|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 21. - Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia (ἔπειτα η΅λθον εἰς τὰ κλίματα τῆς Συρίας καὶ τῆς Κιλικίας); then I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. St. Luke tells us (Acts 9:30) that "the brethren brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus." The verb "brought down" of itself indicates that the Caesarea here mentioned was Caesarea Stratonis, the seaport of Jerusalem, and not Caesarea Philippi towards Damascus (see Bishop Lightfoot on Galatians 1:21). When, later, Barnabas required Saul's help at Antioch, it was to Tarsus that he went to seek him. It is, therefore, probable that, in mentioning "Syria" with "Cilicia" as containing "regions" (cf. Romans 15:23; 2 Corinthians 11:10) in which, after this departure from Jerusalem, he was actively engaged in ministerial work, he is thinking of the northern part of Syria, as in "Cilicia" he is thinking of the eastern portion of Cilicia about Tarsus; northern Syria and eastern Cilicia having a great geographical affinity (see Conybeare and Howson, vol. 1. pp. 26, 130). It thus appears that the Epistle is in perfect harmony with the Acts. To the apostle's labours during this period that he was making Tarsus his head-quarters, was most probably due in no small measure the founding of the Churches in Syria, and especially in Cilicia, which are referred to in Acts 15:23, 41.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. For having disputed against the Grecians at Jerusalem, and being too hard for them, it so irritated them, that they were going to murder him; which being known to the brethren there, they got him out of the way, and had him down to Caesarea, and so to Tarsus, a city in Cilicia; where he was born; in which places and in the countries about he preached the Gospel of Christ; to Tarsus, Barnabas went for him seeking him, and finding him brought him to Antioch in Syria; and both in Syria and Cilicia he preached, no doubt with success, since we read of believing Gentiles and churches in those parts he afterwards visited; being sent along with others, with the letter and decrees of the synod at Jerusalem to them, and whom he confirmed; See Gill on Acts 15:23,
See Gill on Acts 15:41, in the Greek text these countries are called "climates"; a climate in geography is said (y) to be a part of the surface of the earth, bounded by two circles parallel to the equator, and of such a breadth as that the longest day in the parallel nearer the pole, exceeds the longest day in that next the equator, by some certain space, viz. half an hour--. The beginning of the climate is the parallel circle wherein the day is the shortest, the end of the climate is that wherein the day is the longest;--each climate only differs from its contiguous ones, in that the longest day in summer is longer or shorter by half an hour in the one place than in the other:--vulgarly the term climate is bestowed on any country or region differing from another, either in respect of the seasons, the quality of the soil, or even the manners of the inhabitants, without any regard to the length of the longest day; in which sense it seems to be used here, as also in Romans 15:23. Of the country of Syria; see Gill on Matthew 4:24. Cilicia is a country of Asia Minor, now called Caramania; it had its name of Cilicia, as Herodotus says (z), from Cilix, the son of Agenor, a Phoenician: though Bochart (a) derives it from Challekim or Challukim, which signifies stones, it being a stony country; and so Herodotus (b) calls it "mountainous" Cilicia; it is said to have Pamphilia on the west, the tops of Mount Taurus on the north, Mount Amanus on the east, and the Cilician sea on the south; Jerom says (c), Cilicia is a province of Asia, which the river Cydnus cuts in the middle, and Mount Amanus, of which Solomon makes mention, separates it from Syria-Coele.
(y) Chambers's Cyclopaedia in the word "Climate". (z) L. 7. Polymnia, c. 91. Solinus, c. 51. (a) Canaan, p. 376. (b) L. 2. Euterpe, c. 34. (c) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 95. M.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. I came into … Syria and Cilicia—"preaching the faith" (Ga 1:23), and so, no doubt, founding the churches in Syria and Cilicia, which he subsequently confirmed in the faith (Ac 15:23, 41). He probably went first to Cæsarea, the main seaport, and thence by sea to Tarsus of Cilicia, his native place (Ac 9:30), and thence to Syria; Cilicia having its geographical affinities with Syria, rather than with Asia Minor, as the Tarsus mountains separate it from the latter. His placing "Syria" in the order of words before "Cilicia," is due to Antioch being a more important city than Tarsus, as also to his longer stay in the former city. Also "Syria and Cilicia," from their close geographical connection, became a generic geographical phrase, the more important district being placed first [Conybeare and Howson]. This sea journey accounts for his being "unknown by face to the churches of Judea" (Ga 1:22). He passes by in silence his second visit, with alms, to Judea and Jerusalem (Ac 11:30); doubtless because it was for a limited and special object, and would occupy but a few days (Ac 12:25), as there raged at Jerusalem at the time a persecution in which James, the brother of John, was martyred, and Peter was m prison, and James seems to have been the only apostle present (Ac 12:17); so it was needless to mention this visit, seeing that he could not at such a time have received the instructions which the Galatians alleged he had derived from the primary fountains of authority, the apostles.
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