Studies in the Book of Acts
Most of this series was written by Paul Kroll, a journalist working for Grace Communion International. Copyright Grace Communion International. The research was done in the mid 1990s, but all articles were edited in 2012 by Michael Morrison, PhD, professor of Biblical Studies at Grace Communion Seminary.
A Harmony of the Conversion and Commission of Paul - Acts 9:1-30; 22:3-21; 26:9-20
|Acts 9:1-30; 22:3-21; 26:9-20, NIV|
|Saul in Jerusalem
9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.
He went to the high priest
2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
22:3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.
4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison,
5 as also the high priest and all the Council can testify.
I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.
26:9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.
12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests.
3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.
4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.
6 “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me.
7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, `Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’
8 “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied.
9 My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.
13 About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions.
14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, `Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15 “Then I asked, `Who are you, Lord?’ “‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied.
6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus.
|10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.
“‘Get up,’ the Lord said, `and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’
11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.
16 `Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.
|Three days in Damascus
9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered.
11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.
12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem.
14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.
16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
|Luke knew the entire story, but chose not to have the entire story in any one place. For further discussion of Luke’s reporting style, see “Luke’s Orderly Account: An Examination of Biblical Precision”|
|Ananias and Paul
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it.
Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord — Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here – has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again.
He got up and was baptized,
19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, `Brother Saul,
receive your sight!’
And at that very moment I was able to see him. 14 “Then he said: `The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth.
15 You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
|Paul preaches in Damascus
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ. 23 After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.
20 First to those in Damascus…
|Paul and the Jerusalem church
26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem,
|Paul’s preaching in Jerusalem
speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him.
then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.
17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking. `Quick!’ he said to me. `Leave Jerusalem immediately, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, `these men know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ 21 “Then the Lord said to me, `Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'”
|Paul leaves Jerusalem
30 When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
by Michael D. Morrison, PhD