Galatians 1:20-24: “Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia: And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith, which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me. ”
For Paul to take an oath by God that he was truthful was a very serious thing. No oath was taken lightly, and especially on taken in God’s Name.
Paul detailed his journeys, then, in Syria, Cilicia, and Judea. He says no one knew him “by face,” but they surely knew his history of destroying the new believers and their churches. I can only imagine what the first meetings must have been like with each group of Christians that Paul approached. He must have wished he didn’t have to persuade them of his new attitude before he could begin to minister to them. But Paul was persistent above all things. He perservered. He kept on going. He knew God had given him a job of work to do, and he did it.
When Paul makes statement like the one in verse 24, he is not boasting. He is telling the simple truth. Once the believers understood that he was the real deal; once they saw the Holy Spirit manifested in Paul’s preaching and teaching, they glorified God because of Paul. They glory was given to God, not to Paul. Paul never worried about whether or not he was going to become wealthy and famous for his work. He only wanted to serve his Savior, and bring glory to His name.
That’s a good example to follow.