"And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries..."
Text: Galatians 1:14
A CANDID REFLECTION
Many must have been puzzled as to why Paul converted to Christianity? Was it because he did not make much headway in his original religion? The answer was quite the opposite.
And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries
in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
1. “And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation”
a) Judaism had a hierarchy.
b) One may rise in this hierarchical order.
i) A person could be involved in a synagogue as a leader.
ii) He could be called a ruler of the synagogue.
iii) He could advance to becoming a member of the Sanhedrin Council.
iv) This was the highest ruling order in Judaism.
v) It is possible that Paul could have been a member of the Sanhedrin Council.
2. “Being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers”
a) This would mean that Paul had to have a good education.
b) He sat at the feet of the famous Gamaliel, a teacher and a member of the Sanhedrin Council.
c) He would have to prove that he was worthy of being promoted in the hierarchy.
d) His persecution of the church was his way of expressing his zeal for the traditions of their forefathers.
WHAT CAUSED PAUL TO CONVERT?
Paul reflected on why he left Judaism and followed Jesus instead in his epistle to the Philippians (Philippians 3:4-14).