Vol.XVIII No.XI Pg.8
January 1982

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

In Gal. 2:11-f. Paul reports an example of hypocrisy on the part of the apostle Peter. He gave in to peer pressure, and separated himself from Gentile saints when influential Jewish brethren were present. Paul says, "I resisted him to the face, because he stood condemned." Paul used this as a bridge between proof of a divine source for his message and Apostleship, and the second section of the Galatian letter, viz., justification by faith and not by law. Paul tells us some of the specific things he said to Peter — see Gal. 2:14-f.

Would you like to know what Peter said in reply? I decided to ask that question of a Bible class that had studied the Galatian letter for some time. I gave them paper, and the following instructions: "Write here what Peter said in reply to Paul."

Some came to me with puzzled or even shameful look, saying, "I can't recall Peter saying anything." One girl, when asked what she put in the space provided, shook her head and showed me a blank paper. She was truly amazed when I told her she was a good student — no reply is recorded. But not all students were so perceptive — or lucky. I'm fully aware that some recognized the "trick" nature of the question, and were kidding the teacher; but I will share a few profound answers with you.

"Thanks Paul, I needed that!" "I'm not sure Peter did reply, but maybe he said, 'I am ashamed'!" "I told them what they wanted to hear." "People from Judea made me do it, but I knew better." "The Devil made me do it!" "You're right, I shouldn't have done that!" "I have sinned!" And if you want the full story: "Peter did not want Paul to talk too loud. Peter was afraid others would find out what he was doing, and if they did both groups (the Jews and the Gentiles) would have come looking for Peter and tear him to pieces for violating the rights (rites) of each group."

In case you have always wanted to know what Peter said, take your pick; and remember, you learned it from the highly reliable "Stuff About Things." Better to keep silence and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Or, for Bible reference see Prov. 17:27-28, Job 13:5.