Galatians 2:6
But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:
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(6) The Apostle returns from his digression on the case of Titus to give the result of his experience with the elder Apostles, in continuation of Galatians 2:3. “I did indeed hold conference with them privately; but with all their advantages, real or assumed, I learnt nothing from them that I did not already know, and they ended by recognising the independence and validity of my mission.”

But of these who seemed to be somewhat.—Translate rather, But from those who are reputed to be somewhat. The phrase corresponds to “them which are of reputation” in Galatians 2:2; and here, as there, it is important to keep the present tense. It is not only “those who were of authority at the Council,” but “those who are the great authorities with you Galatians now.” The Apostle speaks with a certain amount of irony. “From these very great authorities, these persons of such especial reputation [I got nothing].”

Whatsoever they were.—We shall, perhaps, not be wrong in keeping to the Authorised version, though some of the best commentators translate rather, What they (once) were, with a stress on “were,” and referring to the advantage which they possessed over St. Paul in having “known Christ after the flesh” through their early call to the Apostleship.

God accepteth no man’s person.—This phrase is a curious instance of a Greek expression framed after the analogy of the Hebrew, and yet in the process contracting a different signification, through the influence of the idiomatic use of one of the Greek expressions involved. “To accept the face” in the Old Testament is used in a good sense of “showing favour” to any one, but without any imputation of partiality. “To accept the face” (or person) in the New Testament always carries with it the idea of partiality; the word for “face” being idiomatically used for “a mask,” and hence coming to mean “the outward, assumed, accidental characteristics of a man” as opposed to his real and inward character. (Comp. Matthew 22:16; Luke 20:21; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25; James 2:1; James 2:9; Jude 1:16.) The meaning here is that even if the elder Apostles had “seen with their eyes,” and “looked upon and handled the Word of Life” (1John 1:1), God would not regard the advantages implied in this more than any other external advantage of birth, position, natural gifts, &c.

For they who seemed to be somewhat.—The same phrase as in Galatians 2:2 : they who were of reputation. There is here another break in the regular construction of the sentence. The Apostle begins as if he were going to finish differently: “From those who are reputed to be somewhat . . . I received nothing in the conference which I had with them;” but he suddenly changes his point of view: “From those who are reputed to be somewhat” (sentence left unfinished) “to me, I say, these reputable persons added nothing.”

In conference added nothing.—“Added in conference” is all one word in the Greek, and corresponds to “communicated” in Galatians 2:2. The idea of “adding” (i.e., imparting fresh knowledge) seems, however, to be derived rather from the context than from the form of the Greek compound, as our translators apparently supposed.

Galatians 2:6-8. But of those who seemed to be somewhat — Who were most esteemed among the apostles; whatsoever they were — How eminent soever; it maketh no matter — No difference; to me — So that I should alter either my doctrine or my practice. God accepteth no man’s person — For any eminence in gifts or outward prerogatives: he does not show favour to any man on account of his birth, office, riches, or any external circumstance, Job 34:19. The apostle’s meaning is, that God did not prefer Peter, James, and John, to him, because they were apostles before him, far less did he employ them to make him an apostle; they, who seemed to be somewhat — Or rather, who undoubtedly were in high repute, as the expression οι δοκουντες signifies; added nothing — Communicated neither knowledge, nor spiritual gifts, nor authority; to me — Far less did they pretend to make me an apostle. But when they saw — Namely, by the effects which I laid before them, Galatians 2:8; Acts 15:12; that the gospel of the uncircumcision — That is, the charge of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised heathen; was intrusted to me, as that of the circumcision — The charge of preaching the gospel to the Jews; was committed to Peter — “By saying that he was intrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision, even as Peter was with that of the circumcision, Paul put himself on a level with Peter. In like manner, his withstanding Peter publicly for withdrawing himself from the converted Gentiles, is a fact utterly inconsistent with the pretended superiority of Peter above the other apostles, vainly imagined by the Roman pontiffs, for the purpose of aggrandizing themselves as his successors, above all other Christian bishops.” For he that wrought effectually in, or by, Peter — To qualify him for the apostleship of the circumcision, to support him in the discharge of that office, and to render his exercise of it successful; the same was mighty in me — Wrought also effectually in and by me, for and in the discharge of my office toward the Gentiles.

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.But of those who seemed to be somewhat - See Galatians 2:2. This undoubtedly refers to those who were the most eminent among the apostles at Jerusalem. There is an apparent harshness in our common translation which is unnecessary. The word used here (δοκούντων dokountōn) denotes those who were thought to be, or who were of reputation; that is, men who were of note and influence among the apostles. The object of referring to them here is, to show that he had the concurrence and approbation of the most eminent of the apostles to the course which he had pursued.

Whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me - Tyndale renders this, "What they were in time passed, it maketh no matter to me." The idea seems to be this. Paul means to say that whatever was their real rank and standing, it did not in the least affect his authority as an apostle, or his argument. While he rejoiced in their concurrence, and while he sought their approbation, yet he did not admit for a moment that he was inferior to them as an apostle, or dependent on them for the justness of his views What they were, or what they might be thought to be, was immaterial to his claims as an apostle, and immaterial to the authority of his own views as an apostle. He had derived his gospel from the Lord Jesus; and he had the fullest assurance that his views were just. Paul makes this remark evidently in keeping with all that he had said, that he did not regard himself as in any manner dependent on them for his authority. He did not treat them with disrespect; but he did not regard them as having a right to claim an authority over him.

God accepteth no man's person - See the Acts 10:34 note; Romans 2:11 note. This is a general truth, that God is not influenced in His judgment by a regard to the rank, or wealth, or external condition of anyone. Its particular meaning here is, that the authority of the apostles was not to be measured by their external rank, or by the measure of reputation which they had among men. If, therefore, it were to be admitted that he himself were not in circumstances of so much external honor as the other apostles, or that they were esteemed to be of more elevated rank than he was, still he did not admit that this gave them a claim to any higher authority. God was not influenced in His judgment by any such consideration; and Paul therefore claimed that all the apostles were in fact on a level in regard to their authority.

In conference - When I conferred with them, Galatians 2:2. They did not then impose upon me any new obligations; they did not communicate anything to me of which I was previously ignorant.

6. Greek, "From those who," &c. He meant to complete the sentence with "I derived no special advantage"; but he alters it into "they … added nothing to me."

accepteth—so as to show any partiality; "respecteth no man's person" (Eph 6:9).

seemed to be somewhat—that is, not that they seemed to be what they were not, but "were reputed as persons of some consequence"; not insinuating a doubt but that they were justly so reputed.

in conference added—or "imparted"; the same Greek as in Ga 1:16, "I conferred not with flesh and blood." As I did not by conference impart to them aught at my conversion, so they now did not impart aught additional to me, above what I already knew. This proves to the Galatians his independence as an apostle.

But of those who seemed to be somewhat: the word translated seemed, is the same with that in Galatians 2:2, which we there translate of reputation. The apostle means the same persons that were of the greatest reputation, and so the following words,

to be somewhat, do import, Acts 5:36 8:9. We must not understand the apostle, by this expression, to detract from the just reputation that the apostles, and these eminent Christians at Jerusalem, had; he only taketh notice here of them, as magnified by the false teachers of this church, to the lessening of himself; and as those who seemed to be somewhat, must be interpreted as relating to these men’s estimation of them; that seemed to you to be somewhat, though I seem nothing to you.

Whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me; whatsoever they were formerly, suppose (as probably some of these Galatians had said) that they saw Christ in the flesh, were immediately called by him, when I was a Pharisee, &c.

God accepteth to man’s person; hath no regard to what a man hath been, but to what he is.

For they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me; when I came to confer and discourse with them, about the doctrine which I and they had taught, I learned no new doctrine from them, different from what I had before taught, neither did they reprove or correct me, for any thing which I had taught amiss; we were all of the same mind.

But of these, who seemed to be somewhat,.... Not the false brethren, but the Apostles James, Cephas, and John, who were "men of great esteem": high in the opinion of all good men; not that they were looked upon to be more than human, as Simon Magus gave out that he was "some great one", and his followers thought him to be "the great power of God"; for such an extravagant conceit of these men was never entertained; nor were they thought to be something when they were nothing, for they really were somewhat; they were ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of grace; they were the Lord's ambassadors, and the apostles of the Lamb. However, says the apostle,

whatsoever they were; "formerly", some time ago, which our version does not so fully express,

it maketh no matter to me, God accepteth no man's person. This is said, not by way of slight or contempt, but in vindication of himself, whom the false teachers endeavoured to lessen, by giving high encomiums of the apostles at Jerusalem. It looks as if they had upbraided the apostle with being a persecutor of the church before his conversion, when nothing of such a nature could be laid to the charge of these men, and therefore he was not to be set upon a level with them: to which he may be thought to reply in such manner as this, that as for himself, it is true, he had been an injurious person to the saints; and he was ready to own it, for his own humiliation, and to illustrate the grace of God in his conversion; and as these excellent men, what they were before their conversion, it was no concern of his; though, perhaps, was he disposed to inquire into their characters then, some blemishes might be found therein, as well as in his; but it is not what he and they had been, but what they now were: he could have observed, that they were persons formerly of a very low figure in life, of mean occupations, fishermen by employment, and very illiterate persons, when he was bred a scholar at the feet of Gamaliel; but he chose not to make such observations, he knew that God was no respecter of persons, nor was he influenced by any such external circumstances, but chose whom he pleased to such an high office; and that he, who of fishermen made them apostles, of a persecutor had made him one also. Or these false teachers perhaps had objected to him, that these valuable men had been with Christ from the beginning, were eyewitnesses of his majesty, heard the doctrines of the Gospel from his lips, and saw his miracles, had had a similar conversation with him, when he was a preacher of much later date, and could not pretend to such advantages, and therefore ought not to be equalled to them: his answer is, that whatever privileges of this kind they had enjoyed, as could not be denied but they were considerable, yet this mattered not, nor did it make any great difference between him and them; he had seen Christ too, though as one born out of due time; had received an immediate commission from him to preach his Gospel, and was appointed an apostle by him as they were, without any respect of persons: and whereas it might have been urged, that these men had entertained different sentiments from him formerly, concerning the observance of the law, he signifies he had nothing to do with that, to their own master they stood, to whom they must give an account, who, without respect of persons, will render to every man according to his works: and, adds he,

for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me; whatever opinions they formerly gave into, in their conversation with him, when he communicated the Gospel he preached to them, they found no fault with it; they did not go about to correct it; nor did they make any addition to it; the scheme of truths he laid before them, which had been the subject of his ministry, was so complete and perfect, containing the whole counsel of God, that they had nothing to add unto it; which shows the agreement between them, that he did not receive his Gospel from them, the perfection of his ministry, and that he was not a whit behind them in knowledge and gifts.

But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:
Galatians 2:6. Paul having described in Galatians 2:3-5 the momentous result of his relations towards the Christians in Jerusalem (αὐτοῖς, Galatians 2:2), now passes on (corresponding to the κατʼ ἰδίαν δὲ τοῖς δοκοῦσι, Galatians 2:2) to his relations towards the apostles, explaining that the same result had then followed his discussions with them.

The construction is anacoluthic
. For when the apostle wrote ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοκούντων εἶναί τι, he had it in view subsequently to finish his sentence with οὐδὲν ἔλαβον, οὐδὲν ἐδιδάχθην, or something of that kind; but by the intervening remarks ὁποῖοί ποτελαμβάνει he was completely diverted from the plan which he had begun, so that now the thought which floated before his mind in ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοκούντων εἶναί τι is no longer brought into connection with these words, but is annexed in the form of a ground (γάρ) to πρόσωπον Θεὸς ἀνθρώπου οὐ λαμβάνει; and this altered chain of thought occasions ἐμοί to be now placed emphatically at the beginning. Properly speaking, therefore, we have here a parenthesis beginning with ὁποῖοι, which, without any formal conclusion, carries us back again by ἐμοὶ γὰρ κ.τ.λ. to the main thought, leaving the words ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοκούντων εἶναί τι entirely unconnected, and merely pointing back by means of οἱ δοκοῦντες, as by a guide-post, to that abandoned commencement of the sentence. For it is only in substance, and not in form, that the parenthesis is concluded with λαμβάνει. Comp. Romans 5:12 ff.; Ephesians 2:1 ff. An anacoluthon is also assumed by Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Piscator, Cornelius a Lapide, Grotius, Estius, Morus, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Winer, Usteri, Matthies, Schott, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Hilgenfeld, and others; so that—according to the usual view (Wieseler takes the correct one)—with ἐμοὶ γὰρ κ.τ.λ. Paul again takes up the thread of the discourse which had broken off with ἀπὸ δὲ δοκούντων εἶναί τι, and merely continues it actively instead of passively (Winer, p. 529 [E. T. 711]). But this is opposed both by ἐμοί, which logically would not be in its proper place at the head of the resumed sentence, and also by γάρ, which does not correspond to the mere inquam (οὖν, δέ) after parentheses, but in the passages concerned (also Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 9:19) is to be taken as explaining or assigning a reason. Hermann makes out an aposiopesis, so that quid metuerem? has to be supplied after ἀπὸεἶναί τι.[72] But this is not suggested by the context, nor is it permitted by the tranquil flow of the discourse, in which no such emotion as warrants an aposiopesis is discoverable. Fritzsche supplies the very same thing which in Galatians 2:4 was to be supplied after ψευδαδέλφους, making Paul say, “a viris autem (nempe), qui auctoritate valerent [circumcisionis necessitatem sibi imponi non sivit].” But however easy and natural this supplement was in Galatians 2:4 after ψευδαδέλφους, because it was suggested as a matter of course by the words immediately preceding, in the present case it appears both harsh and involved, as the whole body of ideas in Galatians 2:4-5 intervenes and hinders the reader from going back to that supplement. And how abrupt would be the position of the following ὁποῖοι κ.τ.λ.! Lastly, the (erroneous) idea, that the apostles had demanded the circumcision of Titus, is thus violently imported into the text. Holsten’s involved construction (z. Evang. d. Paul. u. Petr. p. 273 f.)—according to which ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοκ. κ.τ.λ. is to be carried on to Galatians 2:9 in conformity with the notion of δεξιὰς λαμβάνειν ἀπό—is shown by ἐμοὶ γὰρ κ.τ.λ., where the δοκοῦντες already reappear, to be an impossible solution of the anacoluthon, which even thus is not avoided. The passage is explained without supposing either supplement or anacoluthon:—1. Most simply, and without violence to the language, by Burk, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1865, p. 734 ff., making εἶναί τι belong to οὐδέν μοι διαφέρει: “That on the part of those in authority (by their recognition) I am something (namely, as respects my outward position), I reckon of no value.” But, in reality, Paul attached to his recognition by the original apostles the true and great value which it necessarily had for him in confronting his opponents; and hence he very carefully relates it in Galatians 2:7. This interpretation therefore runs counter to the context. Comp. also, against it, Märcker in Stud. u. Krit. 1866, p. 532 ff. 2. Just as little allowable is it (with Märcker) to connect ἀπο δὲ τ. δοκ. . τ. with the words preceding, “but certainly (this enduring confirmation of Christian freedom was only possible) through the authority of the δοκοῦντες εἶναί τι.” But to the signification of ἀπό, from the side of, a sense would thus be arbitrarily ascribed, which is not justified by passages such as Matthew 16:21, and must have been expressed by some such explanatory addition as in Acts 2:22. It was impossible also for Paul—above all in this epistle—to conceive the maintenance of the truth of his Gentile gospel as conditional on the authority of the original apostles. Lastly, instead of the sentence which next follows asyndetically (ὁποῖοι κ.τ.λ.), we should expect an emphasized antithesis (such as ἀλλʼ ὁποῖοι κ.τ.λ.). 3. The Greek Fathers, Castalio, Calovius, Zachariae, Bolten, Borger, and others, interpret the passage, “But as regards those of repute, it is one and the same thing to me,” etc., by which, however, ἀπό is quite in violation of language interchanged with περί. So also Rückert,[73] who at the same time wishes to preserve for ἀπό its due signification (“on the part of any one, it makes no difference to me; that is, what concerns him, is quite indifferent to me”), without authority, however, from any actual linguistic usage. 4. Following Homberg, Ewald understands it as if it stood τῶν δὲ δοκούντωνοὐδὲν διαφέρω, “But compared with those who etc., however high they once stood, I am in nothing inferior.” 5. Hofmann (comp. above, against Holsten) brings ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοκούντων εἶναί τι (ἀπό, from the side of) into regimen with Galatians 2:9, and in such a manner that the three δοκοῦντες στῦλοι εἶναι in Galatians 2:9 are supposed to form the subject of the period beginning with ἀπὸ κ.τ.λ. in Galatians 2:6; but this mode of construction is decisively condemned by its very inherent monstrosity, with its parentheses inserted one within another; and besides this, the repetition of οἱ δοκοῦντες in Galatians 2:6 would be entirely without aim and simply perplexing, if the continuation of the construction as regards ἀπὸ δ. τ. δ. ε. τ. were still to follow, as is supposed by Hofmann. Nevertheless, Laurent, neut. Stud. p. 29 f., has agreed with the latter, but has at the same time arbitrarily removed from the disjointed construction ὁποῖοιτοὐναντίον as a marginal note of the apostle,—another makeshift, whereby ἀλλὰ τοὐναντίον, so violently dealt with by Hofmann, finds the connection with ἰδόντες, which it evidently has (see below), dissevered.

On δοκεῖν εἶναί τι, which may mean either to reckon oneself to be something great, or to be esteemed great by others (so here), see Wetstein. Comp. Plat. Euthyd. p. 303 C, τῶν πολλῶν ἀνθρώπων καὶ τῶν σεμνῶν δὴ καὶ δοκούντων τι εἶναι οὐδὲν ὑμῖν μέλει. The same persons are meant who are referred to in Galatians 2:2 by τοῖς δοκοῦσι. But the addition of τι εἶναι, and the ὁποῖοι κ.τ.λ. which follows, betray here a certain irritation in reference to the opponents, who would not concede to Paul an estimation equal to that given to the original apostles, as if εἶναί τι belonged pre-eminently to the latter.

ὁποῖοί ποτε ἦσαν] Now come the parenthetical remarks, on account of which Paul leaves his ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοκ. εἶναί τι standing alone, but which he introduces, lest the high estimation of those apostles—which in itself, according to the real (and by him undisputed) circumstances of the case, he by no means calls in question—should lead to the inference that he had needed instruction from them. Comp. the subsequent ἐμοὶ γὰρ οἱ δοκ. οὐδὲν προσανέθ., and the thought already floating before the apostle’s mind in the anacoluthic ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοκούντων εἶναί τι (see above). Wieseler affirms too generally, that “Paul desired to check the overvaluing of the older apostles.” The real state of the case is this: Paul, with all decision, by way of countervailing that δοκεῖν εἶναί τι of those men of high standing which he does not dispute, throws into the scale his own independence of them. And the weight of this countervailing lies precisely in ὁποῖοί ποτε ἦσαν, so far as the latter belongs to οὐδέν μοι διαφέρει, and is not, as Hofmann will have it, an appendage to τῶν δοκοῦντων εἶναί τι.

The ποτέ, with a direct or indirect interrogative, is the strengthening cunque or tandem which occurs constantly in Greek authors (Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 1), although not elsewhere in the N.T. (comp. 2Ma 14:32); see also Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 615 f. Whosoever they were, in whatsoever high repute they stood[74] while I was then with them, it is all the same to me. Rückert makes ὁποῖοι mean, “whether high or low, apostles or what else;” holding that Paul speaks intentionally in an indefinite way of these men in high repute, as if he did not exactly know that they were apostles (?), in order to give the less offence in what he said. How strange this would be! for every reader knew whom he meant. And how unsuitable to his purpose! for what Paul desires to tell, is the recognition he received from the apostles. Many refer ὁποῖοι ποτε ἦσαν back to the lifetime of Jesus, when those apostles had been His trusted disciples: some taking ποτέ as olim (Vulgate, Jerome, Pelagius, Luther, Beza, and others, including Matthies, Schott, Olshausen, Hilgenfeld, Wieseler, Ewald); and others, with us, as cunque (“quiqui illi fuerunt, etiam si ab ipso Jesu instituti, perinde est,” Hermann; comp. Winer). But in the case of James (see on Galatians 2:9) this reference would not be even historically applicable, or it would need at least to be applied to a different kind of relation (that of kinship); see Hilgenfeld. And besides, there is nothing at all to indicate any such retrospective reference to that remote past; the context points merely to the time of Paul’s sojourn in Jerusalem. Hence also it must not, with others still, be referred to—what was quite foreign to the apostle’s aim—the pre-Christian condition of the apostles, in which they had been sinners (Estius; comp. Augustine), or ἰδιῶται and fishermen (Ambrose, Thomas, Cajetanus, Cornelius a Lapide, and others), ποτέ being likewise understood as olim.[75]

οὐδέν μοι διαφέρει] matters to me nothing. See Schaefer, ad Dion. Hal. p. 294; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 394.

πρόσωπον Θεὸς ἀνθρώπου οὐ λαμβάνει] פְּנֵי אִישׁ אֱלֹהִים לֹא נֹשֵׂא, an asyndetic, and thereby more forcible and weighty, statement of the reason for ΟὐΔΈΝ ΜΟΙ ΔΙΑΦΈΡΕΙ. “Dei judicium sequebatur Paulus,” Bengel. נָשָׂא פָּנִים, πρόσωπον λαμβάνειν, properly, to accept the countenance of any one (not to dismiss), is used in the O.T. both in a good sense (to be inclined, or gracious, to any one, Genesis 19:21; Genesis 32:21, et al.) and in a bad sense, implying a favour and respect which is partial, determined by personal considerations (Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 10:17, et al.; Sir 4:27; 3 Esr. 4:39). In the N.T. it is used solely in this bad sense (Matthew 22:16; Mark 12:14; Luke 20:21; Judges 1:16. Comp. Acts 10:34; Jam 2:9; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25; Jam 2:1). The transposed arrangement of the words lays the chief emphasis upon ΠΡΌΣΩΠΟΝ, and then by ΘΕῸς ἈΝΘΡΏΠΟΥ makes us sensible of the contrast between the manner and dignity of the divine procedure and such partiality for human authority. Comp. Hom. Od. xix. 363 f., Ἦ ΣΕ ΠΕΡῚ ΖΕῪς ἈΝΘΡΏΠΩΝ ἬΧΘΗΡΕ ΘΕΟΥΔΈΑ ΘΥΜῸΝ ἜΧΟΝΤΑ.

ἘΜΟῚ ΓᾺΡ ΟἹ ΔΟΚΟῦΝΤΕς ΟὐΔῈΝ ΠΡΟΣΑΝΈΘΕΝΤΟ] Proof, not of his independence of the apostles generally, but specially for what he had just said, πρόσωπον Θεὸς ἀνθρ. οὐ λαμβάνει, from personal experience. Hence ἘΜΟΊ is emphatically placed first: “for to me for my part—although others may have received instruction from them, to me—they have communicated nothing.” Paul’s idea therefore is, that if God had been partial, He would not have placed him on such parity with the δοκοῦσι, that to him, etc. Rückert, wrongly anticipating, says that the prefixed ἘΜΟΊ finds its antithesis in Galatians 2:11 : “to me they have communicated nothing, etc.; but indeed, when Peter came to Antioch, I was compelled to admonish him.” But in this case, at least Galatians 2:11 must have begun with ἐγὼ δὲ or ἀλλʼ ἐγώ. According to Wieseler, Paul in ἐμοί is thinking of “to me, the former persecutor,” an idea gratuitously introduced. In Hofmann’s view the antithesis is intended to be, that not to him from the others was anything submitted, but the converse. Comp. ΤΙΝΈς in Chrysostom, and the paraphrase of Erasmus. But if this were so, Paul must have written Οὐ ΓᾺΡ ἘΜΟῚ Κ.Τ.Λ., just as afterwards ἈΛΛᾺ ΤΟὐΝΑΝΤΊΟΝ ΑὐΤΟῚ Κ.Τ.Λ., in order to have given at least a bare indication of this alleged antithesis.

ΟὐΔῈΝ ΠΡΟΣΑΝΈΘΕΝΤΟ] quite as in Galatians 1:16 (comp. also Hofmann): they addressed no communications (“nihil contulerunt,” Vulgate) to me, namely, in order to instruct and advise me,—a sense which is here also demanded by the context; see the sequel, and comp. Galatians 1:12. It is usually understood: ΟὐΔῈΝ ΠΡΟΣΈΘΗΚΑΝ, ΟὐΔῈΝ ΔΙΏΡΘΩΣΑΝ (Chrysostom), “nihil illi praesumserunt iis adjicere, quae prius a Christo accepta docueram inter gentes,” Beza; as also Valla, Estius, Grotius, Bengel, Koppe, Morus, Borger, Flatt, Winer, Usteri, Matthies, Schott,[76] and others. Comp. Wieseler, Märcker, and Hilgenfeld: “They submitted nothing in addition to that which had been submitted by me; they approved the gospel, which I am preaching among the Gentiles.” But πρός expresses merely the direction, and not insuper (see on Galatians 1:16). Should ἀνατίθημι, however, be understood as to impose, πρός would certainly express the idea novum, opus imponere (Xen. Mem. ii. 1. 8); as Rückert (so also Bretschneider and Lechler, p. 412) explains it, “they imposed on me no further obligations,” the observance of the law being the point principally alluded to. Comp. also Zeller, Apostelgesch. p. 235. But in opposition to this view, apart from the fact that it involves a quite needless departure from the signification of the same word in Galatians 1:16Galatians 2:6. The author here resumes the broken thread of the narrative, which he interrupted after Galatians 2:2 in order to show that his conciliatory attitude at Jerusalem was not due to weakness or irresolution. He now proceeds to relate the sequel of the advances which he made at Jerusalem to the Pharisaic party. The repetition of the phrase οἱ δοκοῦντες, and the fresh transition from the plural εἴξαμεν to the singular ἐμοί, indicate the fresh shifting of the scene from Antioch back to Jerusalem. The first clause is left unfinished, for the mention of these men who seemed to be anything leads the author to interrupt his narrative again that he may challenge their right to be heard; he breaks, accordingly, into the disparaging comment, what manner of men they had once been, maketh no matter—a forcible expression of his disappointment at finding so little Christian sympathy or life where he had hoped to find so much. After this parenthesis he remoulds the form of his sentence; and οἱ δοκοῦντες, the subject of ἦσαν, becomes the subject of the verb προσανέθεντο. Instead, therefore, of concluding the sentence in its original form, and stating that from those who so seemed he got no response, he writes, to me, I say, those who so seemed communicated nothing further.—τῶν δοκούντων εἶναί τι. These are identified with τοῖς δοκοῦσιν in Galatians 2:2. They are there described as men whom it was thought advisable to approach in private, here as men who were thought to be anything, i.e., to have any weight in the Church. The English version somewhat suggests that they held high office and were in positions of dignity, perhaps Apostles; but the Greek order in that case must have been τί εἶναι, nor can that emphasis be justified in rendering the enclitic τι after εἶναι. They were probably party-leaders, but the Apostle writes of them with scant respect as men who were now little better than a name.—ὁποῖοί ποτε ἦσαν …: What manner of men they had once been maketh no matter to me. The margin of the Revised Version rightly renders ὁποῖοι as an indirect interrogative dependent on διαφέρει, and gives to ποτε its true sense of formerly, in time past (as in Galatians 1:13; Galatians 1:23). Coupled as it is here with ποτε, ἦσαν has the force of a pluperfect, and contrasts the character of these men as reported from past time with what Paul actually found them to be: he could get no brotherly help or counsel from them. Therefore he pronounces the adverse judgment upon them (πρόσωπονλαμβάνει); for, like his Master (Luke 20:21), he regarded no man’s person, if weighed in the balance and found wanting.—ἐμοὶπροσανέθεντο. This clause forms an antithesis to ἀνεθέμην τοῖς δοκοῦσιν in Galatians 2:2. Paul had laid before them an account of his successful ministry among the Greeks, but they had no further response to make in the shape of Christian sympathy, or of fresh argument in justification of their prejudices against him and his teaching.

6. But of these] Rather, “But from those”. The sentence would have run regularly—“From those of reputation … I gained no new enlightenment”, but having been interrupted by a parenthesis (whatsoever … person) the structure is changed. “To me, I say, these eminent persons gave no new instruction”.

who seemed to be somewhat] nearly as in Galatians 2:2. ‘Those of considerable reputation’, though here perhaps not without a shade of irony.

whatsoever they were] Rather, ‘once were’, i.e. as the chosen companions of Christ during His earthly ministry.

God accepteth no man’s person] The force of this Hebraism is well illustrated by its use, Acts 10:34. “God does not confine His favours to those upon whom He has already bestowed them, however abundantly”.

for they who seemed] ‘for’ is here merely resumptive:—‘to me, I say, those of reputation (is there not a tinge of irony in the repetition of the phrase?) imparted nothing new’.

6–9. The construction is again broken and irregular. The punctuation of the Rev. Vers. makes the sense clear. “But from those who were reputed to be somewhat (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth not man’s person)—they, I say, who were of repute imparted nothing to me: but contrariwise, when they saw that I had been intrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision, even as Peter with the gospel of the circumcision (for He that wrought for Peter unto the apostleship of the circumcision wrought for me also unto the Gentiles); and when they perceived the grace that was given unto me, James and Cephas and John, they who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, that we should go unto the Gentiles, and they unto the circumcision”.

Galatians 2:6. Ἀπὸ) Supply οἱ, οἱ ἀπὸ, κ.τ.λ., and construe, οὐδέν μοι διαφέρει, ὁποῖοί ποτε ἦσαν ἀπὸ, κ.τ.λ. It is of no importance to me, what sort of persons in particular [‘whatsoever’] those were, who were of the number of those more distinguished. The preposition is put in the same way, while the article is omitted, Mark 5:35; Luke 11:49. Not only the three, James, Peter, and John, were δοκοῦντες, highly distinguished. He therefore says ἀπὸ τῶν. Οἱ δοκόυντες, viz. οἱ ὑπὲρ λίαν ἀπόστολοι; 2 Corinthians 11:5.—εἰναί τι) to be (accounted) something, among those, who did not so esteem Paul.—ὁποῖοί ποτε) ποτὲ is here enclitic, not an adverb of time.—Θεὸς, God) Paul followed the judgment of God. He asserts the Divine authority; he does not disparage that of the apostles.—γὰρ, for) The reason assigned [aetiologia] not of the thing but of the word. Paul had just made a preface, and points out the reason why he did so, and proposes the subject itself. In like manner, for occurs, ch. Galatians 6:7. The preface is, that he does not depend on the consent of others; afterwards, however, he shows that consent.—οὐδὲν προσανέθευτο) they added [imparted]

[7] nothing to me, i.e. they found no fault in my doctrine. It often happens that a man, who wishes to find fault or admonish, does it modestly, under the appearance of communicating information. “Those, who took the lead,” antecessores, as Tertullian calls τοῦς δοκοῦντας, used no such method in regard to Paul. I set forth, ἀνεθέμην, to them, Galatians 2:2; they had nothing to add.[8]

[7] Wahl. Clav. renders the verse here in the middle, “Animus est, novum aliquid imponere;” i.e. they were not disposed to impose any new burden or obligation on me.—ED.

[8] προσανέθεντο, the πρὸς implying addition.—ED.

Verse 6. - But of these who seemed to be somewhat (ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοκούντων εϊναί τι); now from those who were reputed to be somewhat. The conjunction δὲ does not seem to be adversative here, but simply introductory of a new particular. The writer is about to introduce, which he does in the next five verses (6-10), a fresh illustration of the independent position, which in point both of doctrine and of ministerial footing he held in relation to the first apostles and to the heads of the Jerusalemite Church, and at the same time of the full recognition which in both respects these had accorded to him. The construction of this sentence, as it proceeds, is interrupted and changed. When St. Paul wrote, from those who were reputed to be somewhat, he would seem to have meant to add, "I received nothing fresh either in knowledge of the gospel or in authority as Christ's minister," or some-tiring to that effect; but in his indignant parenthesis asserting his independence with respect to those whom his gainsayers in Galatia would seem to have pronounced his superiors, both in knowledge and in office, he loses sight of the beginning of the sentence, and begins it afresh in another form with the words (ἐμοὶ γὰρ οἱ δοκοῦντες), for they who were of repute, etc. Reputed to be somewhat; that is, thought highly cf. The phrase is of frequent occurrence, both in Greek and in Latin authors. It is obvious that he refers to the twelve and the leaders of the mother Church of Jerusalem. Whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me (ὁποῖοί ποτε η΅σαν οὐδέν μοι διαφέρει); of what sort they at any time were maketh no matter to me. The ὁποῖοι (of what sort) is suggested by the preceding τι (somewhat), and the η΅σαν (they were) by the δοκούντων (reputed); from those reputed to be somewhat whatever they really were. The comparison of the usage of ὁποῖος in other passages (Acts 26:29; 1 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; James 1:24) hardly favours the specific interpretation, "how great." In respect to the ποτέ, in a classical author, as Bishop Light foot observes, we should have no hesitation in taking it as equivalent to cunque. But the word occurs in the New Testament in thirty-one ether places, and in not one is it eunque, but always the adverb of time, either "sometime," "in time past," as above, Galatians 1:13, 23; John 9:13; or "any time," as 1 Corinthians 9:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:5. The latter shade of meaning seems the more appropriate here. The any time, though not to be limited to, would, however, cover the time when the twelve were in personal attendance upon our Lord - a circumstance which St. Paul's detractors were no doubt wont to hold up as a mark of distinction not possessed by him. It seems best to take of what sort as dependent upon the following words, maketh no matter to me. This last clause is not exactly equivalent to "I care not," as if it were an almost supercilious waving aside of the consideration; it is rather a grave assertion of a matter of fact. Whatever were the gifts of knowledge and spiritual insight which the twelve or other heads of the Jerusalemite Church possessed, or whatever their ministerial privileges or authority, whether derived from personal intercourse with the Lord Jesus when upon earth or in any other way, Paul's knowledge of the gospel and Paul's apostolic authority were neither of them at all affected by them. Now, at the time that he is writing this Epistle, he was just the same in respect to the possession of the essential truth of the gospel and to his apostolic authority as if he had had no intercourse with the spiritual rulers of the Jewish Church. God accepteth no man's person (πρόσωπον Θεὸς ἀνθρώπου οὐ λαμβάνει). The order of the words in the Greek throws especial emphasis upon "person:" person of man God accepteth not; that is, it is never on account of his person that God accepteth a man. This phrase, "accept a man's person," is of frequent occurrence in the Bible. In the New Testament it is always used in a bad sense, which in the Old is by no means the case. This difference is due, as Bishop Lightfoot observes, to the secondary sense of actor's mask attaching to the Greek noun, the actor on the Greek stage, as also on the Roman, being wont to wear a mask suited to the character in which he appeared; whence also πρόσωπον got to signify this character itself. The corresponding technical term among the Romans was persona, a word never used of the natural face, as πρόσωπον was. This explains the adoption of this last term in its Anglicized form by our English translators in the phrase now before us. With the like metaphorical application of the idea as that which was so common among the Romans, the word "person" seemed well fitted to denote the part, or certain accessories of the part, which a man plays on the stage, so to speak, of human life, in contradistinction to his more interior and essential character. The phrase denotes accepting a man, for example, for his worldly rank or position, for his office, for his nationality, even for his Church status (see James 2:1, 9; Acts 10:34; 1 Peter 1:17). The special adjuncts of a man's person referred to in the present passage are those of the outward call aforetime to be apostles and personal attendants upon the Lord Jesus while upon earth, and, in the case of St. James the Lord's brother, personal relationship to him. And St. Paul means to intimate that his knowledge of Divine truth and his ministerial fidelity and efficiency might be as real and as great, if God's will were so, as the knowledge and ministerial fidelity and efficiency of the twelve and St. James, whom his gainsayers were honouring so far above him merely for their person's sake. God made no such difference between him and them, but wrought with him just as much. For they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me (ἐμοὶ γὰρ οἱ δοκοῦντες οὐδὲν προσανέθεντο); for to me they who were of repute in conference added nothing. The verb προσανέθεντο, as it stands here, appears related to the ἀνεθέμην of ver. 2. I laid before them my gospel; they imparted to me nothing fresh (πρός). Thus Chrysostom and Theodoret. In Galatians 1:16, where the same verb occurs (see note), there is nothing to accentuate the πρός, as there is here. The "for" appears related to the foregoing clause. That God does not respect man for his person was evidenced by the fact that Paul's knowledge of the gospel was already so complete and his work was so honoured by God, that those whose person seemed to many so markedly superior to his, found that all they had to do was to frankly recognize his teaching as already adequate and complete, and his work as standing on a perfectly equal footing with their own. Galatians 2:6Render the passage as follows: "But to be something from (at the hands of) those who were of repute, whatever they were, matters nothing to me (God accepteth not man's person), for those who were of repute imparted nothing to me."

To be something (εἶναί τι)

Comp. Galatians 6:3; Acts 5:36; 2 Corinthians 12:11. To be in good standing as an evangelist or apostle, approved and commissioned by high authorities.

From those who were of repute (ἀπὸ τῶν δοκούντων)

From, at the hands of; as receiving my indorsement or commission from them. Comp. Galatians 1:1. Of repute, see on Galatians 2:2.

Whatsoever they were (ὁποῖοι ποτὲ ἦσαν)

Ποτέ in N.T. is invariably temporal, and points here to the preeminence which these apostles had formerly, up to the time of Paul's visit, enjoyed, because of their personal connection with Jesus.

Maketh no matter to me (οὐδέν μοι διαφέρει)

Paul does not say, as A.V. and Rev., that the standing and repute of the apostles were matters of indifference to him, but that he was indifferent about receiving his commission from them as recognized dignitaries of the church. The construction is: "To be something (εἶναί τι) at the hands of (ἀπὸ) those who were of repute matters nothing to me."

God accepteth no man's person

Or more strictly, accepteth not the person of man. Parenthetical. Λαμβάνειν πρόσωπον to receive or accept the face is a Hebraism. See on James 2:1. In O.T. both in a good and a bad sense; to be gracious, and to show favor from personal or partisan motives. In N.T. only here and Luke 20:21, both in a bad sense. Similar Hebraistic expressions are βλέπειν εἰς πρόσωπον to look at the face, Matthew 22:16 : θαυμάζειν πρόσωπα to admire the countenances, Jde 1:16 : καυχᾶσθαι ἐν προσώπῳ to glory in the face, 2 Corinthians 5:12.

For - to me

Explaining the previous statement. To be of consequence because commissioned by those in repute matters nothing to me (God accepteth not man's person), for although they might have asserted their high repute and authority to others, to me they did not, as shown by their imposing on me no new requirements.

In conference added nothing (οὐδὲν προσανέθεντο)


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