Paul’s Testimony (Acts 22:6-21)
As I was on the road
approaching Damascus about noon,
a very bright light from heaven suddenly shone down around me.
I fell to the ground
and heard a voice saying to me,
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
‘Who are you, lord?’
And the voice replied,
‘I am Jesus the Nazarene,
the one you are persecuting.’
The people with me saw the light
but didn’t understand the voice speaking to me.
‘What should I do, Lord?’
And the Lord told me,
‘Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told everything you are to do.’
I was blinded by the intense light
and had to be led by the hand to Damascus by my companions.
A man named Ananias lived there.
He was a godly man,
deeply devoted to the law,
and well regarded by all the Jews of Damascus.
He came and stood beside me
‘Brother Saul, regain your sight.’
And that very moment I could see him
then he told me, ‘
The God of our ancestors has chosen you
to know his will
and to see the Righteous One
and hear him speak.
For you are to be his witness,
telling everyone what you have seen and heard.
What are you waiting for?
Get up and be baptized.
Have your sins washed away
by calling on the name of the Lord.’
After I returned to Jerusalem,
I was praying in the Temple
and fell into a trance.
I saw a vision of Jesus saying to me,
‘Hurry! Leave Jerusalem,
for the people here won’t accept your testimony about me.’
“‘But Lord, they certainly know
that in every synagogue
and beat those who believed in you.
And I was in complete agreement
when your witness Stephen was killed.
I stood by and kept the coats they took off
when they stoned him.’
But the Lord said to me,
‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles!’
Here is Paul’s testimony laid out ready for propositional analysis. Three readers have asked me not to launch straight into my comments but to give them time to investigate and apply what I did with the introduction to this record of Paul’s testimony. I will do that willingly because I am more interested in spurring you on to investigate the Bible deeply than simply trotting out what I know about it or find in the passage. Deeper Bibleand Bible Gemsare all about teaching you to find the deep things of God for yourselves in the text of the Bible. So let’s do that. I will give you a week before I will start to pull this section apart in the interests of allowing you the time to see what you can find.
What I will do during that week is comment on things that I noticed but thought I might not comment on. I have learned during the time of writing the Gems not to comment on everything I see. Some of you want to know about everything, others want to keep moving on and just hit the highlights. I have to strike a balance between the two, otherwise it will take forever and a day to finish Acts.
As I sat down this morning to begin writing this Gems a thought occurred to me. What we have here before us is one of the accounts in Scripture which is repeated. I have told students of Deeper Biblethat repetition in the Bible is important. Both Hebrew and Greek use repetition in a way to emphasize what is being said. Thus when you see things being repeated pay careful attention. What is being said is important. Because I am also writing Nuggets weekly as well as Gems, in the Nuggets I am concentrating on the background to the Bible and its historicity, accuracy or truthfulness. In the Nuggets I have looked at a number of things in order to investigate the text as a means of validating it as truth from God. The thought occurred to me this morning, I should do something with the text Luke has given us in Acts that I have never done before, nor have I heard or read of anyone else doing it.
There are three accounts of Paul’s testimony recorded in Acts.
Saul’s narrative of his conversion (Acts 9:3-18)Paul’s testimony given on the steps of the Roman fort in Jerusalem (Acts 22:6-21)Paul’s testimony before Festus and Agrippa in Caesarea (Acts 26:12-20)
So I thought it would be good to compare the three accounts much like police officers would take a witness or a suspect in for questioning and ask them to repeat their testimony of what happened over and over. You and I both know they are looking for evidence of truthfulness in the testimony given to see if what was said is consistent or if the person’s testimony keeps changing indicating there are untruths being told.
Well let’s do that. If you find this Propositional Analysis stuff difficult, bypass it and focus on comparing the three accounts of Paul’s testimony to see how they line up. Imagine yourself to be a juror in a court trial listening to the accused. Look at the detail of Paul’s testimony across three different occasions on which he told the story and see what you conclude.
There is your assignment should you choose to accept it.
Either analyse the speech before us following its connectedness
Compare the three records of Paul’s account of his testimony as a juror.
I guess the keen ones among you could do both. But either way you have got some time to do either one or the other or both. I will do both so you can follow along with me or take time out on either one in order to concentrate on the other. But whatever I do I will spread out my comments and analysis of both in a way that is not overwhelming. You may choose which assignment you accept and it will not self-destruct within 30 seconds.
Make sure you go beyond the first mile; it is less crowded on the 2nd mile. Ian
Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second. William James
Don’t make the mistake of spending TIME you don’t have, MONEY you don’t make, and WORDS that aren’t yours trying to impress people who aren’t going anywhere! Rick Godwin
The worst bankruptcy in the world is the person who has lost their enthusiasm. H. W. Arnold
He or she who finds their own Gems comes alive to Bible study. Capture the thrill of digging deeper in God’s Word and you will never be the same. Ian