Ἔπειτα διὰ δεκατεσσάρων ἐτῶν πάλιν ἀνέβην εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα μετὰ Βαρναβᾶ συμπαραλαβὼν καὶ Τίτον·
ἀνέβην δὲ κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν· καὶ ἀνεθέμην αὐτοῖς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ὃ κηρύσσω ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, κατ’ ἰδίαν δὲ τοῖς δοκοῦσιν, μή πως εἰς κενὸν τρέχω ἢ ἔδραμον.
ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ Τίτος ὁ σὺν ἐμοί, Ἕλλην ὤν, ἠναγκάσθη περιτμηθῆναι·
διὰ δὲ τοὺς παρεισάκτους ψευδαδέλφους, οἵτινες παρεισῆλθον κατασκοπῆσαι τὴν ἐλευθερίαν ἡμῶν ἣν ἔχομεν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, ἵνα ἡμᾶς καταδουλώσουσιν—
οἷς οὐδὲ πρὸς ὥραν εἴξαμεν τῇ ὑποταγῇ, ἵνα ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῦ εὐαγγελίου διαμείνῃ πρὸς ὑμᾶς.
ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοκούντων εἶναί τι— ὁποῖοί ποτε ἦσαν οὐδέν μοι διαφέρει· πρόσωπον θεὸς ἀνθρώπου οὐ λαμβάνει— ἐμοὶ γὰρ οἱ δοκοῦντες οὐδὲν προσανέθεντο,
ἀλλὰ τοὐναντίον ἰδόντες ὅτι πεπίστευμαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς ἀκροβυστίας καθὼς Πέτρος τῆς περιτομῆς,
ὁ γὰρ ἐνεργήσας Πέτρῳ εἰς ἀποστολὴν τῆς περιτομῆς ἐνήργησεν καὶ ἐμοὶ εἰς τὰ ἔθνη,
καὶ γνόντες τὴν χάριν τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι, Ἰάκωβος καὶ Κηφᾶς καὶ Ἰωάννης, οἱ δοκοῦντες στῦλοι εἶναι, δεξιὰς ἔδωκαν ἐμοὶ καὶ Βαρναβᾷ κοινωνίας, ἵνα ἡμεῖς εἰς τὰ ἔθνη, αὐτοὶ δὲ εἰς τὴν περιτομήν·
μόνον τῶν πτωχῶν ἵνα μνημονεύωμεν, ὃ καὶ ἐσπούδασα αὐτὸ τοῦτο ποιῆσαι.
Ὅτε δὲ ἦλθεν Κηφᾶς εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν, κατὰ πρόσωπον αὐτῷ ἀντέστην, ὅτι κατεγνωσμένος ἦν·
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he was at fault.
Paraphrase: Some time after this, I was called upon, unfortunately, to expose an inconsistency in the practice of the apostle Peter. In fact, I regarded his conduct as so serious that I felt warranted in confronting him personally. There was no way either he or anyone could justify his conduct in regards to Jew and Gentile.
This episode is explained by Farrar.
Some interpret κατεγνωσμένος ἦν in a more severe manner and understand Paul to be saying here that Peter’s conduct stands condemned by God Himself. Eadie believes that the Gentile Christians brought forth a condemnation of the apostle and the phrase is to be understood in the sense that a charge had been brought against Peter. Bengel says that the participle has a reciprocal meaning, for Peter had condemned himself by his inconsistency.
πρὸ τοῦ γὰρ ἐλθεῖν τινας ἀπὸ Ἰακώβου μετὰ τῶν ἐθνῶν συνήσθιεν· ὅτε δὲ ἦλθον, ὑπέστελλεν καὶ ἀφώριζεν ἑαυτόν, φοβούμενος τοὺς ἐκ περιτομῆς.
For before certain men from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing those of the circumcision.
Paraphrase: You might wonder what Peter was doing that was so blameworthy. This is the situation. Peter was always in the practice of enjoying meals with Christians from all backgrounds. He had no qualms about eating with Gentiles and had learned to disregard the old Jewish laws which required separation from Gentiles. One day, however, some delegates from the Jerusalem church showed up. Suddenly, Peter changed his practice and withdrew from his usual fellowship with the Gentiles. Clearly, the pressure from these visitors from Jerusalem was too much for him, and he returned to the old purity laws which God Himself had told Peter were finished. In fact, Peter told us how God had explicitly instructed him to no longer think of Gentiles as unclean. (Acts 10:28)
For πρὸ τοῦ ἐλθεῖν, see BBG 32.15.4.
The ἐκ in τοὺς ἐκ περιτομῆς denotes membership; see BDF §437.
καὶ συνυπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ Ἰουδαῖοι, ὥστε καὶ Βαρναβᾶς συναπήχθη αὐτῶν τῇ ὑποκρίσει.
and the other Jews dissembled with him, so that even Barnabas was led away by their hypocrisy.
Paraphrase: And, of course, once the other Jewish-Christians saw what Peter was doing, they started doing the same thing! Would you believe that even Barnabas fell under this pressure and caved in to their demands?!
Farrar says that Barnabas “in remembering that he was a Levite forgot that he was a Christian.” source
ἀλλ’ ὅτε εἶδον ὅτι οὐκ ὀρθοποδοῦσιν πρὸς τὴν ἀλήθειαν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, εἶπον τῷ Κηφᾷ ἔμπροσθεν πάντων· Εἰ σὺ Ἰουδαῖος ὑπάρχων ἐθνικῶς καὶ οὐκ Ἰουδαϊκῶς ζῇς, πῶς τὰ ἔθνη ἀναγκάζεις Ἰουδαΐζειν;
but when I saw that they did not walk straight with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before all, “If you, being a Jew, live Gentilicly and not Jewishly, how the Gentiles you require to Judaize?
Paraphrase: When I saw how their hypocrisy compromised the very truth of the gospel, I stood up to Peter and demanded an answer before the entire assembly. “Peter, you are a Jew and one who practices many of the rites and traditions of the Jewish religion. Yet, God has shown you in a very vivid way that no Christian is ever to consider a Gentile unclean. The coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has put an end to the old dispensation with its clean and unclean laws. These new gospel principles allow us to engage with Gentile-Christians in every sphere of life without any thought to their background or ethnicity. But now, suddenly, your behavior has changed. Now apparently, you are expecting that Jewish-Christians recognize their ethnicity, return to the old traditions, and live in separation from our Gentile brothers and sisters. It seems to me that your practice is taking us right back to where we used to be when we called all the Gentiles unclean.”
Ἡμεῖς φύσει Ἰουδαῖοι καὶ οὐκ ἐξ ἐθνῶν ἁμαρτωλοί,
We are Jews by nature and not of the Gentiles, sinners.
Paraphrase: Now it is true that both you and I are ethnically Jewish, and not Gentile “sinners.”
εἰδότες δὲ ὅτι οὐ δικαιοῦται ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ἔργων νόμου ἐὰν μὴ διὰ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐπιστεύσαμεν, ἵνα δικαιωθῶμεν ἐκ πίστεως Χριστοῦ καὶ οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου, ὅτι ἐξ ἔργων νόμου οὐ δικαιωθήσεται πᾶσα σάρξ.
but knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law except through the faith of Jesus Christ, and we in Christ Jesus believed in order that we might be justified by faith of Christ and not by the works of the law, because of the works of the law, all flesh is not justified.
Paraphrase: But there is something else that is true and actually puts an end to this idea (v15). It is the truth given us by Jesus Himself that a person can only be set right with God by being in a saving union with Jesus by faith in His perfect sacrifice. We were always taught that we were right with God when we observed all the laws and regulations handed down to us from generation to generation in the law of Moses. This all came to an end, however, when we put our trust in Jesus. We trusted in Him so that we would be set right with God or, to use another term, to be justified. Truth be told, no person, not those under the Mosaic covenant nor those under the new are or ever were justified by keeping the law of Moses.
εἰ δὲ ζητοῦντες δικαιωθῆναι ἐν Χριστῷ εὑρέθημεν καὶ αὐτοὶ ἁμαρτωλοί, ἆρα Χριστὸς ἁμαρτίας διάκονος; μὴ γένοιτο·
but if seeking to be justified in Christ, we find even ourselves sinners, then is Christ servant of sin? May it never be.
Paraphrase: But perhaps you might be thinking that if we are justified before God by being brought into a saving union with Jesus, then aren’t we sinners? We’ve abandoned the law which God gave us! Certainly, that means we are now sinners just like all the other pagans. Come to think of it, if this really is true, then even Jesus, our blessed Savior, has taken our hand and led us into a place of sin. Can this really be true?
For αὐτοὶ, see principle 19.
εἰ γὰρ ἃ κατέλυσα ταῦτα πάλιν οἰκοδομῶ, παραβάτην ἐμαυτὸν συνιστάνω.
For if what I destroyed that again I build, I reckon myself a transgressor.
Paraphrase: On the contrary, I will tell you what a real ‘sinner’ is. That person who spends all his energy and time tearing down a false way of justification and pointing others to the true way, but then does a 180 and starts building it right back up again! Now that’s someone who really should be branded a ‘transgressor.’ Yet, that is exactly what I would be doing if I didn’t take a stand today against your behavior. To stand by while you act in such a way that many are led away from Jesus and back to the old laws and traditions is not something I can do. It’s building up a system which I have spent most of my adult life tearing down. Then, we should all just return to Moses and place ourselves under his covenant again. (Galatians 4:21)
ἐγὼ γὰρ διὰ νόμου νόμῳ ἀπέθανον ἵνα θεῷ ζήσω· Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι·
For I died through the law in order that I might live to God; I am crucified with Christ.
Paraphrase: But then we also miss the point of Moses’ law and what it accomplished in our lives. We once were under that law as a covenant of works and that covenant brought us to an end. (2 Corinthians 3:6) It brought us to an end of our own law-keeping (Romans 10:4), to an end of our own works and merit. (Romans 7:9) It brought us to the cross of Christ where we found a sin offering (Leviticus 4) sufficient to take away all our guilt and to make a full atonement for all our sins. I never can forget the day I first believed in Jesus and was joined to Him in an indissoluble union. With all Christians, I can now say with triumph, “When Jesus died, I died. His death was my death; the curse He took was my curse, and the punishment He received was not for any sin which He had committed but for the sin which I had committed. The death he died was because I had broken the covenant of which God had said, “In the day you eat from it, you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17) Now, I have been set free from this covenant which exposed my sin and sentenced me to death (Romans 8:2), and I live under a new covenant, a covenant that ushers me into a life of service to my great God and King. (Romans 6:4)
ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγώ, ζῇ δὲ ἐν ἐμοὶ Χριστός· ὃ δὲ νῦν ζῶ ἐν σαρκί, ἐν πίστει ζῶ τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀγαπήσαντός με καὶ παραδόντος ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ.
I live but no longer I but Christ lives in me which now I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Paraphrase: Now the life that I am living is really and truly the abundant life about which Jesus taught us. (John 10:10) Actually, let me restate that. Yes, I am living in this body; yes, my heart is pumping and my lungs are breathing, yes, I get up every day and go about my business, but this is not my real life. My real life is bound up with Christ (Colossians 3:3) who lives within me in the person of His Spirit. (Romans 8:11) He is the One who loved me enough to present Himself to the Father as an atoning sacrifice for my sin. Yes, truly Christ is my life.
οὐκ ἀθετῶ τὴν χάριν τοῦ θεοῦ· εἰ γὰρ διὰ νόμου δικαιοσύνη, ἄρα Χριστὸς δωρεὰν ἀπέθανεν.
I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness through law, then Christ died for nothing.
Paraphrase: Peter, I know what it’s like to stand in the way of God’s grace (Acts 22:4), and I don’t ever want to return to that life. But please hear me today; if righteousness comes to us by keeping the laws and regulations of Moses’ law, then we have no need for Jesus at all. Then, our Savior and Messiah came, suffered, and died for no purpose. It all comes down to this; either Jesus is our complete Savior and we add nothing to Him by our own work or merits, or He is no Savior at all.