Galatians 2:4
And that because of false brothers unawares brought in, who came in privately to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
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(4) And that because of . . .—The sense is here, in any case, broken and imperfect. It seems, on the whole, best to supply the missing clause thus: “But (or, though) on account of false brethren . . . [I was urged to have him circumcised].” The leaders of the Church at Jerusalem took the ground, not of insisting upon circumcision as a necessity, but rather advising it as a matter of policy, to allay the ill feeling excited against St. Paul by designing men, traitors in the camp, who, though Christians in name, were Jews at heart. Many commentators, however, adopt the rendering of the Authorised version: “And that because of false (or rather, the false) brethren,” understanding that he was not compelled to be circumcised. The reason why Titus was not circumcised was the evidently interested and treacherous motives of the Judaising partisans who clamoured for it.

Unawares brought in, who came in privily.—These two words correspond to each other in the Greek, and bring out in a graphic and forcible way the insidious and designing character of the party most violently opposed to St. Paul. Professing to be Christians, they were really Jews of the narrowest sort, who only entered into the Church to spy into and restrict its liberties.

Which we have in Christ Jesus.—The Christian Church is the Messianic kingdom, which derives all its attributes directly from its Head. If it is free, Christ has won for it its freedom, by relieving it from the burden of the Law, by abolishing race distinctions, and offering all the Messianic privileges to those who through faith are united to Him.

Bring us into bondage.—The “bondage” is, in the first instance, that of the Mosaic law, and through it the personal domination of the Jewish partisans.

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.And that because of false brethren - Who these false brethren were is not certainly known, nor is it known whether he refers to those who were at Jerusalem or to those who were at Antioch. It is probable that he refers to Judaizing Christians, or persons who claimed to be Christians and to have been converted from Judaism. Whether they were dissemblers and hypocrites, or whether they were so imperfectly acquainted with Christianity, and so obstinate, opinionated, and perverse, though really in some respects good men, that they were conscientious in this, it is not easy to determine. It is clear, however, that they opposed the apostle Paul; that they regarded him as teaching dangerous doctrines; that they perverted and misstated his views; and that they claimed to have clearer views of the nature of the true religion than he had. Paul met such adversaries everywhere 2 Corinthians 11:26; and it required all his tact and skill to meet their plausible representations.

It is evident here that Paul is assigning a reason for something which he had done, and that reason was to counteract the influence of the "false brethren" in the case. But what is the thing concerning which he assigns a reason? It is commonly supposed to have been on account of the fact that he did not submit to the circumcision of Titus, and that he means to say that he resisted that in order to counteract their influence and to defeat their designs. But I would submit whether Galatians 2:3 is not to be regarded as a parenthesis, and whether the fact for which he assigns a reason is not that he sought a private interview with the leading men among the apostles? Galatians 2:2. The reason of his doing that would be obvious. In this way he could more easily counteract the influence of the false brethren. He could make a full statement of his doctrines. He could meet their inquiries, and anticipate the objections of his enemies. He could thus secure the influence of the leading apostles in his favor, and effectually prevent all the efforts of the false brethren to impose the Jewish rites on Gentile converts.

Unawares brought in - The word rendered "unawares" (παρεισάκτους pareisaktous) is derived from a verb meaning to lead in by the side of others, to introduce along with others; and then to lead or bring in by stealth, to smuggle in - Robinson, Lexicon. The verb occurs nowhere in the New Testament but in 2 Peter 2:1, where it is applied to heresies, and is rendered "Who privily shall bring in." Here it refers probably to men who had been artfully introduced into the ministry, who made pretensions to piety, but who were either strangers to it, or who were greatly ignorant of the true nature of the Christian system; and who were disposed to take every advantage, and to impose on others the observance of the special rites of the Mosaic economy. Into what they were brought, the apostle does not say. It may have been that they had been introduced into the ministry in this manner (Doddridge); or it may be that they were introduced into the "assembly" where the apostles were collected to deliberate on the subject - Chandler. I think it probable that Paul refers to the occurrences in Jerusalem, and that these false brethren had been introduced from Antioch or some other place where Paul had been preaching, or that they were persons whom his adversaries had introduced to demand that Titus should be circumcised, under the plausible pretence that the laws of Moses required it, but really in order that there might be such proof as they desired that this rite was to be imposed upon the Gentile converts. If Paul were compelled to submit to this; if they could carry this point, it would be just such an instance as they needed, and would settle the whole inquiry, and prove that the Mosaic laws were to be imposed upon the Gentile converts. This was the reason why Paul so strenuously opposed it.

To spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus - In the practice of the Christian religion. The liberty referred to was, doubtless, the liberty from the painful, expensive, and onerous rites of the Jewish religion; see Galatians 5:1. Their object in spying out the liberty which Paul and others had, was, undoubtedly, to be witnesses of the fact that they did not observe the special rites of the Mosaic system; to make report of it; to insist upon their complying with those customs, and thus to secure the imposition of those rites on the Gentile converts. Their first object was to satisfy themselves of the fact that Paul did not insist on the observance of their customs; and then to secure, by the authority of the apostles, an injunction or order that Titus should be circumcised, and that Paul and the converts made under his ministry should be required to comply with those laws.

That they might bring us into bondage - Into bondage to the laws of Moses; see the note at Acts 15:10.

4. And that—that is, What I did concerning Titus (namely, by not permitting him to be circumcised) was not from contempt of circumcision, but "on account of the false brethren" (Ac 15:1, 24) who, had I yielded to the demand for his being circumcised, would have perverted the case into a proof that I deemed circumcision necessary.

unawares—"in an underhand manner brought in."


to spy out—as foes in the guise of friends, wishing to destroy and rob us of

our liberty—from the yoke of the ceremonial law. If they had found that we circumcised Titus through fear of the apostles, they would have made that a ground for insisting on imposing the legal yoke on the Gentiles.

bring us into bondage—The Greek future implies the certainty and continuance of the bondage as the result.

He gives the reason why circumcision was not urged upon Titus, viz. because there were some got into that meeting, where Paul debated these things with the apostles that were at Jerusalem, who, though they had embraced the Christian religion, (and upon that account were brethren), yet were soured with the Jewish leaven, and were very zealous for all Christians to observe the Jewish rites of circumcision, &c.; upon which account it is that he calleth them

false brethren. These (he saith)

came in privily, to spy out that

liberty which all Christians had, and Paul had preached and used, as to these Jewish ceremonies; who, could they have obtained to have had Titus circumcised, they had had a great advantage to have defamed Paul, as teaching one thing to the Gentile churches, and practising the contrary when he came to Jerusalem to the apostles, and amongst the Jews. And this being a liberty which he and all Christians had, in and from Jesus Christ, he would not part with it, for they aimed at nothing but the bringing of Christians again under the bondage of the ceremonial law. Some may say: It being a thing wherein Christians had a liberty, why did not St. Paul yield to avoid their offence; becoming all things to all men to gain some?

Answer. In the use of our liberty, all circumstances are to be considered, as well as that of scandal and offence. The valuable opposite circumstance in this case, seems to be the validity and success of the apostle’s ministry, the efficacy of which would have been much weakened, if his enemies had from hence gained an advantage to represent him, as doing one thing in one place and the quite contrary in another. Besides, though at this time the use or not use of the ceremonial rites, by the Jews, was a matter of liberty, by reason of God’s indulgence to them for the prejudices of their education, yet whether they were at all so to the Gentile churches, may be doubted: see Galatians 5:2,3. Further yet, these brethren urged the observation of these rites, as necessary to salvation, (as appears from Acts 15:1), for they were of the sect of the Pharisees, Galatians 2:5. And to use them under that notion, was no matter of liberty. And that because of false brethren,.... This is the reason why the elders did not insist upon the circumcision of Titus, why he did not submit to it, and why the apostle would not admit of it: had it been left as a thing indifferent, or had it been moved for in order to satisfy some weak minds, it might have been complied with, as in the case of Timothy; but these men insisted upon it as necessary to salvation; they were sly, artful, designing men; could they have gained their point in such an instance; could they have got such a precedent at such a time, when this matter was canvassing, they would have made great use of it in the Gentile churches, for which reason it was by no means judged proper and expedient. These men are described as "false brethren": they had the name, but not the grace, which entitles to the character of "brethren"; they called themselves Christians, but were in reality Jews: at the head of these, Cerinthus, that arch-heretic, is said (b) to be. They are further described as such,

who were unawares brought in, who came in privily; into the churches, and into the ministry, into private houses, where the apostles were; or rather into the public synod, where they were convened together about this article of the necessity of circumcision to salvation. Their views, aims, and ends were,

to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus; by which is meant, not a liberty to sin, which is no Christian liberty, is contrary to Christ, to the Spirit of Christ, to the principle of grace in believers, and to the doctrines of the Gospel; but a liberty from sin; not the being of it, but the dominion and damning power of it: that branch of Christian liberty the apostle here chiefly designs is a freedom from the law, both the moral law, as in the hands of Moses, and as a covenant of works, though not from obedience to it as in the hands of Christ, and as a rule of walk and conversation; but from obeying it, in order to obtain life, righteousness, and salvation by it, and from the curse and condemnation of it; and chiefly the ceremonial law, circumcision, and all the other rituals of it, and the free use of all things indifferent, provided the glory of God, and the peace of weak believers, are secured. This liberty is said to be had "in Christ", because Christ is the author of it; it is that with which Christ makes his people free; and such as are made free by him, are free indeed; and is what they come to enjoy by being in him; for by having union to him, they come to partake of all the blessings of grace which come by him, and this among the rest. Now the design of these false teachers getting in privily among the apostles, elders, and brethren, was to make their remarks upon this liberty, to object to it, and, if possible, to break in upon it, and destroy it, and so gain another point, which follows:

that they might bring us into bondage; to the moral law, by directing souls to seek for justification and salvation by the works of it, which necessarily induces a spirit of bondage, genders to a state of bondage and involves in it; and to the ceremonial law, by engaging to an observance of circumcision, that yoke of bondage, and of day, months, times, and years, and other beggarly elements, which naturally lead on to such a state.

(b) Epiphan. contr. Haeres. l. 1. Tom. 2. Haeres. 28.

And that because of {b} false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

(b) Who by deceit and counterfeit holiness crept in among the faithful.


Galatians 2:4 f. The motive, why the demand of circumcision made as to Titus was not complied with by Paul, Barnabas, and Titus (comp. εἴξαμεν, Galatians 2:5). It was refused on account of the false brethren, to whom concession would otherwise have been made in a way conducive to their designs against Christian freedom.

διὰ δὲ τοὺς παρεισάκτους ψευδαδέλφους] sc. οὐκ ἠναγκάσθη περιτμηθῆναι.[65] These words, however, are not, properly speaking, to be supplied; in διὰ δὲ τ. π. ψ. they receive their more precise definition, made specially prominent by ΔΈ, autem: on account, however, of the false brethren. Though Paul might have subjoined this immediately without δέ, he inserts the ΔΈ not superfluously (Jerome, Theodoret, Theophylact), but on account of the important bearing of the matter on his argument. The case is similar when a more precise definition is made prominent by ΔΈ, the same word being repeated, as in Galatians 2:2. So, in substance, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Augustine, Camerarius, Erasmus, Castalio, Piscator, Bos, Calovius, Estius, Bengel, and others; more recently, Schott, Fritzsche, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Ellicott, Reithmayr; also Matthies, who, however, so explains the passage that we should rather expect it to run, ΔΙᾺ ΔῈ ΤῶΝ ΠΑΡΕΙΣΆΚΤΩΝ ΨΕΥΔΑΔΈΛΦΩΝ. On ΔΈ Bengel justly remarks, “declarat et intendit,” as in fact ΔΈ is often used by classical authors for giving prominence to an explanatory addition in which the previous verb is of course again understood (Klotz, ad Devar. p. 359). As to the matter itself, observe how Paul under other circumstances, where there was no dogmatic requirement of opponents brought into play, could bring himself to allow circumcision; see Acts 16:3. Consequently after Galatians 2:3 a comma only is to be placed, not a full stop, or even a colon (Lachmann, Tischendorf). Others, as Zachariae, Storr, Borger, Flatt, Hermann, Matthias, supply ἀνέβην, which, however, after Galatians 2:3, could not possibly occur to the mind of a reader.[66] Rinck, Lucubr. crit. p. 170 f. (so previously Grotius, and recently Wieseler), assumes an anacoluthon,—that οὐκ εἴξαμεν was intended to follow on ΔΙᾺ ΔῈ ΤΟῪς ΠΑΡΕΙΣΆΚΤ. ΨΕΥΔΑΔΈΛΦ., but that Paul had been led off by the long parenthesis and had then added ΟἿς. Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 329 f., leaves the choice to be made between this view and ours. But if Paul had intended to write, on account of the false brethren we have not yielded, he would not in doing so have represented the false brethren as those to whom he had not yielded; by using οἷς he would thus have altered[67] the sense of what he had begun to say, and would simply have occasioned perplexity by the mixture of on account of and to whom. But there is no need to resort at all to an anacoluthon when, as here, what immediately precedes presents itself to complete the sense. This remark holds good also against Winer, p. 529 [E. T. 711], who (comp. Hilgenfeld) assumes that Paul mixed up the two thoughts: “We did not have Titus circumcised on account of the false brethren;” and, “I might nowise yield to the false brethren.” Hofmann (comp. his Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 46) also produces an unnecessary anacoluthic derangement of the sentence, by supposing that a new sentence begins with διὰ δὲ παρεισάκτ. ψευδ., but that the relative definition ΟἽΤΙΝΕς Κ.Τ.Λ. does not allow it to be completed; that, in fact, this completion does not take place at all, but with Galatians 2:6 a new period is begun, attached to what immediately precedes. Following the example of Tertullian, c. Marc. v. 8, Ambrose, Pelagius, and Primasius (opposed by Jerome), Rückert, who is followed by Elwert, supplements the passage as follows: “But on account of the false brethren I withal allowed Titus to be circumcised” (consequently περιετμήθη). According to his view, this is the course of thought in the passage: “Even Titus was at that time not forced to be circumcised; there was not, and could not be, any question of compulsion; but because I saw that there were false brethren, whose sole endeavour was to discover a vulnerable point in us, I considered it advisable to give them no occasion (?), and had Titus circumcised. Nevertheless, to yield out of obedience to them, and to acknowledge a necessity in respect to all Gentiles, never occurred to me for a moment,” etc. Against this view it may be decisively urged, first, that in Galatians 2:3 the emphasis is laid on Τίτος and not on ἨΝΑΓΚΆΣΘΗ, and in Galatians 2:5 on ΠΡῸς ὭΡΑΝ and not on Τῇ ὙΠΟΤΑΓῇ; secondly, that the idea of “acknowledging a necessity in respect to all Gentile Christians” is not even hinted at by any word of Paul; and thirdly, the general consideration that a point so important and so debateable as the (alleged) permission of the circumcision of Titus would have been, would have needed, especially before the Galatians (comp. Galatians 5:2), a very different elucidation and vindication from one so enigmatically involved, in which the chief ideas could only be read between the lines. But such a compliance itself shown towards false brethren,—not for the sake, possibly, of some weak brethren, who are imported into the case by Elwert, nor on account of the Jews, as in the circumcision of Timothy (Acts 16:3),—would have been quite unprincipled and wrong. Very near to the interpretation of Rückert comes that of Reiche, who places the (supposed) circumcision of Titus not at the time then being and at Jerusalem, but at an earlier period, at which it took place either in Antioch or elsewhere: “At vero … ut rem aliam hic interponam, Galatians 2:3-6 (nam Galatians 2:6 oratio ad apostolos redit), Titi nimirum circumcisionem, quam quis forte modo dictis Galatians 2:2 opponat, quasi apostolorum aliorumve auctoritate vel jussu fecerim, aut ipse circumcisionem legisque observationem necessariam duxerim 6 f. parum mihi constans, sufficiat monuisse:—nec Titus ille comes meus et adjutor, Graecus natus, minime est coactus circumcidi a me vel a quocunque; propter falsos autem fratres, qui tum nos speculabantur, quomodo immunitate a lege Mos. a Christo nobis parta uteremur, eo consilio, ut denuo nos sub legis servitium redigerent … propter hos dico Titus ritum hunc externum … suscepit volens, ut istis calumniandi nocendique ansa et materies praeripiatur,” etc. But against this view may be urged partly the arguments already used against Rückert, and in addition the arbitrary procedure involved in shifting Galatians 2:3-6 to an earlier time; although Τίτος ὁ σὺν ἑμοί, evidently referring back to ΣΥΜΠΑΡΑΛΑΒῺΝ ΚΑῚ ΤΊΤΟΝ in Galatians 2:1, precludes our taking this event out of the course of the narrative begun in Galatians 2:1. Moreover, ΠΕΡΙΕΤΜΉΘΗ as supplied by Reiche cannot be invested with the sense “liber et volens circumcisionem suscepit,”—a sense which, for the very sake of the contrast, since the emphasis lies on liber et volens, would need to be expressed (by ἐθελοντὴν περιετμήθη or the like). Lastly, an un-Pauline compliance[68] would be the result of the sense which would follow from the omission of οἷς οὐδέ in Galatians 2:5 (see the critical notes): “But on account of the false brethren … I gave way momentarily and caused Titus to be circumcised,” to which also the sentence of purpose which follows, ἽΝΑ Ἡ ἈΛΉΘΕΙΑ Κ.Τ.Λ., would be utterly unsuitable; for, according to the point of view of our epistle, the “truth of the gospel” could only continue with the Galatians if such a compliance did not take place.

παρεισάκτους] subintroductos (Vulgate), brought in by the side, that is, privily and illegitimately,—namely, into the association of Christian brotherhood, of which they are not at all true members. See the note after Galatians 2:5. The word does not occur elsewhere in ancient authors (Prol. Sir. in Biel, III. p. 43, and Schleusner, IV. p. 228, πρόλογος παρείσακτος ἀδήλου); but it must have been employed on several occasions, as ΠΑΡΕΊΣΑΚΤΟΝ is quoted by Hesychius, Photius, Suidas, and ΠΑΡΕΙΣΆΚΤΟΥς by Zonaras, being explained by ἈΛΛΌΤΡΙΟΝ and ἈΛΛΟΤΡΊΟΥς. The word has also been preserved as a name (by-name) in Strabo, xvii. 1, p. 794, Παρείσακτος ἐπικληθεὶς Πτολεμαῖος. The verb ΠΑΡΕΙΣΆΓΩ is very current in later authors (Plut. Mor. p. 328 D; Polyb. ii. 7. 8, vi. 56. 12; Diod. xii. 41; 2 Peter 2:1). Comp. παρεισέδυσαν, Judges 1:4.

ΨΕΥΔΑΔΈΛΦΟΥς] as in 2 Corinthians 11:26, persons who were Christians indeed, but were not so according to the true nature of Christianity—from the apostle’s standpoint, anti-Pauline, Judaizing reactionaries against Christian freedom. The article points out that these people were historically known to the readers, Acts 15:1; Acts 15:5.

οἵτινες κ.τ.λ.] quippe qui, contains the explanation as to the dangerous character of these persons, by which the διὰ δὲ τ. π. ψ. is justified.

ΠΑΡΕΙΣῆΛΘΟΝ] Comp. Lucian, Asin. 15, εἰ λύκος παρεισέλθοι; Polyb. ii. 55. 3. The idea of being smuggled in (which is denied by Hofmann) is here accordant with the context, and indicated purposely by the twice-repeated παρεις. Comp. generally on Romans 5:20, and see Chrysostom on our passage.

ΚΑΤΑΣΚΟΠῆΣΑΙ] in order to spy out, hostilely to reconnoitre, to watch. Comp. Joshua 2:2-3; 2 Samuel 10:3; 1 Chronicles 19:3; Eur. Hel. 1623; Polyb. 10:2; also κατάσκοπος, a spy.

ἥν ἔχομεν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησ.] a more precise definition of the preceding ἩΜῶΝ. Comp. Ephesians 2:4 et al. This freedom is, as may be gathered from the entire context, nothing else than the freedom from Mosaism (Romans 10:4) through justification by faith. Comp. Galatians 3:13, Galatians 5:1. Matthies introduces also the Christian life, but without warrant; the spying of the pseudo-Christians was directed to the point, whether and to what extent the Christians did not conform to the enactments of the Mosaic law. Ἐν Χριστῷ implies as its basis the solemn idea of the ἘΝ ΧΡΙΣΤῷ ΕἾΝΑΙ (Galatians 5:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 3:6, et al. Comp. Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 3:12). Hence: in Christ, as our element of life by means of faith (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:17), as Christians.

ἵνα ἡμᾶς καταδουλώσουσιν[69]] is the dangerous design which they had in view in their κατασκοπῆσαι. Ἡμᾶς applies, as before, to the Christians as such, not merely to Paul and Titus (Winer, de Wette), or to Paul and the Gentile Christians (Baur); for it must be the wider category of those to whom, as the genus, the ὑμεῖς in Galatians 2:5 belong as the species. We must also notice ΔΙΑΜΕΊΝῌ in Galatians 2:5, which is correlative to the ἜΧΟΜΕΝ in Galatians 2:4. The future after ἵνα indicates, that the false brethren expected their success to be certain and enduring. See Matthiae, p. 1186; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 683; Rost, ad Duncan. Lex. p. 870. In classical authors we find only ὅπως, ὄφρα, and μή thus construed, and not ἵνα, as Brunck, ad Eur. Bacch. 1380, supposed (Klotz, ad Devar. p. 629), but in the Hellenists and Fathers ἵνα also. Comp. Winer, p. 271 [E. T. 361]; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 202. ΚΑΤΆ strengthens the idea of the simple verb: to make us wholly slaves (of Mosaism), to enslave us. Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:20; Plat. Pol. i. p. 315 B, δουλοῦσθαι ἀδίκως καὶ καταδεδουλῶσθαι: Thuc. iii. 70. 2, and Duker in loc. The mode in which the apostle looks at these people does not confound the result with the intention (de Wette); it represents the latter correctly according to the fact (they desire to bind the Christians to the law), but in the form which it assumed from the Pauline point of view. Comp. Galatians 2:4. The narrative returns here, after the parenthetical reference to Titus, to the subject of Galatians 2:1-2, and the verb ἀνέβην, already repeated in Galatians 2:2, must here also be supplied to complete the sense: But it was because of the false brethren privily brought in that I went up, men who came in.… The addition of the article, rightly inserted by the Revised Version before false brethren, shows that they were a particular body of convicted offenders against Christ, of whose guilt the Galatians had been already informed. The force of παρεισάκτους is well illustrated by Strabo. xvii., p. 794, where it denotes the treacherous introduction of foreign enemies into a city by a faction within the walls. In the next clause παρεισῆλθον describes the stealthy entrance of these secret foes; κατασκοπῆσαι marks their hostile intent, and likens them to spies who are bent on discovering to an enemy the weak points in a military position: the freedom of the Greek Churches in Christ is further declared to be the object of their hostility. This description brings the Epistle into close touch with the Acts: for it is there stated that Paul and Barnabas were driven to go up to Jerusalem by the factious opposition of certain foreign emissaries from Judæa who attacked the freedom of the Greek converts from circumcision and disturbed the peace of the Church; also that these men were altogether repudiated and condemned at Jerusalem by the Apostles and brethren, and finally that the document embracing this sentence of condemnation had been placed by Paul himself in the hands of the Galatians. There can be no doubt, in view of this close correspondence, that the false brethren whom the Epistle denounces are identical with the Pharisaic emissaries who stirred up strife at Antioch.—καταδουλώσουσιν. All the best MSS. agree in reading this future indicative instead of the subjunctive after ἵνα; possibly the author meant to express thereby the assured hope of success, and not merely the intention of the conspirators.4. and that, because] Better, but only, because. The pressure would not have been put upon us, had it not been for false brethren, &c.

false brethren] Rather, ‘pretended’. Venn.

unawares brought in] Rather, ‘insidiously brought in’.

our freedom] Liberty (not license) is the watchword of the Gospel. The truth alone—the truth as it is in Jesus makes man free—free alike from the bondage of the law and the slavery of sin.

bring us into bondage] A strong expression = ‘utterly enslave us’. For the thought, ever uppermost in St Paul’s mind when writing this Epistle, comp. ch. Galatians 4:21 to Galatians 5:1.Galatians 2:4. Διὰ δὲ) But this matter concerning Titus happened on account of, etc.—δὲ, but [Engl. Vers. And that] is here a particle explanatory and intensive.—παρεισάκτους) παρὰ here and in παρεισῆλθον, denotes by the way, stealthily, underhand.—ψευδαδέλφους, false brethren) He had shown greater respect to those, who were professed Jews, as in the case of Timothy, Acts 16:3.—οἵτινες, who) Comp. Acts 15:1; Acts 15:24.—κατασκοπῆσαι) to spy out, and destroy.Verse 4. - And that because of false brethren unawares brought in (διὰ δὲ τοὺς παρεισάκτους ψευδαδέλφους); and that because of the false brethren without warrant brought in. The conjunction δὲ often is not adversative, but only introduces a fresh thought of a qualifying or explanatory character (comp. ἀνέβην δὲ and κατ ἰδίαμ δὲ of ver. 2). The rendering of our English Version represents the connection with the preceding sentence quite correctly. The designation, "false brethren," after the analogy of "false apostles," "false prophets" (ψευδαπόστολοι, ψευδοπροφῆται, 2 Corinthians 11:13; 2 Peter 2:1), were those who were not really brethren in Christ, but had superinduced the profession of such over a state of mind radically incompatible with it; not children of God through faith in Christ Jesus," but only simulating faith in Christ; outwardly "baptized into Christ," but not inwardly, and therefore not really. The loud demand which those false brethren were making, that all Gentile converts should be circumcised, was distinctly rested by them upon the principle that otherwise those converts were not qualified for sonship in God's family or for admission to Church fellowship with, at any rate, the believing circumcision. This demand of theirs, made upon this pernicious principle, it was that had raised the present controversy, and had brought Paul and his fellow-deputies to Jerusalem. If, under such circumstances, Titus, with St. Paul's concurrence, had consented to be circumcised, then, whatever the motive of his consenting, it would have seemed to those false brethren, and not to them only, but indeed to the Church at large, that all had agreed in recognizing the soundness of that principle of theirs that circumcision was indispensable for perfect Divine acceptance. This consideration, we may believe, Titus and St. Paul now urged upon those who, not themselves alleging that principle, nor even allowing it to be true, yet, on other grounds, were recommending and pressing for Titus's circumcision. And the argument prevailed with them. They withdrew that pressure of theirs, and consented to leave Titus to stand there before the Church and the world, a claimant of full admission to all Christian fellowship while still in uncircumcision. It was those false brethren themselves, then, that made it impossible at the present juncture that those who held fast to the truth of the gospel should accept counsels of compromise or conciliation. In matters of indifference (ἀδιάφορα) there is a time for conciliation - this no one could ever be more ready to see and act upon than St. Paul; but there is also a time for the unbending assertion of truth, and the clamours of the false brethren made the present to be one of the latter kind. In that particular juncture of Church development, the doctrine itself of the absolute justification of men through faith in Christ was at stake. If Titus was not qualified for Christian fellowship by simply his faith in Christ, then neither was he qualified for acceptance with God by simply his faith. Without warrant brought in. In the compound verbal παρεισάκτους, the preposition παρὰ, appears to point, not so much to the manner in which they had been brought in, as e.g. stealthily, craftily, as to the circumstance that they had no business to be brought in at all; they were an alien brood. The Greek glosselogists, Hesychius, Photius, and Suidas, render it ἀλλότριος, i.e. alien. In 2 Peter 1:1, παρεισάξουσιν αἱρέσεις ἀπωλείας, reference is made to the alien character of the teaching spoken cf. The apostle's feeling is that men who do not accept the truth that through faith in Christ we are justified, and through faith only, have no proper place in the Church of Christ (comp. Galatians 5:4, 5). If the question be asked - Who brought them in? the parable of the tares suggests the answer - The devil (comp. 2 Corinthians 11:15; 2 Corinthians 2:11). Who came in privily (οἵτινες παρεισῆλθον); a set of men who without warrant came in. The preposition παρὰ in the verb has the same force as it has in παρεισάκτους. So also in παριεσέδυσαν (Jude 1:4). To spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus (κατασκοπῆσαι τὴν ἐλευθερίαν ἡμῶν η{ν ἔχομεν ἐν Ξριστῷ Ἰησοῦ); to spy out that liberty of ours which, etc. These men had come into the Church prepared to detect and to regard with the keenest dislike anything, either in doctrine or in Church action, which would infringe upon their own legalism, and to wage war upon it. For this notion of hostile intent is strongly suggested by the verb "to spy out" (cf. 2 Kings 10:3; 1 Chronicles 19:3; and κατασκοπεῦσαι in Joshua 2:2). The infinitive (of purpose), viewed in reference to the men themselves, can be understood only of their disposed-ness to make this use of their membership; for they can hardly be supposed to have entered into the Church for that definite object; but the apostle views them as emissaries of the great enemy; Satan's design thus to wage war with our gospel liberty (comp. 2 Corinthians 11:13, 15) is by a bold figure ascribed in this infinitive to his instruments. This liberty means the whole spirit of freedom which faith in Christ imparts to the Christian, including, for one thing, his emancipation from the yoke of ceremonialism, but containing also more. That they might bring us into bondage (ἵνα ἡμᾶς καταδουλῶσουσιν [Receptus, καταδουλώσωνται], The reading of six of the uncial manuscripts is καταδουλώσουσιν; of three, σωσιν; of one, -σωνται. The variation in the mood of the verb is immaterial; for the construction of ἵνα (of purpose) with an indicative, though strange to the eye of the student of classical Greek, is not foreign to the writers of the New Testament; but the variation in the voice affects the sense. Καταδουλώσωνται would mean "bring into bondage to themselves," which most probably is not the writer's meaning; he apparently means:rather, "deprive us of our liberty by enslaving us to the Law" (cf. ch. 4:25; 5:1). The simple verb δουλόω, occurs repeatedly; the compound καταδουλόω here and in 2 Corinthians 11:20, intensifies the sense: degrade us into slavery. The false brethren (τοὺς ψευδαδέλφους)

Only here and 2 Corinthians 11:26. Christians in name only; Judaisers; anti-Paulinists. The article marks them as a well known class.

Unawares brought in (παρεισάκτους)

N.T.o. Lit. brought in by the side, and so insidiously, illegally. Vulg. subintroductos. olxx. Strabo (xvii. 1) uses it as an epithet of Ptolemy, "the sneak." Comp. παρεισάξουσιν shall privily bring in, 2 Peter 2:1; and παρεισεδύησαν crept in privily, Jde 1:4. Brought in, not from Jerusalem into the church at Antioch, nor into the Pauline churches generally, but into the Christian brotherhood to which they did not rightfully belong.

Who (οἵτινες)

The double relative introduces the explanation of the two preceding epithets: false brethren, privily brought in, since they came in privily to spy out our liberty.

Came in privily (παρεισῆλθον)

Lit. came in beside. Only here and Romans 5:20, where it implies nothing evil or secret, but merely something subsidiary. The aorist has a pluperfect sense, indication the earlier intrusion of these persons into the Christian community.

To spy out (κατασκοπῆσαι)

N.T.o. In lxx, of spying out a territory, 2 Samuel 10:3; 1 Chronicles 19:3.

Liberty (ἐλευθερίαν)

Freedom from Mosaism through justification by faith.

Bring us into bondage (καταδουλώσουσιν)

Only here and 2 Corinthians 11:20. Bring us into subjection to Jewish ordinances. The compound verb indicates abject subjection.

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