Galatians 1:18
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days.

New Living Translation
Then three years later I went to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him for fifteen days.

English Standard Version
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.

New American Standard Bible
Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days.

King James Bible
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas, and I stayed with him 15 days.

International Standard Version
Then three years later, I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and I stayed with him for fifteen days.

NET Bible
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and get information from him, and I stayed with him fifteen days.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And after three years I went to Jerusalem to see Kaypha, and I stayed with him 15 days.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Then, three years later I went to Jerusalem to become personally acquainted with Cephas. I stayed with him for fifteen days.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter and abode with him fifteen days.

King James 2000 Bible
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

American King James Version
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days.

American Standard Version
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and tarried with him fifteen days.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Then, after three years, I went to Jerusalem, to see Peter, and I tarried with him fifteen days.

Darby Bible Translation
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to make acquaintance with Peter, and I remained with him fifteen days;

English Revised Version
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and tarried with him fifteen days.

Webster's Bible Translation
Then after three years I went to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

Weymouth New Testament
Then, three years later, I went up to Jerusalem to inquire for Peter, and I spent a fortnight with him.

World English Bible
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days.

Young's Literal Translation
then, after three years I went up to Jerusalem to enquire about Peter, and remained with him fifteen days,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

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.

Pulpit Commentary

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.).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

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.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

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).

Galatians 1:18 Additional Commentaries
Context
Paul Accepted by Apostles and Others
18Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. 19But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord's brother.…
Cross References
John 1:42
And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter).

Acts 9:22
Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.

Acts 9:23
After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him,

Acts 9:26
When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.

Galatians 2:7
On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised.

Galatians 2:9
James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised.

Galatians 2:11
When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

Galatians 2:14
When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
Treasury of Scripture

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days.

I went up. or, I returned.

Acts 9:26-29 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to …

Acts 22:17,18 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even …

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