1. Galatians 2:9 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

What does it mean for James, Peter and John to be reputed as pillars?

Galatians 2:9 (ESV)

9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

The reference to pillars presupposes the idea of the church as God’s temple (Ephesians 2:18–22; 1 Peter 2:4–5).1 It could be that the Judaizers were referring to the Jerusalem apostles as pillars. Alternatively, Paul uses this phrase to emphasize their foundational role in building the church of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:20).