that would make any sense in refuting Paul's message.  They were simply speechless.  I'm sure that the very presence of Paul could make many men speechless.     

In verse 7 the leaders at Jerusalem could only conclude that God had "entrusted" Paul with the ministry to the Gentiles as he "entrusted" Peter with the ministry to the Jews.  Note the word "entrusted" in verse 7.  God "entrusted" Paul with the gospel to the Gentiles.  Paul was a leader to the Gentiles.  God trusted Paul enough that He would have him do this great task.  To one degree or other, God has "entrusted" us with the gospel as well.  We must live accordingly, and handle properly what God has "entrusted" us with.  The word "entrusted" means someone has given us something to look after.  Christians have a very serious responsibility.  Do we really understand this responsibility?

Paul convinced these leaders that he had a legitimate and valid calling from God.  Paul was called by God to reach the Gentile world with the good news of Jesus, which included the fact that Gentiles did not have to first become Jews in order to become Christians. This helps confirm my thinking that Paul was one very special apostle.   

We also note that Peter's ministry was primarily to the Jews.  That being said, before Paul had a chance to preach to the Gentiles, in Acts 10, God called Peter to preach to a Gentile man.  Peter appears to be the first to preach the gospel to a Gentile, and he was reluctant at that.  Peter remembers this occasion when he speaks to the leaders in Acts 11 and 15.  He uses this experience to support Paul and his ministry.  Still, in the long run, much of Peter's ministry was to the Jews.  The same can be seen today.  We all have a ministry, and each of our ministries is distinctive in themselves.  In this way, the gospel of Jesus can go to anyone and everyone.     

So, both Paul and Peter had their distinctive ministries, but what they didn't have was distinctive gospels.  They both preached the same gospel.  That being said, Peter, along with others, had to modify certain things that they preach to line of with the truth of the gospel.  That is, the Gentiles received salvation by faith and not by the works of the Law.         

In verse 8 Paul says that the same God who worked in Peter as an apostle to the Jews worked in him as an apostle to the Gentiles.  Everyone had respect for Peter.  That is why Paul is saying this.  Peter had been around longer than Paul when it comes to the gospel and church.  Peter was with Jesus from the beginning.  Not so with Paul.  Paul is simply saying that those who have respect for Peter should have the same respect for him because it is the same Jesus who called both him and Peter.  

When the text states that Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles and Peter to the Jews, this might not have been ethnically speaking.  It might well be geographically speaking.  Paul went to the Gentile world, even though he always preached to Jews first in the Gentile world.  Peter might well have stayed mostly around the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea where there were more Jews.  This is only a possible interpretation.  I'm not saying this is what Paul had in mind.  We do know that Peter did preach the gospel in Rome. 

Concerning Paul's and Peter's distinct ministries, some over the years have used this verse to support the idea of the Jews having one gospel and the Gentiles another, but that is not what Paul is saying.  Again, there is one gospel, but more than one ministry of the gospel.    

We see from what Paul says about Peter's ministry, that even though Peter was one of those who "seemed to be leaders"; Paul had great respect for Peter.  Yet, even though Paul had respect for Peter, as we will see, he believed Peter was living hypocritically.  I'll talk about that later.     

In verse 9 the leaders at Jerusalem were finally convinced that Paul's ministry was valid.  They gave him, Barnabas, and Titus, the "right hand of fellowship".  That simply means they included these three men into their fellowship. They recognized the three men as real brothers in the Lord, and accepted what they were doing was from the Lord.

Concerning the phrase "right hand of fellowship"; I'd like to relate that to the phrase, "the right hand of God".  When those in Paul's days used the phrase "right hand of God', they weren't saying that God had a right hand.  This was an idiomatic statement portraying one's authority.   When Paul and others said that Jesus is sitting at the "right hand of God", they were saying that Jesus was in authority along with God.  I can't say for sure at the moment, but when James and the others gave Paul and his brothers the right hand of fellowship, this might mean more than accepting them as brothers.  It might well mean that the Jerusalem leaders accepted them as those with leadership authority in the early church.   

We see the word "repute" in verse 9 in connection with Peter, James, and John.  This finally makes it clear who those who "seemed to be leaders" were.  They were Peter, James, and John.

Paul said in verse 9 that the above three men "recognized the grace" of God given to them. Paul did not merit this ministry and this recognition. God chose Paul because He wanted to, not because Paul deserved it.  Yet also, God gave Paul grace, that is, the ability to perform this ministry in the way it should be performed.  Peter, James, and John, had finally come to recognize this.  This must have made Paul feel much better.

The decision was thus made that Peter, James, and John would preach the gospel to the Jews while Paul and his brothers with him, would preach the gospel to the Gentiles.  This agreement is not recorded in the Acts 15 account.  Therefore, we see more of what happened in Acts 15 than what is recorded.  Or, on the other hand, this is not the Acts 15 meetings and that's why we don't see this mentioned in Acts 15.

In verse 10 we note that the only thing that these leaders suggested to Paul was to "remember the poor", which Paul was already doing anyway.  In Greek, the words "remember the poor" means, "to keep on remembering the poor".  The leaders weren't telling Paul to do something he wasn't already doing.  So that suggestion to Paul was no big deal.  We see the word "eager" here.  I suggest that the very use of this word implies that Paul was feeling much better about things.

Some people might suggest that Galatians 2 is not speaking about the Acts 15 meetings because of what the leaders told Paul concerning looking after the poor.  The letter that was drafted concerning the Gentiles and their faith spoke more than about looking after the poor.  What the leaders told Paul here in Galatians 2 has nothing to do with that letter.  The letter was addressed to all Gentiles.  The instruction to feed the poor was addressed to Paul, Barnabas, and Titus only. So this instruction could have well been given to Paul in the Acts 15 meetings.  Not everything that took place in these meetings is recorded.  I think I can safely say that.

The question could be asked, "Who is the poor that the Jerusalem leaders are speaking about in verse 10"?  The poor are probably the Jerusalem leaders and the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem and the rest of Judea.  We know from the book of Acts that the famine across the region caused much poverty.  See Acts 11:19 to 30. 

To conclude, at the moment, I'm just not sure when this meeting that is described here took place.   

Next Section - Chapter 2:11 - 21

Previous Section - Chapter 1:11 - 23

Home Page