3. The gospel spreads into Palestine, 6:8-9:31

vii] The conversion of Saul


Luke now moves to the central character of his story, namely Saul of Tarsus, later known as Paul the apostle. The life and ministry of the other apostles is left behind as Luke records the Gentile mission of Paul. In the passage before us, Luke recounts Saul's vision on the Damascus road, along with his healing at the hand of Ananias, and his commissioning by the Lord, a commissioning independent of the Jerusalem church.


Paul's apostolic status, and his mission to the Gentiles, is of divine commission.


i] Context:

See 6:1-7. Luke continues his record of the conversion of individuals to the Way. Here, the conversion of Saul.


ii] Background:

iThe movement of the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome, 1:1-11;

iThe baptism / filling of the Spirit; See Excursus;

iWater Baptism in Acts, 2:37-41;

iSigns and Wonders in Acts, 4:23-31.


iii] Structure: The conversion of Saul:

A miracle on the Damascus road, v1-9;

Ananias is instructed to minister to Paul, v10-16.

Paul moves from darkness to light, v17-19a.


iv] Interpretation:

Longenecker, referring to Haenchen, notes that for Luke, Paul's conversion is extremely important. This is evidenced by the three separate accounts of the event, here, and in chapters 22 and 26. Luke wants to underline the fact that Paul's mission to the Gentiles is divinely commissioned; he is commissioned to advance the cause of the gospel to the ends of the earth (to the Gentile world). Luke makes sure that the reader understands that the gospel's extension from Israel to the nations is not thought up by Paul, rather it is part of a divine strategy for the redemption of the world.


Dunn, along with many other commentators, titles this section "The Conversion of Paul", and indeed it is. For Paul, his experience on the Damascus road involves a total turning around of his life; once an opponent of Jesus, now a follower of Jesus. Yet, Dunn also notes that it would be right to title the section "The Commissioning of Paul" since Paul, a member of the Jewish sect of the Pharisees opposed to contact with Gentiles is, in this story, divinely commissioned to serve in the Jewish sect of the Way as "a light to the nations."

Barrett suggests that "the Call of Paul" has parallels with the story of the call of the prophets, cf. Isa.6:1-13, Jer.1:4-10. Paul, the Pharisee, the teacher of the law, is called to proclaim a new and radical way, "to put one's whole trust, not in one's own legal, moral and religious achievements, but solely in Jesus Christ." Even so, for Paul, his God is still the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

When it comes to Paul's conversion, Barrett makes the point that "what happened to Paul was not the resolution of an inward conflict in an unhappy, divided and unsatisfied man; it was the appearance of Christ to a self-satisfied and self-righteous man."

Text - 9:1

The first account of Paul's conversion, v1-19a: i] Paul's vision on the Damascus road, v1-9. Josephus tells us that there was a large population of Jews living in Damascus at this time, and it seems that the Hellenist believers, fleeing from Jerusalem, have attached themselves to this community. Luke tells us that Saul is determined to stamp out the sect of the Way, and so he arms himself with the authority of the High Priest to enter local synagogues and arrest any members of the sect, both men and women. Saul's hatred is visceral; "a frenzy of murderous threats", Barclay.

de "meanwhile" - but/and. Transitional; introducing a new literary unit; "now, then, meanwhile, ..."

eti adv. "still" - [saul] still. Temporal adverb introducing a temporal clause. Saul is still on his mission to suppress the Way. "Saul kept on threatening", CEV.

empnewn (empnew) pres. part. "breathing out" - breathing. The participle is adjectival, limiting "Saul"; "Saul who was still breathing threats and murder." Possibly adverbial, temporal, "Saul, while still breathing threats ..." The word describes the hissing breath between clenched teeth and is used here metaphorically of Saul's visceral hatred; "breathing down the necks of the disciples", Peterson.

apeilhV (h) gen. "[murderous] threats" - of threat [and murder]. Possibly a hendiadys where a single idea is expressed by two words joined by kai, so "murderous threat", as NIV. These two genitive nouns serve as genitives of direct object of the participle "breathing out" (synonymous of verbs "to smell of", Bruce Gk.), although Zerwick suggests that they are partitive. "Murderous threats" is better than the CEV's "threatening to kill the Lord's followers", since execution was not on Paul's mind, but rather suppression.

eiV + acc. "against" - into [the disciples of the lord]. Local, possibly expressing opposition, "against", so NIV, or spatial, expressing direction, "toward".

proselqwn (prosercomai) aor. part. "he went to" - having come to. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "asked", v2; "He went to the High Priest and asked for letters", TEV.

tw/ arcierei (euV ewV) dat. "the high priest" - the high priest. Dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to come to" / dative of persons.


Obviously, the Sanhedrin exercised authority over the Synagogues in Damascus, enabling Saul to apply disciplinary warrants against the believers there. One wonders to what extent the Sanhedrin had extradition rights under Roman law. Is this a first century example of rendition, or are we dealing with in-house discipline, limited to coercion, under the threat of excommunication?

par (para) + gen. "[asked him]" - [he asked] beside = from [him letters into damascus toward the synagogues]. Here spatial, expressing source, "from".

oJpwV "so that" - so that, in order that. Serving to introduce a final clause expressing purpose, as NIV.

ean + subj. "if " - if [he may find certain]. Introducing a conditional clause, 3rd class, where the proposed condition has the possibility of coming true; "if, as may be the case, ....., then he might bring them bound into Jerusalem." Paul expects that he may find some of the Way.

ontaV (eimi) pres. part. "who belonged" - belonging. The participle of the verb to-be is adjectival, attributive, limiting "certain"; "certain persons = anyone who belongs to the Way".

thV oJdou (oV) gen. "to the Way" - of the way. The genitive is adjectival, partitive. In Acts, the term serves as the title for the Christian movement. "The way of salvation", 16:7, is probably the sense carried by the term, reflecting the content of divine revelation which those "in the Way" commit themselves to. None-the-less, Luke is using the phrase here in an absolute sense of "the Way they call a sect", 24:14.

te kai "whether [men] or [women]" - both [men] and [women]. Correlative construction

dedemenouV (dew) perf. pas. part. acc. "[he might take them] as prisoners" - [then he may lead them] having been bound [into jerusalem]. The NIV, ESV, NRSV, ... assume the pronoun autouV, "them", so treating the participle as adjectival, attributive, limiting "them", although Culy suggests that it serves as the object complement of the direct object "men and women", standing in a double accusative construction and asserting a fact about the object; "he might bring both men and women bound to Jerusalem", Culy.


A manifestation of divine glory is sudden, and is often associated with a bright light, Isa.2:5, 60:19, periastraptw, and "flashing", often of lightning, Ex.19:16, 2Sam.22:15. Luke is making sure that the reader recognises Paul's divine authority.

en tw/ + inf. "as" - [but/and] in [to go]. The articular infinitive, with the preposition en, introduces a temporal clause, contemporaneous time, "while going / on the way"; "When Saul had almost reached Damascus", CEV.

eggizein (eggizw) inf. "he neared" - [he] to come near to [damascus ............... happened]. The infinitival clause running to the end of v4 serves as the subject of the verb egeneto, "it happened." The accusative subject of the infinitive is auton, "he". Barrett suggests the construction is Hebraic, such that Luke has chosen to write in Biblical style for the purpose of describing a theophany.

th/ Damaskw/ (oV) dat. "Damascus" - damascus. Dative of direct object after the infinitive "to draw near to."

te ... kai "-" - both [a light from heaven suddenly shone around him] and. A correlating construction serving to coordinate the complex subject of the verb egeneto, "it happened", covering v3b-4. The preposition ek, "from", expresses source / origin; "a light from the sky flashed around him", TEV.


Luke's construction of the story makes it quite clear that Saul is experiencing a theophany, a direct revelation from God - he lies prostrate before the shining glory of God's presence. Paul hears the divine message, but is confused because he is being told that he is persecuting the divine presence - to persecute the church, the body of Christ, is to persecute Christ. This idea is based on the theology of the body of Christ, but Paul's persecution of the truth may serve more as an affront to divine revelation. Paul was attacking the truth proclaimed by the disciples; to affront the truth, the Word, is to affront Christ.

peswn (piptw) aor. part. "he fell" - [and] having fallen [upon the ground]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "heard", so translated as a finite verb joined to "heard" with "and", as NIV. "He prostrated himself and heard a voice speaking to him."

fwnhn (h) "a voice" - [he heard] a voice. The use of an accusative here, as compared with a genitive in v7, is interesting - see akouonteV, v7. It is possible that the accusative is used to imply that Paul did not see the speaker, but this would be overly subtle.

legousan (legw) pres. part. "say" - saying. A participle of the verb "to say" is often used to introduce direct speech, usually attendant on a verb, but here adjectival, attributive, limiting the noun "voice", "he heard a voice which said to him." Culy classifies it as the accusative complement of the direct object "voice". "He heard a voice addressing him in these words", Cassirer.

autw/ dat. pro. "to him" - to him. Dative of indirect object.

tiv pro. "why" - [saul, saul, why [are you persecuting me]? Interrogative pronoun serving to introduce a direct question.


The use of kurie, "Lord", in its fullest sense, indicates that Saul is fully aware that he is in the presence of a divine personage, but is unsure who is actually doing the speaking - he doesn't yet know that Jesus is Lord. In his self-revelation, Jesus confirms his person, egw eimi IhsouV, "I am Jesus." The construction is certainly emphatic, but it is unclear whether the egw eimi, "The Great I Am", is implied - the unidentified name of God.

kurie voc. "[who are you,] Lord?" - [but/and he said, who are you,] lord. Vocative. A general "sir" would miss the point, "Lord", as of the divine, is better.

oJ de "he replied" - but/and he. Transitional construction, indicating a change in subject from Saul to Jesus.

egw pro. "I" - i [am jesus]. Emphatic by position and use.


"Saul the persecutor with a letter from the high priest now is Saul the witness with a commission from Jesus. The heavenly calling has trumped the original earthly calling", Bock.

alla "now" - but [get up and enter into the city]. Strong adversative, "but this is now the end of your opposition to my word, get up ....."; "but get up", Barclay. Barrett suggests it is more likely being used as a connective here and best translated as an interjection, "well!", although adversative does seem better.

soi dat. pro. "you" - [and it will be told] to you. Dative of indirect object.

o{ tiv "what" - which certain thing. An unusual construction since normally used in a direct question in NT., cf. BDF. 300. Culy suggests that although o{ is accented as a personal pronoun, it is actually the nominative singular article oJ, thus making the clause "the certain thing you must do" the subject of "it will be told to you", the "it" being "the certain thing you must do" = "instructions will be given to you." The instructions probably concern Saul's healing, rather than instructions on what to believe. None-the-less, throughout Acts Luke maintains Paul's theological independence, a position strongly argued by Paul in Galatians.

poiein (poiew) pres. inf. "[you must] do" - to do [you is necessary]. The infinitive serves as the subject of the verb "is necessary", with se, "you", serving as its accusative subject. The impersonal verb "it is necessary" implies divine necessity.


Saul's travelling companions hear noises, but don't see anyone. Although they saw mhdena, "no one", they did see the light, cf., 22:9. Luke wants us to know that the theophany was public, but the divine communication private.

oiJ de "the men" - but/and the [men]. Transitional construction, indicating a change of subject from Jesus to Saul's companions.

oiJ sunodeuonteV (sundeuw) pres. part. "travelling with" - the ones travelling with. The participle is adjectival, attributive, "the men who were traveling with him." Possibly Paul's assistants, or as was common at the time for security reasons, his travelling companions.

autw/ dat. pro. "with Saul" - him [had stood speechless]. Dative of direct object after the sun prefix verb "to travel along with."

men ..... de ".... but .." - but, on the one hand, [hearing the voice] but, on the other hand, [seeing no one]. Adversative comparative / coordinate construction.

akouonteV (akouw) part. "they heard" - hearing [the voice]. This participle, as with qewrounteV, "seeing", is adverbial, possibly temporal; "they stood speechless when they heard the voice, but saw no one", or causal, "because they heard the voice but saw no one." Here the participle of the verb akouw, "to hear", takes a genitive object, "heard of the sound (voice)". It is possible that when followed by a genitive it means to hear, but not understand, and when followed by an accusative it means to hear and understand. This is why the NIV translates "voice" with the word "sound" here. With this interpretation it is possible to deal with the conflict that exists in 22:9 where Paul says that the people with him did not hear the voice. Wallace 133, argues that the difference in case does not convey this distinction; so also Moule. Bruce suggests that the genitive should be read as Paul's voice, following an interpretation suggested by Chrysostom - the fellow travellers heard Paul speaking, but neither saw, nor heard, with whom he was speaking. Barrett suggests that although the language is unclear, Luke's point is clear enough; "all recognised a supernatural event, but only one understood its meaning."


Luke now draws out the powerlessness of this once powerful man.

hgerqh (egeirw) aor. pas. "got up" - [but/and saul] was raised [from the ground]. The passive indicates that Paul "was helped up", Culy.

anewgmenwn (anoigw) gen. perf. pas. part. "when he opened" - [but/and the eyes of him] having been opened [he was seeing nothing]. The genitive participle with its genitive subject "the eyes", forms a genitive absolute construction, temporal, as NIV, but possibly concessive, "although his eyes were opened", ESV. Either way, the construction serves to separate this subordinate clause from the main clause, "Saul rose ..... and they led him ....". Why is Paul now blind? Possibly punishment, although Conzelmann rejects this idea. Possibly simply shock, so Longenecker.

ceiragwgounteV (ceiragwgew) pres. part. "they led [him] by the hand" - [but/and] being led by the hand [they brought him into damascus]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "brought"; "they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus", ESV. Possibly adverbial, instrumental, expressing means, so Culy, or modal, expressing manner, so Kellum.


The implication seems to be that on his arrival in Damascus, Saul undertook a three-day fast.

hn ... blepwn (blepw) pres. part. "he was blind" - [and] he was [three days] not seeing. The imperfect verb to-be with the present participle forms an imperfect periphrastic construction, but possibly predicative, modifying "he", the subject of the linking verb to-be, "he was not seeing" = "he was blind", BDF. 353.7.

ouk .... ouden "[did] not [eat] or [drink]" - [and] neither [ate] nor [drank]. Coordinating construction.


ii] Ananias, in a vision, is instructed to minister to Saul, v10-16. Ananias is somewhat hesitant to do the Lord's bidding; to go and visit Saul. But, Jesus reassures Ananias that Saul is now a vessel in the Lord's service, set apart to testify to the name of Jesus, both to secular authorities and people in general, and to the Jews, and this to "the end of the earth." Saul's commission is by divine authority ("it is necessary", dei, a divine appointment), and will bring with it suffering. Ananias is to go and lay hands (in prayer??) on Saul that he might be healed.

onamati (a atoV) dat. "named" - [but/and there was a certain disciple in damascus] with / by name [ananias]. The dative is probably a dative of reference / respect; "with respect to his name, Ananias."

en + dat. "in [a vision]" - [and the lord spoke to him] in [a vision. ananias]. The preposition functions adverbially here, modal, expressing the manner in which the Lord spoke to Ananias. Presumably Ananias sees and hears the Lord (Jesus?). It is possible that Ananias is a local believer rather than a refugee from the persecution in Jerusalem.

oJ de "-" - but/and he [he said, behold lord]. Transitional, indicating a change in subject from the Lord to Ananias.


In this verse we have the mention of Paul's home town for the first time, and also a reference to his piety; he is praying. Judas is unknown.

oJ de "the [lord]" - but/and the [lord said]. Transitional, indicating a change is subject from Ananias to the Lord.

proV + acc. "him" - toward [him]. The preposition is used to introduce an indirect object instead of a dative.

anastaV (anisthmi) aor. part. "-" - having arisen, got up [go]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the imperative verb "to go"; "arise and go." Probably expressing haste in the going; "get going right now."

thn kaloumenhn (kalew) pres. pas. part. "-" - [to the street] being called [straight]. The participle, with its accusative complement "straight", is adjectival, attributive, limiting the noun "street"; "the street which is called straight." It was an east-west street running through Damascus, a main thoroughfare named today Derb el-Mastaqim. "Go to the street called Straight", Barclay.

Iouda (aV a) gen. "of Judas" - [and seek in house] of judas. The genitive is adjectival, possessive; "the house belonging to Judas." "In/at the house of Judas ask for ...."

onomati (a atoV) dat. "named [Saul]" - by name [saul, a man from tarsus]. The dative is adverbial, reference / respect, as v10. The accusative Tarsea, "Tarsus" = "a man from Tarsus", stands in apposition to "Saul". Tarsus is the maritime capital of Cilicia during the Roman period.

gar "for" - for [he is at prayer]. More reason than cause, introducing an explanation, possibly explaining that Ananias is the answer to Paul's prayer, so Kellum.


In a vision, Saul sees Ananias doing what he actually does.

en oJramati (a atoV) "in a vision" - [and he saw a man] in a vision [ananias by name]. A variant which Metzger regards as original. Syntax, cf., v10. Note also the whole verse is missing from the Old Latin, although this is regarded as an accident of transcription.

eiselqonta (eisercomai) aor. part. "come [and place]" - having entered [and having placed upon]. This participle, together with "having placed upon", serve as the accusative complement of the direct object "man", standing in a double accusative construction and asserting a fact about the object; "In a vision, he has seen a man ..... come in and lay his hands on him", NAB. Saul is at this moment visualising Ananias laying hands upon him.

autw/ dat. pro. "him" - him [the = his hands]. Dative of direct object after the epi prefix participle, "placing upon" / local, of place.

oJpwV + subj. "to [restore his sight]" - that [he may see again]. This construction introduces a final clause expressing purpose; "in order that / so that ....". Surely the laying on of hands serves as a symbol of prayer, here a prayer for healing, rather than Barrett's blessing. The proper basis of prayer is always the will of God, and Ananias is, on this occasion, fully aware of that will. "So that he may recover his sight", Barrett


In this, and the following verse, Luke describes Ananias' internalised reticence as he addresses the Lord's will, a reticence we all know very well.

peri + gen. "about [this man]" - [but/and ananias answered, lord, i heard from many] about [this man]. Expressing reference / respect; "about, concerning, with reference to ..."

oJsa pro. "and all" - as many as, as much as [evil things he did]. Introducing a relative clause which serves as the direct object of the verb "to hear"; "I have heard much he has caused your people to suffer", TH.

toiV aJgioiV "to the saints / to your holy people" - to the holy ones [of you]. Dative of interest, disadvantage. This is the first reference in Acts where members of Christian community / believers are described as "the saints", the holy-ones set apart for the Lord.

en + dat. "in" - in [jerusalem]. Local, expressing space; "in / at Jerusalem."


w|de adv. "[he has come] here" - [and he has authority] here. Adverb of place; "here in this place / in Damascus ......"

para + gen. "from" - from [the chief priests]. Either expressing source, "from", as NIV, or agency, "by".

dhsai (dew) aor. inf. "to arrest" - to bind. The infinitive is epexegetic, explaining the "authority" Paul has from the chief priests, namely, to arrest believers.

touV epikaloumenouV (epikalew) pres. part. "[all] who call on" - [all] the ones calling upon [the name of you]. The participle serves as a substantive, object of the infinitive "to bind." Those calling on "the name", the person of Jesus / the Lord / God, is a common descriptor for the faithful; they are the saved ones, cf., Joel 2:32, Act.2:21, Rom.10:13. "Those who address Jesus as Lord", Bruce, possibly "everyone who believes in you", NCV.


Paul is a skeuoV, "an instrument, vessel", of election (ie., a divine instrument), tou bastasai, "in order to carry", Jesus' "name" = his person = the gospel to "the Gentile / nations", kings / authorities / rulers, and the people of Israel.

oJti "-" - [but/and the lord said toward him, go] for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Ananias should go and minister to Paul.

moi (egw) dat. "[is] my" - [this one is a chosen instrument, vessel, implement] to/for me. The dative is possibly possessive, as NIV, or a dative of interest, advantage, "he is a chosen instrument for me", or even instrumental, "I have chosen him (as the instrument) to be the means of bringing my name ..", Moffatt. "He is a specially chosen instrument for me", Barrett.

tou bastasai "to carry [my name]" - to bear [the name of me]. This genitive articular infinitive construction is sometimes consecutive, expressing here the result of Paul's calling, namely, he was chosen "with the result that he might take" the gospel to the Gentiles, but is usually final, so expressing the purpose of his calling, namely, "in order to take" the gospel to the Gentiles, BDF 400. The phrase "to carry the name of me" is idiomatic, taking the sense "to spread information extensively about a person."*

enwpion + gen. "to" - before, in front of. Spatial, metaphorical. "To tell heathen nations ....... about me", Barclay.

te .... kai .... te ".... and .... and ..." - both [the gentiles] and [kings] and [the sons of israel]. Correlating construction. The placement of te before "Israel" is rather strange. Barrett thinks it was an afterthought - "before Gentiles / nations, kings and sons, te I mean the sons of Israel." Technically "sons" is properly linked to "kings" in the Gk., or more properly both "nations" and "kings", so Culy; "before Gentiles, kings and the people of Israel." Barrett notes Stahlin's view that Paul intends a combination of two familiar pairs, both pairs united by te, giving uiJwn, "sons", the sense "sons of the Nations" = "Gentiles"; "before Nations and kings, Gentiles and Jews."

eqnwn gen. "the Gentiles" - the gentiles, nations. Where the article twn is read, the particular sense "the Gentiles", standing in contrast to "Israel", is intended, so Barrett.


Luke is giving a short-hand descriptive of Paul's life as apostle to the Gentiles, which life will be revealed to Saul by the Lord prior to Ananias' visit, thus assuring Ananias' safety. Ananias is to heal Saul, not carry a message to him from the Lord.

gar "-" - for. Probably serving to introduce a causal clause, "because", although the intention is not overly clear. Barrett suggests: "you Ananias, need not hesitate to perform the task I am giving you, for I myself will be personally engaged in it."

egw "I" - i. Emphatic by position and use; "I myself."

autw/ dat. pro. "[will show] him" - [will show, inform] to him. Dative of indirect object.

oJsa pro. "how much" - how much. Introducing a relative clause which serves as the object of the verb "to show." Here meaning "all"; "I will show him all that he must suffer", Barclay.

paqein (pascw) aor. inf. "suffer" - to suffer [is necessary]. The infinitive serves as the subject of the impersonal verb "is necessary; "I will show to him that to suffer on behalf of the name is necessary for him" = "I myself shall let him know what great sufferings he will have to endure for the sake of the cause which bears my name", Cassirer. For the complementary classification, see plhrwqhnai, 1:16.

uJper + gen. "for" - on behalf of. Here expressing representation, "on behalf of", or advantage, "for the sake of / benefit of."

tou onomatoV (a atoV) gen. "[my] name" - the name [of me]. "Name" is used here in the sense of "person", so rather than Cassirer above, better "for my sake", Barclay.


iii] Saul's healing and conversion, v17-19a. Ananias does as instructed, laying hands (in prayer??) on Saul. Consequently, Saul sees and is baptized. As for Saul's being "filled with the Holy Spirit", there is some debate as to whether this is associated with the laying on of hands, or with his baptism - Marshall and Williams opt for baptism. Of course, the function of baptism itself is long debated, and is certainly not resolved in this passage - a conduit for grace, or a symbol of grace (regeneration), or a symbol of covenant-inclusion, or an outward expression of repentance (and regeneration??).

When it comes to the endowment of the Spirit, "baptized" (immersed) and "filled" may have the same meaning for Luke. So, given that the NT. teaches that the gift of the Holy Spirit, as of the personal reception and indwelling of the Spirit of Christ, is a promise to all who believe, there is good grounds for understanding Luke's "filled" to represent that reception of the Spirit for regeneration. Yet, so often Luke's "filling" seems more like the spiritual equipping of a believer for some particular divine service, similar to the impermanent spiritual endowment of the Old Testament prophets. Often we read of the apostles being filled with the Spirit and preaching - they are filled and then act. So, is Luke telling us that Paul, at this point in time, independent of the Jerusalem church and the apostles, is divinely authorised and equipped as apostle to the Gentiles? This may be supported by the fact that Luke does not mention speaking in tongues, as if such is irrelevant to the issue at hand. So, the infilling of the Spirit, at this point, is likely to be an infilling for service - "the first of many endowments for apostolic witness", Briscoe, cf., 13:9.

de "then" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative; "So Ananias departed and entered the house", ESV.

epiqeiV (epitiqhmi) aor. part. "placing [his hands]" - [ananias went away, departed and went into, entered into the house and] having placed [upon him the = his hands, he said]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "said"; "he placed his hands on Saul and said." The laying on of hands is usually a sign (a visible expression) of supplicatory prayer, here presumably for healing (but possibly also the filling/gift of the Holy Spirit).

adelfe (oV) voc. "brother" - brother, [saul, the lord has sent me]. Ananias addresses Paul as a fellow believer, although the greeting could be to a fellow Jew.

oJ ofqeiV (oJraw) aor. pas. part. "who appeared to" - [jesus,] the one having appeared to. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "Jesus", as NIV. Interestingly, the account doesn't tell us that Jesus actually visibly appeared to Paul, although later he does use the word "saw".

soi dat. pro. "you" - you. Dative of direct object after the participle "having appeared to" of the verb oJraw, "to see", which in the passive voice, "to appear to", takes a dative.

en/ + dat. "on [the road]" - in [the way]. Here with its common local sense, located in the realm of, so "on the road", as NIV.

h|/ dat. pro. "as" - by which [you were coming]. Zerwick suggests that the dative is instrumental, "by which", the NIV treats it as temporal, so Peterson D, while Culy opts for a dative of location, "on your way here", Cassirer.

oJpwV + subj. "so that" - that [you may see again and may be filled]. Serving to introduce a final clause expressing purpose; "in order that / so that you may see again."

pneumatoV aJgiou gen. "with the Holy Spirit" - of the holy spirit. Is the genitive adverbial, instrumental, "filled by the Holy Spirit, or is it adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic / content, "filled with / full of the Holy Spirit"? In 1:5, en + the dative produces "baptized with/in/by the Holy Spirit", with the NRSV offering an instrumental "by" as a possible translation.


Luke's description of the healing is more than likely figurative, but he could well be describing a physical occurrence. What fell from Saul's eyes was wJV, "like", lepideV, "scales, skins, flakes." Luke is describing some substance, or something looking like a covering over the eyes, eg. a translucent skin. The sense is unclear, but he is possibly describing a situation which is "like" a skin being peeled from an onion, or where the substance covering the eyes came away "like" the skin of an onion comes away. On being healed, Saul is baptised and so is received as a full member of the Way.

euqewV adv. "immediately" - [and] immediately. This temporal adverb is used in a narrative to heighten suspense.

wJV "something like" - as, like [scales]. Comparative; "something like", Barrett.

apo + gen. "[fell] from" - [fell] from. Expressing separation, "away from." The subject of the verb is unstated, although NIV. etc. has "something;" "something peeled away from his eyes."

autou gen. pro. "Saul's [eyes]" - [the eyes] of him. The genitive is adjectival, possessive. The position of this personal pronoun in the Gk. is unusual. Some commentators suggest it was added, but if so, we would expect the word order, "from the eyes of him", rather than "of him from the eyes." Variants exist without this pronoun, but it is more likely that it was dropped because its position was viewed as unusual. Culy suggests it is a genitive complement of "fell", which together are in apposition to (standing beside and defining) the clause "from the eyes ...", so "they fell from him, that is, things fell from his eyes as peeled skins." "Something peeled away from his eyes, that is, translucent skins over his eyes peeled away, as it were, just like the skin of an onion peels away."

te kai "and" - and [he saw again] and. Correlating construction, coordinating Saul's seeing and his being baptized.

anastaV (anisthmi) aor. part. "he got up" - [and] having arisen. Attendant circumstance participle, expressing action accompanying the verb "was baptized"; "he rose and was baptized."

ebaptisqh (baptizw) aor. pas. "was baptized" - he was baptized. The passive indicating that Ananias probably does the honours, although in 22:16 the middle voice is used implying that Paul baptized himself; "received his baptism", Cassirer.


labwn (lambanw) aor. part. "after taking [some food]" - [and] having received, taken [food, he was strengthened]. The participle is adverbial, introducing a temporal clause; "when he had taken some food, his strength returned", Barclay.


Acts Introduction


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Exegetical Commentaries


[Pumpkin Cottage]