"Fourteen years later I went up again to
from the time of his conversion on the road to Damascus Paul went up to
This would have
Due to the
conflict with the Judaizers from
Paul takes with him two witnesses of the Holy Spirit’s manifestation among the Gentiles with out the Gentiles being circumcised and submitting to the Law of Moses. Barnabas and Titus had both seen the gospel work and had themselves preached it.
Titus was himself a Gentile. This is the first mention of Titus in scripture. Titus had been saved and appears to have been brought along as a sample of the Gentile fruit. Titus was not circumcised and was going to be used as an example of the work of the Holy Spirit in a non-circumcised Gentile’s life. Obviously, Titus’s personality was very strong and independent. (Remember, Timothy was circumcised so as not to be a stumbling block to the Jews.) Titus was not circumcised as an demonstration to the Jews that would force the leaders to see the power of the gospel. Titus would be an example to the most powerful and prominent men in all of church history.
Later Paul would
use Titus to trouble shoot church problems in
serve as witness from the Jewish point of view and as an original member of the
early church in
Paul has his
defense prepared and his witnesses positioned.
The great Rabbi and trained defender of the Jewish code is ready to present and defend the gospel before the great
men of the
"I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain."
The last time
Paul was in
Paul had been
obedient to that vision or “revelation” for fourteen years. (The exception being when Paul took the
offering from the Antioch church to the famine struck Jerusalem saints, but
this too, was in response to a “revelation,” a prophetic message by the prophet
Agabus.) Now, another “revelation” or vision from God
made it clear to Paul that he needed to go to
The importance of
mentioning the “revelation” is to continue to build his case of
independence. He did not go to
Notice that he
says that he “set before them the gospel that I preach among the
Gentiles.” The word “preach” (“khrussw” or “proclaim”) is in the present tense in the
Greek and the English translation. This
means that Paul presented a gospel to the leaders in
The word “set” as
used in “set before them the gospel” is the word “aneqemhn” from “anatiqhmi” or “anatithemi” and means “to communicate your
view in words for consideration and consultation from others.” Paul went to present his gospel to the
leaders to consider its validity and then they could decide what to do with it. The
Paul made his
presentation privately to the leaders.
Considering the fact he was sent to
Paul calls them “those who seemed to be leaders” or “tois dokousin” (tois dokousin). There is no sense of this being a derogatory phrase. In fact, this phrase is found in Greek literature (Eur…, Herodian, Plato) in reference to men of standing, men of esteem and those dignified. “tois” means “the ones.” “dookousin” is a verb that means “to seem, to be accounted, to be reputed.”
Any use at this
time of this phrase in an ironic sense would undermine Paul’s point here. He is
not trying to be critical of the other leaders.
He is instead trying to stand independent of them and use this situation
Paul then says a
very interesting statement, “for fear that I was running or had run my race in
vain.” This can not mean that all of a
sudden Paul began to doubt his
He does say literally from the Greek, “lest perchance I should run or had run in vain,” or “lest by any means I should be running or had run in vain.” Paul’s fear is three fold:
That the Gentiles would be forced to follow the Jewish customs in order to hear the gospel in spite of Paul’s work.
That Christian unity would be lost and give way to two
branches of Christianity: the Jewish and the Gentile.
Paul’s work, converts and churches would be
disowned by the
The word “vain” or “kenon” means “uselessly; without effect; empty; no effect.”
Paul uses the example of running since running takes a lot of effort but if misguided proves to be useless. If in a attempt to run somewhere quickly you begin by running the wrong way, you are running in vain. If in a race the runner does not know the rules for the race (ie: jumping over hurdles, carrying a baton, etc.) he can disqualify himself. If a runner does not know the distance of the race and paces himself for a five mile run, but the race is for only 100 meters his preparation is in vain.
Paul concern is not that he is running the wrong way, but the rest of the church leadership has taken off in the wrong direction. Paul does not fear that he does not know the rules but fears the Judaizers will successfully add to the rules of the race the hurdle of circumcision and the baton of the Jewish law. Paul knows the distance between a person and salvation is simply faith, but legalism wants to place salvation far away on the other side of performance.
Failure by the
"Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.”
Paul begins verse 3 by saying, “Yet. . .” in response to his previous fears in verse 2 of having run his race in vain. Paul did fear he and his work would be rejected, “yet” even Titus, a Gentile converted under Paul’s gospel, was accepted. Paul’s gospel was not rejected by the apostles, in fact they will support it. Why are the Galatians rejecting it? How can churches today reject what Paul and the Twelve accepted?
In light of the Galatians being tempted and
convinced by the Judaizers to be circumcised Titus is
again brought out as an example. If
circumcision was the issue, and if the Judaizers were preaching the gospel that the Twelve
The problem is
that the Galatians have been convinced by men of a much lower standing with
much less authority to embrace something Titus was allowed to reject. Titus was a Gentile like the Galatians. Titus stood in the midst of the church
"[This matter arose] because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you".
The grammar of this verse is difficult and helps identify the authenticity of the manuscripts to the original. Scholars (including liberal) accept the book of Galatians as being an authentic document written by Paul. From the early writers of Church history up through the modern liberal writers this letter stands as accepted.
The words “This matter arose” have been added by the NIV translators in an attempt to make the text flow. The Greek text says, “but on account of the false brothers brought in secretly, who stole in to spy on the freedom of us which we have in Christ Jesus in order that they might enslave us.”
This verse is an explanation of the word “compelled” in verse 3 used in reference to who was “compelling” Titus and arguing for
circumcision. Paul says it was not the Twelve apostles but the “false brothers.” Acts 15:4-6 describes this moment at the
Council of Jerusalem. After Paul had
spoken to the church the false brothers broke out against him in this meeting
of the general assembly. It says, “4When
they (Paul, Barnabas, Titus) came to
"Then some of the believers who be longed to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, ‘The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.’ 6The apostles and elders met to consider this question.”
brothers,” (“sham-Christians”) were a well known group to the Galatians as
identified by the article “The.” Paul
does not write “some false brothers,” but “THE false brothers.” This would be the same people who had caused
These false brothers had “infiltrated” the Jerusalem Council in an attempt to “spy” on the freedom from the law and to “make” the believers slaves to the law again. They were false simply because they did not fully understand the gospel.
“Infiltrated” - “secretly brought in” See 2 Peter 2:1 where same word is used of “false teachers” introducing heresies.
“Spy” - “sneaked in” and has the idea “of inquiry with a claim to the right of supervision” it is the word “kataskopa” and is used of spying on the city of an enemy to assist in its overthrow.
Result: The false Christians who previously where
tolerated were exposed and expelled in
They wanted to reduce believers to slaves they could rule over.