Original Research - Special Collection: Context Group

I’m okay, you’re not okay: Constancy of character and Paul’s understanding of change in his own and Peter’s behaviour

Eric Stewart
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 67, No 3 | a1002 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v67i3.1002 | © 2011 Eric Stewart | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 November 2010 | Published: 03 October 2011

About the author(s)

Eric Stewart, Department of Religion, Augustana College, United States Department of New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa, United States


Paul argues in Galatians 2:11–14 that Peter was guilty of hypocrisy because he had withdrawn from eating with Gentiles in Antioch. Paul’s argument is best understood through the social and rhetorical conventions related to the encomium. The problem for Paul is that his own behaviour is inconsistent, and the Galatians know of his changed behaviour (Gl 1:13). Paul, then, is at pains to explain how his own changed behaviour, as a result of a commissioning from God, is different from Peter’s changed behaviour, as a result of fear of those from the circumcision. Paul’s concern for explaining his own change in behaviour as positive and Peter’s as negative is related to his overall concern to prevent future changes in the Galatians’ behaviour given that they are, as Paul himself is, commissioned by God for a new freedom.


character; encomium; Galatians; Paul; Peter


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Crossref Citations

1. Engendering Gossip in Galatians 2:11–14: The Social Dynamics of Honor, Shame, Performance, and Gossip
John W. Daniels
Biblical Theology Bulletin: Journal of Bible and Culture  vol: 47  issue: 3  first page: 171  year: 2017  
doi: 10.1177/0146107917715589