1:15 But when the one 1 who set me apart from birth 2 and called me by his grace was pleased 1:16 to reveal his Son in 3 me so that I could preach him 4 among the Gentiles, I did not go to ask advice from 5 any human being, 6 1:17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem 7 to see those who were apostles before me, but right away I departed to Arabia, 8 and then returned to Damascus.
1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem 9 to visit Cephas 10 and get information from him, 11 and I stayed with him fifteen days. 1:19 But I saw none of the other apostles 12 except James the Lord’s brother. 1:20 I assure you 13 that, before God, I am not lying about what I am writing to you! 14 1:21 Afterward I went to the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 1:22 But I was personally 15 unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 1:23 They were only hearing, “The one who once persecuted us is now proclaiming the good news 16 of the faith he once tried to destroy.” 1:24 So 17 they glorified God because of me. 18
1 tc ‡ Several important witnesses have ὁ θεός (Jo qeos) after εὐδόκησεν (eudokhsen; so א A D Ψ 0278 33 1739 1881 Ï co) while the shorter reading is supported by Ì46 B F G 629 1505 pc lat. There is hardly any reason why scribes would omit the words (although the Beatty papyrus and the Western text do at times omit words and phrases), but several reasons why scribes would add the words (especially the need to clarify). The confluence of witnesses for the shorter reading (including a few fathers and versions) adds strong support for its authenticity. It is also in keeping with Paul’s style to refrain from mentioning God by name as a rhetorical device (cf. ExSyn 437 [although this section deals with passive constructions, the principle is the same]). NA27 includes the words in brackets, indicating some doubts as to their authenticity.
2 tn Grk “from my mother’s womb.”
3 tn Or “to me”; the Greek preposition ἐν (en) can mean either, depending on the context.
4 tn This pronoun refers to “his Son,” mentioned earlier in the verse.
5 tn Or “I did not consult with.” For the translation “I did not go to ask advice from” see L&N 33.175.
6 tn Grk “from flesh and blood.”
8 sn As a geographical region Arabia included the territory west of Mesopotamia, east and south of Syria and Palestine, extending to the isthmus of Suez. During the Roman occupation, some independent kingdoms arose like that of the Nabateans south of Damascus, and these could be called simply Arabia. In light of the proximity to Damascus, this may well be the territory Paul says he visited here. See also C. W. Briggs, “The Apostle Paul in Arabia,” Biblical World 41 (1913): 255-59.
10 sn Cephas. This individual is generally identified with the Apostle Peter (L&N 93.211).
11 tn Although often translated “to get acquainted with Cephas,” this could give the impression of merely a social call. L&N 34.52 has “to visit, with the purpose of obtaining information” for the meaning of ἱστορέω (Jistorew), particularly in this verse.
12 tn Grk “But another of the apostles I did not see, except…” with “another” in emphatic position in the Greek text. Paul is determined to make the point that his contacts with the original twelve apostles and other leaders of the Jerusalem church were limited, thus asserting his independence from them.
13 tn Grk “behold.”
14 tn Grk “What things I am writing to you, behold, before God [that] I am not lying.”
15 tn Or “by sight”; Grk “by face.”
16 tn The Greek verb here is εὐαγγελίζεται (euangelizetai).
17 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the result of the report about Paul’s conversion.
18 tn The prepositional phrase ἐν εμοί (en emoi) has been translated with a causal force.