Abstract

Readings of Gal 2:17–18 vary significantly in their approach to the two conditional sentences, in their understanding of the scenario Paul is addressing in 2:17, in their assessment of their relationship of the two verses, and in their conclusion as to the contribution these verses make to Paul's argument in 2:15–21. On the other hand, scholars are in virtual unanimity that 2:18 indirectly accuses Peter of rebuilding the law as a means of justification. This study considers the interpretive options and suggests that contextual, grammatical and rhetorical considerations all point toward a surprising outcome. Paul and other Jewish believers, in seeking justification in Christ, are found ironically to be sinners like the Gentiles. Christ did not make them sinners, but Paul's actions in building up the faith paradoxically demonstrate his acknowledgment that he was a sinner just like the Gentiles, because he was a transgressor of the law.

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