Saul’s conversion story
Acts 9:3-8 “And as he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" And the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 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.
Acts 22:6-11 "Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. "And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?' "So I answered, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.' "And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. "So I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.' "And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.”
Acts 26:12-16 "While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, "at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. "And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' "So I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 'But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.
Saul is the only one converted on road to Damascus from the glory of God that appears and Jesus speaking to him in his native tongue.
In Acts 22:9 it says they did not hear the voice but in Acts 9:7 it says they heard the voice that spoke to him but saw the light, that he fell to the ground, then in Acts 26:14 he states they all fell to the ground, the light was around them all and they all heard the voice that spoke to him. How do we reconcile these different accounts?
In Acts chapter 9 (a historic introduction of his conversion by Luke) and chapter 22 he is making this his personal experience, so the light and falling to the ground but in Acts 26 he is giving as many details to Agrippa (who he was sent by)
Acts 9:3 tells us the light came from heaven, separate from the sun.
Acts 22:6, as in the other, tells us it was" about noon" and Acts 26:13, "at mid-day" when there could be no mistake what this was. Acts 22:6 to Agrippa he describes it as "above the brightness of the sun" (Acts 26:13) which was shining at full strength, making it the lesser of lights.
Acts 22:9 in the Greek, Paul says "but voice not they heard of Him" (Green’s
In Acts 22:3-21 he qualifies the story they heard not the voice, that is; they did not hear the words that He spoke to Paul. The other men saw the light and heard the sound, but God only intended for Saul to understand the words. Those who were commission from the chief priests may not have been Jews, so they would not have spoken Hebrew.
“Acts 22:9 The accusative here may be used rather than the genitive as in Acts 22:7 to indicate that those with Paul did not understand what they heard (Acts 9:7) just as they beheld the light (Acts 22:9), but did not see Jesus (Acts 9:7). Acts 22:9
he difference in cases allows this distinction, though it is not always observed as just noticed about Acts 22:14; 26:14. The verb akouoo (NT:189) is used in the sense of understand (Mark 4:33; 1 Corinthians 14:2). It is one of the evidences of the genuineness of this report of Paul's speech that Luke did not try to smooth out apparent discrepancies in details between the words of Paul and his own record already in Acts 9”
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)
The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties pp.382-383 states, they heard a sound, but did not hear the words of a voice. While the Greek noun is the same, the verb is genitive case when they hear a noise, and accusative case when it means they heard a thought-conveying message.
Acts 22:9 Heard not ouk (NT:3708) eekousan (NT:189). The verb is to be taken in the sense of "understood, (from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)
As used in Mark 4:33-34 and 1 Corinthians 14:2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him”
In a similar fashion Jesus spoke, "Father, glorify Your name." Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again." Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him." Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake.” (John 12:28-30)
The Lord repeated his name twice Saul, Saul. Acts 26:14-15 saying in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' "So I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
The phrase “kick against the goads was used by Greek and Latin writers, they had this as a proverb that signified the fruitlessness and absurdity of rebelling against lawful authority, like an ox not obeying its master. It was not uncommon to translate a slang expression from one language to another, as many of the Hebrew phrases are formed into Greek.