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And certain men came down from Judea
(κα τινες κατελθοντες απο της Ιουδαιας). Evidently the party of the circumcision in the church in Jerusalem (11:2) had heard
of the spread of the gospel among the Gentiles in Cyprus, Pamphylia, and South Galatia (Phrygia, Pisidia, Lycaonia). Possibly
John Mark after his desertion at Perga (13:13) told of this as one of his reasons for coming home. At any rate echoes of the
jubilation in Antioch in Syria would be certain to reach Jerusalem. The Judaizers in Jerusalem, who insisted that all the
Gentile Christians must become Jews also, had acquiesced in the case of Cornelius and his group (11:1-18) after plain proof
by Peter that it was the Lord's doing. But they had not agreed to a formal campaign to turn the exception into the rule and
to make Christianity mainly Gentile with a few Jews instead of mainly Jewish with a few Gentiles. Since Paul and Barnabas
did not come up to Jerusalem, the leaders among the Judaizers decided to go down to Antioch and attack Paul and Barnabas there.
They had volunteered to go without church action in Jerusalem for their activity is disclaimed by the conference (Ac 15:24
). In Ga 2:4
Paul with some heat describes these Judaizers as "false brethren, secretly introduced who sneaked in to spy out our liberty."
It is reasonably certain that this visit to Jerusalem described in Ga 2:1-10
is the same one as the Jerusalem Conference in Acts
15:5-29 in spite of the effort of Ramsay to identify it with that in 11:29f
. Paul in Galatians is not giving a list of his visits to Jerusalem. He is showing his independence of the twelve apostles
and his equality with them. He did not see them in 11:29f..
, but only "the elders." In Ac 15
Luke gives the outward narrative of events, in Ga 2:1-10
Paul shows us the private interview with the apostles when they agreed on their line of conduct toward the Judaizers. In Ga 2:2
by the use of "them" (αυτοις) Paul seems to refer to the first public meeting in Acts before the private interview that came
in between verses
15:5-6. If we recall the difficulty that Peter had on the subject of preaching the gospel to the heathen (10:1-11:18), we
can the better understand the attitude of the Judaizers. They were men of sincere convictions without a doubt, but they were
obscurantists and unable and unwilling to receive new light from the Lord on a matter that involved their racial and social
prejudices. They recalled that Jesus himself had been circumcised and that he had said to the Syro-Phoenician woman that he
had come only save to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mt 15:24ff.
). They argued that Christ had not repealed circumcision. So one of the great religious controversies of all time was begun,
that between spiritual religion and ritualistic or ceremonial religion. It is with us yet with baptism taking the place of
circumcision. These self-appointed champions of circumcision for Gentile Christians were deeply in earnest.
When Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and questioning with them
(Γενομενης στασεως κα ζητησεως ουκ ολιγης τω Παυλω κα Βαρναβα προς αυτους). Genitive absolute of second aorist middle participle
of γινομα, genitive singular agreeing with first substantive στασεως. Literally, "No little (litotes for much) strife and
questioning coming to Paul and Barnabas (dative case) with them " (προς αυτους, face to face with them). Paul and Barnabas
were not willing to see this Gentile church brow-beaten and treated as heretics by these self-appointed regulators of Christian
orthodoxy from Jerusalem. The work had developed under the leadership of Paul and Barnabas and they accepted full responsibility
for it and stoutly resisted these Judaizers to the point of sedition (riot, outbreak in Lu 23:25; Ac 19:40
) as in
23:7. There is no evidence that the Judaizers had any supporters in the Antioch church so that they failed utterly to make
any impression. Probably these Judaizers compelled Paul to think through afresh his whole gospel of grace and so they did
Paul and the world a real service. If the Jews like Paul had to believe, it was plain that there was no virtue in circumcision
). It is not true that the early Christians had no disagreements. They had selfish avarice with Ananias and Sapphira, murmuring
over the gifts to the widows, simony in the case of Simon Magus, violent objection to work in Caesarea, and now open strife
over a great doctrine (grace vs. legalism).
(ο μεν ουν). Luke's favourite method of resumptive narrative as we have seen (11:19, etc.), demonstrative ο with μεν (indeed)
and ουν (therefore).
36343634 Were received (παρεδεχθησαν). First aorist passive indicative of παραδεχομα, old verb, to receive, to welcome. Here it was a public reception for Paul and Barnabas provided by the whole church including the apostles and elders, at which an opportunity was given to hear the story of Paul and Barnabas about God's dealings with them among the Gentiles. This first public meeting is referred to by Paul in Ga 2:2 "I set before them (αυτοις) the gospel, etc."
36353635 But there rose up (εξανεστησαν δε). Second aorist active indicative (intransitive). Note both εξ and αν. These men rose up out of the crowd at a critical moment. They were believers in Christ (πεπιστευκοτες, having believed), but were still members of "the sect of the Pharisees" (της αιρεσεως των Φαρισαιων). Evidently they still held to the Pharisaic narrowness shown in the attack on Peter (11:2f.. ). Note the dogmatism of their "must" (δε) after the opposition of Paul and Barnabas to their "except" (εαν με) at Antioch (15:1). They are unconvinced and expected to carry the elders with them. Codex Bezae says that they had appealed to the elders (15:2,5 ). At any rate they have made the issue in open meeting at the height of the jubilation. It is plain from verse 6 that this meeting was adjourned, for another gathering came together then. It is here that the private conference of which Paul speaks in Ga 2:1-10 took place. It was Paul's chance to see the leaders in Jerusalem (Peter, James, and John) and he won them over to his view of Gentile liberty from the Mosaic law so that the next public conference (Ac 15:6-29 ) ratified heartily the views of Paul, Barnabas, Peter, James, and John. It was a diplomatic triumph of the first order and saved Christianity from the bondage of Jewish ceremonial sacramentalism. So far as we know this is the only time that Paul and John met face to face, the great spirits in Christian history after Jesus our Lord. It is a bit curious to see men saying today that Paul surrendered about Titus and had him circumcised for the sake of peace, the very opposite of what he says in Galatians, "to whom I yielded, no not for an hour." Titus as a Greek was a red flag to the Judaizers and to the compromisers, but Paul stood his ground.
Were gathered together
(συνηχθησαν). First aorist (effective) passive indicative. The church is not named here as in verse
4, but we know from verses
12-22 that the whole church came together this time also along with the apostles and elders.
When there had been much questioning
(πολλης ζητησεως γενομενης). Genitive absolute with second aorist middle participle of γινομα. Evidently the Judaizers were
given full opportunity to air all their grievances and objections. They were allowed plenty of time and there was no effort
to shut off debate or to rush anything through the meeting.
Which knoweth the heart
(καρδιογνωστης). Late word from καρδια (heart) and γνωστης (known, γινωσκω). In the N.T. only here and
1:24 which see.
He made no distinction between us and them
(ουθεν διεκρινεν μεταξυ ημων τε κα αυτων). He distinguished nothing (first aorist active ind.) between (both δια and μεταξυ)
both (τε κα) us and them. In the matter of faith and conversion God treated us Jews as heathen and the heathen as Jews.
Why tempt ye God?
(τ πειραζετε τον θεον;). By implying that God had made a mistake this time, though right about Cornelius. It is a home-thrust.
They were refusing to follow the guidance of God like the Israelites at Massah and Meribah (Ex 17:7; De 6:16; 1Co 10:9
36413641 That we shall be saved (σωθηνα). First aorist passive infinitive in indirect discourse after πιστευομεν. More exactly, "We believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus in like manner as they also." This thoroughly Pauline note shows that whatever hopes the Judaizers had about Peter were false. His doctrine of grace is as clear as a bell. He has lifted his voice against salvation by ceremony and ritualism. It was a great deliverance.
(εσιγησεν). Ingressive first aorist active of σιγαω, old verb, to hold one's peace. All the multitude became silent after
Peter's speech and because of it.
After they had held their peace
(μετα το σιγησα αυτους). Literally, "after the becoming silent (ingressive aorist active of the articular infinitive) as
to them (Barnabas and Paul, accusative of general reference)."
Hearken unto me
(ακουσατε μου). Usual appeal for attention. James was termed James the Just and was considered a representative of the Hebraic
as opposed to the Hellenistic wing of the Jewish Christians (Ac 6:1
). The Judaizers had doubtless counted on him as a champion of their view and did later wrongfully make use of his name against
Peter at Antioch (Ga 2:12
). There was instant attention when James began to speak.
36453645 To this agree (τουτω συμφωνουσιν). Associative instrumental case (τουτω) after συμφωνουσιν (voice together with, symphony with, harmonize with), from συμφωνεω, old verb seen already in Mt 18:19; Lu 5:36; Ac 5:9 which see. James cites only Am 9:11,12 from the LXX as an example of "the words of the prophets" (ο λογο των προφητων) to which he refers on this point. The somewhat free quotation runs here through verses 16-18 of Ac 15 and is exceedingly pertinent. The Jewish rabbis often failed to understand the prophets as Jesus showed. The passage in Amos refers primarily to the restoration of the Davidic empire, but also the Messiah's Kingdom (the throne of David his father," Lu 1:32 ).
I will build again
(ανοικοδομησω). Here LXX has αναστησω. Compound (ανα, up or again) of οικοδομεω, the verb used by Jesus in Mt 16:18
of the general church or kingdom as here which see.
36473647 That the residue of men may seek after the Lord (οπως αν εκζητησωσιν ο καταλοιπο των ανθρωπων τον κυριον). The use of οπως with the subjunctive (effective aorist active) to express purpose is common enough and note αν for an additional tone of uncertainty. On the rarity of αν with οπως in the Koine see Robertson, Grammar, p. 986. Here the Gentiles are referred to. The Hebrew text is quite different, "that they may possess the remnant of Edom." Certainly the LXX suits best the point that James is making. But the closing words of this verse point definitely to the Gentiles both in the Hebrew and the LXX, "all the Gentiles" (παντα τα εθνη). Another item of similarity between this speech and the Epistle of James is in the phrase "my name is called" (επικεκλητα το ονομα μου) and Jas 2:7 . The purpose of God, though future, is expressed by this perfect passive indicative επικεκλητα from επι-καλεω, to call on. It is a Jewish way of speaking of those who worship God.
36483648 From the beginning of the world (απ' αιωνος). Or, "from of old." James adds these words, perhaps with a reminiscence of Isa 45:21 . His point is that this purpose of God, as set forth in Amos, is an old one. God has an Israel outside of and beyond the Jewish race, whom he will make his true "Israel" and so there is no occasion for surprise in the story of God's dealings with the Gentiles as told by Barnabas and Paul. God's eternal purpose of grace includes all who call upon his name in every land and people (Isa 2:1; Mic 4:1 ). This larger and richer purpose and plan of God was one of the mysteries which Paul will unfold in the future (Ro 16:25; Eph 3:9 ). James sees it clearly now. God is making it known (ποιων ταυτα γνωστα), if they will only be willing to see and understand. It was a great deliverance that James had made and it exerted a profound influence on the assembly.
(διο). "Because of which," this plain purpose of God as shown by Amos and Isaiah.
But that we write unto them
(αλλα επιστειλα αυτοις). By way of contrast (αλλα). First aorist active infinitive of επιστελλω, old verb to send to one
(message, letter, etc.). Our word επιστλε (επιστολη as in verse
30) comes from this verb. In the N.T. only here, He 13:22
, and possibly Ac 21:25
36513651 For Moses (Μωυσης γαρ). A reason why these four necessary things (verse 28) are named. In every city are synagogues where rabbis proclaim (κηρυσσοντας) these matters. Hence the Gentile Christians would be giving constant offence to neglect them. The only point where modern Christian sentiment would object would be about "things strangled" and "blood" in the sense of any blood left in the animals, though most Christians probably agree with the feeling of James in objecting to blood in the food. If "blood" is taken to be "murder," that difficulty vanishes. Moses will suffer no loss for these Gentile Christians are not adherents of Judaism.
Then it seemed good
(Τοτε εδοξεν). First aorist active indicative of δοκεω. A regular idiom at the beginning of decrees. This Eirenicon of James
commended itself to the whole assembly. Apparently a vote was taken which was unanimous, the Judaizers probably not voting.
The apostles and the elders (τοις αποστολοις κα τοις πρεσβυτεροις, article with each, dative case) probably all vocally expressed
And they wrote
(γραψαντες). First aorist active participle of γραφω and the nominative as if a principal verb επεμψαν had been used instead
of πεμψα, the first aorist active infinitive (anacoluthon). This committee of four (Judas, Silas, Barnabas, Paul) carried
the letter which embodied the decision of the Conference. This letter is the writing out of the judgment of James and apparently
written by him as the President.
Certain which went from us
(τινες εξ ÂημÂων, Aleph B omit εξελθοντες). A direct blow at the Judaizers, put in delicate language (we heard Âηκουσαμεν)
as if only at Antioch (15:1), and not also in Jerusalem in open meeting (15:5).
It seemed good unto us
(εδοξεν ημιν). See statement by Luke in verse
22, and now this definite decision is in the epistle itself. It is repeated in verse
36563656 Have hazarded their lives (παραδεδωκοσ τας ψυχας αυτων). Perfect active participle dative plural of παραδιδωμ, old word, to hand over to another, and with ψυχας, to hand over to another their lives. The sufferings of Paul and Barnabas in Pisidia and Lycaonia were plainly well-known just as the story of Judson in Burmah is today. On the use of "name" here see on 3:6.
36573657 Who themselves also shall tell you the same things by word of mouth (κα αυτους δια λογου απαγγελλοντας τα αυτα). Literally, "they themselves also by speech announcing the same things." The present participle, as here, sometimes is used like the future to express purpose as in 3:26 ευλογουντα after απεστειλεν and so here απαγγελλοντας after απεσταλκαμεν (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1128). Judas and Silas are specifically endorsed (perfect active indicative of αποστελλω) as bearers of the epistle who will also verbally confirm the contents of the letter.
To the Holy Spirit and to us
(τω πνευματ τω αγιω κα ημιν). Dative case after εδοξεν (third example, verses 22,25,28
). Definite claim that the church in this action had the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That fact was plain to the church from
what had taken place in Caesarea and in this campaign of Paul and Barnabas (verse
8). Jesus had promised that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth (Joh 16:13
). Even so the church deliberated carefully before deciding. What a blessing it would be if this were always true! But even
so the Judaizers are only silenced for the present, not convinced and only waiting for a better day to start over again.
Than these necessary things
(πλην τουτων των επαναγκες). This old adverb (from επ and αναγκη) means on compulsion, of necessity. Here only in the N.T.
For discussion of these items see on verses 20,21
. In comparison with the freedom won this "burden" is light and not to be regarded as a compromise in spite of the arguments
of Lightfoot and Ramsay. It was such a concession as any converted Gentile would be glad to make even if "things strangled"
be included. This "necessity" was not a matter of salvation but only for fellowship between Jews and Gentiles. The Judaizers
made the law of Moses essential to salvation (15:16).
(ο μεν ουν). As in verse
When they had read it
(αναγνοντες). Second aorist active participle of αναγινωσκω. Public reading, of course, to the church.
Being themselves also prophets
(κα αυτο προφητα οντες). As well as Paul and Barnabas and like Agabus (11:27-30), for-speakers for Christ who justify the
commendation in the letter (verse
27) "with many words" (δια λογου πολλου), "with much talk," and no doubt with kindly words concerning the part played at the
Conference by Paul and Barnabas.
36643664 But it seemed good unto Silas to abide there (εδοξε δε Σιλα επιμεινα αυτου). This verse is not in the Revised Version or in the text of Westcott and Hort, being absent from Aleph A B Vulgate, etc. It is clearly an addition to help explain the fact that Silas is back in Antioch in verse 40. But the "some days" of verse 36 afforded abundant time for him to return from Jerusalem. He and Judas went first to Jerusalem to make a report of their mission.
(διετριβον). Imperfect active of διατριβω, old verb to pass time, seen already in 12:19; 14:3,28
Let us return now and visit the brethren
(επιστρεψαντες δε επισκεψωμεθα τους αδελφους). Paul takes the initiative as the leader, all the more so if the rebuke to
Peter and Barnabas in Ga 2:11-21
had already taken place. Paul is anxious, like a true missionary, to go back to the fields where he has planted the gospel.
He uses the hortatory subjunctive (επισκεψωμεθα) for the proposal (see on
15:14 for this verb). Note the repeated επ (επι-στρεψαντες and επισκεψωμεθα). There is special point in the use of δη (shortened
form of ηδη), now at this juncture of affairs (cf.
36673667 Was minded to take with them (εβουλετο συνπαραλαβειν). Imperfect middle (εβουλετο), not aorist middle εβουλευσατο of the Textus Receptus. Barnabas willed, wished and stuck to it (imperfect tense). Συνπαραλαβειν is second aorist active infinitive of the double compound συνπαραλαμβανω, old verb to take along together with, used already about John Mark in 12:25 and by Paul in Ga 2:1 about Titus. Nowhere else in the N.T. Barnabas used the ingressive aorist in his suggestion.
36683668 But Paul thought not good to take with them (Παυλος δε ηξιου--μη συνπαραλαμβανειν τουτον). The Greek is far more effective than this English rendering. It is the imperfect active of αξιοω, old verb to think meet or right and the present active infinitive of the same verb (συνπαραλαμβανω) with negative used with this infinitive. Literally, "But Paul kept on deeming it wise not to be taking along with them this one." Barnabas looked on it as a simple punctiliar proposal (aorist infinitive), but Paul felt a lively realization of the problem of having a quitter on his hands (present infinitive). Each was insistent in his position (two imperfects). Paul had a definite reason for his view describing John Mark as "him who withdrew from them from Pamphylia" (τον αποσταντα απ' αυτων απο Παμφυλιας). Second aorist active articular participle of αφιστημ, intransitive use, "the one who stood off from, apostatized from" (our very word "apostasy"). And also as the one who "went not with them to the work" (κα μη συνελθοντα αυτοις εις το εργον). At Perga Mark had faced the same task that Paul and Barnabas did, but he flinched and flickered and quit. Paul declined to repeat the experiment with Mark.
A sharp contention
(παροξυσμος). Our very word paroxysm in English. Old word though only twice in the N.T. (here and Heb 10:24
), from παροξυνω, to sharpen (παρα, οξυς) as of a blade and of the spirit (Ac 17:16; 1Co 13:5
). This "son of consolation" loses his temper in a dispute over his cousin and Paul uses sharp words towards his benefactor
and friend. It is often so that the little irritations of life give occasion to violent explosions. If the incident in Ga 2:11-21
had already taken place, there was a sore place already that could be easily rubbed. And if Mark also joined with Peter and
Barnabas on that occasion, Paul had fresh ground for irritation about him. But there is no way to settle differences about
men and we can only agree to disagree as Paul and Barnabas did.
(επιλεξαμενος). First aorist middle (indirect) participle of επιλεγω, choosing for himself, as the successor of Barnabas,
not of Mark who had no place in Paul's plans at this time.
(διηρχετο). Imperfect middle. So Paul went forth on his second mission tour with heart-aches and high hopes mingled together.
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