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Paul's visit to Peter

23-05-2012 - Posted by Andre Piet

In the first chapter of the letter to the Galatians, Paul explains that his calling is wholly separate from that of “the Twelve”, in Jerusalem. The Evangel he preached, he had not heard from them, but was disclosed to him by direct revelation. When he was called, he did not go to Jerusalem to receive recognition of the earlier apostles, but he went to Arabia. After all, the Lord would appear to him anew (Acts 26:16) and as the Lord, in the past, appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai in Arabia (Gal.4:24), so Paul went to the same area. Consequently, in Galatians 1:18, we read:

Thereupon, after three years, I came up to Jerusalem to relate my story to Cephas, and I stay with him fifteen days.

Therefore, until some years after his call, Paul went to Jerusalem and on this occasion he met with only one of “the twelve”. Note carefully, his choice of words. According to most translations, he went “to visit Cephas”, but the word “visit” is not a precise rendering of the word that Paul used. The Greek word “historeo” (think of history), literally means, “relating a story”. The Concordant Version of Scripture, therefore, rightly translates: “to relate my story”. Paul did not go to Jerusalem for recognition of “the twelve” nor to be instructed by Peter. On the contrary, Paul went to him to tell him his story. Not Paul, but Peter had to be updated. All this underlines how Paul, from the start, was aware of his special calling. Israel had rejected “the Evangel of the circumcision” and it was now Paul’s mission to proclaim “the Evangel of the uncircumcision” among the nations (Gal.1:16; 2:7).   

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