Galatians 1:22
And was unknown by face to the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) Was unknown by face.—The Greek is a shade stronger: I continued unknown. If in Jerusalem itself the Apostle had not had time to receive instruction from any one, still less was this the case with the other Christian communities of Judæa. To these he was not known even by sight. At the same time, so far were they from manifesting any opposition to his teaching, that their one thought was joy to hear of his conversion.

The churches of Judæa.—Judæa is here distinguished from Jerusalem. The phrase is noticeable as pointing to the spread and early organisation of the Church at a date removed by not more than ten years from our Lord’s ascension.

Which were in Christ.—This is added in order to distinguish the Christian from the Jewish communities. It means, however, something more than merely “Christian.” The various sections of the Christian Church not only professed a common creed, and were called by a common name, but they stood in the same direct and personal relation to Christ as their Head. It was His presence diffused among them which gave them unity.

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.And was unknown by face ... - Paul had visited Jerusalem only, and he had formed no acquaintance with any of the churches in the other parts of Judea. He regarded himself at the first as called to preach particularly to the Gentiles, and he did not remain even to form an acquaintance with the Christians in Judea.

The churches of Judea - Those which were out of Jerusalem. Even at the early period of the conversion of Paul there were doubtless many churches in various parts of the land,

Which were in Christ - United to Christ; or which were Christian churches. The design of mentioning this is, to show that he had not derived his views of the gospel from any of them. He had neither been instructed by the apostles, nor was he indebted to the Christians in Judea for his knowledge of the Christian religion.

22. So far was I from being a disciple of the apostles, that I was even unknown in the churches of Judea (excepting Jerusalem, Ac 9:26-29), which were the chief scene of their labors. To be in Christ, signifieth:

1. Their being Christians indeed; they having received Christ by a true and lively faith, and given themselves to the obedience of his precepts. In this sense the apostle saith: If any man be in Christ he is a new creature.

2. Their being Christians in name, by baptism and outward profession. These churches are said to be in Christ in this latter sense.

We have a parallel text, 1 Thessalonians 2:14. They do not judge improperly, who think that by Judea here is not meant the province, but the whole country of Judea; which comprehended not Judea only, but Samaria and Galilee. John Baptist and our Saviour (who both mostly preached in Galilee) had prepared their due matter for gospel churches. Peter, and John, and Philip, preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans, Acts 8:25,40. Of all these churches Paul speaks, telling us he was personally unknown unto them; so far he was from learning the Christian doctrine from the apostles or them. And was unknown by face,.... Or "in person". This is said to prevent what might be objected, that though the apostle had not received the Gospel he preached from any of the apostles at Jerusalem; yet he might have had it from the churches that were in the land of Judea, and from some of the principal men in them; but this was so far from being truth, that he was not so much as known unto the churches of Judea which were in Christ; for there was not only a famous church of believers in Christ at Jerusalem, the metropolis of the land, but there were several congregated churches in the several parts of that country: by Judea we are to understand that part of the land of Israel so called, which was distinct not only from Samaria; but from Galilee and Perea, or the country beyond Jordan; for according to the Jews (d), the land of Israel was divided into three parts, Judea, Perea, and Galilee. Judea again was divided into three parts, the hill country, the plain, and the valley; and the plain of Lydda is as the plain of the south, and its mountainous part as the king's mountain; from Bethhoron to the sea is one province: and elsewhere (e) it is said, that the hill country of Judea is the king's mountain, the plain of it is the plain of the south, and the valley is from Engedi to Jericho--from Bethhoron to Emmaus is mountainous, from Emmaus to Lydda is a plain, and from Lydda to the sea a valley; from which may be collected where this country lay, and where were these churches here spoken of; the foundation of which might be laid in the conversion of some in those parts, through the ministry of the disciples of Christ, who were appointed witnesses of him not only in Jerusalem, but in all Judea and Samaria, Acts 1:8 and about the time of the Apostle Paul's conversion, and his being at Jerusalem, there were churches gathered in Judea, as distinct from Galilee and Samaria, Acts 9:31 particularly at Caesarea, Lydda, Saron, and Joppa. It is very likely that all the apostles, when they first set out to preach the Gospel after the ascension of Christ and the effusion of the Spirit, began in Judea; though some might make a very short stay, and others a longer. The Apostle and Evangelist Matthew is generally thought to have exercised his ministry chiefly in Judea, and to have continued there long; here he wrote his Gospel for the sake of the Jews that believed (f); and that, as a very ancient writer says (g), when Peter and Paul preached at Rome, and founded the church there. Judas Thaddaeus is also said (h) to go through Judea, Galilee, Samaria, Arabia, Syria, and Mesopotamia; and certain it is, that Philip, after he had baptized the eunuch, preached in all the cities from Azotus to Caesarea, where he seems to have stayed awhile and preached, Acts 8:40 and where afterwards was a Gospel church state, of which See Gill on Acts 10:48 and at Lydda and Saron, which were both in Judea, there were saints who were visited by the Apostle Peter, and others converted by him, about the time that our apostle here refers to; of the church at Lydda; See Gill on Acts 9:32 at Joppa also, which was in the tribe of Dan, there were disciples at the same time, and very likely a church there; See Gill on Acts 9:38 and it may be observed that the Apostle Peter was the minister of the circumcision, he had the Gospel of the circumcision committed to him, and he continued with and preached much to the circumcised Jews; and so in all likelihood was the instrument of planting the churches in Judea here spoken of. These are said to be

in Christ, as the church at Thessalonica, and that at Corinth are elsewhere said to be; because they professed to believe in Christ, were called by his name, and called upon his name; and though every individual member of them might not be in Christ, really united to him, and have communion with him; yet since they were all under a profession of him, they are considered as in him. The Arabic version reads it, "the churches of Judea which believe in Christ"; which though not a literal translation, gives the true sense of the passage, and distinguishes those churches from the synagogues or assemblies of the Jews which did not believe in Christ.

(d) Misn. Sheviith, c. 9. sect. 2.((e) T. Hieros. Sheviith, fol. 38. 4. (f) Hieron. Catalog. Script. Ecclesiast. sect. 4. fol. 90. A. (g) Irenaeus adv. Haeres. l. 3. c. 1.((h) Hist. Eccles. Magdeburg. cent. 1. l. 2. c. 10. p. 449.

And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Galatians 1:22. But I was so completely a stranger to the land of Judaea, that at the time of my sojourn in Syria and Cilicia I was personally unknown to the churches, etc. These statements (Galatians 1:22-24) likewise go to prove that Paul had not been a disciple of the apostles, which is indeed the object aimed at in the whole of the context. As a pupil of the apostles, he would have remained in communication with Jerusalem; and thence issuing, he would first of all have exercised his ministry in the churches of Judaea, and would have become well known to them. According to Hofmann, the end at which Paul aims in Galatians 1:22 f. is conveyed by καὶ ἐδόξαζον κ.τ.λ. in Galatians 1:24, so that Galatians 1:22-23 are only related to this as the protasis to the apodosis. This idea is at variance with the independent and important nature of the two affirmations in Galatians 1:22-23; if Paul had intended to give them so subordinate a position as that which Hofmann supposes, he would have done it by a participial construction (ἀγνοοῦντες δὲμόνον δὲ ἀκούοντες, ὅτι κ.τ.λ., ἐδόξαζον κ.τ.λ.), perhaps also with the addition of καίπερ, or in some other marked way. In the form in which the apostle has written it, his report introduced by ἔπειτα in Galatians 1:21 is composed of propositions quite as independent as those following ἔπειτα in Galatians 1:18, and Galatians 1:22-23 cannot be intended merely to introduce Galatians 1:24. Hofmann is therefore the more incorrect in asserting that Paul, from Galatians 1:21 onwards, is not continuing the proof of his apostolic independence in contradistinction to the other apostles, but is exhibiting the harmony of his preaching with the faith of the mother-church at Jerusalem and its apostles. Others, inconsistently with the context, suppose that Paul desired to refute the allegation that he had been a learner from the churches of Judaea (Oecumenius, Gomarus, Olshausen), or that he himself had taught judaistically in Judaea (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Grotius; comp. Usteri), or that he had visited Syria and Cilicia as the deputy of the churches of Judaea (Michaelis).

τῷ προσώπῳ] as regards the (my) countenance, that is, personally. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:17.

ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τῆς Ἰουδ.] This is meant to refer to the churches out of Jerusalem, consequently in the Ἰουδαία γῆ, John 3:22. For that he was known to the church in the capital is not only a matter of inference from his pre-Christian activity, but is certain from that fifteen days’ visit (Galatians 1:18), and is attested by Acts 9:26-30. Neither in Acts 9:26-30 nor in Acts 26:19 f. (see on these passages) is there any such inconsistency with the passage before us, as has been urged against the historical character of the Acts, especially by Hilgenfeld, Baur, and Zeller.Galatians 1:22. ἤμην δὲ ἀγν. The correct translation is not I was unknown (as our versions render it), but I was becoming unknown. At the beginning of this period he was a familiar figure in Jerusalem, but in the course of ten years’ absence he gradually became a stranger to the Christians of Judæa.—ἐκκλησίαις. This passage speaks of the Churches of Judæa in the plural, as does also 1 Thessalonians 2:14. In the Acts the Church throughout Judæa, Galilee and Samaria is described as a single Church according to the text of the best MSS. (Acts 9:31): the funds contributed for the relief of the poor Christians in Judæa are handed over to the Elders at Jerusalem (Acts 11:29, (Acts 12:25); brethren from Judæa are censured as members of their own body by the assembled Church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:1; Acts 15:24). It would seem from this that an effective unity of administration and control existed in Jerusalem side by side with local organisation of the several Churches of Judæa.22. and was unknown] rather, and I continued unknown. So far from his having learned the truths which he taught from the other Apostles, the Churches of Judæa, to which they principally ministered at this time, did not know him even by sight. It is not certain whether the Church of Jerusalem is included among these. Bengel says, “outside Jerusalem.” But it is quite possible that during the fortnight spent in Jerusalem he had not become personally known to the brethren there.

which were in Christ] The word Church (= ecclesia, an assembly, Acts 19:32; Acts 19:39; Acts 19:41) had not yet acquired the exclusively restricted sense of a Christian congregation. The Church of God (with its component churches or congregations) had existed in the patriarchal age and in subsequent times (even in the dark days when “they that feared the Lord spake often one to another”), until the coming of Christ. But they were not ‘in Christ’, until they had believed in and confessed the faith of Christ crucified.Galatians 1:22. Τῆς Ιὀυδαίας, of Judœa) with the exception of Jerusalem.Verses 22-24. - It is somewhat difficult to determine, and when determined to make evident in translation, the precise flexure in the intonation (so to speak) of these verses. So far as the present writer can see, it is this: the δὲ in ver. 22 is slightly adversative to the foregoing sentence; as if it were, "During that time the people of Syria and Cilicia saw a great deal of me, but the Churches of Judaea did not see me at all." The δὲ in ver. 23 introduces a contrast to the foregoing "unknown by face;" as if it were, "They knew me not by face, but only by report." The rendering to be now given will endeavour to represent this view of the whole passage. Verse 22. - And was unknown by face (ἤμην δὲ ἀγνοούμενος τῷ προσώπῳ); but I was all the while unknown by face. The dative τῷ προσώπῳ, "by face," or "in person," marks (see Winer,' Gram. N. T.,' § 31, 6, a) the sphere to which a wider term is restricted, as ταῖς φρεσίν (1 Corinthians 14:20). Its addition prepares the reader for the subsequent intimation that, though unknown by personal presentment, he was not unknown by repute (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:17, Προσώπῳ οὐ καρδιᾳ). The widened form of the verb, ηπμην ἀγνοούμενος, instead of ἠγνοούμην, intimates the long-continued period, represented by the words "all the while" in our rendering, for which the statement held good; which observation applies also to the ἀκούοντες ῆσαν of ver. 23. The word "still," introduced in the Revised Version, imports, as I humbly venture to think, on idea not actually expressed in the Greek. The apostle states no more than that the Churches of Judaea had at that time no opportunity of coming to know him personally. There is no ἔτι, They had, that is (for this is what seems intended), no opportunity of knowing him in his new character as a disciple of Christ. Whether or not they had known him in the terrible aspect of an unrelenting persecutor, is a matter which for the present lies out of the field of view. The period to which the apostle means this remark of his to apply may be assumed to be the whole time between his conversion and the close of this stay of his in "Syria and Cilicia." This, as we learn from the Acts, terminated with Barnabas's fetching him to join him in his work at Antioch. After this he did become known to the disciples of Judaea. Unto the Churches of Judaea which were in Christ (ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τῆς Ἰουδαίας ταῖς ἐν Ξριστῷ). This honorific form of designation, "which were in Christ," breathes a feeling on the part of the apostle of reverential respect for those Churches, as already organized communities vitally united to Christ, while he was as yet only beginning his Christian life (comp. Romans 16:7, "Who were also in Christ before me"). This ceremonious respectfulness is the more in place, inasmuch as the apostle had reason to know that the doctrinal position which he fell himself set to defend, in reference to obedience to the Mosaic Law, was generally distasteful to Jewish believers. Grateful is it, however, to his own feelings to recollect, and now thus publicly to recognize, the kindness and devout thankfulness which in those early days of his Christian career they had evinced with reference to him (see note on ver. 24). At the same time, his entire independence of the whole Jewish community when first beginning to preach is plainly indicated. It was from no Judaean Church any more than from Jerusalem and its apostles and elders that he derived the gospel which he had then and ever since been proclaiming. If we take the bearing of the clause, "which were in Christ," as above proposed, we have no need of (Ecumenius's remark, endorsed by various critics, including Alford and even Bishop Lightfoot, that it was added to distinguish the ἐκκλήσιαι of Christians from synagogues of non-Christian Jews. Indeed, the remark is itself open to grave exception. It is true that ἐκκλησία in the singular number is used of the whole Israelite community antecedently to the Christian dispensation; but it is never found either in the New Testament or in the Septuagint to denote, as συναγωγὴ does, an organized collection of Israelites as such, dwelling in a particular neighbourhood, in the way that it is applied to an organized collection of Christians in a neighbourhood; neither is the noun ever applied to Israelites as such in the plural number. The term ἐκκλήσιαι would, of course, be taken to mean Christian Churches and no other. Was unknown (ἤμην ἀγνοούμενος)

Better, was still unknown, the imperfect denoting that he remained unknown during his stay in Syria and Cilicia.

Of Judaea

The province, as distinguished from Jerusalem, where he must have been known as the persecutor of the church. See Acts 9:1, Acts 9:2.

Which were in Christ

See on 1 Thessalonians 2:14.

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