What does Acts 22:7 mean?
ESV: And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
NIV: I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, 'Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?'
NASB: and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’
CSB: I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? '
NLT: I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
KJV: And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
NKJV: And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’
Verse Commentary:
Paul is explaining why he associates with Gentiles. He recounts how he converted from persecuting the church to building churches among the non-Jews. Years before, the Sanhedrin had granted him permission to hunt Jesus-followers in Damascus. Outside the city, a bright light enveloped him, and he heard a voice (Acts 9:1–6).

During the Last Supper, Jesus warned the disciples that as they spread His offer of forgiveness and reconciliation with the Father, the world would persecute them. He explained their message—the person of Jesus—is not of this world, and any rejection they encounter will be against Him, not them specifically. In fact, their rejection is against God the Father who sent Jesus to the world (John 15:18–25).

Fortunately, Paul listened to Jesus' words. He accepted that he was wrong and readily admitted his crimes against Jesus' followers (Acts 26:9–11). He then accepted Jesus' offer of forgiveness and readily took the responsibility to spread His message among the Gentiles. Unlike others who had a hard time accepting Gentiles (Acts 11:1–3; 15:1–2), perhaps Paul understands that no Gentile could dishonor the Messiah more than he had. In fact, he later writes to Timothy, "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost" (1 Timothy 1:15).

Between Jesus' words to Paul outside Damascus and this day before the crowd of Jews, Paul has faced a great deal of persecution by those who rejected Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:24–28). Besides various beatings, he was stoned and left for dead in Lystra (Acts 14:19). There's more to come; although the Holy Spirit has revealed to Paul he will be arrested (Acts 20:22–23), he doesn't know he will be incarcerated for the next five years.
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 5/29/2024 3:12:24 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.