New Defender's Study Bible Notes
1:15 from my mother’s womb. This is a strong testimony to God’s electing sovereignty and unmerited grace. Paul for many years had “persecuted the church of God” (Galatians 1:13), yet he had been a “chosen vessel” unto God (Acts 9:15) from his mother’s womb. Note also Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:15. In God’s own good time, God called him by His grace.
1:18 after three years. Even before such a learned man as Paul was truly fit to preach and teach God’s Word, he must spend three years alone with Christ, as it were, just as the eleven apostles had spent three years being taught by Him. It is presumptuous for a new convert to think he is ready for such a ministry before he also has spent at least the equivalence of three full years in intensive study of the Scriptures. Note the warnings in I Timothy 3:6 and James 3:1.
1:19 James the Lord’s brother. James, the presiding elder of the initial church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:13,19; Galatians 2:9), as well as author of one of the New Testament books (James 1:1), is thus confirmed by Paul as one of the human brothers of Jesus. Christ’s brothers at first did not believe on Him (John 7:5), but they later joined their mother in fellowship with the rest of His disciples (Acts 1:14). Whether the Greek original of this verse requires the understanding that James was also an apostle has been argued by scholars. The fact that the Holy Spirit chose James as one of the authors of the New Testament would indicate that he also had been specially called and prepared as an apostle, even though no particulars have been recorded. He had been among those who had seen Christ after His resurrection (I Corinthians 15:7). The same would then apply to Jude (Jude 1). Both James and Jude are named as among Jesus’ brothers (Matthew 13:55).