ACTS 9 - THE CONVERSION OF PAUL

Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California

Copyright 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved


The first part of this chapter is about Saul's conversion and the second part is the record of two remarkable healings.

Saul's Background - Acts 9:1-2

Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. (Acts 9:1-2)

A. Born in Tarsus - Acts 22:3. The city ranked with Athens and Alexandria as a great university center. It was also a large commercial center. - Acts 21:39

"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, just as you all are today. (Acts 22:3)

But Paul said, "I am a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city; and I beg you, allow me to speak to the people." (Acts 21:39)

B. He was a Pharisee - Acts 23:5 and Philippians 3:5

And Paul said, "I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, 'YOU SHALL NOT SPEAK EVIL OF A RULER OF YOUR PEOPLE.'" (Acts 23:5)

circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; (Philippians 3:5)

C. He was a free-born Roman citizen. - Acts 22:25,28 In 64 B.C., Tarsus was made the residence of the governor. Because the city had been loyal to Caesar in wars with the Parthians and Persians, Marc Antony granted it freedom and exemption from taxation.

And when they stretched him out with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?" (Acts 22:25)

And the commander answered, "I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money." And Paul said, "But I was actually born a citizen." (Acts 22:28)

D. He had a good education - Acts 22:3

"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, just as you all are today. (Acts 22:3)

E. He was a tent maker by trade - Acts 18:1, Acts 18:3, Acts 20:34, 1 Corinthians 4:12, 1 Thessalonians 2:9, and 2 Thessalonians 3:8

After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth. (Acts 18:1)

and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working; for by trade they were tent-makers. (Acts 18:3)

"You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. (Acts 20:34)

For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. (1 Thessalonians 2:9)

nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we might not be a burden to any of you; (2 Thessalonians 3:8)

F. In Acts, he first appears as the great persecutor of Christians - Acts 7:58, Acts 8:1, and Acts 9:1-4

And when they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. (Acts 7:58)

And Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. (Acts 8:1)

Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. And it came about that as he journeyed, he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (Acts 9:1-4)

Saul's Battle - Acts 9:3-8

And it came about that as he journeyed, he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" And he said, "Who art Thou, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but rise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do." And the men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice, but seeing no one. And Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. (Acts 9:3-8)

Saul’s New Beginning

A. Converted on the road to Damascus yielding his will to Christ - Acts 9:6

but rise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do." (Acts 9:6)

B. Spends three days in Damascus without sight and food - Acts 9:8-9

And Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. (Acts 9:8-9)

C. The vision of Ananias - Acts 9:10-12

Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Behold, here am I, Lord." And the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight." (Acts 9:10-12)

D. The fear of Ananias - Acts 9:13-14

But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon Thy name." (Acts 9:13-14)

E. The prophesy concerning Paul - Acts 9:15-16

But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake." (Acts 9:15-16)

F. The visit of Ananias - Acts 9:17-18

And Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother 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 filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he arose and was baptized; (Acts 9:17-18)

G. Saul baptized

H. Saul begins preaching - Acts 9:19-22

and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God." And all those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, "Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?" But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ. (Acts 9:19-22)

I. The plot to kill Saul - Acts 9:23-24

And when many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him, but their plot became known to Saul. And they were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death; (Acts 9:23-24)

J. Saul escapes from Damascus - Acts 9:25

but his disciples took him by night, and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket. (Acts 9:25)

K. Saul in Jerusalem - Acts 9:26-31

And when he had come to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. And he was with them moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death. But when the brethren learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus. So the 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. (Acts 9:26-31)

The Healing of Aeneas

The city of Lydda was a city of considerable size near Joppa on the coast of the Holy Land. It was burned to the ground by the Emperor Nero, but was later rebuilt.

A. The duration of his sickness - Acts 9:32-33

Now it came about that as Peter was traveling through all those parts, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years, for he was paralyzed. (Acts 9:32-33)

B. The nature of his sickness (palsy) - Acts 9:33

And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years, for he was paralyzed. (Acts 9:33)

C. The relief from his sickness - Acts 9:34

And Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; arise, and make your bed." And immediately he arose. (Acts 9:34)

D. The result of his sickness - Acts 9:35

And all who lived at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord. (Acts 9:35)

The Healing of Tabitha (Dorcas) - Acts 9:36-43

Now in Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity, which she continually did. And it came about at that time that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room. And since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, entreating him, "Do not delay to come to us." And Peter arose and went with them. And when he had come, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him weeping, and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. But Peter sent 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. And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. And it came about that he stayed many days in Joppa with a certain tanner, Simon. (Acts 9:36-43)

Study Questions

1. Why do you think that Christianity was sometimes referred to as "The Way?" - Acts 9:2, Acts 9:2, Acts 19:9, Acts 19:23, Acts 22:4, Acts 24:14, and Acts 24:22

and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. (Acts 9:2)

and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. (Acts 9:2)

But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. (Acts 19:9)

And about that time there arose no small disturbance concerning the Way. (Acts 19:23)

"And I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, (Acts 22:4)

"But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law, and that is written in the Prophets; (Acts 24:14)

But Felix, having a more exact knowledge about the Way, put them off, saying, "When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case." (Acts 24:22)

2. In Acts 9:6, Did Saul ask the right question?

but rise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do." (Acts 9:6)

3. How could Ananias feel free to refer to the enemy of Christians as "brother Saul?" - Acts 9:17 Note the attitude of the Jerusalem Christians in Acts 9:26.

And Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother 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 filled with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 9:17)

And when he had come to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. (Acts 9:26)

4. How did the people react in general to Saul’s testimony? - Acts 9:23 and Acts 9:29

And when many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him, (Acts 9:23)

And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death. (Acts 9:29)

5. Why did Peter tell Aeneas to make his bed after he was healed? - Acts 9:34

And Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; arise, and make your bed." And immediately he arose. (Acts 9:34)

6. Why are women’s groups sometimes called "Dorcas societies?" - Acts 9:36

Now in Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity, which she continually did. (Acts 9:36)


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