The Conversion of Saul
1Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord [and relentless in his search for believers], went to the high priest, 2and he asked for letters [of authority] from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any men or women there belonging to the Way [believers, followers of Jesus the Messiah], men and women alike, he could arrest them and bring them bound [with chains] to Jerusalem. 3As he traveled he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him [displaying the glory and majesty of Christ]; 4and he fell to the ground and heard a voice [from heaven] saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting and oppressing Me?” 5And Saul said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He answered, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, 6now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7The men who were traveling with him [were terrified and] stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8Saul got up from the ground, but though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9And he was unable to see for three days, and he neither ate nor drank.
10Now in Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul; for he is praying [there], 12and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him, so that he may regain his sight.” 13But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man, especially how much suffering and evil he has brought on Your saints (God’s people) at Jerusalem; 14and here [in Damascus] he has authority from the high priests to put in chains all who call on Your name [confessing You as Savior].” 15But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a [deliberately] chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16for I will make clear to him how much he must suffer and endure for My name’s sake.” 17So Ananias left and entered the house, and he laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came [to Damascus], has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit [in order to proclaim Christ to both Jews and Gentiles].” 18Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized; 19and he took some food and was strengthened.
Saul Begins to Preach Christ
For several days [afterward] Saul remained with the disciples who were at Damascus. 20And immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “This Man is the Son of God [the promised Messiah]!” 21All those who heard him continued to be amazed and said, “Is this not the man who in Jerusalem attacked those who called on this name [of Jesus], and had come here [to Damascus] for the express purpose of bringing them bound [with chains] before the chief priests?” 22But Saul increased in strength more and more, and continued to perplex the Jews who lived in Damascus by examining [theological evidence] and proving [with Scripture] that this Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).
23After considerable time had passed [about three years or so], the Jews plotted together to kill him, 24but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the city’s gates day and night so they could kill him; 25but his disciples took him at night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.
26When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27However, Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles, and described to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road [to Damascus], and how He had spoken to him, and how at Damascus Saul had preached openly and spoken confidently in the name of Jesus. 28So he was with them, moving around freely [as one among them] in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. 29He was talking and arguing with the Hellenists (Greek-speaking Jews); but they were attempting to kill him. 30When the brothers found out [about the plot], they brought him down to Caesarea [Maritima] and sent him off to Tarsus [his home town].
31So the church throughout Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace [without persecution], being built up [in wisdom, virtue, and faith]; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it continued to grow [in numbers].
32Now as Peter was traveling throughout the land, he went down to [visit] the saints (God’s people) who lived at Lydda. 33There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years and was paralyzed. 34Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.” Immediately Aeneas got up. 35Then all who lived at Lydda and the plain of Sharon saw [what had happened to] him, and they turned to the Lord.
36Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha, (which translated into Greek means Dorcas). She was rich in acts of kindness and charity which she continually did. 37During that time it happened that she became sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upstairs room. 38Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Come to us without delay.” 39So Peter got up [at once] and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upstairs room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing [him] all the tunics and robes that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. 40But Peter sent them all out [of the room] and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise!” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41And he gave her his hand and helped her up; and then he called in the saints (God’s people) and the widows, and he presented her [to them] alive. 42This became known all over Joppa, and many came to believe in the Lord [that is, to adhere to and trust in and rely on Jesus as Christ and Savior]. 43And so it was that Peter stayed in Joppa for many days with Simon, a tanner.