Bible blog 2196

This blog continues my notes on translating Galatians.

Galatians 2:11

But when Kephas came to Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. For before certain men came from Jacob, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they arrived, he withdrew and kept aloof, for fear of the Snippers. And the rest of the Judaeans played along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their insincerity. But when I saw that they were not heading straight to the truth of the Joyful News, I said to Kephas, “If a Judaean like you lives like a Gentile and not like a Judaean, how can you force Gentiles to Judaise themselves?”

Only Paul writes about this incident, so obviously we and the Galatians are getting only his side of the story, but there is no reason to doubt him: a momentary lack of courage is typical of the character of Kephas as portrayed in the gospels.  The Greek verb kataginosmenos means “been condemned or judged guilty or stood condemned.” I have given it a less specific sense. The power of Jacob (James), the Lord’s brother and leader of the Jerusalem assembly, is evident in the book of The Acts and in the letter attributed to him. Paul sees his influence extending as far as Antioch in Syria.

Paul was not only fighting for the customs of the Gentile Church, but also for the unity of the assemblies of Messiah Jesus based on the one Joyful News which placed believers beyond the requirements of the Jewish Religious Law. This shows the maturity of Paul’s wisdom as against that of the Snippers who might have been content with separated assemblies of Jesus.

The Greek hypokrisis means to act in a play, although it can be used to cover any sort of play- acting. The Greek word for truth, aletheia, on the other hand means unveiling, unconcealment; so Paul is demanding the reality of trust in Jesus. He reminds Kephas of his openness to Gentile believers, and asks pointedly how he can force Gentiles to “Judaise” themselves. I’ve kept this unusual verb in my translation.


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