Lesson 6

The Epistle to the Galatians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

2:6 But from those who were reputed to be important (whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God doesn't show partiality to man) -- they, I say, who were respected imparted nothing to me, 2:7 but to the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcision, even as Peter with the gospel for the circumcision 2:8 (for he who appointed Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision appointed me also to the Gentiles); 2:9 and when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John, they who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcision. 2:10 They only asked us to remember the poor -- which very thing I was also zealous to do.

Today's Lesson 

In Today's Scripture, Paul continues to speak of the trip that he made to Jerusalem to discuss the evangelism of the Gentiles with the other apostles. Paul had written to the Galatians that his message was received through revelation of Jesus Christ. But that does not mean that his message was not approved by the other apostles. During this trip to Jerusalem Paul presented before the apostles in Jerusalem his gospel to the Gentiles. Paul's purpose was to establish an atmosphere where the Gentiles would be equal partners with the Jewish assemblies in Christ.


But Paul wants to be clear. In going to discuss this matter with the Jerusalem church, he was not bowing to their authority nor did they add to his message. He writes to these Galatians that the other apostles "imparted nothing to me." Peter, James and John did not dictate to Paul what he should preach to the Gentiles. Rather, they heard what God was already accomplishing with the message that Paul was proclaiming and they acknowledged that God was working with the Gentiles through Paul in the same way that God had earlier worked with the Jews through Peter. In this passage, Peter is described as the "Apostle to the Circumcision" and Paul is described as the "Apostle to the Gentiles."


Because of this acceptance, James and Cephas (Peter) and John gave Barnabas and Paul "the right hand of fellowship." This is another way of saying that these three apostles completely accepted the work of Paul and the message that he was delivering to the Gentiles. Another version of this same meeting is told in the fifteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.


Here Paul tells the Galatians that the Jerusalem apostles only asked one thing of him. They asked that in his ministry Paul "remember the poor." This is most likely a reference to the poor among the church in Jerusalem who had been suffering because of hard economic conditions in Jerusalem at the time. Paul had already been preaching in the Gentile churches that they should share their worldly possessions with the economically depresses Jewish churches. He was already eagerly teaching the very thing that Peter, James and John wanted him to teach.


Paul wanted the Gentile churches to help support the Jewish churches for a reason. In many of his letters we can see his appeal to these Gentile churches for this special collection that he spent much of his time planning. Through this collection, Paul sought to unify all of the Christian assemblies together. The Gentiles would be investing in the Jewish churches and in the inherently Jewish roots of Christianity. The Jewish assemblies might be more willing to accept the Gentile churches if their generosity was demonstrated.


All money is God's. Some have more and some have less. Can you see him asking you to give to someone to strengthen their faith in Him and His message of grace?


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