Lesson 4--Paul's Conversion and Calling

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

PAUL--HIS CONVERSION AND CALLING

1. Read Acts 9:1-19. What basic facts does Luke record regarding Paul’s conversion and calling?

What authority would Paul as the representative of the Jewish Sanhedron have in Damascus, which could have possibly enabled him to bring people back to Jerusalem in chains? When the Jewish state won inde-pendence under the Hasmonaeans almost two hundred years earlier Rome demanded that the countries surrounding Judea grant them the rights and privileges of a sovereign state, which included the right of extradition. The Roman ambassador to Ptolemy VIII of Egypt sent a letter in 142 BC to Ptolemy stating, "If any pestilent men have fled to you from their country, hand them over to Simon the high preist, that he may punish them according to their law." These rights were renewed for Judea by Julius Caesar in 47 BC after Judea had become a vassal of Rome. Because many of the Christians from Judea had no doubt fled to Damascus due to the persecutions, Paul could travel to Damascus demanding their return.

Damascus is said to be the most ancient city in the world, and if it is not the most ancient it is the oldest city to be continuously inhabited by man. It lies 50 miles from the Mediterranean Sea equidistant between the port cities of Tyre and Sidon. It is positioned on one of the principal high roads between upper and lower Asia, which makes it a city of trade. We read of Damascus in Genesis during the time of Abraham. It was the capital of Syria which opposed Israel, but it was then captured by Asssyria, and in turn Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome. It lies in an area of great fertility and it is known for its fruits and flowers.

2. What additional information does Paul provide as recorded by Luke? (Cf. Appendix I)

In attempting to explain Paul’s experience in a natural way some people have attempted to prove that Paul was almost struck by lightning in an experience similar to Martin Luther. Others claim that Paul was over-come by heat, lapsed into unconsciousness, and then when he was in a delirium saw a vision. Still others claim he suffered an epileptic seizure. None of these theories, however, are in accordance with the Scriptural account which depicts a supernatural appearance of our risen Savior.

Acts 22:4-16--

Acts 26:12-18--

3. What was Paul’s reaction both to his conversion and his calling?

Acts 9:20-22--

PAUL--HIS CONVERSION AND CALLING

1. Read Acts 9:1-19. What basic facts does Luke record regarding Paul’s conversion and calling? 

What authority would Paul as the representative of the Jewish Sanhedron have in Damascus, which could have possibly enabled him to bring people back to Jerusalem in chains? When the Jewish state won inde-pendence under the Hasmonaeans almost two hundred years earlier Rome demanded that the countries surrounding Judea grant them the rights and privileges of a sovereign state, which included the right of extradition. The Roman ambassador to Ptolemy VIII of Egypt sent a letter in 142 BC to Ptolemy stating, "If any pestilent men have fled to you from their country, hand them over to Simon the high preist, that he may punish them according to their law." These rights were renewed for Judea by Julius Caesar in 47 BC after Judea had become a vassal of Rome. Because many of the Christians from Judea had no doubt fled to Damascus due to the persecutions, Paul could travel to Damascus demanding their return.

Damascus is said to be the most ancient city in the world, and if it is not the most ancient it is the oldest city to be continuously inhabited by man. It lies 50 miles from the Mediterranean Sea equidistant between the port cities of Tyre and Sidon. It is positioned on one of the principal high roads between upper and lower Asia, which makes it a city of trade. We read of Damascus in Genesis during the time of Abraham. It was the capital of Syria which opposed Israel, but it was then captured by Asssyria, and in turn Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome. It lies in an area of great fertility and it is known for its fruits and flowers.

2. What additional information does Paul provide as recorded by Luke? (Cf. Appendix I) 

In attempting to explain Paul’s experience in a natural way some people have attempted to prove that Paul was almost struck by lightning in an experience similar to Martin Luther. Others claim that Paul was over-come by heat, lapsed into unconsciousness, and then when he was in a delirium saw a vision. Still others claim he suffered an epileptic seizure. None of these theories, however, are in accordance with the Scriptural account which depicts a supernatural appearance of our risen Savior.

Acts 22:4-16--

Acts 26:12-18-- 

3. What was Paul’s reaction both to his conversion and his calling? 

Acts 9:20-22--

Discussion Topics:

1. Some people attempt to explain Paul’s conversion psychologically as a natural response to a conscience troubled by the stoning of Stephen and the persecution in which he was involved. In view of such passages as Acts 9:1 and 1 Timothy 1:13, do you find such an explanation convincing? Why, or why not?

2. In what ways was Paul’s conversion different from those of other people? In what ways was it the same?

3. Read Acts 9:13-14. What warning ought Ananias’ reaction to Paul provide for us as we evaluate mission prospects?

4. Why do you think the Lord allowed Paul to spend three days waiting for Ananias? What do you think Ananias’ words, "Brother, Saul," meant to Paul after those three days? Can you think of times when such an approach may be effective today when dealing either with unbelievers or believers entrapped by sin?

5. What changes did Paul experience in his life as a result of his conversion and calling? What changes did you experience if you were converted later in life, or what changes have you observed in others? Are there changes one might be able to predict and expect when individuals are converted from unbelief to faith?