1. Galatians 2:12 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Why was Peter afraid?

Galatians 2:12 (ESV)

12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.

We are not told the reason for Peter’s fear. Previously, he did not fear Jewish Christians who advocated for circumcision (Acts 11:1–18). It does not make sense for him to do so now, especially when he was in Antioch rather than Joppa or Jerusalem. Maybe there was an unwritten agreement that he would eat separately from Gentile believers in order to advance the cause of Jewish mission?1 Perhaps he was informed of Jewish persecution that came in response to claims that Jewish Christians were forsaking old covenant food laws?2 In either case, his actions were not motivated by conviction but fear.