Final Summary to Galatians Chapter 2
In Chapter 2 we get to perhaps the very heart of Paul’s mission to the Gentiles. It comes as a result of the question of whether a Gentile has to become a Jew, and follow Jewish law–dietary and other–to be a follower of Jesus. According to Paul, James, brother of Jesus said yes, and Paul said no.
Paul won the argument.
Then we run across this issue in Mark 7:5-15, in which the Pharisee ask Jesus why his disciples eat with unclean hands. Jesus’ response is that ‘it’s not what goes into a person that makes him unclean, but what comes out.’
IOW, Jewish dietary laws are not necessary.
I will save the brunt of this discussion for when we get to the relevant section of Mark. But, ask yourself, did Jesus really say that? If he did, why did Paul and James have to duke it out? Why didn’t the James Gang in Jerusalem follow the teaching of Jesus on this point? Answer, because Jesus didn’t say that.
Implication: it was Paul who made it OK for new members of the Jesus community not to follow Jewish dietary laws, but, more importantly, that adult males would not have to submit to circumcision. This was a huge development. It removed a major barrier to getting non-Jews to accept the word of Jesus.
This is one reason I wanted to take these in chronological order in which they were written. What came first?
The ideas encountered:
- A revelation tells Paul to go to Jerusalem after 14 years.
- The revelation may be the reason he’s able to stand up to the controversy he encounters there
- Significant rift between Paul and James about remaining Jewish. Seems that James sent agents to spy on both Paul and Peter, to undermine the freedom these two had. Freedom, presumably, from maintaining all the Jewish dietary and other laws.
- They reach an agreement: Paul is the Apostle to the uncircumcised, while Peter is the Apostle to the circumcised
- Peter liked to live like a Gentile, until James’ agents caught him. Paul uses this to push his point that if Jews can’t live like Jews, how can Gentiles be expected to do so?
- !!! Justification by Faith !!!
- The Law vs Faith
- Christ living in Paul. Rather a novel concept, I believe
- If we are justified by the Law, why did Christ die?
Posted on September 4, 2012, in epistles, Galatians, Paul's Letters, Summary and tagged Bible, Bible commentary, commenting, epistles, Galatians, New Testament, St Paul. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.