Acts 9:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 9:17, NIV: Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'

Acts 9:17, ESV: So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 9:17, KJV: 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.

Acts 9:17, NASB: So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'

Acts 9:17, NLT: So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'

Acts 9:17, CSB: Ananias went and entered the house. He placed his hands on him and said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

What does Acts 9:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Ever since the murder of the Jesus-follower Stephen (Acts 7:54–60), Saul has made it his personal mission to capture other Jewish Christians, seeking to force them to deny their faith or execute them (Acts 26:9–11). To that end, he has traveled 133 miles north of Jerusalem to the trading town of Damascus. Before he reached the city, however, Jesus showed up (Acts 9:1–9). Saul has the theological training of a Pharisee and a zeal that borders on madness; these are characteristics Jesus can use in a missionary. Jesus then sends Ananias to meet with Saul and affirm his new life mission (Acts 9:10–16).

We know next to nothing about Ananias except that he is probably not Jewish; when Saul later calls him "a devout man," that's a term that usually describes a Gentile who worships the Jewish God (Acts 22:12). God chooses an unknown follower, over a hundred miles away from the church in Jerusalem, to lead Saul to Him. Saul will spend the next years preaching in Damascus and spending time in the wilderness east of Damascus before returning to Jerusalem (Galatians 1:15–17) where the apostles will doubt his conversion and be reluctant to even meet with him (Acts 9:26).

Saul, later going by his Greek name, Paul, makes it clear in the book of Galatians that he was not commissioned by the apostles or other Christian leaders (Galatians 1:11–12). Ananias was a relative nobody. It seems God didn't intend Saul, the missionary to the Gentiles, to be a disciple of another man but of Christ, Himself. Saul came to Damascus with the authority of the Sanhedrin (Acts 9:1–2). He leaves with the authority of Christ.

The role of the Holy Spirit changes at the point of Jesus' ascension; Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would have a more prominent role after He was gone (John 15:26; 16:7). At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit falls on every believer, eternally indwelling them and marking them as saved (Acts 2:1–4; 2 Corinthians 1:22). The filling of the Holy Spirit is different. It is not salvation-based; it is an empowerment for specific work. Bezalel was filled with the Spirit when God commissioned him to make the tabernacle (Exodus 31:2–3). Prophets were regularly filled with the Holy Spirit, including such unlikely candidates as Balaam (Numbers 24:2) and King Saul (1 Samuel 10:10).

The Holy Spirit fills those in the New Testament, too, usually for short amounts of time, although John the Baptist was filled for years (Luke 1:15). When Saul is saved, he is both indwelt and filled by the Holy Spirit.