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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
Acts 9



Other Authors
Verse 1

Breathing out ( ἐμπνέων )

Lit., breathing upon or at, and so corresponding to against the disciples.

Threatenings and slaughter ( ἀπειλῆς καὶ φόνου )

Lit., threatening; so Rev. In the Greek construction, the case in which these words are marks them as the cause or source of the “breathing;” breathing hard out of threatening, and murderous desire.

Verse 2

Of this way ( τῆς ὁδοῦ )

Rev., more correctly, “the way.” A common expression in the Acts for the Christian religion: “the characteristic direction of life as determined by faith on Jesus Christ” (Meyer). See Acts 19:9; Acts 22:4; Acts 24:22. For the fuller expression of the idea, see Acts 16:17; Acts 18:25.


Paul three times alludes to his persecution of women as an aggravation of his cruelty (Acts 8:3; Acts 9:2; Acts 22:4).

Verse 3

There shined round about ( περιήστραψεν )

Only here and Acts 22:6. Flashed. See on Luke 11:36; Luke 24:4.

A light

Compare Acts 22:6; Acts 26:13.

Verse 4


In Paul's own account he says that the words were spoken in Hebrew (Acts 26:14).

Verse 5

It is hard for thee, etc

Transferred from Acts 26:14, and omitted by the best texts.

Verse 6

Trembling and astonished

The best texts omit.

Verse 7

Speechless ( ἐνεοί )

Only here in New Testament.

Verse 11

Street ( ῥύμην )

See on Luke 14:21. A narrow street or lane.


So called from its running in a direct line from the eastern to the western gate of the city.

Verse 15

Chosen vessel ( σκεῦος ἐκλογῆς )

Lit., an instrument of choice. On vessel, see on Matthew 12:29; and on the figure, compare 2 Corinthians 4:7.

Verse 16

How great things ( ὅσα )

Rev., more correctly, howmany.

Verse 17


In Christ.

Verse 18

There fell - scales ( ἀπέπεσον - λεπίδες )

Both words occur only here in the New Testament. In Paul's own account of his conversion in ch. 26 he does not mention his blindness: in ch. 22 he mentions both the blindness and the recovery of sight, but not the particular circumstances which Luke records. The mention of the scales, or incrustations, such as are incidental to ophthalmia, is characteristic of the physician, and ἀποπίπτειν , to fall off, was used technically by medical writers of the falling of scales from the skin, and of particles from diseased parts of the body. “We may suppose that Luke had often heard Paul relate how he felt at that moment” (Hackett).

Verse 20


The correct reading is Jesus, the individual or personal name of the Lord. Christ was not yet current as his personal name. Paul's object was to establish the identity of Jesus the Nazarene with the Messiah.

Verse 21

Destroyed ( πορθήσας )

Rather, laid waste, made havoc of, as Rev. Compare Acts 8:3. Paul uses the same word in Galatians 1:13.

Verse 22


See on Acts 2:6.

Proving ( συμβιβάζων )

The verb means to bring or put together: hence to compare and examine, as evidence, and so to prove. Used in the literal and physical sense in Ephesians 4:16. In Colossians 2:2, of being knit together in love. In 1 Corinthians 2:16, of instructing, building up, byputting together. In this sense the word occurs in the Septuagint. See Judges 13:8.

The Christ

Note the article. Not a proper name, but an appellative. See on Acts href="/desk/?q=ac+9:20&sr=1">Acts 9:20.

Verse 23

To kill

See on Luke 23:32.

Verse 24

Laying await ( ἐπιβουλὴ )

So rendered by A. V. wherever it occurs, viz., Acts 20:3, Acts 20:19; Acts 23:30; but properly changed by Rev., in every case, to plot. “Laying await” refers rather to the execution of the plot than to the plot itself.


See on Mark 3:2. Imperfect: they were orkept watching, day and night.

Verse 25

By the wall ( διὰ τοῦ τείχους )

Rev., more accurately, through the wall, as is explained by 2 Corinthians 11:33. Either through the window of a house overhanging the wall, or through a window in the wall itself opening to houses on its inner side. Hackett says that he observed such windows in the wall at Damascus. On the mode of escape, compare Joshua 2:15; 1 Samuel 19:12.

Basket ( σπυρίδι )

See on Matthew 14:20. In Paul's account of this adventure he uses σαργάνη , a plaited or braided basket of wicker-work; or, as some think, of ropes.

Verse 26

Join himself

See on Acts 5:13; and Luke 15:15; and Luke 10:11.

Verse 27

Declared ( διηγήσατο )

Related throughout. See on Luke 8:39; and compare on declaration, Luke 1:1.

Had preached boldly ( ἐπαῥῤησιάσατο )

See on freely, Acts 2:29.

Verse 29


Rev., correctly, Grecian Jews. See on Acts 6:1.

Went about ( ἐπεχείρουν )

Better, attempted: lit., took in hand.

Verse 31

The churches

The best texts read the church; embracing all the different churches throughout the three provinces of Palestine.


Or built up.

Comfort ( παρακλήσει )

From παρακαλέω ,call toward or to one's side for help. The word is rendered in the New Testament both exhortation and consolation. Compare Acts 13:15; Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 8:17; Hebrews 12:5; and Luke 2:25(see note); 2 Thessalonians 2:16; Matthew 5:4. In some passages the meaning is disputed, as Philemon 2:1, where, as in 1 Corinthians 14:3, it is joined with παραμύθιον or παραμυθία , the meaning of which also varies between incentive and consolation or assuagement. Here exhortation is the rendering approved by the best authorities, to be construed with was multiplied: was multiplied by the exhortation of the Holy Ghost; i.e., by the Holy Spirit inspiring the preachers, and moving the hearts of the hearers.

Verse 32


The Lod of the Old Testament (Ezra 2:33); about a day's journey from Jerusalem.

Verse 33

Eight years

The duration of the malady, and the fact of his having been bedridden for the whole time, are characteristic of the physician's narrative.


See on Mark 2:4.

Sick of the palsy

Better, as Rev., palsied. See on Luke 5:18.

Verse 34

Jesus Christ

But note the article: Jesus the Christ; the Anointed; Messiah.

Maketh thee whole ( ἰᾶταί σε )

Rev., healeth thee. See on Luke 6:19.

Make thy bed ( στρῶσον σεαυτῷ )

Lit., strew for thyself. Not, henceforth, but on the spot, as an evidence of restoration.

Verse 35


Rev., properly, Sharon. Always with the definite article: the plain; extending thirty miles along the sea from Joppa to Caesarea.

Verse 36

Disciple ( μαθήτρια )

A feminine form, only here in New Testament.

Tabitha - Dorcas

The latter word being the Greek equivalent of the former, which is Aramaic, and meaning gazelle, which in the East was a favorite type of beauty. See Song of Solomon 2:9, Song of Solomon 2:17; Song of Solomon 4:5; Song of Solomon 7:3. It was customary at this time for the Jews to have two names, one Hebrew and the other Greek or Latin; and this would especially be the case in a seaport like Joppa, which was both a Gentile and a Jewish town. She may have been known by both names.

Verse 37

Upper chamber

See on Acts 1:13.

Verse 38

That he would not delay ( μὴ ὀκνῆσαι )

The best texts read ὀκνήσῃς putting the request in the form of a direct address, Delay not.

To come ( διελθεῖν )

Lit., to come through. Rev., come on.

Verse 39

Coats and garments

See on Matthew 5:40.

Which ( ὅσα )

Lit., as many as.

Made ( ἐποίει )

The imperfect: was accustomed to make.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 9:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

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Monday, November 30th, 2020
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