Paul says, in Galatians 1:15, 16 :

οτε δε ευδοκησεν ο θεος ... αποκαλυψαι τον υιον αυτου εν εμοι [TR]

But when it pleased God ... to reveal His Son in me [[KJV]

The same word, αποκαλυψαι, is used by Jesus see Strong 601 in Matthew 11:27 and Luke 10:22 when Jesus says 'to whomsoever the Son will reveal' (speaking of the Father).

Thus this revelation which Paul received of the Son (revealed by the Father) is the same or similar to the revelation of the Father by the Son.

Paul says it is 'in me'. So he is not referring to the light which blinded him on the road to Damascus nor to the sound of the voice he heard.

Paul is speaking of something 'within'.

What does the verb αποκαλυψαι tell us of the 'within-ness' of this revelation ?

2 Answers 2


The verb ἀποκαλύπτω occurs 26 times in the NT and its cognate noun ἀποκάλυψις 18 times.

BDAG provides a single meaning for the verb (very similar to the noun):

to cause something to be fully known, reveal, disclose, bring to light, make fully known

Within this meaning, the verb is used in various functions:

(a) in a general sense: Matt 10:26, Luke 12;2, John 12:28, Rom 1:17, 18, Luke 2:35

(b) especially of divine revelation of certain transcendent secrets (Ps 97:2, Dan 2:19, 22), eg, Matt 11:25, 16:17, Luke 10:21, Phil 3:15, 1 Peter 1:12. The revealers of Christ Matt 11:27, Luke 10:22; and the Holy Spirit 1 Cor 2:10, 14:30, Eph 3:5. For Gal 1:16 see V12.

two more instances are given in BDAG that we need no consider here.

Gall 1:16 should not be separated from V12:

12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ ... 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not rush to consult with flesh and blood

Thus, Paul says he received his revelation of Jesus directly from Jesus. Whether he is referring to his road to Damascus revelation, or later personal revelations from Jesus, or both, is not stated. The important thing here is that Paul had a personal encounter with Jesus that changed his life, and the work of his life, forever.

Now, the "en" in Gal 1:16 is significant. Paul says that the personal revelation of Jesus he received was given in order that Jesus might be revealed "in" Paul and Paul's preaching. The "en" in V16 is "a marker of cause or reason, because of, on account of" (BDAG en 9).

Thus, Paul is saying that it was only a personal revelation of Jesus that enabled him to preach with such convicting power, to presumably live the kind of live required befitting a preacher of the Gospel and to show by example to those hearing his preaching what the Gospel meant. A great responsibility indeed.

  • Are you saying that revealed 'in me' means 'on account of me' (en emoi) ? I am not sure I have grasped this. (Up-voted +1, but this is not yet clear to me).
    – Nigel J
    Mar 8, 2021 at 4:27
  • @NigelJ - see my explanation above - "in me" means that the Son is revealed because of, or by reason of Paul - that is, God gave him a personal revelation so that through Paul others might be won to the Gospel and serving Jesus.
    – Dottard
    Mar 8, 2021 at 10:42
  • 'When it pleased God to reveal his Son by reason of me that I might preach him', doesn't make sense. 'Reveal his Son by my preaching in order that I might preach him' is not logical. What is logical is 'reveal his Son within me that I might declare that inwardly revealed Person to others'. No, I cannot accept your thinking on this - that Paul has no inward revelation and yet preaches to others in order that he might preach to others.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 8, 2021 at 13:12
  • En plus dative for Personal Agency : only one genuine example in NT Luke 23:15. All examples involve a perfect passive verb. Daniel B Wallace : Beyond the Basics p 373.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 8, 2021 at 13:34
  • @NigelJ - that is NOT what I said above. What you are discussing is BDAG en 6 - I was quoting #9.
    – Dottard
    Mar 8, 2021 at 19:48

The revelation of God, and in Paul's case the son (Gal1:16), was of the spirit of God in them both - Jesus and Paul.

Paul was not presenting himself to the church - in essence, he was presenting the spirit of Christ, the spirit of God (same thing). Gal 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.

How so, by the spirit of God in him - just as all those who were 'filled with the spirit' to fulfil God's purposes.

God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets. Eph 3:5

So that, they can reveal it to others.

  • I was asking about the verb αποκαλυψαι. What does the verb that Paul used tell us about the inward revelation (of the Son, by the Father) ?
    – Nigel J
    Mar 7, 2021 at 23:59

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