Hey! Randy

Galatians 1:20-21

Posted by heyrandy on June 25, 2010

Now the things which I write unto you, behold , before God , I lie not. 21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; Gal.1: 20-21 AV

Paul inserts a parenthesis into his defense of his apostleship. This attestation that he is not lying is something that I find curious. Why did Paul feel the need to fortify his words? Had people in Galatian churches that impugned Paul’s veracity? We can see that some were challenging his credentials, questioning his claim to be a legitimate apostle, but how would  this assertion help? Would not his detractors just dismiss it?

These questions can not be readily answered. We have only one side of the matter from which to construct the situation in Galatia. This is what the Holy Spirit has given us to work with. Let us be thankful. Scriptural revelation is a work of grace. Let us not complain because we do not have the answer to that curious question. We will know it all much better when we rejoice with Paul in the new heavens and new earth.

Why did Paul put this statement of his probity here? Was he emphasizing the prior statement about only seeing Peter and James, or the latter statement about going off into Syria and Cilicia? I think the latter statement because the parenthesis acts like a preparatory statement. He would be telling them that he left Jerusalem to go to areas were there were no apostles. He wants to preclude the objection that he met with the other apostles later.

Paul’s parenthesis does afford us an opportunity to think about what we we say. We need to remember that all we say is before God. In courts of law, witnesses are put under oath to force them to tell the truth. As Christians, we are to tell the truth. Invoking human oaths do not change that. Today oaths are dismissed as mere ceremony. Every politician and public official takes an oath to be loyal to the Constitution. How are they doing?

“Afterwards,” meaning after the time he spent in Jerusalem with Peter, James and the believers, Paul leaves for Syria and Cilicia. He had experience in Syria. We read about his time there in Acts 9. He leaves the city in fear of his life. This shows how powerful a force the Jews were even outside their center in Jerusalem.That Paul would go back is testimony to his fearlessness. As committed as Paul was to the destruction of the gospel, he is now committed to its advance.

Cilicia is a region in Asia Minor. Paul is from Tarsus, a city of this province. Did he go home to family? There was a Jewish presence there sufficiently strong to support a synagogue (Acts 6:9). Again, we don’t know what he did there. It can be reasonably assumed that he simply continued the preaching he began in Damascus and would later continue with his missionary journeys. This is the kind of guy that only stops when he is asleep or dead.

Homework assignment: think about what you say. It is all said before God. How would you speak if you were speaking to the Lord?


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