Paul vs Peter

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Acts 15 is the Lucan account of the Council of Jerusalem. Galatians 2 is Paul's account. In the Lucan account, it is Peter who comes out in defense of not forcing the Gentiles to abide by Jewish purity laws ... yet in Galatians, Paul takes the lead in this role. Indeed, the Galatians account even has Paul chivying Peter into accepting this point of view.

Now, this fits into a larger chronology: according to Acts 10, Peter had the vision of the sheet coming down from heaven, filled with all kinds of animals--the vision that taught him that Jewish Christians were not supposed to separate themselves from Gentile Christians. According to Acts 11, Peter then defended his actions to the Jerusalem elders. Then acording to Acts 15, Peter cites that the Gentiles should not be placed under the Law. So then after all this, here we have Galatians 2 stating that Peter withdrew himself from the Gentile Christians?

Somebody's doing some "spinning." Of the possible suspects that we have, there is either the Lucan author--who did not witness the events in Jerusalem, and who has a vested interest in presenting the Church as a unified and coherent body; or Paul--who was a witness (indeed, he was one of the participants), and who is not afraid to show the Church divided, because he's dealing with a divided church in Galatia.

--JustinEiler 20:08, 28 Aug 2005 (CDT)


According to one school of thought, the letter of Galatians was written before the Council of Jerusalem recorded in Acts 15, and the events of Galatians 2:1-10 correspond to Acts 11:30.

Hmmm ... on further relection, that school of thought is probably correct, looking at the chronology.


1: Acts 9: Paul's conversion occurs on the road to Damascus, whereupon he begins to preach the gospel in Damascus. After spending "certain days," with the disciples in Damascus (Acts 9:19), he starts preaching in the synagogues (Acts 9:20). After "many days (Acts 9:23), Paul learns of a conspiracy to murder him, escapes Damascus, and goes to Jerusalem, then later to Tarsus. 2: Acts 11: Barnabas is sent from Jerusalem to Tarsis to fetch Paul, and the two of them go to Antioch. During this time, news of a famine reaches Antioch: the Antioch Christians make a collection for the relief of the Jerusalem churches, which is taken to Jerusalem by Paul and Barnabas (Acts 11:30). 3: Acts 15: The Jerusalem Council.


1. Paul did not go to Jerusalem upon his conversion (Galatians 1:17), but preached the Gospel in Arabia, then in Damascus. He did not go to Jerusalem until three years later (Galatians 1:18). 2. Paul's next trip to Jerusalem was 14 years later, when he met with the Elders of the Church. (Galatians 2:1) He made this trip with Barnabas (which corresponds with Acts 11). 3: It is only after Paul's trip to Jerusalem that Peter comes to Antioch--thereupon the confrontation with Paul. Galatians 2:11 to the end of the chapter.)

The chronology seems a bit odd, but Acts doesn't give much in the way of time references, so the two lists match point-for-point.

It still seems more than a bit odd that after Peter's vision in Acts 10 he'd fall prey to peer pressure in Antioch, but it does show agreement between Acts and Galatians.

Point conceded. Good call, Peter!

--JustinEiler 15:42, 31 Aug 2005 (CDT)


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