Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,…
A.D. 51 or 52: — The form of the Greek expression implies that Phrygia and Galatia are not to be regarded as separate districts — but the land originally inhabited by Phrygians, but subsequently occupied by Cauls. Paul does not appear to have had any intention of preaching the gospel here. He was perhaps anxious at once to bear his message to the more important and promising district of proconsular Asia. But he was detained by a return of his old malady "the thorn in the flesh" — some sharp and violent attack which humiliated him and prostrated his physical strength. To this the Galatians owed their knowledge of Christ. Though a homeless, stricken wanderer might seem but a feeble advocate of a cause so momentous, yet it was the Divine order that in the preaching of the gospel strength should be made perfect in weakness. The zeal of the preacher and the enthusiasm of his hearers triumphed over all impediments. They did not despise the temptation in his flesh. They received him as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. They would have plucked out their very eyes if they could and have given them to him." It can scarcely have been any predisposing religious sympathy which attracted them so powerfully. The gospel as a message of mercy and a spiritual faith stood in direct contrast to the gross and material religions in which the race had been nurtured. But if we picture to ourselves the apostle, as he appeared before the Galatians, a friendless outcast, writhing under the tortures of a painful malady, yet instant in season and out of season, by turns denouncing and entreating, perhaps also, as at Lystra, enforcing his appeals by some striking miracle, we shall be at no loss to conceive how the fervid temperament of the Gaul might have been aroused. In the absence of all direct testimony we may conjecture that it was at Ancyra, now the capital of the Roman province, as formerly of the Gaulish settlement, "the most illustrious metropolis," as it is called in formal documents; at Pessinus under the shadow of Mount Dindimus, the cradle of the worship of Cybele, and one of the principal commercial towns of the district; at Tavium, at once a strong fortress and a great emporium, situated at the point of convergence of several important roads; perhaps also at Juliopolis, the ancient Gordium, formerly the capital of Phrygia, almost equidistant from the three seas, and from its central position a busy mart; at these, or some of these places, that Paul founded the earliest Churches of Galatia.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,