Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Galatians 1:16

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

To reveal his Son in me - To make me know Jesus Christ, and the power of his resurrection.

That I might preach him among the heathen - For it was to the Gentiles, and the dispersed Jews among the Gentiles, that St. Paul was especially sent. Peter was sent more particularly to the Jews in the land of Judea; Paul to those in the different Greek provinces.

I conferred not with flesh and blood - I did not take counsel with men; σαρξ και αἱμα, which is a literal translation of the Hebrew ודם בשר basar vedam, flesh and blood, is a periphrasis for man, any man, a human being, or beings of any kind. Many suppose that the apostle means he did not dally, or take counsel, with the erroneous suggestions and unrenewed propensities of his own heart, or those of others; but no such thing is intended by the text. St. Paul was satisfied that his call was of God; he had therefore no occasion to consult man.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

To reveal his Son in me - This is to be regarded as connected with the first part of Galatians 1:15, “When it pleased God to reveal his Son in me,” that is, on the way to Damascus. The phrase evidently means, to make me acquainted with the Lord Jesus, or to reveal his Son to me; compare the Greek in Matthew 10:32, for a similar expression. The revelation here referred to was the miraculous manifestation which was made to Paul on his way to Damascus; compare 2 Corinthians 4:6. That revelation was in order to convince him that he was the Messiah; to acquaint him with his nature, rank, and claims; and to qualify him to be a preacher to the pagan.

That I might preach him - In order that I might so preach him; or with a view to my being appointed to this work. This was the leading purpose for which Paul was converted, Acts 9:15; Acts 22:21.

The heathen - The Gentiles; the portion of the world that was not Jewish, or that was destitute of the true religion.

Immediately - Koppe supposes that this is to be connected with “I went into Arabia” Galatians 1:17. Rosenmuller supposes it means, “Immediately I consented.” Dr. Wells and Locke suppose that it refers to the fact that he immediately went to Arabia. But this seems to me to be an unnatural construction. The words are too remote from each other to allow of it. The evident sense is, that he was at once decided. He did not take time to deliberate whether he should or should not become a Christian. He made up his mind at once and on the spot. He did not consult with anyone; he did not ask advice of anyone; he did not wait to be instructed by anyone. He was convinced by the vision in an overpowering manner that Jesus was the Messiah, and he yielded at once. The main idea is, that there was no delay, no consultation, no deferring it, that he might see and consult with his friends, or with the friends of Christianity. The object for which he dwells on this is to show that he did not receive his views of the gospel from man.

I conferred not - I did not “lay the case” ( προσανεθέμην prosanethemēn) before any man; I did not confer with anyone.

Flesh and blood - Any human being, for so the phrase properly signifies; see the note at Matthew 16:17. This does not mean here, that Paul did not consult his own ease and happiness; that he was regardless of the sufferings which he might be called to endure; that he was willing to suffer, and was not careful to make provision for his own comfort - which was true in itself - but that he did not lay the case before any man, or any body of human beings for instruction or advice. He acted promptly and decisively. He was not disobedient to the heavenly vision Acts 26:19, but resolved at once to obey. Many suppose that this passage means that Paul did not take counsel of the evil passions and suggestions of his own heart, or of the feelings which would have prompted him to lead a life of ambition, or a life under the influence of corrupt desires. But however true this was in fact, no such thing is intended here. It simply means that he did not take counsel of any human being. He resolved at once to follow the command of the Saviour, and at once to obey him. The passage shows:

(1) That when the Lord Jesus calls us to follow him we should promptly and decidedly obey.

(2) we should not delay even to take counsel of earthly friends, or wait for human advice, or consult their wishes, but should at once resolve to follow the Lord Jesus. Most persons, when they are awakened to see their guilt, and their minds are impressed on the subject of religion are prone to defer it; to resolve to think of it at some future time; or to engage in some other business before they become Christians; or, at least, they wish to finish what they have on hand before they yield to God. If Paul had pursued this course, he probably never would have become a Christian. It follows, therefore:

(3) That when the Lord Jesus calls us, we should at once abandon any course of life, however pleasant, or any plan of ambition, however brilliant, or any scheme of gain, however promising, in order that we may follow him. What a brilliant career of ambition that Paul did abandon! and how promptly and decidedly did he do it! He did not pause or hesitate a moment! However brilliant as his prospects were, he at once forsook everything; paused in mid-career in his ambition; and without consulting one human being, he immediately gave his heart to God. Such a course should be pursued by all. Such a promptness and decision will prepare one to become an eminent Christian, and to be eminently useful.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 386

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 387.1

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