|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.
Verse 20. - Now the things which I write unto you (α} δὲ γράφω ὑμῖν); now as to the things which I am writing to you. The looseness in the Greek of the connection of this clause with the words which follow is similar to what we find in the case of the clause, ταῦτα α} θεωρεῖτε, in Luke 21:6. The particular things meant are those which are affirmed in vers. 15-19 and to the end of the chapter; points which the Galatians would hardly have become apprised of except upon the apostle's own testimony. What preceded in vers. 13, 14 they had become acquainted with before, on the testimony of others ("Ye have heard," ver. 13). Behold, before God, I lie not (ἰδού ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὅτι οὐ ψεύδομαι); behold, before God, verily I lie not. The use here of ὅτι, which in "verily" is paraphrased rather than translated, in this as well as in several other passages of solemn asseveration (2 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 11:10; possibly Romans 9:2), savours strongly of Hebraism, being very probably identical with its use for כִּי, the Hebrew "that," in the Septuagint, e.g. in Isaiah 49:18, Ζῶ ἐγώ λέγει Κύριος ὅτι πάντες αὐτοὺς ὡς κόσμον ἐνδύσῃ. So in St. Paul's inexact citation in Romans 14:11. On this use of the Hebrew conjunction, see Gesenius, 'Thes.,' p. 678, B, 1, n, who observes that in such cases there is an evident ellipsis of some such verb as "I protest," "I swear." The apostle was frequently led by the gainsaying of adversaries vitally affecting his official or personal character, to have recourse to forms of the most solemn asseveration. In addition to the passages cited above, see 2 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Romans 1:9; Philippians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:5; 1 Timothy 2:7. If, as Alford in effect observes, a report had been spread among the Galatians that, after his conversion, he had spent years at Jerusalem, receiving instruction in the faith at the hands of the apostles, the facts which he has now stated would have seemed to his readers so astoundingly in contradiction to the impression which they had received, as to require a strong confirmatory asseveration." In the present case," as Professor Jowett remarks, "it is a matter of life and death to the apostle to prove his independence of the twelve." And his independence of them is strongly evinced by the fact that, for several years of his Christian life, during all which he was preaching the same gospel as he now preached, he had not even seen any of them except Peter and James the Lord's brother (if James could be reckoned as an apostle), and these only during a short visit of a fortnight at Jerusalem some three years after his conversion.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now the things which I write unto you,.... Concerning his education, his religion, his principles and practices before conversion; concerning his call by the grace of God, the revelation of Christ in him, and his preaching of him among the Heathen; concerning his travels to several places for this purpose, and especially concerning his not receiving the Gospel from men, not from any of the apostles; and how that upon his conversion he did not go up to Jerusalem to any of them, to be taught and sent forth by them; and that it was not till three years after that he wept thither to see Peter, with whom he stayed but fifteen days, and saw no other apostle, but James the Lord's brother. Now this being a matter of moment, and what he had been charged with by the false teachers, that the Gospel he preached he had received from men, in order to disqualify him and bring him into contempt as an apostle, and which they had insinuated to the Galatians; he therefore not only wrote these things, but for the confirmation of them solemnly appeals to God the searcher of hearts for the truth of them;
behold, before God I lie not; which is not only a strong asseveration, but a formal oath; it is swearing by the God of truth, calling him to be witness of the things that he had written; whence it is manifest that an oath upon proper occasions, where there is a necessity for it, and a good end to be answered by it, may be lawfully made.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. Solemn asseveration that his statement is true that his visit was but for fifteen days and that he saw no apostle save Peter and James. Probably it had been reported by Judaizers that he had received a long course of instruction from the apostles in Jerusalem from the first; hence his earnestness in asserting the contrary facts.
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