The timing of events in the Bible is important for understanding the context.
It is important to watch for timing words and phrases that can help us locate events on the timeline of God’s progressive revelation.
Such phrases include: “immediately”, “and then”, “but now”, “after”, “henceforth”, etc.
Galatians 1:18 tells us that it was at least 3 years before Paul went to Jerusalem. Acts 9:19-26 has only seven short verses between Paul’s conversion and his first Jerusalem visit. Some consider this a contradiction, but phrases that indicate timing help us align the verses.
For example, Acts 9:19 says that Paul was “certain days” with the disciples. How many days? We do not know. Acts 9:22 says that “Saul increased” which would require a passage of time. Acts 9:23 says “after that many days” which speaks to another indeterminate span of time.
When people read Acts 9 ignoring the timing phrases it appears that Gal 1:18 is a contradiction, but when the timing phrases are considered, there is more than enough room in seven verses for three or more years.
For His Glory,
Justin “manner of time” Johnson