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.
2. by revelation—not from being absolutely dependent on the apostles at Jerusalem, but by independent divine "revelation." Quite consistent with his at the same time, being a deputy from the Church of Antioch, as Ac 15:2 states. He by this revelation was led to suggest the sending of the deputation. Compare the case of Peter being led by vision, and at the same time by Cornelius' messengers, to go to Cæsarea, Ac 10:1-22.
I … communicated unto them—namely, "to the apostles and elders" (Ac 15:2): to the apostles in particular (Ga 2:9).
privately—that he and the apostles at Jerusalem might decide previously on the principles to be adopted and set forward before the public council (Ac 15:1-29). It was necessary that the Jerusalem apostles should know beforehand that the Gospel Paul preached to the Gentiles was the same as theirs, and had received divine confirmation in the results it wrought on the Gentile converts. He and Barnabas related to the multitude, not the nature of the doctrine they preached (as Paul did privately to the apostles), but only the miracles vouchsafed in proof of God's sanctioning their preaching to the Gentiles (Ac 15:12).
to them … of reputation—James, Cephas, and John, and probably some of the "elders"; Ga 2:6, "those who seemed to be somewhat."
lest, &c.—"lest I should be running, or have run, in vain"; that is, that they might see that I am not running, and have not run, in vain. Paul does not himself fear lest he be running, or had run, in vain; but lest he should, if he gave them no explanation, seem so to them. His race was the swift-running proclamation of the Gospel to the Gentiles (compare "run," Margin, for "Word … have free course," 2Th 3:1). His running would have been in vain, had circumcision been necessary, since he did not require it of his converts.