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Acts 9:1-28

Talks for Growing Christians

The Conversion of Saul of Tarsus

Acts 9:1-28

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Lesson Number 16

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The conversion of Saul was a turning point in the spread of Christianity.
  2. The conversion of Saul is a turning point in the book of Acts.

Practical Application

  1. Be willing to be an Ananias or a Barnabas.

Questions

  1. What do we know about Saul of Tarsus?
  2. How do critics of the Bible try to explain away the conversion of Saul?
  3. What was Paul’s special mission, as told to Ananias in verse 15?
  4. How was Saul persecuting Jesus Christ (verse 4)?
  5. What role does Barnabas play in the life of Paul?

Answers

  1. He was a zealous young leader in Judaism who mercilessly persecuted Christians. He was present at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7).
  2. They say it was a natural experience, such as Saul being struck by lightening, suffering sunstroke, or having an epileptic seizure. Paul states again and again in his writings that this was a supernatural event.
  3. He would have the important task of spreading the gospel to the Gentile world.
  4. He was violently persecuting Christians, who are the body of Christ on earth.
  5. Barnabas, whose name means “son of encouragement,” paved the way for Paul to be accepted by the apostles and other believers in Jerusalem.

Discuss/Consider

  1. The Apostle Paul was the first one to preach the great doctrine of the Church as the body of Christ, composed of all believers, both Jews and Gentiles. Discuss this radical change in theology and how it must have shocked Saul.
  2. We read of no jealousy on the part of Peter and the other apostles when Paul, their former enemy, stepped into the limelight. This was quite a step of faith for them to accept this young man’s new position. Discuss how you would have reacted in a situation such as this.

Challenge

  1. Despite Paul’s soiled past as a chief persecutor of the early Christians, God used Paul to accomplish mighty things for His kingdom. Have you given the Lord your shame over your past and trusted that He can use you in His work?

Key Verses

  • “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Acts 9:4
  • “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Acts 9:15-16
  • “But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.” Acts 9:22

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