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BIBLE STUDY on the book of Galatians

Galatians Chapter 2

Galatians Chapter 2 . . . Paul with the apostles in Jerusalem

This is the second division of this personal section in Galatians. We have seen that the Lord Jesus Christ communicated the Gospel directly to Paul. Is it the same Gospel that the other apostles had received from the Lord? YES! We will see the oneness of the Gospel and Paul’s experience with the apostles in Jerusalem. We will see the communication of the Gospel and see that the church in Jerusalem approved Paul’s Gospel.

Galatians 2:1 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. (KJV)

It was a wise decision of Paul to take Titus with him. Titus was a young preacher and a Gentile. I believe this was the first great council in Jerusalem as recorded in Acts 15. The question to be settled was: are people saved by the grace of God? . . . or should they come in under the Mosaic Law? Titus was exhibit number one. Titus had not been circumcised. Will he be forced to become circumcised? This was to become a very important matter. The Judaizers were saying that the church in Jerusalem believed that all believers in Christ should be under the Mosaic Law. All of the men there at the Jerusalem church, which was an all-Jewish church, had certainly been under it. Many of them still went to the temple to worship. In fact, that must have been the Christian’s meeting place. Paul and Barnabas came there to get the official word regarding law and grace.

Galatians 2:2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. (KJV)

And I went up by revelation . . . Paul had already written that his Gospel had come to him by direct revelation from God, so he saw no need to have it confirmed by any man. God, by His grace, probably, by direct revelation to Paul, confirmed that this was His will, to explain the Gospel.

Although Paul saw no need to have his Gospel confirmed by the Twelve, others did. It was the agreement of the Jerusalem council (Acts 15:6-21) that settled the issue for the rest of us. In Acts Passage, they agreed to the teaching of Paul’s Gospel, they recognized his calling by God to carry this message to the Gentiles (Gal.2:7), they gave the right hand of fellowship to him and Barnabas (Gal:2:9), and and Peter, the most respected Apostle, referred to Paul’s epistles as Scripture (2 Pet.3:15-16)

Either Paul’s Gospel is the absolute Truth, or all the other Apostles in Jerusalem were completely deceived. The big question: was Paul's teaching true or false? If Paul’s Gospel was in error, then he was a heretic. If his Gospel was wrong, then the Apostles were in error for not exposing his false teaching, but instead, they confirmed it publicly, they recognized the call of God on Paul’s life to carry his teaching to the Gentiles, they gave him the right hand of fellowship, and they embraced his teaching as Scripture.

Paul's very purpose for going to Jerusalem, was so he could plainly expound his message to the leaders of the Jerusalem church. The bottom line: there was no way the Jerusalem Apostles were going to discount Paul’s Gospel. How could they? They received their information from the same source as Paul received his, from God.

Paul realized that IF he was preaching a different gospel from what the other apostles were preaching, there was something really wrong. Paul was willing to admit that if he was preaching a different gospel, he was wrong. So he goes to Jerusalem and proclaims that Gospel to the apostles there.

Galatians 2:3-4 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: [4] And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: (KJV)

Where Paul was preaching, some were not believers. They just came in to spy. They learned that this young preacher, Titus, was a Greek and Paul had not forced him to be circumcised (a Jewish ritual). So . . . what will the church at Jerusalem do? They did NOT listen to the false brethren. If they had, we would be put right back under the bondage of the Mosaic Law rather than enjoying the freedom by the Spirit of God and the freedom in Christ. Christians are NOT under Jewish Law!

Galatians 2:5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. (KJV)

Paul stood by his decision, that Titus did NOT need to be circumcised. The false brethren revolted against this. Since the church was nearly all Jews, there was conflict. Paul says, “No, he’s not going to be circumcised. He is as much a believer as any of you. He has been saved by faith apart from the Law. He is not going to follow any part of the Law for salvation.” What a tremendous stand Paul takes.

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: (KJV)

Paul finds out that the apostles did not have anything to add to what he was preaching. He was preaching the grace of God, just as they were preaching the grace of God. They all are in full agreement. They all are preaching the same Gospel. Many tend to rate people on the basis of their official status and to be intimidated by powerful people. But Paul was NOT intimidated by “those who seemed to be important” because ALL believers are equal in Christ (Gal.3:26-28). We certainly should show respect for our spiritual leaders . . . IF they are really bringing the TRUTH to their congregations, but our first and last allegiance MUST be to Christ. We are to serve Him with our whole being. God does NOT rate us according to our status; He looks at our hearts (1 Sam.16:7).

What greatly concerns me in today’s world is the multitude of ‘seeker friendly’ churches and the ‘preachers’ bringing “damnable heresies” (2 pet.2:1) to their flocks. BEWARE! There are MANY wolves in sheep’s clothing out there! (Mat.7:15). These so-called men of God are led by none other than Satan! BEWARE!!! They are NOT bringing the Gospel of grace . . . they are bringing “another gospel” (2 Cor.11:4) that will send you to Hell. See our article on false teacher, Rick Warren: . . . http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_1_false_teachers_rick_warren.1.htm

Galatians 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (KJV)

Don’t be confused! There were NOT two Gospels: Peter’s gospel and Paul’s gospel. These men were in absolute agreement. The gospel of the circumcision and the gospel of the uncircumcision . . . mean to which groups the Gospel was going. The Gentiles was the group that Paul was to speak. He was called to go to the Gentiles, the uncircumcised. Peter was called to go to his Jewish brethren who were the circumcised.

Galatians 2:8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) (KJV)

When Peter preached to the Jews, people were saved. When Paul preached to the Gentiles, people were saved. Both men were preaching the same Gospel. The Gospel saves!

Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. (KJV)

The apostles accepted Paul’s apostleship. “The right hands of fellowship”. . . fellowship means sharing the things of Christ, which they all did.

Galatians 2:10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. (KJV)

Paul came back later with an offering for the poor saints in Jerusalem because that church had been persecuted and was in a sad condition. Because Paul, before his conversion had led the persecution, he wanted to bring the gift for the Jerusalem church with his own hands. The apostles told Paul not to forget to help the poor. Paul told them that was the very thing he was most eager to do.

Paul in Antioch with Peter; justification by faith. . . . Galatians 2:11-21

We saw Paul in Arabia with the Lord Jesus, and Paul being with the apostles in Jerusalem. Now we see Paul in Antioch with Peter. The church in Antioch was mostly Gentiles. We will not understand what happened there unless we consider how the early church operated. They had a love feast that was held in connection with the Lord’s Supper. Paul has much to say about this in 1 Corinthians. The early believers came together for a meal, a love feast, before they celebrated the Lord’s Supper (Communion). When Gentiles were saved, a problem arose. The Jews had never eaten anything which had been sacrificed to idols. The Gentiles had been idolaters, and they had eaten meat that had first been offered to idols. They also ate pork and other animals designated as unclean in the Law. What could be done to not offend the Jewish Christians? In Antioch, two tables were set up: a kosher table for the Jews; another for the Gentiles. Paul ate at the Gentile table. Even though he was a Jew, he ate with the Gentiles because he taught that whether you eat meat or not makes no difference . . . meat will not commend you to God.

Peter had had a vision of Heaven opening and a sheet being lowered in which were all kinds of unclean animals and the Lord had told him to eat (Acts 10:13–15). Peter had been a believer for quite a while when he came to visit Paul in Antioch, but he had still followed the Jewish eating pattern. When Peter came to the church, he found a Gentile table and a kosher table, and he ate with the Gentiles . . . but when other Jewish leaders came, he got scared and quickly withdrew from the Gentiles.

Galatians 2:11-12 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. [12] For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. (KJV)

Although Peter was a leader of the church, he was acting like a hypocrite. Paul knew that he had to confront Peter before his actions damaged the church. Paul publicly opposed Peter. Paul did not go to the other leaders, nor did he write letters to the churches telling them not to follow Peter’s example. Instead, he opposed Peter face to face. Sometimes sincere Christians, even Christian leaders, make mistakes and must be corrected.

Galatians 2:13-14 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. [14] But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? (KJV)

It was OK for Peter to eat at either table, kosher or Gentile. But after he had eaten at the Gentile table, he was afraid of what the brethren from Jerusalem might think, so he goes back to the kosher table. He is saying by his action that the Gentile table is wrong and the kosher table is right. The brethren from Jerusalem were severe legalists. I have no objection to those who feel that they should not eat certain meats. BUT, they should NOT criticize me for what I choose to eat. Peter turned from the liberty he had in Christ, BACK again to Judaism. If it was right for Peter to live as the Gentile believers lived, why did he want the Gentiles to live as the Jews? That is what he was saying when he left the Gentile table for the kosher table. If Peter was free to live outside the Law, was it not right that the Gentiles do the same?


Galatians 2:15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, (KJV)

The Jew in that day looked upon the Gentile as a sinner. The rebuke that Paul gave shows the foolishness of law keeping.

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (KJV)

This is a clear-cut and simple statement of justification by faith. The legalist has trouble with this verse. Cults have trouble with this verse!

ALL cults have something added to what Jesus did on the cross. It is faith PLUS something! It is Jesus PLUS something! ALL those who say that you have to add anything to faith in Christ mutilate the Gospel of grace, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They preach "another gospel." (2 Cor.11:4).

If a Jew had to forsake the Law in order to be justified by faith, Paul’s question is, WHY should the Gentiles be brought under the Law? The Gentile could NOT possibly find justification under the Law when the Jew had already proven that it was impossible! The Jews had the Law for almost 1500 years and had not been able to keep it. “Knowing that a man,” this is something you can know . . . you can KNOW if you are saved or not (1 John 5:13; John 20:31). What kind of “man” is this verse speaking about? ALL men . . . and women! We ALL are on ONE level before the Cross, that being we ALL are “sinners.” You are a sinner. I am a sinner. I don’t care who you are, you are a sinner in God’s sight. (Ecc.7:20; Rom.3:10,23).

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law”. . . IF you say that you have to join a certain church, OR that you have to have a certain experience, OR that you have to be baptized to be saved, you contradict this verse! We are NOT justified by works of law, ANY law. This makes Christianity different from every religion on the Earth. Every other religion . . . instructs us to DO something. Christianity is different. It tells us that we are justified by faith (Rom.5:1; 3:24) that is, faith is an accomplished act and fact for you. Every other religion says do. Christianity says done. The great transaction is done, and we are simply asked to believe it (John 6:28-29; 1 John 5:10-13). This verse is SO clear, that it is impossible to misunderstand it. It is NOT faith plus something; it is faith plus NOTHING!

Galatians 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. (KJV)

Justified = just as if I never sinned. WOW! Justified = declared not guilty in the courts of Heaven! WOW! Justified means that a sinner who is guilty before God, who is under condemnation and judgment, headed for Hell, is declared to be right with God on the basis of his faith in the redemption which we have in Christ Jesus. It is not only forgiveness of sins (subtraction); it is the righteousness of Christ (addition). We trade our vile sins for the perfect righteousness which is in Christ. What an almost unbelievable bargain!

Galatians 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. (KJV)

Paul is saying, “If I go back under law, I make myself a transgressor.” He is free from the Law. How did he become free from the Law?

Galatians 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. (KJV)

By studying the Old Testament Scriptures, Paul knew that he could NOT be saved by obeying God’s laws. We ALL have been infected by sin. We CANNOT keep God’s laws. Jesus is the only One who ever kept the Law! Jesus was the only sinless One, ever (2 Cor.5:21; Heb.4:15; 7:26; 9:14,28; Jam.5:6; 1 Pet.1:18-19; 2:22-24; 1 John 3:3,5).

God is so good, and has provided A Way of salvation . . . FAITH in Jesus Christ, NOT our own efforts.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (KJV)

We do NOT have to seek to be crucified with Christ. We already have been crucified with Him. Under the Law we are tried, found guilty and condemned. In the person of our Substitute we were crucified. So, how do I live? In Christ. He is alive today at God’s right hand (Rom.8:34; Gol.3:1; Heb.1:3; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet.3:22). When we are saved, we are in Christ. No way to improve on that. We cannot crucify ourselves.

Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (KJV)

IF there were any other way to save sinners, God would have used that method. The only WAY that an infinite God could save you and me was to send His Son to die in our place. He was willing to make the supreme sacrifice. There are NO extra laws to obey. There is NOTHING that you must DO except BELIEVE God (1 John 5:10-12)! Just by believing and trusting completely in Christ’s work on the cross can you be saved! IF we could be saved by being good, then Christ would not have had to die. The cross of Christ is the only way to salvation (eternal life in Heaven). (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). We must humble ourselves and kneel at the foot of his cross! Please believe God!

Book of Galatians

Ch.1 . Ch.2 . Ch.3 . Ch.4 . Ch.5 . Ch.6

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