Galatians Chapter 2

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THE second chapter is closely connected in sense with the first, and is indeed a part of the same argument. Injury has been done by the division which is made. The proper division would have been at the close of the 10th verse of this chapter. The general scope of the chapter, like the first, is to show that he did not receive the gospel from man; that he had not derived it from the apostles; that he did not acknowledge his indebtedness to them for his views of the Christian religion; that they had not even set up authority over him; but that they had welcomed him as a fellow-labourer, and acknowledged him as a coadjutor in the work of the apostleship. In confirmation of this he states Gal 2:1 that he had indeed gone to Jerusalem, but that he had done it by express revelation, Gal 2:2; that he was cordially received by the apostles there -- especially by those who were pillars in the church; and that so far from regarding himself as inferior to the other apostles, he had resisted Peter to his face at Antioch on a most important and vital doctrine.

The chapter, therefore, may be regarded as divided into two portions, viz.:

I. The account of his visit to Jerusalem, and of what occurred there, Gal 2:1ff.

(a) He had gone up fourteen years after his conversion, after having laboured long among the Gentiles in his own way, and without having felt his dependence on the apostles at Jerusalem, Gal 2:1, Gal 2:2.

(b) When he was there, there was no attempt made to compel him to submit to the Jewish rites and customs; and what was conclusive in the case was, that they had not even required Titus to be circumcised, thus proving that they did not assert jurisdiction over Paul, and that they did not intend to impose the Mosaic rites on the converts from among the Gentiles, Gal 2:3ff.

(c) The most distinguished persons among the apostles at Jerusalem, he says, received him kindly, and admitted him to their confidence and favour without hesitation. They added no heavy burdens to him, Gal 2:6; they saw evidence that he had been appointed to bear the gospel to the Gentiles, Gal 2:7, Gal 2:8; they gave to him and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, Gal 2:9; and they asked only that they should remember and show kindness to the poor saints in Judea, and thus manifest an interest in those who had been converted from Judaism, or contribute their proper proportion to the maintenance of all, and show that they were not disposed to abandon their own countrymen, Gal 2:10. In this way they gave the fullest proof that they approved the course of Paul, and admitted him into entire fellowship with them as an apostle.

II. The scene at Antioch, where Paul rebuked Peter for his dissimulation, Gal 2:11ff. The main object of mentioning this seems to be to show, first, that he did not regard himself as inferior to the other apostles, or that he had not derived his views of the gospel from them; and, secondly, to state that the observance of the Jewish rites was not necessary to salvation, and that he had maintained that from the beginning, he had strongly urged it in a controversy with Peter, and in a case where Peter was manifestly wrong; and it was no new doctrine on the subject of justification which he had preached to the Galatians. He states, therefore,

(a) That he had opposed Peter at Antioch, because he had dissembled there, and that even Barnabas had been carried away with the course which Peter had practised, Gal 2:11ff.

(b) That the Jews must be justified by faith, and not by dependence on their own law, Gal 2:15, Gal 2:16.

(c) That they who are justified by faith should act consistently, and not attempt to build again the things which they had destroyed, Gal 2:17, Gal 2:18.

(d) That the effect of justification by faith was to make one dead to the law that he might live unto God; that the effect of it was to make one truly alive and devoted to the cause of true religion; and to show this, he appeals to the effect on his own heart and life, Gal 2:19, Gal 2:20.

(e) And that if justification could be obtained by the law, then Christ had died in vain, Gal 2:21. he thus shows that the effect of teaching the necessity of the observance of the Jewish rites was to destroy the gospel, and to render it vain and useless.


1: Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. edit

2: And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. edit

3: But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: edit

4: And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: edit

5: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. edit

6: But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: edit

7: But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; edit

8: (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) edit

9: And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. edit

10: Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. edit

11: But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. edit

12: For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. edit

13: And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. edit

14: But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? edit

15: We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, edit

16: Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. edit

17: But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. edit

18: For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. edit

19: For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. edit

20: I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. edit

21: I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. edit

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