Galatians – Part 2
By Brian Franco (Used with permission)
But when Peter came to Antioch, I withstood him face to face, because he stood condemned. Before certain men came from James, he ate with the Gentiles. But when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the other Jews, likewise, joined together in hypocrisy with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.
But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, why do you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” 2:11-14
Here, another (tangential) issue emerges. That is, the hypocrisy of Peter while eating with Gentiles. It would appear that initially, and fearfully, Peter would separate himself from the Gentile believers because of the judgment of other Jews. Paul confronted him publicly about the issue (knowing that there were many others following in his footsteps) as this gave an incoherent and distorted image to those around him. In the original Greek, the usage and contrast of the “being a Jew/the Gentiles” words (
ta ethnē respectively) implies a context that should be read more accurately as “if you, a Jewish believer, can live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel Gentile believers to become Jews?” On top of that, the usage of the second instances (“live like a X”) use the words that more directly relate to the customs of each ethnicity (