1 Then, fourteen years later I went up to Jerusalem again, [along] with Barnabas, and I took Titus also with me [this time]. 2 [It was] in response to [a divine] revelation that I went [there] and explained to them [I. e., the apostles and elders] the Gospel [message] that I had been preaching among the Gentiles. Then [later on I presented it] privately before those who were highly regarded [i.e., the three apostles, verse 9] so [they would have verification that] my running [i.e., ministry] had not been, nor was now, in vain. 3 But they did not even require that Titus, a Greek [i.e., a Gentile] who was with me, become circumcised. 4 For [certain] false brothers, who were secretly brought in to observe us practicing our liberty in Christ Jesus [i.e., by not having Titus circumcised], attempted to place us [back] under the bondage [of Mosaic law keeping]. 5 But we did not submit ourselves to their influence for even an hour, so that you people might be able to continue [following] the truth of the Gospel.
6 These apostles, who were highly regarded (although it really does not matter to me what they are, for God does not show partiality to any particular person); these men, I say, provided me with nothing [concerning the Gospel message]. 7 On the contrary, they saw that I had [already] been entrusted [by God] with the Gospel for the uncircumcised ones [i.e., for Gentiles], just as Peter [had been entrusted by God] with the Gospel for the circumcised ones [i.e., for Jews]. 8 For God assigned Peter to be an apostle to the circumcised ones [i.e., Jews], and me to be an apostle to the Gentiles. 9 Also, when they perceived that this [special] favor [of preaching to Gentiles] was granted to me, James, Cephas [i.e., Peter] and John, the highly regarded pillars [i.e., leaders of the church] extended to me and Barnabas their right hands [signifying an agreement] to share [in the preaching of the Gospel], with us going to the Gentiles and they going to the circumcised ones [i.e., Jews]. 10 The only thing that they encouraged us to do was to remember [the needs of] poor people, which I was very eager to do. [See Acts 24:17].
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch [of Syria], I confronted him personally [about a matter] for which he deserved to be condemned. 12 For, before certain [leaders] came from James [i.e., Jesus' brother, a leader of the Jerusalem church, See Acts 12:17; 15:13-22], he had eaten [a social meal] with some Gentiles. But when these men came, he abruptly discontinued this practice out of fear of the circumcised ones [i.e., out of concern for what the Jews would think of him]. 13 Then the rest of the Jews also discontinued [eating with Gentiles] along with Peter, until even Barnabas was influenced to go along with this hypocritical practice. 14 But, when I saw that they did not act in harmony with [the principles of] the truth of the Gospel [message], I said to Cephas in front of everyone, "If you, being a Jew, act like a Gentile [by showing such discrimination], how do you expect to persuade Gentiles to live like Jews [i.e., like Christian Jews who are taught to love all people]?"
15 Although we are Jews by natural birth, and not sinful Gentiles [who do not have a relationship with God], 16 still we know that a person is not justified [i.e., made right with God] by [perfect obedience to] the law of Moses, but rather through faith in [the person and work of] Christ. [Knowing this] we have trusted in Christ Jesus [to save us], so that we might be made right with God by trusting in Him and not by [our compliance with] the requirements of the law of Moses. Because by such law-compliance no one can be made right with God. 17 But, if while we were trying to be made right with God through a relationship with Christ, we were discovered to still be sinners [by acting like unsaved Gentiles], does that mean Christ is responsible for our sin? Of course not. 18 For if I try to build up again what I had already destroyed [i.e., by returning to depend on compliance with the law of Moses to become right with God, after having rejected this system by trusting in Christ to save me], I would certainly be guilty of sin. 19 For it was by means of [this system of] law-keeping that I [realized I] was dead. This was so I could find life through a relationship with God. 20 I have been crucified [i.e., died] with Christ, and so I am not the one who lives [anymore] but rather, it is Christ who lives in my heart. And [now] my entire life is being lived by trusting in the Son of God [to save and keep me], because He loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 [In doing this] I am not trying to disregard God's unearned favor, for if a person could become right with God by [perfect obedience to the requirements of] the law of Moses, then Christ died for nothing.