Galatians 2:10
Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
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(10) The poori.e., at Jerusalem and in Judaea. St. Paul had already been the means of bringing contributions from the wealthier churches of Antioch to Jerusalem (Acts 11:29-30). This seems to have been gracefully received, not only as an act of charity, but as a recognition of the claims of the mother Church. The Apostles expressed a hope that the same good feeling might continue, to which St. Paul willingly assented. That he did not forget his promise appears from Acts 24:17; Romans 15:26-27; 1Corinthians 16:3; 2Corinthians 8:1-2; 2Corinthians 9:1 et sea. (See Notes on Romans 15:25-27.)

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.Only they would that we should remember the poor - That is, as I suppose, the poor Christians in Judea. It can hardly be supposed that it would be necessary to make this an express stipulation in regard to the converts from among the Gentiles, and it would not have been very pertinent to the case before them to have done so. The object was, to bind together the Christians from among the pagan and from among the Jews, and to prevent alienation and unkind feeling. It might have been alleged that Paul was disposed to forget his own countrymen altogether; that he regarded himself as so entirely the apostle of the Gentiles that he would become wholly alienated from those who were his "kinsmen according to the flesh," and thus it might be apprehended that unpleasant feelings would be engendered among those who had been converted from among the Jews. Now nothing could be better adapted to allay this than for him to pledge himself to feel a deep interest in the poor saints among the Jewish converts; to remember them in his prayers; and to endeavor to secure contributions for their needs.

Thus he would show that he was not alienated from his countrymen; and thus the whole church would be united in the closest bonds. It is probable that the Christians in Judea were at that time suffering the ills of poverty arising either from some public persecution, or from the fact that they were subject to the displeasure of their countrymen. All who know the special feelings of the Jews at that time in regard to Christians, must see at once that many of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth would be subjected to great inconveniences on account of their attachment to him. Many a wife might be disowned by her husband; many a child disinherited by a parent; many a man might be thrown out of employment by the fact that others would not countenance him; and hence, many of the Christians would be poor. It became, therefore, an object of special importance to provide for them; and hence, this is so often referred to in the New Testament. In addition to this, the church in Judea was afflicted with famine; compare Acts 11:30; Romans 15:25-27; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-7.

The same which I also was forward to do - See the passages just referred to. Paul interested himself much in the collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem, and in this way he furnished the fullest evidence that he was not alienated from them, but that he felt the deepest interest in those who were his kindred. One of the proper ways of securing union in the church is to have the poor with them and depending on them for support; and hence, every church has some poor persons as one of the bonds of union. The best way to unite all Christians, and to prevent alienation, and jealousy, and strife, is to have a great common object of charity, in which all are interested and to which all may contribute. Such a common object for all Christians is a sinful world. All who bear the Christian name may unite in promoting its salvation, and nothing would promote union in the now divided and distracted church of Christ like a deep and common interest in the salvation of all mankind.

10. remember the poor—of the Jewish Christians in Judea, then distressed. Paul and Barnabas had already done so (Ac 11:23-30).

the same—the very thing.

I … was forward—or "zealous" (Ac 24:17; Ro 15:25; 1Co 16:1; 2Co 8:1-9:15). Paul was zealous for good works, while denying justification by them.

These pillars and apostles, which have among you the greatest reputation, added no new doctrine to us, gave us nothing new in charge; they only desired us that we would be careful, wheresoever we went, to make collection for the poor Christians in Judea, who either by selling all they had to maintain the gospel in its first plantation, or by the sharp persecution which had wasted them, or by reason of the famine, were very low; nor was this any new thing, I had before done it, and was very forward to do it again, had they said nothing to us about it.

Only they would that we should remember the poor,.... Not in a spiritual sense, as some have thought, though these the apostle was greatly mindful of; but properly and literally the poor as to the things of this world; and may design the poor in general, everywhere, in the several churches where they should be called to minister, and particularly the poor saints at Jerusalem; who were become such, either through the frequent calamities of the nation, and a dearth or scarcity of provisions among them, and which affected the whole country; or rather through the persecutions of their countrymen, who plundered them of their goods for professing the name of Christ; or it may be through their having given up all their substance into one common stock and fund, as they did at first, and which was now exhausted, and that in a great measure by assisting out of it the preachers who first spread the Gospel among the Gentiles; so that it was but just that they should make some return unto them, and especially for the spiritual favours they received from them, as the Gospel, and the ministers of it, which first went out of Jerusalem: the "remembering" of them not only intends giving them actual assistance according to their abilities, which was very small, but mentioning their case to the several Gentile churches, and stirring them up to a liberal contribution:

the same which I also was forward to do; as abundantly appears from his epistles to the churches, and especially from his two epistles to the Corinthians. Now since the apostles at Jerusalem desired nothing else but this, and said not a word concerning the observance of the rites and ceremonies of the law, and neither found fault with, nor added to the Gospel the apostle communicated to them, it was a clear case that there was an entire agreement between them, in principle and practice, and that he did not receive his Gospel from them.

Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
Galatians 2:10. After μόνον interpreters usually supply a verb such as αἰτοῦντες or παρακαλοῦντες, which in itself would be allowable (Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 207 f.), but is nevertheless quite superfluous; for μόνον τῶν πτωχῶν ἵνα μνημ. appears dependent on δεξιὰς ἔδωκαν ἐμοὶ καὶ Βαρν. κοιν., so that it is parallel with the preceding ἵνα and limits it. Comp. Matthies, Fritzsche, Hofmann. “They made with us a collegiate alliance, to the end that we should be apostles to the Gentiles; … only that we should not omit to remember the poor of the περιτομή (not merely of the mother-church) as to support.” In that alliance nothing further, in respect to our relation to the περιτομή, was designed or settled. On μνημονεύειν in the sense of beneficent care, comp. Psalm 9:12; Hom. Od. xviii. 267.

μόνον, which belongs to the whole clause, and τῶν πτωχῶν stand before ἵνα on account of the emphasis laid upon them. Comp. on Ephesians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 7:29; 2 Corinthians 2:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:7, et al. The poverty of the Christians of Palestine, which was the principal motive for this proviso being added, finds its explanation in the persecutions which they underwent, in the community of goods which they had at first, and perhaps also in the expectation of the Parousia as near which they most of all cherished. Moreover, the μόνον κ.τ.λ. by no means excludes the ordinances of the apostolic council, for Paul here has in view nothing but his recognition as apostle on the part of the original apostles in the private discussions held with the latter. How Baur misuses μόνον κ.τ.λ., as contrasted with the supposed irreconcilable diversity subsisting in doctrine, may be seen in the theol. Jahrb. 1849, p. 470; Paulus, I. p. 142 ff. ed. 2; comp. also Holsten. In the face of real antagonism of doctrine, the older apostles certainly would not have tendered Paul their hands; and had they desired to do so, Paul would have refused them his.[82]

ὃ καὶ ἐσπούδασα αὐτὸ τοῦτο ποιῆσαι] The aorist, not used instead of the pluperfect, relates to the time from that apostolic alliance to the composition of the epistle. Paul, however, continues in the singular; for soon afterwards he separated himself from Barnabas (Acts 15:39). So, correctly, Estius, Winer, Usteri, Schott. Those who identify our journey with that related in Acts 11, 12 must conclude, with Fritzsche, that Paul desired to report concerning himself, and hence only mentioned Barnabas (and Titus) as well, where it was necessary. Nevertheless this joint-mention, although not necessary, would have been very natural in our passage; for ἵνα μνημονεύωμεν had just been said, and then in a single stroke of the representation, with ὃ καὶ ἐσπούδασα κ.τ.λ., is given the conclusion of the matter so referred to.

αὐτὸ τοῦτο] is not superfluous (Piscator, Vorstius, Grotius, Morus), as neither αὐτό alone (Winer, p. 140) nor τοῦτο alone (see Matthiae, p. 1050; Kühner, II. p. 527) is used; it is the emphatic epexegesis of , hoc ipsum (see Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. LIII.), whereby Paul makes his readers feel the contrast between the Jewish Christian antagonism and his zeal of love thus shown. Studer and Usteri find in αὐτὸ τοῦτο the tacit antithesis, “but nothing further which the apostles had imposed on me.” Inappropriately, for the idea of any other matters imposed was already excluded by the previous account. Schott proposes to take as διʼ ὅ (see on Acts 26:16), but the assumption of this poetical use cannot be justified except by a necessity such as is presented to us in the N.T. only at Acts 26:16. Still more easily might αὐτὸ τοῦτο be explained (Poppo, ad Xen. Cyrop. iv. 1. 21; Matthiae, p. 1041; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Symp. p. 204 A) as on that very account (2 Peter 1:5; Xen. Anab. i. 9. 21). But in that case would so naturally take up what preceded, that there would be no reason why Paul should have brought on that very account so prominently forward. It would rather have the appearance of suggesting that, if it had not been for the agreement in question, Paul would not have cared for the poor.

We have no historical vouchers for the truth of ὃ καὶ ἐσπούδασα κ.τ.λ.; for the conveyance of the contributions in Acts 11 took place earlier than our journey; and the collection mentioned 1 Corinthians 16., 2 Corinthians 8 f., Romans 15:27, comp. Acts 21:17 f., Acts 24:17, occurred after the composition of our epistle. But who would be inclined to doubt that assurance? Looking at the more or less fragmentary accounts in Acts and the Pauline epistles, who knows how often Paul may have sent pecuniary assistance to Palestine? as indeed he may have brought the like with him on occasion of his own journey, Acts 18:20-22. It has, however, been wrongly asserted that, by means of this obligation in respect to the poor, a connection was intended to be maintained between the Gentile churches and the primitive church, and that at the bottom of it lay the wish to bring over the preliminarily converted Gentiles gradually more and more to the principles and the mode of life of the primitive church (Hilgenfeld, in his Zeitschr. 1860, p. 141). This is an insinuation derived from mere fancy.

[82] Tertullian (de praescr. 23) already gives the right view: “inter se distributionem officii ordinaverant, non separationem evangelii, nec ut aliud alter, sed ut aliis alter praedicarent.”

Galatians 2:10. μόνονἵνα. A verb must be supplied out of δεξιὰς ἔδωκαν expressive of the pledge that the other Apostles exacted from Barnabas and Paul. τῶν πτωχῶν. These words are displaced from their grammatical position after μνημονεύωμεν in order to lay stress upon the poor being the central object of the appeal. Judæa suffered often from famine in apostolic times, and Christians were probably the worst sufferers owing to religious ill-will and social persecution. This passage implies chronic poverty. So also does the history of the Pauline contribution, which was not an effort to meet a special emergency, for it took more than a year to collect, but a fund organised to meet a permanent demand for systematic help.—. The addition of τοῦτο after αὐτό shows that is not the object of ποιῆσαι, but is used with adverbial force for a connecting particle, as in Galatians 1:7, as for which.—καὶ ἐσπούδασα: not I also, for this would require καὶ ἐγώ in the Greek text. The force of καί is to intensify the following verb. I was not only willing, but was indeed zealous to do so.

10. One reservation was made which was in accordance with my own earnest desire.

the poor] In the department of almsgiving no distinction was to be made. On two recorded occasions, St Paul conveyed alms from the Gentiles to the poor saints in Jerusalem, Acts 10:29-30; 1 Corinthians 16:3. He was not afraid of being charged with resorting to bribery for gaining converts—a justification, if any be needed, of the action of Missionary Societies in modern times. Our Lord Himself had set the example.

Galatians 2:10. Τῶν πτωχῶν, the poor) From among the Jews.—μνημονεύωμεν, we should remember) The antecedent for the consequent; for Paul was forward, not only to remember, but to assist.—ἐσπούδασα, I was forward [anxious, zealous]) even among the Galatians, 1 Corinthians 16:1. Paul did not cast away his zeal for good works.[10]

[10] Though denying justification by them.—ED.

Verse 10. - Only they would that we should remember the poor (μόνον τῶν πτωχῶν ἵνα μνημονεύωμεν); only, that we should be mindful of the poor, or perhaps, their poor; for the clause must be understood subjectively, as referred to the standpoint of those who" gave us the right hands of fellowship." (For the order of the words in the Greek, comp. 2 Corinthians 2:4; John 13:29.) If there is the ellipsis of any participle at all which needs to be supplied, which many critics suppose, though Meyer not unplausibly thinks otherwise, perhaps "stipulating" presents itself more readily than either "willing" or "requesting;" for this ἵνα depends as much upon the δεξίας ἔδωκαν as the preceding ἵνα does, and therefore seems to introduce something as much as that a part of the compact. What the apostle means is this: "In one respect only did this mutual compact of equal brotherly partnership leave us who were ministers of the Gentiles unfree in relation to the circumcision and their ministers; we consented to allow ourselves bound to be mindful of the duty of helping their poor. In all other respects, we were to still pursue the same plan of evangelization as we had been pursuing, with no modification of either our doctrine or Church practice; with no such modification, for example, as these false brethren were clamouring for." St. Paul's methods of work thus received the full sanction of the "pillars," being recognized by them as standing on the same level of truth and heavenly guidance as their own. The same which I also was forward to do (ο{ καὶ ἐσπούδασα αὐτὸ τοῦτο ποιῆσαι); the very thing this which I was even of myself zealous to do. The as; makes prominent the notion of intense earnestness, which St. Paul is wont to express in the use of σπουδάζω, as well as of σπουδὴ and σπουδαῖος. He did not merely consent to bear in mind the poor of Judaea; apart from such stipulation, apart from regard to any request of James, Cephas, and John, it was a matter which of himself he regarded as one of very great importance, demanding his most earnest attention. The especial force of this verb ἐσπούδασα is evinced by Ephesians 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Timothy 2:15; and especially by 2 Corinthians 8:16, 17, in which the frame of mind it expresses is distinguished, as here, from that of mere willingness to consent to another person's request. The principal reason for making this matter so prominent lay, no doubt, in the great distress prevailing amongst the poor in Judaea, justifying the application of the principle stated in 2 Corinthians 8:14, 15 (see Stanley's note on 1 Corinthians 16:1). But we can hardly err in supposing that, as a subsidiary motive, both the leaders of the Jewish Church and St. Paul himself were greatly influenced by the consideration that such practical manifestation of Christian sympathy would both evince, and help to cement, the unity with each other of the Jewish and Gentile Churches. It was this organic unity which constituted the obligation of rendering such assistance (comp. Romans 15:27 with Romans 11:17, 18). How perseveringly and how earnestly the apostle strove to aid the poor of the Jewish Churches both before and after the conference here spoken of, is seen in Acts 11:29, 30; 1 Corinthians 16:1 (where reference is made to collections in Galatia); 2 Corinthians 8, 9; Romans 15:25-27; Acts 24:17. Since in this last cited passage it is only incidentally that St. Luke is led to mention the collection which St. Paul brought with him in that journey of his to Jerusalem recorded in Acts 21:17, it is quite supposable that he brought collections with him also in that former visit merely glanced at in Acts 18:23. We may surmise that St. Paul has a special purpose in mentioning to the Galatians this particular item of that important compact. In his First Epistle to the Corinthians, written at no long interval whether before or after the sending of this letter, he tells them (1 Corinthians 16:1) that he had given order to the Churches of Galatia respecting the manner in which they should collect for this object. It seems the more probable supposition that those directions were not given until this letter had had the happy effect of restoring better relations between himself and them than he was able at present to reckon upon. Meanwhile, however, this historical reference would serve to prepare them in some measure for the appeal, when he should think it prudent to make it (cf. Introduction, pp. 16-18.). It is well to observe, in reference to this whole passage (vers. 6-10), the extent to which the apostle goes in identifying Barnabas's position with his own. Barnabas had laboured with himself as evangelizing "apostle" sent forth with himself from the Antiochian Church, and both before and. after that missionary journey in the neighbourhood of Antioch itself. Accordingly he tells his readers that the "pillars" had without qualification recognized the work of them both and had fraternally greeted their further prosecution of it. But it is of himself alone that he speaks when he contrasts Cephas's apostleship of the circumcision with his own apostleship (for this is implied) to the Gentiles. The reason for this is that Barnabas was not an apostle in that other higher sense of the term in which Cephas and himself were (see Introduction, Dissertation I.). Again, when mentioning the stipulation which the "pillars" made, that we should be mindful of their poor, he does not add, "the very thing this which we were of ourselves resolved to do," but makes the observation with reference to himself only. This is explained by the unhappy rupture which St. Luke tells of as so soon after occurring between them - which account of St. Luke's finds thus here a latent confirmation. What we otherwise know of Barnabas's character leaves no room to doubt but that he too zealously set himself to carry out the stipulation in that separate sphere of work among Gentiles which, after the rupture, he engaged in. But this is no longer St. Paul's business, while relating facts falling under his own cognizance. And this consideration throws light upon the time of the action expressed by the aorist ἐσπούδασα: it does not mean, "I had already before been forward to do so;" for then he would not have left out Barnabas; but, "thenceforward in my whole subsequent career I zealously made it my business," the aorist embracing the whole in one view. Further, our attention is arrested by the extreme importance and the pregnant significance of the incident here related. Here was one who, neither directly nor indirectly, owed to those who had been previously sent forth by Heaven as teachers of the gospel, either his conversion, or his knowledge of the Christian doctrine, or his mission to preach; but had nevertheless gone forth proclaiming what he affirmed to be Christ's gospel communicated to him by Divine revelation, gathering disciples to be baptized into Christ, and combining such disciples into Churches. In what relation did this doctrine of Paul and the Church organizations which he was setting on foot in the Gentile world stand to the doctrine of the twelve and to the Church organizations framed by them in connection therewith at Jerusalem and in Judaea? These last were assumed to be from heaven; were those more recent phenomena, of doctrines taught and societies formed by Paul, in harmony with the previous ones? Unquestionably and glaringly there were important differences between the external religious life of the twelve and the Jewish believers, and the external religious life which Paul taught the Gentile Churches to adopt. The twelve and the Jewish Christians in general still practised in their daily life the usages of Mosaism, blending the use of such outward forms and ceremonies as appertained to Christian discipleship with those older habits of life preserved intact; in the Gentile Church as moulded by Paul the usages of Mosaism were altogether wanting. Was the seal of Heaven to be recognized as affixed to the Pauline doctrine and the Pauline Church life, as certainly as it was seen to be affixed to the doctrine of the twelve and the Judaeo-Christian Church life? Yes. The verdict of the great leaders of the Jewish Church decided for the full recognition of the Pauline doctrine and the Pauline Church life as in root and essence identical with their own, and as equally with their own derived from heaven. It was a decision come to in the teeth of intense and deeply ingrained prejudices prompting to the adoption of a different conclusion; and must have been due to overpowering evidence leaving them no alternative, seconded we may believe by the secret swaying of their souls by the Holy Ghost. We cannot help reflecting

(1) how disastrous the effects would have been of a decision of another kind;

(2) how remarkably is here illustrated the essential oneness of the Christian life amidst most extreme diversity in its outward manifestation; and

(3) what a strong attestation is afforded to the certain truth of the gospel, revealed to the world through two wholly distinct channels of communication, which yet concurred in delivering what was in reality one and the same message. Galatians 2:10


With only this stipulation.

We should remember (μνημονεύωμεν)

The only instance in N.T. of this verb in the sense of beneficent care. No instance in lxx. In Psalm 9:12, there is the thought but not the word.

The poor (τῶν πτωχῶν)

The poor Christians of Palestine. Comp. Acts 24:17; Romans 15:26, Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 16:3; 2 Corinthians 9:1. For the word, see on Matthew 5:3. In lxx ordinarily of those who are oppressors, or of those who are quiet in contrast with the lawless.

The same which (ὃ - αὐτὸ τοῦτο)

Lit. which, this very thing. The expression is peculiarly emphatic, and brings out the contrast between Judaising hostility and Paul's spirit of loving zeal. Rev. which very thing.

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