ABC:Galatians 2

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Verse 1[edit]

Wikipedia claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage, and makes the following comments (italicized):[1]

Acts 9; 11; 15; 18:22; 21 vs. Galatians 1:18; 2:1.

Acts 18:22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

Galatians 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

Galatians 2:1 ¶ Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.

Wikipedia does not specify why this is considered a contradiction. It is possible that it involves what was done in Jerusalem, and to what degree Paul was known in the city, as addressed by John Oakes of Evidence for Christianity and Chris Blomberg of Biblical Training.[2] However, without clarification as to why a contradiction is assumed to exist, supposition would be futile.

Verse 16: Saved by Works? (FFRF)[edit]

Dan Barker of FFRF claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[3]

Are We Saved Through Works?

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Romans 3:20,28 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.


James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Matthew 19:16-21 ¶ And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

This is one of the most well-known claims of a contradiction in the Bible, and has been excellently debunked by the Scofield Study Bible III.

"James in this passage uses the word 'faith' in the sense of intellectual orthodoxy (compare v. 19); Paul, when he uses faith in a personal sense, means trust in the atoning work of Christ to the extent of full commitment to Him.

For James the word 'works' means the believer's works, the outward evidence of a saved life. On the other hand, Paul sometimes employs works to denote the deeds of the unsaved person whereby he vainly hopes to gain acceptance with God, while at other times he speaks of 'good works,' by which he means the fruit that the justified man must produce...

Thus in their views of justification Paul and James complement one another (2:23); Paul stresses acceptance with God wholly by grace through faith, whereas James presents the continual evidence before men of the initial transaction. For the definitive N.T. statement on faith and works in which both views are brought together, see Eph. 2:8-10."

-Scofield Study Bible III[4]

As mentioned by the Scofield Study Bible III, Ephesians 2:8-10 is the passage which brings both views together:

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

In other words, we are saved by faith, not works, it's God's gift not man's doing, lest anyone should boast. However, we are created by Jesus to do good works and it is God's will that we do them. The works themselves do not save, but are the outward evidence to others, and to ourselves, that we have indeed undergone an inward redemptive process of salvation.

True saving faith will ultimately produce good works as the result of a changed heart and a new spirit. Thus if a person shows no interest in doing good works once becoming a Christian, and for years lives without any change, then as James points out, that faith without works is a dead faith and no faith indeed.


  1. Wikipedia Editors (2019, August 22). "Internal Consistency of the Bible." Wikipedia.
  2. Oakes, J. (2012, January 25). "Can You Explain the Contradiction Between Acts 9 and Galatians 1:22 About What Paul Did in Jerusalem?" Evidence for Christianity.
    Blomberg, C. (2013, December 11). "Is There a Contradiction Between Paul's Actions in Acts 9 and What He Writes in Galatians 1?" Biblical Training.
  3. Barker, D. (2019). "Bible Contradictions." FFRF.
  4. Scofield, Cyrus I. (2003). The Scofield Study Bible III. pg. 1625. Oxford University Press.