What does Galatians 2:14 mean?
ESV: But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?"
NIV: When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas 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?
NASB: But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, 'If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?
CSB: But when I saw that they were deviating from the truth of the gospel, I told Cephas in front of everyone, "If you, who are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel Gentiles to live like Jews?"
NLT: When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, 'Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?
KJV: 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?
NKJV: But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?
Verse Commentary:
Paul is describing an incident between himself and Peter, which supports his claims to apostolic authority. Paul knew what Peter believed, that Gentiles were fully accepted by God's grace through faith in Christ, that their sins were covered by Jesus' death on the cross. In fact, Peter believed that's how Jewish people were saved, as well. But Peter got scared when some men who still thought it was wrong to eat with Gentiles walked in and found him eating at a table with Gentiles. Peter got up and left the table, maybe not expecting all of the other Jewish people at the table to get up and follow his hypocritical example.

Paul had seen enough. He confronted Peter right out in the open in front of everyone gathered together to eat. Paul didn't confront Peter out of a sense of outrage for his Gentile friends. He confronted Peter openly for the sake of the truth of the gospel. Peter's actions were teaching everyone present that Christians came in two flavors: Jewish and Gentile. That was not the gospel. Everyone is saved by trusting in God's grace to forgive sin through Jesus' death on the cross. Nobody is saved by following the Law.

Paul used a question to challenge Peter: You're a Jew, and you were living like a Gentile before these guys came in. How can you now force Gentiles to live according to Jewish Law and traditions in order to be seen as saved and equal with Jewish Christians before God?

Peter's response is not recorded, but it is not needed. God Himself had commanded Peter to overcome his attachment to the Law and the customs of Judaism in order to accept and receive the Gentiles (Acts 10). Often, our real-world actions lag behind our bedrock beliefs. We should be glad to have someone like Paul rebuke us to get us back on the right track.
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 7/17/2024 1:20:45 PM
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