Jesus's Words

Chapter 8: Interview the Fourth.—Peter at Antioch.—Deputies to Antioch From Jerusalem, Judas and Silas.—Paul Disagrees With Peter and Barnabas, Quits Antioch, and on a Missionary Excursion Takes With Him Silas. What Concerns the Partition Treaty, Down to This Period, Reviewed.—Peter and the Apostles Justified

back  |  next

Seection 1: Paul's Account of This Interview Quoted.—Acts Account of What Followed Upon It

We now come to the last of the four different and more or less distant occasions on which a personal intercourse, in some way or other, is recorded as having had place, between Paul on the one part, and the Apostles or some of them on the other, antecedently to that, on which Paul's history, so far as any tolerably clear, distinct, and material, information has descended to us, closes. Of this interview, the scene lies at Antioch: Peter having, for some consideration no otherwise to be looked for than by conjecture, been led to pay a visit, to that place of Paul's then habitual abode, after, and, as seems probable, in consequence of, Paul's third recorded visit to Jerusalem—his Deputation Visit.

Let us now cast an eye on the documents. Respecting Paul's disagreement with Peter, the only one we have, is that which has been furnished us by Paul himself. It consists of the following passage in his Epistle to his Galatians.

But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.Galatians 2:11-16

Let us now see the account, given in the Acts, of what passed in Antioch, in relation to Paul, Barnabas and Silas,—during a period, which seems to be either the same, or one in contiguity with it, probably antecedent to it.

Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.Acts 15:35-41

With regard to Paul's separation from Barnabas, departure from Antioch, and taking Silas for a companion,—we have nothing from Paul himself: nothing, from any other source, than, as above, the Acts.

In Paul's account, however, may be seen a passage,(Galatians 2:13.) by which some light is thrown upon the breach of Paul with Barnabas. In the Acts, though the "contention" is said to be "sharp," no cause is stated for it, other than a difference respecting the choice of a companion: namely, on an excursion, which they are represented as having agreed to make, in the company of each other, as before.

But, according to Paul, he had had cause of complaint, against his old friend Barnabas, on another account. Barnabas had sided with the Apostles: Barnabas had been "carried away with their dissimulation"; by the dissimulation of those Apostles of Jesus, the virtuous simplicity of the self-constituted Apostle, so he desires his Galatian disciples to believe, had been foiled.

back  |  next