“Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter and above with him fifteen days.”

after three years”
Literally:  “then after three years”–This is basically the same record given in Acts 9:26-29.  Paul spent about three years in the Arabian desert.  His first appearance in public life was not at Jerusalem, but at Damascus,  where he had been converted and had first preached. Then, after three years Paul went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

         “I went up to Jerusalem”
         More correctly, “I returned to Jerusalem”— Paul is showing all through this section his independence of the
Jerusalem apostles.

Therefore, the three years may have reference, to the period of time after his conversion, and not just to the time after his return from Arabia.  A round number chosen by Paul to cover the period from his departure from Jerusalem for Damascus to his return to Jerusalem. This stay in Damascus was an important episode in Paul's theological readjustment to his new experience.

“to see Peter”
Literally:  “to learn from Peter”–Peter was the oldest and most distinguished of the apostles. In 2:9, he, with James and John, is called a pillar. But why Paul went  particularly to see him is not known. It was probably, however, from the celebrity and distinction which    he knew Peter had among the apostles that he wished to become particularly acquainted with him.

          TO SEE: (Grk.–historesai)–This word literally means: “to ascertain by personal inquiry and ‘examination’”, and then, “to narrate,” as an historian was accustomed to do.

This Greek word occurs nowhere else in the N.T. and properly means, the idea of personally seeing and examining is one that belongs essentially to the word, and the idea here is that of seeing or visiting Peter in order to a personal acquaintance. To become personally acquainted with Peter; for this is the proper import of the verb historein, from which we have the word historia (history), which signifies a relation of things from personal knowledge and actual acquaintance.

”and abode with him fifteen days.”
Literally:  “and remained there with him fifteen days”--Why he departed then is unknown.  Possibly the plots of the Jews prevented him staying longer (Acts 9:29), but this is not stated by Paul himself as a reason.

         It is probable that the purpose of his visit to Peter would be accomplished in that time, and he would not spend more time than was necessary with him. It is clear that in the short space of two weeks he could not have been very extensively taught by Peter the nature of the Christian religion, and probably the time is mentioned here to show that he had not been under the teaching of the apostles.
        Only fifteen days; contrasting with the long period of three years, during which, previously, he had exercised an independent commission in preaching: a fact proving on the face of it, how little he owed to Peter in regard to his apostolic authority or instruction Also, the vision directing him to depart to the Gentiles, for that the people of Jerusalem would not receive his testimony (Acts 22:17-18).
        It was not really to get religious knowledge from Peter that Paul paid him this visit. He knew as much of the Jewish religion as Peter did, if not more; and as to the Gospel, he received that from the same source, and had preached it three years before this.

“But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.

“Other of the apostles saw I none, save James…”
Literally:  “I saw {no}other of the apostles except James”–While he was in Jerusale, the only apostles that Paul saw were Peter and James. That was the only contact he had with and he received nothing from them. There were at Jerusalem only these two recognized pillars of the Church.  In this place JAMES, the Lord's brother, is mentioned thus to distinguish him from JAMES the brother of John.

“the Lord’s brother”
Literally:  “the brother of the Lord.”–Many people dance around this phrase, especially those who hold to the erroneous and anti-Scriptural belief of Mary’s “perpetual”   

When the Holy Spirit has someone write that this man was the “Lord’s brother,” that is exactly what He means, not that this was James the Lesser, or James the son of Alpheus, or some other James, or some cousin of Jesus’.  This James was one of the 4 natural sons of Joseph and Mary (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3). 

        “Is not this the carpenter’s son?  Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren, (brothers) James, and Joses (Joseph, Jr.), and Simon, and Judas (Jude)?”–Matt. 13:55.
        “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon?  And are not his sisters (plural, meaning
at least 2 sisters) here with us?”–Mark 6:3
  Mary had at least seven children: Jesus, James, Joseph Jr., Judas, Simon, and at least two sisters:  that makes at least seven children that Mary bore.

“Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I like not.”

“the things which I write unto you”
Literally:  “and what I write to you”–
Paul is referring to his statements in vv. 18-19: that he went to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Peter; that he saw no others of the apostles except Peter and James, and that he remained in Jerusalem only 15 days.  He considered these facts so important in his demonstration of his apostolic independence that he adds the words, “Behold, before God,  I lie not.”

         “before God, I lie not.”|
        Literally:  “Before God I do not Lie”–Or as we might say in our vernacular:  “God being my witness, I am not lying.”

         So important does he deem the point that he takes solemn oath. This he speaks in reference to having seen only Peter and James at Jerusalem; and consequently to prove that he had not learned the Gospel from the assembly of the apostles at Jerusalem, nor consequently received his commission from them.  This is an oath, or a solemn appeal to God to verify its truthfulness.  A solemn assertion that his statement is true that his visit was but for fifteen days and that he saw no apostle save Peter and James. Probably it had been reported by Judaizers that he had received a long course of instruction from the apostles in Jerusalem from the first; hence his earnestness in asserting the contrary facts.
         The design of this oath here is to prevent all suspicion of falsehood. It may seem to be remarkable that Paul should make this solemn appeal to God in this argument, and in the narrative of a plain fact, when his statement could hardly be called in question by any one. The importance of the truth here affirmed was such as to justify this solemn appeal to God. It was an extraordinary and miraculous revelation of the truth by Jesus Christ Himself. He received information of the truth of Christianity from no human being. He had consulted no one in regard to its nature. That fact was so extraordinary, and it was so remarkable that the system thus communicated to him should harmonize so entirely with that taught by the other apostles with whom he had had no intercourse, that it was not improper to appeal to God in this solemn manner. It was, therefore, no trifling matter in which Paul appealed to God; and a solemn appeal of the same nature, and in the same circumstances, can never be improper.


“Afterward I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia”

In effect, after being snubbed by the apostles, Paul went home.  He was from
Tarsus, which is located in the Roman province of Cilicia.  He left Palestine altogether and passed beyond the reach of Judean influence.  While there, it is probable that he founded churches through Cilicia.

        In this account he has omitted a circumstance recorded by Luke, Acts 9:29 of the controversy which he had with the Grecians or Hellenist Jews (that is, Jews who were heavily influenced by the Greek/Hellenist culture). 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.
         In this account he has omitted a circumstance recorded by Luke, (Acts 9:29) of the controversy which he had with the
Grecians or 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.

          REGIONS:  (Grk.–klimata)—originally an inclination or slope of ground.  Referring to the supposed slope of the earth from the equator to the pole. The ancient geographers ran imaginary parallel lines from the equator toward the pole, and the spaces (or zones, or regions) between these lines, viewed in their slope or inclination toward the pole were “klimata.  The word eventually came to signify the temperature of these zones: hence our English word “climate.”

         SYRIA AND CILICIA:  Syria in the narrower sense, of which Antioch was the capital, not the Roman province of Syria of which Galilee and Judea were a part. Syria was located between Jerusalem and Cilicia.  And Syria was the southeasterly province of Asia Minor, directly adjoining Syria.   It was Paul’s native province and its capital, Tarsus, was Paul’s birthplace.
         The course of Paul’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 9:25-26).  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.

“And was unknown by face"
“was unknown by face”–Literally:  “not known by face”–I was not personally acquainted with any of the Churches of Judea.  I was converted in another place, and had not preached the Gospel in any Christian congregation in that country; I knew only those at Jerusalem.

Paul had only visited Jerusalem, and he had formed no acquaintance with any of the churches in the other parts of Judea. He regarded himself at the first as called to preach particularly to the Gentiles, and he did not remain even to form an acquaintance with the Christians in Judea.  Remember:  there was really only one Gentile believer in the church–Cornelius.

           “the churches of Judea”–Those which were in and around Jerusalem.  Don’t forget that these were house-churches. 

Even at the early period of the conversion of Paul, there were doubtless many churches in various parts of the land.  These had been established by the apostles in obedience to the time-table given them by the Lord Jesus—first in “Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8).  At the time of the conversion of Paul, the church was still in the (1) Jerusalem and Judea; (2) Samaria phases.  Paul would be the one to carry the ministry on to the third phase—the “uttermost part of the earth” phase.

“which were in Christ”
Literally:  “in Christ”–That is, united to Christ; or which were Christian churches. The purpose of mentioning this is to show that he had not derived his views of the Gospel from any of them. He had neither been instructed by the apostles, nor was he indebted to the Christians in Judea for his knowledge of the Christian religion.

“But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.”

“they had heard only”
Literally: “hearing they were,”  Or in our vernacular:  “they had only heard”– tidings of the persecution of believers were brought them from time to time  As a persecutor of the Church of Christ, Paul was well known; and as a convert to Christ he was as if yet not known. “They had not seen me; but the remarkable fact of my conversions had been reported to them.  It was a fact that they could hardly be concealed.”

“he which persecuted us”
Literally:  “he who {was} persecuting us”–That is, our former
persecutor. The designation by which he was known among Christians still better than by his name “Saul.”

         “which he once destroyed”
         Literally:  “he which then ravaged; was destroying; was ravaging” (past active tense).

“And they glorified God in me.”

“And they glorified God.”
Literally: “kept on glorifying” (present perfect [repetitive] tense). They praised God on my account. They regarded me as a true convert and a sincere Christian; and they praised God that He had converted such a persecutor, and had made him a preacher of the Gospel.

Paul’s reason  for mentioning this was to show that though he was personally unknown to them, and had not derived his views of the Gospel from them, yet that he had their entire confidence. They regarded Paul as a convert and an apostle, and they were disposed to praise God for his conversion. This fact would do much to conciliate the favor of the Galatians, by showing them that he had the confidence of the churches in the very-land where the gospel was first planted, and which was regarded as the source of ecclesiastical authority. In view of this we may remark:
1.      That it is the duty of Christians kindly and affectionately to receive among their number those who have been converted from a career of persecution or of sin in any form.
         a.      It is always done by true Christians.
         b.     It is really not easy to forgive a man who has been actively engaged in persecuting the church, or a man who has been profane, intemperate, dishonest, or licentious,
                 if he becomes a true penitent, and confesses and forsakes his sins.

No matter what his life has been; no matter how abandoned, sensual, or devilish; if he displays true sorrow, and gives evidence of a change of heart, he is cordially received into any church,and welcomed as a fellow-laborer in the cause which he once destroyed
2.      We should “glorify” or praise God for all such instances of conversion.

“in me”
Literally: “in my case.” Having understood the entire change, and that the former wolf is now acting the shepherd's part, they received occasion for joyful thanksgiving to
God in respect to me. How different, he implies to the Galatians, their spirit from yours!