Conversion of Paul (Acts 9)
Welcome to Lesson 10 in your Bible Study of Acts.
In this lesson we take a closer look at what church historian Kennett Scott Latourrette called one of the most significant events in the history of Christianity, the apostle Paul’s conversion.
Indeed, Luke deemed it significant enough that he recounted Paul’s conversion three times in Acts (Chapters 9, 22 and 26). In addition, the apostle Paul (and his journey and trials) account for a major portion of the Book of Acts (chapters 13-28).
Consider Paul’s impact on Christianity’s history:
- Paul became the church’s most prolific missionary, planting communities of faith in major cities of the Meditarranean world.
- Paul wrote nearly 50% of the New Testament.
- Paul’s writings, have exerted enormous influence on Protestant theology and practice most notably in Martin Luther’s cry of “justification by faith alone” as a primary tenet of the Protestant Reformation.
Paul’s Pre-Conversion History
Read Acts 8:1-4; 9:12-13, 26; 22:2-5, 19-20; 26:9-11 and Philippians 3:4-6 as well
- What kind of person was Saul prior to his conversion. Describe as many details as you can.
- What kinds of actions did Saul take in relation to the Jerusalem church prior to his conversion? Describe as many details as you can.
- How do you feel about Saul and what he did to the Christians in the early church?
- What motivated Saul to feel he was in the right in persecuting Christians?
- How did Paul feel about what he did to the church after his conversion? (See 1 Cor 15:9; Efe 3:8; 1 Tim 1:15.)
- Are there any modern day Saul’s in the world today? Should there every be any relationship between religion and violence? How did you feel about the Christian faith and Christians before you became a believer?
- Have you personally been the recipient of ostracization, social persecution, discrimination, opression and / or violence because of your faith? Describe.
- How does one conversion narrative differ from another? What would prompt Luke to narrate this conversion experience three times?
- To whom was Paul called to take the gospel? (See Acts 9:15) You will notice that everywhere Paul goes to plant a church in Acts he first steps foot in a synagogue (see Acts 13:5, 14:1; 17:1; 18:4). In Romans 1:16 he stated, the gospel is “to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile”
- Why would God call someone like Paul to be an apostle to Jews and Gentiles?
- What impresses you most about Paul’s conversion story? Discuss.
- What impact should Paul’s conversion story have on your faith? On sharing the gospel? On believing in God’s power to change anyone’s life?