Provide an overview of Paul's story of his conversion as found in Acts 9:1–19, 22:3–16, and 26:8–9. Saul of Tarsus was a zealous leader in the opposition of Christianity. He viewed Jesus as a blasphemer and heretic whose followers were just as guilty. Saul felt that by arresting and persecuting them “he was doing a service acceptable to God”. (Harrison, 188.) He requested letters from the church leaders in Jerusalem to “authorize his persecution of the Christians” in Damascus. (Lea & Black, 296.) On his way, Saul was stopped and blinded by a bright light and loud voice. Those traveling with him did not understand what Saul was experiencing. Confused, Saul asked who was speaking to him. After learning that is was the Lord, Saul obeyed what he heard. His companions led him into Damascus. A devout Christian named Ananias came to visit Saul, after being prompted by God, and healed his blindness by placing his hands on Saul’s eyes. Saul remained in Damascus for three days, learning and teaching then left to share the gospel of Jesus.
Are the differences in these accounts normal variations found when someone retells an important event, or are they clear indicators of a fabrication? Give evidence for your view. The biggest difference found is in the reactions of Saul’s companions. They either “heard the sound but did not see anyone” (Acts 9:7, NIV) or “saw the light, but they did not understand the voice” (Acts 22:9). According to Hedrick, both of these phrases in the Greek can mean that they did not have an intellectual understanding of what they saw and heard. When Luke told Saul’s conversion story these three times in the book of Acts, each telling was for a different purpose. The Acts 9 version is considered the traditional miracle story. While the Acts 22 version tells of Paul’s commissioning. The version in Acts 26 was abbreviated as part of the greater story of that chapter. These narratives are meant to supplement and complement, not...
References: Carson, D. A., and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. Zondervan, 2005.
Harrison, Everett Falconer. “The Evidential Value of Paul’s Conversion and Ministry,” Bibliotheca Sacra 93 no 370 April-June 1936: 187-192
Hedrick, Charles W. “Paul’s Conversion/Call: A Comparative Analysis of the Three Reports in Acts,” Journal of Biblical Literature 100 no 3 S, 1981: 415-432
Lea, Thomas D., and Black, David Alan. The New Testament: Its Background and Message. Broadman and Holman, 2003. ISBN:
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