By W. M. Ramsay
Persons Mentioned in the Epistle
The persons mentioned by name in the Epistle are Titus, Cephas Peter, James, John and Barnabas.
Titus was evidently unknown to the Galatians. The point of Paul’s reference to him turns on his nationality. He was a Greek, and this is carefully explained in Gal 2:3, so that the readers may not fail to catch the drift of the argument. Had the Galatians known Titus, had he accompanied Paul on a journey and been familiar to them, the explanation would have been unnecessary; and in this Epistle there is not a single unnecessary word.
It is assumed that the Galatians know that Cephas and Peter were the same person; but we cannot suppose that they were converted without learning who the Twelve Apostles were; and, even if Paul and Barnabas had not made the Apostles known to them, the Judaising emissaries would have done so, as the whole burden of their argument was that James, Peter, etc., were superior in authority to Paul. Yet, even as regards the three, James and Cephas and John, the point on which the argument turns — “they who were reputed to be pillars” — is made clear and explicit. Some knowledge about the Apostles is assumed; but the crucial point is expressed, and not merely assumed.
Barnabas, however, is mentioned simply by name, and it is assumed that his personality was familiar to the Galatians — “even Barnabas was carried away”. The whole point in this expression lies in Barnabas’s staunch championship of Gentile rights: it presupposes a knowledge of his action and views. Paul, who even explains that James, Peter and John were the leading Apostles, assumes that Barnabas is so familiar, that his argument will be caught without any explanation. There is only one set of congregations among whom it could be assumed that Barnabas was better known than Peter and James and John. Paul was writing to the Galatians, whom Barnabas and he had converted, and among whom Barnabas had spent many months.
We must conclude that Barnabas was known to the Galatians, while Titus was unknown to them.
Now it is argued in my St. Paul, p. 285, that Titus was taken by Paul with him on his third journey (Act 18:23). After that journey, when Titus had spent a good many weeks among the Galatians, it would not have been necessary to explain to them that he was a Greek. On the other hand, it was a telling sequel to the Epistle that Titus, who is quoted as an example to the Galatians, and who was of course one of “the brethren which are with me” and associated in the Epistle, should personally visit the Galatians along with Paul on his next journey. There is a natural connection between the prominence of Titus in Paul’s mind during this Galatian crisis and the selection of him as companion among the Galatians. One might almost be prepared to find that, when Paul went on to Ephesus, Titus was left behind for a time in Galatia, confirming the churches and organising the contribution; and that thereafter he rejoined Paul at Ephesus in time to be sent on a mission for a similar purpose to Corinth.
Now, glance for a moment at the North Galatian theory. It is certain that, according to that view, Barnabas was personally unknown to the North Galatians, while there is a considerable probability that Titus (who was with Paul in Ephesus) had accompanied him all the way from Ephesus, and was therefore known to them. The North Galatian view leaves the tone of the references an insoluble difficulty.