The 2001 Commentaries

False Brothers

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At Galatians 2:4, Paul wrote about problems that he had with ‘false brothers’ (gr. pseudo adelphoi) with whom he had to deal on his second visit to JeruSalem. These may have been the same ones that he mentioned at 2 Corinthians 11:26 when he was talking about the many dangers that he had faced as an Apostle…
And this was apparently one of the most treacherous.

That such men were likely considered to be in good standing by others in the congregation in JeruSalem is substantiated by the fact that they met with Paul in the presence of what appeared to be the leading ones of the congregation there, specifically James, Peter, and John. And the fact that there were many Jewish Christians who looked down on and opposed Paul, is discussed under the Wikipedia topic, Ebionites.

What was so treacherous about these men that Paul listed his encounter with them along with his being stoned, beaten, and left for dead? He wrote that they ‘looked down on the freedom we have in the Anointed Jesus, and they wanted to make us their slaves.’

In other words;
They were making accusations against Paul and trying to override the commission that he had received directly from Jesus in a vision.
So they were in fact resisting and opposing God’s Holy Breath.

Clearly, some of those in the First Century congregation in JeruSalem didn’t like Paul or the work that he was doing, and they were giving him orders about how he should conduct himself, to whom he should preach, how he should preach, and what he should say;
For they would have loved to bring an end to Paul’s commission to preach to the gentiles.

So their obvious lack of love for Paul and their high regard for their own opinions (which were pro-Judaism) led to disqualifying them as Paul’s ‘brothers’… Though it’s interesting that there is no mention of their being corrected by anyone at the time.
In fact, it was due to his trying to please such ‘false brothers’ (as James suggested that he should do by observing needless Jewish cleansing rituals) that Paul ended up being mobbed, beaten, arrested, and later sent to Rome to stand trial before Emperor Nero.

Note that these ‘brothers’ had actually accused Paul of teaching an ‘apostasy’ (see Acts 21:21)… Which is interesting, because this is the only Bible record of a Christian ever being accused of such a thing in those exact words.

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