SUMMARY.--Paul's Later Journey to Jerusalem.
The Object of the Visit, Titus with Him, but Uncircumcised.
Peter, James and John Apostles to the Circumcision;
Paul and Barnabas to the Uncircumcision.
The Right Hand of Fellowship.
The Rebuke of Peter at Antioch.
Justified by Faith in Christ; Not by Works of the Law.
1. Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem.
"Three years after" his conversion he went up to Jerusalem
fourteen years after, he went up again. If his conversion took place
about A. D. 37, as is generally supposed, the visit now spoken of
was in A. D. 51. At that time we find that Paul and Barnabas and
"certain others" went up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders
about this very question of the relation of the Gentile Christians to
That this is the visit Paul means, is evident (1) because it is the
right date; (2) the right persons are present, viz: Paul, Barnabas,
Peter and James, and (3) the right question is the one discussed. The
is mentioned in
and took place in A. D. 40. Another, to carry relief at a time of
famine, took place in A. D. 44
(Acts 11:30; 12:25);
and the third, here referred to, took place in A. D. 50 or 51.
Took Titus with me. Titus is not named in
but only that "certain other" went with Paul and Barnabas.
2-5. And I went up by revelation. Because Christ revealed to me
that I ought to go.
Communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the
Gentiles. For at least ten years he had been preaching among the
Gentiles with great success, calling upon them to obey the gospel; not
the law of Moses. He now explained to the Jerusalem Christians the
gospel which he had preached,
privately to them who were of reputation, to such men as Peter
and James, so that there would be a full understanding before the
public meeting described in
Lest, perchance, I should run. Lest his apostolic labor should
be made fruitless by the action of the Jewish Christians.
3. But neither Titus, etc. Though Titus, a Gentile Christian and
a minister, was with him, he was not compelled to be circumcised.
4. And that because of false brethren. In the case of Timothy
Paul had circumcised him, not as a matter of obligation, or out of
deference to the views of Jewish Christians, but so that he could reach
unconverted Jews better, who would not listen to a Gentile. The
apostles might have recommended the circumcision of Titus, Paul here
intimates, not as a matter of duty, but of prudence, had it not been
made an issue by the false brethren. He could not yield to such a
demand without a sacrifice of principle.
Unawares brought in. These false brethren were really Jews who
had slipped into the church.
To spy out our liberty. Really enemies in the guise of friends
whose object was to take away the freedom of the gospel, and subject
Christians to the bondage of the Jewish law.
5. To whom we gave place, no, not for an hour. We refused to yield
to any of their demands. See
Paul sternly opposed their demands in order to preserve
the truth of the gospel among the Gentiles. The motive of his
firmness was to make the future safe. Had he yielded a jot, advantage
would have been taken of it.
6-10. But of these who seemed to be somewhat. Who held high
positions in the church; the apostles at Jerusalem; Peter, James and
John, who are mentioned below.
Whatsoever they are, it maketh no matter. However high their
position, that does not alter the facts.
They who seemed to be somewhat in conference. The leaders in the
conference described in
Added nothing to me. They gave me no new instructions or
authority. They had no change to suggest in the gospel I preached.
7. When they saw. They perceived that I had been sent to the
Gentiles, as Peter had the leading part in preaching to the Jews.
8. For he that wrought effectually in Peter. As Christ gave
Peter the wisdom, knowledge and power needful to establish the church
among the Jews, so he had fully endowed Paul for a similar work among
9. And when James, Cephas and John. Cephas is the Hebrew name
of Peter. See
The rest of the apostles were probably absent from Jerusalem at the
time of this visit.
Who seemed to be pillars. Chief men; supports of the church.
Perceived the grace. See
They gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship. An
agreement was made that Paul and Barnabas should have supervision of
the work among the Gentiles, and as a pledge of that agreement their
hands were given.
10. Only they would that we should remember the poor. Continue
the collections in the Gentile churches for the poor at Jerusalem. We
have seen Paul constantly active in this work
(1 Cor. 16:1).
NOTE--In order to understand this epistle and
parts of others, the reader must keep in mind the two great divisions
of apostolic Christianity, the Jew and the Gentile. Of the Jewish,
Peter, James and John were leaders; of the Gentile, Paul and Barnabas.
These leaders were in full harmony, but the two sections of the church
were not equally harmonious. The Jewish Christians, as a rule, still
kept the Jewish law, and hoped for the conversion of the whole Jewish
nation, until the destruction of Jerusalem; one extreme wing of them
insisted that the Gentiles should keep the Jewish law, also. It is with
this wing that Paul comes in conflict. Here in
and also in
we have accounts of the conflict. After Jerusalem was destroyed, the
temple in ruins, and the church removed elsewhere, the Jewish
Christians gradually gave up the Jewish law, and the two divisions
welded into one body in which there was neither Jew nor Gentile, but
all one in Christ.
11-14. But when Peter came to Antioch. It is not certainly known
when this event occurred, but probably not far from A. D. 51. Paul
narrates it to show that Peter had no superiority over him, as 
the Judaizers claimed, and as the Romanists still assert. Peter did a
wrong thing, and Paul rebuked him for it.
12. Before certain came from James. Men sent from Jerusalem by
James, who stood now at the head of that church.
He did eat with Gentiles. See
Peter had no scruples about eating with Gentile Christians, but many of
the Jewish Christians did. Hence he did before the messengers came from
James what he refused to do after they came, "separating himself" from
the Gentile Christians at Antioch.
13. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him. The other
Jewish Christians at Antioch. To change their course thus, because of
fear of these men from Jerusalem, was to dissemble.
Even Barnabas, Paul's long-time companion in labor, was infected.
14. But when I saw. It was time to act decisively. Antioch was a
great center. It was important that no wrong influences go forth from
that center. Hence Paul administered the stern rebuke to Peter which
Before them all. The rebuke was on a public occasion.
If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles. He had,
right there in Antioch, lived with the Gentile Christians according to
Why compellest thou the Gentiles, etc. Now, he insisted, at
least by his example, that the Gentile Christians should become Jews.
He virtually refused to fellowship them.
15-21. We. You and I. Both Paul and Peter were Jews by birth,
Gentiles sinners. As Jews were wont to call the Gentile
16. Knowing. There were certain facts that both of them knew.
One of them was that men were
justified (that is, forgiven)
not by the works of the law (of Moses),
but by the faith of Jesus Christ; that is, by the gospel. Both
believed on Christ in order that they might be justified.
For by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. This
passage, quoted in
is found in
17. But if . . . we were found sinners. We, Paul and Peter. We
came to Christ for justification, because the gospel revealed to us
that we were sinners, though professing to keep the law of Moses.
Is therefore Christ the minister of sin? Did Christ make us Jews
sinners? No, but when the knowledge of the gospel comes, they find that
they are and have been sinners like the Gentiles. Christ only reveals
to them their sinful 
18. If I build up again the things which I destroyed. Go back
from Christ to Moses, and teach others to do the same.
I make myself a transgressor. For thus I teach men to trust in
the works of the law which cannot justify.
19. For I through the law am dead to the law. Compare
and see notes
When the knowledge of Christ came, and he saw his faulty obedience to
the law, he realized that he was dead in sin, slain by the law. But
having died, he was freed from the law, when he became a new creature
20. I have been crucified with Christ. By faith Paul was
crucified at his conversion, crucified in the flesh, died to the old
life with Christ. Now he lives, or rather,
Christ liveth in him. The old life is laid aside, and the new
life is a Christlike life, due to the spirit of Christ. He is now
merged in Christ.
Live by faith. Faith is the bond that binds him to Christ and
enables him to live the new life.
21. I do not frustrate the grace of God. He would do so, if he
went back to the Jewish law, and trusted in it. If it gave
righteousness, then the gospel was not needed, and
Christ died in vain.
NOTE--The account in this chapter of Paul's visit
to Jerusalem, and of his controversy with Peter, is utterly
inconsistent with the Romish doctrine of the supremacy of Peter. No
Pope could or would allow a bishop or cardinal to "rebuke him openly,"
as Paul did Peter. So, too, the reference of the controversy in
to "the apostles and elders,"
instead of to Peter, and the final judgment of James, which was
received, contradict the Vatican system. Indeed, the doctrine of
popedom is utterly inconsistent with the whole tenor of the Acts, and
the Pauline Epistles. . . . This meeting at Antioch is the
last between Peter and Paul of which the New Testament gives record.
Early church tradition, however, reports that they met once in Rome,
where they were tried and condemned on the same day, and then parted,
Peter to be crucified on the hill of the Janiculum, and Paul, the Roman
citizen, to be beheaded at the Three Fountains on the Ostian Way. Could
we rely upon this tradition it would seem fitting that the two greatest
apostles, of the Circumcision and of the Uncircumcision, should lay
down their burdens together and go side by side to report their work to
their common Lord.