Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 13
May 29, 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.
- ii. Peter is referenced by Paul in 1:18; 2:7, 8, 9, 11, and 14. There is an interesting textual conflict in the manuscript traditions behind the AV and the NASB at this point. In the Authorized Version tradition, "Cephas" was only used by Paul in Galatians in 2:9. The other references were to "Peter". But in the NASB tradition, Paul used "Cephas" in 1:18, 2:9, 11, 14 and "Peter" only in 2:7 and 8. In fact, in this tradition, Paul never referred to Peter as "Peter" except in Galatians 2:7-8. He called him "Cephas". Several write this off as simply an "interchangeable" use of the two words. That, it seems to me, is an error. "Jot and tittle" accuracy of the canonical books argues that there is no such thing as an arbitrary use of words. At issue here is why "they" saw that the Gospel of the circumcision was committed to "Peter" and that God worked in "Peter" to the apostleship of the circumcision, but it was "Cephas" who extended his right hand of fellowship to Paul in our text. "Cephas" is not even mentioned by Matthew, Mark, Luke (even in Acts), or James in the New Testament. What was it about "Cephas" that caused Paul to turn from "Peter" in the immediately prior verses? Clearly, Paul used "Cephas" in 1 Corinthians to refer to the man's position of high visibility in the Church. Just as clearly, it was to Paul's advantage to call him "Cephas" in Galatians 2:11 (where the AV has "Peter") since the point of the paragraph is Paul's Gospel's dominance over the man. This indicates that for "Cephas" to extend his right hand in fellowship to Paul in his Gospel is a crowning claim: this "Cephas" had an unparalleled reputation in Jerusalem in his leadership in the Church.
- iii. John, as a name and a person in the Galatian context, comes in from out of the blue. The Galatians may not have even known who he was. But his name is enormously significant. It means "Yahweh is gracious" and is a crucial argument for the proper understanding of "grace" as Paul uses the term in his Gospel.