What does Acts 22:6 mean?
ESV: “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me.
NIV: About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me.
NASB: But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus at about noon, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me,
CSB: "As I was traveling and approaching Damascus, about noon an intense light from heaven suddenly flashed around me.
NLT: As I was on the road, approaching Damascus about noon, a very bright light from heaven suddenly shone down around me.
KJV: And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.
Verse Commentary:
The crowd which, moments before, tried to rip Paul limb from limb, now listens respectfully. Jews from Asia, the province in southwestern modern-day Turkey, saw Paul in Jerusalem with Trophimus, whom they recognized as a Gentile. When they later saw Paul in the temple, they assumed he'd brought Trophimus with him, despite that being a capital offense according to both the Mosaic and Roman laws.

The Jews from Asia shouted their suspicions in the temple and a mob dragged Paul out of the temple and started pounding him. The Roman tribune sent his soldiers to wade into the riot and pull Paul out. As the tribune arrested Paul, Paul asked if he could address the crowd. The tribune had no idea what was going on, so he allowed it. Paul proceeded to try to explain why he was with Trophimus—a Gentile—in Jerusalem (Acts 21:27–40).

He starts by recounting how he was raised to revere the Mosaic law as strongly as any Pharisee. So strong was his devotion that he initially violently persecuted Jesus followers (Acts 26:9–11). Now, he explains how that while tracking Jesus-followers down in Damascus, he met Jesus, a story first told in Acts 9:1–19.

The great light was the glory of God. From its midst, Jesus appeared and asked Paul why he was persecuting Him—not His followers; Jesus had told the apostles that any who persecuted them did so because they were really against Him (John 15:18–21). Paul, blinded by the light, entered Damascus at the hand of his assistants and fasted for three days before Jesus sent Ananias to return his physical sight and lead him to accept Christ's offer of forgiveness.

The crowd listens politely—until Paul describes how Jesus told him to spread His story to the Gentiles. They entertain the idea that this Jesus of Nazareth may be the Jewish Messiah, but they forget God promised Abraham that He would bless Gentiles through Him.
Verse Context:
Acts 22:6–16 continues Paul's defense against accusations that he both breaks the Mosaic law and associates with Gentiles. He has described his early life training to be a Pharisee and persecuting the church (Acts 22:3–5). Now, he explains how he came to follow Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. His accusers show polite interest in his story until he arrives at the point in the narrative where Jesus tells him to give Gentiles the way of salvation. Paul's conversion experience is also recorded in Acts 9:1–19 and reiterated in Acts 26:12–18.
Chapter Summary:
In Acts 22, a young Roman military officer realizes he cannot control Jews who do not wish to be controlled. He has just rescued Paul from a crowd that largely doesn't know why they want to kill Paul. In hopes of gathering information, the tribune allows Paul to speak to the crowd. The crowd listens only briefly, then explodes again. The tribune tries flogging but is foiled by Paul's Roman citizenship. Finally, the tribune schedules a meeting with the Sanhedrin. It does not go well (Acts 23:1–10).
Chapter Context:
Paul came to Jerusalem to tell the church of his ministry's success with Gentiles. The leaders are more worried about a rumor that Paul no longer respects the Jewish law. Paul agrees to perform a very Jewish ritual, but in the process is falsely accused of bringing a Gentile into the temple. A mob assaults him, and the Roman tribune arrests him (Acts 21:17–36). The tribune tries to uncover the truth by letting Paul speak to the crowd, then almost flogging him (Acts 21:37—22). Next, he will bring Paul to the Sanhedrin, to no avail (Acts 23:1–10).
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 4/18/2024 8:28:19 PM
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