Acts 9
Vincent's Word Studies
And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
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.

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 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).

And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
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.

And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

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

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.
It is hard for thee, etc

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

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.
Trembling and astonished

The best texts omit.

And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
Speechless (ἐνεοί)

Only here in New Testament.

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.
And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
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.
And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
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.

And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
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:
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.

For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
How great things (ὅσα)

Rev., more correctly, how many.

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.

In Christ.

And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
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).

And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

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.

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?
Destroyed (πορθήσας)

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

But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

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, by putting together. In this sense the word occurs in the Septuagint. See Leviticus 10:11; Judges 13:8.

The Christ

Note the article. Not a proper name, but an appellative. See on Acts 9:20.

And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:
To kill

See on Luke 23:32.

But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.
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 or kept watching, day and night.

Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.
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.

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.
Join himself

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

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.
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.

And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.
And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.

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

Went about (ἐπεχείρουν)

Better, attempted : lit., took in hand.

Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.
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.
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 Philippians 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.

And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.

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

And there he found a certain man named AEneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy.
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.

And Peter said unto him, AEneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.
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.

And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.

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

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.
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 Sol 2:9, Sol 2:17; Sol 4:5; Sol 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.

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.
Upper chamber

See on Acts 1:13.

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.
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.

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.
Coats and garments

See on Matthew 5:40.

Which (ὅσα)

Lit., as many as.

Made (ἐποίει)

The imperfect: was accustomed to make.

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.
And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.
And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.
And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.
Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

Bible Hub
Acts 8
Top of Page
Top of Page