Acts 9

Listen to Acts 9

The Conversion of Saul

1 But Saul, 1still 2breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to 3the high priest
2 and asked him for letters 4to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to 5the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
3 6Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.
4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting 7me?"
5 And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, 8whom you are persecuting.
6 But 9rise and enter the city, and you will be told 10what you are to do."
7 11The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, 12hearing the voice but seeing no one.
8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, 13he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.
9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named 14Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, 15"Here I am, Lord."
11 And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man 16of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying,
12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and 17lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight."
13 But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, 18how much evil he has done to 19your 20saints at Jerusalem.
14 And here he has authority from 21the chief priests to bind all who 22call on your name."
15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for 23he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name 24before the Gentiles and 25kings and the children of Israel.
16 For 26I will show him how much 27he must suffer 28for the sake of my name."
17 So 29Ananias departed and entered the house. And 30laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and 31be filled with the Holy Spirit."
18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and 32he regained his sight. Then 33he rose and was baptized;
19 and 34taking food, he was strengthened. For 35some days he was with the disciples at Damascus.
20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, 36"He is the Son of God."
21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, "Is not this the man who 37made havoc 38in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?"
22 But Saul 39increased all the more in strength, and 40confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving 41that Jesus was the Christ.

Saul Escapes from Damascus

23 42When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him,
24 but their 43plot became known to Saul. 44They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him,
25 but his disciples took him by night and 45let him down through an opening in the wall,[a] lowering him in a basket.

Saul in Jerusalem

26 And 46when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple.
27 But 47Barnabas took him and 48brought him to the apostles and declared to them 49how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and 50how at Damascus he had 51preached boldly in the name of Jesus.
28 So he went 52in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord.
29 And he spoke and disputed against 53the Hellenists.[b] But 54they were seeking to kill him.
30 And when 55the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off 56to Tarsus.
31 So 57the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And 58walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, 59it multiplied.

The Healing of Aeneas

32 Now 60as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda.
33 There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralyzed.
34 And Peter said to him, "Aeneas, 61Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed." And immediately he rose.
35 62And all the residents of Lydda and 63Sharon saw him, and 64they turned to the Lord.

Dorcas Restored to Life

36 Now there was in 65Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas.[c] She was full of 66good works and acts of charity.
37 In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in 67an upper room.
38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, 68"Please come to us without delay."
39 So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to 69the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics[d] and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them.
40 But Peter 70put them all outside, and 71knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body 72he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.
41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive.
42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and 73many believed in the Lord.
43 And he stayed in Joppa for many days 74with one Simon, a tanner.

Acts 9 Commentary

Chapter 9

The conversion of Saul. (1-9) Saul converted preaches Christ. (10-22) Saul is persecuted at Damascus, and goes to Jerusalem. (23-31) Cure of Eneas. (32-35) Dorcas raised to life. (36-43)

Verses 1-9 So ill informed was Saul, that he thought he ought to do all he could against the name of Christ, and that he did God service thereby; he seemed to breathe in this as in his element. Let us not despair of renewing grace for the conversion of the greatest sinners, nor let such despair of the pardoning mercy of God for the greatest sin. It is a signal token of Divine favour, if God, by the inward working of his grace, or the outward events of his providence, stops us from prosecuting or executing sinful purposes. Saul saw that Just One, ch. ( Acts 22:14 , 26:13 ) . How near to us is the unseen world! It is but for God to draw aside the veil, and objects are presented to the view, compared with which, whatever is most admired on earth is mean and contemptible. Saul submitted without reserve, desirous to know what the Lord Jesus would have him to do. Christ's discoveries of himself to poor souls are humbling; they lay them very low, in mean thoughts of themselves. For three days Saul took no food, and it pleased God to leave him for that time without relief. His sins were now set in order before him; he was in the dark concerning his own spiritual state, and wounded in spirit for sin. When a sinner is brought to a proper sense of his own state and conduct, he will cast himself wholly on the mercy of the Saviour, asking what he would have him to do. God will direct the humbled sinner, and though he does not often bring transgressors to joy and peace in believing, without sorrows and distress of conscience, under which the soul is deeply engaged as to eternal things, yet happy are those who sow in tears, for they shall reap in joy.

Verses 10-22 A good work was begun in Saul, when he was brought to Christ's feet with those words, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And never did Christ leave any who were brought to that. Behold, the proud Pharisee, the unmerciful oppressor, the daring blasphemer, prayeth! And thus it is even now, and with the proud infidel, or the abandoned sinner. What happy tidings are these to all who understand the nature and power of prayer, of such prayer as the humbled sinner presents for the blessings of free salvation! Now he began to pray after another manner than he had done; before, he said his prayers, now, he prayed them. Regenerating grace sets people on praying; you may as well find a living man without breath, as a living Christian without prayer. Yet even eminent disciples, like Ananias, sometimes stagger at the commands of the Lord. But it is the Lord's glory to surpass our scanty expectations, and show that those are vessels of his mercy whom we are apt to consider as objects of his vengeance. The teaching of the Holy Spirit takes away the scales of ignorance and pride from the understanding; then the sinner becomes a new creature, and endeavours to recommend the anointed Saviour, the Son of God, to his former companions.

Verses 23-31 When we enter into the way of God, we must look for trials; but the Lord knows how to deliver the godly, and will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape. Though Saul's conversion was and is a proof of the truth of Christianity, yet it could not, of itself, convert one soul at enmity with the truth; for nothing can produce true faith, but that power which new-creates the heart. Believers are apt to be too suspicious of those against whom they have prejudices. The world is full of deceit, and it is necessary to be cautious, but we must exercise ( 1 Corinthians. 13:5 ) true believers; and he will bring them to his people, and often gives them opportunities of bearing testimony to his truth, before those who once witnessed their hatred to it. Christ now appeared to Saul, and ordered him to go quickly out of Jerusalem, for he must be sent to the Gentiles: see ch. 22:21 . Christ's witnesses cannot be slain till they have finished their testimony. The persecutions were stayed. The professors of the gospel walked uprightly, and enjoyed much comfort from the Holy Ghost, in the hope and peace of the gospel, and others were won over to them. They lived upon the comfort of the Holy Ghost, not only in the days of trouble and affliction, but in days of rest and prosperity. Those are most likely to walk cheerfully, who walk circumspectly.

Verses 32-35 Christians are saints, or holy people; not only the eminent ones, as Saint Peter and Saint Paul, but every sincere professor of the faith of Christ. Christ chose patients whose diseases were incurable in the course of nature, to show how desperate was the case of fallen mankind. When we were wholly without strength, as this poor man, he sent his word to heal us. Peter does not pretend to heal by any power of his own, but directs Eneas to look up to Christ for help. Let none say, that because it is Christ, who, by the power of his grace, works all our works in us, therefore we have no work, no duty to do; for though Jesus Christ makes thee whole, yet thou must arise, and use the power he gives thee.

Verses 36-43 Many are full of good words, who are empty and barren in good works; but Tabitha was a great doer, no great talker. Christians who have not property to give in charity, may yet be able to do acts of charity, working with their hands, or walking with their feet, for the good of others. Those are certainly best praised whose own works praise them, whether the words of others do so or not. But such are ungrateful indeed, who have kindness shown them, and will not acknowledge it, by showing the kindness that is done them. While we live upon the fulness of Christ for our whole salvation, we should desire to be full of good works, for the honour of his name, and for the benefit of his saints. Such characters as Dorcas are useful where they dwell, as showing the excellency of the word of truth by their lives. How mean then the cares of the numerous females who seek no distinction but outward decoration, and who waste their lives in the trifling pursuits of dress and vanity! Power went along with the word, and Dorcas came to life. Thus in the raising of dead souls to spiritual life, the first sign of life is the opening of the eyes of the mind. Here we see that the Lord can make up every loss; that he overrules every event for the good of those who trust in him, and for the glory of his name.

Cross References 74

  • 1. ver. 13, 21; See Acts 8:3
  • 2. [Psalms 27:12]
  • 3. Acts 22:5; Acts 26:10
  • 4. Acts 22:19; [Luke 12:11; Luke 21:12]
  • 5. Acts 19:9, 23; Acts 24:14, 22; [Acts 16:17; Acts 18:25, 26; Acts 22:4; Isaiah 30:21; Isaiah 35:8; Amos 8:14]
  • 6. For ver. 3-8, see Acts 22:6-11; Acts 26:12-18; [1 Corinthians 15:8]
  • 7. [Isaiah 63:9; Zechariah 2:8]
  • 8. [See ver. 4 above]
  • 9. [Ezekiel 3:22; Galatians 1:1]
  • 10. ver. 16; [1 Corinthians 9:16]
  • 11. [Daniel 10:7]
  • 12. [Acts 22:9 with John 12:29]
  • 13. [Acts 22:11]
  • 14. Acts 22:12
  • 15. Genesis 22:1; Isaiah 6:8
  • 16. Acts 21:39; Acts 22:3
  • 17. ver. 17; See Mark 5:23
  • 18. ver. 1, 2
  • 19. 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:10
  • 20. Rom. 15:25, 26, 31
  • 21. ver. 21
  • 22. Acts 22:16; Romans 10:13; 1 Corinthians 1:2; [Acts 7:59; 2 Timothy 2:22]
  • 23. [Acts 13:2; Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:15; Ephesians 3:7]
  • 24. Romans 1:5 (Gk.); Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16; Galatians 1:16; Galatians 2:2, 7-9; Ephesians 3:7, 8; 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 4:17
  • 25. Acts 25:22, 23; Acts 26:1, 32; 2 Timothy 4:16
  • 26. Acts 20:23; Acts 21:4, 11; 1 Thessalonians 3:3
  • 27. ver. 6; [Acts 14:22; 2 Corinthians 6:4, 5; 2 Corinthians 11:23-28]
  • 28. See Acts 5:41
  • 29. Acts 22:12-14
  • 30. ver. 12
  • 31. See Acts 2:4
  • 32. Acts 22:13
  • 33. Acts 22:16
  • 34. [ver. 9]
  • 35. Acts 26:20
  • 36. [ver. 22]
  • 37. ver. 13, 14
  • 38. Galatians 1:13, 23
  • 39. See 1 Timothy 1:12
  • 40. Acts 18:28
  • 41. [ver. 20]
  • 42. [Galatians 1:17, 18]
  • 43. Acts 20:3, 19; Acts 23:30; [Acts 23:12; Acts 25:3]
  • 44. 2 Corinthians 11:32
  • 45. 2 Corinthians 11:33; [Joshua 2:15; 1 Samuel 19:12]
  • 46. Acts 22:17-20; Acts 26:20
  • 47. Acts 4:36
  • 48. [Galatians 1:18, 19]
  • 49. ver. 3-6
  • 50. ver. 19, 20, 22
  • 51. See Acts 4:29
  • 52. Acts 1:21
  • 53. See Acts 6:1
  • 54. [Acts 22:18]
  • 55. See John 21:23
  • 56. [Acts 11:25; Galatians 1:21]
  • 57. [Acts 8:1; Acts 16:5]
  • 58. [Nehemiah 5:9]
  • 59. ver. 35, 42
  • 60. [Acts 8:25]
  • 61. [Acts 3:6]
  • 62. [ver. 31, 42]
  • 63. 1 Chronicles 5:16; 1 Chronicles 27:29; Song of Songs 2:1
  • 64. Acts 11:21; 2 Corinthians 3:16
  • 65. See Joshua 19:46
  • 66. 1 Timothy 2:10
  • 67. ver. 39; Acts 1:13; Acts 20:8
  • 68. Numbers 22:16 (Heb.; Gk.)
  • 69. ver. 37
  • 70. Matthew 9:25
  • 71. See Acts 7:60
  • 72. [Mark 5:41; John 11:43]
  • 73. [John 11:45; John 12:11]
  • 74. Acts 10:6

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Greek through the wall
  • [b]. That is, Greek-speaking Jews
  • [c]. The Aramaic name Tabitha and the Greek name Dorcas both mean gazelle
  • [d]. Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin

Acts 9 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.