Galatians 1:18
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18-24) Nor did that consultation with the elder Apostles, which had hitherto been impossible, take place when, at last, after the lapse of three years, the Apostle did go up to Jerusalem. He saw indeed Peter and James, but for so short a time that he could have learnt nothing essential from them. To the rest of the churches of Judæa he was known only by report; and they were too rejoiced at his conversion to show any jealousy of him.

(18) After three years.—This date is probably to be reckoned from the great turning-point in the Apostle’s career—his conversion. It need not necessarily mean three full years, just as the three days during which our Lord lay in the grave were not three full days. It may have been only one whole year and parts of two others; but the phrase may equally well cover three whole years. This ambiguity shows the difficulty of constructing any precise system of chronology.

To see.—The word used is a somewhat peculiar one, and is applied specially to sight-seeing—in the first instance of things and places, but secondarily also of persons. It would be used only of something notable. St. Paul’s object was to make the personal acquaintance of St. Peter as the head of the Christian community, not to seek instruction from him.

Peter.—The true reading here is undoubtedly Cephas. There is a natural tendency in the MSS. to substitute the more common name for the less common. St. Paul seems to have used the two names indifferently.

Roman Catholic commentators argue from this passage, not without reason, that St. Peter must at this time have taken the lead in the Church.

Fifteen days.—Only a small portion of this time can have been actually spent in the company of St. Peter, as we gather from the Acts that much of it must have been occupied by public disputations with the Greek-speaking Jews. (See Acts 9:28-29.)

Galatians 1:18-19. Then, after three years — Wherein I had given full proof of my apostleship; I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter — And converse with him; and abode with him fifteen days — During which they doubtless discoursed at large together on the mutual success of their ministry. “This being Paul’s first visit to Jerusalem since his conversion, the brethren there shunned him, suspecting that he feigned himself a disciple with a view to betray them. But Barnabas, who probably had learned the particulars of his conversion from Ananias, took and brought him to the apostles, (Peter and James,) and declared to them how he had seen the Lord in the way, Acts 9:27. It does not appear that on this occasion any thing was said, either by Barnabas or by Saul, concerning Christ’s making Saul an apostle at the time he converted him, or concerning his sending him to preach to the idolatrous Gentiles, as is related by the apostle himself, Acts 26:16-18. These things were not mentioned in Jerusalem till Paul went up to the council, fourteen years after his conversion, Galatians 2:2; Galatians 2:7-9.” But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother — Or kinsman, as the word here signifies; for he was the son of Alpheus, by Mary the sister of our Lord’s mother. That Paul made so short a stay at Jerusalem, at this time, was probably owing to Christ’s appearing to him in a trance, while in the temple, and commanding him to depart quickly from Jerusalem, Acts 22:18. The brethren also, it seems, advised him to depart, because the Hellenist Jews were determined to kill him.1:15-24 St. Paul was wonderfully brought to the knowledge and faith of Christ. All who are savingly converted, are called by the grace of God; their conversion is wrought by his power and grace working in them. It will but little avail us to have Christ revealed to us, if he is not also revealed in us. He instantly prepared to obey, without hesitating as to his worldly interest, credit, ease, or life itself. And what matter of thanksgiving and joy is it to the churches of Christ, when they hear of such instances to the praise of the glory of his grace, whether they have ever seen them or not! They glorify God for his power and mercy in saving such persons, and for all the service to his people and cause that is done, and may be further expected from them.Then after three years - Probably three years after his departure from Jerusalem to Damascus, not after his return to Arabia. So most commentators have understood it.

Went up to Jerusalem - More correctly, as in the margin, returned.

To see Peter - Peter was the oldest and most distinguished of the apostles. In Galatians 2:9, he, with James and John, is called a pillar. But why Paul went particularly to see him is not known. It was probably, however, from the celebrity and distinction which he knew Peter had among the apostles that he wished to become particularly acquainted with him. The word which is here rendered "to see" (ἱστορῆσαι historēsai) is by no means that which is commonly employed to denote that idea. It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament; and properly means to ascertain by personal inquiry and examination, and then to narrate, as a historian was accustomed to do, whence our word history. The notion of personally seeing and examining, is one that belongs essentially to the word, and the idea here is that of seeing or visiting Peter in order to a personal acquaintance.

And abode with him fifteen days - Probably, says Bloomfield, including three Lord's days. Why he departed then is unknown. Beza supposes that it was on account of the plots of the Grecians against him, and their intention to destroy him Acts 9:29; but this is not assigned by Paul himself as a reason. It is probable that the purpose of his visit to Peter would be accomplished in that time, and he would not spend more time than was necessary with him. It is clear that in the short space of two weeks he could not have been very extensively taught by Peter the nature of the Christian religion, and probably the time is mentioned here to show that he had not been under the teaching of the apostles.

18. after three years—dating from my conversion, as appears by the contrast to "immediately" (Ga 1:16). This is the same visit to Jerusalem as in Ac 9:26, and at this visit occurred the vision (Ac 22:17, 18). The incident which led to his leaving Damascus (Ac 9:25; 2Co 11:33) was not the main cause of his going to Jerusalem. So that there is no discrepancy in the statement here that he went "to see Peter"; or rather, as Greek, "to make the acquaintance of"; "to become personally acquainted with." The two oldest manuscripts read, "Cephas," the name given Peter elsewhere in the Epistle, the Hebrew name; as Peter is the Greek (Joh 1:42). Appropriate to the view of him here as the apostle especially of the Hebrews. It is remarkable that Peter himself, in his Epistles, uses the Greek name Peter, perhaps to mark his antagonism to the Judaizers who would cling to the Hebraic form. He was prominent among the apostles, though James, as bishop of Jerusalem, had the chief authority there (Mt 16:18).

abode—or "tarried" [Ellicott].

fifteen days—only fifteen days; contrasting with the long period of three years, during which, previously, he had exercised an independent commission in preaching: a fact proving on the face of it, how little he owed to Peter in regard to his apostolical authority or instruction. The Greek for "to see," at the same time implies visiting a person important to know, such as Peter was. The plots of the Jews prevented him staying longer (Ac 9:29). Also, the vision directing him to depart to the Gentiles, for that the people of Jerusalem would not receive his testimony (Ac 22:17, 18).

These three years were spent partly in Arabia, partly at Damascus, whither he returned; and he, being there, was not idle, but, as Luke informs us, preached Christ in the synagogues, confounded the Jews, proving that this was the very Christ, which made the Jews take counsel to kill him: here it was that he escaped them, by being let down over the wall in a basket, Acts 9:20,22-25. Then he went to Jerusalem, where his conversion, and call to preach the gospel, was not heard of, (possibly in regard of the remoteness of Arabia, where he had spent most of those three years; or in regard of the troubled state of the church at Jerusalem at this time), insomuch that the disciples were afraid to admit him to join with them, until Barnabas had given testimony concerning him, Acts 9:27. He tells us here that he stayed there but

fifteen days; during which time Luke tells us, Acts 9:29, he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem,.... Not three years after his return to Damascus, but after his conversion; and now it was that he moved to become a member of the church at Jerusalem; but they did not care to admit him, fearing that he was not a disciple, till such time that Barnabas took him, and brought him to the Apostles Peter and James, and related his conversion and his boldness in preaching the Gospel at Damascus: his view in going up to Jerusalem at this time was partly his own safety, being obliged to fly from Damascus, but chiefly

to see Peter. The Alexandrian copy, and another, read "Cephas", and so does the Ethiopic version, the same with Peter: not to see what sort of a man he was, but to pay him a Christian visit; to converse with him about spiritual things; to know how the work of God went on under him, as the minister of the circumcision; and to relate to him, what success he had met with as the minister of the uncircumcision; but not to receive the Gospel from him, or to be ordained a preacher of it by him; for he had been three years already in the work of the ministry, before he made him this visit; and besides, his stay with him was very short, nor could he have received much from him, in so short a time, in an ordinary way:

and abode with him fifteen days; and even all this time was not wholly spent in conversation with him; for he was, during this time, coming in and going out at Jerusalem, where he preached boldly in the name of Christ, and disputed against the Grecians.

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Galatians 1:18. Ἔπειτα] After that, namely, after my second sojourn in Damascus—whence he escaped, as is related Acts 9:24 f.; 2 Corinthians 11:32 f. The more precise statement of time then follows in the words μετὰ ἔτη τρία (comp. Galatians 2:1), in which the terminus a quo is taken to be either his conversion (as by most expositors, including Winer, Fritzsche, Rückert, Usteri, Matthies, Schott, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Hilgenfeld, Ewald, Wieseler, Hofmann, Reithmayr, Caspari) or his return from Arabia (Marsh, Koppe, Borger). The former is to be preferred, as is suggested by the context in οὐδὲ ἀπῆλθον εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμαμετὰ ἔτη τρία ἀνῆλθον εἰς Ἱεροσολ. Comp. also on Galatians 2:1.

ἀνῆλθον εἰς Ἱεροσ.] This is (contrary to Jerome’s view) the first journey to Jerusalem, not omitted in the Acts (Laurent), but mentioned in Acts 9:26. The quite untenable arguments of Köhler (Abfassungszeit, p. 1 f.) against this identity are refuted by Anger, Rat. temp. p. 124 f. It must, however, be conceded that the account in Acts must receive a partial correction from our passage (see on Acts 9:26 f.); a necessity, however, which is exaggerated by Baur, Hilgenfeld, and Zeller, and is attributed to intentional alteration of the history on the part of the author of Acts, it being supposed that the latter was unwilling to do the very thing which Paul in our passage wishes, namely, to bring out his independence of the original apostles. But this consciousness of independence is not to be exaggerated, as if Paul had felt himself “alien in the very centre of his being” from Peter (Holsten).

ἱστορῆσαι Κηφᾶν] in order to make the personal acquaintance of Cephas; not, therefore, in order to obtain instruction. But the position of Peter as κορυφαῖος (Theodoret) in the apostolic circle, especially urged by the Catholics (see Windischmann and Reithmayr), appears at all events from this passage to have been then known to Paul and acknowledged by him. Ἱστορεῖν, coram cognoscere, which does not occur elsewhere in the N.T., is found in this sense applied to a person also in Joseph. Bell. vi. 1. 8, οὐκ ἄσημος ὤν ἀνὴρ, ὃν ἐγὼ κατʼ ἐκεῖνον ἱστόρησα τὸν πόλεμον, Antt. i. 11. 4, viii. 2. 5; frequently also in the Clementines. It is often used by Greek authors (comp also the passages from Josephus in Krebs, Obss. p. 318) in reference to things, as τὴν πόλιν, τὴν χώραν, τὴν νόσον κ.τ.λ. See Wetstein and Kypke. Bengel, moreover, well says: “grave verbum ut de re magna; non dixit ἰδεῖν (as in John 12:21) sed ἱστορῆσαι.” Comp. Chrysostom.

καὶ ἐπέμεινα πρὸς αὐτόν] Comp. 1 Corinthians 16:7. πρός, with, conveys the direction of the intercourse implied in ἐπέμ. Comp. Matthew 26:55; John 1:1; and the passages in Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 202. Comp. Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 653.

ἡμέρας δεκαπέντε] For the historical cause why he did not remain longer, see Acts 9:29; Acts 22:17 ff. The intention, however, which induced Paul to specify the time, is manifest from the whole connection,—that the reader might judge for himself whether so short a sojourn, the object of which was to become personally acquainted for the first time with Peter, could have been also intended for the further object of receiving evangelic instruction, especially when Paul had himself been preaching the gospel already so long (for three years). This intention is denied by Rückert, because the period of fifteen days was not so short but that during it Paul might have been instructed by Peter. But Paul is giving an historical account; and in doing this the mention of a time so short could not but be welcome to him for his purpose, without his wishing to give it forth as a stringent proof. This, notwithstanding what Paul emphatically adds in Galatians 1:19, it certainly was not, as is evident even from the high representative repute of Peter.[36] But the briefer his stay at that time, devoted to making the personal acquaintance of Peter, had been, the more it told against the notion of his having received instruction, although Paul naturally could not, and would not, represent this time as shorter than it had really been. Rückert’s arbitrary conjecture is therefore quite superfluous, that Paul mentions the fifteen days on account of the false allegation of his opponents that he had been first brought to Christianity by the apostles, or had, at any rate, spent a long time with them and as their disciple, but that he sought ungratefully and arrogantly either to conceal or deny these facts. According to Holsten, Peter and James were the representatives of the ἕτερον εὐαγγ., who in consequence could not have exerted any influence on Paul’s Gentile gospel. But this they were not at all. See on Galatians 2:1 ff. and on Acts 15.

[36] Hofmann is of opinion that Paul desired his readers to understand that he could not have journeyed to Jerusalem in order to ask the opinion and advice of the “apostolic body” there. As if Peter and James could not have been “apostolic body” enough! Taking refuge in this way behind the distinction between apostles and the apostolic body was foreign to Paul.Galatians 1:18. Ἔπειτα. The thrice-repeated Ἔπειτα in this verse, in Galatians 1:21, and in Galatians 2:1, singles out three events in the Apostle’s life bearing on his intercourse with the Church of Jerusalem: his first introduction to them, his departure to a distant sphere of labour, and his return to Jerusalem with Barnabas. The object of this sketch was not to write a history of those years, but to fix attention on certain salient incidents which threw light on the real nature of his intercourse with Jerusalem.—μετὰ τρία ἔτη. A different preposition is here employed from that used in Galatians 2:1, which describes a mission within fourteen years. In this case no precise date is implied; for the object is not to date the visit, but to show that three full years at least had elapsed before Paul had any intercourse with the Twelve.—ἱστορῆσαι: to enquire of Cephas, i.e., to obtain information from him. This is the usual meaning of the verb; in Herodotus, and elsewhere, it denotes visits paid to places of interest with a view to getting information about them on the spot. The circumstances in which Paul found himself at that time make this sense very appropriate. He had been suddenly driven from his ministry at Damascus, and was compelled to seek a new sphere. He could not turn to any adviser more valuable than Peter for determining his future course. For that Apostle was not only prominent in the general government of the Church, but had taken the lead in its expansion by his visits to Samaria, to the maritime plain, and to Cæsarea, and by his baptism of Gentiles. In spite, therefore, of the danger of revisiting Jerusalem, Paul repaired thither to consult Peter as to how he could best serve Christ.—Κηφᾶν. Several MSS. give the Greek form, Πέτρον, of this name; but the Hebrew form appears to be the original reading throughout the Epistle, except in Galatians 2:7-8. At Jerusalem he was probably known by the name Cephas, but in the Greek Church at large by the name Peter.—ἐπέμεινα. Both in the Acts and in the Pauline Epistles this verb denotes the continuance or prolongation of a stay.—πρὸς αὐτόν. This can hardly be = παρʼ αὐτῷ, I abode with him. The clause expresses rather the motive for Paul’s lingering at Jerusalem, I tarried to see him fifteen days.

This narrative is so independent of the account given of Paul’s first meeting with the Twelve in Acts 9:26-29, that some critics question the identity of the two visits. But it is clear that both passages alike refer to Paul’s first return to Jerusalem, after a prolonged sojourn at Damascus; and the subtle harmony of the two narratives is as conspicuous as their independence in details. The history states the bare fact that Paul, finding his life in imminent danger from the Jews at Damascus, fled to Jerusalem; the Epistle explains why he encountered so obvious a danger; the Epistle states that he prolonged his stay to see Peter; the history explains that he was unable to gain access to the Apostles for a time. The history records the principal events of the visit from the historical point of view, e.g., the apprehensions felt by the Christian body, the intervention of Barnabas, the attempts on Paul’s life; the autobiography passes these by as foreign to its purpose, but is far richer in personal details, relating incidentally the date, the motive, and the duration of the visit, and particularising the brethren whom Paul saw on the occasion; whereas in the Acts mention is merely made of the disciples generally.18. It was not till three years after his conversion that St Paul went up to Jerusalem to visit St Peter.

to see] to become personally acquainted with. The word in the original is used of those who visit great and famous cities. He was introduced to the Apostles by Barnabas (Acts 9:27).

Peter] The more probable reading is ‘Cephas’, the Aramaic equivalent of the Greek ‘Petros’, the name given by our Lord to Simon Bar-Jona (John 1:43; Matthew 16:18).

fifteen days] St Paul does not disguise the fact that he spent a fortnight in the society, perhaps as the guest of Peter. But, as Bengel observes, it was hardly long enough for him to have been made an apostle by Cephas. Part too (perhaps a great part) of the time was spent in disputation with the Grecian Jews. The visit was terminated by their conspiring to take his life (Acts 9:29-30), and by a command of the Lord in a vision to go unto the Gentiles (Acts 22:17-21).Galatians 1:18. Τρία, three) After he had given proofs of the apostolic office.—ἱστορῆσαι) a weighty expression,[5] as referring to an important matter. He did not say ἰδεῖν [though Engl. Vers. so renders it, to see], but ἱστορῆσαι, “which,” (says Chyrs.) “is said by those who accurately observe (οι καταμανθάνοντες) great and splendid cities.” Plutarch represents Solon and many others as having travelled for the purpose of acquiring great wisdom and information (ἱστορίας). Julian, when he was about to consult the diviners in the cities of Greece, alleged as the cause of his going, the extensive information of Greece (καθʼ ἱστορίαν τῆς Ἑλλάδος), and of the schools there. Greg. Naz., Or. 4, Cresoll. theatr. rhet., p. 163.—Πἑτρον, Peter) Therefore Paul preferred him to the other apostles, ch. Galatians 2:7.—δεκαπέντε, fifteen) during so short a time, Paul means to say, Peter would not have been able to have made me an apostle. [It is profitable to observe rather carefully, what are the dealings of God with thee, that when circumstances permit, thou mayest confidently appeal to them even after a long interval.—V. g.]

[5] Ἱστορέω Th. ἳστωρ, ἴσημι; to become acquainted with anything by visiting and inquiry, Pol. ix. 14, 3. Ἱστορ, τινὰ, to become acquainted with one by a face to face interview.—ED.

See Wahl. Clav.Verse 18. - Then after three years (ἔπειτα μετὰ τρία ἔτη). The apostle's object is to illustrate the independent source of his doctrine as not derived from men. This he does here by indicating how long an interval elapsed after he first was made acquainted with it before he ever got to even know Peter. By this he gives his readers to feel how strongly assured from the very first was his conviction of the sufficiency and certain truth of those views of the "gospel" which had been divinely communicated to him. The obvious inference from this view of the writer's present purpose is that, in his reckoning of time, the terminus a quo in this verse is the era of "God's revealing his Son in him," which in effect was that of his conversion. There are two modes of computing time employed in the New Testament - the inclusive and the non-inclusive. According to the former, just as "after three days" in Matthew 27:63 and Mark 8:31, means in fact "on the next day after but one;" so in the present instance, "after three years" may denote a not greater interval than "in the next year after but one." Compare the "by the space of three years" (τριετίαν) of Acts 20:31, taken in conjunction with "for the space of two years' of Acts 19:10. On the other hand, according to the non-inclusive way exemplified in the "after six days" of Matthew 17:1; Mark 9:2 (compared with the "about eight days" of Luke 9:28), the interval denoted may have been no less than three whole years. Since it is to the interest of the apostle's argument to mark the interval at its greatest, the reader will probably be of opinion that, if St. Paul had had in his mind a space of time which was not in reality less than three years, he would have used a form of expression more clearly marking this, and not one which might be easily taken as meaning less; and therefore that the phrase, "after three years," means in reality no more than "in the year after the next, not before." I went up to Jerusalem (ἀνῆλθον εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα). The apostle writes "went up" with a Jew's instinctive feeling of Jerusalem being the capital and centre of his nation and its religion; a feeling which would be all the stronger through the consciousness that it was as yet the capital and centre also of Christendom itself. To see Peter (ἱστορῆσαι Κησᾶν [Receptus, ΠέτρονD; to acquaint myself with Cephas. As the Greek verb here used - which is found nowhere else in the New Testament, and not found at all in the Septuagint - has been often misunderstood, it seems desirable to give a somewhat full account of the manner in which it is employed in other writers. The verb ἱστορεῖν, derived, through ἵστωρ or ἴστωρ, knowing, learned, from the conjectural root εἴδω, in the older Greek most commonly means "inquire of some one about some person or thing," and is constructed like ἐπερωτᾷν ανδ other verbs of questioning. Thus, Eurip., 'Phaen ,' 621, Ὡς τί μ ἱστορεῖς τόδε; "Ask me this question;" Soph., 'OEd. Tyr.,' 1156, Ον οῦτος ἱστορεῖ, "Whom this man is inquiring about." So in Herod., 2:19. But sometimes, still in the older Greek, it means simply "knowing" or" personally knowing," with no associated notion of asking questions; as e.g. AEsch., 'Pers.,' 454, Κακῶς τὸ μέλλον ἱστορῶν, "Ill apprised of the future;" 'Eum.,' 455, Πατέρα δ ἱστορεῖς καλῶς, "My father thou knowest well." In the later Greek it frequently denotes personally acquainting one's self with some object, whether a person or a thing. Here again, as in its use just exemplified from AEschylus, the notion of asking questions is altogether absent. Thus, Josephus, 'Boll. Jud.,' 6:1, 8, Ἀνήρ ο{ν ἐγὼ κατ ἐκεῖνον ἱστόρησα τὸν πόλεμον, "When I got personally to know;" ' Ant.,' 8:2, 5, Ἱστόρησα γάρ τινα Ἐλεάζαρον, "I have in person Seen Eleazar, releasing demoniacs," etc.; 'Ant.,' 1:11, 4, Ἱστόρηκα δ αὐτήν, "I have myself been and seen it (i.e. the pillar of salt);" Plutarch, 'Thes.,' 30, Τὴν χώραν ἰστορῆσαι, "See, inspect the country;" 'Pomp.,' 40, Ἱστορῆσαι τὴν πόλιν, "See, or inspect the city." The result of this evidence is that, in all probability, the apostle means that he went up to Jerusalem to acquaint himself with Cephas. That in the present instance the verb was not at all meant to suggest the notion of questioning, either directly or by implication, though no doubt in the older form of the language it often means questioning, appears from two considerations:

(1) The words, "I went to question Cephas," with no indication added, either specific or general, of the matters to be inquired about, would present a very bald and imperfect sentence;

(2) it would seem strangely incongruous that the apostle, just when concerned to give point to his affirmation that he received not his gospel from men, but fully and completely from God, should tell his readers that two or three years after his conversion he went up to Jerusalem to make inquiries of Cephas. Neither would the general use of the verb warrant us in understanding St. Paul to say that his object in making this journey was to "see Cephas" in that sense in which we sometimes employ the English verb, to denote a friendly visit; nor again would it justify us in interpreting it to mean "to put myself on a footing of acquaintanceship and friendship with him." No instance has been adduced in which the word has either of these two turns of meaning. Its import in the present instance appears to be this: St. Paul was hearing continually in all quarters a variety of statements respecting Cephas, the leader of the apostles, Cephas's doctrine, Cephas's manner of conduct both personal and ministerial, - statements, we may be sure, not always agreeing together. He knew the great importance of Cephas's position in the Church, not only with reference to the Jewish section of it with which that apostle was the most immediately associated, but also with reference to Gentile believers, he having been first of all the apostles divinely commissioned to open the door to the Gentiles. For the prudent shaping, then, of his own course in the prosecution of his ministry as apostle, it was of deep moment for St. Paul that he should have a more exact understanding of Cephas's personality, and of Cephas's principles of conduct in dealing both with Jews and Gentiles, than he could possibly gain from mere hearsay. He therefore resolved, most assuredly under Divine guidance, himself to repair to Jerusalem, to apprise himself by personal observation and intercourse of the true character of this most highly gifted and most influential leader of Jewish Christendom. Thus much, and so far as I can perceive no more than this, does the usage of the verb in the Greek of the time warrant us in finding in St. Paul's use of it in the present passage. And this view of it is confirmed by its singular appropriateness, when thus understood, to the connection in which it stands. No term could have more significantly implied the feeling which the writer entertained of the independence of his own position as a messenger of Christ to the world. Cephas's own self, he intimates, was the object which he sought by that journey to get to know. That is, there is not the faintest suggestion in the phrase employed of his having felt his own knowledge of the gospel to he imperfect, and that he wished to confer with Peter for the purpose of integrating his views. While, however, with the apostle the ruling motive in taking that journey may be supposed to have been as now stated, we are still at liberty to surmise that there were other accessory inducements. If St. Paul felt that it was urgently needful for him, in the prosecution of his great mission, to know Cephas well, he could not but have also felt that it was of importance for the success of the great cause that Cephas should by personal intercourse be enabled to appreciate more certainly and distinctly than was otherwise possible what manner of man Saul himself now was, and should begin to recognize the gifts and calling which their common Lord had conferred upon him. Further, it is impossible not to believe that Saul would welcome with joy the opportunity which this visit would afford him of obtaining, from the lips of one who was a very principal eye-witness and minister in the matter discoursed on, more precise and more reliable accounts than it is probable he had as yet received, of many particulars appertaining to Christ's sojourn upon earth. And what a story Cephas had to tell him! With what ravishment of listening attention would Saul drink in at his lips the marvels of that Divine life and death, which it had been his privilege so closely to observe! And, on the other side, what joy on earth had the elder apostle greater than that of pouring into a truly sympathetic bosom those precious treasures of reminiscence. His two Epistles, written long after, evince clearly the profound, sweet complacency with which his mind was wont to dwell upon them. If, in Plato's immortal 'Phaedo,' a disciple of the martyred Socrates, when invited by a fellow-disciple, who by accident had not been at Athens at the time, to tell him the particulars of his master's death, would comply with alacrity, "for that to him nothing ever was so sweet as to be remembering Socrates, whether telling of him himself or hearing another do it" (2. 3:5,' Bekk'), how much more might not Cephas feel thus in transmitting to his attentive auditor those leaves of the tree of life which are for the healing of the nations! Nor can we doubt that Cephas would rehearse to him the particulars of the Lord's dealings with his own individual spirit: his own first interview with its then mysterious word, "Thou shalt be called Cephas!" the summons, "Follow me;" the restoration to health of his fever-stricken wife's mother; the miraculous draught of fishes, with the outcry, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man 1" and the gracious response, "Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men;" the walking on the sea, with its "Lord, save me!" the confession of his faith, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," with the presently ensuing shrinking from the predicted cross, and the merited rebuke, "Get thee behind me, Satan!" the beatifying sight of the Transfiguration; the confident "Though all should deny thee, yet will I never deny thee," so soon rebuked by the triple denial, and the Lord's glance of reproving love; the appearing of the risen Christ to him individually on Easter Day; the morning scene by the margin of the Sea of Tiberias, with its triple confession of love and its triple charge; the closing scene on Mount Olivet; his wondrously blessed discourse on the day of Pentecost; his great work again with Cornelius, so full of in-retest for the newly constituted apostle of the Gentiles now hearing it. The story, told, we may be sure, with quivering lips, with streaming eyes, with features kindling with a rapture of holy, heavenly joy, unfolded a marvellous record of the redeeming Master's love and wisdom and power in dealing with that human soul; a Saviour's work, such as might even in some respects match that which Saul had himself to record. And this no doubt mutual interchange of spiritual experience would reveal each to the other, so as they never could else have been revealed. Saul had come thither for the purpose of acquainting himself with Cephas's personality; he went away knowing something of the weaknesses of his temperament, as well as able to love and admire his loyalty of soul and straightforwardness in action, his zeal, the warmth, the impetuosity even, of his affections, his tender entire devotion to his Lord. It is interesting in this relation to remark that when, in writing to the Corinthians, St. Paul recites historical proofs of Christ's resurrection, the five appearances of the risen Christ specified by him which were antecedent to the one vouchsafed to himself, are those which he was likely to have been told of on the occasion of this visit, when, as he states, he saw, together with Cephas, also James the Lord's brother. Of those five appearances, that to "James" the Lord's brother in all probability is not mentioned in the Gospels at all; that to St. Peter only in the way of most cursory allusion by the Pauline evangelist St. Luke. It would seem as if thus early was stamped on St. Paul's mind a form of historical recital available for customary use ever after. The certain truth of these appearances he then got to be assured of through personal testimony borne to himself by Peter and by James. And abode with him fifteen days (καὶ ἐπέμεινα πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡμέρας δεκαπέντε); and I tarried with him fifteen days. The use of the preposition here rendered "with" is illustrated by 1 Corinthians 16:6, 7; Matthew 13:56; John 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:5. Since in the midst of a populous city the propinquity and (probably) association expressed by the preposition is referred to the one individual Cephas, the phrase, "I tarried with him," is with the greatest probability taken to indicate a sojourn at St. Peter's house. Else, why did not St. Paul write, "I tarried in Jerusalem"? And this circumstance the apostle, as it should seem, indicates, with a latent reference to its significance. The fact was significant in various ways. It testified most openly and emphatically to a wondrous transformation in the mutual sentiments with which the two men regarded one another. It was but a short while ago, only some two or three years more or less, that Saul was viewed by St. Peter with repugnance and dread, as the bitter and influential persecutor of that flock of Christ which the Lord had so pointedly committed especially to his affectionate tendence. Even personally on his own behalf Peter "must have feared him, perhaps even have hidden himself from him, when he forced his way into Christian homes" (Dr. Farrar, 'Life of St. Paul,' vol. 1. p. 231). Only quite lately had the scattered members of the Church ceased to fear fresh onslaughts of the persecution which Saul had so eagerly pressed forward, and begun once more to openly assemble at Jerusalem. Yet now there were here to be seen, on the one side Cephas, forgivingly, affectionately welcoming Saul to his house; and on the other, the late scornful and hostile Pharisee submitting to be beholden to Cephas for hospitality! to Cephas for public recognition as a brother in Christ! That it was with a lively recollection of that newborn mutual brotherliness that the apostle penned this brief record of his visit to Cephas, dry and colourless matter-of-fact as it at first seems, we cannot doubt when we look back upon the highly coloured picture of his previous animosity against the Church of God, and his intense Pharisaism, and also observe that immediately after he brings directly into view the sentiments of wonder and adoring gratitude to God with which the Churches of Judaea beheld the change which had taken place in him. His mind is too intent upon the pressing business of the hour to allow itself in melting mood to loiter upon mere reminiscences of the past; it takes in, nevertheless, with however rapid a glance, the remembrance of those days; how strange, and withal how affecting, his position bad then been felt to be! We are not, however, to suppose that St. Paul devoted this most noteworthy fortnight altogether, or perhaps even principally, to fraternal intercourse with Cephas and James and the other newly found brethren in Christ residing in the capital. We learn from the history of the Acts that, after the misgiving, which not unnaturally bad been at first felt by even the leaders of the Christian community, as to the reality of his conversion to the faith, had been overcome through the interposition of the generous-hearted Barnabas, his ardent zeal thrust him forth without delay upon giving public proof of his consecration to the cause of Christ. He owed it to that cause that, in the place where he had so grievously and publicly sinned against it, he should try what he could to undo, if only he might, the mischief which when last at Jerusalem he had but too well succeeded in effecting. For this end he addressed himself to that very portion of the population amongst whom in those days of sin his hostility had been so conspicuously shown. He sought out the Hellenist Jews, whom he had then been so active in hounding on to their assault upon the holy Stephen, eagerly striving now by exhortation and argument to win them to believe. The endeavour was, however, fruitless. The evil which he had wrought in the past it was not given him in this field to repair. Christ himself, appearing in vision, warned him to desist. Earnestly he entreated to be permitted thus to plead for him; but his Master peremptorily commanded him to leave the city. "Depart quickly: they will not receive of thee testimony concerning me" (Acts 22:18). The wish was natural, and to his honour; but it was not for this that his steps had been directed to Jerusalem. He should work for Christ extensively elsewhere, and not ineffectually; but here he was forbidden to stay. The eager, and for himself fearless, champion obeys, curbing his resolute spirit to compliance with the arrangements which the brethren at Jerusalem made for his safe transmission to Caesarea, from whence he sailed for Tarsus (Acts 9.). To see (ἱστορῆσαι)

N.T.o. 1. To inquire into: 2. to find out by inquiring: 3. to gain knowledge by visiting; to become personally acquainted with. In lxx, only 1 Esd. 1:33, 42, to relate, to record. Often in Class. The word here indicates that Paul went, not to obtain instruction, but to form acquaintance with Peter.

Cephas

See on Matthew 16:18; see on John 1:42; see on 1 Corinthians 1:12.

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