Paul’s Criticism of Peter & Barnabus in Antioch - Galatians 2:11-16
Let's look at Paul's criticism of Peter in Antioch (a Galatian church). Actually this is the bridge between the subject of gentile circumcision and the problems brought by the oral torah-law.
- Why did Paul criticize Peter and Barnabus for not eating with the Gentiles any more when those who were of the circumcision turned up in Antioch?
- More importantly, why is he criticizing them in front of the ENTIRE Antioch church?
- What commandment did they break ?
- Why is Paul taking up this much space relating this story?
- Why is this obviously, relevant to the Galatian churches ?
Actually Peter and Barnabus didn't break any commandment in the WRITTEN Torah. Not at all.
But David Stern in his Jewish New Testament Commentary (apart from confusing the subject here with clean /unclean meats) slips in this one line:
"Eating with Gentiles was itself against CUSTOM, even if the food was kosher"
It appears then that what's ACTUALLY happening here is that Peter and Barnabus succumbed to peer pressure because of our friends again ("those of the circumcision") in front of the entire Antioch congregation.
Actually there's no law in the written Torah law in our Bibles about this, is there? There isn't a scripture that says "Thou shalt not eat with gentiles".
The WRITTEN LAW IN OUR BIBLES does not forbid Jews/Israelites to eat with Gentiles.
If you remember the Pharisees condemned Christ for eating with known tax collectors, which back then was a euphemism for fraudsters. Christ also ate with former prostitutes, which again there is no law against in the Old Testament. We know that Jesus did not sin in doing this.
Similarly, it was only TRADITION that discouraged Jews from eating with Gentiles, and Galatians makes it clear that before these people turned up, Peter was more than happy to eat with gentiles.
That's why Paul is forced to address it right then and there, because unwittingly by not eating with the gentiles when the oral torah conservatives turned up, Peter is giving his approval to the idea that his gentile brothers DO have to be circumcised and that the traditions of the elders DO have validity.
What's more, because people were immediately following Peter's example Paul had to quash that right then and there.
Paul knew Peter wasn't being false. It was just a slip up.
Far easier to put it right straight away, than let all sorts of rumours circulate that Peter was either two-faced, or gave some credence to the view that gentiles still needed to be circumcised.
In doing this Paul not only underscores the fact that there is no significant difference between the circumcised Jew and the uncircumcised gentile, but HE ALSO DISCREDITS THE ORAL ADDITIONS TO THE WRITTEN LAW.
Nice one Paul.
Given what appears now to be a strong thread running through Galatians which is critical of those who would teach additions and traditions to the written Torah law, we're ready to have a look at Galatians 4's criticism of keeping "days, months times and years" and to challenge whether its really trying to do away with God's commanded Holy Days in Leviticus 23:.
Return to the start of Galatians, Paul, The Torah-Law and Legalism a Judianity website ?
In the predominantly Jewish New Testament church why isn't any fuss recorded if most of the Old Testament laws were "done away" yet in Acts a small and predictable change to one "Old Testament" law about the circumcision of gentile proselytes caused massive turmoil? Why also do many christian theologians believe even after the crucifixion, that Paul kept Nazirite vows & offered sacrifices at the temple?
Let's take a closer look at "Days & Months & Times & Years" - Are God's Leviticus 23: Holy Days Done Away ?
© www.galatians-paul-the-torah-law-legalism.info Jan 2006.