I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,…
The fervency of affection professed by Paul in this passage is all in behalf of his own countrymen; and yet none more zealous than he in the labours of a Christian missionary among the distant countries of the world. What gives more importance to this remark is the tendency in our own day to place these two causes in opposition to each other. It might serve as a useful corrective to look at Paul and at the one comprehensive affection which actuated his bosom, cleaving with all the devotedness of a thorough patriot to the families of his own land; and yet carrying him beyond the limits of a contracted patriotism among all the families of the earth. The truth is, that home and foreign Christianity, instead of acting upon the heart like two forces in opposite directions, draw both the same way, so that he who has been carried forward to the largest sacrifices in behalf of the one, is the readiest for like sacrifices in behalf of the other. The friends of the near being also, as they have opportunity, the most prompt and liberal in their friendship to the distant enterprise; recognising in man, wherever he is to be found, the same wandering outcast from the light and love of heaven, and the same befitting subject for the offers of a free salvation. We cannot therefore sympathise with those who affect an indifference to the Christianisation of the heathen till the work of Christianisation shall have been completed at our own door. Let them be careful, lest there do not lurk within them a like indifference to both, lest the feelings and the principles of all true philanthropy lie asleep in their bosoms; and they, unlike to Paul, who found room for the utmost affection towards the spiritual well-being of his own kinsfolk and the utmost activity among the aliens and idolaters of far distant lands, shall be convicted of deep insensibility to the concerns of the soul, of utter blindness to the worth of eternity.
(T. Chalmers, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,