Skip to main content

Take a Stand: Galatians 2

In Summary: Galatians 1-2 give us a great deal more background on where Paul went and what Paul did than any of his other letters. Acts gives us much of Paul’s work in the ministry, but we see here how he spent some of his first years after salvation.

He tells how his work was approved by the Apostles, and that there were no questions about his doctrine or his practices. This is important as an aside: if the bulk of the gathering of the Redeemed has doubts about you, you should examine yourself in comparison with Scripture. The Apostles had learned from Jesus directly, and knew what did and did not matter.

At this point, Paul had no word from the Apostles or the Jewish believers to indicate he was causing problems by leading Gentiles to Christ. In fact, they even received uncircumcised Titus as a brother, showing a willingness to look beyond that long-standing cultural barrier.

Yet in the background of all this was a false teaching we refer to as Judaizing when feeling nerdy and legalism when feeling direct. It was primarily this: that to be a Christian, one first had to become a completely observant Jew. This included following all of the Law—the same Law that had been impossible to follow for centuries.
In Focus: Paul then recounts a specific incident at Antioch. He had a face-to-face confrontation with Peter, and it was not a pretty thing. Peter had formerly been open with his acceptance of Gentiles. He had no difficulties with their former lives, because they were now all one big Christ-loving family.

Then a few people came from James. We don’t know if they were sent intentionally by James to straighten things out, or if they were just known as from James. It doesn’t really matter. Peter changed his behavior on their arrival and started segregating the Jews and Gentiles again. The division was deep, and it was personal: Barnabas surrendered his efforts to reach the Gentiles to side with Peter.

So Paul confronted him, to his face. In public, in an honor society like the Roman world, this was a big deal. Paul could have been thrown out on his ear for that. Or worse—rebuked and dismissed from recognized service within the church. He stands a great risk by opposing Peter.
In Practice: Paul sees something more important than his honor here. He sees something more important than Peter’s honor. He sees something more important than visible church unity.

He sees the truth. There was, and remains, a critical need for people to see the truth more than be concerned with reputations. Truth is what mattered to Paul, even if he was rebuffed and rejected.

We desperately need to be people like that. Our churches need us to be people like that. People who will confront when the truth is at stake. People who will stand against popular leaders, visible leaders, wrong-behaving leaders, and shut them down.

Will you be one of those? Or will you quietly go along? Or worse, have you been the one who is wrong? Listen to the Pauls in your life and get back on track.

In Nerdiness: I happen to think that both Peter and Barnabas repent over this—further ministry suggests that. Also, I think there is something nerdy to examine about where Peter’s behavior took place. It looks like Antioch, but it also reads like it could be that the confrontation was in Antioch and the behavior elsewhere.

Finally, do not miss Galatians 2:20. You are not alive if you are a Christian. Christ is alive through you. Get that in your head and see what happens.


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.

First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…