Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Galatians 2:6 - 2:10

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Galatians 2:6 - 2:10

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

The result of the visit to Jerusalem:

v. 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;

v. 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;

v. 8. (for He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles;)

v. 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.

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

Paul's great agitation is here again evident, for he breaks the construction of the sentence again and again, apparently losing the thread of his discourse, but he never fails to bring out the central idea which he has in mind. He wants to emphasize his independent apostolic commission, and this fact is brought out in spite of the involved construction: But of those that were in repute as being something, whatever they may have been, it makes no difference to me; the face of a man God does not accept, for to me those in repute imparted nothing. In his anxiety to emphasize the point he wishes to make in the proper manner, Paul does not finish his first sentence, although he brings out the thought. Those that were esteemed highly in the congregation of Jerusalem had no word of disapprobation for the content and manner of Paul's preaching, and on the other hand they had no instruction for him, they did not attempt to teach him anything as to his doctrine. And in order that this fact might be impressed upon the minds of the false teachers and their followers in the midst of the Galatian congregations, he explains his use of the word "in repute" by the parenthetical remark that the status of these people in no way impressed him, for God does not judge according to outward appearance and station. His apostolic authority and power did not rest upon their commission and approval. They had not prescribed the form of his doctrine. "This he says in order to show that he, in the judgment of the very apostles of whom the false teachers boasted against Paul, had taught correctly, and that the apostles stood on his side against the false apostles, who boasted of the authority of men."

The entire manner of the leaders in the congregation at Jerusalem not only did not express disapproval of Paul and his ministry: But on the contrary, when they saw that I was entrusted with the Gospel of the uncircumcision, just as Peter with that of the circumcision (for He that was operative for Peter with regard to the apostleship of the circumcision was operative also in me toward the heathen), and found out about the grace which was given to me,—James and Peter and John being the men, they that were esteemed to be pillars,—they gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship (with the understanding) that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcision. During the conference which was held at Jerusalem between James, as the head of the local church, Act_21:18, Peter, and John, on the one side, and Barnabas and Paul, on the other, the situation was fully discussed, from every angle. And the result of the discussion was that they all agreed, from the evidence offered: It is God's will that Paul preach the Gospel chiefly to the heathen, just as it seems clear that Peter has a special call to preach Jesus to the Jews. Thus each one recognized the problem which was given him, attempting the solution, however, not in his own wisdom; for Paul, in repudiating false charges against his authority also in this instance, gives all glory to God, since it was He that was operative in both Peter and him, in the one to work with great success among the Jews, in the other to be equally successful among the Gentiles. So the men that were considered pillars, according to the judgment of men, recognized without reserve, fully acknowledged, the calling of Paul which had been entrusted to him by grace and confirmed by special gifts of grace. To the evidence afforded by the success of his labors among the heathen was added the conviction that this was due to the grace of God. This frank acknowledgment was just as openly manifested when they all shook hands in token of fellowship and agreed that the arrangement by which Paul was to devote himself to preaching the Gospel among the Gentiles and the others to teaching the Jews was to be observed. Not as though Peter and John would not have dared to instruct a Gentile or Paul and Barnabas a Jew, as Luther remarks. "The mutual understanding between the two groups of apostles obviously did not imply an absolute restriction of each to one section of the Church. All converts alike were members of a single united Church; circumstances of themselves forbade any definite division: Paul opened his ministry everywhere in the synagogue, and numbered Jews as well as Greeks among his converts. So Peter, again, is next found at Antioch."

There was one more point in the agreement, however, which Paul expressly mentions, since it was of such importance in his work: Only that the poor we should keep in mind, which, indeed, I was zealous to do. The frankness, integrity, and truthfulness of Paul is here brought out, as well as his disinterestedness, his unselfishness. That he kept the poor in Judea in mind at all times is apparent in many passages of his letters, 1Co_16:1; 2Co_8:9. "The poor whom he, Rom_15:26, calls the poor saints are those whom the Jews, for the sake of Christ, had deprived of their goods and possessions... or those that had given their possessions to the congregation, as is written Act_4:32; probably also those that suffered want in the famine which, as Luke mentions in Acts, chap. 11:28, happened under Emperor Claudius. " Paul purposely brings forward this bit of evidence in order to emphasize the contrast between the Jewish Christian opposition to him in the work of the Judaizing teachers and his approved zeal and affection for the Jewish Christians