Galatians 2:7 MEANING

Galatians 2:7
(7-9) So far from contributing anything new to my stock of doctrine, they were content to confirm and ratify what I taught already.

(7) Gospel of the uncircumcision--i.e., a gospel for the uncircumcised. The elder Apostles recognised St. Paul because they saw that his teaching was fundamentally the same as their own. At the same time, the success of St. Paul among the Gentiles proved that his mission to them had the divine sanction, just as the success of St. Peter among the Jews specially marked him out as the "Apostle of the circumcision."

Verse 7. - But contrariwise (ἀλλὰ τοὐναντίον)l as 2 Corinthians 2:7; 1 Peter 3:9. This "contrariwise" is illustrated by the foregoing note. When they saw (ἰδόντες); when they got to see. This implies that the fact was new to them. A few of them, no doubt, were apprised of it previously, Cephas in particular (see Galatians 1:18 and note); but the majority of that assemblage of apostles and elders knew Paul chiefly by hearsay, and hearsay not always the most friendly to him. The three named in the next verse are to be conceived of as acting as they did in order to give expression to this newly awakened feeling of the general body, and not merely to their own individual judgment. That the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter (ὅτι πεπίστευμαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς ἀκροβυστίας καθὼς Πέτροβ τῆς περιτομῆς); that I had been put in trust of the gospel... as Peter of that of, etc. The perfect present πεπίστευμαι, viewed from the time of their seeing it. So the present ὀρθοποδοῦσιν in ver. 14, and μέναι in John 1:40. The perfect is used and not the aorist (cf. Romans 3:2), as marking the then still continuing holding of the trust, and also perhaps, as implying the con-tinning identity of the doctrine preached. (For the construction of the accusative εὐαγγέλιον, after πεπίστευμαι, comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Timothy 1:11.) Gospel of the uncircumcision. The word "gospel" is frequently used by St. Paul to denote, not so much the substance of its doctrine as the business of proclaiming it (comp. Romans 1:1, 9; Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 9:14, 18; 2 Corinthians 2:12); and thus the gospel of the uncircumcision does not indicate any diversity in the doctrine communicated to the uncircumcision from that communicatcd to the Jews, but simply a diversity in the sphere of its proclamation. Ἀκροβυστία denotes the class of the uncircumcised in contrast to περιτομή, that of the circumcised, as in Romans 3:30. As Peter of that of the circumcision. This distinction between the spheres of work entrusted severally to the two apostles held good of them only as viewed in the main in either case; for as St. Peter was, in fact, the first who opened the gospel to the Gentiles, and afterwards, towards the close of his work, cared for the welfare of Gentile Christians by writing his two Epistles to them, so also St. Paul everywhere in his ministerial work addressed himself in the first instance to the Jews. Nevertheless, in the main, Peter was the head of the Church of the circumcised, Paul of that of the uncircumcised. But how completely the substance of Peter's doctrine was one with that of Paul's is strikingly evinced by his two Epistles (see 1 Peter 5:12). It is difficult to feel that St. Paul could have written as he here does, if he was aware that St. Peter had been constituted by the Lord Jesus to be his own vicar upon earth, supreme over the whole Church and all its ministers.

2:1-10 Observe the apostle's faithfulness in giving a full account of the doctrine he had preached among the Gentiles, and was still resolved to preach, that of Christianity, free from all mixture of Judaism. This doctrine would be ungrateful to many, yet he was not afraid to own it. His care was, lest the success of his past labours should be lessened, or his future usefulness be hindered. While we simply depend upon God for success to our labours, we should use every proper caution to remove mistakes, and against opposers. There are things which may lawfully be complied with, yet, when they cannot be done without betraying the truth, they ought to be refused. We must not give place to any conduct, whereby the truth of the gospel would be reflected upon. Though Paul conversed with the other apostles, yet he did not receive any addition to his knowledge, or authority, from them. Perceiving the grace given to him, they gave unto him and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, whereby they acknowledged that he was designed to the honour and office of an apostle as well as themselves. They agreed that these two should go to the heathen, while they continued to preach to the Jews; judging it agreeable to the mind of Christ, so to divide their work. Here we learn that the gospel is not ours, but God's; and that men are but the keepers of it; for this we are to praise God. The apostle showed his charitable disposition, and how ready he was to own the Jewish converts as brethren, though many would scarcely allow the like favour to the converted Gentiles; but mere difference of opinion was no reason to him why he should not help them. Herein is a pattern of Christian charity, which we should extend to all the disciples of Christ.But contrariwise, when they saw that the Gospel,.... James, Cephas, and John, were so far from blaming or correcting anything in the apostle's ministry, or adding anything to it, that they highly approved of it; and as a token of their agreement with him and Barnabas, gave them the right hand of fellowship: the reasons of their so doing are inserted here, and in the following verse, and in the next to that: the reason here given is, because

they saw that the Gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the Gospel of the circumcision was to Peter; by "the uncircumcision and circumcision" are meant the Gentiles and Jews; see Romans 2:26 by the Gospel of the one, and the Gospel of the other, two Gospels are not designed, for there is but one Gospel, and not another. Paul did not preach one Gospel unto the uncircumcised Gentiles, and Peter another to the circumcised Jews; but the same Gospel was preached by both, and is so called with respect to the different persons to whom it was preached by these apostles. The Apostle Paul was ordained a minister of the Gentiles, and he chiefly preached among them, though not to them only. Peter was principally employed among the Jews, though also as he had opportunity he sometimes preached to the Gentiles: however, the subject of both their ministrations was the Gospel, which is said to be "committed" to them, as a trust deposited in their hands, not by man, but by God; the management of which required both prudence and faithfulness, and which were eminently seen in these good stewards of the mysteries of God. This being observed by the apostles at Jerusalem, they came into an agreement that one part should discharge their ministry among the Gentiles, and the other among the Jews.

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