1. Galatians 2:15 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

What does Paul mean by referring to “Gentile sinners”?

Galatians 2:15 (ESV)

15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners;

The Gentiles were seen as synonymous with sinners,1 not only because they did not observe Mosaic law, but also because they did not possess it and thus did not have the possibility of obtaining righteousness through it.2 By referring to Gentile sinners, Paul is emphasizing their previous status as those who lived outside the bounds of the old covenant.3 The Jews, by contrast, were recipients of God’s promises.4