What does Acts 9:18 mean?
ESV: And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;
NIV: Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,
NASB: And immediately something like fish scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;
CSB: At once something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized.
NLT: Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized.
KJV: And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
Verse Commentary:
Sight has been used as a metaphor for understanding worldwide throughout history. In Scripture, it's particularly used, as in Isaiah 6:9–10, with those who should know better. Stubborn people often have all the information about God that they need, but they refuse to act on it. Saul fits this description. He was "educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law" (Acts 22:3). His zeal for the Mosaic law was such that he unquestioningly hunted down Jesus-followers to either return them to orthodox Judaism or see them executed (Acts 26:9–11). His violence and rage against God's people seem to make him a perfect candidate for God to harden his heart and leave him to his hate.

But Jesus claims him (Philippians 3:12). After a period of physical blindness (Acts 9:9), Jesus removes the scales from Saul's eyes and heart. Saul knows his sinful character, calling himself the least of the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:9; Ephesians 3:8), but by the grace of Christ, he is redeemed (Romans 7:24–25) Now, he is called to bring spiritual sight to the Gentiles.

It is customary at the time for a new convert to be baptized immediately (Acts 2:41; 8:12, 36–38; 10:47–48; 16:15, 33; 19:5). It was the cultural signifier that someone had left their previous religion or sect and joined another. Later, Saul will testify that Ananias also told him his mission to bear witness to what is happening to him (Acts 22:15). At another time, Saul says that Jesus gave him the mission to preach, particularly to the Gentiles (Acts 26:16–18). That Ananias reaffirmed Jesus' message would provide greater validation for both.
Verse Context:
Acts 9:10–19 explains how the greatest earthly enemy of the early church experienced a change of heart. Saul is a Pharisee-trained, Greek-speaking Jew and zealous persecutor of Christians (Acts 8:1–3). He asked for permission to hunt Jesus-followers in Damascus, but found Jesus, instead (Acts 9:1–9). Blinded by Jesus' glory, he has been waiting in Damascus for Ananias, a Jesus-follower. Ananias arrives and participates as as Jesus heals Saul from both physical and spiritual blindness. Saul is baptized and takes physical nourishment. Saul stays in Damascus for some time and immediately takes his extensive training in Jewish Scripture to argue that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. The Sanhedrin's hitman is now a target of his former allies.
Chapter Summary:
Acts 9 sets the stage for the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles. Saul continues the persecution of the church by traveling to Damascus to arrest Jesus-followers. Before he reaches the city, Jesus confronts him. Saul realizes Jesus is the Messiah and immediately starts spreading the news, first in Damascus and later in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Peter travels to modern-day Tel Aviv to heal a paralyzed man and bring a dead woman back to life. The miracles aren't unusual, but the story leaves him in Joppa, poised to take the next step in Jesus' mandate to be His witness (Acts 1:8).
Chapter Context:
The murder of the Jesus-follower Stephen has ignited a fierce persecution against the church, led by a young Pharisee-trained man named Saul (Acts 7:54—8:3; 9:1–2). When he realizes Jesus truly is the Messiah, that fervor fuels his own evangelism (Acts 9:3–30). Meanwhile, Peter travels to the coast of Judea. Soon, he will teach a prominent Gentile household about Jesus and discover that Gentiles can be saved (Acts 10). The stage will be set for Saul to spread the saving news of Jesus to ''the end of the earth'' (Acts 1:8) under the Greek version of his name: Paul.
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 12:10:15 AM
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