555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

125. What Was the Cause of the Dispute Between Peter and Paul at Antioch?




"When Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed," wrote Paul in Gal. 2:11. In view of this statement of Paul, some have questioned whether we may regard both Paul and Peter as having been acting under inspiration. The question of inspiration is not involved in the incident that took place at Antioch, when Paul rebuked Peter for his inconsistency. It is simply a question of human weakness. While under the influence of certain High Church Jewish-Christians, who came from James, Peter withdrew and separated himself from the Antioch Christians, "fearing them of the circumcision." The result was that Barnabas, and doubtless many others, were affected by his example, which became a scandal in the community. To save the Church from an apostasy, Paul took Peter to task for his conduct and rebuked him openly, as his conduct was an attack on Gospel liberty. The writings of Paul and Peter that have found their way into the New Testa ment Canon are, beyond doubt, inspired, but to say that every word they uttered during their Christian lives was inspired is what we do not believe. Paul and Peter had human weaknesses and limitations, like other men. But when they wrote authoritatively under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, they were kept free from errors and mistakes, and in this way were inspired.