Galatians 1:21
Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;
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(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 Cæsarea 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.

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.Afterward I came ... - In this account be has omitted a circumstance recorded by Luke Act 9:29, of the controversy which he had with the Grecians (Hellenists). It was not material to the purpose which he has here in view, which is to state that he was not indebted to the apostles for his knowledge of the doctrines of Christianity. He therefore merely states that he left Jerusalem soon after he went there, and traveled to other places.

The regions of Syria - Syria was between Jerusalem and Cilicia. Antioch was the capital of Syria, and in that city and the adjacent places he spent considerable time; compare Acts 15:23, Acts 15:41.

Cilicia - This was a province of Asia Minor, of which Tarsus, the native place of Paul, was the capital; see the note at Acts 6:9.

21. I came into … Syria and Cilicia—"preaching the faith" (Ga 1:23), and so, no doubt, founding the churches in Syria and Cilicia, which he subsequently confirmed in the faith (Ac 15:23, 41). He probably went first to Cæsarea, the main seaport, and thence by sea to Tarsus of Cilicia, his native place (Ac 9:30), and thence to Syria; Cilicia having its geographical affinities with Syria, rather than with Asia Minor, as the Tarsus mountains separate it from the latter. His placing "Syria" in the order of words before "Cilicia," is due to Antioch being a more important city than Tarsus, as also to his longer stay in the former city. Also "Syria and Cilicia," from their close geographical connection, became a generic geographical phrase, the more important district being placed first [Conybeare and Howson]. This sea journey accounts for his being "unknown by face to the churches of Judea" (Ga 1:22). He passes by in silence his second visit, with alms, to Judea and Jerusalem (Ac 11:30); doubtless because it was for a limited and special object, and would occupy but a few days (Ac 12:25), as there raged at Jerusalem at the time a persecution in which James, the brother of John, was martyred, and Peter was m prison, and James seems to have been the only apostle present (Ac 12:17); so it was needless to mention this visit, seeing that he could not at such a time have received the instructions which the Galatians alleged he had derived from the primary fountains of authority, the apostles. After that I came from Jerusalem, I came into the country of Syria; probably not to Damascus, the chief city of Syria, (where he had so narrow an escape in a basket), but into the country parts of Syria; for Syria lay in the way between Judea and Cilicia. It appeareth by Acts 9:30, that Paul was designed for Tarsus, his native place; where we are also told, that the brethren conducted him to Caesarea, which stood upon the confines of Syria. It is probable that he stayed some time at Tarsus; for there Barnabas found him, Acts 11:25,26, and brought him to Antioch; so that Paul had but fifteen days at Jerusalem to converse with the apostles, and in that time he saw none of them, but Peter, and James the son of Alpheus.

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.

Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;
Galatians 1:21. After this stay of fifteen days in Jerusalem (ἔπειτα, comp. Galatians 1:18), I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and consequently was again far enough away from the seat of the apostles!

τῆς Συρίας] As it is said in Acts 9:30 that Paul was accompanied from Jerusalem to Caesarea, it is assumed by most modern expositors: “Syriae earn partem dicit, cui Phoenices nomen fuit,” Winer. So also Koppe, Rückert, Usteri, Matthies, Schott. Comp. Matthew 4:24; Acts 21:3. This view runs entirely counter to the design of the apostle. For here his main concern was to bring out his comparatively wide separation from Judaea, as it had occurred in his actual history; the whole context (comp. Galatians 1:22) shows that it was so, and therefore the reader could only understand τῆς Συρίας as meaning Syria proper (with Antioch as its capital). It could not in the least occur to him to think of Phoenicia (which even Wieseler, though not understanding it alone to be referred to, includes), the more especially as alongside of τῆς Συρίας Cilicia, which borders on Syria proper, is immediately named (comp. Acts 15:23; Acts 15:41; Plin. v. 22, xviii. 30). An appeal is also wrongly made to Matthew 4:24 (where, in the language of hyperbole, a very large district—namely, the whole province of Syria, of which Judaea and Samaria formed portions—is meant to be designated) and Acts 21:3 (where likewise the Roman province is intended, and that only loosely and indefinitely with reference to the coast district[38]). The relation of our passage to Acts 9:30 is this: On leaving Jerusalem, Paul desired to visit Syria and Cilicia; he was accordingly conducted by the Christians as far as the first stage, Caesarea (the Roman capital of Judaea, not Caesarea Philippi), and thence he went on by land to Syria and Cilicia. Comp. on Acts 9:30.

For what object he visited Syria and Cilicia, he does not state; but for this very reason, and in accordance with Galatians 1:5, it cannot be doubted that he preached the gospel there. Tarsus was certainly the central point of this ministry; it was at Tarsus that Barnabas sought and found him (Acts 11:25).

[38] For any one sailing from Patara and passing in front of Cyprus to the right has the Syrian coast before him towards the east, and is sailing towards it. Thus indefinitely, as was suggested by the popular view and report, Luke relates, Acts 21:3, ἐπλέομεν εἰς Συρίαν, without meaning by the καὶ κατήχθημεν εἰς Τύρον that follows to make this Συρίαν equivalent to Phoenicia. For instance, a man might say, “We sailed towards Denmark and landed at Glückstadt,” without intending it to be inferred that Denmark is equivalent to Holstein.

Galatians 1:21-23. About ten years of the life of Paul, between his flight from Jerusalem to Tarsus and his return to Jerusalem for the Apostolic Council, are here passed over. They were spent, partly in and around Tarsus and Antioch, partly in the joint mission with Barnabas to Cyprus and Asia Minor. The Galatians were already acquainted with the leading facts of that period, and it was needless to refer to them here: enough that he spent those years, like those at Damascus, in an independent ministry at a distance from Jerusalem. He did indeed repair thither once with Barnabas to carry alms from Antioch to the Elders; but circumstances prevented any intercourse with the Twelve at that time: for before they reached the city the Herodian persecution had begun, and the leading Christians were in peril of death at the hands of Herod. Paul himself can only have paid a secret and hurried visit to the city, and thought it needless apparently to mention it in this place.—κλίματα. This word denotes the fringes of coastland sloping down from the mountains to the sea in north-western Syria and eastern, i.e. Roman, Cilicia. It is applied in 2 Corinthians 11:10 to the coastlands of Achaia.

The name Syria is placed before Cilicia, though the ministry at Tarsus preceded that at Antioch: for the latter was by far the more important and prolonged ministry. A further reason for placing Syria first was the subordinate position of Cilicia: for Roman Cilicia was, like Judæa, only a district of the great province of Syria, separately administered by an imperial procurator at Tarsus.

In Acts 15:41 Syria and Cilicia are coupled together as forming a single region (τὴν Συρίαν καὶ Κιλικίαν), no article being inserted before Κιλικίαν; not so here, for the first ministry at Tarsus was distinct from that at Antioch.

21. In the Acts we are told that when the brethren knew of the plot against St Paul’s life, they “brought him down to Cæsarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus”. This is in agreement with the statement of the text. Cæsarea was the port from which in all probability St Paul sailed to Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia. The expression “the regions of Syria and Cilicia” must not be pressed as describing the order in which he visited the two countries. We learn from Acts 11:25-30 that Barnabas went to Tarsus, and, having found Saul, brought him to Antioch, the capital of Syria, where he continued teaching for a whole year.

Galatians 1:21. Ἦλθον, I came) with the Gospel, Galatians 1:23.

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. Galatians 1:21Regions (κλίματα)

Po. Comp. Romans 15:23; 2 Corinthians 11:10. Κλΐμα, originally an inclination or slope of ground: the supposed slope of the earth from the equator to the pole. The ancient geographers ran imaginary parallel lines from the equator toward the pole, and the spaces or zones or regions between these lines, viewed in their slope or inclination toward the pole, were κλίματα. The word came to signify the temperature of these zones, hence our climate. In Chaucer's treatise on the Astrolabe, chapter 39 is headed "Description of the Meridional Lyne, of Longitudes and Latitudes of Cities and Towns from on to another of Clymatz." He says: "The longitude of a clymat is a lyne imagined fro est to west, y-lyke distant by-twene them alle. The latitude of a clymat is a lyne imagined fro north to south the space of the erthe, fro the byginning of the firste clymat unto the verrey ende of the same clymat, even directe agayns the pole artik." In poetical language, "climes" is used for regions of the earth, as Milton:

"Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms."

Syria and Cilicia

Syria, in the narrower sense, of the district of which Antioch was the capital: not the whole Roman province of Syria, including Galilee and Judaea. Matthew 4:24; Luke 2:2; Acts 20:3. This district was the scene of Paul's first apostolic work among the Gentiles. Cilicia was the southeasterly province of Asia Minor, directly adjoining Syria, from which it was separated by Mt. Pierius and the range of Amanus. It was bordered by the Mediterranean on the south. It was Paul's native province, and its capital was Tarsus, Paul's birthplace.

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