Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, June 13th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
Take your personal ministry to the Next Level by helping StudyLight build churches and supporting pastors in Uganda.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
Acts 9

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verse 1

1 Act 9:1. Breathing out is from EMPNEO and is defined, "to breathe in or on." When a person has a "bad breath" it is supposed to come from some undesirable condition within his body. It is used to illustrate the attitude and conduct of Saul towards the disciples. His mental breath was com- ing from a mind filled with desire to persecute them. He went unto the high priest because he was the president of the Sanhedrin, which was the highest court allowed the Jews.

Verse 2

2 Act 9:2. Desired of him letters. Paul says he was "mad" against the saints (chapter 26:11), but there was "method in his madness." He never acted independently of the authorities whom he regarded as having the right to punish offenders. These letters showed his authority to arrest the disciples, and they designated even the city and circumstances in which he was empowered to act. The original word for way means a way of life, and in our passage it refers to the way being professed by the disciples. Saul had the authority to bind disciples as an officer would put irons on a criminal.

Verse 3

3 Act 9:3. The Lord let Saul proceed until he was near his destination (Damascus), then caused the light to envelop him. Saul afterward described this light as being "above the brightness of the sun" (chapter 26:13).

Verse 4

4 Act 9:4. Chapter 26:14 says they all fell to the ground, but in Luke's original account of the event we have only he falling to the ground. That evidently was because Saul was the only one in the group who was to receive the full effect of the shock. The other men did not even know the source or meaning of the voice. (See comments verse 7).

Verse 5

5 Act 9:5. Who art thou? Saul did not know it was the Lord speaking or he would not have asked the question. The word translated Lord is rendered "sir" 12 times in the King James version, which means merely a title of respect and was all that Saul meant. It is Luke that tells us it was the Lord speaking, who told Saul that He was the person whom he was persecuting. This charge was made on the principle of Mat 25:45. Pricks is from KEN-TRON which Thayer defines, "an iron goad," and explains it to mean, "for urging on oxen, horses and other beasts of burden." If an animal kicks back when his master prods him with the goad, it only makes it pierce him the more. Likewise, if Saul continues to rebel against the authority of the Lord, it will make his experience that much more disagreeable at last.

Verse 6

6 Act 9:6. Saul then addressed Jesus as Lord in the true sense. He was convinced of his terrible error and began to tremble. Unlike Felix (chapter 24:25) who trembled only, Saul asked what he should do. Of course, that meant with reference to his personal duty to get right with the Lord. But Jesus would not give him that information, and told him where to go for it. (See comments at chapter 8:26.) However, Jesus did give him some other information, which is written in chapter 26:16-18.

Verse 7

7 Act 9:7. Hear is from AKOUO, and the lexicon gives several distinct meanings, but they may be classified under three heads; I shall quote Thayer's definitions for the three: "1. To be endowed with the faculty of hearing. 2. To attend to, consider. 3. To understand, perceive the sense of what is said." The particular sense of the word in any given place must be determined by the context. Hence we know the word is used with the first meaning here; they merely knew by their ears that a voice was speaking, while in chapter 22:9 the third meaning is used. Seeing no man was because the voice came from Heaven, and no one but Saul was to see Jesus then.

Verse 8

8 Act 9:8. When the remarks of the Lord were concluded, Saul arose from the earth. The dazzling light that struck him to the ground also closed his eyes, and upon arising he naturally opened them. However, he was unable to see on account of what the light had done to his sight. (See chapter 22:11.) He had to be led by the men who had come with him, who took him into the city of Damascus.

Verse 9

9 Act 9:9. Smith's Bible Dictionary says, "The instance given of individual fasting under the influence of grief, vexation or anxiety are numerous." It was natural, therefore, for Saul to fast in view of the change in his plans, including the strange blindness..

Verse 10

0 Act 9:10. Any disciple has the right to tell the story of Jesus and baptize the believer& We have seen that the Lord never told any man directly what be must do to be saved (chapter 8:26), hence this disciple was to do that for Saul.

Verse 11

1 Act 9:11. The Lord mentioned the fact of Saul's praying to assist Ananias in identifying him. Saul was a Jew and would have the right to pray under the Mosaic religion. We are not told specifically the subject of Saul's prayer, but it is not strange that he would be praying under the circumstances. It would also be reasonable to think he was praying for help in his undone condition, and that it was in reply to his prayer that the Lord permitted him to have the vision of Ananias coming to heal his blindness.

Verse 12

2 Act 9:12. All inspired visions are one form of predictions. God had caused Saul to see this vision, now He was sending Ananias to fulfill it for him.

Verse 13

4 Act 9:13-14. The report of Saul's activities against the disciples was so widespread it had reached the city of Damascus before he arrived. The remarks of Ananias were not made with the idea of giving the Lord any information; so worthy a disciple would know better than that. They were the natural expression of his sincere emotions, and the Lord regarded them as such since he did not give him any rebuke.

Verse 16

6 Act 9:15. The Lord's reassurance consisted in telling Ananias that Saul had been chosen by Him to bear his name before others, both Gentiles and Israelites. Of course, the Lord would not suffer such 'a chosen servant to harm any disciple sent to him.

Verse 17

7 Act 9:17. It will be well to take another look at the matter of being filled with the Holy Ghost. (See the comments at chapter 4:31.) Also the subject of the "measure" of the Spirit should receive further consideration. The measure that would cause one to be baptized with the Holy Ghost, even. has some variation. The Gentiles in the house of Cornelius were baptized with the Holy Ghost (chapter 11; 15-17), yet all they could do was to speak in tongues (chapter 10:46). Ananias did not lay hands on Saul for the same purpose that the apostles laid hands on others, for they did that to baptized believers only, while this was done to Saul before he was baptized (as it was done in the case of Cornelius' groups, it being an emergency): that shows it was another emergency or special case. God needed another apostle, and instead of sending the Holy Ghost as it was done on Pentecost, He gave Ananias the special commission and power to install the man Saul into office. Ananias called him brother Saul because they were members of the same Jewish race.

Verse 18

8 Act 9:18. As it had been means that what fell from his eyes was like scales. The reason Saul was baptized is given at chapter 22:16. In both passages it should be noted that Saul arose to be baptized, because that ordinance is done by immersion.

Verse 19

9 Act 9:19. Received meat means he took food after his period of fasting. Certain days is really indefinite, and denotes merely that Saul remained with the disciples in the city where he had become one himself.

Verse 20

0 Act 9:20. Saul began at once to discharge his assignment of preaching Christ. He did this in the synagogue where the Jews assembled to read the law.

Verse 21

1 Act 9:21. It should be expected that the people would be amazed at the preaching of Saul. He did not merely subside from his persecution of the disciples, but became an active pro-claimer of the faith he had been opposing.

Verse 22

2 Act 9:22. Increased in strength denotes that he became more powerful in proclaiming the Gospel. He confounded (confused and bewildered) the Jews by showing from their own scriptures that Jesus was the Christ predicted therein.

Verse 23

3 Act 9:23. The preaching of Saul finally roused the Jews to anger, and they plotted to kill him whenever he came outside the city walls.

Verse 24

4 Act 9:24. They lay secretly near the gates, where they expected to attack him as he came through. Saul learned about their plot, which really proved to be to his advantage. Knowing that his enemies were lying near the gates, he was left to feel safe in escaping if he could by-pass those places.

Verse 25

5 Act 9:25. According to 2Co 11:32-33, the secular officers joined with the Jews in their plot by maintaining a military guard near the gates of Damascus. But the disciples helped Saul to escape by lowering him down the outside of the wall in a basket, a vessel made by plaiting reeds or ropes.

Verse 26

6 Act 9:26. When Saul was come to Jerusalem. This was after he had been in Arabia and returned to Damascus, a period of three years after his conversion (Gal 1:16-18). When he assayed (tried) to join the disciples they were afraid of him, thinking he was only posing as a disciple in order to get an advantage of them.

Verse 27

8 Act 9:27-28. Barnabas was a native of Cyprus (chapter 4:36) which was not far from Damascus. It was natural that he would be more or less familiar with the events that took place in that city, especially as they concerned the religion he professed. His introduction of Saul to the apostles was satisfactory, so that he was with them in their movements in and out of Jerusalem.

Verse 29

9 Act 9:29. Wherever Saul went, he was persecuted for preaching in the name of Jesus. Grecians were Greek-speaking Jews as explained at chapter 6:1.

Verse 30

0 Act 9:30. Caesarea was a seaport from which Saul sailed for his old home Tarsus. He was not idle while there, but preached "the faith he once destroyed" (Gal 1:21).

Verse 31

1 Act 9:31. Rest is from EIRENE which Thayer defines, "a state of national tranquility; exemption from the rage and havoc of war." Then in its application to our passage he explains it to mean, "of the church free from persecutions." This indicates the extent and success of Saul's persecutions of the church as it pertained to the uneasiness caused among the disciples. Fear is used in the sense of reverence for the Lord. It shows us that while persecutions will not take from true disciples their love for Christ (Rom 8:35-39), yet they may hinder them from advancing in numbers and strength. This will be the last we will hear of Saul until we get to chapter 11:25, 26.

Verse 32

2 Act 9:32. The condition of "rest" which the churches were enjoying opened up opportunities for the further spread of the Gospel. Peter used this situation to travel among the churches of Palestine and made Lydda one of his stopping places.

Verse 33

4 Act 9:33-34. Palsy was a form of paralysis that rendered the victim helpless from weakness. This man's case was of eight years' standing and hence was not imaginary. To make his bed was especially appropriate since his ailment was one of weakness. The cure was immediate as were all of the cases of miraculous healing.

Verse 35

5 Act 9:35. Saw him and turned to the Lord. While the New Testament was in the making, the Lord empowered his apostles and other workers to perform miracles as evidence of their connection with Him. (See Joh 20:30-31; Eph 4:8-14.)

Verse 36

6 Act 9:36. Joppa was a seaport about ten miles from Lydda. The original word for good works means the general conduct is good and practical, and almsdeeds refers especially to things done for those in need, which is indicated in verse 39.

Verse 37

7 Act 9:37. Thayer defines the original for upper chamber, "The highest part of the house, the upper rooms or story where the women resided." Here is where they laid Dorcas after preparing her body for burial.

Verse 38

8 Act 9:38. The miraculous work of Peter had become Known to the people of Joppa. Desiring him to come could have been only in the hope of restoring Dorcas to life.

Verse 39

9 Act 9:39. Widows stood by. These were the ones for whom the "alms-deeds" of verse 36 were done. Their weeping was a sincere expression of appreciation for what Dorcas had done for them. While she was with them. Her body lay in their presence as they did this, which is another proof that there is something in a human being that leaves the body and the world when death occurs.

Verse 40

0 Act 9:40. We are not told why Peter wished to be alone while performing this miracle, but it was not the first time such a thing was done. (See 1Ki 17:19-23; 2Ki 4:32-36; Mat 9:25.) Life was restored to the woman at the voice of Peter, and she opened her eyes only upon hearing it. She had enough physical strength to sit up, but was evidently somewhat weak from her recent illness.

Verse 41

1 Act 9:41. Gave her his 'hand. Peter restored the woman to life independent of any cooperation on her part, as a matter of course, but he encouraged her to "arise" by giving her his hand. The miracle having been performed, he called her friends back into the room and presented her alive to them.

Verse 42

2 Act 9:42. Many believed. See notes on verse 35 for the use of miracles in making believers. The case of Dorcas was reported throughout the city of Joppa.

Verse 43

3 Act 9:43. The decision to spend more time in the city is mentioned as a mere incident, but it connects up with the events of the next chapter.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Acts 9". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/acts-9.html. 1952.
Ads FreeProfile