Read Galatians 2:11-21.
Read the following questions, and pick one or two to respond to in the comments below. Or, respond to someone else’s comment with a question or comment of your own.
Paul’s message in the letter to the Galatians can be summarized as: “Do not compel the Gentiles to live like Jews, because a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ.” (see 2:14 and 2:16) How did this confrontation between Paul and Peter serve to illustrate or bring out Paul’s message?
The scriptures do not tell us how Peter reacted to this confrontation by Paul, so we do not know. But having studied Peter for a summer, you may have a hypothetical guess about how Peter might have reacted in such a situation. What do you think?
How does Peter’s behavior in 2:11-14 compare with his behavior in Acts 10 and Acts 15? What do you think was going on in the Christian community to cause this change?
Think back on all the stories about Peter that we’ve read together this summer. In which story do you find it the easiest to put yourself in Peter’s shoes? By which story are you the most challenged? Which is your favorite story, and why?
Questions from A Walk Thru the Life of Peter:
How do we know where to draw the line between the absolutes of our faith and the freedom we’re given in Christ? When is it right to confront others who may be abusing their freedom in Christ?
Paul was adamant that Peter shouldn’t avoid eating with Gentiles just to appease Jewish believers. However, he also taught that we shouldn’t use our freedom to offend others (Rom. 14:19-20; 1 Cor. 10:31-33). Why do you think Paul was less concerned about offending strict Jewish Christians in this particular case?
How is it possible to know when a new direction is initiated by God and when it isn’t? How do we balance our faithfulness to long-held values with our willingness to be moved by God’s Spirit? What was Paul’s answer to this tension between old and new perspectives? What was Peter’s?