(vv. 1-10)


“Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.”

“Then  fourteen years after”
Literally:  “Then through fourteen years”–But these fourteen years are reckoned from what?  There is a considerable difference of opinion  among critics concerning the time specified in this verse.

         Many think this means from his first visit to Jerusalem that is mentioned in 1:18.   Others think it means 14 years after his conversionHowever, a fuller investigation of the epistle would point to the latter explanation.  Paul always seems to view his conversion as the true starting point of his career.  However, Paul is generally believed to be referring to the journey he took to Jerusalem gentile believers for the Jerusalem Conference, which dealt with the question of circumcision for, as is mentioned in Acts 15:4-5, etc. 
         When we logically consider the problem:  the fourteen years must be reckoned from the time of his conversion, referred to in 1:18, which took place A.D. 35, his journey to Peter was A.D. 38, and then between that and the council of Jerusalem, assembled A.D. 49 will be fourteen intervening years. 
         Paul is not in particular giving a recital of his visits to Jerusalem, but of his points of contact with the
apostles in Jerusalem.  He here gives the inside view of this private conference in Jerusalem that came in between the two public meetings (Acts 15:4, 6-29).

         “I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas”
         Literally:  “I again went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas”

“His real name was Joses, but he was surnamed “Barnabas” (which means, “son of consolation”) by the apostles in Jerusalem (Acts 4:36).  Barnabas was a Levite and a resident of Cyprus.  It was he who introduced Paul to the church after he was converted (Acts 9:27).  Barnabas was with Paul for the entire First Missionary Journey (Acts 13:1-14:28).  However, after they returned to Antioch, he and Paul had a dispute over the wisdom of taking John Mark on the Second Missionary Journey; a dispute which led to a separation between him and Paul”-Dr. Robert Gromacki

         As has already been mentioned this was probably the Great Council in Jerusalem as recorded in Acts 15.  The question to be settled was whether men are saved by the grace of God, or whether they should come in under the Mosaic Law. The Judaizers were going about saying that the church in Jerusalem held that all believers in Christ should be under the Law of Moses.  All of the men there at the Jerusalem church, which was an all-Jewish membership, had been under the Law.  Many of them, among them being James, half-brother of the Lord Jesus, still went to the temple to worship.
        Some persons (the Judaizers) who had come among the Gentile converts from Judea had insisted on the necessity of being circumcised in order to be saved. Paul and Barnabas had opposed them; and the dispute had become so heated that it was agreed to submit the subject to the apostles and elders (pastors) at Jerusalem. For that purpose Paul and Barnabas had been sent, with certain others, to lay the case before all the apostles. As the question which Paul was discussing in this epistle was about the necessity of the observance of the Laws of Moses in order for justification, it was exactly in point for the journey to lay this very question before to the apostles. 
         It is an interesting side note that when someone referred to going to Jerusalem, they always used the phrase, “go up to Jerusalem.”  This phrase was used because Jerusalem is situated on a 2600 foot hill (cf. Matt. 5:14).

        AGAIN:   (Grk.–palin)– The use of the word, “again” does not determine that Paul was saying that this was his second visit to Jerusalem.

“and took Titus with me also”
Literally:  “also taking Titus with {me}

         Titus is here specified on account of what follows as to him, in verse 3. Paul and Barnabas, and others, were deputed by the Church of Antioch (Acts 15:2) to consult the apostles and elders at Jerusalem on the question of circumcision of Gentile Christians.
         This was truly a master stroke of Paul’s to take
Titus with him to this council.  Titus was a young preacher, and a Gentile to boot.  Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, (Acts 15:2), says that there were others with Paul and Barnabas on that journey to Jerusalem; but he does no identify them.  We don’t know for certain if Titus had been appointed by the church to go to Jerusalem. It may be that Paul may have taken Titus with him as a private affair; but his reason for doing so is  not given. It may have been to show his Christian liberty, and to show he had a right to do so.  

         Paul also may have been providing a case-in-point on the very subject of conference, and he may even be wanting to submit the matter to them as to whether Titus needed to be circumcised.  Titus was a  Greek ; but he had been converted to Christianity.  Paul had not circumcised him; but had admitted him to the full privileges of the Christian church. Here, then, was a case-in-point for the conference; and it may have seemed important to Paul to bring such a case before them so that they might fully understand the problem.

        TOOK:  (Grk.–sumparalabôn)–Literally: taking with {me}”  This word is from a Greek verb which means, “to take along with one’s self; to take along as a companion.”  Titus was a Greek, and uncircumcised.  Paul probably took him along to make of him a test case on the whole question of Gentile circumcision.  This shows just how determined Paul was when he came to the meeting of this council.

“And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately To them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.”

To Present a Gentile Convert
Paul deliberately “took Titus” along as a graphic exhibit of a Gentile who was saved by faith in Christ without the rite of physical circumcision.  It appears that the church at Jerusalem had never met a convert out of a total pagan, idolatrous background

“I went up by revelation…”
Literally:  “I went up according to revelation”
Because Christ revealed to me that I ought to go.

But not for the purpose of receiving instruction from the apostles there in regard to the nature of the Christian GospelPaul is careful to state that he went up by the express command of Christ He did not go up to receive instructions from the apostles there in regard to his own work, or to be confirmed by them in his apostolic office; rather, on the contrary, he went there to submit an important question pertaining to the church at large.   In Acts 15:2, it is said that Paul and Barnabas went up by the appointment of the church at Antioch.  But there is no discrepancy between that account and this; for though he was designated by the church there, there is no improbability in supposing that he was directed by a special revelation to comply with their request.        

BY REVELATION: (Grk.–kata apokalupsin)–Literally: “in accordance with a revelation.”  Revelations were frequently made to apostles, both to communicate important truths (Eph. 3:3) and to direct or encourage their proceedings.

To Set forth the Gospel Message
Paul recognized that if he were preaching a different gospel from what the other apostles were preaching, there was something radically wrong.  He would have been running, “in vain.”  He would have been disillusioned and misinformed.  So he went to Jerusalem and told them the gospel that he had been preaching.

         “communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles”
         Literally:  “I put before them the gospel which I proclaim in the nations”

         Namely, “to the apostles and elders” (Acts 15:2): i.e., to the apostles in particular (2:9) but also to the elders (pastors).  Paul made them acquainted with the doctrines which he preached among the Gentiles.  He stated fully the principles on which he had acted; the nature of the gospel which he had taught; and his doctrine about the exemption of the Gentiles from the obligations of the Law of Moses. He satisfied them in regard to his views of the gospel; and showed them that he understood the system of Christianity which had been revealed. The result was that they had entire confidence in him, and admitted him to entire fellowship with them, (v. 9).              

COMMUNICATE:  (Grk.–anatithemi)–Literally:  “to lay it before them; to set forth in words, to impart; to set up a thing for the consideration of others.”Used only here and in Acts 25:14. 

UNTO THEM:  (Grk.–autois)Literally:  “before them”-those meeting there; not meaning the whole church, but the apostles at the conference.

         “the gospel which I preach”
         Literally:  “the gospel which I proclaim”

        PREACH:  (Grk.–kêrussô)–Meaning:  “to be still preaching a herald.; to proclaim.”  This Greek verb is in the present tense, indicating that Paul was still preaching             grace.

“privately to them which were of reputation”
Literally:  “privately to the ones seeming {to be pillars}”–This shows that he laid before his Jerusalem apostle hearers his Gospel of Grace in more or less separate conferences,   separate from the general conferences he was having there in Jerusalem.

The phrase means that he did it not in a public manner; not before the assembly; not even before all the apostles collected together, but in a private manner to just a few of the leaders and chief persons.

        PRIVATELY: (Grk.–kat’ idian)-The general conference with the Jerusalem Christians was accompanied by private consultations with the leaders for deeper discussions.

         Paul made a private explanation of his motives and views, so that they might understand it before it became a matter of public discussion. The point on which Paul made this private explanation was not whether the Gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles, for on that they had no doubt after the revelation to Peter, (Acts 10:1-48); but whether the rites of the Jews were to be imposed on the Gentile converts.   The preference of a private meeting was to eliminate the danger of public misunderstanding over any doctrinal differences that might arise.  He knew that his Gospel was true but he wanted it confirmed. 
         Paul explained his views and his practice on that point, which were that he did not impose those rites on the Gentiles that he taught that men might be justified without their observance and that they were not necessary for salvation; that they were justified by faith, and NOT by the rites of the Law.
         Why he had this private interview with the leading men in Jerusalem he does not tells us.  Perhaps it was necessary that the Jerusalem apostles should know beforehand that the Gospel Paul preached to the Gentiles was the same as theirs, and had received divine confirmation in the results it wrought on the Gentile converts. He and Barnabas related to the multitude, not the nature of the doctrine they preached (as Paul had done privately to the apostles), but only the miracles which displayed God's sanctioning of their preaching to the Gentiles (Acts 15:12). 

“them which were of reputation”
Literally: “those who are reputed.”From the Greek verb:  (dokeô) , meaning, “to suppose, to be of  an opinion, to suppose, to be reputed.”  That is, they who are reputed to be; that is, men of a recognized position.

The idea is to men of eminence.  The word is a term of honor and conveys no tinge of doubt, as the KJV seems to imply. Those men of recognized position of leadership (James, Peter and John).  Paul recognized the honorable position of these three and their rightful respect. With these Paul intimates that he did have some private conferences.

“lest …I should be running…in vain”
Literally:  “lest I run, or I ran, into vanity”:–This seems to indicate a misgiving on Paul’s part of the soundness of his preaching; a misgiving that he hope to finally put a rest.

         Lest the effects of my labors and journeys should be lost.  Paul does not fear lest he himself be running (or had run) in vain; but he fears that he should seem so to them. His race was the swift-running proclamation of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Paul recognized that if he were preaching a different Gospel from what the other apostles were preaching there was something radically wrong.  His running would have been in vain, if circumcision been necessary, since he had not required it of his converts.
         Paul feared that if he did not take this method of laying the case before them privately, they would not understand it. Others might misrepresent him, or their prejudices might be excited; and when the ease came before the assembled apostles and elders, a decision might be adopted which would go to prove that he had been entirely wrong in his views, or which would lead those whom he had taught to believe that he was, and which would greatly hinder and embarrass him in his future movements. In order to prevent something like this from happening, and to secure a just decision, that is, one which would not hinder his future usefulness, he had sought this private interview, and by this his object was gained.                    


VERSE 3:  Pressure on Titus
“But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised”
Here we see a brave move on the part of Paul; that is, to bring an uncircumcised Gentile to this meeting with these Jewish apostles and pastors.

         “But neither Titus who was with me”
         Literally:  “but not even Titus, the {one} with me”

         Paul introduces this case of Titus undoubtedly to show that circumcision was not necessary to salvation. This was Paul’s case-in-point, and he went up to Jerusalem with express reference to deal with this question. 

         Here was a man whom he had admitted to the Christian church without him being circumcised.  Paul claimed that he had a right to do so; and that circumcision was not necessary in order to salvation. If it were necessary, it would have been proper that Titus should have been compelled to submit to it. But Paul says this was not demanded; or if demanded by any, the point was yielded, and he was not compelled to be circumcised.

         “being a Greek”
         Literally:  “although he was a Greek”–Born of Gentile parents, of course he had not been circumcised. Probably both his parents were
Greeks. The case with Timothy was         somewhat different for his mother was a Jewess and his father was a Greek, (Acts 16:3).

“was compelled to be circumcised.
Literally:  “was compelled to be circumcised”–It is probably being implied here that this was demanded and insisted on by some of the
Jewish converts that he should be circumcised.  However, it is also implied that Paul resisted it, and the point was yielded, thus settling the great and important principle that it was not necessary for salvation (v. 5).

        Paul proceeds to state that his account was so satisfactory to the apostles, that they not only did not require him to insist on the necessity of circumcision among the Gentiles, but they also did not even require him to haveTitus, who was a Greek to be circumcised.   Having Titus circumcised might have appeared to be expedient, especially at Jerusalem, to prevent some false brethren (i.e., the Judaizers) from making a big “to do” about his uncircumcision, and turning it into a prejudicial issue of the Gospel among the Judean believers.
         Do not forget that this was at
Jerusalem; that it was a case submitted to the apostles there; and they had been brought up from childhood on the Mosaic Law, and that consequently the determination of this case settled the whole controversy about the obligation of the Mosaic laws on the Gentiles converts. It is evident from the whole statement here, that Paul did not intend that Titus should be circumcised and that he maintained that it was not necessary.  He specifically resisted such a demand when it was even raised (vv. 4-5). Yet later on he himself performed the act of circumcision on Timothy, (Acts 16:3). But there is no inconsistency in his conduct. In the case of Titus it was demanded as a matter of right and as obligatory on him, and he resisted the principle as dangerous, while in the case of Timothy it may have been because his mother was Jewish.
         In the case of Timothy, it was a voluntary compliance on his part with the usual customs of the Jews, (his mother and grandmother being Jewish) where it was not pressed as a matter of obligation, and where it would not be understood as indispensable to salvation. No danger would follow from compliance with the custom, and it might do much to conciliate the favor of the Jews, and he therefore submitted to it. Paul would not have hesitated to have circumcised Titus in the same circumstances in which it was done to Timothy; but the circumstances were different; and when it was insisted on as a matter of principle and of obligation, it became a matter of principle and of obligation with him to oppose it.
         The language used here would imply that the
Judaizers had made efforts to get Titus circumcised. They had at least made an issue about his lack of circumcision.  However, the others at the council meeting did not listen to the Judaizers and compel that Titus be circumcised.  If they had, we would be put right back under the bondage of the Mosaic Law, rather than enjoying the freedom of the Spirit of God and the freedom in Christ.