Galatians chapter 2 could be titled “A Tale of Two Apostles”, or even the same name as the Dickens novel “A Tale of Two Cities”. As for the story of two Apostles, the myths created by “scholars” of rival factions and a Petrine party vs. a Pauline party with Paul’s party winning out and settling Christian doctrine may make good novels and movies, but is totally unscriptural. All that the BIBLE STUDENT would need to is read this chapter along with the Acts 10-15 to find out what really happened. As for “Pauline” doctrine winning out, all one would have to do is look at what the historic church of Christendom has taught and see that save for a few bright lights along the way, Paul’s gospel has not won the day in man’s religion. But we are not talking about man’s religion. We are studying the written Word of God.
As for a story of two cities, the cities are Jerusalem and Antioch. The first half of the chapter is about Paul’s visit to Jerusalem to communicate to the assembly which included the twelve apostles the gospel which he preached among the gentiles. He made it a point to NOT circumcise Titus. Why even discuss this, especially when we consider the “privacy” of this operation? The point made here is that gentiles do not need to become Jews to be saved. This was not to make the Gospel more palatable to gentiles, or as “scholars” like to say to “make Christianity acceptable to non-Jews”. That is hogwash of the lowest order. It is God taking His good news to the gentiles independently of His covenant people. Hence “the gospel of the uncircumcision”. (Gal 2:7)
The second half details Peter’s visit to Antioch, and Paul’s rebuke of him for leading a separation of Jewish believers from gentile believers because of fear of those coming from James who were “of the circumcision”. (Gal 2:12) How often we all go wrong and violate what we know to be true because of the fear of man! Peter knew that the gentiles who were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel” and “strangers to the covenants of promise” were now made near by the blood of Christ. The middle wall of partition was broken down and God was making in Christ “one new man” out of the Jews and gentiles who believed. (Eph 2:11-18)
The chapter ends with the great truth of the end of “me”. It is the end of “ego”.
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. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. [Gal 2:20-21]
This leads us into the rest of the epistle, where Paul makes it clear that law and grace cannot coexist. Resurrecting the law for righteousness is resurrecting the ego.
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. [Gal 6:14]
Studies in Chapter 2:
Previous Chapter: Galatians Chapter 1
Next Chapter: Galatians Chapter 3