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ACTS
The continued Life of Jesus through the Apostles

CHAPTER NINE

"Saul Sees"
Key Verse = Acts 9:15

  1. Saul on the Road to Damascus 4. Saul at Jerusalem
  2. Ananias Baptizes Saul 5. Aeneas Healed
  3. Saul begins to Preach 6. Dorcas Restored to Life


SAUL  ON  THE  ROAD  TO  DAMASCUS

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Acts 9:1 & 2
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(1)  Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest

Now Saul was still filled with anger and with threats of murder against the disciples of our Lord,

(2)  and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

And he asked the high priests to give him letters to the synagogues at Damascus, that if he should find anyone, man or woman, following this faith he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

 

From Paul's Testimony

To the Jews at Jerusalem
Acts 22:4-5

To King Agrippa at Caesarea
Acts 26:10-12

To the church at Galatia
Galatians 1:13

"I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, 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. "
"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.  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.  On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests."
"For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it."

This is the 3rd time we have heard of Saul of Tarsus.  The first 2 times are:
Acts 7:58 At the stoning of Stephen - the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul
Acts 8:3 After the burial of Stephen - Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison

Breathing threats and murder
empneoon Breathing Present active participle of old and common verb.  Not "breathing out,"  but  "breathing in"  (inhaling) as in Aeschylus and Plato or  "breathing on"  (from Homer on).
apeilees Threats Denunciation, threatening
fonou Murder Slaughter

The partitive genitive of apeilees and fonou means that threatening and slaughter had come to be the very breath that Saul breathed,  like a warhorse who sniffed the smell of battle.  He breathed on the remaining disciples the murder that he had already breathed in from the death of the others.  He exhaled what he inhaled.  Jacob had said that  "Benjamin is like a vicious wolf.  Morning and evening he kills and devours.." (Genesis 49:27).  This greatest son of Benjamin was fulfilling this prophecy (Furneaux).  The taste of blood in the death of Stephen was pleasing to young Saul (Acts 8:1) and now he reveled in the slaughter of the saints both men and women.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

Asked letters
Julius Caesar and Augustus had granted the high priest and Sanhedrin jurisdiction over Jews in foreign cities.
Saul secured from the priest letters of extradition to the synagogues at Damascus to bring any Christians who had fled there back to Jerusalem in bonds.

Synagogues
There was a Jewish community in Damascus of some ten to eighteen thousand people, so there would have been several synagogues

Damascus
This was a celebrated city of Syria,  and long the capital of a kingdom of that name.
1. It is situated in a delightful region about 120 miles northeast of Jerusalem,  and about one 190 miles southeast of Antioch.
2. It is in the midst of an extensive plain,  abounding with cypress and palm-trees,  and extremely fertile.
3. It is watered by the river Barrady, anciently called "Abana," 2 Kings 5:12.
4. About 5 miles from the city is a place called the  "meeting of the waters,"  where the Barrady is joined by another river,  and thence is divided by art into several streams that flow through the plain.
5. The city,  situated in a delightful climate,  in a fertile country,  was perhaps among the most pleasant in the world.  It was called the "paradise on earth."
It is mentioned often in the Old Testament.
1. It was a city in the time of Abraham, Genesis 15:2.
2. By whom it was founded is unknown.
3. It was taken and garrisoned by David, 2 Sam 8:6; 1 Chron 18:6.
4. It is subsequently mentioned as sustaining very important parts in the conflicts of the Jews with Syria, 2 Kings 14:25; 16:5; Isa 9:11.
It was taken by the Romans about 60 years before Christ, in whose possession it was when Saul went there.

Josephus says that ten thousand were massacred there in one hour; and at another time 18,000, along with their wives and children (Jewish Wars, book 2, chapter 20, section 2; book 7, chapter 8, section 7).
Excerpts from The Bible Exposition Commentary
When you look at Saul on the road (Acts 9:1-2),  you see a very zealous man who actually thought he was doing God a service by persecuting the church.  Had you stopped him and asked for his reasons,  he might have said something like this:
"Jesus of Nazareth is dead.  Do you expect me to believe that a crucified nobody is the promised Messiah?  According to our Law,  anybody who is hung on a tree is cursed [Deuteronomy 21:23].  Would God take a cursed false prophet and make him the Messiah?  No!  His followers are preaching that Jesus is both alive and doing miracles through them.  But their power comes from Satan,  not God.  This is a dangerous sect,  and I intend to eliminate it before it destroys our historic Jewish faith!"
In spite of his great learning (Acts 26:24),  Saul was spiritually blind (2 Corinthians 3:12-18) and did not understand what the Old Testament really taught about the Messiah.  Like many others of his countrymen,  he stumbled over the Cross (1 Corinthians 1:23) because he depended on his own righteousness and not on the righteousness of God (Romans 9:30-10:13; Philippians 3:1-10).
Saul's attitude was that of an angry animal whose very breath was dangerous! (see Acts 8:3)  Like many other rabbis,  he believed that the Law had to be obeyed before Messiah could come;  and yet these  "heretics"  were preaching against the Law,  the temple,  and the traditions of the fathers (Acts 6:11-13).  Saul wasted the churches in Judea (Galatians 1:23) and then got authority from the high priest to go as far as Damascus to hunt down the disciples of Jesus.  This was no insignificant enterprise,  for the authority of the highest Jewish council was behind him (Acts 22:5).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(1)  Meanwhile Saul, still drawing his breath hard from threatening and murderous desire against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest
(2)  And requested of him letters to the synagogues at Damascus [authorizing him], so that if he found any men or women belonging to the Way [of life as determined by faith in Jesus Christ], he might bring them bound [with chains] to Jerusalem.

Acts 9:3
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(3)  As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.

And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus; and suddenly a light from the sky shone round about him;

 

From Paul's Testimony

To the Jews at Jerusalem
Acts 22:6

To King Agrippa at Caesarea
Acts 26:13

"About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me."
"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."

Near Damascus
Irby and Mangles say it is "outside the eastern gate."
In the Boat and Caravan it is described as about a mile from the town, and near the Christian burying-ground which belongs to the Armenians.
Tradition points to a bridge near the city.
All that we know for sure, is that it was near to Damascus. The place where this occurred is not known.

Suddenly a light shone around
exaiphnes  phos  periastrapto
exaiphnes (NT:1537) of a sudden (unexpectedly)
phos (NT:4015) to flash all around, i.e. envelop in light
periastrapto (NT:5457) to shine or make manifest, especially by rays;

We know, from the account here and his testimonies before the Jews at Jerusalem and King Agrippa at Caesarea:
(1) Saul and his party were not far from Damascus
(2) This was a totally unexpected occurrence
(3) This happened around noon
(3) A light flashed
(4) The light engulfed them - they were surrounded by it
(5) The light that flashed was brighter than the sun (at noon time - the brightest time of the day)

From the Amplified Bible
(3)  Now as he traveled on, he came near to Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him,

Acts 9:4 & 5
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(4)  Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"

And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?  You make it hard for yourself by kicking against the pricks.

(5)  And he said, "Who are You, Lord?"  Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads."

Saul answered, saying, Who are you my Lord? And our Lord said, I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you persecute;

 

From Paul's Testimony

To the Jews at Jerusalem
Acts 22:7, 8

To King Agrippa at Caesarea
Acts 26:14, 15

"I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, 'Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?'
'Who are you, Lord?' I asked.  "'I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,' he replied."
"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.'
Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?'  "'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied."

He fell to the ground
According to his testimony before King Agrippa at Caesarea,  both he and all those with him fell to the ground.

Some think that he was on foot,  and that this light,  which perhaps was accompanied with a thunderclap,  so terrified him that he could not keep his feet,  but fell upon his face,  usually a posture of adoration,  but here of astonishment.  It is probable that he was mounted,  as Balaam,  when he went to curse Israel,  and perhaps better mounted than he;
for Saul was now in a public post,
was in haste,
and the journey was long,
so that it is not likely he should travel on foot.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

"Paul was a great man,"  said Charles Spurgeon,  "and I have no doubt that on the way to Damascus he rode a very high horse.  But a few seconds sufficed to alter the man.  How soon God brought him down!"

Heard a voice
According to verse 7,  they all heard the voice,  but only Saul understood the words.

Saul, Saul
Saoul, Saoul  -  The Greek form  “Saulos”  is used up to the 13th chapter except here and verse 17,  in which we find the Hebrew form  “Saoul”  when Jesus called him.

A mode of address that is emphatic.  The repetition of the name would fix his attention.  Thus,  Jesus addresses Martha (Luke 10:41),  and Simon (Luke 22:31),  and Jerusalem (Luke 13:34).
1. In the double address, as also used by Christ to Martha and Simon, is designed both Accusation and Tender Remonstrance:
(a) First, always, a CONVINCING OF SIN
(b) And then a GRACIOUS PITY
2. Saul’s thought was of binding and punishing Christ’s disciples, and so doing a service to God.
3. Jesus calls it PERSECUTION OF HIMSELF.
4. Jesus identifies Himself completely with these imperiled persecuted disciples (Matthew 25:35-40).
5. Jesus councils Saul against a VAIN and a HURTFUL resistance (See Amplified New Testament).
6. The words were not merely enough to convince Saul of sin and draw his faith to Christ.
The words were the TRUTH.
7. The light represents the revelation.
Revealed here as Jehovah through the known Shekinah,  a symbol of dazzling light – a symbolism which every well educated Pharisee would readily recognize.
8. Saul’s conversion differed from others in the Personal, Visible manifestation of Jesus.
The transfigured “God-man” that Saul saw,  even as Peter and James and John had seen Him  “in the holy mount.”  (Matthew 17)  and as Stephen had seen Him through the opened heavens (Acts 7:55, 56).
9. Now comes a new request for a new commission from the REAL HIGH PRIEST.
10. Saul had been “Apprehended,” as he calls it (Philippians 3:12),  grasped and taken possession of by Jesus Christ.

Perhaps a most striking parallel to the narrative of Paul’s conversion is Sundar Singh’s story of his own conversion after a period of bitter hostility to the gospel. Praying in his room in the early morning, he saw a great light.
“Then as I prayed and looked into the light, I saw the form of the Lord Jesus Christ. It had such an appearance of glory and love. If it had been some Hindu incarnation I would have prostrated myself before it. But it was the Lord Jesus Christ whom I had been insulting a few days before.
I felt that a vision like this could not come out of my own imagination. I heard a voice saying in Hindustani, “How long will you persecute Me? I have come to save you; you were praying to know the right way. Why do you not take it?” The thought then came to me, ‘Jesus Christ is not dead but living and it must be He Himself.’
So I fell at His feet and got this wonderful Peace which I could not get anywhere else. This is the joy I was wishing to get. When I got up, the vision had all disappeared, but although the vision disappeared the Peace and Joy have remained with me ever since.”

Who are you lord?
The word "Lord" here,  as is frequently the case in the New Testament,  means no more than "sir," (Kúrie - John 4:19).  It is evident that Saul did not as yet know that this was the Lord Jesus.  He heard a voice as of a man;  he heard himself addressed,  but by whom the words were spoken was to him unknown.  In his amazement and confusion,  he naturally asked who it was that was thus addressing him.

And, according to verse 27, he saw more than just a light, but as he asked the question - who are you? - he actually saw Jesus.

I am Jesus whom you are persecuting
In Acts 22:8, the expression is thus recorded: "I am Jesus of Nazareth."  Removing all doubt as to Who this was.
There is no contradiction,  as Luke here records only a part of what was said;  Paul afterward stated the whole.  This declaration was suited especially to humble and mortify Saul.  There can be no doubt that he had often blasphemed his name,  and profanely derided the notion that the Messiah could come out of Nazareth.  Jesus here uses,  however,  that very designation.  Yet Saul saw him now invested with special glory.

The voice informed Saul that in persecuting the Christians, he had been persecuting Christ.  Christ had already spoken of the union between himself and his followers, and Paul would later explain it:
Matthew 10:40
He who receives you receives Me.
Matthew 25:40
Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.
1 Corinthians 8:12
But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.
Ephesians 1:22-23
And gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body.
Colossians 1:18
And He is the head of the body, the church.

The goad
It commonly means an ox-goad,  a sharp piece of iron stuck into the end of a stick,  with which the ox is urged on.  These goads among the Hebrews were made very large.  Thus, Shamgar killed 600 men with one of them,  Judges 3:31. Compare 1 Sam 13:21.

The expression  "to kick against the goad"  is derived from the action of a stubborn and unyielding ox kicking against the goad.  And as the ox would injure no one by it but himself;  as he would gain nothing,  it comes to denote  "an obstinate and refractory disposition and course of conduct,  resisting the authority of him who has a right to command,  and opposing the leadings of Providence,  to the injury of him who makes the resistance."

It denotes "rebellion against lawful authority,  and thus getting into greater difficulty by attempting to oppose the commands to duty."  This is the condition of every sinner.  If people wish to be happy,  they should cheerfully submit to the authority of God.  They should not rebel against his dealings.  They should not complain against their Creator.  They should not resist the claims of their consciences.  By all this they only injure themselves. No man can resist God or his own conscience and be happy. People evince this temper in the following ways:
(1) By violating plain laws of God.
(2) By attempting to resist his claims.
(3) By refusing to do what their conscience requires.
(4) By attempting to free themselves from serious impressions and alarms.
(5) By pursuing a course of vice and wickedness against what they know to be right.
(6) By refusing to submit to the dealings of Providence.
(7) In any way by opposing God, and refusing to submit to his authority, and to do what is right.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(4)  And he fell to the ground. Then he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me [harassing, troubling, and molesting Me]?
(5)  And Saul said, Who are You, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to keep kicking against the goad [to offer vain and perilous resistance].

Acts 9:6
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(6)  So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?"  Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

Arise and go into the city, and there you will be told what you must do.

 

From Paul's Testimony

To the Jews at Jerusalem
Acts 22:10

To King Agrippa at Caesarea
Acts 26:16-18

"'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.'"
"'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. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 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.'"

What do you want me to do?
This indicates a subdued soul,  a humbled spirit.
Just before,  he had sought only to do his own will;
now he inquired what was the will of the Savior.
Just before he was acting under a commission from the Sanhedrin;
now he renounced their authority, and asked what the Lord Jesus would have him to do.
Just before he had been engaged in a career of opposition to the Lord Jesus;
now he sought at once to do His will.
This indicates the usual change in the mind of the sinner when we are converted. The great controversy between us and God is whose will shall be followed.

The first act of the Christian is to surrender his own will to that of God,  and to resolve to do what He requires.  We may further remark here that this indicates the true nature of conversion.  It is decided,  prompt,  immediate.
Paul did not debate the matter (Gal 1:16);
Paul did not inquire what the scribes and Pharisees would say;
Paul did not consult his own reputation;
Paul did not ask what the world would think.
With characteristic promptness - with a readiness which showed what he would yet be,  he gave himself up at once,  and entirely,  to the Lord Jesus,  evidently with a purpose to do His will alone.  This was the case also with the jailor at Philippi, Acts 16:30.  Nor can there be any real conversion where the heart and will are not given to the Lord Jesus,  to be directed and molded by Him at His pleasure.  We may test our conversion then by the example of the apostle Paul.  If our hearts have been given up as his was,  we are true friends of Christ.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Arise
During the entire time Saul remained on the ground.  Now, Jesus tells him to get up.  It's time to begin his new life.

You will be told
As with most of us, Paul was told to obey, one step at a time.  For the present, he was to arise and go into Damascus.  Once he had taken the first step of obedience, he would be given further instructions and information.

From the Amplified Bible
(6)  Trembling and astonished he asked, Lord, what do You desire me to do? The Lord said to him, But arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.

Acts 9:7
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(7)  And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.

And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing only a voice, but seeing no man.

 

From Paul's Testimony

To the Jews at Jerusalem
Acts 22:9

"My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me."

Hearing a voice
Here in Acts 9:7, "hearing the voice," the noun "voice" is in the partitive genitive case [i. e., hearing (something) of], whereas -
In Acts 22:9,  "they heard not the voice,"  the construction is with the accusative.   This removes the idea of any contradiction.
The former Acts 9:7 indicates a "hearing" of the sound
the sensational perception
The latter Acts 22:9 indicates the meaning or message of the voice (this they did not hear).
the thing perceived
(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

John records a similar occurrence:
John 12:28-29
Father, glorify Your name."
Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again."
Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him."

From the Amplified Bible
(7)  The men who were accompanying him were unable to speak [for terror], hearing the voice but seeing no one.

Acts 9:8 & 9
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(8)  Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.

And Saul arose from the ground, but he could not see even though his eyes were open; and they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.

(9)  And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

And he was unable to see for three days, during which he neither ate nor drank.

 

From Paul's Testimony

To the Jews at Jerusalem
Acts 22:11

"My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me."

For 3 days, Paul lost his physical sight as he gained spiritual sight.
For 3 days, Paul took no physical food as he began to partake of the Bread of Life.

Only one other space of three days' duration can be mentioned of equal importance in the history of the world' (as Howson well observes).  Since Jesus had been revealed not only to his eyes,  but to his soul (Galatians 1:15-16),  the double conviction must have immediately flashed upon him,  that his whole reading of the Old Testament hitherto had been wrong,  and that the system of legal righteousness in which he had,  up to that moment,  rested and prided himself was false and fatal.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Excerpts from "The Apostle: A Life of Paul"
"Suddenly about midday a great light flashed from the sky all around me. ..a light more brilliant than the sun, shining all around me and my traveling companions."
They all fell to the ground. They were appalled by this phenomenon, not just a flash but light, terrifying and inexplicable. The companions seem to have stumbled to their feet. Paul remained prostrate. For him only, the light grew in intensity.
He heard a voice, at once calm and authoritative, say in Aramaic: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
He looked up. Within the center of light which blinded him from his surroundings he faced a man of about his own age. Paul could not believe what he heard and saw. All his convictions, intellect and training, his reputation, his self-respect, demanded that Jesus should not be alive again. He played for time and replied, "Who are you, Lord?" He used a mode of address which might mean no more than "Your honor."
"I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you, this kicking against the goad."
Then he knew. In a second that seemed an eternity Paul saw the wounds in Jesus' hands and feet, saw the face and knew that he had seen the Lord, that he was alive, as Stephen and the others had said, and that he loved not only those whom Paul persecuted but Paul: "It is hard for you to kick against the goad." Not one word of reproach.
Paul had never admitted to himself that he had felt pricks of a goad as he raged against Stephen and his disciples. But now, instantaneously, he was shatteringly aware that he had been fighting Jesus. And fighting himself, his conscience, his powerlessness, the darkness and chaos in his soul. God hovered over this chaos and brought him to the moment of new creation. It wanted only his "Yes."
Paul broke. He was trembling and in no state to weigh the pros and cons of changing sides. He only knew that he had heard a voice and had seen the Lord, and that nothing mattered but to find and obey his will.
"What shall I do, Lord?" He used the same ascription as before but all the obedience and worship and love in heaven and earth went into that one word, "Lord." At that moment he knew he was utterly forgiven, utterly loved. In his own words: "God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness' has shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
"Rise to your feet," he heard, "and stand upright and go into Damascus and you will be told there what you are to do." He had trusted. Now he had to obey - a humbling, almost trivial first order.
When he stood he was blind. He put out his hand and groped until his companions, who had been frightened even more by hearing Paul answer the inaudible, began to lead him. The riding and baggage animals had caught up and the little caravan walked toward Damascus in awed silence.
Paul moved blindly into the unknown, yet he was not in darkness but in light: "1 could not see because of the brightness of that light."  Light suffused his blinded eyes, his mind. And as he walked, obeying that first command from his new Master, he made the first great discovery:  Jesus remained beside him, not the form of a crucified, risen body, but someone invisible yet there.
Paul in his pride and wisdom had rejected Jesus because no man could be hanged on a tree unless cursed. As he now faced his sin he saw by irresistible intuition that Jesus indeed had carried a curse on the cross, but not his own; it was Paul's and everyman's. Each hour that passed in blindness at the house of Judas, each day for the rest of life, would unfold a little more of the breadth and length and height and depth, but the heart of the good news was sure, now and forever: the love of Christ, "the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me."
He could have shouted aloud in the house of Judas what he would write in the unknown years ahead: "God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts!" "The mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest is: Christ in you!" "For me to live is Christ." Already he had an urge to pray: not just the formal prayers of the glorious Jewish liturgy, but the conversation of a son with his Father; in talking with Jesus he talked with the Father, in worshiping the Father he conversed with the Son.
(From "The Apostle: A Life of Paul," by John Pollock; RiverOak Publishing, a division of Cook Communication Ministries)

From the Amplified Bible
(8)  Then Saul got up from the ground, but though his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.
(9)  And he was unable to see for three days, and he neither ate nor drank [anything].



ANANIAS  BAPTIZES  SAUL

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Acts 9:10
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(10)  Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, "Ananias."  And he said, "Here I am, Lord."

Now there was in Damascus a disciple named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, my LORD.


Ananias
Hananias - It was a common name meaning  "Jehovah is gracious."  It is of Hebrew origin, from Chananyah (OT:2608) - "Jah has favored."

There were 3 men named Ananias mentioned in Acts:
1. Acts 5:1-11 The husband of Sapphira who died for lying to the Holy Ghost
2. Acts 9:10-17
Acts 22:12-16
The believer who was used by Jesus to confirm Saul's conversion and restore Saul's sight.
3. Acts 23:2-4
Acts 24:1
The high priest before whom Paul gave witness, and who spoke against him to the governor, Felix.

What we know about Ananias
1. Acts 9:10 He was a disciple - a Christian believer
2. Acts 9:10 He lived in Damascus
3. Acts 22:12 He devoutly observed the law
4 Acts 22:12 He was highly respected by all the Jews in Damascus
5 Acts 9:10 Jesus appeared to him in a vision
6 Acts 9:13, 14 He had heard about Saul and his persecution of the Christians
7. Acts 9:17 He was obedient to the Lord in spite of his human fears
8. Acts 9:17 He accepted Saul as his brother in the Lord
9. Acts 9:17, 18 He was used of God to restore Saul's sight
10. Acts 22:14-16 He told Saul how he would be a witness for Jesus and to be baptized

What some say about Ananias
1. Some suppose he was one of the 70 disciples.
2. Some say he was martyred, and they celebrate his martyrdom on the first of October.
3. It has been further stated that his house was turned into a church, which was later turned into a Turkish mosque.
However, all we know for certain is what is recorded in Acts.

A vision
Horama  (NT:3705) - that which is seen,  a sight,  a spectacle
Visions are not mere ideas in the mind,  but real pictures to the eyes.

This word means "what is to be seen," "spectacle," "appearance," "vision."
The LXX uses it 43 times, often for "vision" (cf. Daniel).
In the New Testament it occurs 13 times: once in Matthew 17:9 for what the disciples saw at the transfiguration, and 12 times in Acts.
1. Acts 7:31 Moses When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight (the burning bush)
2. Acts 9:10 Ananias the Lord said in a vision, "Ananias."
3. Acts 9:12 Saul And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him
4. Acts 10:3 Cornelius About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, "Cornelius!"
5. Acts 10:17 Peter Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant (the sheet with unclean animals)
6. Acts 10:19 Peter While Peter thought about the vision
7. Acts 11:5 Peter "I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me.
8. Acts 12:9 Peter So he ... did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.
9. Acts 16:9 Paul And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."
10. Acts 16:10 Paul Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia
11. Acts 18:9 Paul Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent
12. Acts 26:19 Paul Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision

From the Amplified Bible
(10)  Now there was in Damascus a disciple named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias. And he answered, Here am I, Lord.

Acts 9:11 & 12
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(11)  So the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.

And our Lord said to him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight and enquire at the house of Judah for Saul of the city of Tarsus; for behold, he is praying,

(12)  And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight."

And he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in and laying his hand on him to restore his sight.


Street called Straight
The traditional street called Straight is about 2 miles long,  and runs from North East to South West,  almost through the center of the city.  In the time of Paul it was a magnificent thoroughfare,  flanked with Corinthian columns (three lanes divided by these columns).  At its east end is the east gate of the city.  In Paul’s time the city was in the hands of Aretas,  King of Arabia Petraea.

Barnes notes:
This street extends now from the eastern to the western gate,  about three miles,  crossing the whole city and suburbs in a direct line.  Near the eastern gate is a house,  said to be that of Judah,  in which Paul lodged.  There is in it a very small closet,  where tradition reports that the apostle passed three days without food,  until Ananias restored him to sight.  Tradition also says that he had here the vision recorded in 2 Corinthians 12:2.  There is also in this street a fountain whose water is drunk by Christians,  in remembrance of what,  they suppose,  the same fountain produced for the baptism of Paul  (Robinson, Calmet).
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Judas
Nothing is known of this particular Judas.

Tarsus
This city was the capital of Cilicia, a province of Asia Minor.
It was situated on the banks of the Cydnus River.
It was distinguished for the culture of Greek philosophy and literature, so that at one time in its schools, and in the number of its learned men, it was the rival of Athens and Alexandria.
In allusion to this, perhaps, Paul says that he was "born in Tarsus, a citizen of no mean city," Acts 21:39.
In reward for its exertions and sacrifices during the civil wars of Rome, Tarsus was made a free city by Augustus.

Behold, he is praying
This gives us a full indication of the manner in which Saul passed the three days mentioned in Acts 9:9.  It is plain,  from what follows,  that Ananias regarded Saul as an enemy to Christianity,  and that he would have been apprehensive of danger if he were with him (Acts 9:13-14).  This remark,  "Behold, he is praying,"  is made to him to silence his fears,  and to indicate the change in the feelings and views of Saul.
Before,  he was a persecutor;
now,  his change is indicated by his giving himself to prayer.
That Saul did not pray before is not implied by this;  for he fully accorded with the customs of the Jews, Phil 3:4-6.
Philippians 3:4-6
If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:  circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee;  concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.    (NKJV)
But his prayers were not the prayers of a saint. 
Then, they were the prayers of a Pharisee (compare Luke 18:10),
now they were the prayers of a broken-hearted sinner,
Then, he prayed depending on his own righteousness,
now depending on the mercy of God in the Messiah.

We may learn here:
(1) That one indication of conversion to God is real prayer.  A Christian may as well be characterized by that as by any single appellation - "a man of prayer."
(2) It is always the attendant of true conviction for sin that we pray.  The convicted Sinner feels his danger,  and his need of forgiveness.  Conscious that he has no righteousness himself,  he now seeks that of another,  and depends on the mercy of God.
  Before, he was too proud to pray;
 
now,  he is willing to humble himself and to ask for mercy.

In a vision he has seen
While God prepares Ananias,  by a vision,  to go and minister to Saul.
He at the same time prepares Saul,  by another vision,  to profit by this ministry.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Thus,  as in the case of Cornelius and Peter afterward,  there was a mutual preparation of each for each.  But what is remarkable here,  we have from the historian's pen no account of the vision which Saul had of Ananias coming in to him and putting his hands upon him for the restoration of his sight:  we only know it from this interesting allusion to it in the vision which he tells us that,  Ananias himself had.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(11)  And the Lord said to him, Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying [there].
(12)  And he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias enter and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.

Acts 9:13 & 14
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(13)  Then Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.

Then Ananias said, My Lord, I have heard from many concerning this man, how much misery he has brought to your saints in Jerusalem.

(14)  And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name."

And behold here also he has authority from the high priests to bind all who call on your name.


I have heard from many
A report of the ravages wrought by Saul against the Christians in Jerusalem had come to Damascus.

Ananias pleads that this Saul was a notorious persecutor of the disciples of Christ:
(1) He had been so at Jerusalem:
"Lord, I have heard by many of this man,
what a malicious enemy he is to the gospel of Christ:
all those that were scattered upon the late persecution,  many of whom are come to Damascus,  tell how much evil he hath done to thy saints in Jerusalem,  that he was the most virulent,  violent persecutor of all,  and a ringleader in the mischief -
what havoc he has made in the church:
there was no man they were more afraid of,  no,  not the high priest himself,  than of Saul."
(2) "His errand to Damascus at this time is to persecute us Christians:
Here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name,  to treat the worshippers of Christ as the worst of criminals."
Now,  why does Ananias object this.
Not,  "Therefore I do not owe him so much service.  Why should I do him a kindness who has done and designed us so much unkindness?"
No,  Christ has taught us another lesson,  to render good for evil,  and pray for our persecutors;  but if he be such a persecutor of Christians,
Will it be safe for Ananias to go to him?
Will he not throw himself like a lamb into the mouth of a lion?
Will it be to any purpose to go to him?
Can such a hard heart ever be softened?
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

He had probably heard from many who had fled from persecution,  and had taken refuge in Damascus.  It is also evident, according to verse 14, that Ananias had been apprised,  perhaps by letters from the saints at Jerusalem,  of the purpose which Saul had in view in now going to Damascus.

Saints
Hagios  (NT: 40)  Holy - Here the believers were first called saints because they are set apart,  or consecrated to God.

Used here for the first time as a name for the Christians,  but it came to be the common term for followers of Christ.

From the Amplified Bible
(13)  But Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard many people tell about this man, especially how much evil and what great suffering he has brought on Your saints at Jerusalem;
(14)  Now he is here and has authority from the high priests to put in chains all who call upon Your name.

Acts 9:15 & 16
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(15)  But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

But the Lord said to him, Arise and go; he is the agent whom I have chosen for myself to carry my name to the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel;

(16)  For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake."

For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.


Paul had seen in a vision that Ananias would visit him (vs 12),  for when God works,  He works at both ends of the line.  Ananias'  fears were answered by God's promise that Paul would have a special ministry to the Gentiles,  and how those words must have shocked this faithful Jewish believer!
(from Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Copyright © 1992 by Chariot Victor Publishing, an imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved.)

Chosen vessel
God's vessel, or instrument, of choice.
Paul is called  "chosen"  because Christ had  "selected"  him,  as he did his other apostles,  for this service.
John 15:16
You did not choose Me,  but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.

This word "vessel" (as Alford observes) is afterward used once and again by the apostle himself in illustrating the sovereignty of God's electing grace (Romans 9:21-23;  2 Corinthians 4:7;  2 Timothy 2:20-21).
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
 
Romans 9:21-24
Does not the potter have power over the clay,  from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?   What if God,  wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known,  endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,  and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy,  which He had prepared beforehand for glory,  even us whom He called,  not of the Jews only,  but also of the Gentiles?
2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
2 Timothy 2:20-21
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver,  but also of wood and clay,  some for honor and some for dishonor.  Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter,  he will be a vessel for honor,  sanctified and useful for the Master,  prepared for every good work.

Bear My Name
(NT:941) bastazo To take up with the hands; raise as a flag; carry as a banner; support;  exalt
Gentiles The nations;  all who were not Jews.
This was the principal employment of Paul.  He spent his life in this,  and regarded himself as especially called to be the apostle of the Gentiles.
Romans 11:13
For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles.
Romans 15:15-16
Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God,  that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles.
Galatians 2:8
For He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles.
Kings This he did before:
King Agrippa Acts 25:23
Nero (Caesar) Acts 27:24
Jews The children of Israel.
Wherever he went,  he preached the gospel first to them,  and then to the Gentiles,  Acts 13:46; 28:17.

Many things he must suffer
The Lord now informs him that Saul,  hitherto his enemy,  would ever after be his friend.  He would not merely profess repentance,  but would manifest the sincerity of it by encountering trials and reproaches for his sake.  The prediction here was fully accomplished.

Paul himself later enumerated some of the things he suffered in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27:
In stripes above measure
In prisons more frequently
In deaths often
From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one
Three times I was beaten with rods
Once I was stoned
Three times I was shipwrecked
A night and a day I have been in the deep
In journeys often
In perils of waters
In perils of robbers
In perils of my own countrymen
In perils of the Gentiles
In perils in the city
In perils in the wilderness
In perils in the sea
In perils among false brethren
In weariness and toil
In sleeplessness often
In hunger and thirst
In fastings often
In cold and nakedness

But through all this, he would keep proper perspective:
Philippians 3:8-11
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;  that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

From the Amplified Bible
(15)  But the Lord said to him, Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of Mine to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the descendants of Israel;
(16)  For I will make clear to him how much he will be afflicted and must endure and suffer for My name's sake.

Acts 9:17 & 18
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(17)  And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

Then Ananias went to him at the house, and laying his hands on him, said, Saul, my brother, our Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the way when you were coming, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

(18)  Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.

And in that hour, there fell from his eyes something like scales; and his eyesight was restored; and he arose and was baptized.

 

From Paul's Testimony

To the Jews at Jerusalem
Acts 22:12-16

"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. He stood beside me and said, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight!' And at that very moment I was able to see him.  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.  You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.  And now what are you waiting for?  Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.'"

Ananias went his way
Ananias' obedience was immediate and complete
With the word brother,  Ananias welcomed Saul into Christian fellowship.

Laying his hands on him
This was not "ordination,"  but was for the purpose of healing in this instance (see Acts 6:6 notes).

Brother
An expression recognizing him as a fellow-Christian.
adelphós (NT:80) a brother

In the NT adelphós denotes either "physical brotherhood" in the strict sense or more generally the "spiritual brotherhood" of Israelites or Christians.

In this case it is referring to Spiritual Brotherhood
In a general sense adelphós in the NT denotes "fellow-Christians" or "Christian brothers."  Many instances may be given from all parts of the NT;  there are some 30 in Acts and 130 in Paul.  The usage plainly derives from Jewish religious custom.
'aachiy (OT:251) brother; kindred
  Jeremiah 22:18 - They will not mourn for him:  'Alas, my brother! Alas, my sister!'
In Judaism, too, adelphós means a co-religionist,  who historically is identical with a compatriot.  There can be no doubt that it is one of the religious titles of the people of Israel taken over by the Christian community.
The Jewish usage is itself attested in the NT,  not merely in OT quotations (Hebrews 2:12; 7:5),
Hebrews 2:11, 12
Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family.  So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.  He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers"
Hebrews 7:5
Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people — that is, their brothers.
but also directly (Matthew 5:22, 47; 7:3; 18:15;  Acts 7:26;  Romans 9:3;  Hebrews 7:5).
Matthew 5:22
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.
Matthew 5:47
And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?
Matthew 7:3
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
Matthew 18:15
If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.
Acts 7:23-26
When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites....He tried to reconcile them by saying, 'Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?'
Romans 9:3
For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race.
Jesus calls His hearers or disciples His brethren, and He also uses the same term to describe the relations of the disciples to one another (Matthew 23:8; Luke 22:32).
Matthew 23:8
But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.
Luke 22:32
But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.
Christians are certainly to see themselves as His brethren or people (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2:11 ff.).
Romans 8:29
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
(from Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abridged edition, Copyright © 1985 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. All rights reserved.)

The Lord Jesus ... has sent me
Lord = kurios.  See Luke 2:11Matthew 22:44, 45Acts 1:6 Acts 2:38 Ephesians 1:2, 3

Scales
Lepis (NT:3013) - a flake.  From lepo, "to peel."
The only NT use is in the story of Paul's conversion.  The term comes from the medical world of the day which speaks of descaling the eyes,  i.e.,  removing a growth of skin that causes blindness.  The author needs no special medical knowledge to use the term,  and the passage must not be thought to support the view that Paul suffered from an eye affliction (cf. Galatians 4:15  "if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me").  The metaphor suggests that,  as the Lord has overcome Paul's enmity,  so he has given him the witness that he is to go to the Gentiles  "to open their eyes"  and turn them from darkness to light (Acts 26:18).
(from Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abridged edition, Copyright © 1985 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. All rights reserved.)

An effect similar to this is described in Tobit 11:8, 13.  It is evident that there was a miracle in the healing of Saul.  The "blindness" was the natural effect of the light.
The "cure" was by miraculous power.  This is evident:
(1) Because there were no means used that would naturally restore the sight.
(2) Ananias was sent for this very purpose to heal him.
(3) The immediate effect shows that this was miraculous.  Had it been a slow recovery,  it might have been doubtful;  but here it was instantaneous,  and it was thus put beyond a question that it was a miracle.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

It has been suggested by some that Paul's "thorn in the flesh" (2 Corinthians 12:7  "a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.")  was poor eyesight as a result of the blindness he experienced for these 3 days.  This cannot possibly be,  since it states here that his eyesight was restored.  It is inconceivable that God would send Ananias to heal Saul's eyes,  only to have them remain weak and defective.  When God heals,  He heals completely.
Later,  as Paul suffered beatings and many other tortures as referred to above in verse 16,  his eyesight may very well have been weakened.  But not as a result of his experience here at his conversion.

Was baptized
Apparently by Ananias himself (Acts 22:16) as a symbol of the new life in Christ already begun,  possibly in either the Abanah and the Pharpar river.  As mentioned by Naaman, the waters in these rivers were plentiful and clean.
2 Kings 5:11-12
But Naaman became furious, and went away and said,  "Indeed, I said to myself, 'He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.'  Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?"

From the Amplified Bible
(17)  So Ananias left and went into the house. And he laid his hands on Saul and said, Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, Who appeared to you along the way by which you came here, has sent me that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
(18)  And instantly something like scales fell from [Saul's] eyes, and he recovered his sight. Then he arose and was baptized,

Acts 9:19
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(19)  So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.

And when he had received food, he was strengthened, and he remained several days with the disciples in Damascus.


How long he stayed in Damascus is not known.
It was long enough, however,  to preach the gospel, Acts 9:22; 26:20.  It might have been for some months,  as he did not go to Jerusalem until three years from that time.  He remained some time at Damascus,  then went to Arabia,  returned again to Damascus (Gal 1:17),  and then went to Jerusalem, Gal 1:18.

Acts 9:1-31 Luke's account

Taken together,
these accounts give
the full story
of Saul's conversion.

Acts 22:3-21 Paul's testimony to the Jews at Jerusalem
Acts 26:3-23 Paul's testimony before King Agrippa
Galatians 1:11-2:2 Paul's testimony to the church at Galatia
2 Corinthians 11:22-33 Paul's testimony to the church at Corinth

We have now passed through the account of one of the most remarkable conversions to Christianity that has ever occurred - that of the apostle Paul.  His conversion has always been justly considered as a strong proof of the Christian religion. Because:
(1) This change could not have occurred by any lack of fair prospects of honor.
a. He was distinguished already as a Jew.
b. He had had the best opportunities for education that the nation afforded.
c. He had every prospect of rising to distinction and office.
(2) It could not have been produced by any prospect of wealth or fame by becoming a Christian.
a. Christians were poor; and to be a Christian then was to be exposed to contempt, to persecution, and to death.
b. Saul had no reason to suppose that he would escape the common lot of Christians.
(3) He was as firmly opposed to Christianity before his conversion as possible.
a. He had already distinguished himself for his hostility.
b. All the prejudices of his education, all his prospects, all his former views and feelings, were opposed to the gospel of Christ.
c. He became, however, one of its most firm advocates and friends, and it is for infidels to account for this change.  There must have been some cause, some motive for it; and is there anything more rational than the supposition that Saul was convinced in a most striking and wonderful manner of the truth of Christianity?
(4) His subsequent life showed that the change was sincere and real.
a. He encountered danger and persecution to evince his attachment to Christ.
b. He went from land to land, and exposed himself to every peril and every form of obloquy and scorn, always rejoicing that he was a Christian, and was permitted to suffer as a Christian, and has thus given the highest proofs of his sincerity.
c. If such sufferings and such a life were not evidences of sincerity, then it would be impossible to fix on any circumstances of a man's life that would furnish proof that he was not a deceiver.
(5) If Paul was sincere; if his conversion was genuine, the Christian religion is true.
a. Nothing else but a religion from heaven could produce this change.
b. There is here, therefore, the independent testimony of a man who was once a persecutor; converted in a wonderful manner; his whole life, views, and feelings revolutionized, and all his subsequent career evincing the sincerity of his feelings and the reality of the change.
c. He is just such a witness as infidels ought to be satisfied with; a man once an enemy; a man whose testimony cannot be impeached; a man who had no interested motives, and who was willing to stand forth anywhere, and avow his change of feeling and purpose.
d. We adduce him as such a witness; and infidels are bound to dispose of his testimony, or to embrace the religion which he embraced.
(6) The example of Saul does not stand alone.
a. Hundreds and thousands of enemies; persecutors, and slanderers have been changed, and every such one becomes a living witness of the power and truth of the Christian religion.
b. The scoffer becomes reverent; the profane man learns to speak the praise of God; the sullen, bitter foe of Christ becomes his friend, and lives and dies under the influence of his religion.
c. Could better proof be asked that this religion is from God?
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(19)  So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.



SAUL  BEGINS  TO  PREACH

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Acts 9:20-22
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(20)  Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.

From that time on, he preached in the Jewish synagogues concerning Jesus, that he is the Son of God.

(21)  Then all who heard were amazed, and said, "Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?"

But all those who heard him were amazed and said, Is this not he who persecuted those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and behold, he was sent here for that very purpose that he might bring them bound to the high priests?

(22)  But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.

But Saul became more powerful, and he made the Jews, who dwelt in Damascus tremble when he proved that Jesus is the Christ.

 

From Paul's Testimony

To King Agrippa at Caesarea
Acts 26:19-20

"So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.  First to those in Damascus, 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."

Immediately he preached Christ
The Holy Spirit anointing  (Acts 9:17)  enabled Paul to preach immediately.
In prayer he received an abundance of revelations from God (1 Corinthians 2:1-16;  Galatians 1:11-16).
1 Corinthians 2:1-4
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.  And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
Galatians 1:11-12
But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.  For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
He had studied Scripture for years and by the new anointing of the Spirit he could and did preach and convince men that Jesus was the Messiah  (Acts 9:20,22).
(Dake's Annotated Reverence Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, Dake Publishing, Lawrenceville, GA)

Saul immediately began to proclaim the Christ that he had persecuted,  declaring boldly that Jesus is the Son of God.  This is the only place in Acts that you find this title,  but Paul used it in his epistles at least fifteen times.  It was a major emphasis in his ministry.  The dramatic change in Saul's life was a source of wonder to the Jews at Damascus.  Every new convert's witness for Christ ought to begin right where he is,  so Saul began his ministry first in Damascus
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Were amazed
Existemi  (NT:1839)
To cause someone to be so astounded as to be practically overwhelmed - 'to astonish greatly,  to greatly astound,  to astound completely.'
(from Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domain. Copyright © 1988 United Bible Societies, New York. Used by permission.)

"To remove oneself,"  figuratively  "to lose one's wits,"  "go out of one's mind,"  "be terrified out of one's wits."
The verb occurs in the LXX for many Hebrew words to denote the human reaction to God's self-revelation.
Philo has the term for self-alienation in divinely caused rapture (On Drunkenness 146).
In the NT we find the meaning  "to be beside oneself"  in Mark 3:21 and 2 Corinthians 5:13,  where the reference is probably to a supposedly eccentric apostolic claim rather than to ecstatic experiences.  Astonishment is the point in Luke 2:47; Matthew 12:23; Luke 8:56; Acts 2:7; 8:13; 9:21; 10:45; 12:16, i.e.,  at the child Jesus,  at the miracles of Jesus,  or at the phenomena displayed in the primitive church.
(from Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abridged edition, Copyright © 1985 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. All rights reserved.)

Increased in strength
The Greek reads:
Saúlos mállon enedunamoúto
Saul but the more increased in strength
enedunamoúto  (NT:1743)  to empower;  enable;  make strong

To become able to do something - 'to become able,  to become capable.'  'Saul became all the more able'.  'Finally,  in union with the Lord become capable by means of his great strength' Ephesians 6:10.
(from Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domain. Copyright © 1988 United Bible Societies, New York. Used by permission.)

His conviction of the truth of the Christian faith became stronger every day.

Confounded
sugcheo  (NT:4797)  to throw (an assembly) into disorder,  to perplex (the mind),  confound,  confuse,  stir up,  be in an uproar.

Wuest translates:
And Saul kept on being endued with power to a greater degree,  and he bewildered Jews,  those residing in Damascus,  proving that this very person is the Christ.
(from The New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest Copyright © 1961 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. All rights reserved.)

Proving that this Jesus is the Christ
The idea here is that by comparing the life and works of Christ with the prophets it was clear that He was the Messiah.

Literally,  putting together;  that is,  putting together the OT prophecies with their fulfillment to show that Jesus was the Messiah.  Saul's training in the OT as a rabbi now stood him in good stead.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

It means that Paul showed by strong and satisfactory arguments that Jesus of Nazareth was the TRUE Messiah.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

He ran down his antagonists,  and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus;  he silenced them,  and shamed them - answered their objections to the satisfaction of all indifferent persons,  and pressed them with arguments which they could make no reply to.  In all his discourses with the Jews he was still proving that
this Jesus is very Christ,
is the Christ,
the anointed of God,
the true Messiah promised to the fathers.
He was proving it,  symbibazon - affirming it and confirming it,  teaching with persuasion.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From the Amplified Bible
(20)  And immediately in the synagogues he proclaimed Jesus, saying, He is the Son of God!
(21)  And all who heard him were amazed and said, Is not this the very man who harassed and overthrew and destroyed in Jerusalem those who called upon this Name? And he has come here for the express purpose of arresting them and bringing them in chains before the chief priests.
(22)  But Saul increased all the more in strength, and continued to confound and put to confusion the Jews who lived in Damascus by comparing and examining evidence and proving that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah).

Acts 9:23
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(23)  Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him

After he had been there many days, the Jews plotted against him to kill him.

 

From Paul's Testimony

To the church at Galatia
Galatians 1:15-17

"But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus."

The many days include between two and three years after Saul's conversion (Galatians 1:18).  "Three years"  in Jewish reckoning may refer to a period of more than two full years.  Comparison of this verse with 2 Corinthians 11:32 tells us that the Jews made a plot with the representative of King Aretas of Arabia.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

What follows relates to transactions which took place about three years after his conversion,  when he had come a second time to Damascus,  after having been in Arabia.  What he did in Arabia we know not;  he probably preached Christ in different Jewish synagogues;  but with what fruit we are not told. Luke,  who could not have been ignorant of this part of his history,  passes it over in silence.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

We have thus an account of the "many days" here referred to by Luke.  And in this instance we have a striking example of the truth and honesty of the sacred writers.  By comparing these two accounts together,  we arrive at the whole state of the case.  Neither seems to be complete without the other.
Luke has left a chasm which he has nowhere else supplied.
But that chasm we are enabled to fill up from the apostle himself,  in a letter written long after,  and without any design to amend or complete the history of Luke - for the introduction of this history into the Epistle to the Galatians was for a very different purpose - to show that he received his commission directly from the Lord Jesus,  and in a manner independent of the other apostles.
The two accounts,  therefore,  are like the two parts of a tally;  neither is complete without the other;  and yet,  being brought together,  they so exactly fit as to show that the one is precisely adjusted to the other.  And as the two parts were made by different individuals,  and without design of adapting them to each other,  they show that the writers had formed no collusion or agreement to impose on the world;  that they are separate and independent witnesses;  that they are honest men;  that their narratives are true records of what actually occurred;  and the two narratives constitute,  therefore,  a strong and very valuable proof of the correctness of the sacred narrative.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Plotted to kill
Laid a scheme,  or designed to kilt him.  His zeal and success would enrage them,  and they knew of no other way in which they could free themselves from the effects of his arguments and influence.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From the Amplified Bible
(23)  After considerable time had elapsed, the Jews conspired to put Saul out of the way by slaying him,

Acts 9:24 & 25
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(24)  But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him.

But their conspiracy was made known to Saul, how they watched the gates of the city day and night to kill him.

(25)  Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket.

Then the disciples placed him in a basket and let him down over the wall during the night.

 

From Paul's Testimony

To the church at Corinth
2 Corinthians 11:32-33

"In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me;  but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands."

Cities were surrounded by high walls,  and of course the gates were presumed to be the only places of escape.  As they supposed that Saul,  apprised of their designs,  would make an attempt to escape,  they stationed guards at the gates to intercept him.

At this time Damascus was under the government of Aretas,  king of Arabia,  who was now at war with Herod,  his son-in-law,  who had put away his daughter in order to marry Herodias,  his brother Philip's wife.  As Herod was supported by the Romans,  Saul's enemies might intimate that he was in league with them or Herod;  and,  as the gates of the city were constantly watched and shut,  that no spy might enter,  and no fugitive get away,  they thought it would be easy to apprehend him;  and doubtless got orders for the different officers at the gates to be on the look-out that he might not be permitted to escape.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

A basket
This word is used to denote commonly  "the basket in which food was carried,"  Matthew 15:37;  Mark 8:8, 20.  It was in this way that Rahab let down the spies (Josh 2:15),  and so David escaped from Saul, 1 Sam 19:12.  Probably this occurred in an unguarded part of the wall,  where some overhanging houses,  as is usual in Eastern cities,  opened into the outer country.  This conduct of Saul was in accordance with the direction of the Lord Jesus (Matthew 10:23).
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

From the Amplified Bible
(24)  But [the knowledge of] their plot was made known to Saul. They were guarding the [city's] gates day and night to kill him,
(25)  But his disciples took him at night and let him down through the [city's] wall, lowering him in a basket or hamper.


SAUL  AT  JERUSALEM

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Acts 9:26
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(26)  And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple.

Then Saul went to Jerusalem, and wanted to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, and could not believe that he was a convert,

 

From Paul's Testimony

To the church at Galatia
Galatians 1:18a

"Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem..."


He tried
Epeirazen - this is in the imperfect active tense - speaking of continuous action.  He kept trying to join them.

At first,  the believers in the Jerusalem church were afraid of him.  Saul "kept trying" (literal Greek) to get into their fellowship,  but they would not accept him.  For one thing,  they were afraid of him and probably thought that his new attitude of friendliness was only a trick to get into their fellowship so he could have them arrested.  They did not believe that he was even a disciple of Jesus Christ let alone an apostle who had seen the risen Savior.
Their attitude seems strange to us,  for surely the Damascus saints had gotten word to the church in Jerusalem that Saul had been converted and was now preaching the Word.  Perhaps Saul's  "disappearance"  for almost three years gave an air of suspicion to his testimony.
Where had he been?
What was he doing?
Why had he waited so long to contact the Jerusalem elders?
Furthermore,  what right did he have to call himself an apostle when he had not been selected by Jesus Christ?
There were many unanswered questions that helped create an atmosphere of suspicion and fear.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

The conversion of Paul is the great turning-point in God's dealings with Israel.  His whole program for the evangelization of the world depended on this unusual man.  If we are to rightly divide the Word of Truth,  we must keep in mind that Peter and Paul in the Book of Acts represent two different ministries.  Note these contrasts:
               Peter                     Paul
1. One of the twelve
2. Centered in Jerusalem
3. Ministered mainly to Israel
4. Called on earth by Christ
5. Saw Christ's glory on earth
Called apart from the Twelve apostles
Centered in Antioch
Ministered mainly to the Gentiles
Called by Christ from heaven
Saw Christ's glory in heaven

Too many Christians confuse these two ministries and thus turn the local church into a hodgepodge of  "kingdom truth"  and  "church truth."  Paul is God's spokesman to the local church;  even Peter admits this (2 Peter 3:15-16).  To follow the practices of the local assembly in Acts 1-7,  and thus ignore God's instructions to the church through Paul,  is to disobey the Word.  Even Peter did not fully understand God's new program revealed through Paul and had to be instructed further (see Galatians 2).
(from Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Copyright © 1992 by Chariot Victor Publishing, an imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved.)
Peter later said
2 Peter 3:15-16
And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation — as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,  as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
Paul later said
Galatians 2:1-10
Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me... when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter  (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles),  and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

From the Amplified Bible
(26)  And when he had arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to associate himself with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe he really was a disciple.

Acts 9:27
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(27)  But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles, and told them how he had seen the Lord on the way and how he had spoken to him and how in Damascus he had spoken openly in the name of Jesus.

 

From Paul's Testimony

To the church at Galatia
Galatians 1:18b, 19

"I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles — only James, the Lord's brother."

Barnabas
See the notes on Acts 4:36.  Barnabas was of Cyprus,  not far from Tarsus,  and it is not improbable that he had been before acquainted with Saul.

Took him
Epilabomenos.  Second aorist middle (indirect) participle of epilambanoo,  a common verb,  "to lay hold of." Barnabas saw the situation and took Saul to himself and listened to his story and believed it.  It is to the credit of Barnabas that he had the insight and the courage to stand by Saul at the crucial moment in his life when the evidence seemed to be against him.  It is a pleasing hypothesis that this influential disciple from Cyprus had gone to the University of Tarsus where he met Saul.  If so,  he would know more of him than those who only knew his record as a persecutor of Christians.  That fact Barnabas knew also,  but he was convinced that Jesus had changed the heart of Saul and he used his great influence to win the favor of the apostles,  Peter in particular (Galatians 1:19) and James the half-brother of Jesus.  The other apostles were probably out of the city as Paul says that he did not see them.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

Brought him to the apostles
That is, Peter and James.

He had seen the Lord on the road
On the road to Damascus at his conversion (Acts 9:4-7).
As we see here, it was declared to be the actual appearance of the Lord Jesus, as Paul also testifies to the church at Corinth.
1 Corinthians 15:3-8
...that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,  and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
1 Corinthians 9:1
Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?

This takes us from A.D. 37 to A.D. 39,  at which time he went to Jerusalem.  The apostles were afraid of Paul,  and it was Barnabas  ("son of consolation")  who introduced Paul to the group.  The fact that Paul was a stranger (and even an enemy)  to the apostles is important:  it proves that he got his message of grace from Christ Himself and not from men.
(from Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Copyright © 1992 by Chariot Victor Publishing, an imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(27)  However, Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles, and he explained to them how along the way he had seen the Lord, Who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached freely and confidently and courageously in the name of Jesus.

Acts 9:28 & 29
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(28)  So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out.

So he went in and out with them at Jerusalem.

(29)  And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him.

And he spoke openly in the name of Jesus, and debated with the Jews who understood Greek; but they wanted to kill him.

 

From Paul's Testimony

To the church at Galatia
Galatians 1:18b

"I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days."

He was with them
That is,  he was admitted to their friendship,  and recognized as a Christian and an apostle.  The time during which he then remained at Jerusalem was,  however,  only fifteen days.

Spoke boldly
Parrhesiazomai  (NT:3955)  to be frank in utterance, or confident in spirit and demeanor.
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
"To have courage or boldness in the face of danger or opposition - 'to be bold, to have courage.'  In some languages the equivalent of 'to speak boldly' is 'to speak regardless of who is listening' or 'to speak without fearing' or 'to speak without worrying.'"
(from Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domain. Copyright © 1988 United Bible Societies, New York. Used by permission.)
Openly and without fear, in the power and authority of Jesus,  he preached that Jesus was the Messiah.

Disputed
Suzeteo  (NT:4802)  to investigate jointly,  i.e. discuss,  oppose by reasoning

Imperfect active of suzeeteoo,  the very verb used in Acts 6:9 of the disputes with Stephen in these very synagogues in one of which (Cilicia) Saul had probably joined issue with Stephen to his own discomfort.  It was intolerable to these Hellenistic Jews now to hear Saul taking the place of Stephen and using the very arguments that Stephen had employed.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

Matthew Henry observes:
(1) He was admitted into the communion of the disciples,  which was no little provocation to his enemies.  It vexed the unbelieving Jews to see Saul a trophy of Christ's victory,  and a captive to his grace,  who had been such a champion for their cause - to see him coming in,  and going out,  with the apostles,  and to hear them glorying in him,  or rather glorifying God in him.
(3) He appeared vigorous in the cause of Christ,  and this was yet more provoking to them:  He spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Note,  Those that speak for Christ have reason to speak boldly;  for they have a good cause,  and speak for one who will at last speak for himself and them too.  The Grecians,  or Hellenist Jews,  were most offended at him,  because he had been one of them;  and they drew him into a dispute,  in which,  no doubt,  he was too hard for them,  as he had been for the Jews at Damascus.
(3) This brought him into peril of his life,  with which he narrowly escaped:  The Grecians,  when they found they could not deal with him in disputation,  contrived to silence him another way; they went about to slay him,  as they did Stephen when they could not resist the Spirit by which he spoke,  Acts 6:10That is a bad cause that has recourse to persecution for its last argument.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From the Amplified Bible
(28)  So he went in and out [as one] among them at Jerusalem,
(29)  Preaching freely and confidently and boldly in the name of the Lord. And he spoke and discussed with and disputed against the Hellenists (the Grecian Jews), but they were seeking to slay him.

Acts 9:30 & 31
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(30)  When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus.

And when the brethren knew it, they brought him by night to Caesarea, and from thence they sent him to Tarsus.

(31)  Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.

Then the church throughout Judea and Galilee and Samaria was at peace, and strengthened itself and developed obedience and reverence to God, and by the consolation of the Holy Spirit it increased in numbers.

 

From Paul's Testimony

To the Jews at Jerusalem
Acts 22:17-21

To the church at Galatia
Galatians 1:21-24

"Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance and saw Him saying to me, 'Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.'   So I said, 'Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You.  And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.'  Then He said to me, 'Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.'"
"Later I went to Syria and Cilicia.  I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.  They only heard the report:  'The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.'  And they praised God because of me."

Down to Caesarea
This is the same Caesarea referred to in Acts 8:40.

Out to Tarsus
Tarsus was Saul's native city (verse 11)

Then the churches...had peace
Saul’s absence may have had something to do with this,  but it was not the only reason the persecution slacked off for a time:
1. About this time a more urgent and immediate danger than the progress of Christianity occupied the mind of the Jewish people.
2. The Roman emperor Tiberius had died,  and now Gaius Caligula was emperor.
3. He had issued orders to place his statue in the Temple at Jerusalem.
4. The very existence of their religion was threatened.
5. Petronus,  Governor of Syria,  had been commissioned by Caligula to take the stature to Jerusalem.
6. If they would not erect it, he was to make war on all Jews.
7. The philosopher Philo was sent to Rome to make defense for the Jews.
8. Caligula would not hear him.

Barnes suggests:
1. It is not improbable that the great mass of Christians had been driven into other regions by these persecutions.
2. He who had been most active in exciting the persecution;  who was,  in a sort,  its leader,  and who was best adapted to carry it on,  had been converted.  He had ceased his opposition;  and even he was now removed from Judea.  All this would have some effect in causing the persecution to subside.
3. But it is not improbable that the state of things in Judea contributed much to turn the attention of the Jews to other matters.
Dr. Lardner accounts for this in the following manner:
"Soon after Caligula's accession,  the Jews at Alexandria suffered very much from the Egyptians in that city,  and at length their oratories there were all destroyed.  In the third year of Caligula,  39 AD,  Petronius was sent into Syria,  with orders to set up the emperor's statue in the temple at Jerusalem.  This order from Caligula was,  to the Jews,  a thunder stroke.
The Jews must have been too much engaged after this to mind anything else, as may appear from the accounts which Philo and Josephus have given us of this affair.
Josephus says  'that Caligula ordered Petronius to go with an army to Jerusalem,  to set up his statue in the temple there;  enjoining him,  if the Jews opposed it,  to put to death all who made any resistance,  and to make all the rest of the nation slaves.  Petronius therefore marched from Antioch into Judea with three legions and a large body of auxiliaries raised in Syria.  "All were hereupon filled with consternation,  the army being come as far as Ptolemais.'"  See Lardner's Works, vol. i, pp. 101,102, London edition, 1829.
Philo gives the same account of the consternation as Josephus (Philo, DeLegat. ad Cai., pp. 1024, 1025).  He describes the Jews  "as abandoning their cities,  villages,  and open country;  as going to Petronius in Phoenicia,  both men and women,  the old,  the young,  the middle-aged;  as throwing themselves on the ground before Petronius with weeping and lamentation."
The effect of this consternation in diverting their minds from the Christians can be easily conceived.  The prospect that the images of the Roman emperor were about to be set up by violence in the temple,  or,  that in case of resistance,  death or slavery was to be their portion,  and the advance of a large army to execute that purpose,  all tended to throw the nation into alarm.  By the providence of God,  therefore,  this event was permitted to occur to divert the attention of bloody-minded persecutors from a feeble and bleeding church.
Anxious for their own safety,  the Jews would cease to persecute the Christians,  and thus,  by the conversion of the main instrument in persecution,  and by the universal alarm for the welfare of the nation,  the trembling and enfeebled church was permitted to obtain repose.  Thus ended the first general persecution against Christians,  and thus effectually did God show that he had power to guard and protect his chosen people.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Were edified
Oikodomeo (NT:3618)  to build (up from the foundation)

Walking in
Poreuomai  (NT:4198)  to traverse (literally or figuratively; especially to remove [figuratively, die], live, etc.)
The word is often used to denote  "Christian conduct,  or manner of life."  The idea is that of travelers who are going to any place,  and who walk in the right path.  Christians are thus travelers to another country,  an heavenly.

They were living in the
Fear of the Lord
Keeping a continually tender conscience;
abhorring all sin;
having respect to every divine precept;
dreading to offend him from whom the soul has derived in being and its blessings.
Without this salutary fear of God there never can be any circumspect walking.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Comfort of the Holy Spirit
In the consolations which the Holy Spirit produced
John 14:16-18
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
And as a result, they were multiplied.

From the Amplified Bible
(30)  And when the brethren found it out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus [his home town].
(31)  So the church throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was edified [growing in wisdom, virtue, and piety] and walking in the respect and reverential fear of the Lord and in the consolation and exhortation of the Holy Spirit, continued to increase and was multiplied.



AENEAS  HEALED

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Acts 9:32 & 33
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(32)  Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda.

And it came to pass while Simon Peter traveled to various cities, he came down also to the saints who dwelt at the city of Lydda.

(33)  There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed.

And there he found a man named Aeneas, who had been paralyzed and had lain in bed eight years.


Saints
Hagios - The Christian believers.

Lydda
A town about 11 miles South East of Joppa,  and about 30 miles West of Jerusalem.  It was burned by Cestius in the time of Nero,  but was soon rebuilt.  It is believed to be the Old Testament town of Lod,  and later as Ludd.

This town was situated on the road from Jerusalem to Caesarea Philippi.  It was about 10 or 12 miles southeast from Joppa,  and belonged to the tribe of Ephraim.  It was called by the Greeks Diospolis,  or city of Jupiter,  probably because a temple was at some period erected to Jupiter in that city.  Since the Crusades,  it has been called by the Christians George,  on account of its having been the scene of the martyrdom of a saint of that name.  Tradition says that in this city the Emperor Justinian erected a church.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Aeneas
This is a Greek name;  and probably he was a Hellenist.

From the Amplified Bible
(32)  Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he went down also to the saints who lived at Lydda.
(33)  There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedfast for eight years and was paralyzed.

Acts 9:34 & 35
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(34)  And Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed." Then he arose immediately.

And Simon Peter said to him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you.  Arise, and make your bed.  And he arose immediately.

(35)  So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

And all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to God.


Jesus the Christ heals
Peter claimed no power to do it himself. Compare Acts 3:16; 4:10.

It was not Peter,  for he had no power but what was given him from above, and he knew this.  And,  as an instrument,  any man could heal with this power as well as Peter, for Jesus Himself told us in Mark 16:15-18:
And these signs will accompany those who believe:
In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.

In this we find specific responsibilities for all involved:
Faith Peter He first believed that Jesus could and would heal.
Then he spoke the word to Aeneas.
Obedience Aeneas He arose immediately.
Aeneas did not argue with Peter or hesitate because it was physically impossible.  He obeyed immediately, and in doing so exercised faith.
Healing Jesus In response to the faith and obedience of Peter and Aeneas, Jesus was there, ready to release His healing power.

Lydda
A largely Gentile city about twenty-five miles from Jerusalem.

Sharon
It is the seacoast between Joppa and Carmel, extending back to the hills of Samaria.  It was a fertile region,  a pasture land for flocks.  Among its flowers lilies and anemones (roses) are prominent.  Its length is about 50 miles,   its breadth 9 or 10 miles.  Lydda was at its south limit.

The story of Aeneas' healing spread throughout the city of Lydda and throughout the plain of Sharon,  which bordered the seacoast,  and resulted in the conversion of many people.  This area was populated in part by Gentiles;  Luke is tracing the extension of the church from the Jewish Jerusalem community to the Gentile converts.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(34)  And Peter said to him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [now] makes you whole. Get up and make your bed! And immediately [Aeneas] stood up.
(35)  Then all the inhabitants of Lydda and the plain of Sharon saw [what had happened to] him and they turned to the Lord.



DORCAS  RESTORED  TO  HEALTH

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Acts 9:36
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(36)  At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.

Now there was in the city of Joppa a woman disciple called Tabitha, which means gazelle; she was rich in good works and in charitable acts.


Joppa
An ancient walled town about 35 miles from Jerusalem.  In Maccabaean times Joppa was garrisoned by the Syrians.  The Jews of the town were induced to go aboard ships,  and 200 of them were treacherously drowned.  In retribution Judas set fire by night to the docks and boats in the harbor and slew the fugitives.

Eventually Simon captured the town,  garrisoned it,  completed the harbor,  and restored the fortifications.  It is now called Jaffa,  and is built on a rocky mount 116 feet high at the edge of the sea.  A small harbor is formed by a ledge of rocks lying parallel to the shore,  but entrance to it from the south is barred by rocks.  The north end is open but shallow,  and the one passage through the reef is only 10 feet wide.

This city reminds us at once of the prophet Jonah,  who went down to Joppa to flee to Tarshish (Jonah 1:1-3).  God called Jonah to carry His message to the Gentiles;  and God was about to call Peter to do the same thing  (Acts 10).  Peter lived in Joppa with Simon,  a tanner suggesting that some of Peter's Jewish prejudices are now being set aside,  for tanning was  "unclean"  as far as Jews were concerned.  Peter was about to discover that nothing is unclean that God has sanctified.
(from Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Copyright © 1992 by Chariot Victor Publishing, an imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved.)

Tabitha - Dorcas
The one the Syro-Chaldaic,  the other the Greek name for an antelope or gazelle,  which,  from the grace of its motions and the beauty of its eyes,  was frequently employed as a proper name for women.  The interpretation of the name is given by the historian,  to signify that it expressed the character which she bore among the Christians of the place.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
1. Aramaic Tabitha
2. Greek Dorcas
3. English Gazelle

The name became an appellation of a female,  probably on account of the beauty of its form.  "It is not unusual in the East to give the names of beautiful animals to young women" (Clark).  (Compare Song of Solomon 2:9  "My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag." ).

It was customary at this time for the Jews to have two names,  one Hebrew and the other Greek or Latin;  and this would especially be the case in a seaport like Joppa,  which was both a Gentile and a Jewish town.  She may have been known by both names.
(from Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Full of good works
She spent her life in acts of kindness and charity.  Her soul was full of love to God and man;  and her whole time was filled up with works of piety and mercy.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Wuest translates:
"This woman was abounding in good works and in the giving of alms to the needy, in which activities she was constantly engaged."
(from The New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest Copyright © 1961 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(36)  Now there was at Joppa a disciple [a woman] named [in Aramaic] Tabitha, which [in Greek] means Dorcas. She was abounding in good deeds and acts of charity.

Acts 9:37 & 38
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(37)  But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.

And it came to pass in those days that she fell sick, and died; they bathed her body and laid it in an upper room.

(38)  And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them.

And the disciples heard that Simon Peter was in the city of Lydda, which is beside Joppa; they sent to him two men, desiring him to come to them without delay.


Washed
In most nations of the world it was customary to wash their dead before they buried them. The waking or watching of the dead was also practiced among the ancient Greeks.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Sent two men to him
The believers in Joppa heard that Peter was in the area, and they sent for him immediately. There is no record in Acts that any of the Apostles had raised the dead, so their sending for Peter was an evidence of their faith in the power of the risen Christ.  When our Lord ministered on earth, He raised the dead, so why would He not be able to raise the dead from His exalted throne in glory?
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(37)  About that time she fell sick and died, and when they had cleansed her, they laid [her] in an upper room.
(38)  Since Lydda was near Joppa [however], the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him begging him, Do come to us without delay.

Acts 9:39-41
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(39)  Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them.

Then Simon Peter arose and went with them. And when he had arrived, they took him to the upper room where all the widows were gathered around him weeping and they showed him shirts and cloaks which Tabitha had given them when she was alive.

(40)  But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.

But Simon Peter put all the people out an knelt down and prayed; then he turned to the body and said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Simon Peter, she sat up.

(41)  Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.

And he gave her his hand and lifted her up; then he called the saints and widows and presented her to them alive.


Stood by him weeping
Vivid picture of this group of widows as they stood around Peter,  "weeping"  (klaiousai - wailing aloud)  and  "showing"  (epideiknumenai),  present middle as belonging to themselves,  "pointing with pride to"  the very inner garments and outer garments,  like the Latin tunica and toga,  which she made from time to time.  It was a heart-breaking scene.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

Peter put them all out
See how closely Peter followed the example of Jesus in raising the daughter of Jairus:
Jesus - Mark 5:40-42 Peter - Acts 9:40, 41
He put them all outside He put them all out
He took her by the hand. He said "Tabitha, arise."
He said "Little girl, I say to you, arise." He gave her his hand and lifted her up.

Why did Peter kneel down and pray first?
To determine the Lord's will in the matter.  Not every believer that died was to be brought back to life.  God takes us when it is His time.  But in this case,  Peter prayed,  for he had the same confidence that John had:
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
(1 John 5:14-15)

In his healing Aeneas there was an implied prayer,  but in this greater work he addressed himself to God by solemn prayer,  as Christ when he raised Lazarus;  but Christ's prayer was with the authority of a Son,  who quickens whom he will;  Peter's with the submission of a servant,  who is under direction,  and therefore he knelt down and prayed.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From the Amplified Bible
(39)  So Peter [immediately] rose and accompanied them. And when he had arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood around him, crying and displaying undershirts (tunics) and [other] garments such as Dorcas was accustomed to make while she was with them.
(40)  But Peter put them all out [of the room] and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, Tabitha, get up! And she opened her eyes; and when she saw Peter, she raised herself and sat upright.
(41)  And he gave her his hand and lifted her up. Then calling in God's people and the widows, he presented her to them alive.

Acts 9:42 & 43
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(42)  And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.

And this was known throughout the city and many believed in our Lord.

(43)  So it was that he stayed many days in Joppa with Simon, a tanner.

And he remained in Joppa many days, staying at the house of Simon, the tanner.


Many believed
This was the first miracle of this kind that was performed by the apostles.  The effect was that many believed.
It was not merely a work of benevolence,  in restoring to life one who contributed largely to the comfort of the poor,  but it was a means of extending and establishing,  as it was designed doubtless to do,  the kingdom of the Savior.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Simon, a tanner
A person who dealt in hides,  whether of clean or unclean animals,  was held in contempt by the Jews.

Whether the original word bursei signifies a tanner or a currier,  is of little consequence.  The person who dealt in the hides,  whether of clean or unclean animals,  could not be in high repute among the Jews.  Even in Joppa,  the trade appears to have been reputed unclean;  and therefore this Simon had his house by the sea side.  Of the trade itself the Talmudists speak with great contempt;  they reckon it among blemishes.  See proofs in Schoettgen.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The use of para (with) is usual for staying with one (by his side).
"The more scrupulous Jews regarded such an occupation as unclean,  and avoided those who pursued it.  The conduct of Peter here shows that he did not carry his prejudices to that extent" (Hackett).
One of the rabbis said:
"It is impossible for the world to do without tanners;  but woe to him who is a tanner."
A Jewess could sue for divorce if she discovered that her husband was a tanner.  And yet Peter will have scruples on the housetop in the tanner's house about eating food considered unclean.  "The lodging with the tanner was a step on the road to eating with a Gentile"  (Furneaux).
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

From the Amplified Bible
(42)  And this became known throughout all Joppa, and many came to believe on the Lord [to adhere to and trust in and rely on Him as the Christ and as their Savior].
(43)  And Peter remained in Joppa for considerable time with a certain Simon a tanner.

First Period Of The Christian Church Ends

With the resurrection of Dorcas we have the ending of the first period of the Christian Church. About 8 years had passed since Pentecost, during which time the gospel had been preached only to the Jews. The church was founded by Jews and for Jews. The time had now arrived to take the gospel to the Gentiles.

God knew and predicted that the Jews would reject the gospel, so planned to change administrations. The conversion of Saul was in preparation for this change of programs.


Second Period Of The Christian Church Commences

In the second period of the church there was a gradual change in the gospel program to fit the Gentiles. Not that the gospel itself was changed, but it was purged of all mixture with the Law of Moses. Soon Gentile ministers and churches appeared and a new program for Gentiles was settled on by the general conference (Chapter 15).



(End of Chapter Nine)

 

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