|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem,.... That is, either after it pleased God to call him by his grace, and reveal his Son in him; or rather after he had been at Jerusalem to see Peter, with whom he stayed fifteen days, and then went into Syria and Cilicia; so that it was seventeen years after his conversion that he took this journey to Jerusalem he here speaks of; and he seems to refer to the time when he and Barnabas went from the church at Antioch to the apostles and elders about the question, whether circumcision was necessary to salvation, Acts 15:1 which entirely agrees with the account the apostle here gives of this journey, and which he went not alone, but
with Barnabas: and took Titus with me also; Barnabas is mentioned in Luke's account as going with him at this time, but Titus is not; who, though he was not sent by the church, yet the apostle might judge it proper and prudent to take him with him, who was converted by him, was a minister of the Gospel, and continued uncircumcised; and the rather he might choose to have him along with him, partly that he might be confirmed in the faith the apostle had taught him; and partly that he might be a living testimony of the agreement between the apostle's principles and practice; and that having him and Barnabas, he might have a competent number of witnesses to testify to the doctrines he preached, the miracles he wrought, and the success that attended him among the Gentiles; and to relate, upon their return, what passed between him and the elders at Jerusalem; for by the mouth of two or three witnesses everything is established.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ga 2:1-21. His Co-ordinate Authority as Apostle of the Circumcision Recognized by the Apostles. Proved by His Rebuking Peter for Temporizing at Antioch: His Reasoning as to the Inconsistency of Judaizing with Justification by Faith.
1. Translate, "After fourteen years"; namely, from Paul's conversion inclusive [Alford]. In the fourteenth year from his conversion [Birks]. The same visit to Jerusalem as in Ac 15:1-4 (A.D. 50), when the council of the apostles and Church decided that Gentile Christians need not be circumcised. His omitting allusion to that decree is; (1) Because his design here is to show the Galatians his own independent apostolic authority, whence he was not likely to support himself by their decision. Thus we see that general councils are not above apostles. (2) Because he argues the point upon principle, not authoritative decisions. (3) The decree did not go the length of the position maintained here: the council did not impose Mosaic ordinances; the apostle maintains that the Mosaic institution itself is at an end. (4) The Galatians were Judaizing, not because the Jewish law was imposed by authority of the Church as necessary to Christianity, but because they thought it necessary to be observed by those who aspired to higher perfection (Ga 3:3; 4:21). The decree would not at all disprove their view, and therefore would have been useless to quote. Paul meets them by a far more direct confutation, "Christ is of no effect unto you whosoever are justified by the law" (Ga 5:4), [Paley].
Titus … also—specified on account of what follows as to him, in Ga 2:3. Paul and Barnabas, and others, were deputed by the Church of Antioch (Ac 15:2) to consult the apostles and elders at Jerusalem on the question of circumcision of Gentile Christians.
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