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Acts 9:3

    Acts 9:3 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And as he journeyed, it came to pass that he drew nigh unto Damascus: and suddenly there shone round about him a light out of heaven:

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And while he was journeying, he came near Damascus; and suddenly he saw a light from heaven shining round him;

    Webster's Revision

    And as he journeyed, it came to pass that he drew nigh unto Damascus: and suddenly there shone round about him a light out of heaven:

    World English Bible

    As he traveled, it happened that he got close to Damascus, and suddenly a light from the sky shone around him.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And as he journeyed, it came to pass that he drew nigh unto Damascus: and suddenly there shone round about him a light out of heaven:

    Clarke's Commentary on Acts 9:3

    Suddenly there shined round about him - This might have been an extraordinary flash of the electric fluid, accompanied with thunder, with which God chose to astonish and confound Saul and his company; but so modified it as to prevent it from striking them dead. Thunder would naturally follow such a large quantity of this fluid as appears to have been disengaged at this time; and out of this thunder, or immediately after it, Christ spoke in an awful and distinct voice, which appears to have been understood by Saul only.

    Barnes' Notes on Acts 9:3

    And as he journeyed - On his way, or while he was traveling. The place where this occurred is not known. Irby and Mangles say it is "outside the eastern gate." In the Boat and Caravan it is described as about a mile from the town, and near the Christian burying-ground which belongs to the Armenians. All that we know of it is that it was near to Damascus.

    And suddenly - Like a flash of lightning.

    There shined round about him ... - The language which is expressed here would be used in describing a flash of lightning. Many critics have supposed that God made use of a sudden flash to arrest Paul, and that he was thus alarmed and brought to reflection. That God might make use of such means cannot be denied. But to this supposition in this case there are some unanswerable objections:

    (1) It was declared to be the appearance of the Lord Jesus: Acts 9:27, "Barnabas declared unto them how that he had 'seen the Lord in the way;'" 1 Corinthians 15:8, "And last of all he was seen of me also"; 1 Corinthians 9:1, "Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?"

    (2) those who were with Saul saw the light, but did not hear the voice, Acts 22:9. This is incredible on the supposition that it was a flash of lightning near them.

    (3) it was manifestly regarded as a message to Saul. The light appeared, and the voice spake to him. The others did not even hear the address. Besides,

    (4) It was as easy for Jesus to appear in a supernatural manner as to appear amidst thunder and lightning. That the Lord Jesus appeared is distinctly affirmed, and we shall see that it is probable that he would appear in a supernatural manner.

    In order to understand this, it may be necessary to make the following remarks:

    (1) God was accustomed to appear to the Jews in a cloud; in a pillar of smoke, or of fire; in that special splendor which they denominated the Shechinah. In this way he went before them into the land of Canaan, Exodus 13:21-22; compare Isaiah 4:5-6. This appearance or visible manifestation they called the "glory of" Yahweh, is. Isa 6:1-4; Exodus 16:7, "in the morning ye shall see the glory of the Lord"; Acts 9:10; Leviticus 9:23; Numbers 14:10; Numbers 16:19, Numbers 16:42; Numbers 24:16; 1 Kings 8:11; Ezekiel 10:4. See the notes on Luke 2:9, "The glory of the Lord shone round about them."

    (2) the Lord Jesus, in his transfiguration on the mount, had been encompassed with that glory. See the notes on Matthew 17:1-5.

    (3) he had spoken of similar glory as pertain that with which he had been invested before his incarnation, and to which he would return; John 17:5, "And now, Father, glorify thou me with the glory which I had with thee before the world was"; Matthew 25:31, "The Son of Man shall come in his glory." Compare Matthew 16:27; Matthew 19:28. To this glory he had returned when he left the earth.

    (4) it is a sentiment which cannot be shown to be incorrect, that the various appearances of "the angel of Yahweh," and of Yahweh, mentioned in the Old Testament, were appearances of the Messiah the God who would be incarnate - the special protector of his people. See Isaiah 6:1-13; compare with John 12:41.

    (5) if the Lord Jesus appeared to Saul, it would be in his appropriate glory and honor as the ascended Messiah. That he did appear is expressly affirmed.

    (6) this was an occasion when, if ever, such an appearance was proper. The design was to convert an infuriated persecutor, and to make him an apostle. To do this, it was necessary that he should see the Lord Jesus, 1 Corinthians 9:1-2. The design was further to make him an eminent instrument in carrying the gospel to the Gentiles. A signal miracle; a demonstration that he was invested with his appropriate glory John 17:5; a calling up a new witness to the fact of his resurrection, and of his solemn investment with glory in the heavens, seemed to be required in thus calling a violent persecutor to be an apostle and friend.

    continued...

    Wesley's Notes on Acts 9:3

    9:3 And suddenly - When God suddenly and vehemently attacks a sinner, it is the highest act of mercy. So Saul, when his rage was come to the height, is taught not to breathe slaughter. And what was wanting in time to confirm him in his discipleship, is compensated by the inexpressible terror he sustained. By his also the suddenly constituted apostle was guarded against the grand snare into which novices are apt to fall.
    Book: Acts