|New International Version (©2011)|
For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.
New Living Translation (©2007)
When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn't eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision.
English Standard Version (©2001)
For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision.
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
For he regularly ate with the Gentiles before certain men came from James. However, when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, because he feared those from the circumcision party.
International Standard Version (©2012)
Until some men arrived from James, he was in the habit of eating with the gentiles, but after those men came, he withdrew from the gentiles and would not associate with them any longer, because he was afraid of the circumcision party.
NET Bible (©2006)
Until certain people came from James, he had been eating with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he stopped doing this and separated himself because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
For before people would come from the presence of Jacob, he was eating with the Gentiles, but when they came, he withdrew himself and separated, because he was afraid of those who were of the circumcision.
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
He ate with people who were not Jewish until some men James had sent [from Jerusalem] arrived. Then Cephas drew back and would not associate with people who were not Jewish. He was afraid of those who insisted that circumcision was necessary.
King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
For before certain men came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them who were of the circumcision.
American King James Version
For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
American Standard Version
For before that certain came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing them that were of the circumcision.
For before that some came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them who were of the circumcision.
Darby Bible Translation
for before that certain came from James, he ate with those of the nations; but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing those of the circumcision;
English Revised Version
For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing them that were of the circumcision.
Webster's Bible Translation
For before that certain came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles: but when they had come, he withdrew, and separated himself, fearing them who were of the circumcision.
Weymouth New Testament
For until certain persons came from James he had been accustomed to eat with Gentiles; but as soon as these persons came, he withdrew and separated himself for fear of the Circumcision party.
World English Bible
For before some people came from James, he ate with the Gentiles. But when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.
Young's Literal Translation
for before the coming of certain from James, with the nations he was eating, and when they came, he was withdrawing and separating himself, fearing those of the circumcision,
|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:11-14 Notwithstanding Peter's character, yet, when Paul saw him acting so as to hurt the truth of the gospel and the peace of the church, he was not afraid to reprove him. When he saw that Peter and the others did not live up to that principle which the gospel taught, and which they professed, namely, That by the death of Christ the partition wall between Jew and Gentile was taken down, and the observance of the law of Moses was no longer in force; as Peter's offence was public, he publicly reproved him. There is a very great difference between the prudence of St. Paul, who bore with, and used for a time, the ceremonies of the law as not sinful, and the timid conduct of St. Peter, who, by withdrawing from the Gentiles, led others to think that these ceremonies were necessary.
Verse 12. - The Judaism of the earliest Pentecostal Church not rabbinical. Any one who will be at the pains of reviewing the contents of the four Gospels with an eye to this particular subject, cannot fail to be struck by the frequency with which Christ in his own conduct placed himself in even the sharpest antagonism to the "traditions of the eiders," and encouraged his disciples in likewise setting them at nought. And this he did in cases in which the contrast of his behaviour to the abject submission to those traditions paraded by the Pharisees must have been most striking, and have jarred, no doubt, very often even painfully, upon the ill-instructed religious sensibilities of those, who had grown up in the belief that to observe the traditions was both seemly and pious and to neglect them unseemly and schismatical. For example, in daily life, neither he nor his disciples would "baptize" themselves when coming home from the market, nor even apply lustral water to their hands before taking a meal, though there before their eyes stood tire vessels filled with water which had been provided for the guests and which the other guests were punctual in using. It was not without significance that in his first miracle he withdrew the water which had been set apart for such lustrations from one use of it which he would pronounce to be utterly frivolous and vain, to apply it to one which should really be serviceable and beneficent. Again, many were the restrictions which the traditions imposed upon men's actions on the sabbath - restrictions which not only were additional to those enjoined by the Law, but also in many cases contravened the calls of mercy and benevolence. Such restrictions Christ very frequently, and in the most public and pointed manner, so as to directly challenge attention to what he did, broke through, and taught his disciples to disregard; the Pharisees being repeatedly so enraged at these transgressions of the traditions as to endeavour in consequence to take his life. The fastings enjoined by the traditions, he and his disciples likewise offended the Pharisees by taking no account cf. The traditions of especially one popular school of teaching allowed so great a facility of divorce as served to disguise a frightful excess of licentiousness, in which many of the Pharisees were themselves implicated; in opposition to which Christ was wont publicly to declare that 'connections formed after divorces not justified by adultery were themselves adulterous. Continually was the Lord warning his followers against the leaven of Pharisaism, to wit, its ostentation in religious observances; its laying so much stress upon the outward act, in neglect of the inward motive and the posture of the spirit; its draining away the forces of moral earnestness from the prosecution of justice, mercy, and truth, to squander them upon scrupulous and vigilant devotion to the veriest trifles of formalism; the consequent hollowness and hypocrisy of the religious character of its votaries; their love of money; their eagerness for social distinction; their cruelty to the poor amid all their ostentatious almsgiving; their hardheartedness to the fallen; their intense, devilish hatred of real piety. All the four Gospels abound in indications of that antipathy to Pharisaism and traditionalism which Christ both entertained himself and was careful to instil into the minds of his disciples. It cannot, therefore, be questioned that the disciples who formed the first nucleus of the Christian community, especially the twelve and the brethren of the Lord, were animated by similar sentiments of anti-Pharisaism; and so also the Pentecostal Church at Jerusalem as moulded under their influence. The Law of Moses, no doubt, they continued to obey, as their Master had done - the Law of Moses, however, as construed in the more humane and spiritual sense put upon it by the Sermon on the Mount, and not as stiffened and hardened into intolerable cruelty by the rabbinism which the Pharisees insisted upon. Such, we may feel certain, had been the attitude of St. Peter's mind in reference to the Law when, years before at Joppa, he had received the summons to go and visit Cornelius at Caesarea. It was with constraint put upon his own hitherto cherished tastes that he submitted to the call; and when he entered the Gentile's house, the fibre of Israelitism in his soul is seen quivering, shrinking back from the step which he was compelled to take. "Ye yourselves know," he said to the company of uncircumcised men among whom he found himself, "that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to join himself or to come unto one of another nation; and yet unto me hath God showed that I should not call any man common or unclean." It was painful to him as an Israelite and a Mosaist; but God's declared will was leaving him no alternative. Now, whence had arisen those feelings of repulsion? Partly it was, no doubt, a kind of caste sentiment. It had been then more than two thousand years a traditional consciousness with the Hebrew race that their circumcision lifted them to a higher level than the rest of mankind stood upon; and the persuasion inspired them with a disdain of uncircumcised nations, which with the most had little or no admixture of really religious feeling, being felt by the idolatrous Ephraimites as well as by the less unfaithful children of Judah. With the more pious members of the nation, this repulsion from Gentiles was partly the outcome of their sense of the deep degradation, religious and moral, in which heathen nations were sunk, steeped as they were in idolatry; but their sense of this was greatly intensified by the moral effect of the separation from other nations enforced by the ceremonial law. This was effected partly by the distinction between clean and unclean animals, which, recognized in an elementary degree as early as the time of Noah, was made in the Levitical legislation a matter of very minutely definite prescription (Leviticus 11.); and partly by the prohibition of eating either certain kinds of fat (Leviticus 3:17) or blood: to partake either of the flesh of an unclean animal, or of suet or blood, was emphatically declared by the Law, and by the long-inherited tradition of the nation had grown to be instinctively felt to be, "defilement" and "abomination." There is no ground for supposing that St. Peter's shrinking back from Gentiles as common or unclean was caused by rabbinism. Rabbin-ism, no doubt, added much to the bitterness of the repulsion with these who served the traditions; but even where there was no bondage owned to the dicta of the elders, repulsion from the contact of a Gentile was a powerful sentiment, having its roots deep in the instinctive sentiments of the Hebrew race and in the feelings instilled by the peremptory enactments of the Divine Law. Now, however, in Cornelius's house, St. Peter does not allow his spirit to be dominated by sentiments such as these. God and Christ his Master were making it manifest, as in other ways, so especially by the astonishing illapse of the Holy Spirit into these believing hearers of the gospel message, that they were no longer unclean, and therefore he cannot possibly any longer treat them as unclean. He tarried with them certain days, and, according to the charge immediately after preferred against him and not denied, ate with them. That he partook of the same food as they, whether of a kind forbidden by the Mosaic Law or not, is not stated and is no necessary inference drawn from the circumstances. He would not, we may well believe, scruple now to recline at the same table with them; but it may be readily imagined that for a guest so highly revered, of whose Jewish sensibilities respecting food they could not be unaware, even if he or the six Jewish brethren who accompanied him from Joppa did not make a point of apprising them, the wealthy centurion and his family would be only too anxious to provide such food as both he and his fellow-visitors would find acceptable. Thus St. Peter might have "eaten bread" with the Gentiles, neither, on the one hand, himself breaking the Levitical Law by partaking of food which was forbidden to him as a child of the legal covenant, nor, on the other, declining to recognize the full acceptableness before God and the equal brotherhood in Christ of believers who were still in their uncircumcision. The caste feeling of proud disdain of uncircumcised men as men of an inferior grade, and the dread of ceremonial defilement from contact with those who were levitically unclean, dared no longer assert themselves, could, indeed, no longer be permitted to lodge in his bosom, in the face of the clear proof which had been afforded that the Almighty had in Christ adopted them as his own children equally with himself. Thus it appears that when at Antioch, at the time here referred to by St. Paul, Cephas was seen partaking of social meals in company with the Gentile converts, he was only acting in the same way as he had acted at Caesarea ten years before.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For before that certain came from James,.... The Lord's brother, mentioned before with Cephas and John, who resided at Jerusalem, from whence these persons came; and who are said to come from James, because they came from the place and church where he was, though, it may be, not sent by him, nor with his knowledge. They were such as professed faith in Christ; they were "judaizing" Christians believing in Christ, but were zealous of the law. Now before the coming of these persons to Antioch,
did eat with the Gentiles; which is to be understood, not of eating at the Lord's table with them, but at their own tables: he knew that the distinction of meats was now laid aside, and that nothing was common and unclean of itself, and that every creature of God was good, and not to be refused if received with thankfulness; wherefore he made use of his Christian liberty, and ate such food dressed in such manner as the Gentiles did, without any regard to the laws and ceremonies of the Jews; and in this he did well, for hereby he declared his sense of things, that the ceremonial law was abolished, that not only the Gentiles are not obliged to it, but even the Jews were freed from it, and that the observance of it was far from being necessary to salvation: all which agreed with the preaching and practice of the Apostle Paul, and served greatly to confirm the same, and for this he was to be commended: nor is this mentioned by way of blame, but for the sake of what follows, which was blameworthy:
but when they were come he withdrew and separated himself; not from the church, and the communion of it, for then he had been guilty of schism, but from private conversation with the Gentiles: he did not visit them in their own houses, and sit down at table and eat with them, as he was wont to do; which argued great inconstancy and instability, very unbecoming one that seemed to be, and was a pillar in the church of God, as well as much dissimulation, for he knew better than he acted; his conduct did not agree with the true sentiments of his mind, which he covered and dissembled; and which must be very staggering to the believing Gentiles, to see so great a man behave in such a manner towards them, as if they were persons not fit to converse with, and as if the observance of Jewish rites and ceremonies was necessary to salvation. What induced him to take such a step was, his
fearing them which were of the circumcision: that is, the circumcised Jews, who professed faith in Christ, and were just now come from Jerusalem; not that he feared any danger from them; that they would abuse his person, or take away his life; but he might either fear he should come under their censure and reproofs, as he formerly had for going to Cornelius, and eating with him and his; or lest that they should be offended with him, and carry back an ill report of him, as not acting up to his character as an apostle of the circumcision. This led him into such a conduct; so true is that of the wise man, that "the fear of man bringeth a snare", Proverbs 29:25.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. certain—men: perhaps James' view (in which he was not infallible, any more than Peter) was that the Jewish converts were still to observe Jewish ordinances, from which he had decided with the council the Gentiles should be free (Ac 15:19). Neander, however, may be right in thinking these self-styled delegates from James were not really from him. Ac 15:24 favors this. "Certain from James," may mean merely that they came from the Church at Jerusalem under James' bishopric. Still James' leanings were to legalism, and this gave him his influence with the Jewish party (Ac 21:18-26).
eat with … Gentiles—as in Ac 10:10-20, 48, according to the command of the vision (Ac 11:3-17). Yet after all, this same Peter, through fear of man (Pr 29:25), was faithless to his own so distinctly avowed principles (Ac 15:7-11). We recognize the same old nature in him as led him, after faithfully witnessing for Christ, yet for a brief space, to deny Him. "Ever the first to recognize, and the first to draw back from great truths" [Alford]. An undesigned coincidence between the Gospels and the Epistle in the consistency of character as portrayed in both. It is beautiful to see how earthly misunderstandings of Christians are lost in Christ. For in 2Pe 3:15, Peter praises the very Epistles of Paul which he knew contained his own condemnation. Though apart from one another and differing in characteristics, the two apostles were one in Christ.
withdrew—Greek, "began to withdraw," &c. This implies a gradual drawing back; "separated," entire severance.
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