Acts 9: Blind Sight

What driving force do you think was behind Saul’s passion to kill followers of Jesus?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was threatening death to the disciples of Christ. He went to the high priest
9:2 and received written authority to visit the synagogues in Damascus, arrest the followers of Jesus and bring them to Jerusalem.
King James
Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

Why might the believers in distant Damascus be a concern to the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was threatening death to the disciples of Christ. He went to the high priest
9:2 and received written authority to visit the synagogues in Damascus, arrest the followers of Jesus and bring them to Jerusalem.
King James
Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

Of those who were brought to trial before the Sanhedrin, what percentage do you think recanted their belief in Jesus?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was threatening death to the disciples of Christ. He went to the high priest
9:2 and received written authority to visit the synagogues in Damascus, arrest the followers of Jesus and bring them to Jerusalem.
King James
Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

What was the source of the light that shone from above, just before Saul reached Damascus? What time of day do you think it was?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:3 When he had almost reached the city, a light from above suddenly surrounded him.
King James
Acts 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

How did Saul react to the sudden, unexplainable appearance of brilliant light? Would those traveling with him have reacted in the same way?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:4 As he fell to his knees, a voice said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
King James
Acts 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

In what tone do you think Jesus spoke to Saul? Do you think others heard what Jesus was saying?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 9:4 As he fell to his knees, a voice said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
9:7 The men with Saul stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.
King James
Acts 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

How do you think Saul felt when he learned that this appearance was the person he had refused to believe in?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:5 “Sir, who are you?” Saul said, and the voice said, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. How hard it is for you to resist my prodding.
King James
Acts 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

With Jesus revealing Saul’s struggle with past prodding, we know Saul had more than one opportunity to believe in Jesus. When do you think those times might have been? What reasoning could have made the difference in his choosing not to believe?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 9:5 “Sir, who are you?” Saul said, and the voice said, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. How hard it is for you to resist my prodding.
King James
Acts 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Saul asked Jesus for guidance and chose to obey. What does this say about Saul’s change of heart? What might Saul’s response have been if he still chose not to believe?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:6 Trembling in fear, Saul said, “What do you want me to do?” “Get up,” Jesus said. “Go into the city and you’ll be told what to do.”
King James
Acts 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

How did the men not see Jesus when Saul saw him?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:7 The men with Saul stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.
King James
Acts 9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

Why did the men with Saul not say anything to him or to one another?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:7 The men with Saul stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.
King James
Acts 9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

If the brilliant light caused Saul to be blind, then he couldn’t have seen Jesus. What else might have caused his blindness?

Author’s Thoughts
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2 Kings 6:18 When the Syrian army came closer, Elisha prayed to the Lord, saying, “Smite these people with blindness.” And in response to Elisha’s words, God took away their sight.
Acts 9:8 When Saul stood up, his eyes were open but he couldn’t see anything, so they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus.
King James
2 Kings 6:18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the Lord, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.
Acts 9:8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.

What might the men have said to Saul after they realized that he could not see? What do you think Saul would have said?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:8 When Saul stood up, his eyes were open but he couldn’t see anything, so they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus.
King James
Acts 9:8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.

Why did Saul choose to not eat or drink anything for three days?

Author’s Thoughts
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Esther 4:16 Gather all the Jews in Susa and fast with me, for three days neither eating nor drinking anything day and night. My maidens will fast as well. Then I will see the king, which violates the law. If I am condemned to die, so be it.
Acts 9:9 For the next three days, he remained blind and didn’t eat or drink anything.
King James
Esther 4:16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
Acts 9:9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

When do you think Saul had a vision of a man named Ananias coming to touch him and restore his sight?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 9:9 For the next three days, he remained blind and didn’t eat or drink anything.
9:12 In a vision, he has seen a man named Ananias entering and touching him so he will see again.
King James
Acts 9:9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
9:12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

How much time might have passed after Saul’s vision before the Lord spoke to Ananias in a vision? During that time of waiting, what was Saul doing?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 9:10 Then the Lord spoke in a vision to Ananias, one of his disciples in Damascus. “Yes, Lord,” Ananias said, “what do you want?”
9:11 The Lord said, “Get up, go to the house of Judas on Straight Street, and ask for Saul from Tarsus, who is praying.
King James
Acts 9:10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
9:11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth.

Why did Ananias object to going to heal Saul? Since God was the one who gave the command, should he have gone without questioning God’s desire?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:12 In a vision, he has seen a man named Ananias entering and touching him so he will see again.”
9:13 “Lord,” Ananias said, “I’ve heard of this man—how much injury he has brought upon the believers in Jerusalem.
9:14 The high priest has given him authority to arrest anyone who follows you.”
King James
Acts 9:12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
9:13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
9:14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

What was God’s response to Ananias’s objection? Why do you think God chose to explain his plan?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:15 “Go anyway,” the Lord said, “for I have chosen him to speak in my name to kings, to both Jews and Gentiles.
9:16 I will reveal to him the great suffering he must endure for my sake.”
King James
Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
9:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

In what ways might Ananias have learned about Jesus appearing to Saul on the way to Damascus?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:17 So Ananias obeyed, entered the house, and placed his hands on him, saying, “The Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the way here, has sent me that you might be filled with the Holy Spirit and receive your sight.”
King James
Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Beyond knowing God’s plan for healing, how could Ananias know Saul was to be baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:17 So Ananias obeyed, entered the house, and placed his hands on him, saying, “The Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the way here, has sent me that you might be filled with the Holy Spirit and receive your sight.”
9:18 Immediately Saul saw clearly, as if scales had fallen from his eyes, and he went to be baptized.
King James
Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

During the considerable time Saul spent in Damascus with the followers of Jesus, what might have been said and done?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:19 After eating, he regained his strength and spent a good while in Damascus with Jesus’ followers.
King James
Acts 9:19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

After spending time with believers, what do you think motivated Saul to speak in the synagogues, declaring that Jesus was the Son of God?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:20 Soon after that, he was in the synagogues, declaring that Jesus was the Son of God.
King James
Acts 9:20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

What were believers’ first thoughts when they heard about Saul?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:21 Those who heard about Saul were amazed, saying, “Isn’t he the one who was arresting Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem and came here to do the same thing, wanting to present them bound before the leading priests?”
King James
Acts 9:21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?

The more that Saul presented his arguments that Jesus was the Messiah, the more irrefutable his proofs were. What does this say about the importance of repeated practice of giving our testimonies?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:22 Saul became even better at presenting strong proofs that Jesus was the Messiah. After several days in which they in Damascus could not refute his arguments,
9:23 the Jews made plans to kill him.
King James
Acts 9:22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
9:23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him.

When Jewish leaders could not refute his arguments, what did they want to do?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:22 Saul became even better at presenting strong proofs that Jesus was the Messiah. After several days in which they in Damascus could not refute his arguments,
9:23 the Jews made plans to kill him.
King James
Acts 9:22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
9:23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him.

By what means do you think the plot became known to the person who told Saul?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:24 Saul was told that they were watching the city gates day and night so they could kill him,
9:25 so during the night, Jesus’ disciples lowered him in a basket over the city wall.
King James
Acts 9:24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.
9:25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

How did the disciples get Saul up and over the wall so he could be lowered in a basket?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 9:24 Saul was told that they were watching the city gates day and night so they could kill him,
9:25 so during the night, Jesus’ disciples lowered him in a basket over the city wall.
King James
Acts 9:24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.
9:25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

We can calculate about three years between the time Saul left Damascus and when he arrived in Jerusalem. After leaving Damascus, where did Saul go? Why do you think Luke didn’t report what Saul did during that time?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 9:24 Saul was told that they were watching the city gates day and night so they could kill him,
9:25 so during the night, Jesus’ disciples lowered him in a basket over the city wall.
Galatians 1:17 I didn’t go to Jerusalem to consult with the apostles who were called before I was. I first went to Arabia, then returned to Damascus.
1:18 Finally, after three years, I went to see Peter in Jerusalem and stayed with him for fifteen days.
1:19 I saw none of the other apostles except for James, the brother of Jesus.
King James
Acts 9:24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.
9:25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.
Galatians 1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
1:19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.

Why do you think believers the believers in Jerusalem were less inclined to accept Saul than the believers in Damascus had been, three years earlier?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:26 Back in Jerusalem, Saul tried to join Jesus’ disciples, but they were afraid, believing he was faking loyalty and would arrest them.
King James
Acts 9:26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.

What happened to convince people that Saul’s conversion was genuine?

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Acts 9:27 However, Barnabas brought him to the apostles, told them that Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and boldly preached Jesus in the synagogues there.
King James
Acts 9:27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

How might the culture of Greek-speaking Jews differ from the Jews who spoke only Aramaic?

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Acts 9:28 So he joined the apostles in ministry, going in and out of Jerusalem,
9:29 arguing so effectively that Jesus was the Messiah that the Grecian Jews also sought to kill him.
King James
Acts 9:28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.
9:29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.

What do you think Saul’s feelings were when believers sent him home to Tarsus?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:30 When the threat became known, believers took him to Caesarea, where they put him on a ship bound for Tarsus.
King James
Acts 9:30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

What brought a period of peace in the regions of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:31 After that, the assemblies in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee enjoyed a period of peace, their numbers increasing as people grew in the fear of the Lord and were led by the Holy Spirit.
King James
Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

When the paralytic in Lydda was healed, why do you think Peter was not arrested?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:33 There he met Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years.
9:34 “Aeneas,” Peter said, “Jesus Christ is here to heal you. Arise and roll up your bed.” Immediately, the man got up, healed.
9:35 When the people of Lydda and Sharon saw the man, they became followers of Jesus.
King James
Acts 9:33 And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy.
9:34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.
9:35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.

If Dorcas was doing so many good works, why did she have to get sick and die?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:36 At Joppa, a woman named Tabitha, which is Dorcas in Greek, was a disciple well-known for her good works and her giving to the poor.
9:37 After being sick for a while, she died, was prepared for burial, and was laid in an upstairs room.
King James
Acts 9:36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
9:37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.)

When followers of Jesus in Joppa sent for Peter to come immediately, what different expectations might they have had?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:38 Since Joppa was nearby, the disciples there had heard where Peter was and sent two men to ask him to come immediately.
9:39 So Peter went with them and entered the upstairs room. Widows were standing beside Dorcas, weeping, holding coats and garments that she had made.
King James
Acts 9:38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.
9:39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.

Why might Peter have thought it was important to be alone with the dead person?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:40 After sending everyone out of the room, Peter knelt and prayed, then turned to the body. “Tabitha,” he said, “get up.” She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.
King James
Acts 9:40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.

People who have seen Heaven don’t want to come back to Earth, so who do you think made her decision to return?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:40 After sending everyone out of the room, Peter knelt and prayed, then turned to the body. “Tabitha,” he said, “get up.” She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.
King James
Acts 9:40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.

After the miracle, many believed? What reasons would people have had for not believing?

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Acts 9:41 Peter took her by the hand, helped her, and presented her alive to the widows and other believers.
9:42 The miracle became known throughout Joppa, and many more believed in Jesus the Messiah.
King James
Acts 9:41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.
9:42 And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.

Why do you think Peter chose to remain in Joppa for a long time and not go to some other city?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 9:43 Peter remained in Joppa for a long time, staying with Simon, a tanner of hides.
King James
Acts 9:43 And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.