What does Acts 9:8 mean?
ESV: Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.
NIV: Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus.
NASB: Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus.
CSB: Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus.
NLT: Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus.
KJV: And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
NKJV: Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.
Verse Commentary:
The road to Damascus has proved to be more than Saul bargained for. He had been on a mission to enter Damascus armed with the paperwork that authorizes him to search for Jewish Jesus-followers. Upon finding them, he would try to force them to abandon their belief in Jesus and declare He is not the Son of God. If they refused, he would take them to Jerusalem where they would be tried for blasphemy, convicted, and Saul would join others in voting for their execution (Acts 26:9–11).

But something happened he did not expect. Jesus, Himself, appeared, surrounded by the glorious light of heaven. He has ordered Saul to continue his journey to Damascus and wait for further instruction. Saul's traveling companions are confused: they see the light and hear a noise, but they can't distinguish any words (Acts 9:1–7).

Meanwhile, Saul is physically blinded because of the brightness of the light (Acts 22:11). Later, when relating Israel's rejection of Christ, Saul will quote Isaiah 6:10—a passage Jesus quoted in Matthew 13:15: "For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them" (see Romans 11:8). Saul had been spiritually blind before his encounter with Christ. Now, unable to see the material world, he will begin to see and understand the truth of who Jesus is.
Verse Context:
Acts 9:1–9 tells the story of how the lead persecutor of the early church meets Jesus. Saul, who had arrested the Jesus-followers in Jerusalem (Act 7:58; 8:1–3), expands his terror outside of Judea and travels north to Damascus. Jesus stops Saul and reveals He is not only alive, He is glorified by the light of heaven. Saul is stunned—and blinded. His companions lead him into the city where he waits, without food or drink, for three day until Jesus' messenger comes to tell him what to do. Saul goes into further detail in Acts 22:6–16 and 26:9–18.
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 5/28/2024 7:08:39 PM
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