Galatians 2:5
To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
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(5) To whomi.e., to the Jewish agitators, though probably not so much in their own persons as through the Apostles who advocated concession to their views.

We gave place.—St. Paul himself, with Barnabas and Titus.

By subjection.—By yielding to them the submission which they claimed of us.

No, not for an hour.—It is strange that the negative here and the relative at the beginning of the verse are wanting in some Latin authorities, including Irenæus and (partially, at least) Tertullian. This, however, is only interesting as pointing to a very early corruption of the text, and not for any bearing that it has on the exegesis of the passage.

The truth of the gospel.—The gospel in its true form, with all the liberty which its essential doctrine of justification by faith involves, not mutilated or restricted by any false conditions.

Might continue with you.—The words used in the Greek are expressive of undiminished continuance: “Might reach to you and persist among you in its full extent.”

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.To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour - We did not submit to this at all. We did not yield even for the shortest time. We did not waver in our opposition to their demands, or in the slightest degree become subject to their wishes. We steadily opposed their claims, in order that the great principle might be forever settled, that the laws of Moses were not to be imposed as obligatory on the Gentile converts. This I take to be the clear and obvious sense of this passage, though there has been a great variety of opinions on it. A considerable number of manuscripts omit the words οἵς οὐδὲ hois oude), "to whom neither" (see Mill, Koppe, and Griesbach), and then the sense would be reversed, that Paul did yield to them for or after a short time, in order that he might in this way better consult the permanent interests of the gospel. This opinion has been gaining ground for the last century, that the passage here has been corrupted; but it is by no means confirmed. The ancient versions (the Syriac, the Vulgate, and the Arabic) accord with the usual reading of the text. So also do by far the largest portion of mss., and such, it seems to me, is the sense demanded by the connection. Paul means, in the whole passage, to say, that a great principle was settled. That the question came up fairly whether the Mosaic rites were to be imposed upon Gentile converts. That false brethren were introduced who demanded it; and that he steadily maintained his ground. He did not yield a moment. He felt that a great principle was involved; and though on all proper occasions he was willing to yield and to become all things to all men, yet here he did not court them, or temporize with them in the least. The phrase "by subjection" here means, that he did not suffer himself to be compelled to yield. The phrase "for an hour" is equivalent to the shortest period of time. He did not waver, or yield at all.

That the truth of the gospel might continue with you - That the great principle of the Christian religion which had been taught you might continue, and that you might enjoy the full benefit of the pure gospel, without its being intermingled with any false views. Paul had defended these same views among the Galatians, and he now sought that the same views might be confirmed by the clear decision of the college of apostles at Jerusalem.

5. Greek, "To whom not even for an hour did we yield by subjection." Alford renders the Greek article, "with THE subjection required of us." The sense rather is, We would willingly have yielded for love [Bengel] (if no principle was at issue), but not in the way of subjection, where "the truth of the Gospel" (Ga 2:14; Col 1:5) was at stake (namely, the fundamental truth of justification by faith only, without the works of the law, contrasted with another Gospel, Ga 1:6). Truth precise, unaccommodating, abandons nothing that belongs to itself, admits nothing that is inconsistent with it [Bengel].

might continue with you—Gentiles. We defended for your sakes your true faith and liberties, which you are now renouncing.

To these Judaizing Christians the apostle did not think fit to yield one jot, not for the least time, nor in so much as one precedent; having a desire that these Gentile churches might not be perverted. Or, (as others think), to which men of reputation we yielded not in the least. It is very probable, that Peter and James, upon their first arguing the case, to avoid the scandal and offence of the Jews, would have had Titus circumcised: St. Paul would not yield to it, that he might preserve the doctrine of the gospel, which he had planted amongst the Galatians, and other Gentiles, pure, and not encumber those churches with the Mosaical rites. But the most and best interpreters rather judge the persons here mentioned, to whom Paul would not yield, to be some Judaizing Christians, rather than the persons of reputation, mentioned Galatians 2:2. To whom we gave place by subjection,.... Meaning not the apostles, elders, and brethren at Jerusalem, who did not insist upon the observance of the rituals of the law as necessary, but were one and all of opinion that the Gentiles should be free from them; but the false teachers with whom they combated, and would not yield in the least unto, so as to be brought into subjection to their impositions, nor suffer others to yield unto them:

no, not for an hour; for the least space of time, knowing what advantages and improvements would be made of it, should they allow of the use of these things as necessary for any short time, though it should be agreed then to drop them. This is a way of speaking used by the Jews, when they would express their steady adherence to any principle or practice; of which take the following instance from Gamaliel (c):

"it happened to Rabban Gamaliel, that he read the first night he was married; his disciples said to him, master, hast thou not taught us, that the bridegroom is free from reading the Shema, i.e. "hear, O Israel", &c. the first night? he replied to them, I will not hearken to you to cause to cease from me the yoke of the kingdom of heaven, , "even one hour".''

The reason why the apostle, and others with him, were so resolute and pertinacious in this matter was,

that the truth of the Gospel might continue with you; with the Galatians in particular, and with all the Gentiles in general, which otherwise would have been in danger of being entirely removed from them, at least of being adulterated and mixed with the Mosaic rites, and the inventions of men; whereas the apostle's desire was, that, the Gospel might be continued with them genuine, sincere, and unmixed, in opposition to the shadows of the law, and the false doctrines of men.

(c) Misn. Beracot, c. 2. sect. 5.

To whom we gave place by {c} subjection, no, not for an hour; that the {d} truth of the gospel might continue with {e} you.

(c) By submitting ourselves to them, and betraying our own liberty.

(d) The true and sincere doctrine of the Gospel, which remained safe from being corrupted with any of these men's false doctrines.

(e) Under the Galatian's name, he understands all nations.

Galatians 2:5. Connection:—“On account of the false brethren, however, Titus was not compelled to be circumcised; to these we did not yield even for an hour. Had we consented to the suggestion, which was made to us by Christians at Jerusalem (see on Galatians 2:3), at least to circumcise Titus, we should have thereby yielded to the false brethren standing in the background, who declared the circumcision of Gentile Christians to be necessary; but this did not at all take place.”[70]

οἷς] in the sense of τούτοις γάρ. See Stallbaum, ad Phil. p. 195 f.; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 1. 64; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 371.

πρὸς ὥραν] not even for an hour, indicating a very short duration of time. Comp. 2 Corinthians 7:8; Philemon 1:15; John 5:35; 1 Thessalonians 2:17; also πρὸς μίαν ῥοπήν, Wis 18:12; πρὸς ὀλίγον, πρὸς βραχύ, and the like.

εἴξαμεν] namely, I and Barnabas and Titus.

τῇ ὑποταγῇ] belongs not to διαμείνῃ (Matthias), an inverted arrangement which would be without motive, but to εἴξαμεν, beside which it stands: “through the obedience claimed by the false brethren,” that is, by rendering to them the obedience which they desired. On the matter itself, see Acts 15:1; Acts 15:5. Matthies regards τῇ ὑποταγῇ as an appositional explanation of οἷς (as to this usage, see Fritzsche, Diss. in 2 Cor. II. p. 135 f.). But the yielding takes place not to the obedience, but to the demand (τῇ ἐντολῇ). Fritzsche correctly takes it in an ablative sense, but explains, “eo obsequio praestito, quod apostoli postularent.” But in combination with οἷςεἴξαμεν, and with ἵνα ἡμᾶς καταδουλ. preceding, it would not occur to the reader to think of anything else than the obedience claimed by the ψευδάδελφοι. Besides, it was not the apostles at all who demanded the circumcision of Titus, but (see on Galatians 2:3) Christians at Jerusalem, acting on the instigation of the ψευδάδελφοι, so that these latter would have been obeyed by the circumcision in question. Comp. the state of matters at Acts 21:21. Holsten, without any indication of support in the context, interprets: “by the subordination to the δοκοῦντες, which had been demanded by the false brethren.” Lastly, Hermann (who is followed by Bretschneider), entirely in opposition to the context, explains it, “quibus ne horae quidem spatium Jesu obsequio segnior fui.”

ἵνα ἡ ἀλήθεια κ.τ.λ.] Object of this non-compliance at that time, which, although in the nature of the case it concerned Pauline Christians generally, is represented concretely as referring to the Galatians: “in order that the truth of the gospel may abide with you; in order that by our conduct the principle of Christian freedom should not be shaken, and ye should not be induced to deviate from the truth, which forms the subject-matter of the gospel (Galatians 2:14; Colossians 1:5), by mixing it up with Mosaism” (comp. ἕτερον εὐαγγέλιον, Galatians 1:6). A purpose, therefore—and this the readers were intended to feel—to which their present apostasy entirely ran counter!

πρὸς ὑμᾶς] as πρὸς αὐτόν, Galatians 1:18, comp. 1 Corinthians 16:7; here also it is not the with of simple rest, but expresses the relation of an active bearing on life; Bernhardy, p. 265. Besides, Paul might justly say πρὸς ὑμᾶς, as the Galatians were for the most part Gentile Christians, and in that opposition to the false brethren it was the freedom of the Gentile Christians which he sought to maintain. The ὑμᾶς individualizes the readers of the letter (Galatians 3:26, Galatians 4:6; Colossians 1:25; Ephesians 3:2, and frequently). The reference to the yet unconverted Gentiles, whom the truth of the gospel had still to reach (πρὸς ὑμᾶς), as suggested by Hofmann,[71] is in complete opposition to the text.

διαμείνη] permaneret; denoting the abiding continuance. The truth which they have received was not again to be lost. Hebrews 1:11; 2 Peter 3:4; Luke 22:8; and frequently in Greek authors.

[70] Paul was therefore by no means “nearly compelled to have Titus circumcised” (Hilgenfeld in his Zeitschr. 1860, p. 121).

[71] Comp. Windischmann.


As by the ψευδάδελφοι (Galatians 2:4-5) cannot be meant the Judaizers at work among the Galatians (which is assumed by Fritzsche entirely in opposition to the connection), but only the same persons mentioned in Acts 15:1; Acts 15:5; they cannot be described as false brethren in relation to any one particular church (e.g. to the church of Antioch, into which they had crept from Jerusalem, as Baur and Reiche think). On the contrary, the general form of their antagonism, Galatians 2:4-5, as well as the further account in Galatians 2:7-10, and the whole argument of the epistle, admit only of one point of view,—that the apostle, out of the certainty of the ἀλήθεια τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, styles them false brethren in relation to Christianity generally, of which they had, as regards their Judaizing character and action looked at from a Pauline standpoint, falsely pretended to be professors. This does not in itself exclude the fact that they had come from Jerusalem to Antioch (Acts 15:1). The inflexible opposition offered to them by the apostle in Jerusalem doubtless contributed much to the bringing about of the apostolic decree. Comp. Märcker, l.c. p. 539.Galatians 2:5. εἴξαμεν. Paul here couples Barnabas with himself in recording the determined resistance offered by both to the demand for the circumcision of all Christians preferred at Antioch. Barnabas was at that time a staunch supporter of Greek freedom. The verse obviously refers to their attitude at Antioch before going to Jerusalem.—τῇ ὑποταγῇ: by our submission. Here, as in 2 Corinthians 9:13, ὑποταγή denotes a voluntary act, not one imposed upon a subject. The same rendering appears more appropriate for expressing the due attitude of wife and children in 1 Timothy 2:11; 1 Timothy 3:4. The middle voice ὑποτάσσεσθαι is five times rendered submit in the Authorised Version, and the force of the original is impaired by its exclusion from the text of the Revised Version.—ἵνα … The motive for firmness was the maintenance of the truth of the Gospel, i.e., of the freedom to which the uncircumcised were entitled in Christ.—πρὸς ὑμᾶς: for you, i.e., with a view to your welfare. The rendering of our versions, with you, would be properly expressed by ἐν ὑμῖν.5. To whom … an hour] In some early copies the negative seems to have been omitted. “We yielded by a temporary concession”. This would of course imply that Titus was circumcised. But the received reading is not to be disturbed.

the truth of the Gospel] The truth which is indeed good tidings—that man is justified for the merit’s sake of Jesus Christ by faith, and not for his own works or deservings.

with you] Galatians, and with all other Gentile converts.Galatians 2:5. Τῇ ὑποταγῇ, by subjection) There is here a limitation. We would willingly have yielded for love [but not in the way of subjection].—ἡ ἀλήθεια) the truth of the Gospel, the pure Gospel, not another, ch. Galatians 1:6 : which false brethren attempt to substitute. The same mode of speaking is found, Galatians 2:14; Colossians 1:5. Truth, precise, unaccommodating, abandons nothing, that belongs to itself, admits nothing, that is inconsistent with it.—ὑμᾶς, you) Greeks. We defended for your sakes, what you now reject.Verse 5. - To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour (οῖς οὐδὲ πρὸς ὥραν εἴξαμεν) To whom; i.e. to the false brethren; not the persons immediately referred to in ver. 3 as seeking to compel Titus to be circumcised. These last used advice and persuasion; the false brethren demanded with clamour (δεῖ, Acts 15:5). The phrase rendered for an hour occurs also John 5:35; 2 Corinthians 7:8; Philemon 1:15. There seems to be an underlying allusion to those occasions on which the apostle did, as he says, "to the Jews become as a Jew, to the weak, weak" (1 Corinthians 9:20, 22); but this he would not do when dealing with false brethren, whose aim was in effect to turn gospel freedom into legal slavery. We; I, Barnabas, Titus. The words οϊς οὐδὲ most certainly belong to the original text. Not merely does only one uncial manuscript omit them, but their omission would leave behind a sentence self-convicted of absurdity. For it would run thus: "But because of the false brethren without warrant brought in, a set of men who without warrant came in to spy out our liberty, that they might degrade us into slavery, we yielded for a season with subjection, that the truth of the gospel might lastingly abide with you;" - yielded, i.e. by circumcising Titus; for this is what this reading most probably supposes St. Paul to have done. In this sentence the vituperative description of the false brethren, so extended and so intensely emphatic, instead of being an implied argument in favour of the course of action which the apostle states he adopted, namely, concession to those men, both lacks all motive for its introduction here, and works wholly in favour of the opposite course, of resistance to their wishes. The only suitable and logical description of those for whose sake the concession would have been made would have been that they were brethren meaning well, but weak in the faith, who should, by concession for a season, be won over to more perfect accord with the gospel. (On this reading, see Alford, and the fuller discussion of it in Bishop Lightfoot, pp. 121-123.) By subjection (τῇ ὑποταγῇ): in the way of subjection. As ὑποταγὴ In the other passages in which it occurs means the habit or spirit of subjection, and never an act of submission (cf. 2 Corinthians 9:13; 1 Timothy 2:11; 1 Timothy 3:4), it probably denotes here subjection of spirit to those who were so authoritatively laying upon us their injunctions, he might give way in a point of this kind in a spirit of brotherly concession; but he would bow to no man's imperative injunction. The article before ὑποταγῇ is the article before an abstract noun, as in τῆς ἀγάπης (Galatians 5:13); τῇ ἐλαφρίᾳ (2 Corinthians 1:17). That the truth of the gospel (ἵνα ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῦ εὐαγγελίου). The truth, the sure unadulterated doctrine, which is embodied in the gospel, and is its very hinge and substance. The same phrase is found in Colossians 1:5. The "truth" is that enunciated in ver. 16, and that it is the very essence of the gospel is declared Romans 1:17. The refusal of Church fellowship to a believer of this gospel except he were circumcised, by just inference vitiated and, indeed, nullified the truth that faith in Christ is the sole and sufficient ground of justification. Might continue with you (διαμείνῃ πρὸς ὑμᾶς). Might never cease to have its home with you, to be believingly entertained by you. Διαμένω is an intensified form of μένω. The preposition πρὸς is used as in Galatians 1:18, where see note. It is possible that, as Alford observes, the Galatians may not specially have been in St. Paul's mind at that time, but only the Gentile Churches in general; and that for greater impressiveness he applies to the particular what was only shared by it in the general. It is, however, supposable that the cases of the several Churches which he had then lately founded with Barnabas were much in his thoughts at that time; for, as is shown by his numerous references to his specific intercessory prayer, his spirit was incessantly conversant with "all the Churches" (2 Corinthians 11:28); and he was anxiously cognizant of efforts made from the very first by legalizing Christians to pervert their faith. It is not certain that Acts 16:6 records the first occasion of his visiting the "Galatic country;" he may have been there and founded "the Churches of Galatia" before the occurrences described in Acts 15; and the opinion is even held by many that Iconium and Derbe, belonging to the Roman province of Galatia, were two of "the Churches of Galatia" (see Introduction, p. 2). We gave place by subjection (εἴξαμεν τῇ ὑποταγῇ)

We, Paul and Barnabas. Gave place or yielded, N.T.o By the subjection which was demanded of us. The noun only in Paul and the Pastorals, and always in the sense of self-subjection. Comp. 2 Corinthians 9:13; 1 Timothy 2:11; 1 Timothy 3:4.

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