The work of the Spirit in Galatians 2:1-10

Flowing from Paul’s argument in Galatians 2:1-10 is the application that we can see the Spirit at work in others. The central truth which led to a positive decision at this meeting was that God was equally at work within Peter and Paul; he had divinely appointed each to their respective ministries. Within this paragraph Paul does not describe how this assertion was assessed or accepted; instead he simply states that it was. The leaders in Jerusalem recognized Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles as coming from God (v. 7). They must have accepted Paul’s argument that the same God was at work in Peter and in him (v. 8). They also recognized Paul’s apostleship as a divine gift (v. 9). So based upon the text of this paragraph itself, this question remains open, but it need not stay that way given what Paul says elsewhere in this vein. Within Galatians itself, Paul makes an important implicit argument in defense of his gospel. Essentially the work of the Spirit in the lives of the Galatians is given as proof that Paul’s gospel, not that of his opponents, is true. Paul argues clearly in Gal 3:1-5 that God’s gift of the Spirit to the Galatians because of their belief in Paul’s message about Christ as the crucified Messiah shows that reverting to works of the Law would be detrimental and against God’s intentions. This presence of the Spirit proves then to be a central proof about the validity of Paul’s ministry. Paul makes a similar statement elsewhere in Rom 15:19 as proof of Christ’s work through him. Outside Paul we can turn to the narrative of Pater and Cornelius in Acts 10-11. The key conclusion made by Peter himself is apropos to the current discussion: God gave the same Spirit to the Gentiles as well as the Jews, thus proving that God is at work in both. Although it is not stated explicitly in Gal 2:1-10, the affirming work of the Spirit in the ministries of Peter and Paul would readily have been the confirming evidence needed for the Jersualem leaders to approve of Paul’s ministry.