Apostle Paul: Passionate Discipleship
Beginning the Journey (for new Christians).
1, 2, and 3 John
1 & 2 Thessalonians
1 & 2 Timothy
2 Peter, Jude
7 Last Words of Christ
Christ Powered Life (Rom 5-8)
David, Life of
Glorious Kingdom, The
Holy Spirit, Disciple's Guide
Jesus and the Kingdom
Lamb of God
Listening for God's Voice
Names of God
Names of Jesus
Rebuild & Renew: Post-Exilic Books
Sermon on the Mount
3. Justified by Faith in Christ (Galatians 2:11-21)by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Church politics can be ugly. We see that in Paul's day it was ugly too. But important. If Paul had washed his hands of all church politics, where would we be today? Sometimes it's vital that we stand for the principles of our faith, even when others don't understand.
In Lesson 2, we examined a bit of Paul's history that demonstrated the independence of his gospel, that it wasn't based on the teaching of the Jerusalem leaders, but on direct revelation by Jesus Christ. In this lesson, we see some of the implications of that, as Paul's ministry in Antioch is nearly destroyed by Jewish-Christian representatives from the mother church in Jerusalem.
As we'll see, at the root of the problem is a common missiological issue: what is the core gospel that we teach new believers -- and how much of our own culture do we import into the target culture?
Before we can understand the incident in Antioch, we need to examine the roots and reasons for Jewish separation from Gentiles. Though not required by the Mosaic law, separation had evolved due to two factors: danger of syncretism and food laws.
- Danger of Syncretism. When you read the history of Israel prior to the Exile, you see the sad story of Jews leaving the faith of their fathers to serve foreign gods -- Baal, Astarte, Molech, and others. Even worse, they mixed the worship of foreign gods with the worship of Yahweh, blurring the distinctions entirely. But the Israelites that returned from the Exile seemed more serious about the purity of their faith and the dangers of intermarriage with their pagan neighbors (Exodus 34:15; Leviticus 18:24; 20:25-26; Deuteronomy 7:1-6; 14:2; Ezra 10:11). This led to a custom of separation that was deeply ingrained in orthodox Jews by the first century.
Food laws. The Kosher laws of the Old Testament against eating pork, food sacrificed to idols, and meat without draining the blood from it made it impractical for Jews and Gentiles to eat together and enjoy any kind of table fellowship.
The early church had faced some of these issues even prior to the Christian movement in Antioch -- when Peter ate with Gentiles at the house of Cornelius:
"It is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him." (Acts 10:28a)
"The circumcised believers criticized [Peter] and said, 'You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.'" (Acts 11:2-3)
As a result of this controversy, the Council at Jerusalem counseled (but did not demand) Gentile Christians to observe the following requirements so that Jewish Christians would be able to eat alongside them.
"It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things." (Acts 15:28-29)
But we're getting ahead of ourselves again!
To set the scene in our passage, a number of Gentiles had become Christians in Antioch. The Jerusalem church sent Barnabas to instruct them in the faith and he, in turn, got Paul to help him.
Let's examine the implications of the conflict between Paul and Peter in Antioch.
"11 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray." (2:11-13)
Put that alongside a reference from Acts that probably took place after Galatians was written, following Paul's First Missionary Journey:
"Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: 'Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.'" (Acts 15:1)
Imagine the situation. Paul and Barnabas have been laboring for years in Antioch to teach the new believers who had come to Christ out of paganism. There were many bonds of mutual love and caring. Peter, also, comes to Antioch to teach and mingles freely with the new believers.
But now, Jewish Christians, purportedly representing James, Jesus'brother, head of the Jerusalem church, come to check up on the progress of the mission in Antioch. But these men are strict in their observance of the kosher laws. They have special food prepared for them in the prescribed manner and won't eat meals with the new believers in the church. That would be bad enough. It makes the believers feel like second-class citizens, not good enough to eat with -- needing circumcision to be fully accepted.
But to be fair to James, we need to notice Paul's terminology: "certain men from James," a kind of studied anonymity. There is the implied criticism that James should not have tolerated such views. Indeed, later James apologizes for their actions in the letter from the Jerusalem Council:
"We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said." (Acts 15:24)
Cole says, "They were clearly [James'] own 'right wing,'the Pharisaic group, and a sore embarrassment even to him." But now these Jerusalem believers begin to exercise a strong influence over the rest of the Jewish Christians that have been laboring in Antioch.
"12b But when they arrived, [Peter] began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray." (2:11-13)
Before long, it isn't just a small group of Jerusalem believers who withdraw table fellowship from the new Christians, but all the Jewish Christians are now eating separate from the non-Jewish Christians! Barnabas too!
Notice the reason for the separation: Peter "was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group" (2:12b). Peter isn't acting out of conviction but out of fear of being smeared by the law-keeping Jews who threaten to ruin his reputation as the leading apostle of the Christian movement. If Peter isn't acting from conviction, then he is guilty of hypocrisy -- saying one thing, but doing another.
Peter was one of the pillars of the Jerusalem church (2:9). He had experienced a vision of God's acceptance of the Gentiles, preached the gospel in the house of Cornelius in Caesarea (Acts 10), and then, defended to the church in Jerusalem his action to baptize them on the grounds that the Holy Spirit had led him to do it (Acts 11). But Peter began to vacillate when the wind turned against him. He had vacillated when Jesus was on trial by denying him three times. Now he vacillated when Paul was being criticized by the Judaizers, who represented themselves as coming from Peter's colleagues in Jerusalem.
But Barnabas should have known better! Barnabas wasn't a Palestinian Jew like Peter, but was a Greek-speaking Jew who had been born in Cyprus. He had been the first to defend Paul and his gospel before James and Peter in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1-10). Later, he had been sent by the Jerusalem church to instruct the new converts in Antioch (11:22). But now, with representatives from James present to make sure that the Jewish law was being upheld, he, too, was "led astray." He looked at the reputation of the men who were zealous law-keepers, rather than the principle at stake. But perhaps it was part of Barnabas'nature to find common ground where he could. He just saw it as the loving thing to do, so as not to offend these visitors from Jerusalem.
"One anomaly is that, had not Barnabas been what he was, there might well have been no Paul to withstand him; for, under God, Paul owed to Barnabas both his introduction to the Christian circle at Jerusalem and, later, to the Christian ministry at Antioch. But Paul was too faithful a friend to allow him to go unrebuked."
Q1. (Galatians 2:11-14) Why do you think Peter first
embraced the Gentile believers in Antioch and later withdrew from them to eat
only with Jews? What does this tell us about his character? Why should he have
known better? What does this tell us about Barnabas? What does it tell us about
the political clout of the visitors from Jerusalem? Have you ever acted like a
hypocrite to impress others? What should you do when you recover your senses?
Paul found himself to be the only Jew who would now eat and associate with the Gentiles in the Antioch church. The Jewish-Christian circumcision party from Jerusalem -- who as yet didn't really understand the gospel to the Gentiles -- had staged a full coup.
So Paul publicly confronted the situation. He wasn't just being difficult. I am sure that he had privately tried to reason the whole situation out. But the influence of the "men from James" was too strong. If he didn't publicly confront the situation, the mission to the Gentiles would shrivel up and die. It would be no different than it had always been: a synagogue in a city of the empire attended by Gentile "God-fearers" who drew the line at circumcision. This matter is at the core of the gospel!
"11 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.... 14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, 'You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?'" (2:11, 14)
Basically, Paul calls Peter a hypocrite publicly, acting one way when he's with Gentiles only, and another way when members of the circumcision party from Jerusalem are around. It was a gutsy and potentially dangerous thing to do. After all, they were the "insiders" and "original believers," while Paul was a "newcomer" to the faith. But Peter's blatant hypocrisy was so inexcusable that Paul apparently won the day. He not only won over Barnabas, but eventually Peter and the others, too, but it required going back to Jerusalem to hash it out -- and apparently that didn't take place until after Paul's First Missionary Journey. We read a bit later:
"Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: 'Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.'This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question." (Acts 15:1-2)
The result was the Council of Jerusalem and its decision not to require Gentile Christians to be circumcised -- signed by James and the other leaders in Jerusalem. But that was later. For now, Paul is arguing his case to the Galatians without a letter from the Jerusalem church to back him up.
Q2. (Galatians 2:14) Why do you think Paul confronted
Peter publicly rather than privately? Do you expect Paul had talked with Peter
about this previously? How did a public discussion of this benefit the Jewish
Christians? How did it benefit the Gentile Christians? What kind of pressure do
you think this put on Paul?
Before we leave this incident, I want you to see this conflict as a common missiological issue: specifically, what is the core of the gospel that we must transmit to converts in a new culture, and how can we extract the core gospel from our own cultural baggage?
I live in California where it is popular these days to condemn the Franciscan fathers, such as Junipero Serra (1713-1784), who founded the chain of 21 California missions to the Native Americans (Indians). The Franciscan fathers moved these hunter-and-gatherer Indians onto mission property and organized them into an agricultural culture. Yes, they communicated to them about Jesus'salvation, but was it really necessary to rip them out of their own culture and introduce a Western culture as the "Christian" culture?
When you study the history of missions in the last two centuries, you'll see that Westerners have sent missionaries around the world, but they haven't always been very culturally sensitive. For example, we have imposed individual conversions upon cultures that are accustomed to make such decisions as a community, as a "people movement" rather than as individuals. We have clothed people, because we were offended by their "nakedness" and wanted to make them "modest" according to Western standards. In the process we ignored what was considered immodest in their own culture. I could go on. But praise God that he has blessed Western missionary efforts in spite of our mistakes.
What was happening in Antioch -- and Galatia -- is an early example of cultural blindness on the part of the sending church. The sending church tried to impose its cultural norms (food laws and circumcision) upon the church in the new culture. To consider as brothers and sisters Christians who ate pork was just too much for them to accept.
I have a friend who has devoted his life to reaching Muslims for Christ. Where he ministered in Bangladesh, the church required three things of any Muslims who wanted to convert to Christianity. These included renouncing Islam, standing on the Koran, and eating pork. Very few Muslims could do this because it so violated their culture. Essentially, a convert was wrenched out of his culture -- cutting him off from any future ability to evangelize his people. But now we're beginning to see many Muslims who are becoming "Followers of the Way" within the mosque, just as the early Christians worshipped Jesus in the Jewish temple. They worship and praise ʿĪsā (Arabic for "Jesus") within their cultural setting -- and the movement is spreading in the Middle East. Are they real Christians? Yes, but they don't use that name, since it has so many negative connotations in their culture. Instead they follow "the Way."
The mother church in Jerusalem had a hard time seeing Gentile Christianity as valid without the Jewish trappings that were crucial to them. But eventually they did, and we are in their debt, and in the debt of the Apostle Paul, whose insight into the core of the gospel -- Christ crucified -- brought salvation to us Gentiles.
Q3. Why is it so hard to take the gospel to different
peoples without wrapping it in our own cultural practices? Can you think of
examples of this in Church history? What is the danger? How can we avoid such
cultural faux pas in our church's missionary enterprises?
We've looked at the precipitating incident of Peter's hypocrisy. Now Paul tells the Galatians the theological argument he used when confronting Peter and the others over their refusal to associate with the Gentiles. Where we leave Paul's actual speech on that occasion and move to Paul's theological reflection on the issue isn't clear -- but it matters little.
"We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners' know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified." (2:15-16)
The primary theological issue is how a person is justified before God -- by the law or by faith. "Justified" is dikaioō, generally, "to render a favorable verdict, vindicate." Here, it means, "be acquitted, be pronounced and treated as righteous."
The Old Testament is clear that forgiveness is needed. For example:
"Blessed is he whose transgressions are
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him
and in whose spirit is no deceit." (Psalm 32:1-2)
"Do not put your servant on trial,
for no one living can be found guiltless at your tribunal." Psalm 143:2 (NJB)
But Paul is not appealing here to unbelieving Jews, but Jews who have accepted Jesus as their Messiah, who "know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ" (2:15b). Paul is stating the obvious. These Jewish believers accepted that Jesus died for their sins. The reason they still kept the law was because it was their culture, their way of life. But sometimes they would slip back into their old thinking that their observance of the law somehow was enough to make them right in God's eyes.
But Paul's logic is relentless: if they need Jesus to die for their sins to make them right with God, to justify them, then it stood to reason that keeping the law had not justified them. They hadn't thought it through -- as many Christians haven't. Being good doesn't justify us or prepare us for heaven. We are saved by Jesus dying for our sins -- period! The law is good, but it doesn't save. It isn't the core of the gospel -- Jesus the Messiah is.
The inescapable conclusion of this line of thinking is, since they are trusting Christ for salvation, not the law, they are now on the same level before God as the Gentiles. As Paul sums up in verse 21:
"If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"
The logic is inescapable. Christ's death for our sins -- which all believers acknowledged -- puts us all on an even playing field. Thus not associating with Gentiles is hypocrisy, a way of pretending we are better, rather than recognizing that we are all the same under grace.
"If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!" (2:17)
So, Paul is saying, if I now depend upon Christ for my justification, it suddenly makes me realize that I'm a sinner needing his justification, no longer a Jew that seems secure in being "righteous" within the covenant. I'm suddenly aware of my sin and vulnerability because of it. Does this mean that Christ somehow makes me a sinner where I wasn't one before? No. That's foolishness! (Paul is defending himself here, as in Romans 6:1-2, against a false charge of antinomianism by his opponents.)
"If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker." (2:18)
Paul is saying that his Judaizer opponents are rebuilding the law as that which justifies, a position forever destroyed by the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the cross to justify us from our sins! He says with irony that the law-promoters have become the law-breakers.
Q4. (Galatians 2:15-21) What happens to the importance of
Christ's death if circumcision is deemed necessary to salvation? Why was this
issue of the sufficiency of the Messiah's death so important in Paul's day? Why
was this issue important to Luther and the reformers? Why is it so important in
our own day? How does it affect the relative legalism of our congregations?
Now Paul introduces a new idea to this letter -- dying to the law.
"19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (2:19-21)
How did we "die to the law" through or "by means of" the law? What Paul means is that he is forever dead to the legalistic and Pharisaic notion that he can save himself by devotion to keeping the law. He is now forever dead to a legalistic understanding of salvation. For him it is now grace -- all grace -- a grace he will not "set aside" (2:21)!
Now we examine a beloved and oft-memorized verse:
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (2:20)
In this verse, Paul indicates that Christ has redefined his life and entire motivational system. Where once he acted as if he directed his own life, now Paul sees that this old life is dead. His life in this physical body is energized by Christ and his Spirit and lived on the principle of faith in Christ as his Leader and Savior.
That's the overall idea. But now let's examine the pieces of this remarkable statement.
"I have been crucified with Christ"
After writing Galatians, Paul wrote to the church in Rome, developing this idea further.
"3 Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him." (Romans 6:3-8)
It is a complex argument. But essentially Paul argues that by baptism we identify ourselves with Christ in his death. We are buried with him (signified by being immersed in water), and we are joined with him in his resurrection (signified by being raised from the water). Baptism symbolizes our union with Christ, our being joined to Christ. What he experienced, we experienced with him. He was crucified; we were crucified.
"Christ lives in me"
"Christ lives in me" is another piece of the compelling evidence that the law has been superseded by the Spirit that the Messiah sends. Consider these verses:
[John the Baptist] "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (Luke 3:16)
[Jesus] "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'" (John 3:5-7)
[The Apostle John] "As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit -- just as it has taught you, remain in him." (1 John 2:27; cf. 2:20)
[The Apostle John] "We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit." (1 John 4:13)
[The Apostle Paul] "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness." (Romans 8:9-10)
Dear friends, this is an amazing truth: Christ lives in us by his Spirit! This is more than Christ living in us in a figurative sense because we share his values. This is the Spirit of Christ actually living within our bodies. Amazing!
"I live by faith..."
"... The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (2:20b)
My life in the body (literally, sarx, "flesh") now has a different motivational system. I used to live to accomplish my own goals and fulfill my own desires.
"All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath." (Ephesians 2:3)
"And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (Galatians 5:24)
But now I live trusting the Son of God, that is, I live by faith. The preposition translated "by" is en, "in," thus I live in the realm of faith. Here en probably has the sense of means or instrument. Bruce notes,
"This is not simply the exercise of faith in contrast to sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) ... but faith as the bond of union with the risen Christ. To live by faith in this sense is tantamount to living by the Spirit'(5:25)...."
"Loved me and gave himself for me"
The Son of God, to whom Paul is bound, did two things:
- "Loved me" and
- "Gave himself for me."
A favorite verse comes to mind:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son...." (John 3:16a)
For Paul this is personal! He "loved me" and "gave himself for me" -- the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Hallelujah!
He didn't just love us as the respectable Christian people we might become with maturity, but as gross, unrepentant, proud sinners.
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
The wording of Galatians 2:20 indicates that Jesus'death for us was not a martyr's unwilling death, but purposeful -- "gave himself for me." Jesus chose his death for our sins with great deliberation. That's what his struggle in Gethsemane was all about. A few minutes after his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, he rebukes Peter's struggle to resist with these words.
"Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" (Matthew 26:53-54)
We see this theme of Jesus voluntarily giving himself repeated again and again.
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)
"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)
"... just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 5:2)
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." (Ephesians 5:25)
Galatians 2:20 is a verse well worth memorizing, for it is both instructive and inspiring as you meditate on it.
Q5. (Galatians 2:20) In what sense have we been
"crucified with Christ"? What does that mean? In what sense do "I no longer
live"? Whose life now motivates us? How does this verse relate to Paul's closing
comments about the "new creation" (Galatians 6:15)? What does Galatians 2:20
teach about Christ's attitude toward us?
Paul concludes this section of his letter with a summary verse that combines in a single sentence his main themes: grace, righteousness (or justification), law, and Christ's death.
"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! " (2:21)
The logical conclusion of the circumcision party was that keeping the law was sufficient to justify a person. But if this were true, says Paul, then Christ died needlessly.
Such a position is in conflict with a deep understanding of God's grace. Indeed, to maintain such a position as the Judaizers did, was to "set aside" (NIV), "nullify" (NRSV), "frustrate" (KJV) God's grace. The word is atheteō, "to reject something as invalid, declare invalid, nullify, ignore."
Available in paperback and e-book formats
We should be immensely grateful that Paul understood the central importance of grace in our salvation. If he had not, the all-important mission to the Gentiles would have faded away as a momentary breeze in an otherwise stiflingly hot day dominated by sin, the flesh, and our hopeless attempts to justify our own selfish actions. Christ has brought us the refreshing joy of salvation rich and free. Especially, "free," for that is the essential meaning of grace.
Lord, thank you for loving us and giving yourself for us! We know we can't trust our own goodness to save us. We trust in your atoning death for our sins. Teach us, we pray, how to conduct our lives by faith, with Christ living in us by the Spirit. In Jesus'name, we pray. Amen.
"[We] know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified." (Galatians 2:16, NIV)
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20, NIV)
"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (Galatians 2:21, NIV)
 At least according to the South Galatian Theory which makes sense to me.
 Cole, Galatians, p. 75.
 "Drew back" (NIV, NRSV), "withdrew" (KJV) is hypostellō, "draw back, withdraw" (BDAG 1041, 1a).
 "Separated" is aphorizō, "to remove one party from other parties so as to discourage or eliminate contact, separate, take away.... Separate oneself, hold aloof" (BDAG 158, 1).
 "Join in hypocrisy" (NIV, NRSV), "dissembled" (KJV) is synypokrinomai, "to join in playing a part or pretending, join in pretense/hypocrisy" (BDAG 976). "Dissemble" means, "to put on a false appearance, conceal facts, intentions, or feelings under some pretense" (Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary).
 "Led astray" (NIV, NRSV), "carried away" (KJV) is synapagō, "to cause someone in conjunction with others to go astray in belief, lead away with" (BDAG 965, 1), a triple-compound verb: syn-, "together" + apo-, "from" + agō, "lead, lead away."
 Cole, Galatians, p. 76.
 "Opposed" (NIV, NRSV), "withstood" (KJV) is anthistēmi, "be in opposition to, set oneself against, oppose" (BDAG 80, 1a).
 "Clearly in the wrong" (NIV), "stood self-condemned" (NRSV), "blamed" (KJV) is kataginōskō, "condemn, convict" someone." (BDAG 515). This is an old verb meaning "to know against, to find fault with" (Robertson, Word Pictures).
 "In line" (NIV), "consistently" (NRSV), "uprightly" (KJV) is orthopodeō, literally, "walk straight, upright," here figuratively, "act rightly, be straightforward" (BDAG 722). We get our English word "orthopedics" from this word.
 "Force" (NIV), "compel" (NRSV, KJV) is anankazō, which we saw in 2:3 above.
 "Sharp" (NIV), "no small" (NRSV, KJV) is "no" plus the adjective oligos, "relatively low on a scale of extent or existing only to a small degree, little, slight." With the negative it means "great, severe" (BDAG 703, 3).
 "Dispute" (NIV), "dissension" (NRSV, KJV) is stasis, which can mean "status quo," then movement towards a new situation, then "lack of agreement respecting policy, strife, discord, disunion" (BDAG 940, 3).
 "Debate" (NIV, NRSV), "disputation" (KJV) is zētēsis, initially a "seeking, investigation," but here it has progressed to, "engagement in a controversial discussion, discussion, debate, argument" (BDAG 429, 3).
 According to the early dating theory.
 Paul's phrase "Gentile sinners" is heavy with irony. This was the way the Jews thought of the Gentiles, but Paul's point is that all are sinners (Romans 3:23).
 Dikaioō, BDAG 249, 2bβ.
 The phrase "works of the law" (NRSV, KJV), "observing the law" (NIV) uses the noun "works," ergon, "deed, accomplishment," here "deeds that the law commands you to do" (BDAG 390, 1cβ).
 The preposition is dia, a "marker of instrumentality or circumstance whereby something is accomplished or effected, "by, via, through" (efficient cause) (BDAG 224, 3d).
 C.E.B. Cranfield points out that Paul had no word in Greek to express the idea of "legalism," and so had to use "law" or a phrase containing the word, such as, "works of the law." C.E.B. Cranfield, "St. Paul and the Law," Scottish Journal of Theology (1964), 43-68, especially p. 55. Cited by Bruce, Galatians, p. 137.
 For more on this, see my book, The Christ Powered Life (JesusWalk, 2009, 2011).
 "Union with Christ is nothing if it is not union with Christ in his death." J.D.G. Dunn, Unity and Diversity in the New Testament (London, 1977), p. 195, cited by Bruce, p. 144.
 En, BDAG 328, 5b.
 Bruce, Galatians, pp. 144-145.
 "Could be gained" (NIV), "comes" (NRSV, KJV) is not in the Greek text, but implied by the context.
 "For nothing" (NIV) is the adverb dōrean, most commonly translated, "freely, as a gift." But here it has the meaning, "pertaining to being without purpose, in vain, to no purpose" (BDAG 266, 3).
 Atheteō, BDAG 24, 1.
In-depth Bible study books
You can purchase one of Dr. Wilson's complete Bible studies in PDF, Kindle, or paperback format.
- Apostle Paul: Passionate Discipleship
- Disciple's Guide to the Holy Spirit
- 1, 2, and 3 John
- 1 Peter
- 2 Peter & Jude
- 1 & 2 Thessalonians
- 1 & 2 Timothy
- 1 Corinthians
- 2 Corinthians
- Abraham, Faith of
- Christ Powered Life (Romans 5-8)
- Christmas Incarnation
- Colossians and Philemon
- David, Life of
- Glorious Kingdom, The
- Great Prayers of the Bible
- Jacob, Life of
- Jesus and the Kingdom of God
- JesusWalk: Beginning the Journey
- John's Gospel
- Lamb of God
- Listening for God's Voice
- Lord's Supper
- Luke's Gospel
- Moses the Reluctant Leader
- Names and Titles of God
- Names and Titles of Jesus
- Rebuild & Renew: Post-Exilic Books
- Resurrection and Easter Faith
- Sermon on the Mount
- Seven Last Words of Christ