Useful Bible Studies > Galatians Commentary > chapter 2

Christians should not be separate from each other

Galatians 2:11-13

Peter visits Antioch

So Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch. They continued to work as church leaders there. Several people who were not *Jews became Christians in that church.

Peter (also called Cephas) went to Antioch too. He was happy about the things that were happening there. He even ate meals with the people who were not *Jews. *Jews did not usually do that then. They would not visit or eat with other people. *Jews were separate from other people because of their rules.

Peter changes his mind

But then Peter changed his mind. This was because some Christians had come from Jerusalem. James had sent them to Antioch.

All the Christians in the Jerusalem church were *Jews. So they all did the same things that other *Jews did. When Peter met these visitors from Jerusalem, he was afraid. So then he refused to eat with the people who were not *Jews.

Peter was an important leader. When he did that, other people did the same thing. So, the people from the church could not still eat together. The *Jews refused to eat with anyone who was not a *Jew. Christians were making themselves separate from other Christians. Even Barnabas was doing this.

Paul knew that this was wrong. God had made them all Christians, whether they were *Jews or not. So they should not make themselves separate from each other.

Galatians 2:14

Paul tells Peter that he is wrong

When a leader does something wrong, it can cause trouble for many people. Peter was wrong, and Paul had to tell him. Usually, we would not want to do that in front of other people. But Paul could do nothing else. Everyone knew what Peter had done. So Paul had to make it clear that Peter was wrong. The problem was too important.

So Paul explained this to Peter.

Peterís mistake

Peter had not obeyed the *Jewish rules. He had eaten with people who were not *Jews. But then Peter made himself separate from those people. So they would have to obey all the *Jewish rules before Peter would eat with them!

It was clear that Peter was wrong. He could not ask other people to obey rules that he did not obey himself!

Next part: All people do wrong things

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© 2015, Keith Simons.