The Conversion of Saul
9 Now [a]Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord [and relentless in his search for believers], went to the [b]high priest, 2 and he asked for letters [of authority] from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any men or women there belonging to [c]the Way [believers, followers of Jesus the Messiah], men and women alike, he could arrest them and bring them bound [with chains] to Jerusalem. 3 As he traveled he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him [displaying the glory and majesty of Christ]; 4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice [from heaven] saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting and oppressing Me?” 5 And Saul said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He answered, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, 6 now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him [were terrified and] stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was unable to see for three days, and he neither ate nor drank.
10 Now in Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called [d]Straight, and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul; for he is praying [there], 12 and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him, so that he may regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man, especially how much suffering and evil he has brought on Your saints (God’s people) at Jerusalem; 14 and here [in Damascus] he has authority from the high priests to put in chains all who call on Your name [confessing You as Savior].” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a [deliberately] chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will make clear to him how much he must suffer and endure for My name’s sake.” 17 So Ananias left and entered the house, and he laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came [to Damascus], has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit [in order to proclaim Christ to both Jews and Gentiles].” 18 Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized; 19 and he took some food and was strengthened.
Saul Begins to Preach Christ
For several days [afterward] Saul remained with the disciples who were at Damascus. 20 And immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “This Man is the Son of God [the promised Messiah]!” 21 All those who heard him continued to be amazed and said, “Is this not the man who in Jerusalem attacked those who called on this name [of Jesus], and had come here [to Damascus] for the express purpose of bringing them bound [with chains] before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased in strength more and more, and continued to perplex the Jews who lived in Damascus by examining [theological evidence] and proving [with Scripture] that this Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).
23 After considerable time had passed [about three years or so], the Jews plotted together to kill him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the city’s gates day and night so they could kill him; 25 but his disciples took him at night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.
26 When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 However, [e]Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles, and described to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road [to Damascus], and how He had spoken to him, and how at Damascus Saul had preached openly and spoken confidently in the name of Jesus. 28 So he was with them, moving around freely [as one among them] in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He was talking and arguing with the [f]Hellenists (Greek-speaking Jews); but they were attempting to kill him. 30 When the brothers found out [about the plot], they brought him down to [g]Caesarea [Maritima] and sent him off to Tarsus [his home town].
31 So the church throughout Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace [without persecution], being built up [in wisdom, virtue, and faith]; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it continued to grow [in numbers].
32 Now as Peter was traveling throughout the land, he went down to [visit] the [h]saints (God’s people) who lived at Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years and was paralyzed. 34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.” Immediately Aeneas got up. 35 Then all who lived at Lydda and the plain of Sharon saw [what had happened to] him, and they turned to the Lord.
36 Now in [i]Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha, (which translated into Greek means Dorcas). She was rich in acts of kindness and charity which she continually did. 37 During that time it happened that she became sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upstairs room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Come to us without delay.” 39 So Peter got up [at once] and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upstairs room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing [him] all the [j]tunics and robes that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. 40 But Peter sent them all out [of the room] and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise!” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand and helped her up; and then he called in the [k]saints (God’s people) and the widows, and he presented her [to them] alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many came to believe in the Lord [that is, to adhere to and trust in and rely on Jesus as Christ and Savior]. 43 And so it was that Peter stayed in Joppa for many days with Simon, [l]a tanner.
10 Now at [m]Caesarea [Maritima] there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the [n]Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who, along with all his household, feared God. He made many charitable donations to the Jewish people, and prayed to God always. 3 About the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.) of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had come to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4 Cornelius was frightened and stared intently at him and said, “What is it, lord (sir)?” And the angel said to him, “Your prayers and gifts of charity have ascended as a memorial offering before God [an offering made in remembrance of His past blessings]. 5 Now send men to [o]Joppa and have them call for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter [and invite him here]; 6 he is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.” 7 When the angel who was speaking to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among his own personal attendants; 8 and after explaining everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.
9 The next day, as they were on their way and were approaching the city, Peter went up on [p]the roof of the house about the sixth hour (noon) to pray, 10 but he became hungry and wanted something to eat. While [q]the meal was being prepared he fell into a trance; 11 and he saw the sky opened up, and an [r]object like a great sheet descending, lowered by its four corners to the earth, 12 and it contained all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. 13 A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” 14 But Peter said, “Not at all, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is common (unholy) and [ceremonially] unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed and pronounced clean, no longer consider common (unholy).” 16 This happened three times, and then immediately the object was taken up into heaven.
17 Now Peter was still perplexed and completely at a loss as to what his vision could mean when the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions to Simon’s house, arrived at the gate. 18 And they called out to ask whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was staying there. 19 While Peter was thoughtfully considering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Now listen, three men are looking for you. 20 Get up, go downstairs and go with them without hesitating or doubting, because I have sent them Myself.” 21 Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. For what reason have you come?” 22 They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man well spoken of by all the Jewish people, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear what you have to say.” 23 So Peter [s]invited them in and gave them lodging [for the night].
Peter at Caesarea
The next day Peter got up and left with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went with him. 24 On the following day he [and the others] entered Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter arrived, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet and [t]worshiped him. 26 But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am only a man.” 27 As Peter talked with him, he entered [the house] and found a large group of people assembled. 28 He said to them, “You know that it is unlawful for a Jewish man to associate with or befriend a Gentile, or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I am not to call anyone common or [ceremonially] unclean. 29 Therefore when I was sent for, I came without raising an objection. So I ask for what reason have you sent for me?”
30 Cornelius said, “Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour (3:00-4:00 p.m.); and a man [dressed] in bright, dazzling clothing suddenly stood before me, 31 and he said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your acts of charity have been remembered before God [so that He is about to help you]. 32 Therefore send word to Joppa and invite Simon, who is also called Peter, to come to you. He is staying at the house of Simon the tanner by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to listen to everything that you have been instructed by the Lord [to say].”
Gentiles Hear Good News
34 Opening his mouth, Peter said:
“Most certainly I understand now that God is not one to show partiality [to people as though Gentiles were excluded from God’s blessing], 35 but in every nation the person who fears God and does what is right [by seeking Him] is acceptable and welcomed by Him. 36 You know the message which He sent to the sons of Israel, announcing [u]the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all— 37 you know the things that have taken place throughout Judea, starting in Galilee after the baptism preached by John— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with great power; and He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him.(A) 39 We are [personally] eyewitnesses of everything that He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem [in particular]. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross; 40 God raised Him [to life] on the third day and caused Him to be plainly seen, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen and designated beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank together with Him after He rose from the dead.(B) 42 He commanded us to preach to the people [both Jew and Gentile], and to solemnly testify that He is the One who has been appointed and ordained by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about Him, that through His name everyone who believes in Him [whoever trusts in and relies on Him, accepting Him as Savior and Messiah] receives forgiveness of sins.”
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who were listening to the message [confirming God’s acceptance of Gentiles]. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them talking in [unknown] tongues (languages) and exalting and magnifying and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “Can anyone refuse water for these people to be baptized, since they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” 48 And he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay there for a few days.
- Acts 9:1 Later known as Paul the Apostle.
- Acts 9:1 Probably Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas. See note 4:6.
- Acts 9:2 This term for Christianity may have originated from Jesus’ own words, “I am the Way...,” John 14:6.
- Acts 9:11 Latin Via Recta, a long, straight street built by the Romans that ran through the city from east to west.
- Acts 9:27 This name means Son of Encouragement.
- Acts 9:29 See note 6:1.
- Acts 9:30 See note 8:40.
- Acts 9:32 I.e. believers. All Christians are saints, set apart for God’s purpose.
- Acts 9:36 A coastal suburb of Tel Aviv, known today as Jaffa.
- Acts 9:39 Or inner garments.
- Acts 9:41 Or holy ones.
- Acts 9:43 The Jews considered this occupation “unclean.”
- Acts 10:1 See note 8:40.
- Acts 10:1 A regiment consisted of about six hundred men, the tenth part of a legion.
- Acts 10:5 About twenty-four miles south of Caesarea.
- Acts 10:9 The flat roof of a house of this era was accessed by an outside stairway.
- Acts 10:10 Lit they were preparing.
- Acts 10:11 Or vessel.
- Acts 10:23 It was extremely unusual for a Jew to invite a Gentile into the house, much less offer lodging.
- Acts 10:25 Or prostrated himself in reverence.
- Acts 10:36 Or the gospel of peace.