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Tag Archives: Paul’s conversion

Paul, Balaam and Heliodorus

I recently ran across a website comparing Paul’s conversion experience to Balaam’s effort in the book of Numbers to aid Balak’s wish to curse and destroy Israel. The website also compared both with Helidorus’ journey to Jerusalem to rob the Temple treasury in 2Maccabees. I have to admit it is an interesting comparison. I would even go as far as to say that I agree that the comparison is a valid one, but I don’t agree with the author’s conclusion? The reason for my disagreement is that there are key points that the author of the website leaves out. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2013 in Kingdom of God, Paul's Conversion, Textual Criticism

 

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A Contrast of Paul’s Conversion Accounts

Luke records Paul’s conversion three times in Acts, first in chapter 9 where he simply narrates the event, and secondly, through Paul’s testimony in chapter 22 before the Jews after they tried to kill him, and finally before Festus and King Agrippa in chapter 26. Each have similarities, but there are also differences in the accounts, and some have tried to make a point that the differences prove either the event never occurred, or that one cannot know for certain what happened. Is this true? The simple answer is, no; there are reasons for the differences in the accounts, just as there are reasons for the similarities. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in Gospel, Paul in bonds

 

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Paul’s Defense Before Agrippa

The king gave Paul permission to speak, and Paul raised his hand in salutation to Agrippa (Acts 26:1). The Greek expression is different here.[1] In both Acts 13:16 and in 21:40 the gesture was intended to invite silence, but here Paul meant to express respect to the king’s office. He began by admitting it was his (Paul’s) honor to discuss his case before Agrippa, whom, Paul claimed, was well aware of the traditions of the Jews, as well as those matters in which they vigorously debated among themselves (Acts 26:2-3). Thus, with the matter of his being accused of treason against Caesar taken out of the way by Festus (Acts 25:25, cp. 25:18-19), Paul framed his charges around that of Jewish tradition and theology. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2013 in Kingdom of God, Paul in bonds

 

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Why is Paul’s Conversion so Important?

We need to remember that authors of books in ancient times didn’t have the luxury that modern writers have of adding a few pages here and there for color and depth. In the first century CE authors like Luke were limited to the length of a scroll. They had to be concise and choose carefully what they wished to say in order to successfully express the theme behind their work. Luke chose to record Paul’s conversion three times (Acts 9, 22 and 26)! Why? Wouldn’t once have been sufficient, knowing that space was limited? Looking back, our vision is 20/20; Paul turned out to be one of the most significant figures of western civilization. What he did, or rather what God did through Paul, changed the direction of the whole continent of Europe and ultimately of the Americas, and to some degree even how the East developed into our modern societies. But, Luke didn’t know this, so why did he take such an interest in Paul’s conversion? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Gospel, Kingdom of God

 

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Does Paul Contradict Luke in Damascus?

ContradictionRecently, I’ve been running across websites that claim Luke and Paul disagree concerning the events surrounding Paul’s conversion. Some critics say Paul’s vision was in Damascus, not on the road to the city. I don’t know what difference that would make, if it were true, except to undermine the Scriptures’ claim that they are the word of God for us and aren’t contradictory within the text. Nevertheless, little things like these keep jumping out at me as I study the book of Acts and read what others say about it online. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Textual Criticism

 

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Luke vs. Paul – Truth or Confusion

Paul and Ananias

from Google Images

If the Bible can be proved to be in error, what would be our authority for truth about God? Unless we have certain truth about God, all we could have concerning an unseen God would be pure conjecture. Isn’t that so? It would be something like—your guess is as good as mine. Who could authoritatively tell us what God is really like, and who could prove that the false prophet is… well, false? I’ve been reading various websites that concern themselves with disproving the word of God by presuming contradictions in Paul’s conversion either within Luke’s three accounts of the event or between Acts 9 and Paul’s letters, especially Galatians. I thought it would be fun if we dwelt upon these things for a few blog-posts. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Textual Criticism

 

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Saul’s Conversion & the Body of Christ

Saul's Conversion

from Google Images

Saul was a zealous persecutor of Messianic believers, but I don’t think he persecuted the Church for more than six or seven months, or from the mid 7th month of 34 CE to cir. 1st month of 35 CE. Therefore, the reigning high priest would have been Caiaphas and from him Saul would have sought papers of extradition (Acts 9:1-2) in order to arrest Messianic believers at Damascus and bring them before the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem for judgment. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2012 in Acts of the Apostles

 

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What did Peter and Paul Discuss?

Paul told the Galatians that he had stayed with Peter at Jerusalem for fifteen days (Galatians 1:18), immediately following his escape from Damascus, and the three years since his dramatic life-changing experience with Jesus. Someone in Galatia was claiming Paul’s Gospel was learned from the original 12 Apostles and therefore should be subservient to what they taught the Jews. On the other hand, Paul’s point was he was specifically called by Christ and, seeing that he spent three years in Arabia and Damascus before he sought a meeting with Peter, how could the two weeks he spent with him be construed to mean he was dependent upon him or any of the original Twelve for his Gospel? If we can agree with this conclusion, we may then ask, what was discussed between these two men? I think we can be assured it wasn’t the weather. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2011 in Gospel, New Testament History, Religion

 

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Jerusalem knew nothing of Paul!

Most commentaries I’ve read about Paul’s dramatic spiritual transformation on the way to Damascus have him preaching immediately after his spiritual awakening, discussing with the Jews in the synagogues there, showing Jesus was the Messiah. However, this makes no sense whatsoever, because Jerusalem knows absolutely nothing of Paul and his work there. Surely after a period of three years something would have trickled down from Damascus to Jerusalem showing what Paul was doing. Nevertheless, the Scriptures are silent as it pertains to Jerusalem’s knowledge of Paul’s activities. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2011 in Christianity, New Testament History, Religion

 

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Paul’s Theology and the Children of Abraham

Children of Abraham

from Google Images

“Who are the children of Abraham?” It seems this was a question under discussion in the ministry of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:9; Luke 3:8), as well as that of Jesus (John 8:39), but although there are implications in the Gospel narratives, Paul defines the doctrine more vividly than what is found in the Gospel accounts. For Paul, Abraham’s children are those who “believe God” just as Abraham believed God. They are not necessarily, in the spiritual sense, those who are physically descended from Abraham, although his physical descendants must ultimately be dealt with. The question is, however, where did Paul get this idea, since he was never one of John’s or Jesus’ disciples. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2011 in Christianity, New Testament History, Religion

 

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Paul’s Soul Searching in Arabia

Paul in Arabia

from Google Images

In Acts 9:19-20 Luke gives us the impression that Paul immediately began preaching the Gospel after his conversion. But, where did Paul get his insight? How could he have been persecuting Messianic believers one moment and preaching the Gospel Messianic’s preached in the very next moment? This doesn’t make sense. We might say that he was filled with the Holy Spirit and was immediately able to draw on the Scriptures he already knew, and with the Holy Spirit inspiring him, he was now able to understand those Scriptures correctly. Well, we might say that, but is this the manner in which God normally works? I, for one, have to study the Scriptures and pray for insight. Just because I have read Genesis to Revelation doesn’t mean I know all there is to know about the Bible, simply because the Holy Spirit dwells within me. How about you? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2011 in Christianity, New Testament History, Religion

 

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How Long Did Paul Persecute Believers?

Life of Paul

from Google Images

The Hellenist Messianic Jews were scattered abroad going into regions of Samaria and Judea (Acts 8:1) and then to more distant lands such as Phoenicia, Cyprus, Cyrene and Antioch (Acts 11:19-20). Paul pursued them to wherever it became known they were (Acts 26:11). In order for Paul to pursue the Hellenistic Messianic Jews to foreign cities, two things are implied. First, letters had to have been sent out from Jerusalem to those synagogues outside Judea to beware of this Messianic sect that had so little regard for the Temple, meaning the name of God (cf. Acts 28:21). Secondly, it would have to be known by those in Jerusalem that wanted Messianic Jews had traveled to such cities. Otherwise it would be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Therefore, news had to have been brought back to Jerusalem such cities alerting the high priest that these Messianic Jews had come there and were spreading the Gospel in their synagogues (Acts 26:11), before someone such as Saul would journey there.[1] Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2011 in Paul's Conversion, Persecution

 

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Paul, ‘Kicking Against the Goads’

It seems evident to me that Paul was being called by the Lord sometime before his meeting Jesus on the Damascus road. According to Paul’s testimony before Agrippa years later, the Lord mentioned to Paul that it was difficult to “kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14). A goad was a stick with a sharp metal point affixed to one end, and it was used to cause the oxen to do what his owner desired. The ox-goad was used by one of Israel’s judges to kill 600 Philistines in order to deliver his people from their hands (Judges 3:31). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2010 in Christianity, Religion, salvation

 

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Paul and Spiritual Warfare!

Writing to the Galatians, Paul jumps ahead of his story to fourteen years after his conversion. Now, Paul saw Jesus in 35 CE, immediately following his receiving new orders from the high priest. Caiaphas was put out of that office cir. 35-36CE near the time of the Passover. In any event, Paul would need new arrest warrants to take to the synagogues, showing the high priest, whether Caiaphas or Jonathan, his replacement, sought the synagogue leaders’ assistance in arresting Grecian Messianic Jews there so they could be brought to Jerusalem for judgment (Acts 9:1-2). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2010 in Gospel, Religion

 

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Paul’s Gospel

Paul used very harsh words with the new believers in Galatia, but they were meant to express the seriousness of the position they had taken. Paul says he is astonished at how quickly they had changed sides—that is how they removed themselves from the peace of God to where they were rebels once more. In other words, Paul is saying one is either for God or for the attractions of this world. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2010 in Gospel, Religion

 

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