One of our Bible study folks asked about the reference in The Letter to the Galatians to St. Paul’s time in Arabia. I had always wanted to post something on the topic – and now I have an immediate request to do so. The problem is that we don’t really know a lot of biographical information about St. Paul – at least not in the sense of modern biographies.
In any biography the author, by necessity, leaves out many events. Even a lengthy work like the 16-volume, 10 million-word biography of Winston Churchill by Randolph Churchill and Martin Gilbert, which is said to be the longest biography of modern times, will still leave out much more than it records. So, when we read the New Testament, which is relatively short, we do well to remember that the human authors have been highly selective, mentioning only a very few events in the lives of the characters. St. Paul’s time in Arabia is one such event that receives only a couple of brief mentions, without which we would know nothing of it at all. We can only speculate on the “why,” “when,” and “how long” of Paul’s time in Arabia based on the information we have – which is not a lot. Continue reading