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Acts 9:1-31

Context
The Conversion of Saul

9:1 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing out threats 1  to murder 2  the Lord’s disciples, went to the high priest 9:2 and requested letters from him to the synagogues 3  in Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, 4  either men or women, he could bring them as prisoners 5  to Jerusalem. 6  9:3 As he was going along, approaching 7  Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed 8  around him. 9:4 He 9  fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, 10  why are you persecuting me?” 11  9:5 So he said, “Who are you, Lord?” He replied, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting! 9:6 But stand up 12  and enter the city and you will be told 13  what you must do.” 9:7 (Now the men 14  who were traveling with him stood there speechless, 15  because they heard the voice but saw no one.) 16  9:8 So Saul got up from the ground, but although his eyes were open, 17  he could see nothing. 18  Leading him by the hand, his companions 19  brought him into Damascus. 9:9 For 20  three days he could not see, and he neither ate nor drank anything. 21 

9:10 Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The 22  Lord 23  said to him in a vision, “Ananias,” and he replied, “Here I am, 24  Lord.” 9:11 Then the Lord told him, “Get up and go to the street called ‘Straight,’ 25  and at Judas’ house look for a man from Tarsus named Saul. For he is praying, 9:12 and he has seen in a vision 26  a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him so that he may see again.” 9:13 But Ananias replied, 27  “Lord, I have heard from many people 28  about this man, how much harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem, 9:14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison 29  all who call on your name!” 30  9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, because this man is my chosen instrument 31  to carry my name before Gentiles and kings and the people of Israel. 32  9:16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 33  9:17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, placed 34  his hands on Saul 35  and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came here, 36  has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 37  9:18 Immediately 38  something like scales 39  fell from his eyes, and he could see again. He 40  got up and was baptized, 9:19 and after taking some food, his strength returned.

For several days 41  he was with the disciples in Damascus, 9:20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, 42  saying, “This man is the Son of God.” 43  9:21 All 44  who heard him were amazed and were saying, “Is this not 45  the man who in Jerusalem was ravaging 46  those who call on this name, and who had come here to bring them as prisoners 47  to the chief priests?” 9:22 But Saul became more and more capable, 48  and was causing consternation 49  among the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving 50  that Jesus 51  is the Christ. 52 

Saul’s Escape from Damascus

9:23 Now after some days had passed, the Jews plotted 53  together to kill him, 9:24 but Saul learned of their plot against him. 54  They were also watching 55  the city gates 56  day and night so that they could kill him. 9:25 But his disciples took him at night and let him down through an opening 57  in the wall by lowering him in a basket. 58 

Saul Returns to Jerusalem

9:26 When he arrived in Jerusalem, 59  he attempted to associate 60  with the disciples, and they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe 61  that he was a disciple. 9:27 But Barnabas took 62  Saul, 63  brought 64  him to the apostles, and related to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, that 65  the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly 66  in the name of Jesus. 9:28 So he was staying with them, associating openly with them 67  in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. 9:29 He was speaking and debating 68  with the Greek-speaking Jews, 69  but they were trying to kill him. 9:30 When the brothers found out about this, they brought him down to Caesarea 70  and sent him away to Tarsus.

9:31 Then 71  the church throughout Judea, Galilee, 72  and Samaria experienced 73  peace and thus was strengthened. 74  Living 75  in the fear of the Lord and in the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, the church 76  increased in numbers.

1 tn Or “Saul, making dire threats.”

2 tn The expression “breathing out threats and murder” is an idiomatic expression for “making threats to murder” (see L&N 33.293). Although the two terms “threats” and “murder” are syntactically coordinate, the second is semantically subordinate to the first. In other words, the content of the threats is to murder the disciples.

3 sn See the note on synagogue in 6:9.

4 sn The expression “the way” in ancient religious literature refers at times to “the whole way of life fr. a moral and spiritual viewpoint” (BDAG 692 s.v. ὁδός 3.c), and it has been so used of Christianity and its teachings in the book of Acts (see also 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22). It is a variation of Judaism’s idea of two ways, the true and the false, where “the Way” is the true one (1 En. 91:18; 2 En. 30:15).

5 tn Grk “bring them bound”; the translation “bring someone as prisoner” for δεδεμένον ἄγειν τινά (dedemenon agein tina) is given by BDAG 221 s.v. δέω 1.b.

6 sn From Damascus to Jerusalem was a six-day journey. Christianity had now expanded into Syria.

map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

7 tn Grk “As he was going along, it happened that when he was approaching.” The phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

8 tn Or “shone” (BDAG 799 s.v. περιαστράπτω). The light was more brilliant than the sun according to Acts 26:13.

9 tn Grk “and he.” Because of the length of the Greek sentence, the conjunction καί (kai) has not been translated here. Instead a new English sentence is begun.

10 tn The double vocative suggests emotion.

11 sn Persecuting me. To persecute the church is to persecute Jesus.

12 tn Or “But arise.”

13 tn Literally a passive construction, “it will be told to you.” This has been converted to another form of passive construction in the translation.

14 tn The Greek term here is ἀνήρ (anhr), which is used only rarely in a generic sense of both men and women. In the historical setting here, Paul’s traveling companions were almost certainly all males.

15 tn That is, unable to speak because of fear or amazement. See BDAG 335 s.v. ἐνεός.

16 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. Acts 22:9 appears to indicate that they saw the light but did not hear a voice. They were “witnesses” that something happened.

17 tn Grk “his eyes being open,” a genitive absolute construction that has been translated as a concessive adverbial participle.

18 sn He could see nothing. This sign of blindness, which was temporary until v. 18, is like the sign of deafness experienced by Zechariah in Luke 1. It allowed some time for Saul (Paul) to reflect on what had happened without distractions.

19 tn Grk “they”; the referents (Saul’s companions) have been specified in the translation for clarity.

20 tn Grk “And for.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

21 tn The word “anything” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader. The fasting might indicate an initial realization of Luke 5:33-39. Fasting was usually accompanied by reflective thought.

22 tn Grk “And the.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

23 sn The Lord is directing all the events leading to the expansion of the gospel as he works on both sides of the meeting between Paul and Ananias. “The Lord” here refers to Jesus (see v. 17).

24 tn Grk “behold, I,” but this construction often means “here is/there is” (cf. BDAG 468 s.v. ἰδού 2).

25 sn The noting of the detail of the locale, ironically called ‘Straight’ Street, shows how directive and specific the Lord was.

26 tc ‡ The words ἐν ὀράματι (en oramati, “in a vision”) are not found in some of the earliest and best mss (Ì74 א A 81 pc lat sa bo), but are implied from the context. The phrase is included, although sometimes in a different order with ἄνδρα (andra, “man”) or omitting ἄνδρα altogether, by B C E Ψ 33 1175 1739 Ï. The order of words in NA27, ἄνδρα ἐν ὁράματι, is supported only by B C 1175. Generally speaking, when there are three or more variants, with one an omission and the others involving rearrangements, the longer readings are later scribal additions. Further, the reading looks like a clarifying note, for an earlier vision is explicitly mentioned in v. 10. On the other hand, it is possible that some scribes deleted the words because of perceived repetition, though this is unlikely since it is a different vision two verses back. It is also possible that some scribes could have confused ὁράματι with ὀνόματι (onomati, “name”); TCGNT 319 notes that several mss place ονόματι before ᾿Ανανίαν (Ananian, “Ananias”) while a few others drop ὀνόματι altogether. The Sahidic mss are among those that drop the word, however, and they also lack ἐν ὁράματι; all that is left is one version and father that drops ὀνόματι. Perhaps the best argument for the authenticity of the phrase is that B C 1175 preserve a rare, distinctively Lukan word order, but this is not nearly as harsh or unusual as what Luke does elsewhere. A decision is difficult in this case, but on balance the omission of the phrase seems to be authentic. The words are nevertheless added in the translation because of contextual considerations. NA27 places the words in brackets, indicating doubts as to their authenticity.

sn Apparently while in Damascus Paul had a subsequent vision in the midst of his blindness, fulfilling the prediction in 9:6.

27 sn Ananias replied. Past events might have suggested to Ananias that this was not good counsel, but like Peter in Acts 10, Ananias’ intuitions were wrong.

28 tn The word “people” is not in the Greek text, but is implied.

29 tn Grk “to bind.”

30 sn The expression “those who call on your name” is a frequent description of believers (Acts 2:21; 1 Cor 1:2; Rom 10:13).

31 tn Or “tool.”

32 tn Grk “the sons of Israel.” In Acts, Paul is a minister to all nations, including Israel (Rom 1:16-17).

33 tn Or “because of my name.” BDAG 1031 s.v. ὑπέρ 2 lists Acts 9:16 as an example of ὑπέρ (Juper) used to indicate “the moving cause or reason, because of, for the sake of, for.”

34 tn Grk “and placing his hands on Saul, he said.” The participle ἐπιθείς (epiqei") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. For the same reason καί (kai) has not been translated before the participle.

35 tn Grk “on him”; the referent (Saul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

36 tn Grk “on the road in which you came,” but the relative clause makes for awkward English style, so it was translated as a temporal clause (“as you came here”).

37 sn Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Here someone who is not an apostle (Ananias) commissions another person with the Spirit.

38 tn Grk “And immediately.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

39 tn The comparison to “scales” suggests a crusty covering which peeled away (cf. BDAG 592 s.v. λεπίς 2).

40 tn Grk “and he.” Because of the length of the Greek sentence, the conjunction καί (kai) has not been translated here. Instead a new English sentence was started, with “and” placed before the final element of the previous clause as required by English style.

41 tn Grk “It happened that for several days.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

42 sn See the note on synagogue in 6:9.

43 tn The ὅτι (Joti) is understood to introduce direct (“This man is the Son of God”) rather than indirect discourse (“that this man is the Son of God”) because the pronoun οὗτος (Jouto") combined with the present tense verb ἐστιν (estin) suggests the contents of what was proclaimed are a direct (albeit summarized) quotation.

sn This is the only use of the title Son of God in Acts. The book prefers to allow a variety of descriptions to present Jesus.

44 tn Grk “And all.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

45 tn The Greek interrogative particle used in this verse (οὐχ, ouc) expects a positive reply. They all knew about Saul’s persecutions.

46 tn Normally, “destroying,” but compare 4 Macc 4:23; 11:4 and MM 529 s.v. πορθέω for examples from Koine papyri. See also BDAG 853 s.v. πορθέω.

47 tn Grk “bring them bound”; the translation “bring someone as prisoner” for δεδεμένον ἄγειν τινά (dedemenon agein tina) is given by BDAG 221 s.v. δέω 1.b.

48 tn Grk “was becoming stronger,” but this could be understood in a physical sense, while the text refers to Saul’s growing ability to demonstrate to fellow Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. The translation “to become capable” for ἐνδυναμόω (endunamow) is given in L&N 74.7, with this specific verse as an example.

49 tn Or “was confounding.” For the translation “to cause consternation” for συγχέω (suncew) see L&N 25.221.

50 tn Or “by showing for certain.”

51 tn Grk “that this one”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

52 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.” Note again the variation in the titles used.

sn See the note on Christ in 2:31.

53 sn Fitting the pattern emphasized earlier with Stephen and his speech in Acts 7, some Jews plotted to kill God’s messenger (cf. Luke 11:53-54).

54 tn The words “against him” are implied, as suggested by L&N 30.71.

55 tn Or “guarding.” This is a negative term in Luke-Acts (Luke 6:7; 14:1; 20:20).

56 tn The word πύλη (pulh) may refer to a house door or gate, or to the large gates used in a palace, temple, or city wall. Here the context clearly indicates a reference to the latter, so the translation “city gates” is used.

57 tn The opening in the wall is not specifically mentioned here, but the parallel account in 2 Cor 11:33 mentions a “window” or “opening” (θυρίς, quris) in the city wall through which Paul was lowered. One alternative to introducing mention of the opening is to translate Acts 9:25 “they let him down over the wall,” as suggested in L&N 7.61. This option is not employed by many translations, however, because for the English reader it creates an (apparent) contradiction between Acts 9:25 and 2 Cor 11:33. In reality the account here is simply more general, omitting the detail about the window.

58 tn On the term for “basket” used here, see BDAG 940 s.v. σπυρίς.

59 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

60 tn Or “join.”

61 tn The participle πιστεύοντες (pisteuonte") has been translated as a causal adverbial participle.

62 tn Grk “taking Saul, brought him.” The participle ἐπιλαβόμενος (epilabomeno") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

63 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Saul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

64 tn Grk “and brought,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

65 tn Grk “and that,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

66 tn On this verb which is used 7 times in Acts, see BDAG 782 s.v. παρρησιάζομαι 1. See also v. 28.

67 tn Grk “he was with them going in and going out in Jerusalem.” The expression “going in and going out” is probably best taken as an idiom for association without hindrance. Some modern translations (NASB, NIV) translate the phrase “moving about freely in Jerusalem,” although the NRSV retains the literal “he went in and out among them in Jerusalem.”

68 tn Or “arguing.” BDAG 954 s.v. συζητέω 2 gives “dispute, debate, argueτινί ‘w. someone’” for συνεζήτει (sunezhtei).

69 tn Grk “the Hellenists,” but this descriptive term is largely unknown to the modern English reader. The translation “Greek-speaking Jews” attempts to convey something of who these were, but it was more than a matter of language spoken; it involved a degree of adoption of Greek culture as well.

70 sn Caesarea was a city on the coast of Palestine, south of Mount Carmel (not Caesarea Philippi). See the note on Caesarea in Acts 10:1.

map For location see Map2 C1; Map4 B3; Map5 F2; Map7 A1; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

71 tn Or “Therefore.” This verse is another summary text in Acts (cf. 2:41-47; 4:32-37; 5:12-16; 6:7).

72 tn Grk “and Galilee,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

73 tn Grk “had.”

74 tn Or “Built up.” The participle οἰκοδομουμένη (oikodomoumenh) has been translated as a participle of result related to εἶχεν (eicen). It could also be understood as adverbial to ἐπληθύνετο (eplhquneto): “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria experienced peace. Strengthened and living in the fear of the Lord and in the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.” Although some scholars do not regard the participle of result as a legitimate category, it is actually fairly common (see ExSyn 637-39).

75 tn Grk “And living.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

76 tn Grk “it”; the referent (the church) has been specified in the translation for clarity.



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