Galatians 1:21 MEANING

Galatians 1:21
(21) Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.--We gather from the parallel narrative in Acts 9:30; Acts 11:25-26, that the course which the Apostle followed was this:--He was first conveyed secretly by the disciples to the sea-port Caesarea Stratonis; there he took ship and sailed for Tarsus. Here he was found, somewhat later, by Barnabas, and taken to Antioch, where he remained a year. It would thus appear that the order in which the two names, Syria and Cilicia, occur does not represent the order in which the two provinces were visited. The Apostle, reviewing his past career at a distance of time, and with a certain special object in view, which is not affected by the geographical direction of his movements, speaks in this general way. It hardly seems necessary to suppose an unrecorded visit to Syria on the way to Tarsus, though that, of course, is possible. Still more gratuitous is the supposition that there is any contradiction between the historical narrative and our Epistle, for such generalities of expression are what most persons may constantly detect themselves in using. The accuracy of the pedant neither belongs to St. Paul's Epistles nor to real life.

Regions.--The Greek word here is the same as that which is translated "parts" in Romans 15:23, where see the Note.

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.

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.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.

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