by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 6 Study # 2 February 27, 2011 Dayton, Texas
21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;
22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
24 And they glorified God in me.
1901 ASV Translation:
21 Then I came unto the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
22 And I was still unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
23 but they only heard say, He that once persecuted us now preacheth the faith of which he once made havoc;
24 and they glorified God in me.
I. The Next Step In Paul's Argument.
Thesis: My message is from God.
B. Main Sub-thesis: I did not get my message from, or through, men [1:11-12].
C. Lines of Evidence.
1. This message altered my life at a most fundamental level for the better [1:13-14].
2. As soon as the particulars of this message affected me, I departed from all who could have influenced my understanding of it and went into Arabia [1:15-17].
3. It was three years from my personal reception of this message before I went to Jerusalem [1:18-19].
4. Before God, I am not lying.
5. Then, though unknown in Judea, I had the reputation for preaching the faith.
a. After the brief stay in Jerusalem, I went into Syria and Cilicia.
1) According to the commentaries, Antioch was the capital of Syria and Tarsus was the capital of Cilicia. Acts 21:3 ties Tyre to Syria. Syria was north of Galilee and Cilicia was north and west of Syria on the southern coast of Asia Minor.
2) Acts 15:41 says that Paul went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches. This means that there were churches there, and this ties into Paul's statement that he was known for preaching the faith. However, the persecution that arose after the stoning of Stephen led to the beginning of the church in Antioch (Acts 11:19) that became the "sending city" for Paul's missionary journeys.
b. The New Testament references to "Syria and Cilicia".
1) Those having to do with Syria.
a) Matthew 4:24 reveals that Jesus' ministry of teaching, preaching, and healing created a "fame" that spread "throughout all Syria" so that an enormous number of people were brought to Him and were healed of every kind of "disease" and "torment".
b) Luke 2:2 ties the decree of taxation that led to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem to the time when "Cyrenius was governor of Syria".
c) Acts 15:23 tells us that the apostles and elders in Jerusalem sent a letter to "the Gentiles" who were in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia to the effect that those who were preaching the Galatian legalism were "subverting the souls" of all who believed them because their doctrine was a lie.
d) Acts 15:41 reveals that Paul, after having parted company with Barnabas over John Mark, went through "Syria and Cilicia" confirming the churches where he had "preached the word of the Lord".
e) Acts 18:18 mentions Paul's goal of sailing "into Syria" on his way to Jerusalem.
f) Acts 20:3 also mentions Syria as Paul's goal in travel.
g) Acts 21:3 continues the record of Paul's travels toward Jerusalem through Syria.
h) Our Galatian text is the last reference in the New Testament to Syria.
2) Those having to do with Cilicia.
a) Acts 6:9 mentions those of Cilicia who were involved in the murder of Stephen.
b) Acts 15:23 (mentioned above in reference to Syria) also mentions Cilicia.
c) Acts 15:41 (also mentioned above) refers to the churches in Cilicia.
d) Acts 21:39 tells us that Paul was born in Tarsus of Cilicia.
e) Acts 22:3 also refers to Tarsus of Cilicia as Paul's birth city.
f) Acts 23:34 tells us that the governor determined to hear Paul's case in Caesarea because he read that Paul was "of Cilicia".
g) Acts 27:5 mentions "the sea of Cilicia" as a part of Paul's travels under guard.
h) Our Galatian text is the last reference in the New Testament to Cilicia.
c. Summary: Paul preached the Gospel in Syria and Cilicia and founded churches in those regions, building upon the testimony concerning Jesus that developed while He was in Galilee (Matthew 4:24).
d. The Point: Paul stayed away from Judea but still had the reputation of preaching the faith which he once destroyed.
1) In this "point", Paul refers again to the fact that he had persecuted the Church in Judea in times past (a direct reference to his first argument in this extended paragraph -- that the message altered his fundamental Love/Faith complex).
2) Also in this "point", Paul claims his reputation was for "preaching the faith".
a) At issue here is no longer Paul's claim to not have had contact with those who could have influenced his message, but that he was "preaching the faith".
b) Historically, the "after Jerusalem" reality was that of his growing reputation for spreading the faith along with Barnabas and others who were involved in the ministry in Antioch.
3) The churches in Judea "glorified God in me". This is another way of saying that they recognized that God was behind his transformation of character. Those of the Galatian heresy had no such reputations; therefore, they had no basis for claiming any degree of credibility from the Galatians. In is a wonder that men will believe a liar about twice as fast as a truth-teller with no questions regarding whether the lies have any foundations in fact at all. It is a testament to our brokenness in Sin.