Galatians 1:13-18


Gal 1:13 (KJB)
For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
Ye heard of - Hearing with understanding
Conversation - Conduct
Measure - Exceedingly
Persecuted - Pursue or follow after
Wasted - Destroy, pillage, or ravage
Paul now gives a short history of his life before the Lord Jesus Christ saved him. He knew the Galatians had heard and understood that he was a persecutor of the church and, no doubt, they also knew of his being present at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7). Paul did not only try to make it hard for the church but he went above and beyond the call of duty wanting to have them all arrested and killed. Paul regarded the Christians as blasphemers. The verse tells us that Paul was ravaging the church. The word in Greek is much stronger and carries with it the meaning of a wild animal mauling or devouring its prey and this is what Paul was doing to the church. This is why none of the disciples had believed he had become a Christian because of his hatred for the Christians and the church. Paul was on the road to Damascus to continue his pursuit of the Christians instead he became a Christian. He became the very thing he hated. This is why we never give up on people who hate the Gospel because maybe, they might be one of Godís Elect in the making.
Gal 1:14 (KJB)
And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
Profited - Increasing, advancing, or making progress
Equals - A person of equal age or stature, a peer
Zealous - Fervently desire or jealous
Paul was making a name for himself as he was excelling above his contemporaries in Judaism. He considered himself to be more zealous for the traditions handed down by the fathers. The Lord had even chided the Pharisees for worrying more about tradition than truth. (Mark 7:7 KJV) Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Even our Galatians verse is telling us that Paul profited in the Jewsí religion and he was jealous for the traditions of the fathers. It does not say he was jealous for the teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures but for the traditions. This is what happens when a person becomes religious, they care not for the truth, but they defend the religion they are involved in. This may be the reason that Paul went up to Arabia and did not start ministering for 14 years. The Lord was probably deprogramming him from the traditions of the fathers so he would be able to discern between the true and the false. When he finally understood the difference, then he was able to start ministering properly. This is how it is with all in false religions, they must begin to understand the difference between the true and the false, when they do, then they are ready to minister.
Gal 1:15 (KJB)
But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
Pleased - Delight in, approve, or consent
Separated - Set apart or having selected
Here is an interesting verse stating that God was pleased when He had separated Paul or selected Him from his motherís womb. God knows who His elect are even before they are born. God had chosen all His elect before the foundations of the world. (Eph 1:4 KJV) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Even though those of us who are saved, became saved at different times in our lives, yet, all the Elect of God were chosen before the foundation of the world. All of the Elect were set apart in our motherís womb even if we do not get saved until later in life. This salvation is our calling by grace and grace alone. It is interesting that Paul injects that he was saved from his motherís womb and I believe the reason is that the Judaizers had emphasized works to coincide with grace for salvation. If a person is in the womb, then what works can they do to facilitate their salvation? The answer is obvious, they can do none and this is why this verse is included because it shows that grace is the only vehicle by which a person can be saved, even in the womb where no works can be done. How could the Judaizers debate works with a person who was saved from the womb without works? This is the wisdom of the Scriptures.
Gal 1:16 (KJB)
To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
Reveal - Uncover or Disclose
Preach - Announce the good news
Heathen - Gentiles or pagans
Conferred - Consult with or go for advice
The reason that God selected Paul from the womb was so that in the fullness of time, when God was ready to save Paul, He was to reveal or disclose the Lord Jesus Christ to him. This was not just to give him information but he had a ministry all planned out for him by God. (Eph 2:10 KJV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. No Christian is saved just to go to church or to do nothing. Every true believer has been saved for the purpose of ministry. Paulís ministry was to declare the true Gospel to the Gentiles. (Acts 13:46 KJV) Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. Paulís ministry was not revealed to him immediately but it was while they were ministering to the Jews when he came to know that God set him apart as the apostle to the Gentiles. When Paul had become saved, he did not go to people for advice, instead he waited upon the Lord. One of the main problems we do with new believers is that we immediately begin to fill them with manís words instead of letting them get used to the Scriptures and gain some understanding in them.
Gal 1:17 (KJB)
Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
As a good Jew, Paul knew that Jerusalem would have been the center of Jewish learning but now that he was a Christian, before he went on the missionary road, he had retreated to Arabia and then back to Damascus. The reason for this was to prepare him for the ministry he was to have to the Gentiles. He could have gone to see the apostles but the timing was not yet plus they would not have believed that he was saved and would have only frustrated his mission. So Paul stayed behind and allowed the Lord to teach him there until his time was ready to begin his ministry.
Gal 1:18 (KJB)
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
See - Become personally acquainted
Abode - Stay or remain with
This was probably three years after his departure from Jerusalem to Damascus where he had stayed and learned the truth of the Gospel. He went up to Jerusalem to see Peter. Peter was probably the most outspoken and senior member of the apostles but not the leader. It was unknown as to why Paul went to see Peter at this time but maybe it was a time of acquaintance and maybe Paul wanted to learn some things from the man who walked with Jesus. The brevity of the visit tells us that he did not go up to do any long term studies.