Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 12
May 22, 2011
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:
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, Part Nine: Jerusalem's Response. [The first eight parts: The "fourteen years"; The issue of "going up to Jerusalem"; Barnabas and Titus; The divine mandate; Paul's action; The key result; The false brethren; and Paul's response.]
- A. Jerusalem's Response.
- 1. This response is "from those who seemed to be something".
- 2. This response was: "to me they added nothing".
- 3. This response was: "they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship".
- a. This declaration is loaded on the front end with "clarifications". It is found at the end of 2:9, but its "prelude" begins in 2:7.
- b. Those "clarifications" line up along this path...
- 1) There was a "no additions" (see I.A.2. above) reality in which the "seemers" (those who "seemed" to be something special in the leadership in Jerusalem) did not insist upon, or (perhaps) even mention, any particulars that Paul was omitting, or (perhaps) down playing, in his proclamation of the Gospel among the nations. It is hard to see how this is not a critical blow to those who would "add" circumcision, or law-keeping, to the Gospel.
- 2) There is a "but (Greek's strongest adversative) on the other hand" reality that emphasizes the contrast between what might have been expected (some "addition" that would strengthen the apostle Paul's proclamation) and what actually happened (not only did they not "add", they "embraced").
- 3) There is a "when they saw the gospel was entrusted to me" reality that stands as a declaration that they came to clearly understand in a way, perhaps, that they had not before (after 16-17 years). [It is hard for me to understand how Paul could have been functioning for so long with Barnabas alongside and those in Jerusalem not knowing what he was preaching.]
- 4) There is a deliberate "the Gospel of the Uncircumcision" and "the Gospel of the Circumcision" reality.
- 5) There is a deliberate "apostleship of the circumcision" and an "apostleship of the nations" reality.
- 6) There is a deliberate insertion of divine activity. Paul's claim is that "...He that wrought effectually in Peter...the Same was mighty in me..." (AV).
- 7) There is a definite "knowing" reality that sponsored the extension of the right hands of fellowship.
- a) This "knowing" is, at root, the essence of "apostleship". The gift of apostleship fundamentally consists of being given an inerrant knowledge of the truth so that any with the gift will be able to inerrantly understand and proclaim the Gospel. This does not mean that "apostleship" underwrites faithfulness, but it certainly does underwrite awareness of the Truth.
- b) Because "apostleship" is the same essential reality no matter to whom it is applied, Paul and Cephas and James and John could not help but "know" that Paul's presentation of the Gospel was both accurate and complete.
- c) The "knowers" are identified both by name (James, Cephas, and John) and by characterization as "seemers" (they "seemed" to be "pillars").
- i. James is referenced by Paul in 1:19; 2:9; and 2:12 and the 2:12 reference is indicative of James as a "problem creator" (not in any sort of "good" way) because it was a group "from him" that set up the hypocrisy of Peter. That he leads the list of "pillars" who "knew" the grace given to Paul is very significant because it was a group of those who claimed to follow his theology that was creating the distortion of the Gospel. It is not hard to see this: the letter of James is the only New Testament book that is regularly used by false brethren to foist their doctrine upon the ignorant and unwary. It is unfair to blame James for what those do who claim to be his disciples, but it is fair to put him at the top of the list of those who "knew" that Paul was right. It is a crippling blow to the false doctrines of Paul's opponents in Galatia and Antioch that James was the first put forward by Paul as one who "knew" that Paul was correct in his presentation of the Gospel of God. And, not only that, James is recorded by Luke in Acts 15 as the one who clinched the arguments in that hot debate in Paul's favor.