Acts 22:12

ESV “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
NIV A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there.
NASB Now a certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
CSB Someone named Ananias, a devout man according to the law, who had a good reputation with all the Jews living there,
NLT A man named Ananias lived there. He was a godly man, deeply devoted to the law, and well regarded by all the Jews of Damascus.
KJV And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,

What does Acts 22:12 mean?

Paul is defending himself against accusations that he brought a Gentile into the temple. It's possible that Ananias, who was instrumental in bringing Paul to faith in Christ, might have been a Gentile. This detail might have been one reason Paul chooses to relate this story.

After Stephen's murder, which Paul approved of at the time (Acts 7:54–60; 22:20), Paul received permission from the Sanhedrin to bring Jewish Christians outside of Judea to trial in Jerusalem, likely for execution (Acts 9:1–2; 26:10). Outside of Damascus, Paul instead encountered Jesus, who told him to Damascus and wait. Paul did so, fasting for three days before Ananias arrived (Acts 9:3–9).

While Paul fasted, Jesus spoke with Ananias, telling him what to do. Ananias understandably balked saying, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much even he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name" (Acts 9:13–14). Jesus told Ananias that not only had He chosen Paul to serve Him and bring His message to the Gentiles, but Paul would also suffer for it. Ananias obeyed and led Paul to Christ (Acts 9:15–19; 22:13–16).

In Acts 9:10, Ananias is described as "a disciple." That means someone who faithfully follows and obeys Christ. Here, he is described as "a devout man." "Devout" is from the Greek root word eulabēs which means pious and dutiful. This term, along with faithfulness to the Mosaic law and reputation among the Jews indicates Ananias was a Gentile. When Peter gave his first sermon on the day of Pentecost, the crowd contained both Jews and proselytes. In general, "proselytes" are Gentiles who have fully converted to Judaism. The "devout," like Cornelius (Acts 10:1–2), follow God without full conversion. It's possible Jesus chose Ananias because as a Gentile who had not fully converted to Judaism, he was outside of Paul's jurisdiction.

The book of Acts mentions several men named Ananias. This is not the man who lied about his donation and fell dead (Acts 5:1–6). Nor is he the high priest who served from AD 48 to 58 (Acts 23:2; 24:1). And he is not Aeneas, the paralyzed man in Lydda whom Peter healed (Acts 9:32–35). In fact, he is not mentioned outside of Paul's conversion story.
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: