Acts 15:1
And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brothers, and said, Except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XV.

(1) And certain men which came down from Judæa.—We enter on the history of the first great controversy in the records of the Christian Church. It might have seemed as if the conversion of Cornelius had been accepted as deciding the question which we now find raised again (Acts 11:18). It would seem, however, that those who had raised objections to Peter’s conduct in that case were not content to accept the conclusion which he drew from it, and it is not difficult to represent to ourselves the train of thought which led them to take a different view. To them it may have seemed the exception that proved the rule. Where signs and wonders came in, they may have been content to accept an uncircumcised convert as a member of the Church, simply on the ground that God had dispensed in such cases with His own law; or they may have urged that though, in such cases, they did not require circumcision as a condition of admission, the continuance in the uncircumcised state after baptism was a wilful transgression, which shut men out from the “salvation” which they were seeking. Circumcision, they may have said, had been given as an “everlasting covenant” (Genesis 17:13), and had never been formally abrogated. Who were the new teachers, that they should change what God had thus established? It is clear that they came, claiming to speak in the name of James, the Bishop of Jerusalem, and though he distinctly repudiates having authorised them (Acts 15:24), yet if we suppose, as is probable, that his Epistle was written shortly before the Council, we can easily understand that they might rest their case on the words which he had used in it, that “whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all” (James 2:10). Here, they might say, is a point confessedly in the Law, and even prior to it; and they were not prepared to draw the distinctions which we have learned to draw between the positive and the moral, the transient and the permanent, obligations of that Law. And it is to be noted that they did not merely make circumcision a condition of church communion; they carried their principles to their logical conclusion—as mediaeval dogmatism did in the case of baptism—and excluded the uncircumcised from all hope of salvation. (Comp. the account of Ananias and Izates given in the Note on Acts 9:10.)

Acts

THE BREAKING OUT OF DISCORD

Acts 15:1 - Acts 15:6
.

The question as to the conditions on which Gentiles could be received into Christian communion had already been raised by the case of Cornelius, but it became more acute after Paul’s missionary journey. The struggle between the narrower and broader views was bound to come to a head. Traces of the cleft between Palestinian and Hellenist believers had appeared as far back as the ‘murmuring’ about the unfair neglect of the Hellenist widows in the distribution of relief, and the whole drift of things since had been to widen the gap.

Whether the ‘certain men’ had a mission to the Church in Antioch or not, they had no mandate to lay down the law as they did. Luke delicately suggests this by saying that they ‘came down from Judaea,’ rather than from Jerusalem. We should be fair to these men, and remember how much they had to say in defence of their position. They did not question that Gentiles could be received into the Church, but ‘kept on teaching’ {as the word in the Greek implies} that the divinely appointed ordinance of circumcision was the ‘door’ of entrance. God had prescribed it, and through all the centuries since Moses, all who came into the fold of Israel had gone in by that gate. Where was the commandment to set it aside? Was not Paul teaching men to climb up some other way, and so blasphemously abrogating a divine law?

No wonder that honest believers in Jesus as Messiah shrank with horror from such a revolutionary procedure. The fact that they were Palestinian Jews, who had never had their exclusiveness rubbed off, as Hellenists like Paul and Barnabas had had, explains, and to some extent excuses, their position. And yet their contention struck a fatal blow at the faith, little as they meant it. Paul saw what they did not see-that if anything else than faith was brought in as necessary to knit men to Christ, and make them partakers of salvation, faith was deposed from its place, and Christianity sank back to be a religion of ‘works.’ Experience has proved that anything whatever introduced as associated with faith ejects faith from its place, and comes to be recognised as the means of salvation. It must be faith or circumcision, it cannot be faith and circumcision. The lesson is needed to-day as much as in Antioch. The controversy started then is a perennial one, and the Church of the present needs Paul’s exhortation, ‘Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.’

The obvious course of appealing to Jerusalem was taken, and it is noteworthy that in Acts 15:2 the verb ‘appointed’ has no specified subject. Plainly, however, it was the Church which acted, and so natural did that seem to Luke that he felt it unnecessary to say so. No doubt Paul concurred, but the suggestion is not said to have come from him. He and Barnabas might have asserted their authority, and declined to submit what they had done by the Spirit’s guidance to the decision of the Apostles, but they seek the things that make for peace.

No doubt the other side was represented in the deputation. Jerusalem was the centre of unity, and remained so till its fall. The Apostles and elders were the recognised leaders of the Church. Elders here appear as holding a position of authority; the only previous mention of them is in Acts 11:30, where they receive the alms sent from Antioch. It is significant that we do not hear of their first appointment. The organisation of the Church took shape as exigencies prescribed.

The deputation left Antioch, escorted lovingly for a little way by the Church, and, journeying by land, gladdened the groups of believers in ‘Phenicia and Samaria’ with the news that the Gentiles were turning to God. We note that they are not said to have spoken of the thorny question in these countries, and that it is not said that there was joy in Judaea. Perhaps the Christians in it were in sympathy with the narrower view.

The first step taken in Jerusalem was to call a meeting of the Church to welcome the deputation. It is significant that the latter did not broach the question in debate, but told the story of the success of their mission. That was the best argument for receiving Gentile converts without circumcision. God had received them; should not the Church do so? Facts are stronger than theories. It was Peter’s argument in the case of Cornelius: they ‘have received the Holy Ghost as well as we,’ ‘who was I, that I could withstand God?’ It is the argument which shatters all analogous narrowing of the conditions of Christian life. If men say, ‘Except ye be’ this or that ‘ye cannot be saved,’ it is enough to point to the fruits of Christian character, and say, ‘These show that the souls which bring them forth are saved, and you must widen your conceptions of the possibilities to include these actualities.’ It is vain to say ‘Ye cannot be’ when manifestly they are.

But the logic of facts does not convince obstinate theorists, and so the Judaising party persisted in their ‘It is needful to circumcise them.’ None are so blind as those to whom religion is mainly a matter of ritual. You may display the fairest graces of Christian character before them, and you get no answer but the reiteration of ‘It is needful to circumcise you.’ But on their own ground, in Jerusalem, the spokesmen of that party enlarged their demands. In Antioch they had insisted on circumcision, in Jerusalem they added the demand for entire conformity to the Mosaic law. They were quite logical; their principle demanded that extension of the requirement, and was thereby condemned as utterly unworkable. Now that the whole battery was unmasked the issue was clear-Is Christianity to be a Jewish sect or the universal religion? Clear as it was, few in that assembly saw it. But the parting of the ways had been reached.Acts 15:1. And certain men which came down from Judea — Probably such as had been of the Pharisees, (Acts 15:5,) or, perhaps, of those priests which were obedient to the faith, Acts 6:7. As they came from Judea, it is likely they pretended to be sent by the apostles at Jerusalem, or, at least, to be countenanced by them. Designing to spread their notions among the Gentiles, they came to Antioch, because that city abounded with Gentile converts, and was the headquarters of those that preached to the Gentiles; and if they could but make an impression there, they supposed their leaven would soon be diffused to all the churches of the Gentiles. And said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses — That is, Except ye keep the law of Moses, (see Acts 15:5; Galatians 5:3,) ye cannot be saved — Can neither enjoy God’s favour here, nor his kingdom hereafter. Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation — They strenuously opposed this doctrine; 1st, Because its direct tendency was to subvert the gospel, which they had preached, and which they knew was of itself sufficient for the salvation of men, without the works of the Mosaic law. And, 2d, Because it was a betraying of the natural rights of mankind, who, by the gospel, are left free, both to obey the good laws of the countries where they live, and enjoy whatever rights accrue to them from those laws. Whereas, by receiving the law of Moses, the Gentiles really made themselves the subjects of a foreign power; for that law included, the civil or political law of Judea; and all who received it actually put themselves under the jurisdiction of the high-priest and council at Jerusalem. Hence Paul and Barnabas, as faithful servants of Christ, could not see his truth betrayed; they knew Christ came to free men from the yoke of the ceremonial law, to take down that wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles, and unite them both in himself, and therefore would not hear of circumcising the Gentile converts, when their instructions were only to baptize them. And, as spiritual fathers to them, they would not see their liberties encroached on. There being, therefore, much contention upon this account at Antioch, where there were several converts from among the Gentiles, to whom this doctrine could not but be very disagreeable, and, doubtless, many Jewish Christians, who approved of it; and the peace of the church and the unity of its members being in danger of being broken, to prevent this, if possible, it was judged advisable to get the best satisfaction they could, in an affair which affected the liberties and consciences of many. They determined, therefore, that Paul and Barnabas, and certain others, should go to Jerusalem, about this question — This is the journey to which Paul refers, (Galatians 2:1-2,) when he says, he went up by revelation, which is very consistent with this; for the church, in sending them, might be directed by a revelation, made either immediately to Paul, or some other person, relating to so important an affair. Important indeed it was, and necessary that those Jewish impositions should be solemnly opposed in time, because multitudes of converts were still zealous for the law, and ready to contend for the observance of it. Indeed, many of the Christians at Antioch undoubtedly knew that Paul was under an extraordinary divine direction, and therefore would readily have acquiesced in his determination alone; but as others might have prejudices against him, on account of his having been so much concerned with the Gentiles, it was highly expedient to take the concurrent judgment of all the apostles on this occasion; since their authority was supreme in the church, and their decision alone could put an end to the controversy. It appears from Galatians 2:1, that Titus was one of those who accompanied Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem at this time. Him, it is probable, Paul had converted in the Lesser Asia: and, being a person of great piety and ability, he had taken him as his assistant in the room of John Mark, at Perga, and had brought him to Antioch; and he, being a Gentile, had consequently much interest in the determination of this question. See Doddridge and Macknight.15:1-6 Some from Judea taught the Gentile converts at Antioch, that they could not be saved, unless they observed the whole ceremonial law as given by Moses; and thus they sought to destroy Christian liberty. There is a strange proneness in us to think that all do wrong who do not just as we do. Their doctrine was very discouraging. Wise and good men desire to avoid contests and disputes as far as they can; yet when false teachers oppose the main truths of the gospel, or bring in hurtful doctrines, we must not decline to oppose them.And certain men - These were undoubtedly men who had been Jews, but who were now converted to Christianity. The fact that they were willing to refer the matter in dispute to the apostles and elders Acts 15:2 shows that they had professedly embraced the Christian religion. The account which follows is a record of the first internal dissension which occurred in the Christian church. Hitherto the church had been struggling against external foes. Violent persecutions had raged, and had fully occupied the attention of Christians. But now the churches were at peace. They enjoyed great external prosperity in Antioch, and the great enemy of souls took occasion then, as he has often done in similar circumstances since, to excite contentions in the church itself, so that when external violence could not destroy it, an effort was made to secure the same object by internal dissension and strife. This history, therefore, is particularly important, as it is the record of the first unhappy debate which arose in the bosom of the church. It is further important, as it shows the manner in which such controversies were settled in apostolic times, and as it established some very important principles respecting the perpetuity of the religious rites of the Jews.

Came down from Judea - To Antioch, and to the regions adjacent, which had been visited by the apostles, Acts 15:23. Judea was a high and hilly region, and going from that toward the level countries adjacent to the sea was represented to be descending, or going down.

Taught the brethren - That is, Christians. They endeavored to convince them of the necessity of keeping the laws of Moses.

Except ye be circumcised - This was the leading or principal rite of the Jewish religion. It was indispensable to the name and privileges of a Jew. Proselytes to their religion were circumcised as well as native-born Jews, and they held it to be indispensable to salvation. It is evident from this that Paul and Barnabas had dispensed with this rite in regard to the Gentile converts, and that they intended to found the Christian church on the principle that the Jewish ceremonies were to cease. When, however, it was necessary to conciliate the minds of the Jews and to prevent contention, Paul did not hesitate to practice circumcision, Acts 16:3.

After the manner of Moses - According to the custom which Moses commanded; according to the Mosaic ritual.

Ye cannot be saved - The Jews regarded this as indispensable to salvation. The grounds on which they would press it on the attention of Gentile converts would be very plausible, and such as would produce much embarrassment. For:

(1) It would be maintained that the laws of Moses were the laws of God, and were therefore unchangeable; and,

(2) It would doubtless be maintained that the religion of the Messiah was only a completing and perfecting of the Jewish religion that it was designed simply to carry out its principles according to the promises, and not to subvert and destroy anything that had been established by divine authority. It is usually not difficult to perplex and embarrass young converts with questions of modes, and rites, and forms of religion; and it is not uncommon that a revival is followed by some contention just like this. Opposing sects urge the claims of their special rites, and seek to make proselytes, and introduce contention and strife into an otherwise peaceful and happy Christian community.

CHAPTER 15

Ac 15:1-35. Council at Jerusalem to Decide on the Necessity of Circumcision for the Gentile Converts.

1, 2. certain men—See the description of them in Ga 2:4.Acts 15:1-4 Great dissensions arise about circumcising the

Gentiles: Paul and Barnabas are sent to consult the

apostles and elders at Jerusalem.

Acts 15:5,6 The matter is debated in a council there,

Acts 15:7-11 Peter declareth his opinion.

Acts 15:12 Paul and Barnabas report the miracles they had

wrought among the Gentiles.

Acts 15:13-21 James pronounceth sentence in favour of the Gentiles,

requiring of them abstinence only in a few

particulars.

Acts 15:22-35 Letters are sent with the determination by messengers

to the churches, which are received with joy.

Acts 15:36-41 Paul and Barnabas propose to visit together the

churches they had planted, but disagree, and travel

different ways.

Certain men; these were such as did pretend to believe, but were false brethren; some think Cerinthus to have been of them.

The brethren; the Gentiles who were converted unto the faith of Christ, or Proselytes of the gate (as they were called) who were not circumcised, and now professing the true faith. These the pharisaical professors would have excluded from any hopes of salvation, although circumcision was not commanded but unto the posterity of Abraham, Genesis 17:10-13, and Abraham himself was justified before he was circumcised, Romans 4:10.

After the manner of Moses; according unto the law of Moses: for God by him did renew and establish that ordinance unto that people, although it was long before his time both commanded and practised, John 7:22.

And certain men which came down from Judea,.... To Antioch; they were not sent by the apostles, they came down of "themselves"; who they were, is not certain; that they were "judaizing" Christians, and teachers among them, is plain from the following account: according to Epiphanius (g) they were Cerinthus, and some of his followers: these

taught the brethren; the Gentile converts at Antioch, who are styled "brethren", though they were Gentiles, because they were regenerated by the grace of God, and were of the same faith with the believing Jews, and in the same church state with them at Antioch: and said,

except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses; or custom of Moses, which had been used from the time of Abraham, and was revived and reinforced by Moses; wherefore the Syriac version renders it, "the law of Moses"; See Gill on John 7:19.

ye cannot be saved; these men were not only for retaining circumcision, which was now abolished, but they made it necessary to salvation; which was carrying the matter further than even the unbelieving Jews themselves did, at least some of them: for though indeed it is a notion with them, that no circumcised persons go to hell, but are all saved; and some of them say, that God rejects uncircumcised persons, and brings them down to hell (h); yet others of them speak of the godly among the nations of the world, and of the proselytes of the gate, who keep the seven precepts of Noah, as persons that shall be saved; so Ananias the Jew, preceptor to King Izates, when he signified his great desire to be circumcised, in order to put him off of it, told him, that if he was determined to follow the customs of the Jews, he might worship God without circumcision, which was more peculiar to the Jews than to be circumcised (i).

(g) Contra Haeres. l. 1. Haeres. 28. (h) Shemot Rabba, sect. 19. fol. 104. 4. (i) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 20. c. 2. sect. 5.

And {1} {a} certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

(1) The Church is at length troubled with dissension within itself, and the trouble rises from the proud and stubborn intellects of certain evil men. The first strife was concerning the office of Christ, whether we are saved only by his righteousness apprehended by faith, or if we also have need to observe the Law.

(a) Epiphanius is of the opinion that this was Cerinthus.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 15:1-2. The Jewish-Christian opinion, that the Gentiles could only in the way of circumcision and observance of the law—that is, in the way of Jewish Christianity—obtain the salvation of the Messianic kingdom, was by no means set aside by the diffusion of Christianity among the Gentiles, which had so successfully taken place since the conversion of Cornelius. On the contrary, it was too closely bound up with the whole training and habit of mind of the Jews, especially of those who were adherents of the Pharisees (comp. Ewald, p. 464 f.), not to have presented, as the conversions of the Gentiles increased, an open resistance to the freedom of the Gentile brethren from the law,—a freedom which exhibited itself in their whole demeanour to the scandal of the strict legalists,—and to have made the question on which it hinged the most burning question of the time. This opposition—the most fundamental and most dangerous in the apostolic church, for the overcoming of which the whole further labour of a Paul was requisite—emerged in the very central seat of Gentile Christianity itself at Antioch; whither some[23] from Judaea (τῶν πεπιστευκότων ἀπὸ τῆς αἱρέσεως τῶν Φαρισαίων, as Syr. p. has on the margin, and codd. 8. 137 in the text, as a certainly correct gloss, see Acts 15:5) came down with this doctrine: If ye shall not have been circumcised (περιτμηθ., see the critical remarks) according to the custom, ordered by Moses (and so have taken upon you the obligation of obedience to the whole law, comp. Galatians 5:3), ye cannot obtain the salvation in Christ!

στάσεως (Acts 23:7; Acts 23:10; Soph. O. R. 634) κ. ζητήσεως (Acts 25:20; John 3:25); division and disputation.

ἔταξαν] namely, the ἀδελφοί, Acts 15:1, the Christians of Antioch, comp. Acts 15:3.

Jerusalem was the mother-church of all Christianity; here the apostles had their abode, who, along with the presbyters of the church, occupied for the Christian theocracy a position similar to that of the Sanhedrim. Comp. Grotius. The recognition of this on the part of Paul is implied in Galatians 2:1-2.

καί τινας ἄλλους ἐξ αὐτῶν] among whom, according to Galatians 2:1, was Titus, not named at all in the Acts, unless Paul voluntarily took him as companion, which is more suitable to the expression in Galatians 2:1.

We may add that the commission of the church, under which Paul made the journey, is by no means excluded by the statement: κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν, Galatians 2:2; see on Gal. l.c. Subtleties directed against our narrative may be seen in Zeller, p. 224 f.

ζήτημα, quaestio, i.e. question in dispute, in the N.T. only in the Book of Acts; often in Greek writers.

[23] According to Epiphan. Haer. 26, Cerinthus is supposed to have been among them.Acts 15:1. τινες κατελ. ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰ.: on the vagueness of the expression see Ramsay, St. Paul, pp. 158; I59.—κατελ., i.e., to Antioch; see critical notes for [278] reading, and additional note at end of chapter on the identification of Galatians 2:1-10 with Acts 15 : in the early Church in favour of the identification, cf. Iren., Hær., iii., 13, 3; Tertullian, Adv. Marc., v., 2.—ἐδίδασκον: imperfect, representing perhaps their continuous efforts to force their teaching on the brethren.—περιτέμνησθε, see critical note.—τῷ ἔθει Μ.: R.V. as in Acts 6:15, “custom of Moses”; in A.V. “manner,” which might be used of a temporary fashion or habit; ἔθος marks a national custom, but see also Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 79. On its national significance, see art[279] “Circumcision,” B.D.2, and Hastings’ B.D., “Beschneidung”; Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums, i., 2, 174; Weber, Jüdische Theol., p. 266 (1897); Renan, Saint Paul, p. 66; and cf. Book of Jubilees, xv, cf. i.; Assumption of Moses, viii.; Jos., Ant., xx., 2, 4; c. Apion., ii., 14; Vita, xxiii.—σωθῆναι, i.e., in the Messianic salvation, cf. Acts 2:40, Acts 4:12, Acts 11:14. On the tradition that Cerinthus was amongst these Judaisers, as he and his had already rebuked Peter, Acts 11:2, see “Cerinthus,” Dict. of Christ. Biog., i., 447. It is very probable that the successful mission of Paul and Barnabas was really the immediate cause of this protest on the part of the narrow Judaic party. This party, as the Church in Jerusalem grew, may well have grown also; the case of Cornelius had been acquiesced in, but it was exceptional, and it was a very different thing to be asked to embrace all Gentiles in the new covenant, and to place them on a level with the Jewish Christians, whether they did homage or not to the Mosaic law, Hort, Ecclesia, p. 67; McGiffert, Apostolic Age, p. 192.

[278] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[279] grammatical article.1. which came down from Judea] The words of the new comers would derive authority from this. They would be received as the latest ordinance of the heads of the church at Jerusalem. Thus the mission of enquiry to Jerusalem was rendered necessary.

taught the brethren] These were a mixed body, composed of Jews, proselytes and Gentiles (see Acts 11:19-20 and the notes there). Thus it was precisely the place where such a question would arise. Gentile converts who had not passed into Christianity by the gate of Judaism would be sure to be regarded as wanting something, by the people in whose mouths “uncircumcised” had been from old times the bitterest term of reproach. (Cp. 1 Samuel 17:26 and Acts 11:3.) The tense of the verb used implies that these men were persistent in their teaching, they kept constantly to this theme.

after the manner (custom) of Moses] The word is found before (Acts 6:14) “the customs which Moses delivered” and signifies those rites and usages which had their foundation in the law (cp. Luke 1:9; Luke 2:42; Acts 21:21) and so were more than a “manner” or “fashion.” Cp. also John 7:22, for circumcision as the ordinance given to the people by Moses.

ye cannot be saved] A statement likely to cause dissension and questioning among those who had just learnt (Acts 14:27) that “God had opened the door of faith” (independent of the observance of the ceremonial law) “unto the Gentiles.”

Acts 15:1-5. At Antioch some maintain that Gentile converts must be circumcised. A Mission to Jerusalem about the question. Reception of those who were sent

The history now approaches that subject of controversy which was certain to arise as soon as Christianity spread beyond the limits of Palestine. The first converts to the new faith were made among the Jews, but few of them were likely to cast aside those prejudices of religion in which they had long been educated. As soon as Gentiles who had not first become proselytes to Judaism joined the Christian Church, Jewish exclusiveness received a violent shock, and there was no small danger lest the new community should be rent asunder almost at its beginning. “The covenant,” by which expression the devout Jew specially meant “circumcision,” was constituted a cry by Judaizing agitators, and the opposition, first brought into prominence at Antioch, proved a continuous source of trial through the whole ministry of St Paul, and has left its traces on most of the writings both of the N. T. and of early Christian literature.Acts 15:1. Κατελθόντες, who came down) as if about to supply what Paul and Barnabas had omitted.—ἐδίδασκον, began teaching) deliberately.—[τῷ ἔθει Μωϋσέως, after the manner of Moses) As it is written in the law of Moses.—V. g.]Verse 1. - Came down... and taught for which came down... taught, A.V.; saying for and said, A.V.; custom (ἔθος) for manner, A.V. Except ye be circumcised, etc. The question thus raised nearly effected the disruption of the Church, and was the most serious controversy that had yet arisen. If the views broached by these Judaean Christians had prevailed, the whole character of Christianity would have been changed, and its existence probably cut short. How great the danger was appears from even Peter and Barnabas having wavered in their opinion. (For St. Paul's treatment of the subject, see Romans 2:25, etc.; 4; Galatians 5:2-6; Galatians 6:12-15, etc.) The expression, Τινὲς κατέλθοντες ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰουδαίας, is so like that in Galatians 2:11, Πρὸ τοῦ ἐλθεῖν τινὰς ἀπὸ Ἰακώβου as to suggest very strongly the consideration whether Peter was not at Antioch at this time, and whether the scene related in Galatians 2:11, etc., did not precede, and in fact cause, the Council of Jerusalem. In this case the "dissension and disputation" spoken of in ver. 2 would include and directly point to the memorable rebuke given by Paul to Peter; and we should understand that Peter, accepting Paul's rebuke, preceded him and Barnabas, and prepared the way at Jerusalem for the solution arrived at. And, indeed, Peter's words at Jerusalem are almost an echo of Paul's words addressed to him at Antioch. If Barnabas had shown a leaning towards the Judaizing party, he would the more readily have been accepted by them as one of the embassy. The chief objection to this hypothesis is that in Galatians 2:11 Peter's visit to Antioch seems to be spoken of as something subsequent to the journey of St. Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem. But it is not in the least necessary so to understand it. St, Paul's mention of his visit to Jerusalem might naturally recall the incident which had led to it, and which was another example of his own independence. Farrar places Peter's visit to Antioch between the Council of Jerusalem and the quarrel with Barnabas, in the time indicated in ver. 35 of this chapter (vol. 1. Acts 23.), and so do Conybeare and Howson (vol. 1. p. 238), Meyer, and Alford ('Proleg.,' p. 24; note on Acts 15:36, and Galatians 2:11). Renan ('St. Paul,' p. 290, etc.) and Lewin (vol. 1. Acts 13.) place it after St. Paul's return to Antioch, at the conclusion of his second missionary journey (Acts 18:22, 23). No absolute certainty can be arrived at, but see note to ver. 35. Custom (see Acts 16:21); τὰ ἔθη is the technical term for the Mosaic institutions, used by Josephus and Philo (see too Acts 6:14; Acts 21:21, note). Taught

Rather the imperfect, were teaching. They had not merely broached the error, but were inculcating it.

Manner (ἔθει)

Better, custom, as Rev.

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