Acts 9

The Conversion of Saul

1 1Now Saul, still 2breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,
2 and asked for 3letters from him to 4the synagogues at 5Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to 6the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
3 As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and 7suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;
4 and 8he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"
5 And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,
6 but get up and enter the city, and 9it will be told you what * you must do."
7 The men who traveled with him 10stood speechless, 11hearing the voice but seeing no one.
8 Saul got up from the ground, and 12though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into 13Damascus.
9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
10 Now there was a disciple at 14Damascus named 15Ananias; and the Lord said to him in 16a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord."
11 And the Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from 17Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying,
12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and 18lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight."
13 But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, 19how much harm he did to 20Your saints at Jerusalem;
14 and here he 21has authority from the 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 bear My name before 24the Gentiles and 25kings and the sons of Israel;
16 for 26I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake."
17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after 27laying his hands on him said, "28Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be 29filled with the Holy Spirit."
18 And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;
and he took food and was strengthened.

Saul Begins to Preach Christ

19 Now 30 for several days he was with 31 the disciples who were at Damascus,
20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus 32in the synagogues, saying, "He is 33the Son of God."
21 All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, "Is this not he who in Jerusalem 34destroyed those who 35called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?"
22 But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
23 When 36many days had elapsed, 37the Jews plotted together to do away with him,
24 but 38their plot became known to Saul. 39They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death;
25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering * him in a large basket.
26 40When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.
27 But 41Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had 42seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how 43at Damascus he had 44spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
28 And he was with them, moving * * about * * freely * * in Jerusalem, 45speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord.
29 And he was talking and arguing with the 46Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death.
30 But when 47the brethren learned of it, they brought him down to 48Caesarea and 49sent him away to 50Tarsus.
31 So 51the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.

Peter's Ministry

32 Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to 52the saints who lived at 53Lydda.
33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden * * eight years, for he was paralyzed.
34 Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed." Immediately he got up.
35 And all who lived at 54Lydda and 55Sharon saw him, and they 56turned to the Lord.
36 Now in 57Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas ); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.
37 And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an 58upper room.
38 Since Lydda was near 59Joppa, 60the disciples, having heard that Peter was there *, sent two men to him, imploring him, "Do not delay in coming to us."
39 So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the 61upper room; and all the 62widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them.
40 But Peter 63sent them all out and 64knelt * down * and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, "65Tabitha, 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; and calling 66the saints and 67widows, he presented her alive.
42 It became known all over 68Joppa, and 69many believed in the Lord.
43 And Peter stayed many days in 70Joppa with 71a tanner named Simon.

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 71

  • 1. Acts 9:1-22; Acts 22:3-16; Acts 26:9-18
  • 2. Acts 8:3; Acts 9:13-21
  • 3. Acts 9:14, 21; Acts 22:5; Acts 26:10
  • 4. Matthew 10:17
  • 5. Genesis 14:15; 2 Corinthians 11:32; Galatians 1:17
  • 6. John 14:6; Acts 18:25; Acts 19:9, 23; Acts 22:4; Acts 24:14, 22
  • 7. 1 Corinthians 15:8
  • 8. Acts 22:7; Acts 26:14
  • 9. Acts 9:16
  • 10. Acts 26:14
  • 11. John 12:29; Acts 22:9
  • 12. Acts 9:18; Acts 22:11
  • 13. Genesis 14:15; 2 Corinthians 11:32; Galatians 1:17
  • 14. Genesis 14:15; 2 Corinthians 11:32; Galatians 1:17
  • 15. Acts 22:12
  • 16. Acts 10:3, 17, 19; Acts 11:5; Acts 12:9; Acts 16:9; Acts 18:9
  • 17. Acts 9:30; Acts 11:25; Acts 21:39; Acts 22:3
  • 18. Mark 5:23; Acts 6:6; Acts 9:17
  • 19. Acts 8:3
  • 20. Acts 9:32, 41; Acts 26:10; Romans 1:7; Romans 15:25, 26, 31; Romans 16:2, 15; 1 Corinthians 1:2
  • 21. Acts 9:2, 21
  • 22. Acts 7:59
  • 23. Acts 13:2; Romans 1:1; Romans 9:23; Galatians 1:15; Ephesians 3:7
  • 24. Acts 22:21; Acts 26:17; Romans 1:5; Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16; Galatians 1:16; Galatians 2:7f; Ephesians 3:1, 8; 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 4:17
  • 25. Acts 25:22; Acts 26:1, 32; 2 Timothy 4:17
  • 26. Acts 20:23; Acts 21:4, 11, 13; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 11:23-27; 1 Thessalonians 3:3
  • 27. Mark 5:23; Acts 6:6; Acts 9:12
  • 28. Acts 22:13
  • 29. Acts 2:4
  • 30. Acts 13:5, 14; Acts 14:1; Acts 16:13; Acts 17:2, 10; Acts 18:4, 19; Acts 19:8
  • 31. Matthew 4:3; Acts 9:22; Acts 13:33
  • 32. Acts 8:3; Acts 9:13; Galatians 1:13, 23
  • 33. Acts 9:14
  • 34. Galatians 1:17, 18
  • 35. 1 Thessalonians 2:16
  • 36. Acts 20:3, 19; Acts 23:12, 30; Acts 25:3
  • 37. 2 Corinthians 11:32
  • 38. Acts 22:17-20; Acts 26:20
  • 39. Acts 4:36
  • 40. Acts 9:3-6
  • 41. Acts 9:20, 22
  • 42. Acts 4:13, 29; Acts 9:29
  • 43. Acts 4:13, 29; Acts 9:29
  • 44. Acts 6:1
  • 45. Acts 1:15
  • 46. Acts 8:40
  • 47. Galatians 1:21
  • 48. Acts 9:11
  • 49. Acts 5:11; Acts 8:1; Acts 16:5
  • 50. Acts 9:13
  • 51. 1 Chronicles 8:12; Ezra 2:33; Nehemiah 7:37; Nehemiah 11:35
  • 52. 1 Chronicles 8:12; Ezra 2:33; Nehemiah 7:37; Nehemiah 11:35
  • 53. 1 Chronicles 5:16; 1 Chronicles 27:29; Isaiah 33:9; Isaiah 35:2; Isaiah 65:10
  • 54. Acts 2:47; Acts 9:42; Acts 11:21
  • 55. Joshua 19:46; 2 Chronicles 2:16; Ezra 3:7; Jonah 1:3; Acts 9:38, 42; Acts 10:5, 8, 23, 32; Acts 11:5, 13
  • 56. Acts 1:13; Acts 9:39
  • 57. Joshua 19:46; 2 Chronicles 2:16; Ezra 3:7; Jonah 1:3; Acts 9:36, 42; Acts 10:5, 8, 23, 32; Acts 11:5, 13
  • 58. Acts 11:26
  • 59. Acts 1:13; Acts 9:37
  • 60. Acts 6:1
  • 61. Matthew 9:25
  • 62. Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60
  • 63. Mark 5:41
  • 64. Acts 9:13, 32
  • 65. Acts 6:1
  • 66. Joshua 19:46; 2 Chronicles 2:16; Jonah 1:3; Acts 9:38, 42; Acts 10:5, 8, 23, 32; Acts 11:5, 13
  • 67. Acts 9:35
  • 68. Joshua 19:46; 2 Chronicles 2:16; Ezra 3:7; Jonah 1:3; Acts 9:38, 42; Acts 10:5, 8, 23, 32; Acts 11:13, 15
  • 69. Acts 10:6
  • 70. Acts 26:20
  • 71. Acts 9:26,38; Acts 11:26

Footnotes 20

Acts 9 Commentaries

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