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Confrontation at Antioch
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4: Confrontation at Antioch (2:11-21)

I.       The Basics

A.     Setting

To show that the truth of the gospel is above any man, Paul recalls his confrontation with Peter in Antioch. This incident reveals the issue facing the church at the time. While the apostles had fully realized that salvation is by grace, not by works, some traditional Jewish believers still considered themselves superior to the Gentile brethren and demanded that they be circumcised. Based on this event in Antioch, Paul makes clear his stand on the issue and begins to defend and expound the doctrine of justification by faith.

B.     Key Verse

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain” (2:20-21).

C.     Did You Know…?

1.     Antioch (2:11): “The leading city of Syria and third leading city of the Roman empire (after Rome and Alexandria). From it Paul had been sent out on his missionary journeys (see Ac 13:1-3; 14:26).”4/1782

II.    Observation

A.     Outline




B.     Key Words/Phrases

C.     General Analysis

1.     Why do you think Paul tells the Galatians so openly about Peter’s fault? Is he trying to belittle his fellow worker?

III. Segment Analysis

A.     2:11-13

1.     What was Peter’s mistake?

2.     What caused Peter to act in hypocrisy? Was it ignorance?

3.     Why do we sometimes use double standards the way Peter did? How can we improve in this area?

4.     How does verse 13 serve to indicate the seriousness of Peter’s mistake?

5.     Do you sometimes act in a way that is different from what you believe or teach? How can this become a stumbling block?

B.     2:14-16

6.     Why did Paul need to rebuke Peter publicly?

7a.   In what sense did Peter “live in the manner of Gentiles” (14)?

7b.   How did Peter “compel Gentiles to live as Jews” (14)?

8a.   What does Paul mean by the words in verse 15?

8b.   According to verse 16, what had the Jewish believers, “who were Jews by nature,” realized?

9.     What does it mean to be “justified”?

10.   Why is it impossible for men to be justified by the works of law?

C.     2:17-21

11.   Rephrase verse 17 in your own words. Consult several Bible translations to help you understand what Paul is saying.

12a. What things has Paul destroyed (18)? What does it mean to rebuild what he has destroyed?

12b. Why is rebuilding what has been destroyed a transgression?

13a. What does it mean to die to the law through the law (cf. Rom 4:15; 5:13; 7:6)?

13b. What does it mean to live to God?

14a. How have we also been crucified with Christ, and how does Christ live in us?

14b. What enables and motivates us to do so?

15.   Paul states, “[Christ] loved me and gave Himself for me” (20). Do you personally feel that Christ loved you and gave Himself for you? Why is it important to have such personal conviction?

16.   According to verse 21, how does a person “set aside the grace of God”?

17.   What does this verse tell us about why Paul combatted the false gospel so vigorously?


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