The Early Epistles—
18Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. 19But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.
20Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.
21Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; 22And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: 23But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. 24And they glorified God in me.
(1: 14) I progressed] lit. “to cut forward (as in a forest), to blaze a way, to go ahead (Robertson).
(1: 15) from my mother’s womb] A phrase meaning either from birth or from before my birth (so Lightfoot). Samson, dedicated to God even before his birth, says, “I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb” (Judg. 16:17). Compare similar expressions: Isa. 49:1; Jer. 1:5.
(1: 18) Cephas] The Aramaic name for Peter.
1: 23) these only had heard] The Greek construction is similar to a direct quote, “he who formerly persecuted us . . .”
His former life,
Acknowledged as genuine
(1:13-24) Both his former life as a persecutor and his limited contact with other apostles after his conversion are indisputable evidence of a call from God. He had seen Peter but once and then only for 15 days, and it had been a visit rather than a conference or class. There was
Also, the church in Judea could not deny what had happened. Paul, who had once persecuted them, was now preaching the gospel. These churches recognized the evidence of a genuine gospel as preached by Paul even though they could not recognize Paul himself. They knew the gospel. They did not know Paul.
Questions for Further Study
- The gospel of Paul was a certified gospel, but what might that mean to us now? (Paul also seals his word with and oath— 1:20 What are his exact words?
- If the gospel were a mere religious document of men, it could be revised, updated, changed. What does Paul say about it not being a man’s gospel?
- What was Paul like before he became an apostle? Did our life change after we became a Christian? and if so, how?
- Did Paul learn more about the gospel while he was in Arabia? Or, did his visit with Peter or James further his knowledge about the gospel?
- What did the Judean churches say about Paul? How could such testimony be further proof of his apostlehip?
- Where are Syria, Cilicia, Judea? Why mention such areas?