Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria, etc. - The course of the apostle's travels, after his conversion, was this: He went from Damascus to Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem into Syria and Cilicia. "At Damascus the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket; and when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples;" Acts 9:25, Acts 9:26. Afterwards, when the brethren knew the conspiracy formed against him at Jerusalem, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus, a city of Cilicia, Acts 9:30. This account in the Acts agrees with that in this epistle.
Afterward I came - In this account be has omitted a circumstance recorded by Luke Acts 9:29, of the controversy which he had with the Grecians (Hellenists). It was not material to the purpose which he has here in view, which is to state that he was not indebted to the apostles for his knowledge of the doctrines of Christianity. He therefore merely states that he left Jerusalem soon after he went there, and traveled to other places.
Cilicia - This was a province of Asia Minor, of which Tarsus, the native place of Paul, was the capital; see the note at Acts 6:9.
The gospel was publicly taught in Antioch by certain disciples from Cyprus and Cyrene, who came “preaching the Lord Jesus.” “The hand of the Lord was with them,” and their earnest labors were productive of fruit. “A great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.” AA 156.1
“Tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.” Upon arrival in his new field of labor, Barnabas saw the work that had already been accomplished by divine grace, and he “was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.” AA 156.2
The labors of Barnabas in Antioch were richly blessed, and many were added to the number of believers there. As the work developed, Barnabas felt the need of suitable help in order to advance in the opening providences of God, and he went to Tarsus to seek for Paul, who, after his departure from Jerusalem some time before, had been laboring in “the regions of Syria and Cilicia,” proclaiming “the faith which once he destroyed.” Galatians 1:21, 23. Barnabas was successful in finding Paul and in persuading him to return with him as a companion in ministry. AA 156.3Read in context »