Acts 9:26-31 (NRSV)

Saul in Jerusalem

26 When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple.

27 But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.

28 So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.

29 He spoke and argued with the Hellenists; but they were attempting to kill him.

30 When the believers learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

31 Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

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3 responses

  1. This would seem to be a transitional passage — I’m not sure how much meat folks will get from it. My only question is — what happened in Tarsus? Because Saul will be Paul form this point onwards and we don’t really get told why.

  2. Tarus was a Roman city, and Paul was born there as a Roman citizen. Paul is the Roman name; Saul the Hebrew one. One might assume that he took (back?) his Roman name at Tarsus, and it stuck thereafter. Being a Roman citizen must have facilitated his work in various ways in the years ahead, although Luke mentions it only in connection with a much later persecution of Paul in Jerusalem. It’s also interesting that it was the Hellenists who began to persecute him in Jerusalem and the “‘believers” who rescued him. Actually like most cultured Roman citizens he was a hellenist himself as I understand the term. He was the only apostle also a Roman citizen and a hellenist; the twelve were presumably native born Jews in Judeae (and or Galilee).The interesting point is how he came to be an apostle. He called himself one of course, and it’s doubtful that the early Christian believers in Jerusalem considered him one, certainly not one of the twelve.The word apostle of course means one who establishes the church. In that sense he was really the primary apostle.

  3. So the Hellenists who argued with Paul were the same ones who earlier complained that the apostles were helping their widows/orphans, only after the Hebrew ones? … the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. Acts 6:1It’s interesting that they don’t stop preaching, even whebn it gets them thrown in prison, even when Stephen gets killed, but when some of their own people don’t like Paul’s preaching, they send him off.

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