Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2
March 13, 2011
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.
3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:
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:
5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
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:
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;
8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
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.
10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
1901 ASV Translation:
2 And I went up by revelation; and I laid before them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles but privately before them who were of repute, lest by any means I should be running, or had run, in vain.
3 But not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:
4 and that because of the false brethren privily brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
5 to whom we gave place in the way of subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
6 But from those who were reputed to be somewhat (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth not man's person)-they, I say, who were of repute imparted nothing to me:
7 but contrariwise, when they saw that I had been intrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision, even as Peter with the gospel of the circumcision
8 (for he that wrought for Peter unto the apostleship of the circumcision wrought for me also unto the Gentiles);
9 and when they perceived the grace that was given unto me, James and Cephas and John, they who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, that we should go unto the Gentiles, and they unto the circumcision;
10 only they would that we should remember the poor; which very thing I was also zealous to do.
- I. Paul's Confrontational Clarification of the Gospel in Jerusalem.
- A. The "fourteen years".
- B. The issue of "going up to Jerusalem" is the same as it has been in all of the records of the New Testament -- "Jerusalem" was where one expected to find the Truth of God (though that expectation was thoroughly frustrated for the most part by the perversions that had found acceptance in Jewry). God yet had sealed "Jerusalem" as His. He yet stamped it as the place where His Truth was rooted by sending Paul there to clarify, once and for all, the content of the Gospel.
- C. Barnabas and Titus.
- D. The divine mandate.
- E. Paul's action.
- 1. He "set before them" the Gospel which he preached among the nations. Paul's word choice here is a form that is only found twice in the New Testament, but the meaning is revealed by both contexts: "to bring to consideration". In Acts 25:14, Festus "brought Paul's cause up for consideration by the king". In our current text, it is clear that Paul "brought his Gospel up for consideration" by the apostles and elders.
- a. At issue is "the Gospel which I preach among the nations".
- b. There is no escape from the consequence: if the Gospel is not accurate, neither is the "conversion" that it brings. There is no greater issue before men in terms of their eternal destiny.
- 2. He did this "privately" with those "who seemed".
- a. The issue of "seeming" is the issue of men granting other men the power of a good reputation that, in turn, gives them large influence over others as to their opinions and decisions.
- b. The way the word is used in the New Testament leads us to conclude that what "seems" is what men "think" about the issues of "reputation" in specific regard to the level of influence that the "reputation" allows.
- 3. His concern was that he was running in vain.
- a. In light of his later comments, he was not at all concerned that he was preaching error (2:6).
- b. His concern was that those to whom he presented his Gospel would not be able to validate it if they were subjected to a non-private presentation. Given Peter's behavior as recorded in Galatians 2:11-13, this was not an illegitimate concern. Being an apostle did not automatically lead to spiritual courage. The only thing being an apostle did automatically lead to was accuracy of understanding the Truth, not, necessarily, applying it. Paul knew that even apostles could fail to live up to their understanding of the message (1 Corinthians 9:27). He knew that if the Gospel, in all of its Truth and Glory, was rejected by the leaders in Jerusalem, it would not matter that it was True; it would be largely rejected when the opposition claimed that Paul did not represent the message coming out of "those who seemed". The sad fact about humanity is that men are relatively easily led away from Truth.
- F. The Key Result.
- 1. Titus was not compelled to be circumcised and was allowed to keep his reputation as that of a "saved" man.
- 2. Titus was the essence of the issue: he was an uncircumcised Greek who was the prototypical "Gentile" to whom Paul "preached" his Gospel.
- 3. This action by those who "seemed" validated Paul's Gospel.