Acts chapter 9          Next chapter           Back to Bible Studies  

The conversion of Saul

This chapter contains one of the most blessed pieces of Christian history and we rejoice that even today we are blessed by the writings of our dear brother Paul. His conversion as documented in this chapter is best read together with a number of Scriptures containing Paul's own words about his conversion experience which make it a very rich and personal testimony. It is wonderful how clear a picture we get of the event by putting together all these puzzle (Scripture) pieces. Finally we will take a closer look at the reason for Paul's great love for and thankfulness to the Lord - a great lesson for us today.

Please read the following Scriptures carefully:

Reading 1:    Acts 22: 1 - 21
Reading 2:    Acts 26: 1 - 23
Reading 3:    Galatians 1: 11 - 24
Reading 4:    Ephesians 3: 1 - 9
Reading 5:    Philippians 3: 2 - 9
Reading 6:    1 Corinthians 15: 3 - 11
Reading 7:    2 Corinthians 12: 1 - 6
Reading 8:    2 Corinthians 11: 30 - 33
Reading 9:    1 Timothy 1: 12 - 17

May God truly bless these readings to your heart.

A few notes:

It is extremely interesting that only in this chapter of Acts is Jesus specifically referred to as the 'Son of God' by Paul and it is also a distinguishing mark throughout the rest of his writings. This is almost certainly due to the fact that it was Jesus Christ Himself who appeared to and spoke to Paul from heaven on the Damascus road. We must also remember Paul's background in Pharasaism and the following Scriptures give us insight into the Jewish mind as regards the meaning of the term 'Son of God': Exodus 4: 22 - 23 and Hosea 11:1. In these Scriptures Israel as a nation is directly referred to as the 'son of God'. Paul wanted to leave his hearers in no doubt that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God!

The great lesson for us in this chapter lies in the explanation of Paul's great love for God. We see in his writings a progressive awareness of his sinfulness. Earlier on in his writings he refers to himself as 'the least of the Apostles' but towards the end of his life as 'the chief of sinners'. Paul knew exactly what manner of person he had been before and the fact that he even persecuted the Church remained with him until the end, as we can see from the readings above. Paul knew exactly how much he had been forgiven. That was the source of his great love for and thankfulness to God. Two Scriptures illustrate this principle beautifully -

Matthew 18: 21 - 35: 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.  26 “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

Luke 7: 40 - 48: "Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.  41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”  43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

It is very clear from these Scriptures that the person who knows how much they have been forgiven loves God much, but the person who does not know how much they have been forgiven, loves little. To know how much we have been forgiven is the source of our love for God. If you want to love God more, it will not help to repeat 100 times every morning "I must love God more, I must love God more..." Simply ask Him to show you how much you have been forgiven.  Amen!

© 2011 Werner Schreiber

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