Ye have heard of my conversation - Την εμην αναστροφην· My manner of life; the mode in which I conducted myself.
Beyond measure I persecuted the Church - For proofs of this the reader is referred to Acts 9:1-2; (note); Acts 22:4; (note), and the notes there. The apostle tells them that they had heard this, because, being Jews, they were acquainted with what had taken place in Judea, relative to these important transactions.
For ye have heard of my conversation - My conduct, my mode of life, my deportment; see the note at 2 Corinthians 1:12. Probably Paul had himself made them acquainted with the events of his early years. The reason why he refers to this is, to show them that he had not derived his knowledge of the Christian religion from any instruction which he had received in his early years, or any acquaintance which he had formed with the apostles. At first, Paul had been decidedly opposed to the Lord Jesus, and had been converted only by God‘s wonderful grace.
In the Jews‘ religion - In the belief and practice of Judaism; that is, as it was understood in the time when he was educated. It was not merely in the religion of Moses, but it was in that religion as understood and practiced by the Jews in his time, when opposition to Christianity constituted a very material part of it. In that religion Paul proceeds to show that he had been more distinguished than most persons of his time.
How that beyond measure - In the highest possible degree; beyond all limits or bounds; exceedingly. The phrase which Paul uses here ( καθ ̓ ὑπερβολὴν kath' huperbolēn), by hyperbole, is one which he frequently employs to denote anything that is excessive, or that cannot be expressed by ordinary language; see the Greek text in Romans 7:13; 1 Corinthians 12:31; 2 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 4:7, 2 Corinthians 4:17. And wasted it - Destroyed it. The word which is used here, means properly to waste or destroy, as when a city or country is ravaged by an army or by wild beasts. His purpose was utterly to root out and destroy the Christian religion.
And wasted it - Destroyed it. The word which is used here, means properly to waste or destroy, as when a city or country is ravaged by an army or by wild beasts. His purpose was utterly to root out and destroy the Christian religion.
In his letter to the Galatian believers Paul briefly reviewed the leading incidents connected with his own conversion and early Christian experience. By this means he sought to show that it was through a special manifestation of divine power that he had been led to see and grasp the great truths of the gospel. It was through instruction received from God Himself that Paul was led to warn and admonish the Galatians in so solemn and positive a manner. He wrote, not in hesitancy and doubt, but with the assurance of settled conviction and absolute knowledge. He clearly outlined the difference between being taught by man and receiving instruction direct from Christ. AA 386.1
The apostle urged the Galatians to leave the false guides by whom they had been misled, and to return to the faith that had been accompanied by unmistakable evidences of divine approval. The men who had attempted to lead them from their belief in the gospel were hypocrites, unholy in heart and corrupt in life. Their religion was made up of a round of ceremonies, through the performance of which they expected to gain the favor of God. They had no desire for a gospel that called for obedience to the word, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. They felt that a religion based on such a doctrine, required too great a sacrifice, and they clung to their errors, deceiving themselves and others. AA 386.2
To substitute external forms of religion for holiness of heart and life is still as pleasing to the unrenewed nature as it was in the days of these Jewish teachers. Today, as then, there are false spiritual guides, to whose doctrines many listen eagerly. It is Satan's studied effort to divert minds from the hope of salvation through faith in Christ and obedience to the law of God. In every age the archenemy adapts his temptations to the prejudices or inclinations of those whom he is seeking to deceive. In apostolic times he led the Jews to exalt the ceremonial law and reject Christ; at the present time he induces many professing Christians, under pretense of honoring Christ, to cast contempt on the moral law and to teach that its precepts may be transgressed with impunity. It is the duty of every servant of God to withstand firmly and decidedly these perverters of the faith and by the word of truth fearlessly to expose their errors. AA 387.1Read in context »