|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.
Verse 8. - For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision (ὁ γὰρ ἐνεργήσας Πέτρῳ εἰς ἀποστολὴν τῆς περιτομῆς); he that had wrought on Peter's behalf for apostleship of the circumcision. In form, the sentence is an absolute statement of fact; but its bearing in the context would be fairly represented by rendering it relatively, "for that he who," etc.; for it was the perception of the fact here stated which led that assembly to the conviction that Paul had been entrusted with the apostleship of the uncircumcision. The dative Πέτρῳ can scarcely be governed, as the Authorized Version presupposes, by the preposition in ἐνεργήσας, this verb not being a separable compound; it is rather the dativus commodi, as in Proverbs 31:12, Ἐνεργεῖ τῷ ἀνδρὶ εἰς ἀγαθά. When operation in a subject is meant, the preposition ἐν is added, as Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 2:2; Galatians 3:5. The worker is God, not Christ (comp. 1 Corinthians 12:6; Philippians 2:13). God wrought on Peter's behalf for apostleship of the circumcision; that is, towards, in furtherance of, his work as their apostle, by constituting him their apostle, by making his ministry effectual in turning their hearts to Christ, and by miracles wrought by his hands, including the impartation through him of miraculous gifts to his converts; for such were "the signs of the apostle" (2 Corinthians 12:12). The same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles (ἐνήργησε καὶ ἐμοὶ εἰς τὰ ἔθνη); had wrought also on my behalf towards the Gentiles. Comp. Acts 15:12, "They hearkened unto Barnabas and Paul rehearsing what signs and wonders God had wrought (ἐποίησεν) among the Gentiles by them;" where likewise, as here, the aorist tense is used of action they were then looking back upon as past. The absence of Barnabas's name in this verse, though mentioned in the next, is significant. Barnabas was not an apostle in that highest sense of the term in which Paul was an apostle, and which alone he is now thinking of; although he was associated with Paul, both in ministerial work and in that lower form of apostleship which beth had received from men (comp. Acts 14:4, 14; and Dissertation I. in the Introduction).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For he that wrought effectually in Peter,.... The Syriac version renders it, "he who exhorted Peter to"; the Arabic version is, "he who strengthened Peter in"; the Spirit of God is meant, who filled Peter with such eminent gifts, and inspired him with so much zeal and resolution
to the apostleship of circumcision, to discharge his office as an apostle among the Jews; and who wrought by him such wonderful works for the confirmation of it, as curing the man that was lame from his birth, striking Ananias and Sapphira dead for telling lies, and raising Dorcas from the dead, and communicating miraculous gifts by the imposition of his hands; and which same Spirit also made his ministrations effectual to the conversion of a large number of souls, as of three thousand by one sermon.
The same was mighty in me towards the Gentiles. The Spirit of God wrought as effectually in, and by him, as in Peter; filled him with extraordinary gifts for the discharge of his work among the Gentiles, and inspired him with equal zeal, constancy, and intrepidity of mind; wrought as many miracles by him to confirm his mission; such as striking blind Elymas the sorcerer, healing the cripple at Lystra, raising Eutychus from the dead, with many other signs and wonders wrought by him among the Gentiles, through the power of the Spirit of God, whereby they became obedient by word and deed. The same Spirit also accompanied the Gospel preached by him, to the conversion of multitudes, by which means many famous churches were founded and raised among the Gentiles; and this is another reason which induced the apostles at Jerusalem to take Paul and Barnabas into an association with them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. he—God (1Co 12:6).
wrought effectually—that is, made the preached word efficacious to conversion, not only by sensible miracles, but by the secret mighty power of the Holy Ghost.
in Peter—Ellicott and others, translate, "For Peter." Grotius translates as English Version.
to—with a view to.
was mighty—Translate as before, the Greek being the same, "wrought effectually."
in me—"for (or 'in') me also."
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