1 Then after fourteen years, I went up to Jerusalem again with Barnabas taking Titus along with us also. 2 And I went up as a result of a revealing1, and I presented to them the Gospel that I preach among the gentiles, but privately2 to those held in high regard3, for fear that I may be running or had run in vain4. 3 But not even Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 But it was because of false-brothers, who slipped in to spy on our freedom5 which we have in Christ Jesus, in order that they might enslave us, 5 but we did not give way to them for a moment, so that the truth of the Gospel may remain with us.6 6 And from those held in high regard, (whatever they were made no difference to me, God does not have favorites7), for they8 added nothing to me, 7 but on the contrary, seeing that we had been entrusted with the Gospel to the uncircumcised just as Peter had been to the circumcised. 8 (For the one who worked in Peter in the apostleship to the circumcised, also worked in me to the gentiles), 9 and recognizing the grace given to me, James, Cephas, and John9 , the ones held in high regard to be pillars10, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship11, so that we may go to the gentiles, and they may go to the circumcised. 10 They only asked that we remember the poor: the very thing that I was also eager to do.
Paul continues in his defense. He writes that the leaders of the Jerusalem church endorsed him and "added nothing" to his Gospel.
1 κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν (as a result of a revealing)
Greek: “according to a revealing” or “according to a revelation”. We are not told what that “revelation” was. We do get some clues. More than likely, Paul found out that the Christians in the Jerusalem church were promoting the continuing observance of the Jewish law.
2 κατ ̓ ἰδίαν δὲ (but privately)
Greek: “but during one’s own”. In other words, Paul had a private meeting with leaders of the church.
3 τοῖς δοκοῦσιν (to those held in high regard)
or “to the influential ones”. The leaders of the Church of Jerusalem.
4 εἰς κενὸν (in vain)
Greek: “into empty”. I like to use the modern idiom “running on empty”
to describe what Paul was writing about.
Paul was not concerned if the Gospel in which he preach was “correct” or not, he was concerned about the probability of the first apostles (the ones held in high regard) not supporting what Jesus had given him to preach. This may be the key of the “revelation” that compelled Paul to return to Jerusalem. Paul would have a very difficult time preaching his version of the Gospel if the Apostles in Jerusalem were against him. He literally would have been running in vain.
5 Freedom refers to the freedom from having to do the Jewish law.
6 We don’t know if the false-bothers infiltrated the private meeting, or if they had visited Paul’s churches. What ever the case, these false-brothers wanted the practice of the Jewish law to be preached to the gentile christians and must have been lobbying for Paul to do this very thing. ψευδαδέλφους (false-brothers) is very harsh language for Paul to use here. It is equally as harsh as the language he used in chapter one, verses 8 and 9 (see note 18). a ψευδάδελφος, according to BDAG, is “one who pretends to be a fellow-believer, but whose claim is belied by conduct toward fellow-believers”. Paul uses it to refer to fellow church members who are not preaching the correct way of the Gospel. The idea of “enslaving” can only point to the desire of the false-bothers for the gentiles (and Paul) to start following the Jewish law.
7 πρόσωπον [ὁ] θεὸς ἀνθρώπου οὐ λαμβάνει (God does not have favorites)
Greek: “God does not receive the face of man”. An idiom that refers to God as not showing favoritism to any person. Some translations render it “God is not a respecter of persons”.
8 οἱ δοκοῦντες (they)
Greek: “the ones held in high regard”.
9 Ἰάκωβος καὶ Κηφᾶς καὶ Ἰωάννης (James, Cephas, and John)
Notice that Paul places James at the front of the group of names. This may indicate that James had surpassed Peter in authority. This may be due to the fact that James became the leader of the Church in Jerusalem.
10 στῦλοι (pillars)
Spiritual leaders. The ones who supported the beliefs of the church.
11 In other words, James, Peter, and John agreed with Paul on his doctrine.
Γαλάτας 2·1 Ἔπειτα διὰ δεκατεσσάρων ἐτῶν πάλιν ἀνέβην εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα μετὰ Βαρναβᾶ συμπαραλαβὼν καὶ Τίτον· 2 ἀνέβην δὲ κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν· καὶ ἀνεθέμην αὐτοῖς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ὃ κηρύσσω ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, κατ ̓ ἰδίαν δὲ τοῖς δοκοῦσιν, μή πως εἰς κενὸν τρέχω ἢ ἔδραμον. 3 ἀλλ ̓ οὐδὲ Τίτος ὁ σὺν ἐμοί, Ἕλλην ὤν, ἠναγκάσθη περιτμηθῆναι· 4 διὰ δὲ τοὺς παρεισάκτους ψευδαδέλφους, οἵτινες παρεισῆλθον κατασκοπῆσαι τὴν ἐλευθερίαν ἡμῶν ἣν ἔχομεν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, ἵνα ἡμᾶς καταδουλώσουσιν, 5 οἷς οὐδὲ πρὸς ὥραν εἴξαμεν τῇ ὑποταγῇ, ἵνα ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῦ εὐαγγελίου διαμείνῃ πρὸς ὑμᾶς. 6 Ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοκούντων εἶναί τι, _ ὁποῖοί ποτε ἦσαν οὐδέν μοι διαφέρει· πρόσωπον [ὁ] θεὸς ἀνθρώπου οὐ λαμβάνει _ ἐμοὶ γὰρ οἱ δοκοῦντες οὐδὲν προσανέθεντο 7 ἀλλὰ τοὐναντίον ἰδόντες ὅτι πεπίστευμαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς ἀκροβυστίας καθὼς Πέτρος τῆς περιτομῆς, 8 ὁ γὰρ ἐνεργήσας Πέτρῳ εἰς ἀποστολὴν τῆς περιτομῆς ἐνήργησεν καὶ ἐμοὶ εἰς τὰ ἔθνη, 9 καὶ γνόντες τὴν χάριν τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι, Ἰάκωβος καὶ Κηφᾶς καὶ Ἰωάννης, οἱ δοκοῦντες στῦλοι εἶναι, δεξιὰς ἔδωκαν ἐμοὶ καὶ Βαρναβᾷ κοινωνίας, ἵνα ἡμεῖς εἰς τὰ ἔθνη, αὐτοὶ δὲ εἰς τὴν περιτομήν· 10 μόνον τῶν πτωχῶν ἵνα μνημονεύωμεν, ὃ καὶ ἐσπούδασα αὐτὸ τοῦτο ποιῆσαι.