August 24, 2021 – Tuesday
Galatians 1:20 NIV
20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.
Galatians 1:20 NET
20 I assure you that, before God, I am not lying about what I am writing to you!
Galatians 1:20 NASB
20 (Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.)
Above three versions of this verse were chosen because they have the word assure and all three say I assure you. Looking at the Greek it could just as easily have been See! Lo! Behold! Look! as in the KJV, Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.
What I wondered though is why Paul had to tell the Galatians in his letter to them, he was not lying? It is not unlike what he wrote in Romans 9:1, I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—.
Paul in his own words was taking an oath or a form of an oath with God as his witness. But again why? According to Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, The oath here refers not only to the fact that he was with Peter and James only fifteen days, but to the entire group of facts to which he had referred in this chapter. “The things which I wrote unto you.” It included, therefore, the narrative about his conversion, and the direct revelation which he had from the Lord Jesus. There was much about Paul that would have seemed incredible to many, especially his conversion as he had openly persecuted followers of Jesus.
Consider Paul’s opening sentence in the letter to the Galatians, Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—and all the brothers and sisters with me. Paul had been in Galatia, preached there, planted a church there and was now concerned those he had taught were being led away. He addresses this in verses six and seven, I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
He writes directly about his past in verse thirteen, For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. And writes how after his conversion he went to Arabia and only entered Jerusalem three years later with a mission to preach the gospel to the Gentiles.
What an incredible story for a former Pharisee to tell. Those mentioned in verses six and seven were likely telling the Galatians they could not trust Paul because of his background as they brought a false gospel to the Galatians. Paul took the unusual step of taking an oath with God as his witness – a very rare thing to do – so they could be assured he spoke the truth to them when he was there and was speaking the truth now in this letter to them.
Then to make his point as strongly as possible he closes this part of the letter with verse 21-23 containing details they could verify on the own, Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me.
They could trust Paul and the true gospel he had brought to them. He was an open book to them. He could be trusted unlike those who came behind him and discredited the gospel.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the wonderful witness of Paul in all of his letters and in his travels we read of in Acts. He is truly a real apostle of Yours. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.