What does Galatians 2:11 mean?
ESV: But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.
NIV: When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.
NASB: But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.
CSB: But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he stood condemned.
NLT: But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong.
KJV: But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
NKJV: Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;
Verse Commentary:
This verse brings a sudden shift in Paul's reported relationship with the other apostles, specifically Peter. This example becomes the springboard Paul uses to emphasize his message that salvation comes by faith, not by works. In order to defend himself against the charges from his accusers that he was not a full apostle, but merely a student of the other apostles—like Peter—Paul has outlined his relationship with them.

First, God was the one who revealed Jesus to Paul. He was not converted by the preaching of any other teacher. Second, after Paul's conversion, he was not trained by the apostles. He went off by himself and learned about Christ from Christ. He did meet with Peter and Jesus' brother James briefly, after already developing his understanding of the gospel, and then ministered on his own in Syria and Cilicia. Paul's point to his accusers was that he was a full apostle, by God's own calling and grace, and not because of any close association with the apostles in and around Jerusalem.

In the previous verses, Paul also showed he was preaching the same gospel truth as the other apostles. In fact, Peter, James, and John had given to him and Barnabas their full approval.

Now Paul will show that he remained independent of Peter, referred to here as Cephas, the original Aramaic version of the name given to him by Jesus. Paul was not under Peter's authority. In fact, when Peter came to Antioch in Syria, where Paul lived, Paul opposed him to his face over a serious issue, about which Paul knew Peter was dead wrong. Paul exercised his own God-given authority as apostle with Peter. How could he have done that if he was not a full apostle himself?
Verse Context:
Galatians 2:11–14 describes a difficult moment, when Paul was forced to confront another apostle for hypocritical behavior. Though Peter has declared his agreement that salvation is by faith in Christ and not the law, he seems hesitant to live out that truth if disapproving people are watching him. Peter's choice to step away from eating with Gentiles leads all the Jewish people in the room to do the same. For the sake of the true gospel, Paul opposes Peter to his face, calling out his hypocrisy. Peter had been ''living like a Gentile,'' by eating with them. How could he force any Gentile, then, to live under the law?
Chapter Summary:
Paul holds a crucial meeting with the other apostles. Do they preach, as he does, that salvation can only be found through faith in Christ and not by following the law? He learns that they do, though ''false brothers'' in their midst are opposed to this gospel of God's grace. After receiving official approval from Peter and the others, Paul later opposes Peter for publicly trying to distance himself from Gentile Christians out of fear of how others might respond. Paul declares that justification comes only through faith in Christ and not by the works of the law.
Chapter Context:
In Galatians 1, Paul defended himself in order to defend the trustworthiness of his message. He made the case that he was a legitimate apostle. He shows in Galatians 2 that the other apostles stand with him in teaching the gospel of salvation through faith in Christ. He describes a moment in which he rebuked Peter for hypocrisy and then makes the case that only faith in Christ can bring justification for any person in the eyes of God. The works of the law can never make anyone righteous, or Christ would not have had to die.
Book Summary:
Galatians is sometimes called “a short Romans” for its similar themes of justification and sanctification through faith. A group of Christians known as “Judaizers” were preaching a gospel of legalism, rather than grace. Paul’s main purpose in writing the letter to the Galatians was to reiterate the true nature of the gospel: we are justified (made righteous) and sanctified (made more Christlike) through our faith in Jesus Christ alone. This letter was probably written shortly before the church elders in Jerusalem issued their official refutation of the Judaizers, commonly called the Jerusalem Council.
Accessed 5/20/2024 8:28:37 PM
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