Galatians 1:20
Now the things which I write to you, behold, before God, I lie not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) A solemn asseveration of the truth of these statements as to the extent of the Apostle’s relation with the elder disciples.

Galatians 1:20-24. Now the things which I write unto you — With respect to all these circumstances of them; I lie not — As I affirm before God, who searcheth the heart, and from whom nothing is hid. Afterward — Departing from Jerusalem; I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia — To exercise my ministry there, and, if possible, to bring those among whom I was born and brought up, to the knowledge of Christ and his gospel. It appears from Acts 9:30, that some of the brethren in Jerusalem, who advised him to depart, kindly accompanied him to Cesarea, a well known sea-port town on the Mediterranean, from whence it seems he intended to go by sea to Tarsus. But, as he here says that he went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, it is probable, that after embarking at Cesarea, contrary winds forced him into some of the ports of Syria; so that, altering his plan, he went through that country preaching the gospel, and from thence proceeded to Cilicia by land. And was personally unknown to the churches in Judea — Except to that of Jerusalem. In travelling from Damascus to Jerusalem, after his return from Arabia, it seems by this, that he did not preach or make himself known to any of the Christians in the cities of Judea through which he passed. But they had heard only — This wonderful account in general, which would doubtless spread rapidly through all the land; that he which persecuted us in times past — To imprisonment and death, was become a convert to the religion of Jesus; so that he now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed — That is, the great truths of the gospel, which he once laboured with all his might to extirpate from the minds of men, and from the face of the earth; and they glorified God in me — That is, on my account, as they well might, beholding in me so wonderful an instance of the power and grace of God. This the apostle mentions, because it implied that the Christians in Judea believed him to be a sincere convert, and were persuaded that his conversion would be an additional proof of the divine original of the gospel. 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.Behold, before God I lie not - This is an oath, or a solemn appeal to God; see the note at Romans 9:1. The design of this oath here is to prevent all suspicion of falsehood, It may seem to be remarkable that Paul should make this solemn appeal to God in this argument, and in the narrative of a plain fact, when his statement could hardly be called in question by anyone. But we may remark:

(1) That the oath here refers not only to the fact that he was with Peter and James only fifteen days, but to the entire group of facts to which he had referred in this chapter. "The things which I wrote unto you." It included, therefore, the narrative about his conversion, and the direct revelation which he had from the Lord Jesus.

(2) there were no radios which he could appeal to in this case, and he could, therefore, only appeal to God. It was probably not practicable for him to appeal to Peter or James, since neither of them were in Galatia, and a considerable part of the transactions here referred to occurred where there were no witnesses. It pertained to the direct revelation of truth from the Lord Jesus. The only way, therefore, was for Paul to appeal directly to God for the truth of what he said.

(3) the importance of the truth here affirmed was such as to justify this solemn appeal to God. It was an extraordinary and miraculous revelation of the truth by Jesus Christ himself. He received information of the truth of Christianity from no human being. He had consulted no one in regard to its nature. That fact was so extraordinary, and it was so remarkable that the system thus communicated to him should harmonize so entirely with that taught by the other apostles with whom he had had no contact, that it was not improper to appeal to God in this solemn manner. It was, therefore, no trifling matter in which Paul appealed to God; and a solemn appeal of the same nature and in the same circumstances can never be improper.

20. Solemn asseveration that his statement is true that his visit was but for fifteen days and that he saw no apostle save Peter and James. Probably it had been reported by Judaizers that he had received a long course of instruction from the apostles in Jerusalem from the first; hence his earnestness in asserting the contrary facts. Whether those words, before God, make this sentence an oath, is not material to determine; they are either an oath, or a very serious asseveration. If the apostle designed to call God for a witness, to the correspondence of his words with the truth of the things he had spoken, they make up an assertory oath, which was lawful enough (though privately taken) in so serious a matter as this, where the apostle is vindicating his apostleship from some acts, of which probably he had no witnesses at hand to produce; but they may be understood (by the supplement of, I speak, or, I say this) only as a form of serious assertion, to confirm the truth of what he asserted. He minds them, that he was sensible of God’s presence in all places, and particular taking notice of the things spoken; as being spoken before him, who knew that what he spake was truth. Now the things which I write unto you,.... Concerning his education, his religion, his principles and practices before conversion; concerning his call by the grace of God, the revelation of Christ in him, and his preaching of him among the Heathen; concerning his travels to several places for this purpose, and especially concerning his not receiving the Gospel from men, not from any of the apostles; and how that upon his conversion he did not go up to Jerusalem to any of them, to be taught and sent forth by them; and that it was not till three years after that he wept thither to see Peter, with whom he stayed but fifteen days, and saw no other apostle, but James the Lord's brother. Now this being a matter of moment, and what he had been charged with by the false teachers, that the Gospel he preached he had received from men, in order to disqualify him and bring him into contempt as an apostle, and which they had insinuated to the Galatians; he therefore not only wrote these things, but for the confirmation of them solemnly appeals to God the searcher of hearts for the truth of them;

behold, before God I lie not; which is not only a strong asseveration, but a formal oath; it is swearing by the God of truth, calling him to be witness of the things that he had written; whence it is manifest that an oath upon proper occasions, where there is a necessity for it, and a good end to be answered by it, may be lawfully made.

Now the things which I write unto you, behold, {o} before God, I lie not.

(o) This is a type of an oath.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Galatians 1:20. Not a parenthesis, but, at the conclusion of what Paul has just related of that first sojourn of his at Jerusalem after his conversion (namely, that he had travelled thither to make the acquaintance of Cephas, had remained with him fifteen days, and had seen none of the other apostles besides, only James the brother of the Lord), an affirmation by oath that in this he had spoken the pure truth. The importance of the facts he had just related for his object—to prove his apostolic independence—induced him to make this sacred assurance. For if Paul had ever been a disciple of the apostles, he must have become so then, when he was with the apostles at Jerusalem for the first time after his conversion; but not only had he been there with another object in view, and for so few days, but he had also met with James only, besides Peter. The reference to all that had been said from Galatians 1:12 (Calvin, Koppe, Winer, Matthies), or at least to Galatians 1:15-19 (Hofmann), is precluded by the fact that ἔπειτα in Galatians 1:18 begins a fresh section of the report (comp. Galatians 1:21; Galatians 2:1), beyond which there is no reason to go back.

The sentence is so constructed that ἃ δὲ γράφω ὑμῖν stands emphatically by itself as an anacoluthon; and before ὅτι, that, we have again to supply γράφω, But what I write to you—behold in the sight of God I write, that I lie not; that is, in respect to what I write to you, I write, I assure you before the face of God (לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה, so that I have God present as witness), that I lie not. Comp. Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 338. Schott takes ὅτι as since, “coram Deo scribo, siquidem non mentior,” whereby ἃ δὲ γρ. ὑμ. does not appear as an anacoluthon. But this siquidem non mentior would be very flat; whereas the anacoluthon of the prefixed relative sentence is precisely in keeping with the fervency of the language (comp. Matthew 10:14; Luke 21:6, and the note thereon). The completely parallel protestation also, ὁ Θεὸςοἶδενὅτι οὐ ψεύδομαι (2 Corinthians 11:31; comp. Romans 1:9; 2 Corinthians 1:23), is quite unfavourable to the explanation of ὅτι as siquidem. To supply with Bengel, Paulus, and Rückert (comp. Jerome), an ἐστί after Θεοῦ (ὅτι, that), does not make the construction easier (Rückert); on the contrary, it is arbitrary, and yields an unprecedented mode of expression.Galatians 1:20. The solemnity of this appeal to God in attestation of His truth marks at once the importance which Paul attached to his independence of human teachers, and the persistency of the misrepresentation to which he had been exposed.—ἰδοὺ. This imperative is always used interjectionally in Scriptures: the subsequent ὅτι depends on ἐνώπιον τ. Θεοῦ, which has the force of an attestation.20. Considering that the vital question of St Paul’s credentials was at stake, we need not wonder at this solemn asseveration and appeal to the judgment of God.Galatians 1:20. Ἰδοὺ, behold) viz. ἐστὶ, it is; for ὅτι means that.[6]

[6] It is the case before God, that, etc.—ED.Verse 20. - Now the things which I write unto you (α} δὲ γράφω ὑμῖν); now as to the things which I am writing to you. The looseness in the Greek of the connection of this clause with the words which follow is similar to what we find in the case of the clause, ταῦτα α} θεωρεῖτε, in Luke 21:6. The particular things meant are those which are affirmed in vers. 15-19 and to the end of the chapter; points which the Galatians would hardly have become apprised of except upon the apostle's own testimony. What preceded in vers. 13, 14 they had become acquainted with before, on the testimony of others ("Ye have heard," ver. 13). Behold, before God, I lie not (ἰδού ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὅτι οὐ ψεύδομαι); behold, before God, verily I lie not. The use here of ὅτι, which in "verily" is paraphrased rather than translated, in this as well as in several other passages of solemn asseveration (2 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 11:10; possibly Romans 9:2), savours strongly of Hebraism, being very probably identical with its use for כִּי, the Hebrew "that," in the Septuagint, e.g. in Isaiah 49:18, Ζῶ ἐγώ λέγει Κύριος ὅτι πάντες αὐτοὺς ὡς κόσμον ἐνδύσῃ. So in St. Paul's inexact citation in Romans 14:11. On this use of the Hebrew conjunction, see Gesenius, 'Thes.,' p. 678, B, 1, n, who observes that in such cases there is an evident ellipsis of some such verb as "I protest," "I swear." The apostle was frequently led by the gainsaying of adversaries vitally affecting his official or personal character, to have recourse to forms of the most solemn asseveration. In addition to the passages cited above, see 2 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Romans 1:9; Philippians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:5; 1 Timothy 2:7. If, as Alford in effect observes, a report had been spread among the Galatians that, after his conversion, he had spent years at Jerusalem, receiving instruction in the faith at the hands of the apostles, the facts which he has now stated would have seemed to his readers so astoundingly in contradiction to the impression which they had received, as to require a strong confirmatory asseveration." In the present case," as Professor Jowett remarks, "it is a matter of life and death to the apostle to prove his independence of the twelve." And his independence of them is strongly evinced by the fact that, for several years of his Christian life, during all which he was preaching the same gospel as he now preached, he had not even seen any of them except Peter and James the Lord's brother (if James could be reckoned as an apostle), and these only during a short visit of a fortnight at Jerusalem some three years after his conversion. I lie not

Comp. Romans 9:1; 2 Corinthians 11:31; 1 Timothy 2:7.

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