Acts 9:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 9:21, NIV: All those who heard him were astonished and asked, 'Isn't he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?'

Acts 9:21, ESV: And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?”

Acts 9:21, KJV: But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?

Acts 9:21, NASB: All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, 'Is this not the one who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?'

Acts 9:21, NLT: All who heard him were amazed. 'Isn't this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus' followers in Jerusalem?' they asked. 'And didn't he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?'

Acts 9:21, CSB: All who heard him were astounded and said, "Isn't this the man in Jerusalem who was causing havoc for those who called on this name and came here for the purpose of taking them as prisoners to the chief priests? "

What does Acts 9:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Saul, the passionate Pharisee, has recently converted to follow Jesus (Acts 9:1–19). The first thing he does is start preaching. He goes to the synagogues in Damascus and shows how Jesus of Nazareth fulfills the prophecies of the Messiah in the Jewish Scriptures.

He had originally come to Damascus to arrest Jesus-followers, bring them to Jerusalem for trial, and, if they didn't deny their faith, see them executed for blasphemy (Acts 26:9–11). Apparently, this news is well known among the Jews there. Now, Saul is preaching that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God; when Jesus made this claim, the Sanhedrin had Him crucified for blasphemy (John 19:7).

The phrase alternately translated "made havoc," "was ravaging," or "destroyed" is from the Greek root word portheō. In general, it means to wreck or overthrow, and is based on the Greek pertho which means "to sack." Believers of this era saw Saul as an invading warrior who had come to demolish the church.

"This name" is the name of Jesus. This is not a reference to the letters and sounds that identify Him, but to the entirety of how He is known. It means Christ's character and reputation, the thoughts and feelings that come to mind when people consider Him. Syllables and sounds are ephemeral. We put our hope and faith in the person of Christ.