Sketched IX Day 10 Peter’s Pursuit: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
Check out Peter’s Pursuit!

The Questions

1) Who is Cephas, who opposed him, and why? (verses 11-12)

2) Why are the actions of Peter and the rest of the Jews considered hypocrisy? (verses 13-14)

3) Why is it important that Paul goes to Peter?

Galatians 2:11-14

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he stood condemned. 12 For he regularly ate with the Gentiles before certain men came from James. However, when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, because he feared those from the circumcision party. 13 Then the rest of the Jews joined his hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were deviating from the truth of the gospel, I told Cephas in front of everyone, “If you, who are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel Gentiles to live like Jews?”

Original Intent

1) Who is Cephas, who opposed him, and why? (verses 11-12)
Cephas is another name for Peter. In these verses Paul, the author of Galatians, is recounting an interaction between himself and Peter at Antioch. This is not an opposition actively taking place in Galatia, but Paul deems it necessary to recount this interaction for the betterment of his audience. This specific conflict emphasizes Paul’s point to the Galatians that Christ-followers are not righteous because of the law, but because of what Jesus has done on the cross. The Galatian audience was predominantly Gentile (non-Jewish) and there were some teachers who were trying to come into the circle of believers and force Jewish practices on the Gentiles, which would conform them more to following the Jewish law. Paul was using this opposition of Peter to warn against those teachers. Jewish law and customs did not apply to Gentiles, even Gentile believers, because Christ had come to fulfill the law. (Matthew 5:17) Righteousness was only available through Jesus, not by works. (Ephesians 2:7-10)

2) Why are the actions of Peter and the rest of the Jews considered hypocrisy? (verses 13-14)
Peter was making choices in the audience of Gentile believers that he then opposed when he was in the presence of Jewish believers. He had chosen to eat with uncircumcised Gentiles, which was strictly forbidden under Jewish law, until Jewish believers were present. He taught one way but acted in another way depending on the crowd he was with. In the presence of Jewish believers, Peter would suddenly refuse to eat with his Gentile brothers and sister under the pretense that they were uncircumcised and eating unclean food. He acted this way out of fear of offending the Jewish believers. However, God had given Peter a vision in Acts 10, in which God gave Peter freedom to eat with Gentiles plainly telling him, “What God has made clean, do not call impure.” (Acts 10:15) Paul rightly points out Peter’s hypocrisy when he behaved in two different fashions based on his audience. This hypocrisy was sending confusing, mixed signals to both Gentile and Jewish believers and Paul knew it needed to stop. Peter’s choices would have had a negative impact on the furthering of the Gospel to the Gentiles and Paul knew it.

3) Why is it important that Paul goes to Peter?
Paul had a choice when he witnessed Peter’s actions. He could either go to Peter as a brother in Christ and confront him or he could speak about Peter’s choices to others without ever going to Peter, or he could ignore it altogether. Paul chose the first option. He confronted Peter for his actions in hopes of making right what was being done wrong and therefore allowing Gentiles to continue to hear the Gospel. Paul’s decision was undoubtedly a difficult one, and he could have easily been arrogant in his approach, but his motivation was love for Peter and for those who had yet to hear the gospel. Even more difficult, Paul didn’t go to Peter in private, but instead addressed the issue publicly. This may seem odd as it was Peter’s direct choices Paul was opposing. However, Peter’s choices were public ones having a public impact, therefore Paul addressed them publicly. This is used as a moment for the Gentiles to hear truth and for any confusion caused to be made right. If Paul would have had this conversation in private, the Gentiles may have still been left in confusion over what it really meant to love God and others. It’s important to note Paul’s motivation. He didn’t address Peter in front of his peers to shame him, but to bring about restoration quickly.

Everyday Application

1) Who is Cephas, who opposed him, and why? (verses 11-12)
Paul is opposing Peter’s hypocritical actions and stances regarding Gentile and Jewish believers and there is a message here for us. First, we must acknowledge most of us reading this today are Gentile believers. Paul is warning against those who would force Jewish customs on Gentile believers. There was a law in the Old Testament that was for the Israelite people whom God chose. Under Christ, there is a new law for all believers whether in everyday life or living out this new law of love in our churches. Jesus summarizes this law in Matthew 22:36-40 stating, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. (…) Love your neighbor as yourself.” From this law, every other command in Scripture flows. In reading New Testament instruction for the early church, the origin of every command can be traced back to the foundation of love for God and love for others. Understanding and following Scripture can be complex, and sometimes there isn’t a clear-cut application for how we are to specifically obey God. For these passages, we must pray and ask the Holy Spirit to teach us His Word as Paul directed in Philippians 3:15-16, “Therefore, let all of us who are mature think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you. In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained.” In those areas in Scripture where we are given freedom to decide what God is calling us to do, we must not teach those as clear expectations forcing all believers to do something Scripture does not clearly command.

2) Why are the actions of Peter and the rest of the Jews considered hypocrisy? (verses 13-14)
Peter chose to behave differently based on the audience with him and Paul called him a hypocrite for those choices. Paul knew this would damage the impact of the gospel by taking the focus away from Jesus and onto following a law. As believers today, we may not be caught in the same predicament as Peter, but there is still a temptation to behave differently when we are with “friends from church” and “friends who don’t believe like us”. Problems arise when both audiences are present at the same time. If we are not the same person in every aspect of our lives, we act hypocritically when we are suddenly making different choices depending on the setting and the audience. When we choose to behave like 2 different people, unbelievers receive an unclear picture of what it means to follow Jesus and therefore may be turned away from Christ instead of invited into a relationship with Him. In the same way, our believing friends see a poor imitation in us for what it looks like to follow Jesus authentically all the time. At the end of the day, Paul’s opposition to Peter is precisely true for us. We must be the same person in every sphere of our lives.

3) Why is it important that Paul goes to Peter?
There are times when we need to confront a sister in Christ over her choices, and there are times we need the same confrontation over our choices. When these times arise, we have the same choices as Paul. Either we can go directly to the person, discuss the issue behind the person’s back, or do nothing. I urge you to prayerfully and courageously make the same decision Paul did and handle the confrontation in person with a heart motivation of love. When we do this, we have greater opportunity to make right what was wrong and to bring about restoration for the greater good of every believer in the Body of Christ. The reality is, none of us are perfect and we all fail to follow God in different ways. However, when we choose to give in to temptation and sin, we need to be lovingly brought back through forgiveness and restoration. God gave us brothers and sisters to help us do exactly this! When we choose to either help another see their sin or humbly acknowledge our own sin, the Gospel is furthered instead of hindered. There will also be times when, just as in Peter’s offense, the rebuke must come publicly. When others are also involved in the confusion caused from sin, they also need to be shown what is right. This happens most clearly when they are also included as witnesses of loving confrontation. Through proper confrontation and reconciliation, the Gospel moves forward and freedom continues for every member in Christ’s Body, the Church!

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Missing the connection to our other Journey Study today?
Catch up with Peter’s Pursuit!

Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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