Tag Archives: Saul of Tarsus

Through the Bible, September 5

Reading: Acts 9-10

Summary: Saul of Tarsus rises to prominence among the Jews as a persecutor of Christians.  God intervenes in this zealous Pharisee’s life and brings about a dramatic conversion.  That event, along with the resurrection itself, serves as the greatest evidence for the validity of Jesus’ claim to be God’s Son.  That this event is recounted three times in Acts (chapters 9, 22, 26) bears witness to its vast importance.

Also of monumental import is the gospel being taken to the Gentiles.  This major shift also required God’s intervention to not only direct Cornelius’ actions, but also change Peter’s own attitudes and feelings.

Devotional Thought:

Two Conversions Considered

All conversions are not the same, but then again they are.  Is the stereotypical conversion one of a person who previously lived in rebellious defiance of God changing and now serving God in all humility?  That’s true of some conversions, but not all.  They are not all about a person changing from being bad to being good.

Think about Saul of Tarsus.  Here was a man zealously devoted to serving God in the way he thought he should.  How sadly and tragically mistaken he was.  His conversion included a radically changed understanding of God’s will and God’s people.  His zeal and fervor needed redirecting.

Think about Cornelius. This man is quite admirable even before his conversion.  He’s a devout, benevolent, God-fearing man.  Still, conversion was needed.

Neither of these men needed convinced to believe in God, to quit unrighteous living, or seek religion. Their greatest need was a changed relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  That change was affected by their immersion into Christ (Acts 9:18; 10:48).

Not all men need radical transformation in their lives and conduct, but all do need a critical change in their standing with God.

The Joy of God’s Presence, November 10

November 10, Tuesday: Bible Story (1)

Scripture Reading—Acts 9:1-31

This is a well-known (and with very good reason) Bible event. Much has been and will continue to be said and written about Saul’s conversion. The fact that it is recounted three separate times in Scripture (here, 22:3-16; and 26:9-18) shows us that God intends for us to pay close attention and learn from it. Here’s a bit of a side-line thought, that is, this certainly isn’t the primary message; but notice the different ways that followers of Jesus–the object so Saul’s intended persecution–are referred to–“disciples of the Lord” (v. 1), “the Way” (v. 2), “disciple” (v. 10), “your saints” (v. 13), “all who call on your name” (v. 14), “disciples” (v. 19), “those who called upon his [Jesus’] name” (v. 21). These words, phrases, and titles are used synonymously, that is, all referring to the same people. That should be helpful, then, in matching the Bible’s vocabulary and usage with our own.

Questions to Ponder:

  • From whom did Saul seek authority for his intended mission? (vv. 1-2)
  • Whom was Saul persecuting? (v. 5)
  • How is Saul described to Ananias? (v. 15)
  • What did Saul do “immediately” in Damascus? (vv. 19-20)

September 6 Bible Reading: Acts 11-12

Peter’s visit to the house of a Gentile to preach would not go unchallenged.  Jewish attitudes and biases were too deeply engrained.  Though some of his brethren were willing to accept the Gentiles right to receive the gospel, many Jews never did and so one of the greatest challenges in the church’s early years was set; one which Paul would fight throughout his life as a preacher of the gospel.

One of the church’s outside of Jerusalem that grew significantly was located in Antioch of Syria.  It’s here that Barnabas and Saul (not yet called Paul) work together for a time prior to their missionary efforts.  During this time the church in Jerusalem suffered some difficult times both through a famine that plagued the region as well as rekindled persecution that resulted in the death of James, the brother of John, as well as an attempt on Peter’s life also.

For today’s daily devotional CLICK HERE

For September week 1 Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

For September’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

Two Conversions Considered

Devotional Text: Acts 9:18; 10:48

All conversions are not the same, but then again they are.  Is the stereotypical conversion one of a person who previously lived in rebellious defiance of God changing and now serving God in all humility?  That’s true of some conversions, but not all.  They are not all about a person changing from being bad to being good.

Think about Saul of Tarsus.  Here was a man zealously devoted to serving God in the way he thought he should.  How sadly and tragically mistaken he was.  His conversion included a radically changed understanding of God’s will and God’s people.  His zeal and fervor needed redirecting.

Think about Cornelius. This man is quite admirable even before his conversion.  He’s a devout, benevolent, God-fearing man.  Still conversion was needed.

Neither of these men needed convinced to believe in God, to quit unrighteous living, or seek religion. Their greatest need was a changed relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  That change was affected by their immersion into Christ (Acts 9:18; 10:48).

Not all men need radical transformation in their lives and conduct, but all do need a critical change in their standing with God.

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

September 5 Bible Reading: Acts 9-10

Saul of Tarsus rises to prominence among the Jews as a persecutor of Christians.  God intervenes in this zealous Pharisee’s life and brings about a dramatic conversion.  That event, along with the resurrection itself, serve as the greatest evidence for the validity of Jesus’ claim to be God’s Son.  That this event is recounted three times in Acts (chapters 9, 22, 26) bears witness to its vast importance.

Also of monumental import is the gospel being taken to the Gentiles.  This major shift also required God’s intervention to not only direct Cornelius’ actions, but also change Peter’s own attitudes and feelings.

For today’s daily devotional CLICK HERE

For September week 1 Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

For September Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

September 4 Bible Reading: Acts 7-8

One of the most prominent and influential people in the church’s early days, who as not an apostle, was Stephen.  He becomes a lightening rod of opposition from the Jews.  Unable to adequately respond to His message of Jesus as the Messiah—the one foretold and the one opposed by them, as had been the prophets beforehand whom their fathers had also killed—they silenced this powerful preacher, as they had Jesus, by taking his life.

Stephen’s death serves as a spark that sets ablaze a severe persecution against the church—enter Saul of Tarsus.  God uses this persecution and the consequent dispersing of Christians from Jerusalem as the means by which the gospel is first taken from Jerusalem and Judea to Samaria and beyond, just as Jesus had said it would spread.

For today’s daily devotional CLICK HERE

For September week 1 Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

For September’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

Two Conversions Conidered

Devotional Text: Acts 9:18; 10:48

All conversions are not the same, but then again they are.  Is the stereotypical conversion one of a person who previously lived in rebellious defiance of God changing and now serving God in all humility?  That’s true of some conversions, but not all.  They are not all about a person changing from being bad to being good.

Think about Saul of Tarsus.  Here was a man zealously devoted to serving God in the way he thought he should.  How sadly and tragically mistaken he was.  His conversion included a radically changed understanding of God’s will and God’s people.  His zeal and fervor needed redirecting.

Think about Cornelius. This man is quite admirable even before his conversion.  He’s a devout, benevolent, God-fearing man.  Still conversion was needed.

Neither of these men needed convinced to believe in God, to quit unrighteous living, or seek religion. Their greatest need was a changed relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  That change was affected by their immersion into Christ (Acts 9:18; 10:48).

Not all men need radical transformation in their lives and conduct, but all do need a critical change in their standing with God.

–David Deffenbaugh

For today’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE

September Week 1 Bible Reading Introduction

September Week 1: Beginning in Jerusalem
September 1-7

The book of Acts traces the history of the early church beginning in Jerusalem and following the path suggested by Jesus: “…in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  It is not a comprehensive history as it focuses primarily on the efforts first of Peter and John, the attention shifts to Paul; to whom we are first introduced as Saul of Tarsus, persecutor of the church.

This week’s reading will cover the first twelve chapters of Acts which recount the explosive beginning of the church in Jerusalem, the first challenges, obstacles, and opposition—including the martyrdom of Stephen—followed by an introduction to Saul of Tarsus and his dramatic conversion.

For September’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE